Read Secret Song Online

Authors: Catherine Coulter

Secret Song

Table of Contents
 
 
Dear Reader:
 
Secret Song
, the fourth novel in the Song Series, came out in 1991. Like its first three cousins, I didn't change the story, just sang with joy at the gorgeous new cover.
In
Secret Song
, we get down and dirty. You met Roland de Tournay in
Earth Song
—a handsome man with a subtle wit and quick tongue who was variously an actor, an adventurer, a master of disguise. Now in
Secret Song
he finds his destiny when he must rescue Daria of Fortescue from a Welsh stronghold. She's as daring, as clever, as talented as he is. What's a man to do?
The link between them is as unbreakable as the fine forged steel of Roland's sword, but being obstinate, muleheaded—in other words, a man—he resists with all his might. You'll see characters from
Earth Song
and
Fire Song
stick in their oars to assist this beset pair, with varying degrees of success.
Do write me at P.O. Box 17, Mill Valley, CA 94942 or e-mail me at [email protected] to tell me which book in the Medieval Song Series you like the best. Actually, I'm hoping you have a really hard time selecting just one of them.
(Yes, I do have a favorite.)
Titles by Catherine Coulter
The Bride Series
THE SHERBROOKE BRIDE
THE HELLION BRIDE
THE HEIRESS BRIDE
THE SCOTTISH BRIDE
PENDRAGON
MAD JACK
THE COURTSHIP
 
The Legacy Trilogy
THE WYNDHAM LEGACY
THE NIGHTINGALE LEGACY
THE VALENTINE LEGACY
 
The Baron Novels
THE WILD BARON
THE OFFER
THE DECEPTION
 
The Viking Novels
LORD OF HAWKFELL ISLAND
LORD OF RAVEN'S PEAK
LORD OF FALCON RIDGE
SEASON OF THE SUN
 
The Song Novels
WARRIOR SONG
FIRE SONG
EARTH SONG
SECRET SONG
ROSEHAVEN
THE PENWYTH CURSE
 
The Magic Trilogy
MIDSUMMER MAGIC
CALYPSO MAGIC
MOONSPUN MAGIC
The Star Series
EVENING STAR
MIDNIGHT STAR
WILD STAR
JADE STAR
 
Other Regency
Historical Romances
THE COUNTESS
THE REBEL BRIDE
THE HEIR
THE DUKE
LORD HARRY
 
Devil's Duology
DEVIL'S EMBRACE
DEVIL'S DAUGHTER
 
Contemporary
Romantic Thrillers
FALSE PRETENSES
IMPULSE
BEYOND EDEN
 
FBI Suspense Thrillers
THE COVE
THE MAZE
THE TARGET
THE EDGE
RIPTIDE
HEMLOCK BAY
PRAISE FOR
NEW YORK TIMES
BESTSELLING AUTHOR CATHERINE COULTER
“Bawdy fare, Coulter-style . . . romance, humor, and
spicy sex talk.”—
Kirkus Reviews
 
“A hot-blooded romp.”—
People
 
“Coulter is excellent at portraying the romantic
tension between her heroes and heroines, and she
manages to write explicitly but beautifully about sex
as well as love.”
—
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
 
“Unexpected plot twists, witty dialogue, and an
engaging cast of characters.”—
Publishers Weekly
 
“Catherine Coulter delivers . . . straightforward, fastpaced
romance.”—
Minneapolis Star Tribune
 
“Sexy.”—
Booklist
 
“Coulter's characters quickly come alive and draw
the reader into the story. You root for the good
guys and hiss for the bad guys. When you have to
put the book down for a while, you can hardly
wait to get back and see what's going on.”
—
The Sunday Oklahoman
 
