"When you open a book by Claire Delacroix, you open a treasure chest of words, rare and exquisite!"
"I seek a bride, the wealthiest heiress in Ireland."
No woman can resist the charms of Rowan de Montvieux. But the dashing rogue is in no hurry to marry--until his family dares him to find a bride . . . or risk losing his inheritance. So Rowan sets out on a Bride Quest, vowing to wed only . . .The Heiress.
But his journey is interrupted when a slave merchant offers to sell him a ragged peasant girl who carries herself like a queen. Intrigued and never imagining she is the sought-after Bronwyn of Ballyroyal, an heiress in disguise, Rowan buys her, offering her his protection if she will lead him to the bride he seeks.
Never has he met a woman so proud, so beautiful, so defiant. He suspects she is no commoner and vows to uncover her secrets and melt her fiery resolve. But the perilous voyage to Ireland kindles passions that risk both their lives, as the slave girl who would not be mastered slowly takes possession of his wary heart. . . .
Don't miss the first two novels in the breathtaking Bride Quest trilogy: The Princess and The Damsel, both available from Dell.
Delacroix's third historical novel in the Bride Quest series continues with the escapades of irresponsible Rowan De Montvieux. Rowan loves a challenge, especially when issued by his two brothers, and he can't resist when they dare him to seek and wed the richest heiress in Ireland. When he arrives at the London docks, en route to Ireland, he is approached by a man intent on selling him a slave girl named Ibernia. The autocratic air of the young slave leads him to believe that she comes from wealth, so he buys her. Ibernia tells Rowan that she knows the richest heiress in Ireland and promises to lead him to Broynwan of Ballyroyal if he will release her from bondage. Delacroix's subplots create much intrigue but at times can both confuse and impede the narrative. However, in the second half of the book the author successfully combines the storylines and kicks up the pace. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
September 05, 1999
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from The Heiress by Claire Delacroix
London, July 1172 Rowan de Montvieux was in a foul mood. Not only had he been ill beyond belief on the journey from LeHavre, but he was not at his intended destination. Indeed, the last Rowan had heard, the Thames was not in Ireland. Which meant that he must endure another sea voyage, no doubt even less pleasant than this last, and that he must do so immediately in order to win the challenge he had accepted from his brothers. Nay, he was not in a fine mood. He strode through the tangle of merchants on the docks, retrieving his horse and finding his squire Thomas with no small effort. They badgered him from every side, these hagglers with their shoddy goods, and he braced himself against thieves in the crowd. He deigned to purchase some meat pies from one merchant who looked more reputable than most. But what he really needed was a measure of ale. Aye, then some song, and a solid measure of the sorry excuse for food in this country warm in his belly. Then blissful sleep. That would restore his interest in bucking his brothers' expectations. Rowan loved a challenge--at least when he was feeling hale--and the more desperate the stakes, the better. An Irish heiress! For the love of God, what had possessed him to take such a dare? On a morn like this, with the taste of his own bile ripe in his throat, Rowan doubted he could charm even the most ancient and desperate crone alive. Or that he wanted to. "Oho! A fine knight just into port!" a slavemonger cried. The man was unshaven and unkempt, his dark hair hanging in his eyes and more than one tooth missing from his mouth. "I have just the wench for you, sir, and she is a bargain on this day of days." He leaned closer to whisper, his breath even more foul than Rowan's own. "I shall make you a special deal, sir, on account of your knightly status and recent arrival." Rowan growled a dismissal and made to push past the man, his gaze drifting disinterestedly to the woman in question. And then he stopped to stare. 'Twas not the bright red gold of her hair that captured his attention, nor even that her tresses were cropped short. 'Twas not the deep hue of her tan, nor even how that tan made her eyes appear ethereally blue. 'Twas not the ripeness of her breasts fairly spilling from her chemise, not even that she wore a boy's chausses, which hid none of her copious charms. Nay, 'twas that she feigned insouciance nearly as well as he. "She is not much of a lay, if that is what you seek," the seller confided in an undertone. He leaned closer to whisper. "Indeed, a corpse might serve a man better." The woman did not even blink. Her stance remained unchanged, her arms folded across her chest, her bare feet braced against the ground. She was nearly as filthy as her owner, a rough length of rope knotted around her neck and tethering her to that man. Rowan swallowed as he noted the mark of a chafe there. "Indeed," he said mildly. "I would have naught with which to compare." The man looked quizzically at him and Rowan lifted his brows. "Having never been intimate with a corpse." His squire chuckled at the jest, but the woman's steady stare did not waver. The would-be seller, though, grimaced and turned away, muttering something uncomplimentary under his breath and giving the woman's rope a savage tug. She made no protest, obviously accustomed to his abuse, and strolled behind him with her head as high as a queen's. Rowan could not help but watch them go. He imagined the man taking his pleasure with this woman, his sweaty bulk heaving atop her as she stared fixedly at the rafters. His stomach rolled mutinously and, though he stood on dry land, Rowan felt ill again. "How much?" he called impulsively. "Three silver deniers," the man cried, spinning to jab a finger at