Ruby - Book 1 (Daughters of the Dagger Series)
himself to enjoy any of his wives. And he certainly knew
before he’d even married them that he would never love them.
Actually, he hadn’t been married to any of them for more than a day
before they were murdered, so it hadn’t mattered. Still, he’d made
up his mind to never love a woman again, after what he’d been
through in the past.
    Nyle had once fallen in love with a woman.
That is, Lady Jocelyn of the king’s court. Skin soft as satin,
blond hair fine as down, he’d courted her in secret, wishing for
her feminine beauty in his hands, her curvy body clinging to his,
making passionate love. By day he’d serve the king loyally, but by
night, he’d find himself in Jocelyn’s company. And one night they’d
made love, he not knowing that things were going to change from
then on. The next night he’d come to her bedchamber only to find
the king himself already in her bed.
    Though it pained him immensely to know he
could never again be with the woman he loved, he stayed on in the
king’s service though he realized she was the king’s mistress and
had never told him. Had he known, he never would have touched the
girl. He had risked his life staying, but he couldn’t bring himself
to leave. He was loyal to his king and stayed in his service, even
after Jocelyn birthed a baby and claimed it to be the king’s
bastard. He just kept his secrets to himself and said nothing.
    Jocelyn proved to have never loved him in
return, and also to be quite the little trollop. And when the king
found her bed already occupied with another man one night, she was
banished from his dwellings and the man was executed. But though
Jocelyn cared naught for the baby, never even holding it or paying
it any attention, she must have meant to roil the king before she
left. She told him the baby might not be his, but could very well
be another man’s instead. Nyle wasn’t sure if she meant him or yet
another, but didn’t want to stay to find his head at the blade of
an axe next, should she decide to talk. He tried to leave but the
king insisted he stay and protect his baby named Tibbar, as the boy
had taken a liking to him.
    The only saving grace was when Nyle’s father
passed away and he returned to Sheffield to claim the castle and
his lands. If only King Edward had let him be. But now, months
later, the king decided his wife was starting to ask questions
about the child. And until Edward could discover if the child was
actually his, he needed to find somewhere else for little Tibbar to
go. He ordered Nyle to take a wife, and maintain guardianship of
the child for now and raise little Tibbar in a guise as if the boy
were his own.
    If only he had been asked to go fight
instead, how simple that would have been. But of course he couldn’t
deny his king and because of it, he now had someone trying to stop
this secret plot and three innocent girls had gone to their deaths
in the process.
    Ruby yawned and stretched, looking upward
directly into his eyes. How innocent she looked with her soft brown
eyes smiling up at him. For some reason, even tho his past lover
had bright blue eyes and was far from innocent, he found himself
thinking of his beloved Jocelyn. It must have been Ruby’s blond
hair that reminded him of her, he thought. Though Ruby’s hair was
much lighter.
    Suddenly, Ruby realized just where she was
and sat up quickly. She jumped to her feet and backed away.
    “How dare you touch me, you cur!”
    The shrew was back, and in a way he was
glad, as it brought him to his senses. He took to his feet,
bringing the blanket with him.
    “’Twas you who touched me, sweetheart.
Matter of fact, you seemed to like it.”
    “I’m appalled,” she bit off. “How could you
think I like curling up to a murderer?”
    He had about all he could take of this
little chit. He dropped the blanket to the ground and grabbed her
by the shoulders.
    “I am not a murderer,” he shouted. “You will
stop calling me that anon.”
    The heel of her soft

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