Lady Madeline's heart is not for sale…especially not to a notorious outlaw like Rhys FitzHenry. Yet Madeline's hand has been sold, to none other than this battle-weary warrior with a price on his head. A more dutiful maiden might cede to the Laird's command and meekly accept her fate, but Madeline has never been obedient. She decides to run away, though she never dreams that Rhys will pursue her. She does not expect this taciturn man to woo her with fanciful stories, much less that each of his enthralling tales will reveal a scar upon his shielded soul. She never imagines that a man like rays could imperil her own heart while revealing so little of his own feelings. When Rhys' past threatens his future, Madeline takes a leap of faith. She dares to believe him innocent - and risks her own life to pursue a passion more priceless than the rarest gem.
“A lyrical medieval-era romance!” —Publishers Weekly
“Claire Delacroix is always a winner for me with her tales of chivalry, passion and lush romance—I simply love her books. I found this one to be a great read, and recommend it highly to anyone liking a rousing, medieval-period romance. Five angels!” —Fallen Angel Reviews
“Ms. Delacroix creates an atmosphere so real that you’ll feel the wind in your hair as you race across the land with the protagonists. This writer is a genius at stirring the emotions of her readers and letting them share the excitement of the characters.” —Rendezvous
“Once again, Claire Delacroix comes through with an historical romance that does not disappoint…There are few medieval writers who can sweep me away as Claire Delacroix can. I cannot wait for the following books of this trilogy.” —Romance Reader at Heart
“Ms. Delacroix has painted a tale of love and romance fit to be framed…I quite literally devoured this book in a single day of reading. It was so entertaining and well written that I could not bring myself to put it down. I even forgot to eat because I was so wrapped up in this wonderful tale and, gasp, there was chocolate in the house!” —Coffee Time Romance
“After reading this magnificent book, it’s easy to see why Ms. Delacroix is considered one of the best medieval romance authors around. With careful attention to detail and a beautiful writing style, she whisks you to the Middle Ages for a grand romantic adventure...The Beauty Bride is a fabulous read!” —The Romance Studio
“Ms. Delacroix has a wonderful way of pulling you into the story…you will not be able to put the book down until you are finished.” —The Romance Readers Connection
“The Beauty Bride is a book that captures you from the first page…a magical and inspiring story. Four hearts!” —Pink Heart Reviews
“An exciting action tale fully packed with an assortment of well-defined forceful characters, both old and new…This is a prime example of the highly imaginative and entertaining novels Delacroix is celebrated for, in a stellar start to what looks to be a sensation new medieval series that is heading straight for my ‘keeper shelf’!” —Historical Romance Writers
“The Beauty Bride is a gripping read—a passionate, compelling treasure of a book." —Julianne Maclean, USA Today bestselling author
I’ve written many series set in my fictional medieval Scottish world of Ravensmuir, Kinfairlie and Inverfyre. This is the order in which the stories take place, although you can start with any series. I recommend you read each series in order.
There’s a tab on my website for ALL books in this world:
I. The Rogues of Ravensmuir
This is the first series to take place in this world. These three books are a bit more gothic in tone and less tightly linked to each other than the books in subsequent series.
1. The Rogue
Merlyn and Ysabella’s story is a second chance romance with a bit of intrigue and suspense. Their relationship is a class war - he’s the laird and she’s a village girl - but there’s an immediate attraction between them. Can Merlyn trust in love at first sight? Can Ysabella trust her rogue of a husband when he returns five years after their parting to ask for her help? This is the first book featuring Ravensmuir and in it, we learn the story of its sister holding, Kinfairlie.
2. The Scoundrel
Can a notorious bad boy like Merlyn’s brother Gawain be redeemed by love? In this story, Gawain meets his match, the enticing Eglantine, who is not just as adept a thief as he is but is prepared to seduce him to regain the prize she desires. This is cat-and-mouse story of action, adventure and intrigue takes us from York to the highlands of Scotland, to Eglantine’s home at Inverfyre.
3. The Warrior
At the end of The Scoundrel, Inverfyre is lost to the notorious MacLaren clan, but years later, Eglantine and Gawain’s son Michael - the Hawk of Inverfyre - returns to reclaim his legacy. He has need of an heir so he abducts Aileen to be his bride, never guessing that these two have shared a great passion in their past lives. At Inverfyre, Aileen is plagued by visions and fears she is going mad, while the Hawk is uncertain whether his beguiling new bride can be trusted—or whether she has let the MacLarens in the gate. This medieval Scottish romance has some fantasy elements as it’s a reincarnation story.
II. The Jewels of Kinfairlie
At the end of The Warrior, there is a family gathering at Inverfyre. We briefly meet Merlyn and Ysabella’s son Roland, his wife Catherine, and their eight children. This series begins several years later, after Roland and Catherine’s tragic death, when their oldest son Alexander suddenly becomes laird. The treasury is empty. The harvest will be poor. Alexander needs to see his sisters married as quickly as possible, but they wish to wed for love.
1. The Beauty Bride
Alexander arranges an auction for the hand of his defiant sister, intending to manage the list of bidders - but a notorious mercenary, Rhys fitzHenry, pays the highest price. This arranged marriage doesn’t begin well, as Madeline is a runaway bride, but Rhys pursues her, saves her, and tries to court her. I love that Rhys tells Madeline stories to win her heart, and that she quickly figures out that each choice of story reveals one of her husband’s secrets.
