Peter's only had one experience with men, and it involved Duke Logan and his lover Drake, the mercenary, but Peter refused to explore their affections due to the love he felt for his wife. Six months after her death, and that of the unborn child she carried, Peter is devastated and barely functioning.
When Logan sends Peter on a mission to discover if their enemy, Duke Weathers, is going to invade Marden, Peter discovers more than he bargained for. He finds a reason to live in Arvel, the fragile young man who talks with his hands and eyes. However, when Arvel's lover, Gareth, a mercenary, arrives, Peter and he are at odds, and not just over Arvel. Arvel wants to enjoy them both and he wants them to enjoy each other.
Peter soon finds life again with Arvel and Gareth, until he must return home to Marden and make his report. There, he meets Caelin, a beautiful young man with a scarred face, and realizes he has found his own special lover. And his new lover is ready and willing to take his place in the silent lodge.
At last, the circle is closed, and all four lives are complete.
Showing 1-1 of the 1 most recent reviews
1 . Very disappointing
Posted March 29, 2012 by st8ter , sequimIts hard for me to write this review because I so loved the other books in this series. The first three books were just amazing books with great characters and the stories tugged at your heart and made you think and feel, just amazing. Then there is this one where I dont even know where to start that's how much I hated this book. I wish I could say something good about this story but I was so disappointed because the potential for a great story were there. The sex was cold, very unfeeling, turned a great character into a whore, and added a character who's story was so incomplete I am not sure why he was even added except to be the fourth "lover", if you can even call him that. So If I were you, read the first three stories in the series because they are 5 stars each, and forget this one.
Loose Id, LLC
May 10, 2010
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Excerpt from Silent Lodge by Lynn Lorenz
Arvel stopped and looked back at Peter. He pointed into the dense woods where the faintest lane showed beneath the thick lower branches of the oaks. Peter dismounted. There was no way he'd be able to ride without being scratched raw by them.
If Logan had expected him to find this path and the lodge, he must not have been here for long years. It looked completely unused, and if Peter hadn't been shown its location, he never would have found it. Someone had to be watching out for him and his mission.
Peter glanced to the heavens, now darkening with storm clouds. He reached inside his tunic and fingered the soft linen handkerchief Mary had embroidered with his name the first month they'd been married. Perhaps she had put him on the path to the lodge.
His guide ducked, stepped into the thick growth, and disappeared.
Guiding his mare, Peter pushed through and followed. As he lifted branches to make way for the horse, he lost sight of his guide. Ahead, the path widened and the branches rose high enough for him to ride under, if he wished.
He stayed on his feet, hoping it wouldn't be far.
The woods thinned, but the path never widened. Arvel continued, with only an occasional glance over his shoulder at Peter. Where did he think Peter would go? So far, they hadn't passed a single place where he could have turned his horse.
Overhead, through the canopy of the trees, the skies darkened. The wind rose, sure sign the rain would start before long. Peter looked toward Arvel, who'd moved farther ahead, picking up his pace as if he too were concerned about the storm.
Peter moved faster. The woods opened around him. Through the trunks of the trees, he spotted deer. They froze, tails flicking, then bounded away deeper into the wood.
A hunting lodge indeed. The deer at least were plentiful, so he wouldn't go hungry. He just hoped the young caretaker had taken care of the lodge and he wouldn't find it filled with vermin and forest creatures, or leaking rain, damp, and cold.
Arvel stepped into a glade, a natural opening in the forest, and halted. Peter came up behind him and the horse bumped into him, pushing him into his guide. Arvel reached back and caught Peter's hip, steadying himself and Peter but not moving forward.
Peter felt the steady rise and fall of Arvel's breathing against his chest. The man's head stood just under Peter's nose and he inhaled. A sweet, earthy odor rose from the long red tresses. Leaves stuck out at various places, and he reached up and plucked one free.
Arvel spun around, his hand clapped to his head, brows furrowed.
"Pardon, Arvel." Peter held the leaf up to show Arvel.
Arvel took the golden leaf from him, glancing up into Peter's face. Their gazes met, locked, and Peter's mouth went very, very dry.
His gaze dropped to that expressive mouth, lingered on full pink lips, and then he tore it from Arvel and looked over his head.
It stood on the other side of the glade, tucked into the woods. The trees seemed to protect it, hold it in thick, bark-covered sheltering arms. Built from thick stones and covered in a thatch roof, the building looked well tended.
