ONCE UPON A KNIGHT
by Jackie Ivie
Release date: October 6, 2009
In the fog-filled Scottish Highlands of 1457, a sensual dare brings together a fiery lass and a mysterious suitor - but it will take more for them to discover they've fallen in love....
A BRAWNY CLANSMAN
The fiercely handsome Vincent Danzel never backs away from a dare. So, when he's challenged to make a particular young lady fall in love with him without taking her to his bed, he jumps at the chance to woo the unsuspecting lass to her knees...
A WILLFUL LADY
Sybil Eschoncan's visions warn her that an unsuitable man will enter her life, and Vincent's sudden appearance confirms her prediction. But she's unprepared for her wild attraction to the rake - and perplexed by his unwillingness to claim her...
AN IRRESISTIBLE PASSION
Vincent vows to resist his mounting desire, even as Sybil's every word intrigues him and her every touch ignites his senses. But when another man lays claim to the tempting maid, Vincent must risk everything to fight for the love he never expected to find....
Sybil dipped her head and slanted her shoulder and made a move around him in a dismissive fashion. He took a sideways step and blocked her. Sybil looked at his feet and then tried again. This time she moved to the other side of the hall, taking three steps and gaining a half-step forward of progress. One of his sideways lunges however and she was blocked again. She blew the slightest sigh through her lower lip, making it puff out and a wisp of her hair flutter.
"Vincent," he said.
Sybil ran her gaze up the mass of flesh he was displaying for her and met his eyes. The wretch was smiling. He was openly doing it now and showing full teeth. She tilted her head to one side and regarded him, forcefully ignoring every bit of how it felt. Every bit. Especially the itch of sensation at each breast tip, where she must have donned an under dress that hadn"t been rinsed thoroughly because it chaffed with what had to be lye residue. Especially there.
"I ken your name already. You told me."
"So say it."
"Because I"m asking you to."
Sybil pulled in a breath and complied, giving her voice the most enticing, sensual, deep-throated undertone she knew how, as she drew the first syllable of his name out in a lengthy fashion before finishing it with a moan of sound.
The reaction was immediate and visual. The mass of man jumped slightly as if an itch of sensation made it inevitable. Sybil was around him and almost down the hall before she heard his boots coming after her.
She stopped, turned fully and put both hands out, blocking his way for a
change. She was watching his reaction as he slowed to a crawl of movement and then halted just shy of her, and just stood there, breathing deeply. Sybil was matching him but kept the beginnings of agitation to herself.
"You"ve a reason for delaying me?" she asked finally.
"I"m na" delaying you," he replied. And gave that little smirk-smile that came with one dimple. "At least....na" this time."
She took a deep breath. "My step-mother is a verra gracious woman. Anymore. Especially to me. I dinna wish any of that changed," she replied.
His confusion was almost perfectly portrayed. Sybil had never met a better liar. Poser. Deviant. Her eyes narrowed even more.
""Tis obvious to me, my toad price. You are one of my step-mother"s newest lovers. She has them. Ever since my father"s death in spring of last year there has been a string of handsome young men about the castle. All dancing attendance on her. Without end. ‘Tis her reward for the life she lived with him. I doona" begrudge it to her."
"Lover?" he questioned, putting a meaning behind the word that she didn"t recognize.
That was odd. She didn"t like odd. She swallowed the excess spittle her mouth was cursing her with and continued, making certain he knew of her knowledge.
"Dinna" let it fash you." She ran her eyes up and down his frame and ended up back to his belly, where a roping of muscle was still moving with his heart pounding. "You are by far the most handsome. Much. She sees well. It"s my guess, she"ll na" be dismissing you as quickly as she does the others. Unless you give her reason."
She finished on a whisper. He was choking. It sounded in his next words. He was a terrible choice for a lover. He wasn"t even loyal. Sybil was already thinking through the selection of herbs she could use. The Lady of Eschon didn"t deserve such a cheat and a wretch. Both of which he was proving himself to be the longer he bothered the only other young female in the castle: Lady Sybil.
