"If you had ever been to a real court–" Maude began.
"What do you consider real?" He put down the pen and leaned back in his seat. "Spain, Portugal, England, France?"
"Don't tell me you've seen any of them!"
"And a few more, besides. A good harper always finds a welcome."
"I suppose you are that good."
"There was none better."
He spoke calmly; not boasting, simply stating a fact, with a smugness that set her teeth on edge.
"I think you lie," she said, switching rapidly to French. "You've never been to any of those places and you have no idea what I'm saying, do you?"
"I do not lie and I know exactly what you are saying," he shot back swiftly in the same tongue. "Though your accent is abominable."
"You are clever, aren't you? Impertinent, as well."
"Right on both counts," he answered evenly. "I think I've finished here."
"Good. You've wasted enough of my time, Master–what was it?–Rommel?"
He stood abruptly. "The name is Ronan Fitzgerald."
There was no graceful bow or "at your service" this time. He gathered his possessions quickly, intent upon escape. But Maude was used to people leaving her presence in a hurry. My one talent, she thought, a rush of laughter–or was it tears?–catching at her throat.
"So you've traded your place at court for a cave up in the hills?" she said, her mocking tone hiding the tremor in her voice. "Bit of a comedown for you."
"I consider it a step up. Good day, my lady."
He turned with a swirl of his patched green cloak. Maude stood stiffly, hands clenched at her sides, not daring to relax until the door slammed shut behind him.
RITA® Award Finalist
Though only twenty-one, Lady Maude Darnley is infamous for her sharp temper and even sharper tongue. Few know the anguish Maude conceals, and only the Irishman Ronan Fitzgerald dares to breach the wall she has built around her heart. A minstrel and a healer, Ronan has been sent to Aylsford by his dying master with no idea of what he will find there. He is first bewitched by Maude's musical talent, and when he learns her secret, he is determined to free her from her demons. Neither expects the passion that springs between them, and when their love threatens to begin a new chapter in the bloody history between the Darnleys and Kirallens, they must find a way to defeat the ancient cycle of hatred before it destroys them and all that they hold dear.
"With brilliantly written characters and a story powerful enough to suit them, The Linnet is an all-round winner." –All About Romance, Desert Isle Keeper Review
"Once again, Ms. English has proven her skill at weaving a complex story full of passion and adventure, with characters the reader will love." –The Best Reviews
The Borderlands Trilogy: Book 3