The Aurelian Guard #1
Nicole Elizabeth Kelleher
Releasing March 8th, 2016
This gorgeous, sweeping historical romance will enchant the readers of Deanna Raybourn, and introduces a wildly talented new voice.
Anna was born of Chevring, a territory renowned for its valorous war horses, in the kingdom of Aurelia. But peace reigns, and her family’s fortune has dwindled. Her father brokers an alliance with the wealthy Lord Roger of Stolweg. The price: his eldest daughter and the secrets to her family’s once great power. Soon after they are wed, Roger proves himself cruel and calculating, a harsh lord who sows the seeds of fear in his people.
He has an ambitious secret, and nothing will stand in his way. Not his new bride, nor his older brother, heir to all that he covets. But secrets have a way getting out, and the people of Stolweg quietly bide their time, coming to love Anna for her noble bravery in standing up to her scoundrel husband. She will prove the leader they need to rise up and bring their underground resistance to flourish.
But it is Larkin, a guard of Aurelia, whose presence brings Roger’s treachery to the forefront, igniting the spark of war. Larkin comes to Stolweg to investigate Roger for treason against the realm and ends up giving all of his attention to Anna. For she not only captures his heart, she may be the only person who can stop the battle that will tear the kingdom apart.
"Nicole Elizabeth Kelleher's debut novel Wild Lavender is engrossing right from the prologue." —B.B. Haywood, New York Times bestselling author
After he gave her some time to think on his words, he approached her. “Have you forgotten the wager, m’lady? You have yet to name your prize. Truth be told, I am dearly sorry to have lost this match and the favor of your kiss.”
She had turned back to face him, and he gave her what he hoped was a devastating smile. More than ever, this woman intrigued him with her equal measures of strength and vulnerability. The spark from years ago had never been extinguished; it had only smoldered quietly. He’d been dreaming about her for years. Finally finding her, she exceeded his fantasies in every way.
“I make no claim, Larkin. I tricked you.” He started to protest, but she cut him off. “Under the circumstances, I forfeit my reward.”
“Still, a rematch might be in order,” he continued offhandedly. “I suppose that now only your husband will receive your favors.”
Once he spoke the words, he regretted them. His opinion of Lord Roger was that he was a cruel and arrogant man. Remembering the sneering lips and cold eyes and imagining him with Aubrianne was infuriating. She must have seen his ire, because she took a step back.
“My husband’s lips have never touched mine,” she averred. “Not even when we stood before God and were married.”
If she’d surprised him by winning the match, she stunned him with her words. Her disgust told him everything he needed to know: hers was worse than a loveless marriage; it was one filled with hatred.
And just like that, the final piece fell into place, and his heart felt whole for the first time in his life. He doubted not that eventually he and Lady Aubrianne—Anna, as he thought of her—would come together. But first, he needed her to remember him. He could deal with Roger
later; the man’s days were numbered anyway.
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A graduate of the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science and Arts, Nicole Elizabeth Kelleher studied French Literature and Language, Spanish and Mandarin while concurrently attending UofM’s Art School. She moved to France and attended the Université Catholique de l’Œest before relocating to Belgium to complete an internship at a fine arts and antiques auction house. During this time, she traveled throughout the countryside of Europe, immersing herself in its history, architecture, and art. Nicole lives in Northern Virginia with her two children, husband and Tully the Dog.