Edward is not about to take things lying down, and fate is a fickle mistress.
Adam de Guirande owes his lord, Roger Mortimer, much more than loyalty. He owes Lord Roger for his life and all his worldly goods, he owes him for his beautiful wife – even if Kit is not quite the woman Lord Roger thinks she is. So when Lord Roger rises in rebellion against the king, Adam has no choice but to ride with him – no matter what the ultimate cost may be.
England in 1321 is a confusing place. Edward II has been forced by his barons to exile his favourite, Hugh Despenser. The barons, led by the powerful Thomas of Lancaster, Roger Mortimer and Humphrey de Bohun, have reasons to believe they have finally tamed the king. But Edward is not about to take things lying down, and fate is a fickle mistress.
Adam fears his lord has over-reached, but at present Adam has other matters to concern him, first and foremost his new wife, Katherine de Monmouth. His bride comes surrounded by rumours concerning her and Lord Roger, and he hates it when his brother snickers and whispers of used goods.
Kit Courcy has the misfortune of being a perfect double of Katherine de Monmouth – which is why she finds herself coerced into wedding a man under a false name. What will Adam do when he finds out he has been duped?
Domestic matters become irrelevant when the king sets out to punish his rebellious barons. The Welsh Marches explode into war, and soon Lord Roger and his men are fighting for their very lives. When hope splutters and dies, when death seems inevitable, it falls to Kit to save her man – if she can.
In the author's words . . .
14th century England...A heady combination of brave knights, devious and ambitious nobles, strong and determined women and a weak king. Since I first heard about Edward II and his conflict with Roger Mortimer, I knew I had to write about it. So when Adam de Guirande popped up in my head, a handsome and honourable knight caught between his love for his lord, Roger Mortimer, and his duties to the king, well, I just had to go for it. Things become even more complicated for Adam when he weds Katherine de Monmouth—well, the person he THINKS is Katherine de Monmouth. Despite his initial reservations, he falls in love with his wife, and now he has to juggle his loyalties to her as well as those to his baron and his king. Talk about being torn in three…
I loved submerging myself in the research, I loved breathing life into both Adam and Kit, two people caught up in the political quagmire of their times. They pay a high, high price—but then, so do both Edward II and Mortimer as well!
Enjoy a sneak peek from In the Shadow of the Storm
by Anna Belfrage
The coming hour was beyond any doubt the worst in her life. From an initial wary stance, her every word had Adam subtly retreating from her, the concerned look in his eyes hardening into something she could only interpret as dislike.
“You lied to me,” he said once she’d finished. “All of you lied to me – your father, your damned brother, but most of all you. You!”
“I had no choice – I had to.”
“There is always a choice! You could have told me – no, you should have told me!”
“I should,” she agreed meekly. “But at first I didn’t dare to, and then I didn’t know how, and Mabel made me swear on the Virgin that I wouldn’t, and…” She was weeping openly now, seeing him through the haze of her tears. “Lady Cecily forced me,” she sobbed. “She said she’d throw me out of my home if I didn’t comply.”
“That’s no excuse,” he snarled.
“It is if you don’t have anything – or anyone.” She dragged her sleeve over her eyes and nose. “And when you’ve loved me, when you’ve kissed me and held me, has that also been a lie? A consequence of having nothing in this world?”
“No! How can you think that?” Kit reached for him but he pushed her away.
“What am I to think?” he said bitterly. “You’ve lied to m
e all the time.”
“I didn’t want to,” she whispered. “But I was so afraid that if I told you the truth, you would no longer care for me.”
“And do you think I care for you now?”
“I…” She hung her head. ”I’ve never been as happy as I’ve been these weeks as your wife. But I suppose saying it now doesn’t help, does it?”
There was an endless silence. Kit hugged herself and leaned against the wall to steady herself. She had to ask. “If Katherine…” She cleared her throat. “If she comes, is it her you want as your wife?”
“I don’t know her!” he spat. “But at least she is someone – you are a nobody.”
If he had sunk a hand into her chest and torn out her heart, it would not have hurt more. Kit reeled, gripped at the wall and dragged in breath after breath of ragged air.
He shouldn’t have said that. Katherine – no, Kit, she called herself – had gone the colour of bleached linen, eyes huge pools of hurt in her pinched face. But he was too angry, too humiliated, to properly care, taking quite some pleasure in how she huddled together as if cradling her broken self. She slid down, sitting with her legs extended before her, and he could see how she shivered. She looked broken somehow, like a child’s doll snapped in two, and one part of him wanted to crouch down beside her and kiss her well again, while the other wanted to kick her, make her scream with the pain he was feeling. She hadn’t even told him her real name, going by Katherine when she had always been known as Kit. Had it all been a farce? Was she skilled enough to deceive him with her body and eyes? He thought not, but he didn’t know – would never know. So without a word, he left her, closing his eyes at the sound of wordless despair that she emitted when he slammed the door behind him. He needed to think. He had to somehow keep his blood from boiling over and think this through dispassionately. And as to her…well, he would punish her with his distance.
He sorely wanted to talk to someone about it, but Lord Roger was out of the question. Adam shuddered at the potential repercussions on Sir Thomas, but also on Katherine – Kit. Kit. He tasted the name carefully. It suited her somehow – much more than Katherine did. His second choice of confidante was William, but it stuck in his craw to admit to his brother that he’d been presented with a false bride. At least she’d come virgin to his bed, he thought darkly, not, from what Kit had told him, something Katherine de Monmouth would have done.
With no one to talk to, Adam opted for ale. And more ale.
End of Excerpt
Copyright © by Anna Belfrage
Learn more by visiting the author's website. IN THE SHADOW OF THE STORM released in 2015.
"When historical romance is written this way, there is no such thing as too many pages. This is a must read if ever there was one!" —The CoffeePot Book Club Award
"Kit de Courcy and Adam de Guirande are a fantastically-drawn pair of lovers enmeshed in a complicated political and social web. And a well-researched, authentic, believable one, that feels as right to the reader as a warm wool surcote. " —An Uncivil War
Meet the Author
Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a time-traveller. As this was impossible, she became a financial professional with two absorbing interests: history and writing. Anna has authored the acclaimed time travelling series The Graham Saga, set in 17th century Scotland and Maryland, as well as the equally acclaimed medieval series The King’s Greatest Enemy which is set in 14th century England. She has recently released Smoke in Her Eyes, the second in a new series, The Wanderer, a fast-paced contemporary romantic suspense with paranormal and time-slip ingredients.
In the Shadow of the Storm by Anna Belfrage
Genre: Historical Fiction/Historical Romance
Heat Level: 5
Language Level: 3
Violence Level: 3
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