Warwolfe by Kathryn Le Veque

1066 A.D. – Discover the origins of the original de Wolfe pack, led by the man known as WARWOLFE. Before the Duke of Normandy conquered England, a legend arose. A man so fierce, so brave, and so noble, that the mere whisper of his name could strike both fear and admiration into the hearts of all men.

That name is Warwolfe.

Gaetan de Wolfe is this man. A legend from a family of legends, the greatest de Wolfe warrior arises as William the Conqueror sets foot in England to claim what he believes is his birthright. Gaetan brings with him nine of the fiercest knights the realm has ever seen, plowing their way into the English countryside, forging their legacies at the Battle of Hastings. But when one of Gaetan’s men is kidnapped by the rogue brother of the Earl of Mercia, Gaetan refuses to let his man go. His loyalty to his men is above all.

A rescue mission of epic proportions begins.

Guiding the original de Wolfe Pack on this task into deadly enemy territory is a lady warrior known as Ghislaine of Mercia. The sister of the man who kidnapped Gaetan’s knight, her loyalties are torn. Wary of the big Norman knight with the fierce manner, her attraction to Gaetan is nonetheless undeniable. There is a spark between them that refuses to die. Together, Gaetan and Ghislaine embark on a dangerous adventure where myths are revealed, loyalties are tested, and where a growing passion between them becomes all-consuming.

Live the legend.

 

READ AN EXCERPT

Coming off of a slight rise with a vast valley spread out below in the distance, they were quickly approaching the shadowlands.

“Jathan,” she turned to the priest. “I must speak with Gaetan. It is important. Would you ask permission?”

The priest, who had riding next to her quietly for the past few days, nodded his head and kicked the sides of his shaggy horse, forcing the animal to move faster than it wanted to. He made his way up to Gaetan at the front and Ghislaine could see the priest speaking to Gaetan and pointing back to Ghislaine. Gaetan didn’t respond, or at least she didn’t see him respond, until several moments later when Jathan finally came back to her and invited her forward. Digging her heels into the sides of her shaggy mare, she cantered forward until she came to Gaetan.

He was riding tall and proud astride his big war beast as Ghislaine came up to ride beside him, but he didn’t look at her. He kept his eyes on the road ahead.

“What is so important that you must speak with me?” he asked.

His voice sounded so unkind. Ghislaine’s heart sank and she sighed heavily, unsure how much of his coldness she could take. Her disappointment and sadness in his treatment of her was starting to turn into something else.

Resentment wasn’t far off.

“I thought you should know that we are entering the realm of the shadowlands,” she said, her manner as unfriendly as his was. “The people who live here are secretive and dark, and have been known to eat their enemies. Although there are a few abbeys here, the church has not been able to change their ways. In fact, several years ago, we heard that they ate the priests who had tried to convert them to Christ. An old name for them is the Cilternsaetan, but before that, it was something worse. They were known as caro comdenti.”

Gaetan turned to look at her, translating the Latin. “Flesh eater?”

Ghislaine nodded, meeting his gaze briefly before looking away. “I told you there was danger on this road.”

Gaetan was looking at her even when she looked away. It was a stolen look as far as he was concerned, a moment in which he could look at that angelic face and have a reason to do so. He’d spent the past two days struggling with what he was feeling for her, trying to tell himself that she was disloyal to him, an untrustworthy enemy, but what his mind told him and what his heart yearned for were two different things.

He didn’t want to talk to her. He didn’t want to look at her. He’d kept himself well away from her, and she’d kept herself away from him as well. He was content. Not happy, but content. But now, here she was, and in looking at her he realized just how much he’d missed her. Something about this woman was growing on him, inside him, just like a parasite, and he couldn’t shake her no matter how hard he tried.

In fact, he was thinking more about missing her than the words she was speaking, so it took him a moment to shake off his daydreams to realize she was telling him something quite serious. He reined his horse to a stop and the entire group came to a halt behind him, but Gaetan motioned for the group to come near and they closed in around them. He gestured at Ghislaine.

“The lady has told me something about the people in this area,” he said. “The ancient name for them is caro comdenti. It seems that when she warned us of danger along this road, it includes a people who eat the flesh of their enemies.”

Everyone, especially Jathan, began looking around them with some concern. They were in a light collection of trees to the east while off to the northwest was an expanse of flat, open grass as far as the eye could see. In fact, the entire area was flat and a mighty river ran off to the west; he could see the glistening of the water now and again.

But the land looked empty of people and oddly empty of animals or birds. In fact, all was quite still, which was troubling. It was easy to get an uneasy feeling about it, especially now with what the lady had told Gaetan.

“Has Edwin had any run-ins with these people?” Téo asked. “We are in Mercia, after all. These are his lands.”

Ghislaine shook her head. “Edwin’s seat of Tamworth Castle is to the north in an area of more civilized people. He does not spend much time in this area if he can help it. Some say these lands are cursed.”

“But you suggested this road,” Gaetan pointed out. “If you knew this area was so terribly dangerous, why did you suggest it?”

Ghislaine looked at him. “Because it would have taken us much longer to reach the only other road that leads to the north,” she said. “You wanted to parallel Alary and that is exactly what we are doing, but it does not come easily. I warned you the day we left the army back at Westerham. Do you not recall?”

Gaetan did. He remembered saying something about the fact that they would be heavily armed, so he couldn’t blame Ghislaine for taking them down a dangerous path. She had, indeed, warned them. Rather than admit that, however, he simply brushed it aside.

“Is there a town or somewhere to stay the night?” he asked. “Dusk will be upon at some point and I am not entirely sure I wish to sleep in the open tonight if there are men waiting to harvest my flesh.”

Ghislaine pointed down the road, northward. “Evesham is not too far away and Worcester beyond that,” she said. “We could make it to Evesham but it would be after dark. There is an abbey there where we could seek shelter.”

Over near Gaetan, Wellesbourne snorted. “The abbey is a beacon in a sea of darkness,” he said as the knights turned in his direction. “Remember that I am from the Marches between Mercia and Wales. I have been about these lands before with my father and what she says is true. It is a cursed land but it is also our only option if we want to make north before Alary does. I would strongly suggest we make it to Evesham, as the lady has suggested, as quickly as we can. Legends and ghost stories abound in this land. Some say it is not only cursed, but haunted.”

Jathan crossed himself fearfully as the other knights looked at Wellesbourne with varied levels of amusement. “Since when did you become so superstitious,” St. Hèver wanted to know. “Ghosts do not exist.”

Wellesbourne looked at him, pointedly. “Have you ever seen one?”

Kye shook his head. “I have not. Show me one and I will believe. In fact, I’d rather like to see one.”

Wellesbourne shook his head, a gesture of regret. “If we do not make it out of this land, then you may become one. Gate, I suggest we get moving. There is no time to waste.”

There was some urgency to Wellesbourne’s statement, which spurred the other knights forward. The man didn’t show concern for no reason at all, which meant he must have, indeed, been wary about their surroundings. No one wanted to discount that. As the group began to move out, Gaetan’s dog suddenly began barking.