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A Knight's Temptation    by Catharine Kean order for
Knight's Temptation
by Catharine Kean
Order:  USA  Can
Medallion, 2009 (2009)
* *   Reviewed by Joan Burton

Leona and her brother Warden Ransley have spent their childhood playing at Pryerston Keep, an English castle where their father, Lord Ransley, rules. In the summer of 1183, while her parents are entertaining guests, Leona is outside playing with the boys. At eight years old, she is strong and will challenge any boy in a game of sports. Aldwin Treynarde, a friend of Warden's, is attracted to Leona, even though he is only twelve years old. He admires her strength and stamina, finding her so different from the other girls.

While they are playing out in the forest, Aldwin ties Leona up to a tree, knowing he will come back and be her rescuer. Unknown to Aldwin, he has disturbed a bee's nest. As Leona is stung repeatedly, he does not hear her cries for help. When she is found, Aldwin plunges her into the cold river to relieve the pain and swelling. Soon she is taken away for medical help and Aldwin receives a reprimand for bringing dishonour to his family. That's the last time he sees Leona during their childhoods.

Years later, Aldwin is banished from home after shooting Lord Geoffrey de Lanceau with a crossbow and nearly killing him. Later Aldwin discovers he was set up by the deceitful Baron Sedgewick, who told lies about de Lanceau. Now the Lord sends out a call for a man to find a stolen ruby pendant before the Baron can claim it as his own. Aldwin accepts, hoping to find the ruby and make amends to de Lanceau who may award him with a knighthood.

Lady Leona Ransley and her aging father have the pendant. They want to return it and collect the reward money to repair Pryerston. Trouble has befallen the Ransley family. Warden has been killed in a crusade against the Turks and Leona's mother has died from a fall from her horse. Her father has retreated into a life of drink and despair. Leona arranges for a secret meeting with Aldwin in a local tavern to return the pendant and collect the reward. Things go wrong when they meet, and Aldwin (not knowing who Leona is) decides to kidnap her and deliver her to de Lanceau for punishment.

Leona is taken across country, fighting Aldwin every step of the way. When Aldwin learns her true identity he becomes her protector against poachers who are also after the ruby. Sparks fly as Aldwin confesses his heart to Leona hoping to win her over, and return the ruby to de Lanceau. A Knight's Temptation is a well written story of passion and adventure.

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