Enjoy an Excerpt from Her Castilian Heart | Brilliant Historical Fiction by Anna Belfrage

Her Castilian Heart
Anna Belfrage

Blood is not always thicker than water…
At times a common bloodline is something of a curse—or so Robert FitzStephan discovers when he realises his half-brother, Eustace de Lamont, wants to kill him.
A murderous and greedy brother isn’t Robert’s only challenge. He and his wife, Noor, also have to handle their infected relationship with a mightily displeased Queen Eleanor—all because of their mysterious little foundling whom they refuse to abandon or allow the queen to lock away.
Eustace is persistent. When Robert’s life hangs in the balance, it falls to Noor to do whatever it takes to rip them free from the toothy jaws of fate. Noor may be a woman, but weak she is not, and in her chest beats a heart as brave and ferocious as that of a lioness. But will her courage be enough to see them safe?
Trigger Warnings:
There is some sexual (consensual) content. Also some violence

Her Castilian Heart is available on Kindle Unlimited.
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Enjoy an excerpt picked by Anna – in which Noor has to handle a very unwelcome guest
Agnes de Lamont was as dark as her father and brother—or so Noor surmised from the glimpse of dark hair offered by the young lady’s fussing with her veil. Just like Eustace, she had blue eyes, but fortunately for Agnes she had not been burdened with the impressive de Lamont nose. In many ways, the likeness between Eustace and Robert was remarkable: other than the nose, they shared the same slant to their brows, the same set to their chins. At least Robert didn’t have the de Lamont eyes, a bright, piercing blue, his being a softer shade, a colour somewhere between grey and blue.
“Have you ever met my husband?” Noor asked as one of her serving maids set down a pitcher of wine and some cups.
“Your husband?” Agnes’ brows rose. “Why on earth would I have met him?”
“He’s your brother,” Noor said.
“Bastard brother,” Eustace corrected. “Raised as a commoner. I’d never condone Agnes or Eulalia spending time with him.”
“No?” Noor raised her brows. “And yet here you are, in his home, more than happy to partake of his hospitality.”
“Your hospitality,” Eustace said, lounging in the single armchair. “He has nothing without you.”
“He has his good name,” she replied. “He has his honour.” For some reason, that caused Eustace to scowl. “And,” Noor said, getting to her feet, “he is sufficiently polite not to insult someone in their own home.”
Agnes flushed.
“I suggest you do not tarry,” Noor said, already making for the door. “Uninvited—and rude—guests will not receive much of a welcome here.”
She decided to wait them out in the chapel. Unfortunately, that did not work, Eustace’s large form blocking the daylight when he hesitated for a moment in the doorway.
“Praying?” he asked, doing a quick perusal of the little space. Evidently, he found it lacking, his mouth curling into a smirk. In difference to the hall, the chapel was suffused with light at this time of the day, and when Eustace took a step closer, she studied the yellowing bruising round his eyes and nose.
“What happened?” she asked.
He scowled, setting a hand to his nose. “It broke.”
“Just like that?”
“No. That bastard brother of mine broke it.”
“Well, he must have had a very good reason,” Noor retorted, and Eustace sneered.
“A good reason?” He sniffed. “We fought over a woman.” There was an expectant expression on his face.
Noor nodded. “Of course. Likely you were abusing her and he defending her.”
Two strides and Eustace had her crowded back against one of the painted pillars. “He’s not a bloody saint,” he growled. “He’s likely rutting with a Welsh wench as we speak.”
Noor threw a pointed look at the sunny day outside. “Now? I think not. Besides, I know Robert wouldn’t be unfaithful.”
Eustace laughed. “Such an innocent! The man’s been bedding camp whores for more years than you’ve been on this earth.”
“But not since he wed me.”
“No?” Eustace’s brows rose, and she flushed. “I recall him spending many a night with the fair Edith,” he went on. “Such a beautiful woman, wasn’t she?”
She shoved at him. “Edith is dead. And my husband has vowed never to betray me like that again.”
Eustace snickered. “Present him with a wench as fair as Edith and I’d wager he would.”
“Never,” she said, and he threw his head back and laughed. She squeezed by him and marched towards the door, only to find herself arrested by his hand on her arm.
“You’d have been better off wed to someone like me,” he said.
“Like you?” She shrugged free. “I’d rather wed a toad!”
He had hold of her again. “One day, you may have cause to regret those words.”
“Let go of me,” she spat back, twisting in his hold. If anything, her struggles had him tightening his hold, fingers sinking painfully into her arms.
“What would you do, I wonder, if I were to shove you back against the wall,” he proceeded to do just that, pinning her in place with his body, “and take you?” he finished.
“Scream,” she replied. “And geld you.”
“You?” He chuckled. “You stand no chance against me.”
“No?” She whistled. From the bailey came Goblin, and the moment she saw Eustace, she flattened her small ears back, lifted her lips to display her teeth and charged. Eustace shoved Noor aside and drew his dagger. “I’ll kill it,” he warned, and Noor had no doubt that he would.

Thanks Anna, such a great scene! I loved this novel, and my Five Star review on Amazon is here

Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a time-traveller. As this was impossible, she became a financial professional with two absorbing interests: history and writing. Anna has authored the acclaimed time travelling series The Graham Saga, set in 17th century Scotland and Maryland, as well as the equally acclaimed medieval series The King’s Greatest Enemy which is set in 14th century England.
Anna has also published The Wanderer, a fast-paced contemporary romantic suspense trilogy with paranormal and time-slip ingredients.
Her Castilian Heart is the third in her “Castilian” series, a stand-alone sequel to her September 2020 release, His Castilian Hawk. Set against the complications of Edward I’s invasion of Wales, His Castilian Hawk is a story of loyalty, integrity—and love. In the second instalment, The Castilian Pomegranate, we travel with the protagonists to the complex political world of medieval Spain. This latest release finds our protagonists back in England—not necessarily any safer than the wilds of Spain!
Anna has also authored The Whirlpools of Time in which she returns to the world of time travel. Join Duncan and the somewhat reluctant time-traveller Erin on their adventures through the Scottish Highlands just as the first Jacobite rebellion is about to explode!
All of Anna’s books have been awarded the IndieBRAG Medallion, she has several Historical Novel Society Editor’s Choices, and one of her books won the HNS Indie Award in 2015. She is also the proud recipient of various Reader’s Favorite medals as well as having won various Gold, Silver and Bronze Coffee Pot Book Club awards.
Find out more about Anna, her books and enjoy her eclectic historical blog on her website, www.annabelfrage.com
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