Novels of Rhynan Book 1
by Rachel Rossano
Genre: Historical Romance
Duty to King
Tomas Dyrease, the newly made Earl of Irvaine and the village of Wisenvale, owes his good fortune to his king and the recent civil war. When his benefactor demands Tomas marry the cousin of a noble, he obeys. However, no one warned him that she wasn’t a typical noblewoman.
Duty to Others
Brielle Solarius struggles to keep her village from starvation under the new Lord Wisten, her cousin. The men rode off to war and never returned. The remaining women and children face a dire winter if they do not find a solution soon. When she learns her cousin sold her into marriage to save his life, she isn’t surprised. However, she is taken aback by Lord Irvaine’s unpolished ways. Was this man a noble or a foot soldier?
Duty to Each Other
Bound by the words of their vows, they face a rough future. They must forge a marriage while battling betrayal, accusations of treason, and villains from the past. Survival depends on their precarious trust in each other. Failure could mean death.
“The red one is mine,” he said.
I didn’t raise my head although instinct urged me to. Father had called me Red. He said I was born screaming, skin deep red like the beets in the garden and hair fiery like the setting sun. The man who spoke was not my father.
I glanced at him from beneath my cloak’s hood. Arrogant in his size and superior mass, his eyes picked me out of the writhing mass of captives. Early morning sunlight glinted off plain armor and an unadorned helm, yet the unwashed barbarians treated him with the respect due a commander.
The crowd of women around me parted for the soldier fulfilling his order. Mothers moved back with babes in their arms, toddlers clinging to their skirts. Their fingers clutched older children’s hands or shoulders. A living mass, their voices silenced by the army surrounding them. Their faces spoke eloquently of their fear.
The soldier, smelling of sweat and sour wine, grabbed my left arm and dragged me out from among them. I didn’t want to bring harm to the women around me. The soldier would injure many before subduing me. I allowed him to pull me toward the commander with only minimal resistance.
Once free of the captives, however, I yanked from the man’s grip in an attempt to run. Three pairs of rough hands caught hold of my arms before I managed more than a few steps. The stench of their unclean bodies turned my stomach. I gagged as I fought them. They dragged me through the dust and dumped me at his feet.
I struggled up only to be brought down again. Pressure behind my knees forced me to kneel.
I lifted my face to glare at the commander.
“Remove her hood.”
Someone pulled my cloak half off my shoulders in his enthusiasm. Red curls fell free in a wild mass about my shoulders.
Silently I cursed the color. If only I had been blessed with plain brown or even blond tresses, I could have hidden in plain sight.
“My Lady Brielle Solarius, I presume.”
Novels of Rhynan Book 2
The Earl of Dentin excels in his position as Securer of the Realm. But the king’s order to pluck an orphaned child from a loving home unsettles Dentin. When a dark-eyed woman challenges his honor regarding the mission, Dentin finds himself unable to justify his actions or get her out of his mind. Something about her lack of fear intrigues him.
Lady Elsa Reeve attempts to avoid the marriage of convenience her brother and mother demand of her. She understands the need to pay off her brother’s massive debt. She only wants her family to consider her wishes in the process.
As Elsa becomes further entangled in a snare of her brother’s creating, only one man defends her. But can she trust Dentin, her unlikely champion, and his motives? With a murderer on the loose, Elsa’s fate in jeopardy, and a traitor plotting against the king, Dentin finds his priorities shifting in an unexpected direction.
The fortress’ gate stood open and the portcullis loomed in sharp glory above the opening. We passed beneath the gatehouse without challenge though many armed men moved about with purpose and the gate master nodded us through. Riding through the shadow of the gate and into the spring sunlight, we entered a large, stone-paved courtyard full of children. They scattered before us, screaming, laughing, and scrambling about.
I pulled my horse to an abrupt halt, which he protested with a snort. Or perhaps he did it in response to a red-headed urchin who dashed up and regarded my horse solemnly through eyes as deep brown as the animal’s hide.
“Your horse is tired.”
Her hair identified her as one of Rathenridge’s daughters, but beyond that, I could not place her.
“He is.” I could think of nothing else to say.
“Arietta!” A young woman barely taller than the child appeared at her side. Laying a protective hand on the girl’s shoulder, the woman glanced at me. All I caught was a flash of dark eyes before she turned to address the child, leaving me to admire the curve of her cheek and the fall of glossy brown hair over her shoulder. “Ari, you cannot walk up to strange horses like that. It isn’t safe.”
“But the horse is tired.” Arietta tried to shrug away the woman’s hand.
