The Freelancer by Brenda Hasse
It has been more than a decade since he ran away from his abusive father and turned his back on Wildenham, the kingdom he was to inherit. Now over a score in age, Lord William has earned the reputation as a renowned mercenary. Despite rumors of a restless spirit haunting the kingdom, he accepts a contract to return to Wildenham to kill Lord Clayborn, the man who murdered his father.
Lord Clayborn’s only child, Lady Christine, is a beautiful, high-spirited seventeen-year-old, who prefers to spend her time practicing with a sword rather than fulfilling her role as the Lady of Wildenham. Many suitors have asked for her hand in marriage, but she has refused every offer. Against her father’s wishes, she vows only to marry for love.
Meanwhile, in the neighboring kingdom of Thornwick, a notorious thief, Harlan, hides among the kingdom’s defenders in order to escape prosecution for his crimes. His vindictive nature draws the attention of his lord, who orders Harlan to travel to Wildenham and assassinate Lord Clayborn. Aware of her rumored beauty, Harlan demands Lady Christine’s hand in marriage as payment for the deed.
As the race against time begins, who will kill Lord Clayborn first? Will Lady Christine be forced to marry a man she does not love? Will Lord William have the determination to fulfill his contract and return to his solitary lifestyle as a mercenary, or will he accept his destiny and become the Lord of Wildenham?
248 pages; Paperback