eBook Details

Woman of Honor

Series: Kingdom of Arnhem
By: Nicole Zoltack | Other books by Nicole Zoltack
Published By: Desert Breeze Publishing, Inc
Published: Mar 28, 2009
ISBN # 9781936000036
Word Count: 88,617
Heat Index  
Eligible Price: $3.99

Available in: Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Reader, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc), Epub

Categories: Romance>Fantasy Romance>Action/Adventure Romance>Historical Medieval

Description
Aislinn of Bairbhe dreams of becoming a lady knight to honor the death of her fallen brother. To her mother's horror, King Patrick grants Aislinn's wish.

Despite the mockery of the other pages and the disdain of Prince Caelen, who also trains to be a knight, Aislinn commits herself to her training and embarks on a journey of self-discovery and bravery.

Through the years, Aislinn and Caelen grow from sparring classmates to good friends. Honor, bravery, and yes, love are worth fighting for even when they both know that someday Caelen will have to marry for the sake of the kingdom.
 
Reader Rating:  starstarstarstarstar (1 Ratings)
Sensuality Rating:   lip
 
Editorial Reviews:
From Em Epe - Dark Diva Reviews - RECOMMENDED READ
Nicole Zoltack provides a well crafted story that focuses on emotion and anticipation.. In the future, we will see Nicole Zoltack ranking with many of the top authors we have come to love over the years. We will have a section of our bookcases or hard drives waiting for her newest release.
From Coffee Time Romance
This is a very wonderful story about a girl's dream and her chance to achieve it"
Excerpt:
“It can’t be that easy,” she protested. “I want to be friends with him, not lovers.”

Caelan smirked. “Then whom do you wish to be your lover?”

She blushed and ignored the comment. “I don’t want to hurt his feelings. You’re his friend, tell me how to fix this.”

“You weren’t so worried about that yesterday. He was deeply wounded that you didn’t like his poetic philosophy.” His tone was teasing, but he was right. Aislinn knew it.

“I guess it was,” Aislinn admitted. She rested her forehead in her hand and huffed. “Since I arrived here, I have wanted to be seen just as the other boys. I didn’t think that I would have to worry about beaus here at the castle.”

“Why not? You’re a noble after all.” He paused, his mouth tilting in a wicked grin. “And you’re not exactly ugly.”

Aislinn made a face. “Is that supposed to be some sort of compliment? I’m not ugly?”

“Fine. You’re beautiful.”

When Lady Blaithin had called her beautiful, Aislinn hadn’t believed her. But when Prince Caelan said it, even though his eyes sparked with the enjoyment of teasing her, somehow she wasn’t so quick to dismiss it. She felt heat bloom in her cheeks and looked away with a shrug.

“Think of this,” Caelan said after a moment. “What would you have done if my father hadn’t allowed you even the probationary period?”

“I’m not sure. I never thought about it.”

“You would have had a leisurely life and your parents would have found you a suitable husband. Most likely someone else of noble blood. Or a knight. Perhaps you would have ended up with Geoffrey even if you never had the ability to become a knight yourself.”
Aislinn shook her head. “I don’t love Geoffrey. Not in that way. I don’t think I ever could. I only see him as a friend.”

“Love?” Caelan scoffed, a deep scowl twisting his features. His voice was sharp, almost angry. “What does love have to do with marriage? I shall marry for the kingdom to the woman my father chooses for me. She will be chosen because of her family, for the promise of an heir, and for the strength of the kingdom, but not for any reason I have a say in.” He ran a rough hand through his hair and sighed, tapping his fingers on the tabletop. “I wish that I could choose whom I will marry.”

“I’m sorry, Caelan.” She laid her hand on his arm, and he looked to where her fingers rested on his tunic. “I sometimes forget that you’re the prince.”

His attention shifted from her hand to her face. “There was a time you couldn’t forget at all. You saw me as the prince, and nothing else.”

Aislinn didn’t deny it, because that would be a lie. Instead she forged onward, still trying to encourage him. She lifted her chin and pushed her shoulders back, sitting tall and proud to express what she believed. “You will be a good king because you will also be a knight. You will be honorable, and your people will love you.”

