Please welcome Barbara Bettis and her lovely romance, The Lady of the Forest. Barbara, could you tell us a little about the origin of the story?
Henry and Katherine’s story didn’t start out to be, well, Henry and Katherine’s story. He has been a presence in all three of my other books—one of which is a work-in-progress, a prequel of sorts. When he turned up married in The Heart of the Phoenix (his sister Evie’s book) fans began to ask for the tale of Henry and his lady. I’d been thinking about various plots, but I’d also had an idea for a lady who had faked her death to escape a forced marriage. Although she is independent and resourceful, she did need a strong, appealing knight to lend a hand. Fortunately, there was Henry, waiting for his opportunity. Thus, Lady Katherine mistakes Lord Henry for an enemy and captures him and the rest is—The Lady of the Forest. It’s a novella at 40,000 words, and it was such fun to write.
For the next two weeks, The Lady of the Forest is on sale for 99 cents!
The Wild Rose Press, Oct. 28, 2016
Historical romance, 138 pages
SALE PRICE: 99 cents
He must pursue his enemy; she must protect her people. Can their love survive the duties that drive them apart?
When her elderly husband dies, Lady Katherine fakes her own death and disappears into the forest with others escaping the brutish new lord. Determined to protect her people, she knocks the wrong man senseless. But Lord Henry isn’t an enemy, he’s the brother of her childhood friend. Although his tender confidence tempts her, she’s bound by duty.
Henry of Chauvere has found the one lady he wants for his own, never mind she’s tied him hand and foot. When he learns the king has ordered her to wed Stonehill’s ruthless new master, he insists Kate seek haven with his sister. But she won’t desert her friends. Henry vows to solve her problem, provided he catches a traitor before the threat from Kate's past catches her.
When a daring rescue compels Henry and Kate to join forces, their attraction grows into love. If only duty didn’t drive them apart.
Excerpt (PG): Prey
He was a fine specimen of a knight. Pity he had to die.
Lady Katherine, late of Stonehill Castle, straddled a low-slung branch and watched the intruder work toward her. Closer he came, guiding his black gelding in a careful walk as he searched the October leaves mounding the forest floor.
Late-afternoon sun reflected off his arm, and she bit back a curse. The traitor wore chain mail beneath his deep green surcoat. Of course. Why would her task be easy? At least his coif lay folded back to expose his head. She could strike there.
Sharp, thick bark bit through Kate’s rough hose. She ignored the discomfort and leaned forward for a better look. Another sunbeam touched the rider’s rich chestnut hair. A strand drooped across his forehead. He shoved it back with a ruthless jab, revealing a wide brow and strong nose.
From her vantage point, he looked to be a fearsome warrior. Pray God he didn’t glance up. The ancient oak’s few tenacious leaves didn’t provide nearly enough cover. But his attention never wavered. One step, then another brought him nearer.
She curled in her lips to cushion her teeth and gripped the knife between them. Breath by shallow, silent breath, she eased into a crouch. Balanced on her toes. Blanked her mind. And waited. He stopped. Right beneath her perch.
Kate slid the knife into her hand and jumped.
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A former health insurance claims adjuster, a former journalist, a former journalism and English professor (she retired in May), Barbara Bettis plans never to be a “former” author.