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BELIEVE IN ME by LANA WILLIAMS
Lady Cristiana’s plan to seek revenge against her mother’s murderer is cut short when a world-weary knight arrives to escort her to her new guardian, a powerful bishop. Cristiana refuses to become a ward of the bishop whom she suspects was involved in her mother’s death, but the knight leaves her no choice.
Sir William hopes to earn a second chance at the life he was given but believes he doesn’t deserve. Serving the bishop seems the perfect solution, except Lady Cristiana thwarts him at every turn, captivating him body and soul.
Cristiana has the unique ability to heal the sick through her touch. Accustomed to hiding her gift, the wall she’s built to protect herself crumbles under William’s passionate regard. Honor-bound to deliver her despite her protests and his own doubts, William reluctantly fulfills his vow only to realize the depth of his mistake.
As William and Cristiana’s love grows, they realize the bishop plans to use her ability to fulfill his own destiny with little concern for the life of others, including Cristiana’s. The bishop’s treachery comes to light, forcing Cristiana to choose between revenge or the love of a lifetime.
BELIEVE IN ME by LANA WILLIAMS
FIRST KISS EXCERPT
Cristiana dared a look back. No one yet looked for her. Bolder now, she worked her way farther into the woods. Once she escaped, she planned to walk parallel to the road they followed. With luck, William would assume she’d return to the convent when in actuality she planned to continue northeast—far enough away from Longsbury to be safe, yet close enough to begin her search.
She hurried now, her heart thundering as she walked as fast as she dared. The underbrush caught her skirts, slowing her progress. Again, she glanced over her shoulder but saw nothing nor could she hear voices.
Though too soon to declare victory, she couldn’t help but smile at her success. Her dark cloak would help hide her and protect her from the branches she passed. The setting sun cast long shadows through the woods and would help conceal her as well. They wouldn’t be able to search for her for long, not with darkness falling.
A pounding echoed in her head, then in her chest. She put a hand to her heart, but realized the sensation came not from within her, but from without.
She looked back to see Sir William’s horse bearing down on her. Panicked, she ran. She couldn’t be caught already. Crashing through bushes, past branches that clawed at her cloak, her feet found no purchase on the uneven ground. Still she flew, her muscles protesting with the effort.
The hammering hooves drew closer. Though she knew she was no match for the horse, she tore through the forest as fast as her legs could carry her. She would not give up.
But she couldn’t stop.
“Lady Cristiana, hold.”
“Nay!” she cried out. “Leave me be!”
“Halt! Or I’ll do it for you.”
She glimpsed the horse out of the corner of her eye and at last slowed her pace, her breath coming in gasps from her frantic flight.
The knight slid off his steed and caught her in his arms. “Are you daft?” He gave her a shake and didn’t let go. “I feared you crazed before, but this proves it true.”
“If you’d let me—”
“Have you no idea of the dangers that await you in the woods? Both man and beast would do you harm. You’d never make it through the night unscathed.”
Her chin went up a notch. “I’m not ignorant of the dangers that lurk here, but I’m willing to take my chances.”
His gaze burned into hers. “Then you’ll soon follow your mother to the grave.”
Pain stole what little breath she had. Tears threatened. Her throat burned with the effort to hold them back. “Do not speak of my mother again,” she whispered.
The quiet words with all their pent-up emotion struck William. Cristiana’s large brown eyes glistened with tears and remorse filled him. He hadn’t meant to hurt her, only to frighten her into cooperating for her safety and his sanity.
“My lady, it is my duty to see you safely to Bishop Duval.”
“I’ve told you I have no desire to go. What I want should matter.”
Sympathy for her and her predicament pulled at him. “I fear it doesn’t. Not at this moment.”
“I am a woman grown, not a child.”
Those simple words turned his awareness to the shapely form in his arms. A woman indeed and a beautiful one at that. His mouth went dry as he looked at her anew. His hands gentled on her arms. A strand of her hair escaped her braid, and he tucked it behind her ear. “A woman for certain, but I cannot grant you what you wish.”
Those eyes of hers looked up at him, full of emotions and secrets he couldn’t begin to fathom. Her lips parted, her breath still coming fast from her flight through the woods. He hoped his overwhelming desire for her was only because it had been so long since he’d last been with a woman. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have twisted him up like this.
“William, if you’d please listen to me.” Her husky voice resonated deep within him. Her hands rose to his shoulders as though to force him to heed her words.
He watched the movement of her lips as she spoke and felt the heat of her hands near his neck.
And was lost.
With slow, halting movements, he bent his head, her mouth drawing him closer. He put his hand along her cheek, her skin soft and warm. Her flowery scent filled his head. His lips touched hers, his heart thundering in his ears even while his mind told him this was a mistake.
She stilled as though shocked at his forward behavior. Then she responded tentatively before growing more fervent. Her lips tasted sweet, hot, beneath his, and any remaining thoughts he had took flight.
“William?” Henry’s voice from the edge of the trees brought reality crashing back.
With reality came duty.
He lifted his head and his gaze caught hers. Her expression registered the same surprise he felt. “My lady—”
“William!” Henry’s voice came closer.
“Here,” William called out. He dropped his hand and stepped back from Cristiana, hoping the space between them would cool his ardor. “Once you meet the bishop, you can tell him what you want. Perhaps he can arrange it.”
Disappointment crossed her face before her expression hardened. “By then, it will be far too late.” She turned away.
Henry arrived on his horse with hers in tow and glanced between the pair of them. “Is all well?”
“Nay, I fear not.” Cristiana took the reins of her mare from him.
Henry cocked a brow at William.
“It seems what the lady wants I cannot provide.” Before Cristiana could deny him, he lifted her up on her horse, silently cursing as his arm trembled with the strain. Pain shot through him. He would pay for exerting his shoulder, he knew, but he was tired of favoring the injury.
“Is something amiss—” Before Cristiana could finish, he cut off her question.
“Nay. All is well.” Hadn’t he been telling himself that for weeks? But it seemed his thoughts didn’t make it so. He didn’t need sympathy; he only needed his body to heal.
Lana Williams writes historical romance filled with mystery, adventure, and a pinch of paranormal to stir things up. Her medieval romances begin with A Vow To Keep, the first in The Vengeance Trilogy, followed by Trust In Me and then Believe In Me.
Filled with a love of books from an early age, Lana put pen to paper and decided happy endings were a must in any story she created. She writes in the Rocky Mountains with her husband, two growing sons, and two dogs.
Links to Lana’s website, blog, books, etc.
**SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Lana will give away an ebook to one lucky reader who comments on either her Monday Interview or Wednesday Book Bench blogs!! WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE GENRE AND WHY? Winner will be randomly selected and announced Monday, October 7, 2013. Thanks, Lana, for sharing your stories with us!