Red Robin and the Huntsman (Two Thrones Novella 1)
It’s Frostfair time in Ypres, but not everyone is looking forward to the winter holiday. Army captain Duncan Bardahlson has been dispatched to the tiny province of Wellen mere days before Frostfair to track down a legendary bandit known as the Redbird. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Duncan also has to deal with Roberta “Robin” Busse, the widowed countess of Wellen and his long-lost love.
When Duncan learns that Robin and her young son Charlie are in desperate straits, the hunt for the Redbird takes an unexpected turn. An overbearing tax collector, an impish priest, a very large pig, and a pair of bickering younger brothers all promise to make this holiday season a nightmare for Duncan — unless he can rekindle his romance with Robin.
And find the Redbird, of course. But Duncan isn’t called the Huntsman for nothing…
- Fantasy, Erotic Romance, MF
- Word Count: 40,000
- Heat Level 4
- Published By: Belaurient Press
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Duncan took the goblet, sipping the cool, tart wine gratefully. “Hamish is bringing the squad here and they’ll patrol the grounds. Ewan’s on watch in the entrance hall tonight, and Hamish will take over for him in the morning.”
Robin took a seat on the bed, patting the space next to her. “What about you?”
He sat, unable to ignore the fact that they were alone in what amounted to a bedroom. “I’m going to find that damned gold. I’m fairly sure Lambert staged all this tonight so that he could force you to marry him in return for him paying off your creditors.”
She shuddered. “If it hadn’t been for you, I might’ve said yes.”
“Well, don’t, no matter what he says. Even if we can’t find his gold, I’ll clear your debts for you.”
Her head turned sharply. “You don’t have to do that—”
“Yes, I do,” he growled. “It’s the least I could do for you, after everything you’ve had to put up with thanks to my stupidity.”
She bit her lip, then laughed softly. “All the finesse of a bear in a wine shop. Gods, I’ve missed you.”
“I missed you too.” He tucked a lock of hair behind her ear, savoring the softness. “I am sorry, Robin. For everything.”
She laid her head on his shoulder. “So am I. We were both fools.”
“More young and hotheaded.” Without thinking, Duncan put his arm around her. To his relief she didn’t push him away. “And stubborn as blazes.”
“That’s an understatement.” She chuckled. “Poor Charles. He thought he was getting a demure, gentle flower as his wife. And he got me instead.”
“From the sounds of things, that’s what he needed. Someone strong enough to hold things together when he couldn’t.”
She looked up at him. “Is that how you think of me? Strong?”
“Aye. Strong, and clever, and resourceful. Look at all you’ve done to keep Charlie’s inheritance.” Praying he wasn’t doing the wrong thing, he cupped her cheek, stroking the silken skin with his thumb. “I should have married you the day I left the academy.”
She smiled at that. “Yes, you should have. But things worked out in the end. Now stop wasting any more time and kiss me.”
Groaning, he did. It felt like coming home, when she was still Roberta Duquesne and he thought he had all the time in the world to woo her. He lost himself in the sweet taste of her, the only woman he had ever loved.
And then they were stretched out over the worn coverlet, Robin in his arms. Her breasts and belly pressed against him like he’d always dreamed, filling him with a hot craving. He had enough presence of mind to pull away from her mouth, sucking in a breath. “If you want to stop, say so now.”
Robin wasn’t sure if she wanted to laugh or cry at Duncan’s agonized question. If he moved away now and left her aching and unfulfilled, she’d go mad. “I don’t want to stop,” she breathed, stroking the soft prickly stubble on his cheek. “I need you. Please, Duncan.”
“Gods.” It was curse and prayer at the same time. His lips came down on hers again and she surrendered happily, kissing him with all the passion that had lain dormant since Charles’s first betrayal.
One large hand stroked her cheek, her throat, tracing lines of fire along her skin. It dropped down to the top of her chest, toying with the neckline of her gown but going no further. That was Duncan, a gentleman to the end.
Impatient, she grabbed his hand and placed it on her left breast. The lovely weight of it made her groan, and the warmth of his palm caused her nipple to stiffen.
He chuckled against her lips. “Forward lass.”
“Does that comes as a surprise?”
“No.” He cupped her breast, squeezing gently before letting it go. “I want to make love to you.”
“I’m not saying no.”
“Aye, but—” He nodded at her gown. “I think that needs to come off.”