BORN OF NO MAN by Tracy Cooper-Posey
Once and Future Hearts. Book 1.0
Ancient Historical Fantasy Romance
A LEGEND BEGINS…
Can love triumph despite duty?
Lynette, companion to Princess Vivian, has learned to trust the princess’ visions and so, guards the dark and powerful secret of the man in the cave.
Cadfael the Black, battle commander to High King Vortigern, lives only to kill Saxons, to avenge the brutal murder of his family at their hands. At the court of King Gwilym, the very heart of Roman Britain, he meets the beautiful Lynette, a woman who could thaw his frozen heart.
When duty thrusts them together, Lynette’s secret clashes with Cadfael’s suspicious nature and threatens to tear them and the entire kingdom asunder. But, Lynette must keep her secret at all costs to protect Princess Vivian’s unborn child. A child who would become known as…
This story is part of the historical fantasy romance series, Once and Future Hearts, set in Britain during the time of King Arthur.
1.0 Born of No Man
2.0 Dragon Kin
3.0 Pendragon Rises
3.5 Once and Future Hearts Box One
4.0 War Duke of Britain
5.0 High King of Britain
6.0 Battle of Mount Badon
6.5 Once and Future Hearts Box Two
7.0 Abduction of Guenivere
8.0 Downfall of Cornwall
8.1 Touch by Maen Llia
9.0 Vengeance of Arthur
10.0 Grace of Lancelot
11.0 The Grail and Glory
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Loved this book!! It is a great start of a new series. The characters meshed so well together and the story line just hooked me from the start. I can't wait for the next book and to delve deeper into this great story.
Great book! This is a new storyline with the same great Tracy Cooper-Posey feel. It flows nicely and has great characters and interesting settings. I love how the legends and historical factual ‘bits’ are interwoven in the story. I am really looking forward to the rest of the series.
As soon as Emrys was mentioned I was hooked. Chapter 7 was a shocker, but I've learned with all of Tracy's books a shock can come out of nowhere & make the story.
This was a learning curve on top of the history I already knew. Cadfael a soldier who lost a lot, was about to try again, with the trust & love of Lynette. Love & trust won through in this brilliant historical read which had its historical values too.
Read from start to Finnish! Gripping reading, Excellent reading. Compliments to Author on a Story well written.
I have just finished reading this book in a few days and it is an Awesome story with adventure, intrigue, action, love, suspense, friendship and loyalty like no other that I have read! It is a very good book and I highly recommend it for readers who love good stories!
If you happen to see the name of Tracy Cooper-Posey, no matter what genre, Grab it and read it! You will not be disappointed. Any book of hers and you can’t wait for more !
I never want it to end can't wait to read some more.
This story is so well written that I could actually see what was happening in my imagination. It's absolutely brilliant. If you love anything Arthurian or even a love story this book is great.
Love this story.
Tracy Cooper Posey weaves a magic web once more. With Born of No Man we start on a journey along the road to the myths and legends of Arthurian Britain. Beautifully written and pacy, there is never a dull moment as we learn more of the principle characters and the attitudes of the time. Be prepared to read in one sitting as the book is unputdownable!
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EXCERPT FROM BORN OF NO MAN
COPYRIGHT © TRACY COOPER-POSEY 2018
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Kingdom of Dyfed, Britain, 440AD.
They came across the snared man in the hills behind Maridunum, well out of sight of the busy town. He sat on the sopping turf, his cloak pulled well over his head so the rain dripped from the edges onto the ground between his knees. One leg thrust out at an odd angle.
The rain was a steady hiss against the ground and hid the sounds of their approach. They were very close when he stiffened with caution. As people did at the approach of a stranger, he reached for his belt knife.
However, the knife and a good sword lay out of reach in front of him, wet and reflecting the grey clouds among the green growth.
The man’s shoulders hunched over once more. He brought the cloak around him.
Lynette stopped her pony with a soft word. She lifted her head so she could see beyond the edges of her hood to look at the woman on the other horse. Vivian’s dark eyes held the same far seeing, glassy expression that had been there when Vivian insisted they ride among the hills this morning, rain or not.
“See if you can help him,” Vivian instructed.
Lynette did not argue with the princess. When she was in one of these moods, there was no point. Just as Lynette had resigned herself to being soaked to the skin from riding out on such a miserable day, she now climbed from her horse with stoic silence.
“He won’t harm you,” Vivian added, her voice louder. Her tone was firm and distant. She spoke with complete certainty.
Cold fingers drifted up Lynette’s back, colder than the touch of the rain.
She loosened her knife in her belt, anyway, and moved carefully across the slippery turf toward the man. She crouched down in front of him, putting herself between him and the knife and sword.
Black eyes looked back at her. White, clear skin. He was young, yet had big shoulders under the heavy cloak. The cloak, Lynette noted, was made of good quality stuff. The fur lining it was thick, although it was bedraggled by water, now.
“Could you cut me free?” the man asked. “I can’t reach my knife.”
“I don’t know him,” Lynette called to Vivian. “He’s not from here.” She looked at the man’s outstretched leg. Around the heavy boot was a strip of leather, cinched in tight above the ankle. It had tightened enough to squeeze and crumple the boot, collapsing it against his calf.
The other end of the snare was buried beneath a rock so heavy it would require two men to move it. Local hunters used rocks to weigh down their snares in this way. They would leave the snares in place for weeks at a time, while long grass grew up around the edges of the rock, beckoning prey to nibble upon it.
The man must have struggled hard to yank the snare so tightly closed. The rain made it impossible to ease open the snare.
