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Guardians of Sherwood Trilogy

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Lord of Sherwood -- Laura Strickland

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Lord of Sherwood

Curlew Champion, master archer, has always known his destiny.  With his cousin, Heron Scarlet, he will become a guardian of Sherwood Forest and further his people’s fight against Norman Tyranny.  But the third member of the triad is still to be revealed, the woman who will complete the magical circle and, perhaps, answer the longing in Curlew’s heart.

Anwyn Montfort has fled disgrace in Shrewsbury and come to Nottingham at her father’s bidding.  He wishes her to make a good marriage and settle down.  But the wildness that possesses her refuses to quiet.  She knows she’s been searching for something all her life, but not until she glimpses Curlew does her spirit begin to hope it has found its home.

Only the magic of Sherwood can bring them together, and only their union can complete the spell woven so long ago …

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excerpt

Aye, Curlew thought ruefully, she could not be ruined more completely than at his hands last night. And if he sent her home with his child in her belly, what then? He realized, with a shock, he did not even know her given name.

A bit brusquely he said, “Gather up your clothing, lass. Cover yourself. You must go home.”

“Nay.”

“Do not be daft. Of course you must. Your father will be beside himself.”

“You promised.”

“Eh?”

Stubborn light flashed in her eyes. “You gave a vow last night that you would never send me away from you.”

Had he? Dismay crashed down upon Curlew like a hurled stone. But he had thought she was the Lady, asking from him a vow of devotion. He did not know he spoke words to a mortal woman.

He got to his feet, heedless of his nakedness, and began collecting her shed garments and thrusting them at her. “To be sure, you will go home.”

“Nottingham is not my home.” She tipped back her head to look at him. “I belong nowhere, except maybe here with you.”

Curlew shook his head violently. He turned from her and took up his own clothing, pulled his sark over his head even as she watched, donned his leather tunic, then slid into his leather leggings.

“Master Curlew?”

He turned back to her swiftly. She sat with her chemise clutched to those tantalizing breasts, her eyes wide with inquiry.

“Listen to me, Mistress Montfort. You are not for me, nor I for you.”

“But last night—”

“Despite last night.” In spite of the wonder and magic of it, the undeniable sense of rightness. “For I have a destiny before me, one I cannot escape, and would not if I could. I regret, but you have chosen the wrong man.”

She got to her feet, her clothing still caught against her. The autumn sun, filtering through the leaves, warmed her hair to amber-gold. “I do not believe that.”

“You must. Now dress yourself. I will see you safe to the edge of the forest.”

She did not move. Like a goddess she stood and looked at him with defiance.

Curlew felt an unexpected twinge of sympathy for Montfort. Who could fail to love this lass, or be driven beyond endurance by her? “Please,” he said.

The corners of her mouth twitched. “I regret, my lord, I would do most anything to please you. Anything but that.”

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