Urban Fantasy Author
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Though he's fought in hundreds of battles in a dozen countries, Dominick the Immortal has never known defeat. Now the King has given him his greatest challenge, to become the Lord of Godwin, and marry its lady, Eleanor.
Upon meeting her, he is instantly attracted to the green-eyed beauty, but angered by the King’s order she vows she will never love him.
Dominick could see spirits of the dead his entire life, but after his capture during the Crusades he closed his mind to the tortured souls that were left to wander in eternal darkness. The door remained closed until the strong spirit of a woman broke through his barrier and warned him that Eleanor was in danger. Dominick had one more battle to wage, winning the lady’s heart.
Nearly succumbing to her greatest enemy after long months of bloody siege, Eleanor sends a messenger to beg for the King’s help. He is her last hope of saving her beloved Godwin and its people. Eleanor gets more than she bargained for. Decreed by the King, her savior is to become her husband.
Raised by an abusive father whose vile behavior led to her mother’s death, Eleanor vows that she will love no man. Yet Dominick is like no other man she has ever met. Unexpectedly, she finds that the legendary warrior has both honor and compassion. Losing her resolve, she must face her greatest fear, losing her heart.
Eleanore needed to put the castle as far behind her as possible before it was discovered she was gone. A hawk flew overhead screeching loudly as if discovering a rat or a plump field mouse. Shading her eyes, she watched it land in a nearby tree making another call. It was strange behavior for a bird. She had an odd feeling that it was watching her. “Your imagination is running away with you, Eleanore, It’s nothing more than a bird sitting in a tree.” she said to herself, and continued on her way.
The soft wind blew against her back. Riding on it was the sound of thunder. Looking up into the bright blue sky, there were no clouds in sight, but the sound was getting louder. Her skin prickled when she realized it was the sound of horses.
Choking fear nearly took her breath away. She looked around. There was no place to hide. Self preservation started her running. Picking up her skirts, she jumped over rocks and small shrubs. The bag she slung over her shoulder bounced with every move, pulling at her neck. One arm was forced to hold it down, restricting her ability to gain momentum.
Without looking back she could hear the hoof beats getting closer. Her lungs began to burn from exertion. As hard as she tried, the muscles in her body refused to keep up such a pace for long. She developed a stitch in her side, slowing her down. Reason finally came over her, and Eleanore stopped. Bending over, she took deep breaths to ease the pain in her side and swallowed down the rawness in her throat. When she was capable of breathing normally, she stood straight and turned toward her pursuers.
Immediately she recognized the dark giant, leading his army toward her. She planted her feet. Swallowing her fear, she clenched her teeth, and awaited the wrath that was about to fall upon her.
Dominick reined his horse just a few feet from her. Vapor escaped its flaring nostrils, as though it were a demon from hell. Soldiers surrounded her in a tight circle.
She looked up into the dark eyes of the man who held her fate. The legends were true. His eyes held no mercy as he looked down at her, yet she couldn’t turn away. She wouldn’t be a coward, and vowed no man would see her fear again--ever.
A whistle broke the silence between them. A hawk that had been sitting in a tree flew to the outstretched arm of one of Dominick’s men. He whistled to the bird once more and the hawk took flight again, heading toward the forest. For a brief moment she thought it uncanny, the relationship between the soldier and the animal, but had little time to ponder it. The man and a handful of soldiers followed the hawk into the woods.
The clinking of chainmail brought her back to Dominick. As his feet hit the ground, he drew his sword. Her knees nearly buckled. Involuntarily she stumbled two steps back, as he slowly walked toward her. Aware there was no place for her to run, she stood her ground, not allowing herself to move further. Dominick stood only inches in front her, forcing her to look up at him.
He grasped the strap of her bag that crossed her chest. She was sure he could feel her heart pounding against her ribs.
“Did you really think to escape me Eleanore, to defy the king’s order?” His voice was deceptively calm.
“I won’t do this. I won’t become your wife.”
His hand tightened in a fist around the strap, pulling her closer. “You have no choice. The king has ordered us to marry, and his order will be done.” His voice boomed. “It’s treason to do otherwise.”
Anger took over her reason. It bubbled from her gut, and exploded through her arms, as she shoved Dominick hard, to back him away from her. It was like pushing a stone wall, yet she turned her fury on him like a brush fire. “Damned be the king’s orders and damn you. I will not marry you or any other man that walks this earth.” Her arms flailed with every word. “If it’s treason I commit, then strike me down with your sword, for I will never—do you hear me great knight never live in fear again.” Her chest heaved with the force of her anger.
He stood silently for a moment, his eyes never leaving hers. Slowly he raised his sword to her chest, its tip rested over her heart. Eleanore could barely breathe. Her last moment on Earth had come. He looked toward his brother. Randolf nodded, and raised his hand.
