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Excerpt from BY THE UNHOLY HAND by Kathryn LeVeque

Spies. Killers. Gentleman knights.

Medieval England is about to face the Unholy Trinity.


BOOK SUMMARY

1200 A.D. - In the time following the death of Richard the Lionheart and the ascension of his brother, John, to the throne of England, a plot against the new king is hatched from an unexpected place – deep within the bowels of The Lateran Palace in Rome. It is rumored that the Pope himself is behind it. It is a plot so dark, and so dastardly, that William Marshal needs men who specialize in dark and dirty games in order to save a king they all hate, yet a king that England desperately needs.

The Marshal needs the men known as The Unholy Trinity -the Executioner Knights.

Sir Maxton of Loxbeare is the leader of this unholy band of cutthroats. A big man with dark hair and dark eyes, Maxton fostered in the finest houses, but there is something unsettling about him. He is a man who easily kills without remorse, and he never questions an order, no matter how unsavory it is. William Marshall tasks Maxton and his comrades with seeking out the papal assassins, and the duty soon becomes a high-stakes game of chess, with checkmate being the life of the King of England.

Enter Lady Andressa du Bose. A great heiress who was cheated out of her inheritance by a conniving aunt, Andressa has spent unhappy and bitter years serving in the convent she was essentially sold to. A chance meeting with Maxton introduces Andressa to a world she wants to be part of, and a man she is greatly attracted to, but in that meeting, she has unknowingly given Maxton a lead on something he very much wants – a clue to who the assassins really are. All signs point to papal operatives. Maxton has a job to do and he’ll use anyone he can to complete it, including the lovely pledge who is increasingly on his mind… and in his heart.

Join Maxton and Andressa in a deadly game of cat and mouse, where all is not what it seems, and even those most devout can sometimes hold a terrible secret. It soon becomes clear that Maxton must make a choice… give in to his feelings for Andressa, or save a king, and with that, England’s sovereignty.

It’s a showdown of good against evil, and the power of love against a knight’s sense of duty, in this larger-than-life Medieval Romance.


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In the author's words . . .

This is a completely different romance from a traditional trope - it has a rogue and assassin as a hero, someone you wouldn't expect to have a heart, but with the right person, he realizes he does, in fact, have a heart. He starts to open up and feel things he's never felt before, so this is really the story of the evolution of a man with a dark past as he realizes that he's not as bad as he has always believed he was. Love changes everything.

Enjoy a sneak peek from By The Unholy Hand

by Kathryn LeVeque


MAXTON HAD NEVER seen anyone so hungry in his entire life.

He’d picked this tavern because it seemed to be relatively busy, and the smells of food coming forth were delicious, so he’d procured a table and a meal for the lady, and watered ale for himself. Now, he sat and watched her eat.

It was an experience.

Maxton had seen plenty of poverty whilst traveling to and from The Levant, and although he thought himself hardened to it, the truth was that he wasn’t. For years, he’d pretended not to care, and his actions had proven that, but ever since departing The Levant and his bout with The Lateran Palace that caused him to question everything, he was starting to feel emotion more than he wanted to. He was starting to question things more than he should, and perhaps the starving pledge before him was an excellent example of that. He had come to see that the Church was nothing he’d been taught. Perhaps somewhere buried deep, there were still good men there, men who truly upheld the code of Christ. But the realities of the evil that infected it was evident at the highest levels. Was selfishness and wickedness really the base of the religion? Was that what he had been fighting for all of these years?

The woman before him only fed those questions and doubts.

“When was the last time you’ve eaten a decent meal?” he asked her quietly.

The woman’s mouth was so full she could barely speak. “I cannot recall, my lord,” she said. “Martinmas, mayhap?”

He watched her carefully. “That was some time ago.”

“Aye, my lord.”

“What did you have to eat?”

She swallowed the enormous bite in her mouth as she thought seriously on his question. “There was goose,” she said. “And we had bread that had been made sweet with honey. It was delicious.”

He nodded faintly, watching her spoon more peas into her mouth. His thoughts moved from her situation to her appearance once again; his initial observations of her were not incorrect, for she was quite lovely beneath all of that dirt, but she was as skinny as a child from what he could see. Her wrists and hands were gaunt, her fingers slender but elegant.

“I do not even know your name,” he said after a moment.

She swallowed the bite and took a very big gulp of watered ale. “Andressa du Bose, my lord,” she said. Then, she paused, a flicker of sorrow crossing her face. “At least, that is who I used to be. Lady Andressa du Bose. Now… I do not know who I am not. It is not who I thought I would be.”

His brow furrowed. “Explain.”

Andressa shrugged, scooping more peas into her mouth. “It is nothing, my lord,” she said, averting her gaze to focus on her food. “Pay no attention to me. I suppose all girls believe they will be a great lady when they grow up. That is all I meant.”

He eyed her; he didn’t believe her, that was clear. There was something quite wistful in the way she’d spoken. He took a thoughtful drink of his watered ale.

“Lady Andressa du Bose,” he repeated softly. “You were born into nobility.”

“Aye, my lord.”

“Where are you from?”

“Culverhay,” she said. “I was also known, once, as Andressa of Culverhay. My family home is Chalford Hill Castle, south of Gloucester.”

“Does your father know what goes on at St. Blitha?”

She shook her head. “My father is dead, my lord, as is my mother,” she said quietly. “Four years ago, in fact, this past winter.”

“I see,” he said, sensing her sorrow. “Who assumed your guardianship, then? Surely the man has checked on your welfare.”

With the peas gone, she was starting in on the juicy boiled beef. “My father’s sister assumed my guardianship upon the death of my parents,” she said. “It is she who sent me to St. Blitha.”

“Does she know of the conditions at St. Blitha?”

Andressa looked at him, then, and he could see the tears pooling. That told him everything he needed to know, even before she said a word. But she quickly blinked her eyes, dashing them away, not stopping to wipe anything away because that would have taken time away from eating.

“In truth, I do not know,” she said, subdued. “Even if she did, I am sure that she would not care. Shall I be plain, my lord? I was my father’s heiress. When my aunt assumed my guardianship, she quickly sent me away, as far away as she could, and now she lives at Chalford Hill whilst I am confined to St. Blitha. If you think to write her for reimbursement for this meal, do not waste your time. If it pertains to me, she will not pay.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Because it has happened before.”


End of Excerpt

Copyright © by Kathryn LeVeque


Learn more by visiting the author's website. BY THE UNHOLY HAND has a release date of January 24, 2019 from Dragonblade Publishing.

Meet the Author

KATHRYN LE VEQUE is a critically acclaimed USA TODAY Bestselling author, a charter Amazon All-Star author, and a #1 bestselling, award-winning, multi-published author in Medieval Historical Romance.

Kathryn is a multiple award nominee and winner, including the winner of Uncaged Book Reviews Magazine "Raven Award" for Favorite Medieval Romance (Vestiges of Valor) and Favorite Cover, all Genres (Queen of Lost Stars). Kathryn is also a multiple RONE nominee, holding the record for the number of nominations. In 2018, her novel WARWOLFE was the winner in the Romance category of the Book Excellence Award and was also a finalist for several other awards. Kathryn is considered one of the top Indie authors in the world with over 1.5m copies in circulation, and her novels have been translated into several languages. Kathryn was recently offered a 3-book deal with Sourcebooks Casablanca for a Medieval Fight Club series coming in 2020.


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By The Unholy Hand by Kathryn LeVeque

Genre: Medieval Romance

Type: Novel

Heat Level: 4

Language Level: 1

Violence Level: 3

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