Can she betray the Gypsy clan who saved her for the love of a stranger?
Martine Petrulengo is stifled by the traditions of her adopted Gypsy clan. They gave her new life when she was left all alone. And now she is expected to marry in order to forge clan allegiances. When she nurses handsome and charming Lord Declan Forrester back to health, she is lured by the seductive idea of life outside of the clan—and the prospect of love with the Irishman.
Can he prove his innocence in order to claim his Gypsy?
Lord Declan Forrester trades prison bars for a loveless marriage in order to save his soul. And now he’s trying to prove his innocence not only as a traitor, but that of his wife’s murder. When the lovely and beguiling Martine saves him, he falls in love for the first time. Yet, the obstacles of his past seem insurmountable.
Martine and Declan must fight tradition, prejudice and the haunting ghosts of their past in order to fight for their love and ensure their future.
A rider urged his horse forward. He wore a leather doublet of a quality she’d never seen. The black hide was pierced with metal and thick stitching formed elaborate Celtic designs. Regal and rich. His breeches hugged his thighs so closely ’twas indecent, but that didn’t stop her gaze from venturing along the hard expanse of his legs. Heat crept up her neck and flushed her face like a flame.
He tipped his head in her brother’s direction. Martine gasped.
The stranger from the glen.
“We’ve business,” was all he said.
Rafe nodded, but didn’t twitch a muscle. Martine wanted to run from the confrontation, hide in her grandmother’s berth safe from the bewitching blue eyes of the intruder. But her feet stayed rooted to the ground.
Och, this man was handsome. Strong jaw, brilliant eyes, and a broad mouth composed a man so striking. His face was a composite of hard planes of granite that matched the intense glare of his eyes.
The man sighed and his comrades inched closer to his side. They dressed as he did, except their clothing lacked the obvious quality she could see stitched in the leather of his.
“The villagers are concerned with your presence, Gypsy.”
She could feel the tension in the tight line of her brother’s shoulders, taste the anger in the air that hummed about him and the stranger. His jaw clenched and he remained silent.
“I’ve come to ask you to leave. Gypsies bring foul memories to Riverton.” His voice was rough, husky, as he commanded her brother.
Rafe stepped forward. She knew he wished to throttle the tactless man. “We’re Tinkers. Men and women with skills and trade.”
“And itchy fingers if Lady Bannon’s sheep have say of it,” the man behind the stranger spouted. The other men chortled and slapped the man on the back.
The stranger held up his hand and was rewarded with instant silence.
Her brother shrugged, a harmless action unless you were Rafe Petrulengo. “My clan has no need of other people’s sheep.”
Martine took a step forward.
The stranger’s head snapped in her direction.
He leaned forward in his saddle. “You’ll leave my land, or pay the consequences.” His tone brooked no room for argument.
“We’re people of the land, trainers of dogs, and masters of horses.”
Her brother’s words seemed to befuddle the stranger’s friends. They looked to one another, smirks creasing their faces. If only they knew her brother’s genius.
“I’m Lord Declan Forrester, Earl of Riverton,” the stranger pompously said. “This is my land—and you are to leave.”
Rafe bowed deep at the waist, his extended arm almost grazing the dirt before him. “As you wish.”
“Be gone by morning. ’Tis all the time I’ll give you.”
A shiver ran up her spine at the cold gruffness of his voice. He clucked his horse forward, a magnificent animal, well-muscled with a gleaming coat of black.
Martine was so aware of the lord’s presence, her skin tingled. And she knew without looking up that trouble was about to ensue. He stopped the horse before her and just sat. When her gaze met his, the lord nodded his head and gave a mocking salute.
She sighed, not knowing why she was reacting so unlike herself, why she was enthralled with the stranger.
With a nudge to his horse’s side, he was off without a backward glance at her or her brother.
One look at Rafe and she knew he’d witnessed what had transpired. Rage boiled in his dark eyes and tension pulsed his jaw. He tapped a pointy leather boot against the packed earth. The women of the clan weren’t to be appraised by Gajos. Especially a Gajo who’d ordered the Kapo to leave.
No matter, she thought with a smile of satisfaction. Lord Forrester had acknowledged her, and the realization swept through her with unparalleled warmth.
About the Author
Madelyn Hill has always loved the written word. From the time she could read and all through her school years, she'd sneak books into her textbooks during school. And she devoured books daily. At the age of 10 she proclaimed she wanted to be a writer. After being a "closet" writer for several years, she sent her manuscripts out there and is now published with Soul Mate Publishing. And she couldn't be happier! A resident of Western New York, she moved from one Rochester to another Rochester to be with the love of her life. They now have 3 children and keep busy cooking, watching their children's sporting events, and of course reading!
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