This is a medieval era romance, set in the time of Henry II , written by the same woman who penned the Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries. Candice Proctor is her real name, and she had written several historical romances as such before using the pen name C.S. Harris. Having enjoyed that series so much, I was curious to see what her older books were like.
Lady Attica d’Alerion is nineteen and betrothed for political reasons to a fourteen year old boy named Fulk the Fat. While this prospect isn’t great, she knows that she doesn’t have much say in the matter, as women of the time were treated as chattel. Attica is an obedient young woman, devout and willing to do her duty, but as she tends to a wounded French courtier she discovers a secret that may affect her brother Stephen, as well as the King. In an act of desperation, she decides to sneak away to warn Stephen in the only way possible – dressed in the courtier’s clothes, disguised as a young man. Taking only her trusted servant, she heads off and is very quickly deep in trouble.
Damion de Jarnac is a rogue knight who lives by his own code of honor, on the side of King Henry. He happens upon Attica in her time of need, and rescues her. Of course he doesn’t know that she isn’t a young man, and with her own servant near death he proposes that they travel together. For her part, Attica is well aware of who he is, and just how dangerously attractive he is. It wouldn’t be good for her honor to travel alone with him as herself, so she hopes that she can keep up the disguise long enough to reach her destination. And thus beginneth the medieval road trip…
The story drags somewhat along the trip, and suffice to say that Damion soon has his suspicions about Attica not being a young man and the inevitable seduction occurs. Attica is soon smitten with him, and enjoys the freedom she experiences on the road. Once they reach their destination, more court intrigue ensues and Attica is torn between her duty to the family and her feelings for Damion.
Compared to the St. Cyr mysteries, this book is much more sexually explicit, but I was surprised at how little the characters seemed to worry about what would happen if she got pregnant. Overall though, Ms Proctor does a good job of creating the time period, and describing the political intrigue of the day.