#medievalmonday Claiming the Highlander

Today my Medieval Monday guest is Mageela Troche with her latest Highlander novel Claiming the Highlander. It sounds wonderful. Enjoy!

Blurb: Caelen MacKenzie married heiress Lady Brenna Grant in his youth for a large parcel of land and an earldom. Years later, Scotland trembles from the tales of the Viking Highlander yet Caelen must face his most challenging battle—returning home to the past he ran from.

Lady Brenna loves her husband. As her loyalties are tested, the life she was reared to live is in jeopardy. She knows no other life other than as the Countess and wife to Caelen. Snagged in the power plays of men, she will do anything to save that life and the man she loves.

From the rugged western highlands to the glittering Scottish court, they must battle the machinations of powerful men scheming against them.

ClaimingtheHighlander_MEDExcerpt from Claiming the Highlander:

1244, Scotland

His bride didn’t want to marry.

The King of Scotland wanted this wedding. Her holdings couldn’t fall into the hands of the Islemen, so they could not encroach into Scotland. His father, Laird MacKenzie, wanted this marriage to increase his holdings and bring an earldom to the family, raising their standing from barons. Laird Grant wanted this marriage to increase his ties to the powerful MacKenzies.

His bride wanted a berry tart.

The king, Alexander II, ambled to the aisle and stared at the little girl, tugging to free her arm from her nursemaid’s grip. Behind the king, lords and ladies scooted closer, stretching their necks for a glimpse of the wailing bride.

“After the ceremony, ye may have one.” Her nursemaid tugged on her arm to drag the wee lass to the altar.

“Nay.” Brenna Grant plopped down on her behind, falling in a mess of plaid that flopped her about and a lot of chestnut hair that covered her face.

Caelen wagered she wore a pout to match her crossed arms. The nursemaid lowered herself and wagged a finger at his bride. “Ye will be a proper lady and marry or ye shall not have any treats and shall be locked in the chamber.”

His bride pushed aside her nursemaid’s outstretched hand and ran toward the altar and beyond it. “I am running away!” She ducked under the altar.

The bishop sputtered. Spit flew from the corners. He goggled at the king. The nursemaid stomped her way to the altar and flipped up the frontal. “Get yeself out from under there. I na spare the rod, child.”

“Nay,” she screamed. She kicked the altar. The whole thing shook. Even the gold cross wavered, then righted.

“Ye wicked girl. Ye not be going to heaven and seeing yer mama.”

“Liar!”

Caelen snatched a tart from the table. He nudged aside the nursemaid and knelt down. “Here’s the treat if you come do this.”

Baby fine brown hair brushed her forehead. Her groomed brows furrowed over her narrowed eyes. Those brown eyes dominated her soft, full-cheeked face. Her lips were pressed into a stubborn line.

“She’ll get her dress dirty.”

“Enough. Take it and let’s wed.” He held out the treat. She stretched her neck out and chomped her teeth into the dough.

She climbed out on her hands and knees. Caelen took her dimpled hand. Caelen curled his hand carefully around hers. She held it so trustingly. He almost pulled away. This wedding would be done this day and two days hence, he would return to his foster home at Clan MacLean and return to training. He had to be a feared warrior like his grandfather and father so he could lead the clan one day.

He halted before the bishop and inclined his head. The bishop cleared his throat and watched Brenna eat her treat. She smacked her lips after each bite. Her nursemaid stretched out her neck and bore her black eyes into his happily eating bride. Brenna raised her nose high in the air and smacked her lips louder, even spitting out a chewed morsel. On her last bite, with fruit on the corners of her mouth, she was now his wife—the future Lairdess of the Clan MacKenzie and Countess of Wester Ross. She wiped her mouth with her sleeve, leaving a smeared red trail across the fine silk of her heather-hued gown.

“That was the easiest way to get a lass to the altar.” Laird MacKenzie laughed. The boom traveled through the great hall. Brenna threw back her head and let out some gruff ha-ha.

“He shall never have it that easy again,” the King added.

Caelen took her sticky hand and led her to the dais. He picked her up and set her in the chair. She climbed to her knees. “Thank you,” she said, her tongue peeking out from between the gap in her teeth. She rubbed her eyes and then sat back on her heels.