"You think...I"m one of your...step-mother"s...lovers?"
He was stammering through it and that started the most entertaining flush
to his cheeks. Sybil watched it. The man was extremely handsome. She had to give him that. He was more than handsome. He was a stunning, beautiful specimen and the flush was making the gold of his eyes glow. Her stepmother had let her eyes be her guide this time. She hadn"t looked beyond that.
Sybil had it decided. She was going to use crushed and dried chicory on him. She pulled in her lower lip in thought, wondering at the exact portion that wouldn"t prostrate him with sickness but would have him visiting the castle latrine more oft than he could Lady Eschon"s bedchamber.
"Oh, dear man." Sybil clicked her tongue. "I doona" just think you are. I
ken it. Perfectly."
He grunted. Then he moved a step toward her, standing above her and breathing hard on her, and making her regret the outstretched arms and aggressive stance. Especially since she"d been the one assuming it. Oh! He was getting a double dose of chicory with bruised leaves. Enough to cause gastric distress for a sennight. That"s what was happening to him, she decided.
He reached a hand to touch her chin and lift it. She had two choices. Give up her stance, wrap her cloak about herself and try to escape him again, or wait. Bide her time. Create the events that would serve her intent and not his. She narrowed her eyes to make her choice less noticeable for him.
"What if I were to tell you that the moment I set eyes on you this morn,
nae other woman existed...anymore?" he murmured, in such a soft, seductive tone Sybil nearly believed it. Almost. He was good. Amazingly good. And he had a voice like warm butter. He was the best one Lady Eschon had enticed to her side. Easily.
"Other than remarking that such a thing would definitely give her reason to replace you, I"d have only one thing to say," she replied.
"And...that would be?" He moved closer, but it wasn"t by moving his feet. Or if he was, she didn"t hear it. Since he had a forefinger beneath her chin and was still forcing her to look up at him, she wouldn"t have seen it, anyway. She watched him lean a bit closer to her, roamed her eyes all about his face for something to look at other than the mesmerizing quality of those gold-enhanced dark eyes, and had to swallow the increased spittle in her mouth. She knew he felt it.
"Sage," she said finally.
He blinked a dark fringe of lash, shadowing the honey color into opaque black before letting it back.
"Aye. Brewed with a touch of honey. Such a thing would be wondrous for your condition."
"What condition might that be?" He was tilting his head and slanting forward even closer, pulling her to her tiptoes with the lifting of his hand at her chin. And with pursed lips he was a completely devastating sight. If she were a female that cared for such things.
Like a first kiss.
Sybil gulped. "Poor...eyesight." She managed to whisper it and then watched as he lowered the dark brush of eyelashes he had. That was tantamount to closing his eyes. She wondered at the man"s sanity. And bravery. And idiocy.
The moment before he"d have touched his lips to hers, she moved. The hall could have him. She was finished with this nonsense.
4 STARS (top score) "...sexy and fun...". - Rob Preece at BooksForABuck.
"Steamy sensuality and quick-witted dialogue make ONCE UPON A KNIGHT delightfully entertaining, while emotional issues are touchingly captivating." - SingleTitles.com
Top Pick - A Keeper! "I could barely put ONCE UPON A KNIGHT down from start to finish. Ivie teases with hints and details, pulling the reader along on the adventure until it is too late to go back. Just as I was sure our couple was safe, another complication would arise and then suddenly, before I knew it, we were at the end and I wanted to stay to see them through the rest of their lives. I will definitely be looking for more of Ivie"s novels in the future." - Susan Barton, Romance Reader At Heart
"I loved Vincent"s utter fascination with Sybil and I enjoyed how the two of them verbally sparred. In the conversations between them, much is left unsaid, leaving the two characters to depend on other clues to determine motives. Sybil made Vincent work and he needed to work. Also, I appreciated their attraction to each other, which brought the sexual tension up a notch. Put simply, I liked Sybil as she"s strong and has learned to take care of herself." - All About Romance Novels
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