Knights of the Temple
Sybille de Campion has been raising her three youngest brothers after her family abandons them for Paris. She has her hands full with trying to hold the floundering castle together with only two doddering knights and a rheumy cook to aid her. When a knight with a violent reputation rides to the gates with his men, claiming to have bought the castle and all its contents, she fears for their very lives.
Sir Eustache of Rouen has spent the last three years trying to raise the funds to buy Sybille’s hand, only to stumble across her penniless father on his return to Paris. He buys the castle and all its contents, including the beautiful Sybille, the woman he’s longed for. But she knows of his bastardly reputation and he soon realizes he must show her his softer side if he’s to win her heart. Hopefully, he can find it
The water looked too damned inviting with each trip down. She’d sweated under the heavy weight of the mail and felt offensive. She knew she had time, so she stripped off her tunic and hose, another theft, this one from one of her brothers. Diving into the warm pools had never felt better, the heat easing the pain she’d gotten in trying to move the pot.
She heard Eustache before she saw him. As she spun, she covered her bosom, her gaze moving to his immediately. The smirk he wore aggravated her, as he’d found her secret before she’d had a chance to repay a small amount of his crimes. After all her hard work with that damned pot and here he was.
“Now don’t you look lovely there?” He began to take off his surcoat and gloves as her eyes grew large. He certainly didn’t think he was going to get into the water with her, did he? Eustache started to work his mail over his head but struggled. “Come help me, wench.”
Wench? How did he expect her to want to help him with language like that? She had half a mind to push him into the water with his mail on and hope he drowned. Too bad the pools weren’t that deep and he was a bully enough of a man to probably get out on his own. She couldn’t imagine what he’d do to her if he didn’t die from the action. A shiver ran through her at the thought.
“I said come help me.”
“Perhaps if you ask politely I’ll consider helping you.”
She heard a few grunts and groans, and in a flash the mail was off and a heap on the floor. “If you’re looking for polite from me, you obviously haven’t been watching me the last couple of hours.”
His tunic and boots soon met the mail on the floor. He stood in just his leggings and shirt, his hands on the edge of the shirt preparing to raise it. She’d never seen a male nude, well, not unless you counted her little brothers when they’d been small and she’d helped bathe them. From that knowledge, as well as the animals they’d once had, she wasn’t completely ignorant of what was hidden behind his clothing, but she still wasn’t prepared to be shown his nudity, either. She cast her face away as he continued to disrobe, heat suffusing her face.
“Oh, lawd be. I had thought perhaps I had a brave lady when I had caught you in chainmail. Please tell me I don’t have a blushing maid on my hands, who will faint at the sight of an arse cheek.”
Her gaze whipped to his at his comment, anger filling her. “I’m not the fainting sort.” She caught sight of his erect manhood as she finished her comment and immediately reconsidered what she said. He was very large and very ready, she believed. A flush of heat filled her face as she turned away once more.
Eustache lowered himself into the water, if the splashing she heard was correct. She immediately began to pull herself from the water, as best she could while covering her own nudity at the same time. “Woman, if you leave this spring, you will be very sorry.”
Her stare darted to his again. Fortunately, this time he was covered up to his chest with the steaming water. His hair was wet and his face cleaner, so he’d apparently dipped in completely as he’d entered. He rested against the rocky ledge, his arms extended out on both sides of him. With his hair less of a tangled mess and some of the road soot washed from his face, she was surprised to see he was a bit more handsome than she’d realized. Surprised and upset. She shouldn’t find him handsome at all. “This is delightful. No wonder you have no tub, there’s no point in one, hmm?”
His eyes closed as he spoke, and she stuck out her tongue at him. His eyes popped open, and he caught the very end of it. Of course she would be caught in the juvenile act, but she’d lost her small chance at some retribution.
“Girl, you must learn some respect for your soon-to-be husband.”
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Posted by TRR on 8th May 2013
It is near Paris in 1285 and it is a hard life. Sybille is at her father's castle tending to it and her three young brothers. Her parents left for Paris with her four other brothers weeks ago and have not returned. There is only two old knights left for protection and she has no money for food.
Eustache is a black knight with a fearsome reputation, a veritable mountain of a man. He thunders to the castle on his charger with his knights and shows the two poor old retainers his papers. Then he promptly kills them.
Sybil hides her brothers and tries to flee but is caught. She had on chain mail while she was teaching her brothers to fight. He thinks she is a man and threatens her life. She admits that she is the woman he seeks for in his papers, which says he owns her father's castle and her. However, she will not let him claim her until they are wed and demands he show her respect.
I love the way the characters developed and matured before my eyes with each line. You knew that there were more secrets to be revealed. It was a very exciting and gripping tale. I loved it!
This is a sweet fantasy romance. It sucks you in from the first. I enjoyed the tale and wish there was more. I read it very quickly and wanted it longer. I hope to read more from this author and soon.
I give her five stars out five for a very fine read.