Eloise Hamelin of Lelleford has lived through some trying times of late. Her betrothed died at her feet on the steps of the church just as they were about to wed. Now her beloved father, Sir John has been charged with treason against King Edward, and has gone on the run after instructing Eloise to make welcome to the treacherous Earl of Kenworth who has accused him! And of all the Knights in his service King Edward has sent along the one man that Eloise both despises and desires, to see that Lelleford remains secure; the half-brother to her deceased fiancé, Sir Roland St. Marten! Roland, the very man who tried to ruin Eloise’s marriage before it had even begun!
Sir Roland St. Marten has pledged his allegiance to his King, and would go to Hell and back to do his bidding. That is exactly what the King has condemned Roland to by assigning him to protect Lady Eloise and her home! Eloise treats Roland not as her new Lord and master, but as a very unwanted guest, undermining him at every turn! In the midst of all the chaos surrounding her father’s alleged treason and disappearance, Roland and Eloise can no longer put aside their growing love for each other. With the situation as is with Eloise’s father, if they dare to develop a relationship other then that of protector to Lady it could lead to Roland’s downfall, and disgrace with King Edward.
Once A Bride by Shari Anton is a sequel to her bestselling An Ideal Husband, which featured Eloise’s brother, Geoffrey Hamelin, who plays an integral part in this novel as well. Eloise is portrayed as feisty and very savvy for a woman of her time period. Roland a well respected and battle honed soldier, displays a compassionate side, also unusual for a man of his times. His devotion and compassion for those close to him such as his brother, his squire, and his King, give Roland a depth that makes him truly a very likable hero. It’s these qualities in Roland and Eloise that draw them into a forbidden love, and gives the reader a well worth it read!