“I think the man knows that.” The woman’s whisper carried clearly in the suddenly quiet courtyard.
Then I realized that I was sitting motionless on my horse while my men waited for the signal to dismount. I gave it impatiently and lowered myself to the ground as well. By the time I turned from my horse, the woman and child were gone. I glanced around only to glimpse them leaving the courtyard. The woman shooed the children ahead of her through the wide main door into the keep.
“Lord Dentin!” Rathenridge strode across the courtyard from the opposite direction to greet me, driving all thoughts of the strange encounter from my mind. “What brings you to our humble home?” Confusion and concern showed through the man’s tepid smile, but he gripped my hand in a firm grasp.
“I actually came seeking Lord Irvaine.”
Relief flooded Rathenridge’s face. “Tomas and Brielle are visiting as part of the celebrations for my sister-in-law’s wedding.”
“So I gathered from Horacian when I arrived in Kyrenton.” I eyed the crowded courtyard, thankfully abuzz again with activity. “So I followed them here. Might I beg hospitality for myself and my men? I can make arrangements in the town, but–”
“We have room enough for the king’s right hand man.”
The Making of a Man: A Short Story Anthology
(Novels of Rhynan)
This is a short story anthology.
The Earl of Dentin returns. Eight stories ranging from short story to novelette in length give us greater understanding into why Dentin is the complex and enigmatic man he is. It also includes new adventures that happen between Honor and the next Rhynan novel.
Passing the Mantle – An ill-fated hunting trip
Forging Friendships – Recruiting able-bodied men ineligible for knighthood
The Sword of Korma Monroe – A sword made for trouble
Turning Point – A duke and an earl plot treason
The Bittersweet Pear – A marital misunderstanding
Isbeth’s Redemption – Dentin doesn’t make a good first impression
A Squire’s Love – Reginald’s quest
Restoration – A trip to Braulyn produces unexpected company
Taking a position in the center of the yard, I began my warm up routine. The stretches, lunges, and blocks developed into a rhythm. My breath condensed into mist as it left my mouth. I relished the warmth spreading through my limbs. My muscles performed the routine with ease while my thoughts organized themselves into the equally familiar pattern of my prayer routine: confession, thanksgiving, and adoration. I was calculating how many times I needed to run around the yard’s perimeter when Alexter announced his arrival by clearing his throat loudly.
“Are you about through?”
“Considering a dozen laps next.”
“Care to spar instead?”
“Not quite the same thing, but I am amenable.” I dropped my stance and turned to where I had left my practice sword. “I was expecting Nigel. Did you see him on your way down?” I kicked up the sword and turned in time to catch the flicker of anger in my older brother’s face before he hid it.
“I doubt he will make it any time soon.”
I inspected my training weapon and glanced past it at Alexter. “What happened?”
“Nothing.” He swung his blunted weapon in a flamboyant whirl over his head before lunging forward to skewer an imaginary opponent. “He lectured me about being respectful to Father.”
“He has a point.”
“Don’t you start your sanctimonious moralizing, Si. You and I know you only say the words that are required to keep the peace and nothing beyond them. You don’t agree with Father any more than I do.”
“But I don’t prod him about his position at every opportunity. It is not the way to go about changing his mind.”
Alexter laughed. The sound was forced and hard. “What? The bumbling idiot who botches every social situation he finds himself in is giving me advice on the persuasive arts. You discussed the defenses of the capital’s palaces with Lady Elaina, the most beautiful and eligible lady in Rhynan.”
“She asked.” My face warmed, but I refused to let my features reflect the accuracy of his blow. Speaking with a woman was far different from persuading Father. One took the skills of small talk and gossip, neither of which I possessed. The other took logic, respect, and patience, which came naturally to me.
“Lady Elaina and Father are nothing alike.”
“True.” Alexter lunged at me. I barely brought up my sword in time to deflect a blow to my ribs that would have left me breathing uneasily for a week at least.
I retaliated with a weak swipe at his leg. He deftly stepped out of reach.
“You are going to have to do better than that. Hasn’t Baron Acklevain taught you to keep your opponent off-guard?” He set to driving me backwards across the yard. By the time we broke apart, I had noted that he still favored speed to skill and enthusiasm to accuracy. Though, his control had improved.
Rachel Rossano specializes in clean romantic fiction set in historical-feeling fantasy worlds. She also dabbles in straightforward historical romance and not-so-strict speculative fiction.
A happily married mother of three small children, she divides her time between mothering, teaching, and writing. She endeavors to enchant, thrill, entertain, and amuse through her work. A constant student, she seeks to improve her skills and loves to hear from readers.