Arvel, still staring up at him, nodded. Peter felt his exhale. Then Arvel turned and strode across the glen to the door of the dwelling.
Peter waited no more than a second, then followed.
Arvel turned to the side and pointed. A small stable had been built adjacent to the lodge, and in front of it an iron stake rose from the ground to tether Peter's horse. Then he moved to the door and waited.
"Let me tend my mount, and I'll join you inside."
Arvel nodded, smiled, lifted the latch, and stepped inside, closing the door behind him. As he leaned against it, his heart beat as fast as a small bird's wings.
Had he done wrong to bring him here? The man had come to his home for a reason. But why? How long before his Heart returned?
Well, it was done. He was here. Arvel could start a fire now.
He pushed off the door, went to the hearth, and knelt, selecting four good, dry logs. He prepared the kindling, struck the spark, and watched it blaze.
Peter exhaled. He led his mount to the stable and into one of two stalls, their floors laid with fresh straw. A bag of oats sat outside the stall and a bucket of water sat in the corner as if waiting for him to arrive.
Had Logan sent word ahead? Peter shrugged, not caring, just thankful the lodge had been well prepared. Working swiftly, he removed the saddle, wiped down the mare, and gave her a scoop of oats. He left her munching, content, and after hanging up her bridle he closed the stable door and left, his saddlebags over his shoulder.
Once at the door to the lodge, he hesitated, hand raised, then knocked.
No one answered.
Peter frowned. Arvel knew he would be coming inside. Why not answer?
He groaned, remembering the man's deafness. He couldn't hear the knocking, and wouldn't no matter how hard or long he beat on the door.
He opened the door and stepped inside.
Arvel knelt at the hearth, putting the last log on the fire. Peter moved farther into the great room, surveying it. The roof soared overhead, great logs forming its bones, the thatch thick and sturdy looking. On one side, a table and benches to eat at; on the other, a large bed, covered in quilts and furs. In front of the hearth, as if waiting for Peter to sit, stood two large stuffed chairs.
He dropped his bags on the table with a thud. Arvel gave the fire a last poke, then stood, put away the iron, and brushed off his hands. He turned and spotted Peter.
Arvel smiled, shy yet wary.
"I won't hurt you." Peter held out his hands, away from his sword or blade.
Arvel nodded and pointed to a chair. Peter sat and stuck his legs out toward the fire. Warmth crept closer, filling the room and Peter with ease. Arvel went to the table and began unpacking Peter's saddlebags. He placed the clothes in a pile, then carried them to a small trunk next to the bed, opened it, and put them inside.
Then he returned and sorted out the food that Peter had brought, tucking each item into a spot on the shelves above a pantry press that stood against the wall. Once that was done, he took a knife from a drawer and rummaged in a sack, bringing out several turnips and carrots.
He began what Peter hoped would be their dinner. Now that he'd sat, his belly let him know its need. He frowned and rubbed it.
"What are you preparing?"
Arvel continued working, chopping up the vegetables into thick pieces and adding them to an iron pot.
Peter sighed. Arvel couldn't hear him. Peter rubbed his eyes and sank back into the soft chair. He'd just close his eyes for a time, just to rest, that's all.
* * *
Peter woke to the clanging of a wooden spoon against a pot. Arvel bent over the pot, stirring, then brought the spoon to his lips for a taste. He slurped the gravy, then tapped the spoon again, put the lid on, and pushed the metal arm holding the pot back over the fire.
Peter prayed the meal was near done; his belly ached sorely. His last meal had been quite early in the morn, and he'd eaten only some cheese and bread. Not much to hold a man his size.
Arvel ignored him, going about his work, with only a quick glance in his direction and a short nod of his head in greeting.
Peter wished Arvel could speak. He'd counted on learning much from the caretaker about the possibility of Duke Weathers's men being seen in the area. So much for that idea.
Arvel might know, but how would they ever be able to exchange information?
It seemed quite hopeless. He'd have to speak with the local villagers and forget asking Arvel about Weathers.
Peter growled. Impatient to get started on his mission, he'd have to take his ease until morning, when he could go to the village. He'd start at the church, speak to the priest, and see where that might lead him.
