Rosehaven by Catherine CoulterRosehaven by Catherine Coulter

Rosehaven

byCatherine Coulter

Mass Market Paperback | June 1, 1997

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From the #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR.

When heiress Hastings Trent is joined with warrior Severin Langthorne in marriage, she must uncover the mystery surrounding a secluded estate known as Rosehaven.
Catherine Coulter is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the FBI Thrillers featuring husband and wife team Dillon Savich and Lacey Sherlock. She is also the author—with J. T. Ellison—of the Brit in the FBI series. She lives in Sausalito, California.
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Title:RosehavenFormat:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 6.77 × 4.3 × 1.08 inPublished:June 1, 1997Publisher:Penguin Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:051512088X

ISBN - 13:9780515120882

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from rosehaven Excellent story. I loved it.
Date published: 2017-05-12

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Early Summer, 1277, East Anglia, EnglandOxborough Castle, Home of Fawke of Trent,Earl of OxboroughHER FATHER DIDN’T LIKE HER, BUT HE WOULD NEVER DO THISto her, never.Even as she swore over and over to herself that itcouldn’t be true, she couldn’t stop staring at the man. Theair seemed to stir in seamless folds about him as he stoodutterly still and silent. She knew somehow that he wouldn’tmove, not until he had judged all the occupants of the greathall of Oxborough Castle. Only then would he act.His face was dark, his expression calm and untroubled.Sharp sunlight poured in through the open doors of thegreat hall, framing him there as he stood motionless. Shestared at him from the shadows of the winding stone stairs.She didn’t want to look at him, didn’t want to accept thathe was here at Oxborough. But he was here, and he didn’tlook like he had any intention at all of leaving.His eyes were as blue as the sea beneath the bright morningsun, yet they seemed somehow old and filled withknowledge and experience a man his age shouldn’t possess,and distant, as if part of himself was locked away. Shecould feel the strength of him from where she stood, feelthe determination in him, the utter control, the deliberatearrogance. He looked to her like the Devil’s dearest friend.His finely made gray cloak moved and swelled about himeven though there was no wind. The black whip coiledabout his wrist seemed to whisper in that thick, containedair. But he made no movement. He was still and calm,waiting, watching.He wasn’t wearing armor, the whip around his wrist andthe huge sword that was sheathed to his wide leather beltwere his only weapons. He was dressed entirely in gray,even his boots were a soft, supple gray leather. His tunicwas pewter gray, a rich wool, his undertunic a lighter gray,fitting him closely. His cross garters were gray leatherstrips, binding his leggings close.No, her father couldn’t mean this. Surely this wasn’t theman her father had brought to Oxborough to marry her.Hastings wasn’t afraid. She was terrified. Marry this man?He would be her husband, her lord? No, surely this couldn’tbe the man, more like he was an emissary from Hades ora messenger from the mystical shades of Avalon.Her father wanted to make this man of his line? Leavehim all his possessions and land? Bestow upon him histitles since all her father had produced was her, a singlefemale, of little account in the long scheme of things. Exceptfor this marriage. Except to bind her to a man whoscared her to her very toes.This was the man her father’s longtime friend Graelamde Moreton wanted her to marry? Lord Graelam was herfriend, too. She remembered him throwing her squealinginto the air when she was naught but seven years old. Graelamwas as good as family, and he wanted this unearthlycreature to be her husband, too? Indeed it had been Graelam,now striding into the castle’s great hall, who said thisman was a warrior to be trusted, to be held in respect andawe, and who held honor more dear than his own soul.Hastings didn’t know what it meant. Of course sheshouldn’t have heard his views, but she’d been eavesdroppingtwo months before, bent low in the shadows behindher father’s chair. Now her father no longer sat in his chair.He no longer ate his dinner in the great hall, in his finelycarved chair, served by his page and squire, both vying togive him the tastiest cut of beef. Now