Read The Protector Online

Authors: Madeline Hunter

The Protector

Willing Surrender

“When you negotiate with a man, never look at him thus,” he warned quietly. “He will see it as a challenge, and feel the need to put you in a woman's place.”

“And what place is that?”

Sparks flew from his eyes. “This.” With a quick movement he pulled her forward and molded her against his strength and heat.

She fought the overwhelming reaction of her body, but the hands that she raised to push him away suddenly grasped his shoulders as tightly as he held her. She gave up her will then, and her self to his control.

His fingers separated the cloth where they had unlaced her, and he lowered his mouth to her exposed skin. His gentle kisses shot hot bolts through her and she gasped and gripped his shoulders tighter. He stroked his fingers into her hair and held her head as he brought his lips to hers.

It was her first real kiss and it completely undid her….

Critical acclaim for Madeline Hunter and
By Possession

“With the release of this new volume, [Madeline Hunter] cements her position as one of the brightest new writers in the genre. Brimming with intelligent writing, historical detail and passionate, complex protagonists … Hunter makes 14th-century England come alive—from the details of its sights, sounds and smells to the political context of this rebellious and dangerous time, when alliances and treason went hand in hand. For all the historical richness of the story, the romantic aspect is never lost, and the poignancy of the characters' seemingly untenable love is truly touching.”


Publishers Weekly

““A poignant tale that readers will treasure … with scenes that show the writer's brilliance.”


The Oakland Press

““Ms. Hunter skillfully weaves historical details into a captivating love story that resounds with the sights, sounds, and mores of the Middle Ages. This is another breathtaking romance from a talented storyteller.”


Romantic Times


By Possession
is a compelling read with a difficult but well-handled subject matter. Fans of medievals will particularly enjoy it—especially those who crave ‘meaty’ reads.”


All About Romance

““Dynamite-packed from beginning to end,
By Possession
is a tremendous tale. The strong characters and tumultuous plot make this an outstanding story. Ms. Hunter's talent shines as she climbs the road to success.”


Rendezvous

““Madeline Hunter's exciting new trilogy that started with the stunning first novel
By Arrangement
, continues in September with
By Possession.
A remarkably talented writer with a deft hand, Ms. Hunter shines brightly with the second installment of this tantalizing series. This is truly an irresistible story that should NOT be missed.”


New-Age Bookshelf

““With elegance and intelligence, Ms. Hunter consolidates her position as one of the best new voices in romance fiction. I'm waiting on tenterhooks to see what is in store for readers in her next book,
By Design
.”


The Romance Journal

By Arrangement

“Debut author Hunter begins this new series with a thoroughly satisfying launch that leaves the reader eager for the next episode in the lives of her engaging characters.”


Publishers Weekly

““The first in a marvelous trilogy by a fresh voice in the genre,
By Arrangement
combines historical depth and riveting romance in a manner reminiscent of Roberta Gellis. Ms. Hunter has a true gift for bringing both history and her characters to life, making readers feel a part of the danger and pageantry of the era.”


Romantic Times

““
By Arrangement
is richly textured, historically fascinating, and filled with surprises.”


All About Romance

““Splendid in every way.”


Rendezvous

““
By Arrangement
has action, adventure, political intrigue, humor, passion and secondary characters that compliment and fill out the tale. If the titles that follow are written like this debut, Madeline Hunter is an author to watch for. I am one fan that is waiting anxiously for her next title.”


Under the Covers

““
By Arrangement
is a fast-paced treasure that marks the beginning of a terrific career. Ms. Hunter is bound to be added to many an auto-buy list—including mine!”


The Romance Journal

““I recommend this book to any romance reader. Ms. Hunter has a skillful pen and is particularly good at characterization in her debut novel. There are plenty of events to keep the reader involved, but you'll read it for the love story … and I can't wait to read the others.”


Old Book Barn Gazette

ALSO BY MADELINE HUNTER

Lessons of Desire
The Rules of Seduction
Lady of Sin
Lord of Sin
The Romantic
The Charmer
The Sinner
The Saint
The Seducer
Stealing Heaven
Lord of a Thousand Nights
By Design
By Possession
By Arrangement

For my mother, Anna,
who really believes that all of her children are beautiful

A
UTHOR 'S
N
OTE

Brittany was France's Scotland, choleric, Celtic, stony, bred to opposition and resistance, and ready to use the English in its struggles against its overlord as the Scots used the French in theirs.

—Barbara Tuchman,
A Distant Mirror

T
ODAY BRITTANY IS
the northwestern province of France that pokes out into the sea. In the Middle Ages, however, it was a duchy struggling to maintain its independence. Although bordering French territories, it had more in common with the nearby British Isles. England and Brittany shared a strong Celtic culture, the legends of King Arthur, and even the names of cities and places.

In the middle of the fourteenth century, Brittany was torn apart by civil war. In 1341 the duke died, leaving no children to succeed him. Two of his relatives claimed the ducal crown. One was Jean Comte de Montfort, the dead duke's half-brother. The other was a woman, Jeanne de Penthièvre, who was married to Charles de Blois, a nephew of the French king.

England supported the Montfort succession while France supported the Penthièvre. The two great nations became involved in a ferocious war that ravaged Brittany. The death of Jean Comte de Montfort did not end things. His wife continued the fight in her son's name. Charles de Blois's wife did the same after he was captured by the English.

In the midst of this chaos, a new threat appeared. In 1348 the plague known as the Black Death began its first devastating sweep through Europe.

C
HAPTER
1

1348

I
T WAS ONE HELL OF A WAY FOR
the son of Hugh Fitzwaryn to die. Killed by a mob of Breton peasants in a house that stunk of cows and dung.

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