A Knight of Passion
Author:Tarah Scott

Chapter One

Scottish Highlands, 1338

Lady Riana Ellis dribbled three drops of poison from the wooden phial into the goblet sitting on the nightstand beside the wine she would drink.

Fill the goblet to the brim, and death would be quick.

But the fires of Hell that followed would last forever.

Even hellfire paled in comparison to the nightmare that was Arundel.

If not for her younger sister living as ward of the Duke and Duchess of Arundel, Riana would have ingested poison long ago…if not for the fact the duke and duchess now had food tasters, she would have slipped poison into their food long ago. Instead, she must now feed the lethal fluid to Sir Neas Dunbar in order to save Siusan from the duke’s cock.

Riana fitted the top back onto the phial. She shivered despite the fire that crackled in the hearth to her left, and rubbed gooseflesh from her naked arms. The duchess’ order to murder the knight came with the explicit instruction, “Fuck him hard first.”

Anger clenched Riana’s stomach. The duchess thrived on the fact this would be the man's last night amongst the living, and had issued the edict because she wanted to watch. Her morbid fascination would be Riana’s advantage—if she pulled off what was to be the performance of her life.

The very thought of watching a man fuck the woman who was about to murder him would have the duchess panting like a bitch in heat. Already, she would be sitting behind the large painting that hung over the bed…waiting. Riana had purposely kept her naked breasts from the duchess’ view, knowing just the sight of her rounded buttocks in the soft firelight would hold the older woman spellbound in anticipation of that first glimpse of rosy areolae and dark curls.

In the hours the duchess watched Riana from behind the painting, Siusan and their surrogate father Glen would flee Arundel for a village in the south of France. By the time Sir Dunbar sucked Riana’s nipples into painful hardness, the duchess would be unable to tear herself from watching them. When he finally stuffed his fingers between her folds and rammed his cock into her arse, Siusan and Glen would be riding hard. The knight was sure to do all this and more, for the duchess would instruct him as she did every man Riana serviced: “Ride her hard. She is made for it.”

Siusan and Glen’s final security would be if the duchess had brought one of her favourites from among the servants to suck her cunt while she watched. Once she had satiated her perverted desires, and Riana fed the knight the poisoned wine, the duchess would retire to her chambers and await news that Sir Dunbar had been found dead in his bed.

The Sheriff would be called from his chambers, where the duchess had installed him the night before, and he would conclude the knight had died of a heart attack while rutting between Riana’s legs—even if the duchess had to throw coin his way to ensure the verdict.

If Riana administered the poison first, Sir Dunbar’s heart would slow while he pumped into her, until, at last, the veneer of death would be complete. That would be a sight that could keep the duchess distracted indefinitely. But Riana had been unable to overcome her revulsion at thought of the knight’s cock going limp inside her as his dead weight pinned her to the mattress.

Sir Dunbar had left a trail of English blood across the Scottish Highlands. The duchess was a fool to think anyone would believe the heart that beat within his massive chest could give way due to even the most rigorous thrusts of his cock into a woman’s cunt. Yet, if the duchess had her way, he would fuck Riana, she would hang for his murder, and Siusan would take her place as Arundel’s whore.

A tremor rippled through Riana. She had served as a whore too long to feel guilt over spreading her legs. But murder? And to what end? The fact she had killed a man at the duchess’ command wouldn’t obligate the older woman to safeguard Siusan from the duke.

Siusan had grown into a young woman whose pale beauty surpassed Riana’s darker hair and complexion. The duke’s increasing demands to have Siusan’s maidenhead tightened the duchess’ stranglehold over Riana. But Riana had her own leverage. The moment the duchess could no longer protect Siusan, Riana would forego the poison and drive a dagger into her heart. Then hang for the crime without remorse. Riana suppressed a bitter laugh. Apparently murder was as easy to grow accustomed to as was fornication.

But until Siusan was safely away, Riana couldn’t forget that the duchess’ cruelty was matched only by the duke’s depravity. She choked back a recollection of the day he had stripped away her memory of how sweet love could be and replaced it with understanding of how a man’s cock could foul a woman’s every orifice. Riana bit back tears. Curse the war that had taken her father and husband. Even God had deserted them. But she wouldn’t wait for God or anyone else to save them. Tonight, she would end this madness. Riana closed her eyes and released a slow breath. Fail, and the duke wasn’t the only threat they faced.

The duke and duchess secretly supported Edward Balliol, Scotland’s puppet king of Edward III, King of England and self-appointed Lord Parliament of Scotland. Most of Scotland had been retaken by Sir Andrew Murray, leader of Robert the Bruce’s faction. But King Edward III intended to wrest Scotland from him at all costs.

Two months ago, one of the Disinherited—the Anglo Saxon Scots led by Balliol—had secretly visited Arundel, and Riana learnt the duke and duchess had plotted with him to finance Balliol. She’d passed the information to Sir Fostar, who had fought alongside her father and husband.

Sir Fostar warned Riana that Scotland would bring a sentence of forfeiture against the duke, and seize his wealth and land. If Riana and Siusan weren’t far away, they would become casualties in the political aftermath. They couldn’t return to their mother—her new husband would shun women branded as followers of the English king. Riana envisioned her and Siusan wandering the streets and, eventually, forced into a brothel.

She glanced from the goblet laced with poison to the door. Her pulse raced. Tears rushed to the surface and burned her eyes before she could halt them. Once the knight appeared, there would be no turning back. Her heart twisted. She was as big a fool as the duchess. There had never been any turning back.