he sipped broth inhis bed, praying it would stay calm in his belly.The man’s cloak seemed to move again and she thoughtshe’d scream. All the Oxborough people in the great hallwere huddled together, staring at the man, wondering whatwould happen if he became their master. Was he violentand cruel? Would he raise his hand when it amused him todo so? Would he brandish that whip as her father had donewhen he had found that her mother had bedded the falconer?Hastings hated whips.The man’s cloak rippled yet again. There was an unearthlyshriek. She stuffed her fist into her mouth andsucked herself farther back into the shadows.The man slipped his gloved hand beneath his cloak andpulled out a thickly furred animal with a bushy tail. Therewas a low hiss of fear from all the Oxborough people inthe great hall. Was it a devil’s familiar? No, no, not that,not a cat.It was a marten. Sleek, thick-furred, deep brown in colorsave for the snow white beneath its chin and on its belly.She had a beautiful sable cloak made from this animal’sfur. She’d wager this animal would never have to worryabout being a covering for someone’s back. Not held sosecurely by this man. What was this warrior doing with amarten?The man brought the marten to his face, looked directlyinto its eyes, nodded, then very gently slipped it once againbeneath his cloak inside his tunic.She smiled, she couldn’t help it. The man couldn’t be allthat terrifying if he carried a pet marten next to his heart.Graelam de Moreton stepped up behind him and slappedthe man on his back—as if he were just a man, nothingmore than a simple man. The man turned and smiled. Thatsmile transformed him. In that moment when he smiled, helooked human and very real, but then he wasn’t smiling,and he was as he had been, a stranger, a dark stranger, witha marten in his tunic.The two of them were of a size, both taller than the oaksapling she’d planted three summers past, big men, too big,taking too much space, crowding everyone around them.She’d never feared Graelam, though. She knew from storiesher father had told her since she’d been small that he wasa warrior whom other soldiers backed away from if theycould, that her father had once seen Graelam sever a manin half with one swing of his sword and kill another threemen with the same grace and power. She had never beforeconsidered that a man could be graceful while he butcheredother men.‘‘Graelam,’’ the man said, his voice as deep and roughas a ship pulling at its moorings in a storm. ‘‘It has beentoo long since I have tapped my fist into your ugly faceand watched you sprawl to the ground. All goes well withyou?’’‘‘Aye, too well. I don’t deserve what I have, the luckGod has bestowed upon me, but I give thanks daily for mylife. I caution you never to call my face ugly in front ofmy wife. She has a fondness for it. She may be small butshe is ferocious in her defense of me.’’The man said, ‘‘She is a special lady, unlike any other.You know why I am here.’’‘‘Naturally,’’ Graelam de Moreton said. ‘‘I regret thatFawke of Trent is very ill and cannot be in the great hallto welcome you. Hastings should be here to greet you butI do not see her. We will sup, then I will take you to him.’’‘‘I wish to see him now. I wish to have this over withas quickly as possible.’’‘‘Very well.’’ Graelam nodded to her father’s steward,Torric, so thin Hastings had once told him that she fearedhe would blow away whenever there was a sharp wind offthe sea. Graelam then motioned for the man to precede himup the winding stone stairs that led to the upper chambers.‘‘Then,’’ he said to the man’s gray-cloaked back, ‘‘you willwant to meet his daughter.’’‘‘I suppose that I must.’’When they were out of sight, Hastings drew a deepbreath. Her future would be sealed at her father’s bedside.Her future and the future of Oxborough. Perhaps the manwould refuse. She walked into the great hall. She called outto the thirty-some people, ‘‘This man is here to see LordFawke. We will prepare to dine.’’But who is he? she heard over and over.People were whispering behind their hands, as if hecould hear them and would come back to punish them.Their faces were bright with curiosity and a tinge of fear.This was the sort of man who would wage a siege and showno mercy.She said aloud, ‘‘He is Severin of Langthorne, BaronLouges. He, Lord Graelam, and their men will dine here.MacDear, please return to the kitchen and keep basting thepork with the mint sauce. Alice, see that the bread remainswarm and crisp. Allen, fetch the sweet wine Lord Graelamprefers.’’ She shut up. They were all staring at her, all filledwith questions. She raised her hands, splaying her fingersin front of her. ‘‘I believe,’’ she said finally, ‘‘that LordSeverin is here to wed with me.’’She didn’t listen to the babble. She was frankly surprisedthat everyone, all the way to the scullery maids in thekitchen, hadn’t known who he was or why he was here. Awell-kept secret. She knew he had just returned from Franceto find his older brother murdered, his estate beggared, hispeasants starving, nothing there but devastated fields destroyedby marauding outlaws.Aye, he was here to wed her, the heiress of Oxborough.She’d heard this when her father had asked Graelam whathe knew of the man, what he thought of him and his honorand his strength. And Graelam had praised Severin, toldhim how King Edward had requested Severin ride at hisright hand when they had been in the Holy Land duringthose final battles with the Saracens. He had stood besideEdward on the ramparts at Acre.He was called Severin, she’d heard Graelam say, then hewould add as he rubbed his callused hands together, ‘‘Aye,Severin, the Gray Warrior.’’• • •‘‘Severin is here, Fawke.’’Fawke of Trent, Earl of Oxborough, wished he could seethe young man more clearly, but the film that had grownover his eyes was thicker than it had been just this morning,blurring everything, even his daughter’s face, which wasgood since she looked so much like her mother, and itpained him to his guts to look at her. Too much pain, andnow death was coming to him. He hated it, yet he acceptedit. At moments like this, he welcomed it, but first he hadto see this through.‘‘Severin,’’ he said, knowing he sounded weak and despisinghimself for it.The young man gripped his wrist, his hold firm andstrong, but it didn’t hurt Fawke. It felt warm and powerful,a link to both his past and the future, a future of manygenerations, and his blood would continue to flow throughthose warriors who would come after him.‘‘You will wed my daughter?’’‘‘Aye, I will wed her,’’ Severin said. ‘‘I thank you forselecting me.’’Graelam said, ‘‘I have told you she is comely, Severin.She will please you just as you will please her.’’Fawke of Trent sensed the young man freeze into stonewhen he said in that damnably weak voice of his, ‘‘All Iask is that you take my name. I have no son. I do not wantmy line to die out. You will own all my lands, all mypossessions, collect all my rents, become sovereign to allmy men. You will protect three towns, own most of theland in the towns, accept fealty from three additional keeps.I have nearly as much coin as King Edward, but I havetold him I am barely rich, for I don’t wish him to tax meout of my armor. Aye, you will wed my daughter.’’‘‘I cannot take your name, Fawke of Trent.’’Graelam said, ‘‘Severin, you need not efface your ownname. It is long known and you will continue to wear itproudly. Nay, what is to be done is that you simply add thefamily name of Trent to yours and the earl’s title to your currentone. You will then become Severin of Langthorne7Trent, Baron Louges, Earl of Oxborough. King Edwardagrees and has given his blessing to this union.’’It would serve, Fawke thought, wishing again that hecould see the young man clearly. His voice was deep andstrong. Graelam had assured him that he was of healthystock. He said, ‘‘My daughter will be a good breeder. Sheis built like her mother. She is young enough, just eighteen.You must have sons, Severin, many sons. They will saveboth our lines and continue into the future.’’Oddly, Severin thought of Marjorie. He rememberedclearly the glory of her silvery hair, her vivid blue eyes thatglistened when she laughed and darkened to a near blackwhen she reached her release. Then her image dimmed. Hehad not thought of her in a very long time. She had longsince been married off to another man. She was buried ina past that he would no longer allow to haunt him.He said to Fawke, ‘‘Graelam has told me her name isHastings. Surely a strange name for either a male or a female.’’Fawke tried to smile, but the muscles in his facewouldn’t move upward. He felt the deep weakness drawingon him, pulling him toward bottomless sleep, but he managedto say low, ‘‘All firstborn daughters in my line sincethe long-ago battle have been named Hastings in honor ofour Norman victory and our ancestor, Damon of Trent, whowas given these lands by William in reward for his loyaltyand valor, and, of course, the hundred men he added toWilliam’s force.’’His eyelids closed. He looked waxen. He looked alreadydead. He said, voice blurred with pain and weariness,‘‘Come to me when you are ready. Wait not too long.’’