Excerpt and Giveaway: Knight of Love by Catherine LaRoche

Knight of Love - coverKNIGHT OF LOVE by Catherine LaRoche

SUMMARY:

In this saucy romance, an English lady turns the damsel-in-distress tale on its head as she escapes her malicious fiancé and fights for both her life and that of the lustful rebel that has become her protector.

Lady Lenora Trevelyan, a naïve yet stubborn young lady born to the highest noble houses of England and Germany, finds herself betrothed to the brutal Prince Kurt von Rotenburg-Gruselstadt. But after she is cruelly bruised and flogged by her fiancé, she decides to take the reins of her fate. In the midst of a German revolution, Lenora escapes Kurt’s iron fist and embarks home to England. She quickly finds herself in the hands of a rebel group and their robust, gentle, and handsome leader, Wolfram von Wolfsbach und Ravensworth, the English Earl of Ravensworth.

Lenora struggles to deny the passion she feels towards the frustratingly chivalrous Earl but her desire for him continues to bloom. Wolfram hungers nothing other than to fight for democracy and civil rights in uniting Germany and to protect what he assumes is his damsel in distress. Through nights of immeasurable pleasure, Lenora and Wolfram learn that their passion is no match for the revolutionary chaos that ensues. And when Lenora discovers that her protector’s life is threatened, she must risk everything to save her Knight of Love.

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EXCERPT:

The German Confederation

February 1848

The first lash robbed her of breath.

The second granted her freedom.

If he’d go so far as to have her publicly flogged, she owed him no further loyalty. Any obligation remaining from their betrothal contact ended here, in this moment, with this lash.

Morally, she was free.

Now all she had to do was escape the bastard and make him pay.

As the second stroke landed, fire replaced the shock, and a hot slick of pain bloomed across her back. The coarse linen shift that a spying maid had forced her into provided no protection. It offered little modesty, either, from the uneasy crowd Kurt had gathered inside the castle gates to witness her punishment. She gritted her teeth and refused to cry out. A rough rope bound her wrists above her head to the flogging post. As her knees buckled, the  binding made her perversely glad; she doubted she could stand upright on her own.

Before arriving at this godforsaken pile of German stone, she—Lady Lenora Trevelyan, eldest child to the Duke and Duchess of Sherbrooke, third cousin to Queen Victoria’s German consort, His Royal Highness Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha—had never been struck in her life. Now, in her three months at Schloss  Rotenburg, she’d lost count of her bruises.

At first, before her parents had returned home to England, Kurt hadn’t hit her—or “corrected her,” as it pleased that smug worm to call his slaps and blows. He claimed it was for her own good, of course, to teach and prepare her for her life as his Prinzessin and mistress of Rotenburg.

She must carry out her duties perfectly, he’d hiss, tightening a grip on her arm until she knew she’d wear a band of purple bruises for a week. Or he’d strike out in sudden fury at some perceived failure of hers—she’d forgotten the name of one of his sainted ancestors in the castle’s gloomy portrait gallery, or made a minor grammatical mistake in her German, or not shown proper courtesy to a visiting Bürgermeister.

Tied now to the flogging post, she lost count after the third blow. She’d seen the long leather strap when the stable master, shamefaced, had bound her with muttered apologies and handed the lash to a muscled groom more accustomed to cracking it around stubborn horses than using it to beat highborn ladies. Now she could barely feel the individual strokes as they landed, only the waves of hot agony clenching her back and shoulders in a vise grip of pain.

Through the red haze blurring her vision, she saw Kurt standing nearby. Next to him, his sanctimonious toady minister prattled the Bible proverb of the virtuous wife whose price was far above rubies. The gleeful, twisted pleasure Kurt took in her pain radiated off his stork-like form like a sickening stench. She bit down on her lip and gathered her hatred of her fiancé like a babe to her breast.

It was all she had left to get her out of this hell.

When Kurt finally held up a hand to signal the groom to cease, her labored breath echoed in the silent crowd. She knew the townspeople didn’t approve of the public beating their prince had commanded for his foreign betrothed. No more than they believed his story that she’d agreed to a religious flagellation in humble preparation for becoming his pious and obedient wife. But Prince Kurt von Rotenburg-Gruselstadt ruled the castle and town with an iron fist. None would risk their lord’s wrath to stand up for her.

Kurt stepped to the front of the dais. “Lady Lenora bears her trial most nobly,” he announced to the crowd. “Her embrace of her suffering does honor to a bloodline that unites the highest noble houses of England and Germany.”

That bloodline, she knew well, was why he’d chosen her. The prig made no secret of his disdain for any born below the upper aristocracy. The Holy Roman emperor himself, Kurt often delighted to inform her, had conferred the title of Prinz upon the House of Rotenburg-Gruselstadt in the previous century. Her own background had led the matchmakers to judge them a perfect pair: her father’s ancient ducal title intermingled, like that of so many English peers these days, with noble blood from her Prussian princess mother.

No one had thought to mention that her fiancé had the temperament of a petulant demon on a bad day in hell.