She squirmed to free her legs from under her. She tapped Caelen on his forearm. “I lost my shoe.” She lifted her foot and wiggled her toes at him. Caelen ducked under the table and spotted a crumpled fluff that must be her slipper. It was the softest, most girlish material he had ever seen. He hooked his thumb on the back and lifted it out. The thing barely filled his palm. Brenna propped her foot on the chair’s arm. Her little plump toes wiggled. He cupped her heel in his palm, sure he would break her. He stared at her foot, left and then right. How did he put it on without ripping the thing or crushing her toes? He slipped her toes in and then the rest of her foot.

She smiled before sitting back on her legs. She propped her chin on her dimpled hand. “What does a husband do?”

Caelen shrugged.

“My da tells my new mama what to do but you can’t do that. I don’t like that. You have to protect me and love me.” Her high-pitched voice held a thread of authority. “We can play but you can’t scare me. I don’t like that.”

“And a wife?” He threw out as she drew in air.

“Same thing.” She shrugged. “Don’t forget. You’re my husband and I love you.”

Laird Grant lifted his cup. “To the bond of MacKenzie and Grant. May we cut down our enemies and love our women.”

The revelry swirled around them. As the French wine flowed, the toasts from their future children to the great battles Caelen would fight bounced off the great hall’s beams. Only the feast of pheasant, deer, swan, and every sea creature in Scottish waters ceased their shouts. Halfway through the procession of delights, Brenna curled up in her chair and dozed off.

She was nothing more than brown hair, wide, brown eyes, and the pinkest lips he had ever seen. She was funny looking.

She was his wife.

He didn’t even have chest hair.

Buy Claiming the Highlander at http://store.secretcravingspublishing.com/index.php?main_page=book_info&cPath=10&products_id=937or http://www.amazon.com/Claiming-Highlander-Mageela-Troche-ebook/dp/B00N70RHWO/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1410414322&sr=1-3&keywords=mageela+troche

Mageela Troche loves to make new friends. You can find her athttps://www.facebook.com/mageela.troche  at her http://mageelatroche.com/or https://twitter.com/MageelaTroche

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#medievalmonday My Noble Knight

Welcome! It’s Medieval Monday and I have Laurel O’Donnell with her latest My Noble Knight. Enjoy!

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Blurb:

Layne Fletcher, the only girl in a family of three boys, has grown up learning to use a sword and joust, but she is not a knight. She and her brothers have been traveling from tourney to tourney to make enough coin to buy their own farm to shelter their ailing father. When her brother is found unconscious before an important tournament, Layne takes his place on the jousting field against…

Griffin Wolfe, the undefeated jousting champion. When he is unhorsed by a slip of a woman who is not a knight, he demands retribution. His honor will not allow him to let a woman be thrown in the dungeon and he has no choice but to pay her fine, ordering her to travel with him until her brothers can repay him. Griffin attempts to educate Layne in the art of being a woman, but finds he is attracted to her exciting personality and uncommon beauty despite her less than lady like ways.

But someone is trying to sabotage Griffin as he competes in the tournaments. Can Layne and Griffin discover who the culprit is while keeping their families safe and their growing attraction secret?

Excerpt:

Griffin stared down the field of honor at his opponent. Daunger sat as still as a stone, staring at him. He had not been in any other tournament, so this was the first time Griffin or any of the other knights were seeing him joust. He was well known for his participation in the melees, known for being rash and reckless and unpredictable. Despite his inexperience in the joust, Griffin suspected he was going to be a dangerous opponent.

Griffin lowered his visor. He had to stay focused, watch for an opening. But as soon as the visor closed and the cheers of the crowd muted, the image of a woman with glorious blue eyes filled his mind. Why had she been near his weapons? Was she really worrying about him?

He grit his teeth. He couldn’t think of her now. Firmly, he pushed Layne’s image from his mind. But it wasn’t as easy as he would have liked it to be. Her vision haunted his days as much as his nights. Everywhere he went, he looked for her, listened for her laughter. He missed her.

Adonis pranced nervously beneath him.

Griffin tugged on the reins, urging Adonis into a circle to calm him.

Carlton lifted his lance to him.

Griffin took it and spurred Adonis. Through the slit in his visor, he saw Daunger charging toward him down the field. He couched the lance, holding it firmly.

Adonis suddenly slowed and threw his head, balking.

Daunger’s lance struck Griffin hard in the shoulder. His body half turned in the saddle, and if he was any less experienced Griffin would have been unhorsed. His arm was numb and throbbing as he rode to the other end of the field. He tossed down his lance and turned Adonis toward his side of the field. He passed Daunger who had flipped up his visor and was grinning ear to ear.

