Gennie watched Haven weave in the saddle. The sword wound had stopped bleeding, but it wasn't healing cleanly, and he still had headaches. Despite her many requests that he rest, he refused, insisting that duty to his king came before all else.
He didn't realize the effect his stubbornness was having. She had spent a good ten minutes assuring Thomas that his newfound hero wasn't going to die. No sooner had the party gotten underway, than Bergen, Lindel, and Sutherland in quick succession made discrete inquiries about her husband's well being.
Watley shared his guilt with her. She gave him what assurance she could that he had done his best to avoid harming Haven. She offered praise for his persistence in battle and his rescue of Rebecca. He thanked her, but fell silent when the object of his rescue joined them.
"Did God answer your prayers?" Rebecca asked pulling her new mount along side of Gennie's.
Gennie considered carefully whether or not to answer this conversational gambit. Like her brother, Rebecca rarely concerned herself with the needs or wishes of others.
"God answers all prayers."
"He did not answer mine."
"If God had answered my prayers, I would still have fine clothes and a home. I would not be riding this ridiculous beast."
Had the girl no understanding? Gennie couldn't believe her ears. She observed the stern look in Watley's eyes and the painful longing in the set of his mouth.
"Perhaps that ridiculous animal as you call it is the answer to your prayers." His words hanging in the air, the young man rode off.
Gennie looked to Rebecca. Astonishment showed plain in the girl's open mouth and wide eyes.
"What did he mean by that?"
"Perhaps he means that God sometimes says no, even to our most heartfelt prayers."
"Oh." Rebecca fell silent.
Gennie let the silence continue. She had her own worries, foremost among them, her husband. She looked ahead to where he rode at the front of the column. His horse paced quick and straight under his urging, but Haven seemed less steady than before. Every now and then his body shuddered, as if he felt a chill.
"Do you think Watley still cares for me?"
Gennie almost didn't hear the quiet question. "Do you wish him to?"
Rebecca paused a long while before responding, "More than anything."
"Then you might think carefully on the things he says and does."
"You mean about how God answers our prayers."
"That and other things."
"Like obeying Sir De Sessions' orders."
"Perhaps. I will let you be the judge of your own thoughts."
"Thank you, Gennie."
"You are most welcome, but what for?"
"No one else will talk with me."
"I think I will go and offer Thomas a ride on my ridiculous beast."
Gennie acknowledged Rebecca's smile with one of her own and watched the girl ride off. Clouds massed on the horizon, and Gennie caught the rumble of thunder on the rising wind. More rain. That would do her husband no good. How could she help Haven, if even the elements were against her?
Owain's horse fell into step with hers. "Your husband is a stubborn man."
She frowned, still trying to discover a way to surmount the weather and her husband's obstinacy. "He has proven so throughout the short time I have known him."
"You are well matched."
Startled by his blunt comment, Gennie lifted her head to get a good look at his expression. "Do you suggest that I am stubborn?"
He smiled. "Oh, nay, Milady. A woman who prays for days on end is merely determined, not stubborn."
Gennie relaxed a bit. "I have had to be."
"Aye, Roger was not an easy husband."
"De Sessions is far from easy."
"But a very different man than Dreyford."
"Sir Haven is the better man."
Privately Gennie agreed, but she was not about to say so. "Roger had his good points." She hoped Owain would not press her to name any for at that moment she couldn't think of a single one.
The warrior raised an eyebrow. "True, Dreyford was game for any pleasure, and he always had a ready story."
Thunder grumbled in concert with the memory of the many times she had sat ignored by a husband who sought greater attention with his antics and tales. Gennie told herself that Roger's neglect had been a blessing in disguise. Had she been more dependent upon him, she might never have survived his ultimate neglect-treason. "Oui, Roger could be very entertaining."
"Did you ever notice that most of his tales were about his great and valorous friend, your present husband?"
Gennie looked at the darkening sky and thought back. She recalled the small amount of envy she had experienced early in her first marriage. She had soon become used to being last in Roger's regard and armored herself with prayer against his preference for whores and distant friends over his own wife. "Non, I had not noticed. Why do you mention this?"
"You and Sir De Sessions seem to be often at odds for such a well suited couple."
"And you think the praise of my former husband is a recommendation. Why should I attend the words of a traitor well-known for his foolishness and disreputable associates?"
"I had hoped that you would not hold such a recommendation against Sir Haven."
The wind soared, thrashing through the branches.
"I am not so foolish?"
"Are you not?"
Gennie gasped at his audacity, but the warrior continued.
"Why then do you resent him so?"
Gennie had no reply. Despite her prayers that God would remove her anger, she did harbor resentment. It had been easier to blame her changed circumstances on the unknown Sir Haven De Sessions than where they belonged on Roger's foolishness. But with each day, her resentment of Haven became harder and harder to maintain. Mayhap God was answering her prayers. Now she prayed that Haven would live long enough for her to discover the truth of her own heart.
Drops of rain spattered against the leaves. Ahead, the road rose and left the trees behind. Haven's horse dropped to a walk. She saw his hands go slack on the reins. Owain must have noticed too for he kicked his horse into a trot with Gennie.
They should have acted sooner. Haven's mount halted at the top of the rise. He leaned forward and started to dismount. His movements lacked his usual grace. Certain that he had reached the last of his strength, Gennie hurried forward. In the moment that he crumpled to the ground, she leapt from her horse.
"Non! You will not die."
Molded in the Arthurian tradition, Haven is a man to whom duty, honor and loyalty mean everything. Gennie is the embodiment of the transformed lady from medieval legend, a woman whose true worth hides beneath a web of suspicion and misperceptions. Set in 1282 against the backdrop of Edward I's second Welsh war, A True and Perfect Knight is a tale of conflict and distrust forged by honor into a bond of love stronger than any kingdom on earth.
A truly well written Historical Romance that will keep the readers enthralled! This novel is fast paced and has quite a few interesting subplots to thicken the tension and keep you guessing.
Romantic Times Reviewer, Harriet Klausner
After finishing up an intensive month of work and the holidays, I was in the mood for some nice, easy-reading simply for an escape (kinda like craving candy corn). There's nothing better to accomplish that end than to dive into a legacy romance-novel binge. A True and Perfect Knight caught my eye.
When reviewing a romance novel, it's fair to keep in mind that these are written to escape. I wanted a couple of hours of romance and feel-good fluff. I got it. I actually learned something about Welsh history I didn't know before. I spent $4 for this ebook and feel I got my fluffy money's worth.
Anna Erishkigal rated it 4 of 5 stars on Goodreads