Harvest Festival, 1459 – On a moonless night, the half-Gypsy Stephen Ellingham accidentally kills Lord Faierfield. With her father not yet buried, Nicole Miles marries the man who killed him–without the king’s blessing and under the shadow of her family’s curse. Nicole doesn’t care whether her new husband believes the rumors that her womb is cursed, but Stephen has vowed to protect her younger brother, Alex. Rendered deaf when his mother boxed his ears, Alex has tried diversions over the years to keep people from realizing he’s deaf. His efforts have backfired, though, and people believe he’s mad, unfit to inherit his title or hold claim to the Faierfield lands. Stephen weds Nicole to make amends for accidentally killing her father and leaving her family vulnerable. He must protect Alex from their ambitious uncle, who plans to kill the young boy to claim the family’s holdings.
Then the Battle of Blore Heath erupts, the first of many in the War of the Roses, and Stephen must face Nicole’s uncle on the battlefield. The chaos of war is a perfect breeding place for treachery, and the uncle stages an incident that leads the king to declare Stephen a traitor. Only Nicole can help him, but she finds no evidence to prove his innocence, and it is, in the end, a matter of trust. It’s fortunate that he has good armor, though this particular set of armor may lead to his death.
Beautiful and complex characters and amazing amounts of nail-biting conflict. My heart was racing so many times. Especially near the end during the battle scenes (which were by the way extremely well done). She also gives such tender and loving moments not only between Stephen and Nicole, but also with Binnie (Alex).