Griffin did not look at the grandstand where he knew his family watched. He already felt the incredible weight of their presence.

His arm pulsated from the blow, but he pushed the pain aside. He pushed all other thoughts aside. Dispatch Daunger. That was all that was important. Winning this joust.

Griffin grabbed the lance from Carlton and whirled Adonis, spurring him on. No hesitancy. Just letting the horse and the lance become one with him. The roar of the crowd thrummed in his ears, a distance boom of thunder. His heart hammered in his chest.

Daunger came closer. Closer. His lance aimed at Griffin’s chest.

Griffin leaned in slightly. He would not be denied. Not this time. He was rewarded by striking Daunger near his stomach, Daunger’s lance struck his arm, succeeding in aiding the thrust forward. Griffin’s body twisted slightly, enough force behind the strike to throw Daunger up and out of his saddle.

Griffin’s lance pushed him back as Daunger’s steed continued on. Daunger fell back into the dirt and dust as Griffin rode past him.

Griffin rounded the opposite end. When he saw Daunger lying on the ground, he straightened. The roar of the crowd was thunderous, drowning out all else. He lifted his visor and waited until Daunger staggered to his feet.

As he rode forward, his body in rhythm with Adonis, he realized something was wrong with his arm. If he lifted it even a little bit, shooting pain erupted through his limb. He held it against his stomach and left the field of honor.

Here’s the Amazon Pre-order link – http://amzn.com/B00N8AIC4K

Hope you had fun!

Ashley

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#medievalmonday The Good Knight

And we are starting out another week with an amazing book here on the Medieval Monday Author Exchange. Up today? From Sarah Woodbury’s Gareth & Gwen Medieval Mysteries series, The Good Knight. Oh my goodness. A medieval mystery and I love reoccurring characters, don’t you? Enjoy!

The Good Knight

Intrigue, suspicion, and rivalry among the royal princes casts a shadow on the court of Owain, king of north Wales…

The year is 1143 and King Owain seeks to unite his daughter in marriage with an allied king.  But when the groom is murdered on the way to his wedding, the bride’s brother tasks his two best detectives—Gareth, a knight, and Gwen, the daughter of the court bard—with bringing the killer to justice.

And once blame for the murder falls on Gareth himself, Gwen must continue her search for the truth alone, finding unlikely allies in foreign lands, and ultimately uncovering a conspiracy that will shake the political foundations of Wales.

The Good Knight is free at all Amazon stores  Kobo  Smashwords  Apple iBookstore  Barnes and Noble  

Paperback at Amazon 

Paperback at Amazon UK

Sarah’s web page:  www.sarahwoodbury.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/sarahwoodburybooks

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/SarahWoodbury

Youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/SarahWoodburyBooks/

Excerpt:

“Look at you, girl.”

Gwen’s father, Meilyr, tsked under his breath and brought his borrowed horse closer to her side of the path. He’d been out of sorts since early morning when he’d found his horse lame and King Anarawd and his company of soldiers had left the castle without them, refusing to wait for Meilyr to find a replacement mount. Anarawd’s men-at-arms would have provided Meilyr with the fine escort he coveted.

“You’ll have no cause for complaint once we reach Owain Gwynedd’s court.” A breeze wafted over Gwen’s face and she closed her eyes, letting her pony find his own way for a moment. “I won’t embarrass you at the wedding.”

“If you cared more for your appearance, you would have been married yourself years ago and given me grandchildren long since.”

Gwen opened her eyes, her forehead wrinkling in annoyance. “And whose fault is it that I’m unmarried?” Her fingers flexed about the reins but she forced herself to relax. Her present appearance was her own doing, even if her father found it intolerable. In her bag, she had fine clothes and ribbons to weave through her hair, but saw no point in sullying any of them on the long journey to Aber Castle.

King Owain Gwynedd’s daughter was due to marry King Anarawd in three days’ time. Owain Gwynedd had invited Gwen, her father, and her almost twelve-year old brother, Gwalchmai, to furnish the entertainment for the event, provided King Owain and her father could bridge the six years of animosity and silence that separated them. Meilyr had sung for King Owain’s father, Gruffydd; he’d practically raised King Owain’s son, Hywel. But six years was six years. No wonder her father’s temper was short.

