The Crusader’s Heart (Champions of Saint Euphemia #2) by Claire Delacroix
Synopsis: A valiant warrior sworn to the order of the Knights Templar for life, Wulfe resents being dispatched on a quest to Paris just when the Latin Kingdoms are at their most vulnerable. He is determined to fulfill his duty as quickly as possible and return to fight for justice—but the courtesan he defends in Venice is resolved to remain at his side until she saves his life in return. The alluring and perceptive Christina will not be left behind, and soon Wulfe finds himself forced to choose between his vows and his heart…
Review: Wulfe is frustrated with his latest mission; he is not the leader of a mission, though he supposed to appear as such to protect the actual leader and his mission. It rankles that he has to take orders from an ex-Templar and he doesn’t understand why he wasn’t put in charge of delivering a treasure from Jerusalem to Paris. So he heads to a brothel for a night of pleasure to decompress. He pays for a whole night with a woman whose wit intrigues him. Christina hates where fate has led her to. She never wanted to be a courtesan, but when her husband was murdered on their way to Jerusalem fate forced her into the lifestyle of a whore. Her dodging her duties has come to an end and she is told entrain Wulfe or she will end up in the streets. He doesn’t trust women’s motives and she doesn’t trust a man’s word. Their adventure ensues and she works her way into his group of pilgrims, much to Wulfe’s frustration. He doesn’t want to want her, but he is drawn to her. The more she comes to know him the more she desires him. Their story is parallel to book one with Yasmain and Gaston’s story from The Crusader’s Bride. Christina comes to realize what the prize is, who is protecting it, and she uses her information to stay within Wulfe’s trust. When she confesses her love for Wulfe it pushes him away and she spends the rest of the trip to Paris longing for something more with Wulfe. Wulfe only wants to remain a Templar because that is all he has and pushes Christina away. He has nothing to offer her and when he delivers her home, even though she is pregnant with his child he leaves. Of course, this does have a happy ending and the story was enjoyable. She is a prostitute, so you would think that their passion would be intense from the get-go, but the passion is actually tame. I would have liked some more passion, more detail rather than just glanced over when it came to their night together in the brothel. It does get a bit better once they are traveling towards Paris and their romance was sweet and enjoyable to watch unfold. Overall a good story and an enjoyable adventure.
A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book and my comments here are my honest opinion.