The Red Wolf’s Prize by Regan Walker-Review and Excerpt
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About the book: Release Date October 1, 2014
Sir Renaud de Pierrepont, the Norman knight known as the Red Wolf for the beast he slayed with his bare hands, hoped to gain lands with his sword. A year after the Conquest, King William rewards his favored knight with Talisand, the lands of an English thegn slain at Hastings, and orders him to wed the heiress that goes with them, Lady Serena.
SHE WOULD LOVE HIM AGAINST HER WILL
Serena wants nothing to do with the fierce warrior to whom she has been unwillingly given, the knight who may have killed her father. When she learns the Red Wolf is coming to claim her, she dyes her flaxen hair brown and flees, disguised as a servant, determined to one day regain her lands. But her escape goes awry and she is brought back to live among her people, though not unnoticed by the new Norman lord.
Deprived of his promised bride, the Red Wolf turns his attention to the comely servant girl hoping to woo her to his bed. But the wench resists, claiming she hates all Normans.
As the passion between them rises, Serena wonders, can she deny the Norman her body? Or her heart?
Review: The Red Wolf’s Prize begins with Lady Serena of Talisand pondering her future. She has received word that King William decreed she is to wed the new Norman Lord of Talisand, who should be arriving any day. But, she knows that she could never love a Norman who battled his way across England and helped his king conquer her and her people. She knows her brother is to the north, in Scotland, and is determined to leave Talisand in order to reunite with him. Although she will miss her people, she knows she must leave to escape her fate. She would have done well to know that fate is a fickled mess sometimes………..
Sir Renaud, and his knights are exhausted, having fought across England for what seemed like forever. Once they are given their leave by King William, they head to Talisand and are pleased with the sight before them. Even though the people seem nervous, they are welcoming to Renaud, now Lord Talisand, and his fellow Normans. It doesn’t take Renaud long to realize that his promised bride, the beautiful Lady Serena, is not in Talisand and sends a contingent of his men to search for her. Good news? They find a small group of men and women and bring them back. The bad news? Lady Serena is nowhere to be found. However, there is a very attractive servant girl, Sarah, who catches the Lord’s attention and when he tries to woo her, things don’t go quite as he’d have liked them to.
As Lord Talisand becomes more comfortable with his new people, and they with him, he starts noticing that some of his men and some of the women of Talisand are growing more comfortable with each other as well. But when one of the local women is attacked by one of his men, only to be saved by Sarah, he knows that he is at a crossroads with his people and his next steps will either earn their trust or it will earn their ire. He has also noticed that Sarah is most fierce in her protection of all of the people of Talisand. How could he not be the same for his people and his new home? The one thing that would make it all better? His promised bride, Lady Serena at his side. But could she ever come to love him, or would she forever see him as a conqueror of her people and her land? Well my friends, you’ll have to read to find out. And, oh what a read it is………
Regan Walker has once again written a story that grabs hold and doesn’t let go. Serena is absolutely my favorite heroine dreamed up by Regan Walker to date! Her loyalty, her fierceness and her heart will endear her to everyone who reads this story. Her understanding of what her people want and need is so touching. She is truly a force to be reckoned with. Renaud is a perfect match for her. He is as loyal and fierce as she is, and their chemistry is palpable. The cast of supporting characters are terrific in their own right. I truly can’t wait to read more about them.
The Red Wolf is another wonderfully written story by Regan Walker. If you have read my reviews of her previous books, you know that I have raved about her character building and her masterful world building, and this one is no exception. The way she weaves actual historical events into her stories is unparalleled. There is intrigue, action and a beautifully developed romance. As you read her stories, you can see it and you can most definitely feel it. The Red Wolf is ultimately a story of coming to terms with what is and what can be, and letting go of what was. This is Regan’s first foray into the Medieval genre, but from what I’ve read, thankfully, it won’t be the last. Very well done Regan Walker, very very well done.
Copy supplied by the author
Reviewed by Vickie M
Click here for : The Red Wolf’s Prize trailer
Red Wolf Excerpt: the Red Wolf meets Serena, disguised as the servant, Sarah
Renaud lingered at the high table in the hall until he glimpsed the servant girl with the brown plait carry a pile of linen through the entry heading toward the stairs to the bedchambers. Slowly rising, he nodded to Geoff and followed after her.
Quietly, he stepped through the open door of his chamber. The girl had her back to him as she freshened the bed, the stack of clean linen resting on a nearby chest. He did not acknowledge her but went directly to the trestle table, poured a goblet of wine and sat, pretending to examine a drawing of the lands surrounding the manor.
She turned. “I can come back later, my lord.” She spoke meekly, barely looking at him as she hurriedly finished with the bed and began a hasty retreat to the door.
He replied in the English tongue, as he did to all save his men. “Nay, you may stay. Your work will not disturb me.”
