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Monday, June 22, 2009

A Knight's Temptation by Catherine Kean

A Knight's Temptation by Catherine Kean
Publisher: Medallion Press, Inc.
Genre: Historical
Length: Full (388 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Camellia

Aldwin Treynarde, a squire who shot Lord Geoffrey de Lanceau with a crossbow bolt after being deceived by Baron Sedgewick, is ordered to retrieve a stolen ruby pendant before it falls into the Baron and Veronique’s hands. Haunted by his guilt over being manipulated by the baron years ago, Aldwin wants to prove his worth to his lord. If he excels in his duty, he might even be awarded knighthood. Such an honor would also help redeem himself to his respected parents who, ashamed by his reckless near-murder of de Lanceau, told him never to return home.

Lady Leona Ransley, in an effort to help her depressed father, only wants to hand over the pendant, collect the reward, and vanish. When she arranges a meeting in a seedy tavern, she never expected to face Aldwin, who almost caused her death twelve years ago when they disturbed a bee’s nest during a childhood game. Although Aldwin does not recognize her, he is reminded of Leona and is haunted by his belief that she died from the bee stings from that day twelve years prior. Believing that the woman before him is a courtesan and has information on the conspirators’ whereabouts, he takes Leona hostage and spirits her away, meaning to deliver her and the pendant to de Lanceau.

She, however, fights him at every chance. He desires his warrior captive more than any noble woman he has ever met, and when he discovers who she really is, he knows he has one last chance to protect his lady’s life. Only by resolving what happened between them and by fighting side by side can Aldwin and Leona defeat the conspirators and surrender to their greatest temptation—love.

Aldwin Treynarde, wanting his own way and not taking in to consideration the consequences of his actions, causes himself and others much misery both physically and emotionally. His greatest desire is to earn his golden spurs. He thinks maybe if he becomes a knight, is faithful to his lord, and lives by the knights’ moral code, his family will be proud of him and forgive his deeds that brought shame to the family name. In addition, he hopes it will ease his guilt about past deeds. As he maneuvers to complete a mission for his lord, he encounters the greatest conflict he has ever faced when Lady Leona Ransley complicates his task and revives painful memories.

Leona Ransley, impulsive but determined to save her father’s keep, is a formidable adversary that makes Aldwin’s life miserable after he takes her prisoner. Even though he is the only man she ever loved, she feels compelled to escape from him so she can do what she feels is her duty. Torn between love and her duty to protect her father, Leona remembers her much-loved, now dead brother saying, “Who will protect you from yourself?”

Catherine Kean’s characters struggle to gain power or to hold power. Their methods may differ; but, whether of the peerage or commoners, to gain supremacy over others is of paramount importance. Acts of treachery, villainy, and cruelty are used unconscionably. Veronique and Baron Seldgewick have mastered this way of life.

The inner and outer conflicts abound with the flaws of human nature. When the mercenaries and de Laneau’s men fight, things get a little confusing. However, the personal conflict between Veronique and de Laneau is the main focus and it creates anxiety for Leona and baby Tye that makes one’s blood run cold.

Ambition verses love—does one have to be sacrificed to obtain the other? A Knight's Temptation is riveting reading.