Even so, she couldn’t let her father’s comments go. Responsibility for the fact that she had no husband rested firmly on his shoulders. “Who refused the contract?”

“Rhys was a rapscallion and a laze-about,” Meilyr said.

And you weren’t about to give up your housekeeper, maidservant, cook, and child-minder to just anyone, were you?

But instead of speaking, Gwen bit her tongue and kept her thoughts to herself. She’d said it once and received a slap to her face. Many nights she’d lain quiet beside her younger brother, regretting that she hadn’t defied her father and stayed with Rhys. They could have eloped; in seven years, their marriage would have been as legal as any other. But her father was right and Gwen wasn’t too proud to admit it: Rhys had been a laze-about. She wouldn’t have been happy with him. Rhys’ father had almost cried when Meilyr had refused Rhys’ offer. It wasn’t only daughters who were sometimes hard to sell.

“Father!” Gwalchmai brought their cart to a halt. “Come look at this!”

“What now?” Meilyr said. “We’ll have to spend the night at Caerhun at present rate. You know how important it is not to keep King Owain waiting.”

“But Father!” Gwalchmai leapt from the cart and ran forward.

“He’s serious.” Gwen urged her pony after him, passing the cart, and then abruptly reined in beside her brother. “Mary, Mother of God…”

A slight rise and sudden dip in the path ahead had hidden the carnage until they were upon it. Twenty men and an equal number of horses lay dead in the road, their bodies contorted and their blood soaking the brown earth. Gwalchmai bent forward and retched into the grass beside the road. Gwen’s stomach threatened to undo her too, but she fought the bile down and dismounted to wrap her arms around her brother.

Meilyr reined in beside his children. “Stay back.”

Gwen glanced at her father and then back to the scene, noticing for the first time a man kneeling among the wreckage, one hand to a dead man’s chest and the other resting on the hilt of his sheathed sword. The man straightened and Gwen’s breath caught in her throat.

Gareth.

He’d cropped his dark brown hair shorter than when she’d known him, but his blue eyes still reached into the core of her. Her heart beat a little faster as she drank him in. Five years ago, Gareth had been a man-at-arms in the service of Prince Cadwaladr, King Owain Gwynedd’s brother. Gareth and Gwen had become friends, and then more than friends, but before he could ask her father for her hand, Gareth had a falling out with Prince Cadwaladr. In the end, Gareth hadn’t been able to persuade Meilyr that he could support her despite his lack of station.

Gwen was so focused on Gareth that she wasn’t aware of the other men among them—live ones—until they approached her family. A half dozen converged on them at the same time. One caught her upper arm in a tight grip. Another grabbed Meilyr’s bridle. “Who are you?” the soldier said.

Meilyr stood in the stirrups and pointed a finger at Gareth. “Tell them who I am!”

Gareth came forward, his eyes flicking from Meilyr to Gwalchmai to Gwen. He was broader in the shoulders, too, than she remembered.

“They are friends,” Gareth said. “Release them.”

And to Gwen’s astonishment, the man-at-arms who held her obeyed Gareth. Could it be that in the years since she’d last seen him, Gareth had regained something of what he’d lost?

Gareth halted by Meilyr’s horse. “I was sent from Aber to meet King Anarawd and escort him through Gwynedd. He wasn’t even due to arrive at Dolwyddelan Castle until today, but …” He gestured to the men on the ground. “Clearly, we were too late.”

Gwen looked past Gareth to the murdered men in the road.

“Turn away, Gwen,” Gareth said.

But Gwen couldn’t. The blood—on the dead men, on the ground, on the knees of Gareth’s breeches—mesmerized her. The men here had been slaughtered. Her skin twitched at the hate in the air. “You mean King Anarawd is—is—is among them?”

“The King is dead,” Gareth said.

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#Fallingintolove Author Kim Iverson Headlee

Today I welcome author Kim Iverson Headlee with her new YA paranormal historical romance entitled Snow in July. 

Blurb: Sir Robert Alain de Bellencombre has been granted what every man wants: a rich English estate in exchange for his valiant service at the Battle of Hastings. To claim this reward, the Norman knight must wed the estate’s Saxon heiress. Most men would leap at such an opportunity, but for Alain, who broke his vow to his dying mother by Kim Headleefailing to protect his youngest brother in battle, it means facing more easily broken vows. But when rumors of rampant thievery, dangerous beasts, and sorcery plaguing a neighboring estate reach his ears, nothing will make him shirk duty to king and country when people’s lives stand at risk. He assumes the guise of a squire to scout the land, its problems, and its lady.

