The fair Lady Faye has always played the role allotted her. Yet the marriage her family wanted only brought her years of abuse and heartache. Now, finally free of her tyrannical husband, she is able to live her own life for the first time. But someone from the past has returned. Someone she has never been able to forget.
After years of servitude as a warrior for King and Country, Gregory is now free to pursue his own path: to serve God by becoming a monk. The only thing stopping him is Faye. Gregory has loved Faye since the moment he saw her. But their love was not meant to be. How can he serve God when his heart longs for her? He can neither forsake God nor the woman he loves.
When Faye’s son is kidnapped, Gregory answers her family’s call for help, only to find that even in the most dangerous of circumstances, neither can fight their forbidden attraction. An attraction that now burns brighter than ever before. And it is only a matter of time until it consumes them both.
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The ache in Gregory’s knees brought him closer to God. Hunger gnawed at his belly and reminded him of his connection with the Lord. For three days, he had fasted and prayed, waited for God to show him the way to enter into service.
God remained silent.
He must pray harder and keep at it until he had his answer. God’s way was not always the way of man and His divine timing did not always answer the impetuous call of sinners.
Something clattered through the bars of his cell.
Gregory started, but kept his eyes closed. He could afford no distractions in his wait for God to deign to speak with him. Sweat broke out on his brow. He bowed his head. “Dear Father in Heaven…”
Another skittering across the floor and Gregory opened his eyes.
A pebble lay almost within reach at his knees, a pale trespasser against the dark stone floor of his bare cell. A thin pallet rested against one wall, stripped of linen except for a rough blanket. On the opposite wall a tiny barred window overlooked the fields were they worked each day. Above it, a stark wooden cross served as a reminder that all here was by Grace alone. Beneath the casement stood a plain wood table and a bench.
The Abbey bell tolled Terce over the undulating chant of the monks reciting the second of the Little Hours of the Divine Office. Father Abbott had understood his need for private meditation, but he would be expected at Lauds.
Not God at all, unless the Almighty had grown a set of large hands and gripped the bars of his cell so tightly His knuckles turned white.
A dark head popped over the lip, followed by dark eyebrows and the sharply drawn planes of a face many a lass considered handsome.
“Garrett?” Gregory’s knees creaked as he rose. Sharp pain lanced through his long-frozen muscles. Three days, most of which spent on your knees, would turn any man’s limbs into a grandfather’s. “Is that you?”
“Aye?” Garrett blinked away a sweat droplet that snaked down his brow and into his eye. His face turned redder. “Only could you come down, I am not sure how much longer I can hang on.”
“Did you climb the side?”
Teeth clenched, Garret said, “Aye and I am about to go tumbling on my ass, so get down here.”
Garrett’s head disappeared from view as he scrabbled down the side of the two-story dormitory.
If Garrett was here, something was amiss at Anglesea. Sir Arthur might have sent him with news. My Lady Faye. His blood thrummed in his ears. Fresh sweat prickled over his skin as he wrenched open his door and trotted down the empty corridor. He took the stairs three at a time. Unease spurred him into a run.
From the chapel the monk’s voices called and responded in prayer as he entered the kitchen yard. Singing voices reminded him he had left his former life behind, but he needed to check all was well.
Garrett appeared out of the dark shadows around the dormitory.
The smell of incense hung heavy in the air.
“What is it?” Gregory closed the distance between them.
Garrett’s expression was grim, his shoulders tense. “You must come.”
“Aye.” Garrett turned and motioned him to follow.
Gregory took a step and froze. He couldn’t go with Garrett. Outside these walls was not his life anymore. His calling lay here at the Abbey. “I cannot.”
Sharp strides driving divots into the soft, bare earth, Garrett strode back to him. “You must come. Sir Arthur sent me for you.”
Sir Arthur would not have sent for him if it weren’t urgent. Sir Arthur had sponsored him as a postulant to the Abbey and he owed the man for that. But he owed God his obedience and he had put his former life aside. “My place is here now.”
“Your place is where you are needed.” Movements sharp and jerky, Garrett gestured to outside the Abbey.
He didn’t want to ask the question. It did not concern him. Yet, his stubborn gut demanded an answer. “What has happened?”
Garrett clasped his arm. “It is Faye.”
“What?” His muscles bunched in response. The words rasped from his throat. Dear Father, please do not let her be…
What? Hurt, or worse, reconciled with Calder. He grabbed the other man’s tunic, twisting his hand in the fabric.
Garrett shrugged him off. “I will explain as we ride.”
He couldn’t go. He couldn’t not go. Again, the same tussle within him. Faye or the Abbey, his lady versus his God. It never ended.
Garrett stepped closer until his face was inches away. “Beatrice is worrying herself sick. She carries our first child and if I have to tie your saintly ass on a horse, you are coming with me. Faye needs you.”
Faye needed him. The confusion cleared. It was all Garrett need say. Clean, crisp purpose flooded his being. “Do you have a horse for me?”
Garrett’s grim face softened into a smile. “Come on, before one of your monks catches sight of me and tosses me in there.”
Who am I?
Born British and raised in South Africa, Sarah Hegger suffers from an incurable case of wanderlust. Her match? A hot Canadian engineer, whose marriage proposal she accepted six short weeks after they first met. Together they’ve made homes in seven different cities across three different continents (and back again once or twice). If only it made her multilingual, but the best she can manage is idiosyncratic English, fluent Afrikaans, conversant Russian, pigeon Portuguese, even worse Zulu and enough French to get herself into trouble.
Mimicking her globe trotting adventures, Sarah’s career path began as a gainfully employed actress, drifted into public relations, settled a moment in advertising, and eventually took root in the fertile soil of her first love, writing. She also moonlights as a wife and mother.
She currently lives in Littleton, Colorado, with her teenage daughters, two Golden Retrievers and aforementioned husband. Part footloose buccaneer, part quixotic observer of life, Sarah’s restless heart is most content when reading or writing books.
She loves to hear from readers and you can find her at any of the places below.