by Helen A. Rosburg
$5.99 U.S. / $7.99 Can. / $12.95 Aus.
A knight and the daughter of one of Henry III's barons fell in love. He was Stephen of Bellingham; she, Amarantha of Ullswater. They were brought together by a desperate bid to escape the madness of Baldwin, Earl of Cumbria. The taste of their first kiss still on his lips, Stephen made a vow: to love Mara forever and keep her safe. But in a battle to save their lives and love, she died in his arms.
Today, Steve Bellingham wakes up. Today, he begins to see again what happened so long before. Today, he knows only one thing can make his life whole. He will reach back into the past, fulfill his vow; he will complete the circle of a promise.
"That was quite a feat of horsemanship," Stephen repeated dryly. "I suppose you're going to tell me next that you can defeat me at swordplay as well."
Mara blushed. "I doubt I could best you," she replied honestly. "But I might just hold my own against you." Stephen felt his jaw drop. Although, he realized, he shouldn't be at all surprised by now. This was a woman of many wonders.
"What's wrong?" Mara asked, suddenly apprehensive.
"Nothing," Her betrothed shook his head. "I must say, however, that I am glad you are to be my wife, if only so I will never have to face so formidable a foe as you is battle."
Mara laughed. "Quite so, my lord. You will never have to face me over the point of a sword. But know that should you ever need it, my sword will be at your back."
He didn't know why, but a sudden chill ran down Stephen's spine and something cold clutched his heart. To lighten the darkness that threatened to settle on his soul, he forced a laugh to his lips, pulled his sword from it's sheath, and tossed it hilt first to his lady.
Mara caught the weapon easily, as if it had no weight at all, and balanced it in her hand. "My arm for you, Lord Baron. And my life."
She had meant the comment, and the moment, to be lighthearted, and was dismayed by the expression on Stephen's face. She lowered the sword, and he took it from her.
"No," Stephen murmured as he re-sheathed his weapon. "Rather, my life for yours, Lady. Always and forever, my life for yours."
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