Lady Kendra of Edgarburh has been granted what no woman wants: a forced marriage to an enemy who may be kith or kin to the man who murdered her beloved brother. Compounding her anguish is her failure to awaken the miraculous healing gift bequeathed by their late mother in time to save his life. Although with his dying breath, he made her promise to seek happiness above all, Kendra vows that she shall find neither comfort nor love in the arms of a Norman…unless it snows in July.

Alain is smitten by Lady Kendra from the first moment of their meeting; Kendra feels the forbidden allure of the handsome and courtly Norman “squire.” But a growing evil overshadows everyone, invoking dark forces and ensnaring Kendra in a plot to overthrow the king Alain is oath-bound to serve. Kendra and Alain face a battle unlike any other as their honor, their love, their lives, and even their very souls lie in the balance.

Excerpt: AS SIR Ruaud babbled in his semicoherent English about Sir Robert, Kendra fought a jumble of emotions regarding Ruaud’s squire. Not only was his station beneath her rank, his being Norman placed him beneath her contempt. And yet she couldn’t tear her gaze from him.

Several inches taller than Sir Ruaud, the squire was trim where Ruaud sported a paunch, and he radiated quiet dignity to counter Ruaud’s comic disposition. Both men wore their blond hair cropped close, but Ruaud’s darker locks didn’t curl about his ears and forehead in whimsical wisps begging to be touched. Ruaud’s nose bore the lumpish evidence of having been broken at least once, but no scars marred the squire’s face. And those eyes—merciful heaven, if the squire regarded her once more with those probing, sea-green eyes, she would faint from the delectable agony.
Relief washed over her when he broke eye contact and strode to the packhorse. Broad shoulders and sinewy arms rippled as he wrestled something from a saddle pack. For one wanton moment, she imagined being encircled by those arms, protected, cherished. Loved…happy…
She shook her head. One of his countrymen had murdered her brother. She must despise this man.
And yet that task was proving to be a major chore.
The squire turned and approached, bearing a small gilt box across both upturned palms. His smile, slow in dawning, nearly stopped her heart. He knelt upon one knee at her feet.
“My lady Kendra,” he said in a rich, refined voice, “Sir Robert regrets the circumstances preventing him from being with you this day. I pray you will not be vexed by his absence. It shall be short, I assure you.” His French-accented English was as flawless as his face. He rendered another heart-stopping smile, holding the box aloft. “Please accept this gift, bearing the de Bellencombre arms, as but the smallest token of Sir Robert’s esteem.”
He flipped back the lid. A gold brooch nestled in black velvet, its face enameled with a flower encircled by interlacing greenery, a white rose.
White for Del’s soul, or white for my promise to seek happiness?
Her hand trembled as she reached for the brooch. Embarrassed, she snatched it back.
White for the snow that shrouded the ground as he lay dying in my arms? Her vision blurred with tears as the scene returned in all its agonizing detail: the biting cold, the onion poultice’s stench, the blood bubbling from Del’s lips, the death rattle, the profound powerlessness and loss…
“Nay!”
She gasped, hand to mouth. Everyone gaped at her, except the squire. Disappointment and sorrow dominated his face as he averted his gaze. She hadn’t meant for the exclamation to slip out, and certainly not to be misconstrued as a refusal of the gift rather than a plea for deliverance from those dreadful memories, but she couldn’t explain without ripping open the wounds of her soul.
“P-please forgive me,” she forced past her quivering lips. She was unsure to whom she directed the plea: God, her father, Sir Ruaud, the absent Sir Robert, who would hear of her ill-mannered behavior and be wroth with her…or the last person on earth who deserved such treatment, the squire. The pain clouding his eyes wrenched her heart.
She spun, gathered her skirts in both fists, and fled for the stairs, sobs wracking her body for Del, for herself, and for the Norman stranger she had never intended to hurt.

 

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#medievalmonday Unbidden

Welcome back to Medieval Monday! I have an exciting new author (new to me) with the first book in The Evolution Series entitled Unbidden - Jill Hughey. Just the title sort of sends tingles of anticipation, doesn’t it? Enjoy!

