Illara's Champion, no. 2
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Book Two: Illara Series
The Crimson Knight, brother to the Beast of Northumberland, Ronan of Duhamel has suffered the same cruel fate as Pagan (Illara's Champion), and lived life a covered, masked, branded traitor. He has won his fame on the Tourney Grounds, and at last won his freedom, through the final battle with his family’s betrayers. In the moments of do and die, he answered his sister-in-law’s request and wed her friend, the Countess Sefare, who fled her in-laws in Italy and her husband’s obsessed brother, who would not rest without vengeance. Having secreted her away during the final conflict, Ronan must now go to her, and face their bargain, that he would decide, if he lived, and after he was free, to keep her or not.
Due to the nightmares of his past, his present appearance, the beauty of his wife torments Ronan even more, taunting him with temptations he cannot afford to feel. And yet, like his sister-in-law, he finds under the exterior beauty of the lovely Sefare, lies a heart filled with courage, a past filled with pain and betrayal. Her blindness to his scars and gruffness reaches deep inside him, causing him at times to forget he is anything but human.
Sefare barely escaped after a life of abuse and tyranny at the hands of the Count. His death was the only thing that brought her freedom. Wed in an arranged marriage the first time, she seeks her friend Illara’s help in wedding for protection against her husband’s family. Taken to an ancient stronghold by guards of the Crimson Knight, she awaits her husband’s decision to keep her or put her away, determined to find her old courage, her spirit, and nevermore be a victim to circumstance. Awed by the Crimson Knight, she feels drawn to the man under the armor, Ronan. When he comes to her, free of the charges of treason, she must still somehow free them both from the greater fears of intimacy.
As Ronan sees himself through his wife’s eyes, he finds the love he has for her is worth dying for. Moreover, Sefare, as Ronan’s wife, discovers that courage, strength and trust, brings her a legendary love she had once dreamed, before her cruel union. She finds in fact, that there is a greater gift than freedom, and that is the wonderous fate that made her truly, Ronan's Bride.
Book Three, Shadow and Fire, coming soon...