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The Witch and the Wolf [MultiFormat]
eBook by Marly Mathews

eBook Category: Romance/Historical Fiction
eBook Description: Having fled the mobs of the revolution to England as a child, when Arabella returns to France she is enlisted to aid Napoleon's cause as a spy--until the man known only to her as the Wolf abducts her and returns her to England once more. Rating: Sensual/Spicy

eBook Publisher: New Concepts Publishing, Published: 2008
Fictionwise Release Date: June 2008


8 Reader Ratings:
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* * * *

Prologue

France, 1794

"Find the De Maurier brat!" Pierre Debois bellowed. His horse let out a long whiny. Pulling back on the reigns, he surveyed the fortress that passed for a castle. Narrowing his eyes, he struggled to control the rage pulsating through him.

Chateau De Maurier had been built in the thirteenth century. The De Mauriers had tried to give it a sense of class through countless renovations, and additions had been done on the castle, but it still looked like a fortress. Pierre fed on the feeling of doom permeating the air. The castle grounds crawled with his fellow members of the revolution. They were out for blood, and he had set the stage for his stab at vengeance.

He hated the duke and loved the duchess. If he couldn't have her as his own, the guillotine could have her. Or would he take her before the guillotine did? Only, time would tell.

Some said Sandrine De Maurier hailed from a long line of Scottish Witches. Others said the only wittily powers she held were her powers of allure. Her beauty preceded her among the noble families of Europe. Witch or not, Pierre only knew he had an obsession for her unlike any other woman. Tonight, he would finally claim his prize.

Sandrine De Maurier, the Duchess of Lyonville, dashed through the castle. She had to make her way to the secret passage that led out of the castle away from the revolutionaries. Her husband would provide a distraction while she escaped with their daughter. But she feared she would not make it on time. Even though help had been dispatched from England, her time had come to an end. Pierre would continue the search until he finally found her. Many people thought she possessed the powers of a witch. Alas, she'd only been blessed with the power of premonition. But it had not saved her. Perhaps, her death had been written in stone. She could not see that far.

Panting, she strengthened her hold on her daughter. Their journey was near the end.

Arabella would make it back to England and then onward to Scotland. She would grow into a beautiful young woman, in fact Arabella would be her mirror image. She had seen her daughter's future. And it filled her heart with hope.

Her husband would meet his demise at the guillotine. She had foreseen that five days past. The truth of his fate chilled her to her heart. But her visions were sudden and fleeting. If she'd had more warning. As it was, time had become her worst enemy.

Dragging in a shaky breath, she came to an abrupt halt. She had made it to her destination. The sound of shots pierced the air. The enemy drew near. Had they already captured Jean Luc? She could not give it a thought. They had already said their farewell. If she saw her husband again, it would be at the Gates of Heaven.

Her sister and her husband would take Arabella back to England. All would be well, as long as Arabella survived.

"Daphne, no matter what, you must whisk Arabella off to the safe house. Do you understand?"

Her English maid looked at her in surprise. "You were supposed to come with us, Your Grace."

"I can't. I fear Pierre will find me before we make it off the grounds. Do not argue with me, time is wasting."

She kissed the top of Arabella's head. At that precise moment, Arabella's eyes fluttered open.

Pools the shade of the greenest emerald gazed back at Sandrine. Her daughter tightened her hold on the front of her gown. Arabella had been gifted with many more talents than she had been blessed with. In one startling instant, her daughter and she connected. She spiraled into her daughter's mind's eye. The vision that met her jarred her to her soul.

Wrenching her gaze away from Arabella, Sandrine shattered the spell that had been cast.

"The fates it would seem, laugh at us." Her voice shook. Always remember that I love you."

At five years of age, Sandrine knew her daughter would carry this day with her to her grave.

She reflected back on her life. She'd led a full and happy, albeit short one. Her daughter on the other hand, would live to a ripe old age. She would love, oh, would she love.

"Mama?" Arabella's eyes sparkled with tears.

"Don't cry. Never deny the call of your heart, dearest. Always remember to give the key to the one who calls for it."

She knew Arabella understood. Wisdom beyond her tender years, shone in her eyes.

"Don't leave me, mama."

Sandrine sighed. She placed Arabella down on her feet, and looked at the secret passage. She reflected for a moment. Peeling back the tapestry of the medieval knight and his lady, she activated the secret panel. A doorway opened.

"Daphne, you take the lead."

Reaching for a torch, the short maid stepped into the damp corridor. Turning around, Daphne looked at her in expectation.

The sound of shattering glass echoed through the hall. The hourglass trickled out its last bit of sand. Sandrine's time of reckoning was at hand.

"Go! Now, so I can cover the doorway and get to another room."

"No." Arabella's whisper had the strength of steel.

"Daphne, do as I say. Take Arabella to safety." She quickly unhinged the emerald amulet that hung around her neck. Lifting her daughter's blazing red curls, she fastened the necklace around her tiny neck. The ancient magic contained within it, would protect her until she reached safe haven.

"Do not be afraid of your future, dearest heart." She hugged Arabella to her breast and rained kisses over her cherubic face. "Your destiny awaits you. Embrace it with welcome arms. Whatever you do, do not forget how to love and live life to its fullest. Until we meet again, you must carry the love that your father and I have for you in your heart. Never forget, to remember!" She urged her daughter to take Daphne's outstretched hand. "Godspeed."

Then, she closed the hidden door, and repositioned the tapestry. She ran down the hall away from where her daughter and Daphne fled.

Pierre waited for her. Dread formed in the pit of her stomach. The only way she could keep him from going after Arabella would be to give herself to him. Her blood curdled.

"Where is she, Sandrine?" Pierre sneered. He crossed the short distance to where she stood.

"I haven't the slightest inkling." She forced out a dismissive laugh. She drowned in the hatred that permeated off of him. The waves nearly brought her to her knees. But she would not look weak in front of this man, no matter how much he sickened her.

Fury shone in his eyes. "No matter. The brat can go to hell for all I care. I want you. Only, you." He grabbed her chin and pulled her face toward him. She spat at him. Whipping his hand back, he slapped her. "You shouldn't have done that, Duchess. I heard of your witch blood and defiant attitude. We shall see if it serves you well in the coming days, or if you will bow to me."

Arabella wanted to run back to her mother. Fear clutched at her being. 'Why had she left her?'

"Come along, my little lady." Daphne clucked her tongue.

A vision clouded Arabella's sight. She fell to her knees clapping her hands over her ears. She could hear the angry mob. They chanted. Sickness boiled in her stomach.

Their triumphant shouts of Vive la France! made her world start spinning. Daphne tried to pull her to her feet, but a weakness consumed her. She could not move.

"Oh, my dear lady." Daphne crouched down to her level. "I can't carry you with the torch in my other hand. You must find the strength to go on."

And somehow, she did.


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