He never lost a battle until he met the one woman who might succeed in... Charming the Prince.
My enemies know me as Lord Bannor the Bold, Pride of the English and Terror of the French. Never in my life have I backed down from any challenge or betrayed so much as a hint of fear--until the war ended and I found myself a reluctant papa to a dozen unruly children.
Realizing that I couldn't lop their little heads off or throw them in the dungeon, I sent my steward out to find them a mother and me a bride--an attractive, meek, maternal creature too plain to tempt me to get her with child. You can imagine my horror when he returned with Lady Willow of Bedlington, a spirited beauty who made me think of nothing else!
With her cloud of dark curls and the sparkle of passion in her eyes, Willow was everything I'd sworn to resist. I never dreamed she would join forces with those mischievous imps of mine to teach this cynical warrior just how sweet surrender can be.
Bannor the Bold,
Lord of Elsinore
From the Paperback edition.
Reader Rating: Not rated (0 Ratings)
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When a panting Sir Hollis arrived at the top of the stairs in response to his lord's thunderous summons, he was surprised to find the tower door closed and bolted.Troubled by the silence within, he pressed his mouth to the door. "My lord?"
"Are you alone?" came a savage whisper.
He peered over one shoulder, then the other. "Quite."
The door creaked open. A muscular arm shot through the crack, jerked him inside, then slammed and bolted the door behind him.
Hollis barely had time to catch his breath before it was knocked out of him again by the fearful sight of his lord. Bannor stood with legs braced and chest heaving, his powerful hands clenched into fists. His dark hair hung around his face in a wild tangle, framing eyes that were red-rimmed and feral. But most startling of all was the condition of his fine black beard. Or what was left of it. Hollis leaned nearer to his jaw and sniffed. 'Twas not his imagination. His master positively reeked of smoke.
"Good God, man! Have you been attacked?" Hollis looked around wildly. "Is there an assassin lurking within the walls of the castle?"
"Aye," Bannor replied grimly. "Ten of them to be exact. All armed with naught but their wits and their whining."
"Ten?" Hollis frowned, then nodded slowly as comprehension dawned. "Oh, you mean the children."
"Children?" Bannor snorted. "'Tis too gentle a name for those demon spawn. Had I not counted his toes myself when he was a babe, I would insist that you check Desmond for a forked tail and cloven hooves."
The steward wisely suppressed a smile. "I suppose they are a bit . . . rambunctious. Perhaps 'tis only the natural exuberance of youth."
"Exuberance? Malevolence, more likely." Bannor flung himself into a chair and swept his arm across the table, scattering several scrolls and sending up a cloud of dust. "Curse this wretched peace anyway! Would that the war with France had lasted a hundred years!"
Hollis sighed wistfully, wishing the same. If Edward hadn't signed the treaty at Brétigny, he and Bannor would be sitting in a tent on a distant battlefield, toasting their latest victory. After years of being comrades, the end of the war had thrust them into the awkward roles of lord and vassal. He feared he was as ill-suited to being steward of a vast holding such as Elsinore as his lord was to playing doting papa to a passel of brats.
Hollis blew the dust out of a goblet and poured Bannor some ale from the earthenware flagon resting on the table, hoping to soothe his temper. In case he failed, he poured some for himself as well. "You've been off on one campaign or another since you were little more than a lad yourself, my lord. Perhaps the children are simply in want of some discipline."
"You don't understand." Bannor leaned across the table and lowered his voice to a hoarse whisper, as if to confess a terrible sin. "They're not afraid of me."
Hollis had to sink down on the hearth and swallow a generous mouthful of ale to digest that startling revelation. He'd fought at Bannor's side for over thirteen years and had yet to encounter any man who didn't wince with dread when Bannor rose to his full height or raised his voice above a murmur. Why, only this morning, he'd sent a page scurrying from the great hall in tears simply by baring his teeth at the lad and wishing him a pleasant morn.
"Well, you can't spend the rest of your life locked in this tower," Hollis said thoughtfully. "Perhaps you need to make them afraid of you."
"And how would you suggest I do that? Throw them in the dungeon? Threaten to lop off their little heads?" Bannor rose and paced to the window, sloshing ale...
Charming the Prince
By: Teresa Medeiros