A maiden for the mercenary
Mercenary knight Rhain is living on borrowed time. With a vengeful warlord pursuing him, he has accepted his fate—though first, he must get his men to safety.
When he rescues mysterious and deeply scarred Helissent from her attackers, Rhain soon wishes he wasn’t marked for death. He can never be the man she deserves—his scandalous lineage alone dictates that—but Rhain can’t resist the temptation to show this innocent maiden how beautiful she truly is…
Lovers and Legends A clash of Celtic passions
Knight and mercenary leader; Rhain is trying to get his band of brother mercenaries to the safety of York, because Rhain has a bounty on his head from one of the most powerful lords in the country he knows that he will eventually end up dead but he’s adamant that his band of mercenaries will survive.
On their way to York, Rhain stops at a sleepy little village at first it’s just like any other until he sets eyes on the mesmerizing Helissent, a severely scarred but deeply beautiful woman. One night as he’s on patrol of the village he hears screaming and comes across Helissent being attacked by a gang, after rescuing her from certain death he tends to her sounds and leaves her.
Helissent is in complete shock over what happened but not just about the attack but over the kindness, Rhain has shown her, for the first time in her life she has felt safe. She knows that without Rhain there she may not survive and so she does the only thing she can do to protect herself; she walks into the mercenary’s camp and demand that their mysterious leader take her to York with them.
So now Rhain is stuck between a stone and a hard place, he knows what she says is true an innocent woman like her, alone in a place where her attackers live wouldn’t survive, and his conscience wouldn’t let him rest if anything happened to this charming creature. But can he risk her life by taking her with him?
Of course, he can! Just one look into her determined eyes and the decision has been made for him, there is just one problem as they make their way towards York, Rhain starts feeling things for Helissent that he knows he shouldn’t, having a price on his head and his death is imminent he can’t begin something no matter how alive he feels.
I love this, this is absolutely superb! It sticks with you and gets under your skin, but in a very good way, you become absorbed in their dark and dangerous world. I have read Historical Romances which has stuck with me long after finishing the book, but this is right up there with some of the best books I have read. It’s beautiful, heart-wrenching and you get tingles while reading it.
Rhain is such an intoxicating, brave and undeniably fragile man who has got so much loyalty he is very protective of his men and he wants to do right by them. He acts cold and distant and he is a little paranoid, but behind those amazing Amber eyes he has got a heart of pure gold, he just wants to protect Helissent and his band of mercenaries from what he knows is coming after him.
“ I’m not a saviour,” he said.
She, of all people, knew no one was and that she didn’t deserve one.
“I’m not asking you to be.”
Rhain was raised as a lord as his father was one of the powerful Welsh Lords, but he finds out that the people he thought were his parent, weren’t and in actual fact, his biological mother was the woman he grew up calling his aunt, a woman who he grew up respecting and loving. The only thing that he doesn’t know, is who his father is, so for the last five years he has searched for this elusive man and in his search became the man and mercenary he is now.
He believes he is tainted, that he is cursed because his biological mother was prone to seizures, and he now believes that he has got “The Devil’s Blood” running through his veins. He believes that because of that he will never be able to have the life that he wants, a life that he was raised to have and this does explain a lot about how he is and how little he thinks of his own life which is a real shame as Rhain is a very special man.
Rhain is an absolutely fabulous man, he is skilled at everything from sword fighting to healing, but he is a vulnerable man, a man who needs a bit of kindness and is the most outstandingly beautiful hero I have come across in a very long time.
“All this time women have been riding against you and you haven’t spared then a glance. Yet with her, you are. You even listen to that dreadful song she constantly sings.”
“Enough, “ he growled. “I’m a dead man, why bother with these questions?”
“Because your a dead man, and for some reason your coming alive, again”
Helissent wears her scars, not with pride she isn’t proud of herself, she is deeply ashamed of how she came about her burns, she does embrace them as that. As her shame and guilt! She feels that she is deserving of them, she has got this mad notion that because she couldn’t save her family from the flames, then she deserves the scars, the pain and even the scorn-filled looks. She thinks she let her family down and as such, she wanted to die too. So now she not only has to suffer from other people’s prejudice but from her own self-loathing.
She is actually so much like Rhain, he is filled with self-loathing too and neither of them can see just how incredible they are.
I know I say this a lot, but Helissent is by far the most incredible heroine I have come across, she is a courageous little thing. I absolutely love how she walks right into the den of big, burly mercenaries and demands that their leader; the gorgeous and intriguing Rhain, take her with him to York. Even when he refuses and she is surrounded by his men, she stands her ground and like any good negotiator, she brings them around to her way of thinking.
She is an inspirational woman!
“You’re a gem, Helissent. A very rare gem. I’ve never met you like before.”
This is very clever, I really like all the different aspects that feature in the story from Helissent’s talent for baking, to Chain’s mercenary lifestyle. I particularly like how Locke has brought to attention how suppositious people were in the era and just how people saw hereditary illnesses, like seizures. The fact that people saw having some kind of illness as having, the so-called “Devil’s Blood” is hugely fascinating.
I do genuinely love this book, the plot is fast, complex and thrilling. Rhain and Helissent take you on this sensual, nerve-wracking journey as they find their feet and try to survive and move on with their lives.
From this book Locke has now become my go-to author for Medieval Romance, it is astonishingly good, this isn’t your run-of-the-mill Historical Romance. This is something special and cannot recommend this enough, for those who don’t like or haven’t read Medieval Romance you need to read this. This is how a Medieval romance is supposed to be, it’s perfect!
This was an ARC copy via the author in exchange for an honest review.
The Knights Scarred Maiden is released on 27th July and can be pre-ordered on Amazon.