BLURB

Rochelle of Alda, a feisty Frank noblewoman, expects to continue her industrious life managing her family’s estate. When her emperor summons her to the palace to meet the skilled soldier she is required to marry, Rochelle engages in a battle for independence from David of Bavaria. As her own deceptions multiply, she suspects another of also plotting against their marriage. To her surprise, and too late, David’s passion and patience begin to win her heart. Can their love survive the tangled web of her schemes and the secret adversary David refuses to see?

In this excerpt of David and Rochelle’s first meeting, David has arrived to take Rochelle to the palace for the betrothal, and is dismayed to learn her mother has told her nothing about it.

EXCERPT

David turned his head as the noise from the door escalated, unsure what he expected to enter his life. Given her mother’s shocking hair, he didn’t hold his hopes too high for the girl’s appearance, no matter what Theo said. The need for deception to even get her to Aix did not indicate a particularly biddable personality. Based on the increasingly violent rattling from the latch, she couldn’t even open doors for herself.

He was about to climb the steps to offer assistance when the door finally wrenched open, releasing a storm of muttering about city workmanship and rotten carpentry carried in a whirlwind of deep blue linen. She all but flung herself onto the narrow staircase. Not exactly light of foot nor entirely graceful, she rushed down the stairs, noticing his presence in time to abruptly stop on the bottom step.

She stared at him.

From across the room he could feel the chill of cold caution. Even so, his concern about her looks evaporated. She stood taller than her mother, clear skinned, with eyes of a soft green. The gold circlet on her head held her veil neatly in place, covering what it was intended to cover. An unexpected desire to see the color of her hair shot through him. He could only approximate it from her eyebrows:  not quite brown, but certainly not red either. And her female attributes remained a mystery to him as well, hidden under layers of varying shades of blue, though a heavy gold girdle studded with aquamarines suggested narrow hips.

“Mother?” she queried.

David reluctantly turned to Marian, who, it appeared, had been watching him stare at her daughter. A small smile quirked her lips. Her tightly clasped hands now lay on her chest as if in prayer. She did not find her voice until David cleared his throat expectantly.

“Rochelle!” she said too loudly. “Theophilus, the gentleman who has helped us so much, sent this burly young man to escort ye to yer audience with the emperor. He is called David. A Bavarian, no less!”

David raised his brow at her rather obtuse explanation of his role in the upcoming event. Marian gave him a slight warning shake of her head. Well, if the woman hadn’t the courage to tell this girl the truth of the matter, he certainly did. He didn’t know much about getting along with women, but he guessed that starting his marriage with deception – and necessarily short-lived deception at that – could not be wise.

As he opened his mouth to explain exactly who he was, Rochelle spoke, “I do not see why I need an escort. I found the palace yesterday.”  She lowered herself off the last step and strode toward him with a confident swing of her arms. “But if Theophilus wants to share his guard, so be it.”

Marian bobbed her head. “It was quite thoughtful of him.”

David held up a hand. “I am not Theo’s guard. And did you just suggest you were wandering about the city yesterday, alone?”

Rochelle studied him assessingly. Yes, assessingly was the only word for it and, God help him, she was lovely up close. Her not brown, not red brows arched over green eyes flecked with hazel. A dusting of freckles decorated a thin nose that flared pertly at the nostrils. Her soft pink lips were slightly parted exposing straight teeth.

“Not alone. Our servant, Gilbert, was with me.”

“Gilbert, the bag of bones who opened the door?” David scoffed. “He could not keep a street rat away much less a pack of thieves. From this day forth, you will not leave here without an able-bodied man at your side.”  She smelled nice.

Rochelle placed her hands on her hips, pleasantly outlining a slim waist beneath her clothing. “What has given you the idea you can make pronouncements such as that to me?  I will go where I wish, when I wish, escorted or not, as I wish!”  Her chest heaved a bit and there were breasts under that tunic, he could tell, and damn it when was the last time he’d lain with a woman?  He mentally bridled himself. First, betrothal. Betrothal was the task set before him today. It was time to attend to that task.

He stepped forward, purposely crowding her and letting his hard gaze bore into her fiery eyes, daring her to challenge him. “I will tell you what gives me the right –“

Marian made a strangled sound before finding her words. “Ye should be going!  It will not do to be late to the palace.”

Rochelle eyed first him, then Marian, before backing away to grasp her mother’s hands. “Mother, I do wish you would reconsider. Certainly the nobles have forgotten your circumstances by now. Father would want you to have the honor of meeting Charlemagne’s son.”

