Marked by Honor
Lady Beatrice Bordel blames herself for the riding accident that cost her father his life when she was a child. Tragedy strikes again when her mother and grandfather die on the same day, leaving her homeless. The young woman decides to travel to visit her grandfather’s closest friend, hoping she can use her domestic skills and lute-playing talent to find a permanent place in his household. Barely into her journey, a band of highwaymen accosts Beatrice and her sole servant. All seems lost—until Raynor Le Roux arrives.
As a knight of the realm, the code of chivalry guides Raynor’s life. While returning to his family’s home after many months absence, he rescues Beatrice, who tells a white lie to this handsome stranger. Raynor takes her to safety at Ashcroft, but his home has changed during his time away. No longer a thriving estate, Ashcroft has fallen into disrepair because his brother Peter is no longer interested in its welfare after his wife’s untimely death. Raynor determines to restore his home before he escorts Beatrice north so she may unite with the man he believes is her betrothed.
The couple’s growing attraction turns to love, but Beatrice’s dishonesty stands between her and Raynor’s happiness. Will she finally tell him the truth—and hope he forgives her deception—or will it be too late?
This story takes place in England in the year 1363.
Be prepared to have your heart broken in the first few chapters of this book. I tell ya, the author has a tendency to do that to a reader. Book 1 was like that and this was not any different. Her characters are put through the ringer with tragedies and heartbreak. But there is always a silver lining. She just makes her characters work for it.
Beatrice loses everything and basically has the worst day of her life. I found myself cringing and dismayed because of what she went through. I didn’t know if she could sink any lower. But she suffers like that so she can meet her knight in shining armor…well maybe non shining armor…okay, he wasn’t wearing armor, but he was still a chivalrous knight full of honor and exuding sexiness. Beatrice may have also fallen in love at first sight as well, but given the day she had, I don’t blame her. She finds herself compounding a single lie that was necessary at first, but then hinders her decisions and causes her to potentially lose said knight in the future.
“It frightened her that these lies would catch up to her and result in disaster.”
Raynor, our knight, who is marked by honor and is willing to offer Beatrice a respite in her travels, finds himself falling in love with a woman who is (supposedly) promised to another. It is his honor that prevents him to act upon it, and instead focuses on making his home a place to live again since his brother has neglected the keep and his duties. It was refreshing to find a hero, a knight, pray in this story. Knights did serve God and King, but rarely does the character actively pray in a story.
“He prayed for strength in body and in character. He renewed his vow to serve the king, protect all women, and be an instrument of the Church.”
This by no means detracted from the story and I liked that such a man could have compassion for all the things and passion when the time called for it. It made for a realistic character.
Speaking of passion…there were also some really steamy scenes in this story especially when Raynor teaches Beatrice self defense. Such tense sexual energy was so hot that my kindle fog up.
This story can be read as a standalone, but there is a connection between stories. It would help to read Book 1 (Word of Honor) when you get the chance.
*I was given a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review*