Arvel placed chargers on the table, then a jug of water, and went to the hearth. Using a thick cloth, he pulled the pot off the fire and removed it. The little caretaker motioned to the sideboard and a washbowl and ewer. Peter stood, went to it, and poured some water. He washed the road's dirt from his face and hands, then dried them with a cloth left neatly folded next to the bowl.
Peter sat, pulling a wooden charger in front of him. Arvel removed the lid, and the aroma of the stew filled the room.
"It smells wonderful!" Peter grinned, inhaling deeply.
Arvel cocked his head to the side, then grinned back. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes, signaling he too appreciated the smells.
Arvel's mouth opened, miming a silent laugh. His eyes twinkled, the odd color capturing Peter's attention.
"You think it smells good also?"
Arvel nodded and ladled stew onto Peter's plate, then poured water into a pewter goblet and sat opposite Peter. Each man selected a piece and began eating. Peter dabbed some bread into the gravy and took a bite. It tasted as good as it smelled.
They ate in silence, broken only by the scraping of their spoons and their chewing. Peter longed to speak with Arvel, to ask about Weathers's men, to ask if Logan had him prepare the lodge, but mostly to hear the sound of the man's voice.
This was very odd since he'd gone these last six months wishing to hear only Mary's voice call to him. Tell him of her day, ask him about his day's duties, and tell him of the gossip in the castle.
When they had finished their meal, Arvel cleaned the plates away, rinsed them in a bucket of water, and then dried them off with a cloth. Peter sat at the table, watching. Arvel moved gracefully, his motions smooth, silent. A spoon dropped to the floor and Arvel bent over to pick it up, and Peter could barely pull his eyes from the firm globes presented to him beneath those breeches.
He swallowed and looked away, but his eyes fell on the bed.
It was a large bed, built to hold more than one.
He scanned the room again. Just the one bed. Well, he'd brought his bedroll, and the fire looked warm enough. If he wanted, he could sleep in one of the chairs, should the floor prove too hard.
Peter stood, went to his saddlebags, and pulled out his blanket. He took it over to the hearth, dropped it onto one of the chairs, and dragged the other chair out of the way.
Arvel stared at him, head cocked. When Peter unrolled the blanket, snapped it open, and let it float to the floor, Arvel rushed over to him, shaking his head.
Arvel snatched up the blanket and pointed to the bed. The guest must always take the bed. He replaced the chair and turned back to Peter, motioning him to sit.
He stomped his foot. This was his work, what the duke paid him to do, to care for the lodge, fix the meals, and tend the guests.
And he did it well. The duke had told him so the last time he'd visited, had been pleased to find the old lodge so well kept. And Gareth told him often he'd never been tended so well. Or as well fed.
And so would Peter, if he'd just let Arvel do his work.
Peter sat. After folding the blanket, Arvel dropped to his knees and patted his thigh for Peter's boot. Peter placed his boot on Arvel, and the caretaker pulled it off. Peter switched feet, and the other was removed.
Arvel looked up into Peter's face, smiling, his hand wrapped around Peter's ankle. Peter held his breath as he gazed at the beautiful younger man. Arvel blushed. Then he rubbed Peter's leg, massaging away the tightness.
When Peter didn't protest, Arvel used both hands to work the muscles. Heaven. How long had it been since he'd felt such a touch? The pressure increased, moving up his leg. Arvel's hands worked the muscles around his knees.
Peter let his head fall back, relaxing into the kneading of muscles he hadn't realized were sore until touched. The warmth of the fire, the steady rubbing, his full belly, all added to the feeling of contentment.
A feeling he hadn't felt in long months. Since before...
His eyes shot open, and he pushed to his feet. Startled, Arvel fell back to the floor and gaped up at him.
"I meant no harm." Peter held out his hands to the man. "It's just...just..." He couldn't get the words out; they burned in his throat, threatening to choke him.
Arvel nodded, pushed back to sitting, and pointed to the bed.
Aye, that's what he needed, to climb into bed. But all these months and he'd chased sleep, rarely catching it and then regretting that he had. Because with sleep came the dreams.
But Arvel had offered, after all. Peter moved to the bed and drew back the quilts. The mattress looked thick and soft, the quilts no doubt warm.
He sat on the edge of the bed and undressed, ignoring Arvel's presence but aware that the man had moved to a chair and curled up in it.
Did he mean to spend the night there? Peter knew the man didn't sleep in the chair when he was alone. This bed was Arvel's. By all rights, the man should lie in his own bed, shouldn't he?
