The Warlord (Montagues #1) Read Online Elizabeth Elliott

Categories Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance Tags Authors: Series: Montagues Series by Elizabeth Elliott
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Total pages in book: 139
Estimated words: 124054 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 620(@200wpm)___ 496(@250wpm)___ 414(@300wpm)
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Dark and Forbidding…
Lady Tess longed to return in peace to her beloved Remmington Castle–but she never thought that the price of reclaiming her land would be marriage to the most notorious warlord in all of England. Fierce and fearless, Kenric of Montague had never admitted defeat, and now he demanded Tess’s loyalty–and her surrender. But how could she give herself to a man who pledged to keep her safe but stirred her most dangerous passions?

Beautiful and Innocent…
Scarred by war and the dark secret of his birth, Kenric of Montague had no wish for a wife… until he beheld Tess of Remmington, the magnificent woman pledged to be his bride. Yet even as he gave in to his aching hunger to possess her, he vowed that Tess would never tame his savage heart. But when a treacherous plot threatens to part them, Kenric will find himself drawing his sword–and risking his life–to save the only woman who could capture his soul…

FULL BOOK START HERE:

Prologue

The Holy Lands, 1278

Very little remained of the ancient city. The work of countless generations was reduced to rubble in a battle that lasted little more than three days. Skeletons of walls and buildings that had stood since the time of Christ rose in a shadow of their former glory, silhouetted against the dawn of a desert sky. Tendrils of smoke snaked upward from the smoldering ashes to join the hazy cloak that shrouded the city.

A lone knight rode through what remained of an archway, over smashed gates that had barred the enemy for a thousand years. Scattered among the tumbled stones and burnt timbers were the people who once lived there, their bodies a mute testimony to the battle that had raged through the city the day before.

With the sights and sounds of battle still fresh in memory, the knight didn't appear disturbed by the carnage that surrounded him. His warhorse picked a careful path through the rubble, the animal alert to his footing even though his head hung low with exhaustion.

Kenric of Montague's dark face remained expressionless, the knight as unmoved by these deaths as the countless others he'd witnessed in the three years he'd been on Crusade in the Holy Lands. The people of Al' Abar had refused to surrender. Their city had been besieged until nothing remained of their defenses and no single structure stood whole that would provide any shelter. They had died. Such events had been repeated too many times over the years for Kenric to feel anything more than the bone-deep fatigue that followed a long battle.

Kenric's armor and that of his horse were covered with ashes, crusty with sweat, the leather stiff with dried blood. Another tunic ruined, he thought idly, gazing down at the once white garment with the scarlet cross emblazoned on his chest. Only the stitches that outlined the cross distinguished the holy emblem from the rest of the mutilated fabric. Luckily, this time none of the blood was his own. With an annoyed sigh, he nudged his horse forward again when the animal ambled to a weary halt.

He saw the shield first, three golden lions on a fiery red field. It lay just outside the ruins of what might have been the home of a prosperous merchant. The half-naked body of a woman lay next to the shield. The soldier Kenric was looking for lay facedown just a pace from the woman, with the body of a young Arab boy sprawled half on top of the soldier.

Kenric considered the scene with the dispassionate logic of one who can no longer be shocked by the atrocities of war. The boy was probably the woman's son or brother. He'd likely saved her from the first knight, but others had finished what the first had begun.

Kenric dismounted and nudged the knight's body with the tip of his boot, rolling the corpse onto its back. He reached inside the soldier's hauberk and removed a gold necklace with an efficient jerk. Next he took a ring from the dead man's hand and placed both items safely inside his hauberk before he remounted and turned the horse toward the edge of the city.

Normally Kenric wouldn't bother with such trinkets, but King Edward would be displeased if his nephew's signet ring or cross fell into the hands of infidels. The personal effects would also prove to the king that his nephew died in battle, rather than meeting an inglorious death from one of the many tortures inflicted on Christians by their Arab captors. He knew the bards would compose sorrowful ballads for the young man, full of brave deeds and glory, with no mention that he'd died attempting rape. Kenric doubted his own ballads would be so generous if he fell in battle. No, there were ballads aplenty about Kenric of Montague, and none could be called flattering.


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