© 2011-2016 Melissa MacKinnon. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission is strictly prohibited.
The only thing worse than loving the enemy is trying to live without him.

Archaean bounty hunter Marek Coinnich isn’t particularly fond of Engels. In fact, after generations of endless war with the neighboring people, he prefers them dead. But to save his injured brother, he must enter the manor of an Engel enemy. Marek finds himself enthralled by the slave girl nursing his brother back to health. When his enchantment with her lands them both in a compromising position, he refuses to let the young beauty pay for the misunderstanding with her life.

Brynn of Galhaven prefers to keep to the shadows. When she is ruined by an outsider, she barely escapes with her life and finds herself left alone in an unforgiving land. Through her struggles to survive, Brynn discovers a world she never imagined, and never forgets the enemy Archaean who stole her heart.

Marek can’t deny his desire for Brynn, but these are wartimes, and she is the enemy. And though love knows no prejudice, the world in which he lives isn’t nearly as forgiving.




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“Do you have time for one more, Mistress?”  Marek stood just outside the entrance, waiting.

Its smooth tone of his voice tickled her insides.  “I suppose I could make time for the champion of the sword.  Do you have injuries that need tending?”

“Hmm,” he feigned thought, sauntering into the depths of the tent.  “Perhaps I could find a few.”

Brynn bit her bottom lip to keep from grinning like a child.

“But then again,” he added, “I believe that is your task, is it not?”

She waved him closer.  “Come, let me take a look.”

Marek closed the gap between them in two long strides.  Standing in front of the examination table, he placed his hands behind him on the flat wooden surface and hoisted himself up to a sitting position.  He removed his tunic in one fluid motion, discarding it.  “You are welcome to look, my love.”

Brynn filled a bowl with water from a pitcher nearby and found a few clean rags.  Even from a distance, she could feel Marek’s glare burning into her backside.  She found the courage to return to him and did her best to push the impure thoughts bubbling to the surface from her mind.  She wet a rag, wrung out the excess, and gingerly pressed it to his chest.  A trickle of water etched a path across his ribcage and arched around the sharp edges of his abdomen before being devoured by the hem of his trousers.

She dragged the cloth down the length of his torso, methodically washing away the smears of dust and sweat.  She stopped mid-swipe when his arms encircled her.  His hands settled on the small of her back, pressing her closer.  Fingers clenched the thin cloth of her dress, their tips digging into her flesh.  Brynn sucked in a breath and held it when his legs spread, encouraging her to fall against him.  A small cry escaped her lips.

The cloth slipped from her fingers, all but forgotten.

His embrace wandered, caressing her with a brazen desire. Up her back, to her shoulders—his hands carved a path, settling along the roundness of her bottom.  He squeezed, drew her to him and pressed ever closer.  His lips found the pulse on her neck and he flicked his tongue over it.  His breath, warm and wet, lingered on her cheek.

Her thoughts spiraled into madness.

He tasted her, the salt from her skin clinging to his lips.  His mouth explored the slight indentation of her collarbone and he traced the delicate lines with his lips, murmuring incoherent words in his lyrical lilt.  A thumb brushed over her nipple, leaving a tantalizing hardness in its wake.  Marek gave the shell of Brynn’s ear a playful nip before finding her lips.  He parted them with his tongue, coaxing her, tempting her.  Slow, deep kisses, his mouth reclaimed every part of her.

Brynn turned her face up to his, her palms aimlessly wandering in half-felt protest.  She trembled beneath him—every deliberate touch set her insides on fire.  Feelings she hadn’t realized she was still capable of having only added to the sweet torture.  Brynn buried her hands in his hair, urging him to continue his welcomed seduction.  “More….”  The word escaped on a whisper.
She sought to avenge her father’s death, not fall for the man sent to kill her.
England, 1381
Cate Archer is a wanted woman. When her father is killed during peace negotiations with the young King Richard, Cate vows she will not rest until she sees her father’s murder avenged and his killer brought to his knees. She never imagined she would fall in love with the man sent to execute her death warrant.
Viscount Owen Grey has only one task—bring in the rebel leaders, dead or alive. His life’s duty is to the King’s Guard, and he has certain expectations to fulfill. Falling for his prisoner isn’t one of them. He understands her cause, but he cannot bring himself to risk his position and honor for an outlaw. Owen must choose between duty and his heart. The Guard is all he’s ever known. Does he stay true to his oath or find himself on the next most wanted list alongside his Cate?

July 1381
Bedgebury Forest
Kent, England

Murdering wasn’t for the faint of heart.

Cate Archer drew in a fervent breath, unable to calm her insides. She trusted her instincts without hesitation. The tingling sensation that sparked in her belly and quickly spread to her extremities — the breathtaking swirl of full-bodied titillation that consumed her with every draw of her bow — excited her beyond contestation.

Blood coursed through her veins with every pump of her heart. The tree limb on which she perched swayed gently in the breeze, rocking her softly in its plush canopy. Cate briefly entertained the thought of a short nap, if only she had the time. Rebel informants had given word of a band of nobles traveling the access road through Bedgebury forest, and there was no better opportunity than the present to end their merciless lives. With a little luck, and a few well aimed arrows, the party would be dead before sundown. Swift justice for those murdered at the hands of the King, her beloved father included.

Cate vowed she would not rest until the man who’d cut down her father saw the same fate. She took to the forest, paying particular attention to the access road cutting through the center of the trees. Any noble daring to pass would meet an early demise at the opposite end of her bow. There would be no tax collecting — nay, stealing — from her village.

It was the wait that was the hardest. Waiting for the most opportune moment to strike, or listening for a telling faint sound on the wind — a misstep by a nervous horse, perhaps, who knew of Cate’s presence long before its rider. Fighting the urge to stretch from her uncompromising position in the tree, Cate focused on her surroundings, recollecting the lessons her father had taught her throughout her twenty-three years. She would not fail him now.

Steady, straight, and true.

Gripping the shaft of her arrow between her teeth, Cate pulled the dark locks from her face, securing them atop her head with a bit of twine. From across the canopy, the sweet song of a dunnock fluttered through the trees. Cate answered the mock call with a resounding squawk, silencing the song bird. The signal had been given. Her men were ready.

Within moments, riders approached, edging closer to their deaths with every unsuspecting step. Three armed men circled a heavily laden man at the core of the traveling party. Bags weighted with goods and coins jingled as the rider adjusted himself in the saddle.
A tax collector. He would be the first to die.