‘‘Two hours.’’Graelam motioned for Severin to follow him from thechamber. He nodded to a woman who went in and sat besideFawke of Trent, to watch over him whilst he slept.‘‘Aye, if we can find Hastings, it will be done in twohours,’’ Graelam said. ‘‘She is usually working in her herbgarden. Aye, it must be tonight. I am afraid that Fawkewon’t survive until the morrow.’’ ‘‘As you will. Trist is hungry. I would feed him beforegiving my name to this girl Hastings.’’ Severin reached hishand into his cloak and pulled out the marten. He raisedthe animal to his cheek and rubbed his flesh against the softfur. ‘‘No, don’t try to eat my glove, Trist. I will give youpork.’’ He raised his eyes to Graelam’s face. ‘‘No other ofhis species eats much other than rats and mice and chicken,but when I was captured near Rouen last year and throwninto Louis of Mellifont’s dungeon, he had more rats on hisdinner plate than a village of martens could eat. He didn’thave to hunt them down. All he had to do was wait untilone came close, kill it, and eat. After I escaped, he wouldn’thunt another rat. I believed he would starve until he decidedthat he would eat eggs and pork. It is strange, but he survivesand grows fat.’’Graelam said, ‘‘He poked his head out a few momentsago. It seemed to me he didn’t like being in Fawke ofTrent’s bedchamber. He quickly withdrew again.’’‘‘He remembers the smell of sickness and death from thedungeon. Not many of us survived.’’‘‘Aye, well, now he will eat all the pork he wishes.’’Graelam paused a moment on the winding stone stairs.‘‘Severin, I have known Fawke and Hastings for a goodlynumber of years. Hastings was a clever little girl and shehas grown up well. She knows herbs, and over the yearsshe has become a healer. She is bright and gentle. She isnot like her mother. As the heiress of Oxborough, she willfulfill her role suitably. I will have your word that you willtreat her well.’’Severin said in an emotionless, cold voice, ‘‘It is enoughthat I will wed her. I will protect her from the scavengerswho are already on their way here, just waiting for the oldman to die so they can come and steal her. That is all Ipromise—that, and to breed sons off her.’’‘‘If she were not here to be wed, then you would haveto become another man’s vassal. You would still be BaronLouges but you would watch your lands turn hard and coldwith no men to work them.’’ ‘‘They are already hard and cold. There is naught leftthere.’’‘‘You will have the money to make things right. Youwill have Hastings as your wife. She will oversee the managementof Oxborough when you are visiting your otherestates.’’‘‘My mother wasn’t able to oversee anything. When Iarrived at Langthorne, she was huddled in filth, starving,afraid to come into the sunlight. I doubt she even recognizedme. She is a woman with a woman’s mind and nowthat mind is mired in demons. She is quite mad, Graelam.She could not hold Langthorne together. She could not doanything save whine and huddle in her own excrement.Why would I expect anything different from this Hastings?From any woman? What do you mean she isn’t like hermother?’’‘‘Her mother was faithless. Fawke found she had beddedthe falconer. He had her beaten to death. Hastings isn’t likeher mother.’’ He thought of the girl Severin had wanted towed, this Marjorie. He had spoken of her long ago, with adimmed longing. Did he think little of her also?‘‘We will see.’’Severin was a hard man but he was fair, at least he wasfair to other men. Graelam knew there was nothing morehe could do. He missed his wife and sons. He wanted toleave as soon as these two were married. He rather hopedHastings would approve her father’s choice, though thatdidn’t particularly matter.

From Our Editors

Exigencies of birthright and privilege are the catalyst for passion, intrigue and obsession in Rosehaven, a novel from the best-selling author of the Legacy trilogy. Set in medieval England, Severin of Langthorne returns to his family's estate from the Holy Land to find his father and elder brother dead, his mother demented, and his land devastated. When the Earl of Oxborough chooses Severin to marry his sole heir, it's Severin's duty to protect his holdings, stay on King Edward's good side, and bring new blood to the Oxborough line. Catherine Coulter creates a tale you won't want to put down. At this low price, it makes a wonderful addition to any library.