Published: 28th July 2015
Gaston battled for duty and honor—until his new wife tempted him to fight for her love.
Gaston has had his fill of war and the Latin Kingdoms when he learns that he has inherited his father’s estate in France. He accepts one last quest for the Templars, the order he has served for fifteen years, and agrees to deliver a package to Paris on his way home. A practical man, Gaston knows he now has need of a wife and an heir, so when a lovely widowed noblewoman on pilgrimage catches his eye, he believes he can see matters solved to their mutual convenience.
But Ysmaine is more than a pilgrim enduring bad luck. She has buried two husbands in rapid succession, both of whom died on her nuptial night, and believes herself cursed. Accepting the offer of this gruff knight seems doomed to result in his demise, but Gaston is dismissive of her warnings and Ysmaine finds herself quickly wed again—this time to a man who is not only vital, but determined to remain alive.
Neither of them realize that Gaston’s errand is one of peril, for the package contains the treasure of the Templars—and some soul, either in their party or pursuing it, is intent upon claiming the prize for his or her own, regardless of the cost. In a company of strangers with secrets, do they dare to trust each other and the love that dawns between them?
Goes down as another off my 2016 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A historical romance. I do love a good historical romance and this one was great. A lot of information is thrown at you from the get go, almost too much to keep track of, but soon you find yourselves on a intriguing crusade along with the characters so just go with the flow.
Gaston has been a fighter and protector for the Templars for most of his life and thought he would continue to do so. A letter from back home informing him of his brothers passing and telling him that his fathers estate in France would then be passed to him changes all that. Knowing he will now be Baron de Chamont-sur-Maine he knows he is bound by duty to father a son to continue the family name due to his brother having only daughters and for that he seeks a wife. Lucky for him he has seen the perfect choice and if her character is anything to go by feels it would be a well-suited match.
Ysmaine has come on a pilgrimage to try and find penance for what she sees as her curse. Twice widowed she has buried two husbands before the wedding night can proceed. She fears herself cursed and has come seeking answers from the holy mother. What she didn’t expect was another proposal of marriage. She can see Gaston would be a kind sole to her but can’t stop her mind from thinking the worse might befall him if they did wed. Gaston becomes very convincing and soon she finds herself wed again – well third times the charm they always say! This new husband of hers seems more determined than most to stay alive, which is good because its not just the wedding night he should be concerned about.
Before Gaston is to leave, new wife in toe, he is given one last task. He must deliver a letter and some secret treasure of sorts to Paris while on his way home in the guise of just being a member of a travelling party. The only reason they would let such a treasure leave is fear that they will fall in the battle to come. They clearly don’t want whatever it is to fall into the enemy’s hands. What neither of them realises though is the danger that follows them; it might be closer than they think. There are a lot of players within their travelling group, so it is not always easy to see the truth between the lies. Not knowing who can be trusted is a sure way of creating divides and distrust between them all. This would be simple journey turns into something a lot bigger with more danger than anyone first thought.
Trust is the one thing Gaston asks of Ysmaine but trust is earned not always freely given. This trust for one another slowly turns into something more. After the wedding night goes off without her husband dying Ysmaine can’t help but think something was missing. When the act was nearing its end for him she felt the start of something she didn’t know how to explain. Lets just say he got his rocks off but she was left hanging on the edge. Knowing there is something more she could get she becomes bolder in her actions but its not until they both see shadows of another couple in the throws of passion that they really let lose on each other. Wouldn’t say this one is focusing too much on the bedroom department of this pair but more on the journey they find themselves on. In a short time Ysmaine knows she has fallen for him and is willing to do whatever it takes to make sure his task is completed, no matter the cost to her reputation and maybe even her life. Takes Gaston a little longer to catch up on the feelings department but once there you can see he too would stop at nothing to keep her safe. Once his sole purpose was to be a knight for the Templar but now he must learn to be the best husband he can be.
Lots of other characters help drive the story through and you are trying to guess who the traitor truly is. There are a few options so get your thinking caps on; who seems out of place and character. The crusade is clearly the starting point for the series as a whole so is showing the key male leads that will go off into their own books. Lots of information about the warring parties and land layouts can get a bit confusing but stay with it as it soon comes back to focus more on the group and what they are going through first hand; with an overview of what is happening in the world around them.
4 out of 5 stars
I received this ARC from the author for my honest review.