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CHAPTER ONE




Beaumont, Northumberland

March 1603


“You are trespassing.”

Douglas Elliot threw back her head and laughed at the dark-visaged male astride the sleek black Thoroughbred. “Don’t be ridiculous. You cannot possibly own Hadrian’s Wall. Who the devil do you think you are?”

“Sir Lancelot Greystoke. This land happens to be mine.”

Douglas laughed again. “Lancelot? How ironic. Your namesake was known for chivalry not arrogance.”

Greystoke stared at the beautiful young woman standing atop the ancient Roman wall. Her flaming red hair was disheveled by the wind and she seemed to be relishing this confrontation with him. Her amusement was infectious. The corner of his mouth twitched. “May I know your name?”

“Indeed you may not, Sir Lancelot.”

His dark eyes kindled. He noted the fine wool riding skirt, the leather boots, and the green velvet doublet and matching cloak. “Then I shall call you Firebrand.”

She tossed her head and her glorious hair streamed like a banner in the wind. Douglas Elliot had more good sense than to tell the English noble her name, for then he would know she was a Scot who lived a few miles across the Border at Castle Elliot, near Langholm. The English and the Scots were born enemies.

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