2. The Rose Red Bride
Alexander thinks he’s learned his lesson and is thrilled when Vivienne’s former suitor, Nicholas Sinclair, wants to claim her hand. It’s a little uncommon that Nicholas wants to abduct his bride, but Alexander is sure that Vivienne will think that a romantic gesture, and when the wedding is held in the morning, all will be well. But the highlander seeking Alexander’s agreement isn’t Nicholas - it’s his brother Erik in disguise, a man who needs a wife only because he needs a son to claim his legacy. He’s not counting on Vivienne stealing his heart, too.
3. The Snow White Bride
It’s Christmas at Kinfairlie and a mysterious noblewoman seeks refuge in the chapel. When the sisters learn that she’s a widow in need of protection, they decide to play a trick on Alexander and arrange his marriage. Eleanor thinks husbands are all the same, so is agreeable, although she isn’t counting on Alexander’s youth, charm, and desire to claim her heart. When her past catches up to her and Kinfairlie is at risk, how much will Eleanor sacrifice to see her new husband safe? What price will Alexander pay to defend his bride?
4. The Ballad of Rosamunde
Rosamunde, the pirate queen and aunt of the siblings at Kinfairlie, was adopted by Gawain in The Scoundrel and trapped in the realm of the Fae in The Rose Red Bride. In this short story, a friends-to-lovers story, Padraig rescues Rosamunde, his valor making her realize that she loves him, too.
III. The True Love Brides
At the end of The Snow White Bride, Alexander decrees that his remaining sisters will marry for love. The portal to the realm of the Fae has been opened, though, and the Fae king Finvarra desires Elizabeth. Finvarra agrees that he will abandon his suit if four of the siblings marry their true loves, although Elizabeth knows that the portal to the Fae realm has to be closed as well.
1. The Renegade’s Heart
Isabella is smitten with a rogue knight, come to Kinfairlie to demand the return of his family’s stolen treasure. She takes Murdoch’s cause against that of her brother, then learns that Murdoch has been claimed by the Fae queen - who holds his heart still. Can a mortal maiden defeat an immortal queen by winning Murdoch’s love for her own?
2. The Highlander’s Curse
Garrett is cursed to hear the thoughts of others as clearly as his own, a spell intended to make him an outcast so his legacy could be stolen. He finds solace in the company and the touch of gentle Annelise. Can Annelise’s love heal him so he can recover his stolen legacy and give her the home - and the husband - she deserves?
3. The Frost Maiden’s Kiss
Malcolm returns to Ravensmuir after years as a mercenary with a hoard large enough to finance the rebuilding of his legacy and his soul due to the Fae. When pregnant Catriona arrives at Ravensmuir, Malcolm knows he can give her a future with a marriage of convenience that makes her child heir to Ravensmuir. Catriona expects nothing of men, but Malcolm’s kindness and strength earns her love - and makes her determined to save his soul, regardless of the price.
4. The Warrior’s Prize
The mercenary Rafael thinks his companion’s sister, Elizabeth, could be an angel come to earth, and one who will hold him accountable for his sins. Challenged by her and enticed by her, Rafael offers himself instead of his comrade Malcolm and begins to change his life with his choices. Can he save Elizabeth from Finvarra? He’s determined to try, no matter what the risk to himself - and Elizabeth cannot resist a man who chooses nobly, just for her.
IV. The Brides of Inverfyre
There is one sibling left unmarried (Ross) and we follow him to Inverfyre, where the children of the Hawk and Aileen also need to be married.
1. The Mercenary’s Bride
This Scottish medieval romance is a Christmas novella, the story of a knight returning to Inverfyre to keep his promise to the laird’s daughter. Having been attacked and left for dead, Quentin is no longer the man he was and he blames the Hawk for the change in his fortunes. But his bitterness melts before the admiration of Mhairi, for the maiden he admired has become a beauty he would die to serve.
2. The Runaway Bride
Even though Aiofe is a beauty and an heiress, she wants to marry for love. Her marriage is arranged to the oldest son of the Hawk of Inverfyre, but she chooses to flee instead, hoping that his cousin, Ross, will be sent after her. Aiofe intends to claim Ross’s heart, no matter the price, for she knows with one glimpse that he’s the man for her. Ross is caught between his duty and his heart - and the wicked MacLarens who would use Aiofe as a pawn in their own plan to possess Inverfyre.
There will be more stories in this series, too. Most of the books are also available in audio.
There are Family Trees for Inverfyre, Ravensmuir and Kinfairlie available as free downloads in my online store. The links are on my website, right here:
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Deborah Cooke sold her first book in 1992, a medieval romance called The Romance of the Rose published under her pseudonym Claire Delacroix. Since then, she has published over seventy novels in a wide variety of sub-genres, including historical romance, contemporary romance, paranormal romance, fantasy romance, time-travel romance, women’s fiction, paranormal young adult and fantasy with romantic elements. She has published under the names Claire Delacroix, Claire Cross and Deborah Cooke. The Beauty, part of her successful Bride Quest series of historical romances, was her first title to land on the New York Times List of Bestselling Books. Her books routinely appear on other bestseller lists and have won numerous awards. In 2009, she was the writer-in-residence at the Toronto Public Library, the first time the library has hosted a residency focused on the romance genre. In 2012, she was honored to receive the Romance Writers of America’s Mentor of the Year Award.
Currently, she writes the Dragonfire series of paranormal romances featuring dragon shape shifter heroes under the name Deborah Cooke. She also is writing the True Love Brides series of medieval romances as Claire Delacroix, which continues the story of the family introduced in her popular title The Beauty Bride. Deborah lives in Canada with her husband and family, as well as far too many unfinished knitting projects.