Forbidden Love In A Knight’s Persuasion by Catherine Kean
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Forbidden Love In A Knight’s Persuasion by Catherine Kean
The theme of forbidden love is a common one in historical romances. It’s one of my personal favorites because it’s so wonderfully versatile. It’s featured in several of my award-winning novels, including A Knight’s Vengeance, Book One of my Knight’s Series which is the story of a beautiful, kidnapped maiden who falls in love with her abductor, the scarred rogue obsessed with exacting revenge upon her father. This theme is also woven into the plot of my most recent series title, A Knight’s Persuasion, released in May.
From an author’s perspective, the forbidden love theme works for several reasons. It makes for nail-biting conflict between the hero and heroine. It makes us wonder if the two of them--both fascinating people who are one-hundred-percent committed to what they believe is right and because of that are pitted against each other—can ever have a happily-ever-after. And we do want that to happen. That keeps us turning pages to see what transpires next. Good conflict also inspires scenes that tug at our emotions, making us laugh and cry and gasp out loud in surprise.
Conflict also makes for delicious sexual tension. What could be worse, for the maiden of A Knight’s Vengeance, than to find herself attracted to the dangerous man who is plotting to kill her father in battle? Or for a knight, sworn to respect the chivalric code, to hunger for the sister of the lady to whom he’s betrothed?
That’s exactly the kind of forbidden love I use in A Knight’s Persuasion. The heroine, Lady Juliana de Greyne, was intended to be the bride of Edouard de Lanceau, son of Moydenshire’s great lord (the hero of A Knight’s Vengeance). However, a foolish bet between Edouard and a friend to win Juliana’s kiss caused his relationship with her to end badly. Not long after, Edouard was tricked by Juliana’s younger sister into betrothing her. He resents this arrangement, because he desires Juliana, but he’s a man of honor and will never forsake his vow.
When Edouard finds Juliana lying near dead in a river, he’s horrified and determined to ensure she survives her wounds. He rides with her in his arms to the nearest castle for help, not realizing his father’s enemies have seized control there. Edouard is taken prisoner and chained in an isolated tower with Juliana, who has lost her memory; she doesn’t remember him or who she is, although his memories of her constantly torment him. He realizes full well that their enemies have imprisoned them together in hopes that he’ll yield to his desire for her. If that happens, he’ll betray not only his betrothed, but his honor and that of his respected family, which would suit the villains’ plans perfectly.
Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 14 that conveys Edouard’s intense craving for Juliana. It’s a bitterly cold night and pitch black in the tower. He’s just coaxed Juliana to lie with him on his pallet, to keep warm.
She laughed, a nervous warble. “This close, and I still c-cannot see you.”
Nor I you, his mind answered, while he eased his fingers from hers to allow her to better recline. But I can hear you breathe, feel the softness of your warm chemise, and smell the perfume of your hair. God above, Juliana, how you entice me.
Even as he struggled to squash that thought, his hardened loins swelled further. Damnation. He’d vowed to keep control of his desire. He’d offered Juliana comfort, and he meant to honor his words. Either he regained command of his lust, or he’d spend the entire night in aroused agony.
He concentrated on quelling the fire in his groin. Straw shifted as Juliana settled beside him. He guessed she was lying on her side, heard the faint rasp of wool as she covered herself with her blanket. When she fell quiet, he sensed she was looking at where she knew him to be.
A silent growl of pleasure unfurled inside him. He still couldn’t see her, but in the small gap separating their bodies, her heat reached out to him like a bonfire beacon in the night. How he longed to bring her flush against him, to feel her supple curves against his hardness . . .
Edouard, you wretched fool! Quit such thoughts, or you will drive yourself mad.
He frowned, determined to conquer his disgraceful weakness. Be gallant, Edouard, and think about her comfort. Sliding his hand up the pallet, he found the chain running between them and pushed it closer to him. She needn’t lie on it and be uncomfortable. Then he tugged his blanket, barely large enough for one, back up over his waist, painfully aware that even the slightest movement caused the chains to make noise.
“Do they hurt?” she asked.
They. Several answers to this question leapt to mind, the most inappropriate rising to the fore. Managing to keep his tone calm, he asked, “What do you mean?”
“The iron bands around your wrist.”
Ah. “A little,” he said. “Fetters are not designed to be pleasant. Are you comfortable enough?”
“Aye, but I am still cold.”
He settled his cheek upon his bent arm, just as her hand moved, mayhap to adjust her blanket. Her fingers knocked his chin; one fingertip touched his lips.
Purely on instinct, he turned his head and sucked that fingertip into his mouth.
Juliana gasped. “Oh!”
Cease, Edouard! You must! Somehow, though, the shock and delight in her voice held his will captive and forced him on.
Grazing her skin with his teeth, he drew in more of her finger, until his upper lip touched the knuckle bone where her finger joined her hand. He twirled his tongue around her flesh, while savoring her shocked shivers.
Her skin tasted sweet. Deliciously so. He inhaled her alluring scent that reminded him of lavender and honey. Mmm . . . Never had he known a woman to smell so good.
“What”—Juliana breathed—“are you doing?”
He stilled, becoming aware of the merciless throbbing of his groin. What was he doing? He certainly wasn’t going to seduce her..
With a wry chuckle, he drew back, releasing her digit. “I was . . . ah . . . warming your finger.”
The air stirred between them as she snatched her hand away. “Well, I—”
“’Tis feeling warmer?”
“Aye, but . . . Do you normally warm fingers that way?”
She peered at him. He knew it. How readily he pictured her face, set in a winsome expression of both fascination and uncertainty.
“Not always.” He smiled into the darkness. Before he could stop the reckless words, he said, “Shall I continue?”
Her startled squawk brought silent laughter welling up inside him.
“Thank you, but nay. For you to heat up all of my fingers would . . . take a while.” She sighed. “There must be better ways to get warm.”
Ah, but there were. He knew plenty that weren’t just efficient, but highly pleasurable . . .
How will Edouard and Juliana ever be able to be together? A Knight’s Persuasion has an emotional, happy ending, but how their forbidden love resolves . . . Well, I don’t want to spoil the anticipation for any of my readers. J
If you’d like more details on my Knight’s Series books (they can all be read as stand-alone titles, so don’t worry if you haven’t read them in order!) as well as excerpts, please visit my website athttp://www.catherinekean.com
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