Monday, 6 July 2020

New Book Release Spotlight with an Extract: The Rebel Heiress and the Knight by Melissa Oliver

The Rebel Heiress and the Knight by Melissa Oliver

She must marry the knight

By order of the king!

Widow Eleanor of Tallany Castle knows her people are broken by the taxes demanded by King John. So when she’s ordered to marry Hugh de Villiers, a knight loyal to the king, she’s furious—even if he is handsome! As gallant Hugh begins to heal the scars of Eleanor’s abusive first marriage, she’s even more determined to keep her secret: she is the outlaw the king wants to send to the gallows!

The extract below is from a scene a day before Hugh de Villiers and Eleanor Tallany’s imposed marriage. Here they’ve gone riding in the hope of getting to know each other a little better despite their feelings of frustration.

Bitterness, anger and fear coursed through her. She resented this. These feelings that she had thought to have buried long ago. And she resented being made to marry once again against her wishes, to another handsome, young knight who thought far too much of himself.
Would you see it beneath yourself to take a challenge, Sir Hugh? This would be in the hope that you may change your mind regarding the limited constraints of being only a woman.’ She held her head high not daring to look at him.
You are not in shackles, Eleanor.’ He flashed his lazy, lopsided smile that made him more absurdly attractive.
Is that so?’ She inhaled sharply, trying to hang onto her temper.
What is this challenge you wish to propose?’
Eleanor knew that she shouldn’t allow herself to rise to whatever scheme this man was devising but it wasn’t easy. She should, instead turn the conversation back to gaining any useful information Hugh de Villiers had about her outlaw friends which would serve them better. Not that that topic of conversation was any safer. Still, she could steer it in the way she wanted whilst not risking losing her temper.
She turned her gaze to the gently rolling hills before her. Beautiful, she thought, wistfully. She had grown up here and knew every blade of grass and branch of tree. These were her lands, her ancestral lands, which would soon belong to him. As would she…
Well, my lady?’
A race to the third oak tree, over there, you can see it in the distance.’
I do see but… a race? On horseback? With you?’ He smiled slowly, raising a brow. She continued to stare out in the distance with what she hoped was her steely gaze and did not even bother to look at him. With the answer given, he made her even angrier, if that was possible, when he chuckled in response. He was laughing at her again?
Perhaps you are scared to be bettered by someone like me? she said. ‘Well?’
You’re not serious, my lady?’
Deadly so.’
Hardly a fair contest, Eleanor? Come, let’s forget all of this.’ He spoke so gently that it vexed her all the more.
Do you accept or not?’ She scowled, finding it hard to remain composed.
Very well if you insist but let it be noted that I did warn you. I hope you will
not be too disappointed when I win.’
We will see, Sir Hugh, we will see. Quickest to the oak I mentioned, by any means.’
Then call it, my lady.’ He brought his destrier round beside her palfrey, towering over it and grinned at Eleanor, taking her hand in his and pressing it lightly. She snatched it back.
Now!’ Eleanor pushed forward, galloping away to get a fast start before realising that he had held back, allowing her to get ahead.
His laughter roared behind her as she sped out in front. Of all the confounding, patronising and infuriating males!

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 Growing up in Richmond- Upon-Thames, Melissa Oliver used to walk past the old Mills and Boon offices as a teen, and wistfully sigh that one day her dream of writing for them will come true. Amazingly, after all these years, it finally has...& now she can bring all those stories out onto the pages of her books. Melissa lives in south-west London with her gorgeous husband and equally gorgeous daughters, who share her passion for castles, palaces and all things historical.

Twitter- @melissaoauthor