Where did the caretaker rank next to the second in command on a secret mission? About the same, Peter wagered. So, he could not demand the right to the bed, but he could accept the generous offer.
Arvel, arms wrapped around his drawn up knees, watched Peter. He wasn't very like his Heart, but near enough. Strong in body and with kind eyes. Pleasing to gaze upon.
He wished to join him in the bed. But perhaps Peter didn't wish it. Not many men did; he wasn't a fool. He knew the dangers of trying with the wrong man.
He missed his Heart. Missed his warm, hard body and his soft, gentle touch.
Peter's body looked warm also. Would his touch be as gentle? Would his kiss be as sweet?
Perhaps tomorrow night.
Arvel sighed and closed his eyes to sleep.
Peter removed his tunic, baring his chest, but still refusing to look up. His fingers shook as he stood and untied the laces of his leather riding breeches. Why? He'd undressed before countless soldiers in the barracks and in the field. There, bodies paraded past in various stages of undress, and there had never been even the slightest quiver. After taking a deep breath, he pushed them down and stepped out of them, naked except for his woolen trews.
He slipped under the quilts and lay back, resting his head on a large pillow filled with feathers. It cradled his head, comfortable and lulling. His eyes drooped at his sudden weariness.
He ran his hand over the top quilt. Such a fine bed and linens for a caretaker. He thought back to the last time Logan had been here and couldn't recall either him or Drake traveling to the lodge.
Arvel had cared for the place well. He'd mention it in his first report to Drake.
Peter sighed, melting into the bed. Warm. Content.
He'd forgotten something. Arvel.
Pushing up on his elbow, he stared at the younger man curled in the chair, eyes closed.
No answer. What had he expected? The fellow was deaf and mute. Gods, he shouldn't force the man out of his own bed, should he? Peter extended his hand out to the other side of the bed. There was room enough, and he was no better ranked man than the caretaker. Both were in the duke's employ, both his sworn men.
With a sigh, he tossed back the quilts and got out of bed. He padded over to Arvel and squatted down, touching him on the shoulder.
Arvel woke, blinked, and smiled. His brow furrowed in question.
"Come to bed." Peter motioned at it and stood.
Arvel unwound, his gaze dancing between Peter and the bed, searching to see something. Peter smiled.
"No reason you can't sleep in your own bed, is there?" He held out his hand, an invitation to join him. Arvel's gaze dropped to it, then flicked back up to Peter's face.
Peter's mouth went dry as Arvel reached out and slid his hand, soft and small and gentle, into Peter's. Peter pulled him up, and they walked to the bed, Arvel trailing behind, still clinging to Peter's hand.
At the bed, Peter released him and Arvel went around to the other side of the bed.
Peter climbed into the side of the bed nearest the door and pulled the covers over himself.
Arvel sat on the edge of the bed with his back to Peter. He toed off his boots and the thud as they dropped to the floor sounded distant. Peter's exhaustion overtook him and his eyes slitted, fighting to stay open. He watched Arvel pull his tunic off over his head and shake those long tresses of red hair loose. Golden highlights danced on them from the fire's glow, deep reds, soft oranges, amber, and fire, like the leaves of a tree in autumn's full beauty.
The young man slipped out of his breeches and under the covers. He rolled over to face Peter and smiled. Gave him a nod of thanks.
Peter nodded back.
Under half lids, Arvel gazed at him. Licked his lips. Peter followed the pink tongue on its journey around those lush lips. If he kept looking at Arvel and Arvel kept licking his lips...
Peter rolled over, faced the door, and closed his eyes.
Arvel shifted deeper into the bed. For a moment, he'd thought Peter would kiss him. His gaze had grown heated, but he'd turned away, and Arvel had been disappointed. Arvel had seen that look in the eyes of many men. He knew they found him pleasing. Some of them he had let be with him, some he hadn't.
Until he'd found Gareth, wounded, and took him in, saved him, much as Peter had saved Arvel. He'd only been with Gareth for a long time now and had wanted no other.
He'd wanted to be kissed by Peter.
He felt confused. His heart belonged to Gareth, but now, tonight, his heart and body yearned for Peter.
He longed for his Heart to come home.
His body had ached with need these long days since his Heart left to find work. There would be no warmth and no soft touches this night.
Sleep then. Tomorrow. Perhaps tomorrow.