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A tantalizing tale of a legendary knight and a headstrong lady whose daring quest for a mysterious crystal will draw them into a whirlwind of treachery–and desire.
When the fearsome knight called Hugh the Relentless swept into Lingwood Manor like a storm, everyone cowered–except Lady Alice. Sharp-tongued and unrepentant, the flame haired beauty believed Sir Hugh was not someone to dread but the answer to her dreams. She knew he had come for the dazzling green crystal, knew he would be displeased to find that it was no longer in her possession. Yet Alice had a proposition for the dark and forbidding knight: In return for a dowry that would free Alice and her brother from their uncle's grasp, she would lend her powers of detection to his warrior's skills and together they would recover his treasured stone. But even as Hugh accepted her terms, he added a condition of his own: Lady Alice must agree to a temporary betrothal–one that would soon draw her deep into Hugh's great stone fortress, and into a battle that could threaten their lives...and their only chance at love.
Strong, independent women are bestselling author Quick's (Mistress) forte, and her newest heroine, Lady Alice, is no exception. A medieval lass of a practical cast, she's lively, determined and sharp-tongued--and she's a whiz of an herbalist, too. At 23, she fears no man, not even Hugh the Relentless, the warrior-knight with whom she initially grapples, and eventually gropes, in order to safeguard a better future for herself and her handicapped, 16-year-old brother. Alice and Hugh strike a bargain and become business partners: she will find the last stolen, mystical Stone of Scarcliffe (which Hugh needs to establish his control over his newly acquired lands); and Hugh will pay for her brother's education on the continent and provide Alice with a dowry. Intrigued by the bold Alice, the knight agrees to her outrageous proposal. However, he makes one of his own: he will support her brother, but, in return, she must become his wife. They set off to find the mystical stone (the key to a hidden treasure), only to find more than they bargained for--a curse, a murder, a villain from the past and, of course, that they are in love. Fast-paced and entertaining, this romance, like Alice, accomplishes everything it sets out to do.