“Charm, wit, and intrigue. . . . Sure to keep readers
turning the pages.”—
Naples Daily News
SIGNET
Published by New American Library, a division of
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street,
New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.
Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand,
London WC2R 0RL, England
Penguin Books Australia Ltd, 250 Camberwell Road,
Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia
Penguin Books Canada Ltd, 10 Alcorn Avenue,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4V 3B2
Penguin Books (N.Z.) Ltd, Cnr Rosedale and Airborne Roads,
Albany, Auckland 1310, New Zealand
Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices:
80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Published by Signet, an imprint of New American Library,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. Previously published in
an Onyx edition.
First Signet Printing, March 1999
 
Copyright © Catherine Coulter, 1991
All rights reserved
REGISTERED TRADEMARK—MARCA REGISTRADA
 
Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
PUBLISHER'S NOTE
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
BOOKS ARE AVAILABLE AT QUANTITY DISCOUNTS WHEN USED TO PROMOTE PRODUCTS OR SERVICES. FOR INFORMATION PLEASE WRITE TO PREMIUM MARKETING DIVISION, PENGUIN GROUP (USA) INC., 375 HUDSON STREET, NEW YORK, NEW YORK 10014.
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eISBN : 978-1-440-65752-8

http://us.penguingroup.com

To my parents, Charles and Elizabeth Coulter,
who passed along what talent genes I can lay claim to.
All my love and thanks.
PROLOGUE
Near Grainsworth Abbey
March 1275
Daria wished the heavy clouds overhead would free the snow. She wanted the misery of freezing snow blowing into her face, stinging her eyes, mixing with the burning tears.
But as the afternoon lengthened, the weather simply grew colder, the wind more vicious, twisting and ripping through the few naked-branched oak trees that lined the narrow road, but it didn't snow.
She hunched down in her miniver-lined cloak and closed her eyes. Her mare, Henrietta, plodded onward, her head bowed, keeping rhythm with the destrier's pace ahead of her. Every few minutes, Drake, Lord Damon's master-at-arms, would swivel about to see that she still rode docilely behind him, that she hadn't somehow fled without him noticing, that she was keeping herself silent and submissive and obedient. Drake wasn't a bad man, or cruel, but he was her uncle's minion, and he always carried out his master's orders without hesitation or question. Also, she knew, it would never occur to him to question his master's right to dispose of his niece in any way that suited him. She was naught but a female and thus all decisions were made for her and around her.
She had no choices. She knew now that she'd never had a choice. She simply hadn't realized it so starkly before. Before, Daria, the child, had had to obey only occasional commands from her uncle, nothing of the magnitude that would make her want to crawl away and die. After all, what could a man want with a child? But now she was seventeen, more than old enough to be weighed and judged and a value set on her. She was no longer a child and her uncle had seen it and acted on it. A girl went from her father—or in this case, her uncle—to her husband. From one man to another. Chattel of one man to be chattel of another. No choice, no argument. It was as the man dictated, as the man ordered. She felt tears again, and hated them, for crying was useless. Crying meant that there was hope, and there wasn't any of that to be had.
Daria dashed her palm over her eyes, and when she opened them again she saw in her mind's eye her uncle Damon, as clear to her as the armored back of Drake, who rode directly in front of her. She saw him in his bedchamber and she heard his voice, deep and clear and indifferent, his words of a month ago still as fresh as if he'd spoken them but moments before. No, she thought now, he hadn't been indifferent, not at all. It had been an act. He'd been looking forward to this—to humiliating her and then telling her what he'd planned for her. No, her uncle was never indifferent in his cruelty. He relished it.
He'd been sitting up in his fur-covered bed, Cora, one of the castle serving wenches, naked beside him. Upon Daria's entrance into Lord Damon's bedchamber, Cora had giggled and slithered down beside him, pulling the white rabbit furs over her naked shoulders. He appeared not to care that the furs left his own chest bare. He appeared not to care that he was naked and in his bed with his mistress in front of his niece. Of course he'd planned it. There was no doubt in her mind. Daria had said nothing, merely waited for him to tell her why he'd sent for her. He in turn was silent for many moments, negligently stroking his right hand over Cora's shoulder.

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