“Defending Rhyannon’s Inheritance”. Book 2 of the "Elinor's Stronghold" series. Blurb:
Hated and incompetent Lord Jeffrey wants to marry Rhyannon, and her bad-tempered cousin, Coll, wants to steal her jewels. She needs a good protector.
Alistair has loved her faithfully for years, but he has no assets and can’t support them both. Lord Devon is a suitable husband, but does he even like Rhyannon? It’s a big challenge, but maybe together Alistair and Lord Devon can protect her and her jewels from Lord Jeffrey and Cousin Coll.
Meanwhile, winter is settling on the stronghold and Lord Jeffrey is attacking the people once again. And Cousin Coll is determined to get her jewels any way he can. Surviving the winter is hard enough to do without all these other things happening as well. Everyone in the stronghold is living on a knife edge. Alistair and Lord Devon focus on Rhyannon. They’ll love her and protect her—and each other as well.
“Lord Devon, you are the only suitable unmarried noble here.” Lord Rhys stared at the warrior. He was good-looking, broad of shoulder, and strong of arm. His hair was a pale gold, his eyes blue, and Rhys thought a lady would not find him unappealing. Certainly he was neither old, nor did he dribble.
“I don’t— I haven’t—” Lord Devon visibly pulled himself together and bowed. “Yes, lord, I will marry the Lady Rhyannon. It will be an honor. I should tell you, I was reared only with men and know nothing about ladies, but I shall endeavor to learn, and I give you my solemn vow to protect her from all dangers, not just Lord Jeffrey.”
Lady Elinor leaned forward across the high table. “Lord Devon, as a soldier you are used to sharing everything with your fellow warriors, are you not?”
“Yes, lady, of course.”
“And you know that the Lady Rhyannon and Alistair love one another?”
Lord Devon’s fair face colored red. He swallowed and said, “Yes, lady.”
“It is you who must marry her. You are noble and a fitting match. But there is no reason why Alistair could not assist you with caring for the Lady Rhyannon. As a soldier always has a man to watch his back, Alistair would be the one to watch your back, and Lady Rhyannon’s.”
Father Augustus drew in a breath noisily, but no one said anything. Then, to Rhys’s relief, Lord Devon nodded again. “That sounds reasonable, Lady Elinor.”
Rhys’s heart was pounding, the blood pouring through his body making him feel hot and cold all at once. Had his wife just said, in front of a group of men, one of them a priest, that Lord Devon should marry Rhyannon and then allow Alistair to fuck her as well? Yes, she had, and with a straight, innocent face. What’s more, Lord Devon had agreed! Never would Rhys have suggested such a thing, even if he’d thought of it, which he hadn’t. But then, he and Hammond shared Elinor, and that had been her idea, too, so he supposed he shouldn’t be too shocked she’d done it again.
Rhys lifted an arm, and Byram, the steward, came over to the high table. “Yes, lord.”
“Please ask Alistair to join us.”