She froze when she heard the familiar voice of her maid. With her hands tied behind her back, Martha kicked and screamed as a guard pulled her into the clearing. The guard forced the woman to her knees.
A click sounded in the air when Randolf pull back on his cross bow, and aimed it toward Martha.
“No!,” Eleanore screamed. The tip of Dominick’s sword pricked her skin when she tried to move toward her friend.
“The choice is yours, Eleanore.” Dominick’s low voice brought her attention back to him.
“You bastard!” she spat.
“That is a well known fact, but right now your maid’s life depends on your cooperation.”
Her eyes moved from the cross bow to her maid. There was no escape. Lowering her head she nodded her surrender. Dominick withdrew his sword. She looked back at Martha’s terrified face. The guard who had pulled her to the clearing, cut her bonds and gently pulled her to her feet. Eleanore found the compassion in contrast with what just happened. Randolf disarmed the crossbow and placed it at his side. Looking back at Dominick, tentacles of loathing wrapped itself around her heart.
The muscles in his jaw moved as he clenched his teeth. Dominick held her arm tight as he moved her to the middle of the clearing. A growl escaped from the back of his throat. With her arm still in his grasp, he thrust his sword into the ground. The acid sound of metal hitting rock as it pierced the earth set Eleanore’s teeth on edge. He pulled her to her knees before the sword that now formed a cross with its hilt.
“Place your hand on the sword, Eleanore.” She hesitated for a moment. “Now!”
Her hand shook as she wrapped her fingers around the hilt. It was still warm from his grasp. He sank to his knees in front of her, placing his hand over hers, completely engulfing it.
“Swear on this sword that you will never leave Godwin or me again.”
She looked up in surprise that he should read her thoughts.
“Vow to me now, or I swear your people will suffer.”
She glared back at him. “You’re the devil’s own.”
“Don’t forget what I’m capable of. Now swear it.” His hand tightened slightly putting pressure around hers, but not enough to cause pain.
“You have my word. I will never leave Godwin again.” Conviction settled in her heart. “But know this, a meek wife you will never have. I may surrender my land, and my life to this marriage, but I will never surrender my heart.”
They both rose off the ground. “It’s not your heart I seek. My liege has given me a command, and it will be obeyed. Unlike you, I don’t betray my king.”
“Any mindless beast can follow orders. I know you’re a beast, but are you mindless as well?”
His fists clenched tight at his sides. Anger flared in his eyes. The urge to step out of striking distance encompassed her being, but she stood still. Moments passed between them, yet the blow she’d expected never came. Instead the merciless warrior of legend jerked his sword out of the ground.
Did he intend to kill her now? This time she did step back. Looking around she saw no escape. Her heart pounded loudly in her ears. She could not draw a breath. Had she pushed him too far? Perhaps he had decided she was too much trouble and would end her life now.
When he faced her again, a ball of dread settled in her chest. It was not until he sheathed the sword that Eleanore’s let out a breath of relief.
Striding to his horse, his form was rigid. In one fluid motion he mounted the great steed. Eleanore was frozen in her spot when she saw the storm of anger cross his face. Moments passed. His chest heaved. Suddenly, he moved his horse toward her. Instinctively she stepped out of its path, but not before he scooped her up in his arms, and planted her firmly in front of him.
His men broke the circle around them. “Ha!” he shouted to the horse. Then spurred it into a breakneck speed toward Godwin.
Meet the Author
Victoria Craven discovered her love for story-telling in her sophomore year of high school. Those teenage adventures always had a romantic happy ending, and they still do today, whether she’s writing thrilling contemporary suspense or paranormal historical romance.
Having lived most of her life in Western Michigan, Victoria relocated to the suburbs of Chicago where she lives with her husband, who is the love of her life. She has three beautiful daughters, and two toddler grandsons who keep her busy.
Supported by her friends and family, she left a career as a media account executive to pursue a career doing what she’s passionate about, writing happy endings that she can share with others. Her first paranormal historical romance was recently purchased by Tell-Tale Publishing and will be released in 2012.
When Victoria isn’t writing or revising, she is playing with her grandsons or curled up with a good book and a vat of hot chocolate. You can visit Victoria at her:
I blog there the 18th of each month!
Elizabeth Alsobrooks's books on Goodreads
Illuminati - The Book of Life
ratings: 12 (avg rating 4.33)
Illuminati: The Book of Life
ratings: 5 (avg rating 4.80)
The Keeper's Secret: Tell-Tale Publishing's Annual Horror Anthology
ratings: 2 (avg rating 5.00)
2016 NaNoWriMo Winner!
My Newest Release
An Amazon Bestseller!
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