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw her back stiffen. Slowly, she retraced her steps and resumed her work. Her movements were rushed as if she were trying to complete her assigned tasks in haste. Was she nervous at being alone with him? Even with that, Renaud thought she was graceful as she walked to the shelves near where he sat. She held her head high, unusual for a servant in the presence of her lord. Though her long plait was the dull color of country earth, her profile was refined and her features delicate. He rose and silently moved to stand behind her where she dusted a carved box.
She must have sensed his approach.
“My lord?” she said, turning to face him.
Blue-violet eyes held his gaze only a moment before looking down at the floor. Set in her ivory face they reminded him of violets in the snow. So mesmerized was he that, for a moment, he forgot his question.
“Your name is Sarah?”
Keeping her eyes focused on the floor, she said, “Yea, my lord.”
“How long have you been at Talisand?”
“All my life, my lord.” Her voice was soft, a low purr, and with her words a flowery scent drifted to his nose. He was captivated and wanted to touch her. How long had it been since he’d had a woman? And this one was causing his manhood to stir.
Turing back to the shelf, she resumed dusting the carved box, as if to put an end to the conversation. His gaze shifted to her hand as she set down the box. Delicate fingers and ivory skin. It was not the hand of a kitchen wench.
“Let me see your hand.” She started at his request, and though he could see she wanted to resist, she did not fight him when he reached for her hand and brought it close to his body turning her palm upward.
It told him much.
“These blisters are new. You have not always worked in the kitchens nor done the wet work of the laundry, have you?”
She shook her head in silent agreement.
“What were your tasks before I came to Talisand?”
Looking down at her feet, she said, “I was with the Lady Serena, my lord.”
“Ah, a lady’s handmaiden then.” So that is where the girl learned to speak so well, for her speech was not that of an ordinary servant nor her manner that of a scullery maid.
He waited for her to say more but when she did not, he said, “Tell me about her.”
She looked up. “What would you know, my lord?” Blue violet eyes held his. He could get lost in those eyes.
“How does she look?”
“She is tall and her hair is the color of summer wheat, my lord.”
“And her character?”
Turning her gaze again to the floor, she hesitated before speaking. “She loves her people and her family, my lord. She is very loyal. Had she been a man, she would have fought with her father at Hastings. Most of all, she loves Talisand and would die for its people.”
Her voice, nearly breaking at the end, told him her words were spoken with deep emotion. She was close to the Lady of Talisand and to the old thegn.
“I’m told her brother took the lord’s place for a time,” he said, hoping she would continue to talk.
She raised her eyes to his. “Yea, Steinar did lead Talisand for a time, but then he was drawn away by other battles.” When she spoke the young man’s name, a tender look came into her eyes. Did she love the old lord’s son? Mayhap she was his leman. The possibility was not to his liking.
Still holding her hand, he looked down at her palm seeing other signs. “These are the calluses of an archer. How is it a lady’s handmaiden comes to use a bow?”
The girl’s eyes shifted to her hand where Renaud had begun moving his thumb across her palm in slow sensual circles. He was not unaffected and, he suspected, neither was she.
“Rhodri taught me, my…my lord.” She spoke in a halting whisper, confirming his touch was disrupting her thoughts. Then she added hastily, “I was not the only one. It was the old lord’s desire that Rhodri should teach all at Talisand who cared to learn.”
Renaud remembered that when the young servant women had been returned to the demesne, Sir Niel had taken several bows from them.
He stopped stroking her palm. She tried to pull back her hand but he had no intention of releasing her. “Who is this Rhodri?”
“He is a Welsh bard, my lord, who is also skilled with a bow. The thegn met him on his travels and invited him here. He lived among us for several years.”
“Where is the Welshman now?”
“I know not, my lord. Peradventure he is in Wales, though his music and his skill with a bow are much in demand. He may yet be in England.”
“A bard and a bowman…an unusual combination.” Renaud frowned in concentration as he considered the idea.
“Not for a Welshman,” she said, matter-of-factly.
Renaud smiled, amused. She was so serious, so insistent, this servant who acted like no servant he’d ever known. “Aye, mayhap you are right. Many Welshmen would have both talents.”
He let go of her hand, but remained close. He knew now what had attracted his men for he, too, was falling under her spell. She was beautiful and well spoken and something about her enticed him. If she had been the leman of this brother of Lady Serena’s or the bard Rhodri, it was possible she was not a maiden and would accept an invitation to come to his bed.
I didn’t start out as a writer of romance, oh no. Although I loved to write stories as a child, by the time I got to college, more serious pursuits were encouraged. So, naturally, I became a lawyer. Who needs adverbs as a lawyer? But after years of serving clients in private practice and several stints in high levels of government, I decided it was time for a change. My work had given me a love of international travel (I’ve been to over 40 countries…) and a feel for the demands of the “Crown” on its subjects. Hence, my first novels are all about a demanding Prince Regent who thinks of his subjects as his private talent pool.
I promise my novels will always sweep you away to another time and another place. I want you to experience adventure as well as love.
I live in San Diego with my wonderful Golden Retriever “Link.” I have one son who is a young entrepreneur and, though he looks like a Highlander of old, he would never read a romance novel. So like a man, no?