As Kurt stalked toward her, she forced her knees to straighten. She was done being afraid of this man. He pulled back the torn linen shift to inspect her back. Despite her resolve not to cry out, she gasped as the frayed edges stuck to her skin.

“Beautiful work,” he murmured into her ear. “This is what a woman should look like. Chastised to a man’s authority, marked to her proper place.”

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Link continuing the excerpt to XOXO After Dark:

http://xoxoafterdark.com/2014/07/21/pocket-star-e-nights-knight-love-catherine-laroche/?mcd=z_140804_LaRocheKnight_PSEN

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Giveaway: 5 e-book copies of Knight of Love. Open to all readers. Enter by leaving a comment describing your knight/earl in shining armor. Ends 8/15/14.

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Review: Knight of Love by Catherine LaRoche

knight of loveHero: The hero has a complicated name. He is Wolfram von Wolfsbach und Ravensworth, also known as Wolf, the English Earl of Ravensworth. He first meets the heroine when he’s undercover as a blacksmith in Prince Kurt’s court, where he finds her being publicly whipped for a small infraction to the amusement of the Prince. Barely able to contain himself, Wolf watches and then volunteers to carry Lenora upstairs where he gives her a large knife for protection.

Heroine: Despite appearances to the contrary, Lady Lenora Trevelyan is not a damsel in distress. She is resourceful and determined to make her escape on her own… no knight in shiny armor needed. She successfully escapes her abusive fiancé, Prince Kurt von Rotenburg-Gruselstadt and is galloping toward freedom and safety with the English/German diplomat… and gets captured by rebels just days down the road. The head of the rebel camp is none other than the blacksmith who gave her the knife.

Review: The hero is an unusual mix of beta and alpha characteristics. He’s very flowery in his language, chivalrous, and believes in love at first sight, but is also skilled at war, believes in civil rights of man (and woman,) and carefully controlling to ensure all is in his favor. For my tastes, I would have had less flowery language and more determined wooing. Wolf arranges a wedding to Lenora in order to protect her – this battlefield wedding is hardly legit as she didn’t give her consent. Still, he consummates the marriage in a forced seduction that evening. It is a heartbreaking (and erotic) experience for both of them which makes it successful. That night destroys what trust Lenora had in him. Now she’s plotting a new escape… but it’s harder to break the touch of silk than the touch of iron. There’s also an erotic scene where Lenora is in full control of Wolf and that is also successful as it is healing for both. I felt the story fell short when it changed locations from Germany to England. It was a night and day difference and the smoldering passion cooled quickly. Definitely a memorable read.

Rating: ★★★½☆

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Review: Two Sinful Secrets (The Scandalous St. Claires, Book 2) by Laurel McKee

two sinful secretsHero: Dominic St. Claire and his brothers continue to uphold a feud that started many years ago with the Huntingtons, involving older relatives on both sides. They brothers blame the Huntingtons for the loss of their family fortune. Revenge would be sweet and Lady Sophia would be perfect target. Dominic decides he will elope with her and then dump her at the altar, forever ruining her. What will he do, however, when his treacherous heart gets involved?

Heroine: When Lady Sophia Huntington, now Mrs. Westman, was younger refused to give up a man she thought she loved was banished from her family’s bosom. He wasn’t such a prince after all. Widowed now, Sophia is betting against the house in order to survive and maybe to finally make her way home. But blast it all! She can’t possibly win her family’s forgiveness if she shows up with Dominic St. Claire. Can she?

Review: I could have done without the obsessed stalker hunting the heroine. In my opinion, it was superfluous to the storyline. The revenge plot could have had more oomph. It’s hard to feel for somebody holding onto a grudge that really isn’t his to hold. One of the hottest scenes in the book is the very first chapter. It introduces both characters and a meeting they had prior to the start of the main action. She’s a masked figure gambling in his family’s gaming establishment. Sophia knows who Dominic is, but he does not know her. They share quite a passionate kiss before she breaks it off and runs away. It’s a moment neither party can forget or the reader.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: Two Sinful Secrets (The Scandalous St. Claires)

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Review: Infinite Betrayal by Gayle Donnelly and Robyn Mackenzie

by Sharon S., guest reviewer

This story started out slow. You spend a lot of time with Mina dealing with her mom’s death, her friend Chloe and her trip to Germany. About chapter 12 the authors seemed to find their voice and the plot tarted to move along. The Corteri mythos is a bit generic (shifter race), but the plot of the story is solid and enjoyable.

I didn’t feel much of a connection to the lead heroine, Mina, and for some reason I didn’t really like Mathias (but I *love his name <G>). I felt myself drawn to Mathias’ friends and fellow Coteri shifters Talon (swoon) and Tremayne (Tre). The dialogue between the three friends was funny and well written, and I would like to learn more about them.

The sex scenes were of the erotic kind, which I wasn’t expecting. There was also a rape scene. One thing this story did that most don’t, is surprise me with a twist at the end I didn’t see coming :)

I think this series has a lot of promise (of alpha-male goodness ;).) If you like good old fashion PNR with some rough erotic sex then you will probably love this one. I just tend to like more of the Urban Fantasy type of PNR.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: Infinite Betrayal