Ordered to wed a Saxon he doesn’t want, Bernon runs headlong into a challenge of secrets and curses with the one woman he can’t live without.
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Bernon of Normandy, known as the Black Bear, weds a woman by proxy to gains a stronghold on the English East coast at The Duke of Normandy’s prompting before the Norman invasion.
Barwolf of Strangclyf wants to prove herself worthy of her new husband as he claims Strangclyf. After a life of drudgery under a father who despised her, she knows submission, but lacks manners.
As they battle treachery in William’s court and later at Strangclyf, she proves everything he believed about the evil of women may not be true and he gives her hope for a future without domestic violence. Can the pair actually find love before a traitor destroys their lives?
Bernon studied her pale strained features, taking in the long golden lashes, short pert nose, tremulous rosy lips, and small pointed chin. Her features seemed to fit together well enough. At least she wasn’t an eyesore. His gaze fell upon mottled bruises around her neck, and his blood boiled. Had he been a volcano, he would have been spewing. He may not want her, but she was his and nobody marked his property.
Emerald eyes popped open and fastened on him. She looked like a terrified fairy. A gorgeous terrified fairy.
The muscles in her throat constricted and she whispered in a hushed frightened voice, “Are you him?”
“Zut! When did I die?” She sat up and raked her fingers through her hair, glancing wildly about.
Bernon frowned at the curse. “You will not use—”
“Oh Lord!” she exclaimed, cutting him off. “I did not please my husband, did I? And he killed me. Now I have to spend all eternity in hell with you.” She turned an anxious gaze upon him. “I was truly hoping we would never meet.”
What kind of game was she playing? He cocked his head and considered her through narrowed eyes. “Are you daft?”
“Nay. I am valuable, rare, and precious.” Her hands twisted in the sheets. “Are you going to start my eternal torture now or make me worry about when you will strike?”
If fear could kill, he wouldn’t have to worry about having a wife long. He had never seen anyone so craven in his life. “You are not dead.”
“Am I not?” she asked, a surprised tone in her voice. He shook his head.
“Then why do you come to me on earth?” She gasped then narrowed her eyes. “Why, you no-good demon, You must think you will get my consent.” She scrunched her face in what he assumed must be her version of a scowl. “I’ll not let you take my soul.”
Bernon closed his eyes and counted to ten. The woman lacked wit and could not even summon an expression to scare a mouse. “I do not want your soul.”
“Well, why not?” she asked in a disgruntled tone of voice and balled her hands into dainty fists. “What is wrong with me that even the devil doesn’t want my soul?”
Bernon folded his arms across his chest and studied her curiously. His enemies upon occasion may have referred him to as Satan Incarnate, but he didn’t expect such a comparison from a bride he had never met. Was she trying to rouse his ire to test him? “Now you insult me. What makes you think I am the devil?”
“Because only Lucifer could be so handsome in such a dark way, and you just said you were him.” She waved an arm indicating his entire body then peered up, giving him a look that told him she wasn’t impressed. “How can you expect to steal souls if you cannot remember what lies you use? Is your memory short?”
He wiped a hand over his face conveying his exasperation. This had to be the most ridiculous conversation he had ever had. “I am not Lucifer.”
“Well if you are not Lucifer, then who are you and wher—” She broke off and slapped a hand over her mouth. Then she peeked up at him through her lashes. “Are you Bernon?”