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In ancient Britannia, the warrior who brought down the king stag was named the defender of the land.
Eartha’s brother Balen has been in love with Princess Galiene since they were children. Upon the death of the High King, the tribesmen of the realm vie for the throne, and with it, the hand of the fair princess.
Balen is desperate to win his lady, but a rival tribesman is equally determined to keep them apart.
With her brother, her dearest friend, and the country she loves all hanging in the balance, Eartha must do the unthinkable to ensure her brother’s victory in the stag hunt. Sometimes true love needs a helping hand...or some blood to be spilled.
Balen’s words became no more than whispers as the herbs in the tea started to do their job. Before long, he fell into a fitful sleep, still tossing and calling out to Galiene even in his dreams. But it was Eartha who clutched his hand and lovingly smoothed the hair from his eyes until at last he settled into a sounder slumber.
“I will not let you die, Balen,” she whispered, though she knew he could no longer hear her. “Nor will I allow you to lose that which you hold most dear.”
Eartha stood from the straw bed and stared into the fire. Suddenly her cheeks were blazing, but it had little to do with the warmth of the flames. T here was a reason Eartha had kept her brother’s injuries a secret. If anyone knew Balen was hurt, he would have been forced to forfeit his place in the stag hunt. But that wasn’t going to happen. Eartha was not going to let Arn win. For her brother, for her dear friend Galiene, but most of all, for the country she loved, Eartha had devised a plan.
“Hold on to your hope, dear brother. All is not yet lost.”