But when he spoke again, she might as well have said nothing. His expression was still dark as he stared at her, but his voice was distant. “Bards sing tales of love and honor, but not all knights have either. Some knights fight for riches, not for their kingdom. I’ve heard stories of ‘knights’ who destroyed villages and pillaged what was left. They took gold, jewels… women. Some do fight for love of the land, for the honor of their kingdom, but how many can say they fought for the love of a woman.”

Heaviness sat in the center of Aislinn’s chest because she felt the anger and sadness emanating from her friend, but she didn’t know what she could say or do to help. He’d never spoken like this before, never even implied that he didn’t want the duties that came with being king.

“Caelan, stop,” she urged, leaning closer to him She squeezed his arm because she knew nothing else that she could do. “You will learn to love whomever you marry.” The words stuck in her throat, and she suddenly hated the idea as much as Caelan. Learning to love someone sounded so cold.

Caelan stared at her for several moments, and Aislinn couldn’t make herself look away. He clenched his teeth until a muscle along his jaw jerked. Finally, he drew in a slow breath. “If you don’t want to be with Geoffrey, let him know now so he can move on. He will thank you someday.”

Aislinn nodded. “All right, Caelan.”

His words were what she had come for, but she felt no need to leave.

“Aislinn, do your parents love each other?”

The question surprised her, but much of the conversation since she sat down had been a surprise. Caelan had jumped from one point to another and back again, and she wondered if his thoughts did the same. “Aye,” she answered with a nod. “They fight sometimes, but I know they love each other. Even as a child I knew because of the way the smiled when they looked at each other.”

“Mayhap Geoffrey wasn’t so far off then,” Caelan said, smiling for the first time since the conversation began.

“Mayhap,” she smiled back. It was good to see his easier expression. Finally, Aislinn looked away. “I’ll leave you to your studies.” She lifted her hand from his arm and stood, feeling a twinge of pain in her stomach.

“Take care, Aislinn,” Caelan said low so his voice didn’t carry past their corner of the library. “And be careful with Geoffrey’s feelings, all right?”

“I’ll do my best.”

He opened his mouth to speak, but stopped, and indecision — something she didn’t often see in the eyes of Prince Caelan — pulled at his features.

“Go on.”

“Is there anyone else that you have feelings for, Aislinn? Is that why you don’t want to be with Geoffrey?”

Aislinn blinked, thinking about his question. “I haven’t thought about such things. I’m too focused on becoming a knight. That’s all I’m worried about.”

Caelan pushed back his chair and stood. With him on his feet, Aislinn had to tip back her chin to look him in the face, he had grown so much in the years since they’d first met. “There is no one else?”

She shook her head.

Caelan took a step closer to her, stepping so close he only had to whisper for her to hear him. “What if I told you that Geoffrey isn’t the only one who favors your company?”

His closeness overwhelmed Aislinn and she tried to take a step back. Her shoulders bumped the bookshelf behind her and several books shifted, but none made enough noise to draw the attention of anyone else in the library. Caelan lay a hand against her cheek, his thumb beneath her chin, and with a gentle touched, forced her to look at him.

Her heart pounded hard in her chest like a caged bird and Aislinn caught her breath.

“Caelan…” she whispered softly, but before she could say more, his lips covered hers.

Aislinn froze for a second as he held his mouth against hers, then heard herself sigh when he pressed closer and moved his lips. Aislinn’s eyes fluttered closed and she raised her hands to lay them on his chest, feeling his heart pound as hard as her own. Then reality snapped at her and she shoved him away.

“Stop it!”

She pushed past the prince and rushed from the library, with several squires and younger pages turning at her escape. Aislinn ran to her room and slammed the door shut. She leaned against it and slid to the floor, her head in her hands.

How dare he kiss me!

But the worst realization was that she’d kissed him back. Even the memory now made her insides tremble and her hands shake.

Aislinn stared into the empty space of her chamber for several minutes, trying to push aside the memory that refused to leave before she finally stood. Completing her work would occupy her mind. She collapsed onto her bed and promptly fell asleep instead.

Woman of Honor

By: Nicole Zoltack
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