Her Dark Knight's Redemption
Publication: Harlequin/Mills and Boon (January 2020)
‘This man was shadow and night…
He was Darkness.’
Homeless Aliette is saved from punishment for stealing by a mysterious knight. This stranger informs her that to stay alive she must claim his child as her own. She should fear the knight’s power, and yet it’s clear there’s more good to this man than he’s prepared to show. Can she break down the barriers of the tortured knight she calls Darkness…?
Oh, my! Oh, my! Oh, my! Nicole Locke, you have out completely outdone yourself!! You have well and truly cemented yourself as the best Medieval Romance Author!! - Chicks, Rogues, & Scandals
‘I can assure you, monsieur, the child is yours.’
Reynold didn’t bother to turn for the woman who was standing behind him. He rarely acknowledged anyone unless it suited him. The woman’s guttural accent and well-aged sweat stench ensured that she was most definitely beneath him in every way.
In truth, almost everyone was. If Reynold was forced to entertain among the parasites who clung to the teat of court, he would say, but for the King of England, he was beneath no man.
In the privacy of his own home, he barely acknowledged he was beneath God.
He was a knight, highly skilled and deadly with almost every sword and blade man had ever made. Yet what no one knew was the fact that he was deadlier with the games he played. Those who did discover this hidden talent didn’t survive to spread the tale.
He was also fortunate enough to possess wealth that rivalled King Edward’s. Some of it was amply displayed in his private chambers, where he and the peasant behind him stood. Cascading silks, intricate gold-threaded embroidery in colours resembling precious gemstones and volumes of books. He owned many homes and travelled more than any man he knew, and the books always travelled with him.
The only matter that irked him was his wealth didn’t rival the church’s. But he consoled himself that they had had a thousand years in their plundering and he had years ahead of him to bridge the difference.
He was all of this, yet what set him above others was his family name: Warstone. Through that title, he gained unimaginable power and unparalleled fear. Though he wanted only to obliterate every last relation, tear down every monument and shred all scrolls bearing the name he was born into, for now, he used it for his purposes. In the end, it suited the games he played. And he looked forward to the time when the name wouldn’t matter anymore. Then he wouldn’t acknowledge the Warstone legacy just as he didn’t acknowledge the commoner shifting warily behind him.
Commoners always shifted when in his presence, often readied their little feet to make a dash for safety. It never did them any good. They could run to beyond the edge of existence and, if he desired, they’d be dead. Nobles were too stupid or lazy to realise they should be warier in his presence. Instead, they often shared their pitiful lives or confessed...as if he’d have pity.
Wondering if the wench behind him needed to die, he shifted his gaze from the sights beyond his window, to the reflection in the glass which revealed a distorted reflection of her...and a child she held.
Distorted, but enough to know from her dark hair to her tattered clothing that the babe in her arms couldn’t be his...if that was to be her claim. It was visual information that didn’t surprise or please him and he waited for what her fear should be telling her. Run.
Perhaps she had some noble blood and didn’t know her life was about to end. Not here, in this particular undisclosed home in the heart of Paris, however. He wouldn’t sully this sanctuary with her spilled blood.
But die she must. He didn’t abide by liars or cheats and, by her clothes and the colour of her hair, she displayed both these traits.
For now, he waited. The night sky was black, but not still. All around were the twinkling of candles among the haphazard elegant buildings. If he strained his hearing, he could discern sounds of laughter and shouts. Paris never slept. It was one of the reasons he enjoyed coming here. There was a certain acceptance of all walks of life, both human and animal. And since the city housed everyone and everything, he enjoyed his anonymity. Because until his game was done, he didn’t want to be found.
‘Are you still there?’ he replied.
The woman’s small gasp reminded him why he allowed her access to his home in the first place. Vermin often provided distraction from the long winter nights. This was her sole purpose when his guards notified him that a woman requested to see him. The only difference between her and all the others insisting on his presence was that this one carried a child.