He was the Dragon of Normandy. She was the Rose of Flanders. They met in the North of England and together they changed the course of hearts and history. Sir Branoc Valtaigne, ordered to Northumbria by King William II, fights to keep peace along the Scottish border. He is a formidable battle-tested warrior, but as he honors his vows to God, king, and country--a young woman’s smile proves to be his undoing. Martanzia Verheire, tricked into standing as good faith hostage for Flanders, seeks freedom from castle Bamburgh and love from Sir Branoc. As she clings to the Celtic dragon statue given to her by her mother, she leads them all to the brink of an era where true magic will be gone forever but where dreams can still come true.
Grabbing Martanzia, he spun her around to face him, and before she could protest lowered his mouth to capture hers. To his surprise, she wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him back. With warm lips parted, she enticed him to a more intimate sharing. God above how he wanted to taste all the sweetness she offered. But Martanzia was a young lady of breeding, and destined for a nunnery. Surely she did not know what heathen longings she kindled in his belly and what pagan thoughts she inspired in his mind.
They intertwined so perfectly, and although layers of fabric separated their bodies and true desires, the softness of her breasts was remarkably evident, and he remembered laying his hand upon her there. That mind altering experience had nearly been both their undoing. Last night it had taken all of the resolve he possessed to keep from picking her up and carrying her away to his room to satisfy her curiosity and his need.
At the recollection, the embers of need flamed anew and he transferred his weight to one leg trying to alleviate the hurtful pleasure that laid low his ability to think clearly. The maneuver drew Martanzia closer, transporting him to a new plateau of desire. She sighed and the tremulous sound reverberated against his mouth. Did Martanzia want him as much as he wanted her? Yes. He could feel it in her touch. That bit of knowledge pleased him beyond measure, even as it brought him to his senses.
He pried her arms loose from around his neck, eased her away from his body, and held her at bay. There was a hunger in Martanzia's eyes and a quickening of her breath and she leaned forward as if to recapture his mouth. Reluctantly he released his hold on her and took a step back.
"Would it disturb you overmuch," she asked, "if I were not here to vex you and disrupt your camp?"
The question took him by surprise. "More than you might know, lady," he admitted under his breath. She cocked her head as if weighing the true importance of his honest response.