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The Truelove Bride
Bantam
ISBN-10: 055358054X

Read an Excerpt

This is the tale that sparked my love for fantasy...

One hundred years ago there lived a laird and his lady, and she was the fairest lady to ever grace the lands. Her hair was light as moonlight, her eyes were the color of the rarest heather flowers, her brows black as jet.

The laird loved his lady fair and she him, both of them ruling just and right over their clan. It was the days of riches for them, of long summers and gentle winters, when the mountains still sang their songs at night and the deer were plump and plentiful. Each day was a jewel in the mind of God, and the Clan Kincardine was the most blessed of all people.

Into this peace came an evil faerie, who had watched the laird's lady for such a time until he fell into envy....

The Truelove Bride is the story of Avalon d'Farouche and Marcus Kincardine, two people whose fates are irrevocably intertwined into a fabulous lover's knot. This is a romance with magic and mystery, and the promise of a rich, satisfying adventure in love.

Lady Avalon was born with a secret, one she is desperate to hide from the rest of the world and even from herself: she has the gift of second sight, a strange power within her that can allow her to know the hearts and the minds of others.

She was also born with a burden: she represents the end of a hundred-year-old curse laid upon the Clan Kincardine, a proud but hungry people who will do anything to get her into their family. Avalon fulfills all the requirements of the warrior maiden foretold to end their curse: She has the unique beauty of her ancestress, the wife of the laird in the legend. She has the Sight. And she has the fighting skills necessary to be a true warrior.

She is the destined bride of their laird, Marcus Kincardine, who has been away on a crusade for most of Avalon's life. Betrothed since her birth, Avalon grew up with the story of the curse so deeply ingrained into her tumultuous childhood that she is desperate to escape it.

When a savage raid on her family castle killed her father, the child Avalon was rescued by the father of Marcus, Hanoch Kincardine, and then hidden away in a remote Highland village.

For seven long years she was presumed dead but secretly raised by him, yet Hanoch proved to be a brutal man. To fulfill the requirements of his family's legend he molded Avalon ruthlessly into a reflection of the warrior maiden said to end the curse.

Now grown and living in London, Avalon has no plans to marry anyone. And the last thing she intends is to hand over her life to the son of the monster who raised her. She wants nothing to do with the legend that has ruled her life up to now; despite her own gift, she despises superstition and the Kincardine curse that has manipulated her very identity.

In a sense she is a woman without a home, without any allegiances at all except to survival. When her English cousin and guardian summons her back to her childhood castle of Trayleigh, Avalon leaps at the opportunity.

But all is not what it seems at Trayleigh; Avalon finds herself in the midst of a dangerous plot to wed her to yet another man in an effort to gain her wealth. She plans her escape, but before she can act, she is kidnapped on the very night of her wedding by a new man, a stranger whose touch makes her feel strangely alive again.

This is Marcus Kincardine, back at last from his crusade in the Holy Land to claim his promised bride.

A dark knight with secrets and mysteries riddling his own past, Marcus has every intention of wedding Avalon and fulfilling his destiny with her. Yet he senses immediately that this lady is more than a prize to him, more than even a woman of vivid beauty and uncommon intelligence. She is his match.

Avalon and Marcus begin their battle of wits and willpower, each one determined to win the war—but it's going to take both of them to realize that their destiny is more than just marriage and the completion of a legend.

It is true love.

RECOGNITION

One of Amazon.com's Top Ten "Sensational Sleepers of '99"
Finalist for both the RITA and the Holt Medallion

REVIEWS

"Shana Abé breathes new life into ancient legends in this powerful, passionate and engaging tale. The Truelove Bride will thrill lovers of both swashbuckling history and tender romance."
New York Times bestselling author Teresa Medeiros

"The Truelove Bride is a soul-stirring love story.... I loved this tale. It left me feeling good all day."
Rendezvous

"The Truelove Bride is a lovely melding of a fairy tale and the rugged medieval world, a place of wild passion and emotion, where intrigue swirls around lovers whose destiny has been foretold by legends. Beautifully told with Ms. Abé's deft writing and engaging characters, this is the kind of story that brings sweet dreams and allows your fantasies free reign."
Romantic Times

"Extraordinary characters, extraordinary theme are woven together in a curse that lasted one hundred years. I went through this book like a buzz saw. I couldn't put it down, and I bet you can't either.... Ms. Abé is a master storyteller who will wrap you up tight in her magical stories that capture your imagination and don't let go for a second."
Belles and Beaux of Romance

"An ancient legend, passionate emotion, and wonderful detail make The Truelove Bride a memorable tale...the sheer power of the romance between two magnetic personalities left me sighing with satisfaction as I finished the last page....

"The magic in this book is the powerful writing. Avalon and Marcus are vividly portrayed in their strengths and virtues, as well as in their faults and emotional wounds. Physical details make the scenes come alive, and there is none of the supposedly romantic dribble so prevalent in romance novels, like repetitive referrals to incomparable eye-colors, or constant odes to physical perfection. Instead we are treated to pictures like, "...her hair clung in long tangles to them both," and "The wind was taking her hair and making it dance behind her in drenched tendrils. Rain dripped off her chin." Marcus and Avalon are physically magnificent, but very real in their setting.

In addition, the back story is slipped in gradually and naturally, slowly illuminating the reasons both characters are what they are. The tension between them is exquisite, and keeps the story moving at a satisfying pace, while the outside threats to their happiness are real, and nurture a sinister foreboding that further adds to the drama...."
—All About Romance

"Ms. Abé presents a lovely rendition of the classic medieval captive/captor storyline with a few new twists. She deftly weaves an ancient legend into the fabric using insight, likable characters and touching emotion."
Old Book Barn Gazette