His Castilian Hawk by Anna Belfrage
For bastard-born Robert FitzStephan, being given Eleanor d’Outremer in marriage is an honour. For Eleanor, this forced wedding is anything but a fairy tale.
Robert FitzStephan has served Edward Longshanks loyally since the age of twelve. Now he is riding with his king to once and for all bring Wales under English control.
Eleanor d’Outremer—Noor to family—lost her Castilian mother as a child and is left entirely alone when her father and brother are killed. When ordered to wed the unknown Robert FitzStephan, she has no choice but to comply.
Two strangers in a marriage bed is not easy. Things are further complicated by Noor’s blood-ties to the Welsh princes and by covetous Edith who has warmed Robert’s bed for years.
Robert’s new wife may be young and innocent, but he is soon to discover that not only is she spirited and proud, she is also brave. Because when Wales lies gasping and Edward I exacts terrible justice on the last prince and his children, Noor is determined to save at least one member of the House of Aberffraw from the English king.
Will years of ingrained service have Robert standing with his king or will he follow his heart and protect his wife, his beautiful and fierce Castilian hawk?
His Castilian Hawk – in which Robert and Eleanor wed, like five minutes after meeting for the first time
She was soft and round and so short she had to crane her head back to look at him. Someone had adorned her head with a coronet of herbs, threaded through with pink roses. Big dark eyes in a face that still retained the softness of childhood, a plump lower lip that bore the indents of her teeth—she must have been biting it just seconds before. A child, he reflected, trying to recall just how old this bride of his was. Fifteen? She didn’t look fifteen, but when his gaze dipped lower, it encountered a promising swell over her chest, so maybe she wasn’t quite as immature as he had first thought. He smiled. She blushed, a dusky red spreading over her olive skin, but she did not avert her eyes, studying him as intently as he was studying her.
Idly, he wondered what she might think of him. Of somewhat more than average height, with hair as dark as hers, he was hard where she was soft, all the way from the beak of a nose his father had bequeathed him to his broad chest and lean legs. She stared at him. He shifted on his feet, the soft soles of his boots sliding over the well-worn stone steps. Aye, he knew he was no Lancelot, what with his scars and weather-beaten skin, but neither was she a Guinevere, all short and plump. Fat, almost. Well, maybe not fat, but all the same, who was she to look at him as if she were disappointed? He frowned. She blushed again, but this time she ducked her head, her eyes disappearing behind thick, dark lashes.
Robert held out his hand. Hesitantly, she placed hers in his, a tightly knotted little fist he easily enclosed. He could feel her trembling, slid a finger over her wrist and found her pulse, a rapid beat that had him thinking of a captured bird. An unfortunate comparison, seeing as his little bride was just that: a prize, given to him in recognition of his loyal service to his king. With her came lands and several manors—far more land than he had ever hoped for. He squeezed her hand. She exhaled softly, and her fingers uncurled enough that he could grip them instead.
He liked her voice. Such a small, round thing, and her voice was rich and melodious, even if she stumbled over her vows. The priest did his bit, and already the assembled people were converging on them—she standing very still as she was surrounded by his friends, her retainers. No family for either of them. Sir Stephan de Lamont may have fathered him, even contributed to his upbringing, but Robert had seen him too rarely to have formed any emotional ties to the man, and he’d never known his mother. Her family—he couldn’t quite stop himself from glancing at the cart, now moved to stand in the shade of the stables. He’d killed them both, her father and her brother, but that was not something he intended to tell her, not today. He felt a twinge of pity. Here she stood, Eleanor d’Outremer, all alone in the world.
Well, not entirely alone: she was his now, and soon enough there’d be babes to distract her from the grief she must be experiencing. He tightened his hold on her hand, sweeping his thumb in a soft caress. She looked up at him, and they shared a little smile.
About the Author
Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a time-traveller. As this was impossible, she became a financial professional with two absorbing interests: history and writing. Anna has authored the acclaimed time travelling series The Graham Saga, set in 17th century Scotland and Maryland, as well as the equally acclaimed medieval series The King’s Greatest Enemy which is set in 14th century England.
More recently, Anna has published The Wanderer, a fast-paced contemporary romantic suspense trilogy with paranormal and time-slip ingredients. While she loved stepping out of her comfort zone (and will likely do so again ) she is delighted to be back in medieval times in her September 2020 release, His Castilian Hawk. Set against the complications of Edward I’s invasion of Wales, His Castilian Hawk is a story of loyalty, integrity—and love.
Blog Tour Schedule
Saturday, October 24
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Monday, October 26
Excerpt at Coffee and Ink
Tuesday, October 27
Review at Rajiv’s Reviews
Wednesday, October 28
Guest Post at Novels Alive
Friday, October 30
Excerpt at Historical Fiction with Spirit
Sunday, November 1
Interview at Reader_ceygo
Tuesday, November 3
Review at YA, It’s Lit
Wednesday, November 4
Excerpt at What Is That Book About
Friday, November 6
Review at Passages to the Past
Monday, November 9
Excerpt at I’m Into Books
Tuesday, November 10
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, November 12
Excerpt at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals
Tuesday, November 17
Review at Books and Zebras
Wednesday, November 18
Review at Novels Alive
Thursday, November 19
Review at Books, Cooks, Looks
During the Blog Tour, we are giving away two paperback copies of His Castilian Hawk! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.
The giveaway is open internationally and ends on November 20th. You must be 18 or older to enter.