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She was the heroine of her people.... With her extraordinary violet eyes, French Countess Melisande was a prize for any man. But the teenage hellion who rode into battle to defend her people belonged to the warrior who saved her life, made her his bride, then disappeared for years. Now Conar MacAuliffe had returned to claim his wife, now a ravishing woman determined to fight for her freedom at all costs. But the proud beauty who feared no man suddenly feared herself and the passionate embrace of the husband who vowed to never let her go. He was the mighty viking conqueror they called... Lord of the Wolves, a legendary warrior whose greatest challenge would come with the woman he was destined to wed. In the fiery Countess Melisande he would find his heaven and hell. Even as he waged war for her heart, he dared not to yield his own. Even as he laid sweet, seductive siege to her body, he tried to shield his soul. It would take a common enemy, a little trust, and a united front to awaken them both to a love that could change their lives forever.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Heather Graham has written over one hundred novels and novellas including category, romantic suspense, historical romance, and paranormal. Married since high school graduation and the mother of five, her greatest love in life remains her family, but she also believes her career has been an incredible gift. Romance Writers of America presented Heather with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003.
Spring, A.D.885 The Coast of France
"Melisande! Melisande! His ships are here!"
Melisande had been a flurry of motion. The words brought her to a dead standstill in the center of the tower, a sudden cascade of both fear and anticipation sweeping through her.
She had not believed that he would come!
But with Marie de Tresse crying out the warning from the wooden parapet beyond her open tower door, Melisande could no longer doubt his promise that he would have his due.
She stared at Marie's anxious face for a moment, dropped the tunic of delicately crafted mail she'd held, then tore through the doorway from the high tower chamber and ran out along the stone wall to stare out to the sea from the parapet.
Indeed, he was coming.
Dear God, it had been a day like this when he had first come. It seemed so long ago now! Was he always to catch her in adversity such as this? Would she always be left to wonder if he had come to her aid–or to destroy her completely?
There was no question today, she told herself. He had come for what he considered his.
She felt suddenly hot and cold at once. She pressed the back of her hand to her face. Her face felt like fire, her hand like ice.
God, he was coming, he was coming. Wave after wave of tremors shot through her, sweeping her up. It seemed so long since she had seen him. As if it weren't enough that a thousand Danes under that loathed Geoffrey were at her door! Now, he was coming, too. After so long. Maybe there was a lot he had forgotten.
And maybe there was a lot he had remembered.
And God, how ridiculous! She wasn't half as afraid of meeting the Danes as she was of meeting him!
Not afraid . . .
Yes! Afraid, after all that she had done.
And surely, with what his coming must mean!
Dear Lord, he was almost here. She could see his ship, see the man!
It was an extraordinary ship with its huge dragon prow. He rode his ship just as he had those many years ago when she had first seen him.
One booted foot was high upon the helm. His great arms were crossed over his heavily muscled chest.
A crimson mantle, broached at his shoulder with an ancient Celtic emblem, flew wild behind him with the whip of the sea wind. His hair, as golden and rich as the sun, also flew back.
She couldn't see his eyes yet, but she didn't need to see them. She could remember them all too well.
God, yes, she could remember their color! Remember that astounding, piercing blue. Sky blue, sea blue, deeper than cobalt, brighter than sapphires. They were eyes that looked at her, and through her, stripping her bare to the soul.
"So, he will not come, eh?"
She heard the taunting question spoken from a rich masculine voice at her rear and spun around quickly. Ragwald was there on the walkway with her, as ancient as the moon, as nagging as a fisherwife. He wagged a finger at her. "Milady, you cannot turn your back on a bargain with such a man!"
"I made no bargain! You did."
"I bargained for our lives!" Ragwald reminded her with great dignity. "And thank the good Lord! It does appear that you might have need of the man again. Then again, perhaps the young jarl is angry and not in the mood to be very helpful, eh?"
"You–" Melisande began, ready to tell him that he was the adviser, she was the countess, and therefore, hers was the final word. But she broke off, biting her lower lip. There was a more immediate danger. When she stared down from her vantage point on the fortress wall, she could see her men already engaged in battle.
Odd, how things came around! They'd made these very enemies they fought now that long ago day when he'd first come, and now they were embroiled in battle again, even while his ships sailed through the seas, their grea
Excerpted from Lord of the Wolves by Heather Graham All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.