Marian laughed a bit shrilly. “No, that is no place for me. Ye shall have the glory today, daughter. Here is your cloak.”  She kept babbling as she closed the gold and aquamarine clasp at the neckline of the pale blue garment. “David will keep you safe. Do as he says, my dear. He is in charge of you today. And possibly tomorrow.”

Rochelle chortled. “Mother, do not be ridiculous. This will be over in an hour or two and then we are going home!  Home, where I also do not require an escort!”  She fixed David with a significant look before she walked to the door, wrenched it open with relative ease, and stepped onto the street without him.

For more about Jill Hughey visit her website at www.jillhughey.com.
Next up on Medieval Monday I have Sarah Woodbury – medieval mystery! See you then.
Ashley

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Time Enough to Love by Jenna Jaxon

I’m very pleased to be interviewing one of my favorite authors, Jenna Jaxon.  I read the first book in her Time Enough to Love trilogy and was hooked. I think you’ll be, too.betrothal

Welcome, Jenna. Thank you so much for visiting with me today. To start, tell us about your writing journey, how long have you been published, how many books and in what genres.

I have been writing for almost six years now.  I was fortunate enough to be published early on (in a small way) after only two years of writing with a short historical romance. Then I had the opportunity to publish two erotic contemporaries and finally my first full length romance novel, Only Scandal Will Do.  At the moment I have a total of eight (8) book published.  Three are contemporary romances and four are historical romances.  The eighth one is a compilation of short Christmas stories, both contemporary and historical.

And what do you like best about being an author?

The thing I like the best about being an author is being able to create something that transports people from their normal lives into another place and time.  I do this in the theatre when I direct, but with a very limited number of people.  As an author I have the potential to reach thousands of people with my books.  That is truly exciting

And I have to say you are very good at it. Are there any similarities between you and any of your characters? Or are there any characters you particularly relate to? 

onlyscandalbnThere are a couple of my heroines who have characteristics very similar to me.  Katarina, in Only Scandal Will Do, is actually sort of my alter ego.  As I wrote her, I began  to live vicariously through her, because she did all the things I would never have had the guts to do, such as fighting back against her attacker in every way possible.  I also wrote her as an excellent swordswoman because while I did fence for about a year a very long time ago, I was never very good.  So I endowed Kat with the ability to think on her feet and plan strategy effortlessly—something I could never do with a sword in my hand.

And Lady Alyse de Coursey, in Time Enough to Love, like me, does not like to be in the limelight and have herself be made a spectacle of.  I hate standing up before crowds—not a good thing when one teaches class every day.

That’s very true. As a teacher you are always on! Since you are a teacher how much time are you able to spend on your writing every week?  And what else, if anything, do you find time to do?

My writing time is tied intimately to the season.  During summer, when school is out, I write constantly or at least write and promote constantly. When school starts I have to fit the writing in when I can.  I either stay up late to write or get up early to write.  When I’m not writing, I’m usually in the theatre, where my favorite form of exercise is stage combat.  I was a fencer during my senior year in high school and I still love it when I direct a show that has swordplay in it.  I directed Romeo and Juliet last spring and had four glorious fights choreographed for me.  Love it!jennafoil

And is there anything you’d like to share with the readers, something you’d like them to know

I hope my readers will not be shy, but write comments and ask questions, both here today and on my blog.  I love answering comments and there’s usually no question or comment that I won’t address.  I’m particularly keen to know which time period my readers prefer for me to write in, as I’m coming to a crossroads in a very short time.  My next project can be either medieval, Georgian, or Regency—which do you think I should start next?

Hmm, very good question. Thank you so much for being here. I’ve enjoyed our little talk.

Now a little about her latest paperback which is a medieval, Time Enough to Love.

Jenna

TIME ENOUGH TO LOVE

Lady Alyse de Courcy is in love with Lord Braeton, a nobleman in King Edward III’s court and a reputed connoisseur of women. Fate, however, has decreed her betrothal to his best friend, Sir Geoffrey Longford—a handsome and imposing knight, yet hardly the man she wants to wed. But when Sir Geoffrey puts his mind to wooing Alyse, she finds herself succumbing to his seductive ways.