“I dropped my knife and sword when the snare tripped me,” he explained. His voice was strong and confident. “I won’t hurt you,” he added.
A dim shadow cast over them, then Vivian dropped down next to Lynette and studied the man, her hand on her knife.
He stared back at her, a faint surprised expression in his eyes.
Lynette had seen many men stare at the princess in that way and hid her smile. Poets had written verse about Vivian’s beauty and kings and princes from far and wide had sought to marry her.
Her father, Gwilym, had refused them all.
“It isn’t for lack of fortune,” Vivian had explained to Lynette when the last king had been sent away with his head down. “They are all as rich as anyone can be, these days. It is their political affiliations my father objects to.”
As to where King Gwilym’s true loyalties lay, no one knew for sure. He paid lip service to High King Vortigern, as did everyone, yet remained vague about sending troops to aid Vortigern’s efforts against the Saxons, despite his sons railing at him to let them go and fight.
Lynette had learned upon her arrival at Gwilym’s palace a year ago to step carefully around the subject of allegiances and the High King. Vivian remained unwed, offering hope to neighbouring leaders. As long her father did not pursue a match for her, there was no need for formal alliances that could not be broken later. While she was unwed, his loyalties did not have to be declared via a joining of houses through marriage.
In the meantime, Vivian bewitched every man who saw her. She was a Celtic beauty, with raven black hair, eyes that matched and clear fine skin. Her brows were two sweeping arches and her chin fine and pointed. Most men, when they saw her, missed the firm line of her jaw and the furrow that was quick to appear between the elegant brows.
The snared man blinked, absorbing the impact of her appearance. He waved toward his ankle. “Will you free me?” he asked Vivian.
“We don’t know him,” Lynette said quickly. “Look, he has a good sword and boots and that cloak is no simple war cloak.” There was little else she could see beneath the cloak. However, the wrappings above his squeezed boot were leather, not torn linen. The boot itself was sturdy, thick leather, with a solid sole and leather lacings. He wore bronze wrist guards about both wrists. “Why would he drop his knife and sword when he fell, if they were in his belt?”
Vivian looked at the man, raising her brow.
“Yes, I was holding them,” the man said with a touch of impatience. “I almost walked into the middle of a encampment of soldiers last night and backed away with my blades out. I kept them out, while I looked for shelter from the rain.”
It was a reasonable explanation. Soldiers, particularly the High King’s men, were inclined to act first, only asking for explanations later.
“There are king’s men on the road?” Vivian asked, her tone sharp.
“I did not say they were Vortigern’s people,” the man replied, his tone matching hers.
Lynette rolled her eyes. “Then it might have been anyone. Or no one at all.”
The man sighed. “There is a simple way about this. Take my sword and knife and toss them far out of reach. Then cut the snare. Then leave, before I can reach them.”
Vivian plucked her knife from her belt. “I judge you to be as harmless as any rabbit.”
“Vivian, no,” Lynette breathed. She shifted back on the grass and picked up the knife and sword quickly, and held them beneath her cloak. They were solid, heavy things. The sword’s hilt was inlaid with a great green jewel and wrapped with gold wire. It was no simple soldier’s tool.
Vivian ignored Lynette’s protest. She sawed at the leather about his ankle. Even with a sharp blade, the leather was reluctant to separate. Then, with a wet snap, it loosened and fell.
Almost as if the rain had been waiting for that moment, it stopped with a suddenness that made all three of them lift their chins and look up at the sky, startled.
The man laughed. There was a wary note in his chuckle.
Lynette pulled Vivian away, out of the man’s reach, as he stood and shook himself off. He stamped the foot that had been trapped and wriggled the ankle, testing it. He was taller than Lynette had guessed.
They waited warily while he assessed himself. Then he squared his shoulders. “You have my thanks. Now, if you will point me toward my weapons, I will collect them and go.”
Lynette glanced at Vivian. The princess nodded, raising her knife to a more useful height, in case he did try to attack them, after all.
Lynette lifted her hand, displaying the knife and sword.
“Ah.” He took a step toward her, then his knees buckled and he sank to the ground, one hand held out to save himself.
Vivian leapt toward him and pushed at his shoulders to straighten him and prop him up.
“I feel…strange,” he said, his voice distant. A great shiver wracked his body.
Lynette lowered the weapons as Vivian pulled the hood off the man’s head and rested her fingers against his high forehead. His hair was black and short…and wet. The fine cloak had been no protection at all through the long, rainy night.
“He is far too hot,” Vivian declared.
“We should take him back to the palace. The physician will be here tomorrow,” Lynette said.
“No. No physician,” the man said. “No towns.”
“No king’s men, either, I presume,” Lynette said dryly.
The man shivered violently once more.
“The hermit’s cave is up at the top of this hill,” Vivian said. “We can leave him there. I have herbs that will heal him. I can bring them back. Help me, Lynette.”
It was the same flat tone Vivian had used to announce she wanted to ride, this morning.
Lynette wanted to protest. They should not be helping this man. He avoided kings’ men, travelled well armed and didn’t want to be seen by ordinary folk. Helping him would entangle them in the danger that followed him.
Only, Vivian had made up her mind.
She was normally highly cautious of being seen as anything other than a loyal daughter. Sometimes, though, the way she had of glimpsing the future directed her to foolish and risky acts.
This seemed to be one of those times.
Vivian’s gaze held Lynette’s, willing her to help.
Lynette didn’t quite sigh. She enjoyed a close friendship with the princess, but she was still in service to her and sworn to obey her. Vivian’s unmoving stare was a reminder of that obligation.