Release date: September 19, 2016
Royal herald Sir Talon Quereste plans to someday settle on a quiet little estate, marry well, and raise a family. The wife of his daydreams will enhance his standing with his peers—she’s certainly not an overly adventurous, impulsive, argumentative woman of dubious background who threatens everything he values, until he meets his father’s wife.
Lady Larkin Rosham lost more than everyone she loved when her family was murdered—she lost her identity. Now no one believes she’s Lady Larkin, least of all Sir Talon, whose dreams of owning Hawksedge go up in smoke if she is, indeed, his father’s lost bride.
But when the murderer strikes again, danger and betrayal lurk around every corner. Can Larkin and Talon discover how to save their lives without risking their hearts?
by Rue Allyn
Historical romance author Rue Allyn lives in southeast Michigan with the love of her life and one tyrannical cat, where she works daily on making Happy Ever After come true. Find Rue Allyn at RueAllyn.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter @RueAllyn.
An excerpt from The Herald’s Heart:
Our Lady of Sorrows Abbey, Northumbrian coast on the Scottish border, 1294
“I would meet this miraculous woman. Where is the abbess? I’ll have her order you to admit me.”
“Mother Clement is at prayers and cannot be disturbed. I am in charge of the infirmary, and I will not have my patients treated as objects of curiosity. The return of the girl’s speech is indeed a miracle. However, I remind you, Lord Hawksedge, that she has been mute for the seven years since she came to us. I doubt she will be able to say much of any interest.” Sister Joan’s tone discouraged argument.
“But I understand that she regained her speech at the sight of my insignia. ’Twould be wrong of you to deny me, since my mark caused the miracle to occur.”
“God is the source of all miracles, your lordship.”
Count on Sister Joan to steer every conversation to God. But since the Earl of Hawksedge was the target of the sanctimonious old nun’s reproach, Larkin nearly cheered as she listened to the polite disagreement taking place outside the infirmary window.
“Very true, Sister. But how often does a man get to witness a miracle in which he played a part?”
“I could not say.”
“Allow me to see the woman, please. I will be gentle in my manner and most generous in my gratitude,” Hawksedge persisted.
Sister Joan sighed. “As you will.”
A polite knock sounded, and the infirmary door opened before Larkin could force her rusty voice to bid them enter.
“The Earl of Hawksedge has learned you recovered your ability to speak,” the nun said in slow, calm tones.
“Aye.” Larkin rasped the word and stared at the tall, elderly man who followed Sister Joan. Of course the murdering hypocrite she’d wed by proxy would hasten to witness the miracle of a mute orphan’s speech. May his soul rot in hell. Hate boiled in Larkin at the sight of him.
“Here, drink this.” Sister Joan handed her a cup of water. “Try not to talk too much. Your voice will need time to accustom itself to being used again.”
She drank and nodded.
“The earl wishes to witness the miracle of your returned speech. Praise heaven.”
The man stared at Larkin, as if surprised to see an ordinary woman where he expected a deformed idiot, though she knew her bright red hair made her far from ordinary.
She ducked her head to greet the nobleman and kept her eyes downcast. She wanted him to see humility, not the fear and loathing that crawled along her skin and burned her face. She had a request to make and needed all her courage, for she had every reason to believe the earl would not be pleased.