After a night of passion with Geoffrey, Alyse is eagerly looking forward to her wedding. But when Geoffrey is forced to marry another, a heartbroken and possibly pregnant Alyse finds herself in her own private hell. She must either gamble with her reputation or marry someone she does not love.  As Geoffrey’s best friend, Thomas has sworn to serve and protect Alyse, an oath now sorely tested when he agrees to marry her—in name only—to guard her reputation. Yet, as they grow closer, they discover a passion between them they cannot deny.

All three set out in the princess’s entourage and upon their arrival in France, Alyse’s love and desire for Geoffrey reemerges as strong as when they first met. Tormented by this revelation, Alyse is bitterly torn between the love of her life and her love for her husband.

Into this agonizing situation, the disaster of the Black Death rears its head, decimating the princess’s retinue and threatening all their lives.  Alyse, Thomas and Geoffrey must try to save the princess from the ravening disease but at a dire cost to themselves.  With her world plunged into chaos, Alyse struggles with her feelings for both of the men she loves.  But which love will survive?

When Lady Alyse de Courcy is betrothed to Sir Geoffrey Longford, sight unseen, she has no choice but to make the best of a bad bargain.  The hulking knight is far from her ideal man, and although he does possess some wit and charm, they are no match for the sinfully sensual man she secretly admires, Thomas, Earl of Braeton.  Who happens to be Sir Geoffrey’s best friend.  But at the court of King Edward III, secrets have an unfortunate habit of revealing themselves.

Sir Geoffrey, one of the king’s strongest and most skillful knights, finds himself smitten by Lady Alyse from the first, and vows to win her love, despite her infatuation for his friend. So when Geoffrey puts his mind to wooing Alyse, she begins to succumb to his seductive ways.  There is, however, always the shadow of her regard for Thomas.

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#FallingIntoLove Author Anita Philmar

Today I have Anita Philmar with her second book in the Naked Bluff Texas Series entitled In Too Deep.

Anite PhilmarBlurb: On the banks of the Trinity River, Sadie Pepperman is looking for a chance to escape the demands of her in-laws. With her husband’s dead, they want her to marry her brother-in-law so they can take control of her farm.

Suddenly, the peace of the day is shattered when her best friend steps too far into the river. Rushing to save her, Sadie meets a handsome stranger that ignites her dormant lust. She sees her friend rescued by a steamship and backs away from Logan Jansen, only to turn her ankle.

The agonizing pain leaves Sadie with the inability to walk. Needing help, she offers Logan a place to stay if he’ll help with the chores on her farm. With his agreement, Sadie adds another problem to her list. Now, not only does she have to worry about how to bring her crops in from the field and run her farm alone but she also has to fight her attraction to Logan.

Can Sadie end her in-laws’ interference in her life, run her farm alone, and give love another chance?

Excerpt: A smile bloomed on Logan’s face, almost arrogance, yet strangely appealing too. “How long has your husband been dead?”

“A little over a year, but he’s been gone almost two.” Sadie bit her lip and shifted her weight. A throbbing pain pierced through her foot. She cringed.

Logan tightened his grip and eased her to one side to stare at her feet. “Sugar, I think you may have done some serious damage to your ankle.”

“No, I have too much to do. I can’t be laid up with a sore foot.” Sadie recalled the last time she’d injured herself. She’d had to call on Richard’s family for help. The incident had driven home the need to distance herself from them if she wanted to keep the property her husband had left her.

Logan kept one arm around her waist and bent to examine her ankle. Warm fingers brushed her skin briefly before he rose beside her. “Sorry, but its already swelling.”

“Oh, horse feathers,” she muttered, furious with how nothing seemed to be going her way today. First the overbearing heat, then Carolyn badgering to cut loose and later getting caught in the river current, followed by Sadie hurting her foot and the onset of unwanted desire for a stranger.

“Sugar, horses don’t fly.” A teasing note bled through his tone before he scooped her up into his arms. “Luckily, I can carry you to the wagon.”

 

Find at: Amazon | smashwords | All Romance

Website:  http://www.anitaphilmar.com/

Email: anitaphilmar@yahoo.com

Blog: http://www.anitaphilmar.blogspot.com/

FB: www.facebook.com/anita.philmar

GR: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1329767.Anita_Philmar

Twitter: https://twitter.com/anitaphilmar

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#mondaymedieval Viking Fire

Welcome again to the Medieval Monday Author Exchange. Isn’t this fun? All these different authors with excerpts in one place. I bet your TBR list is growing just as mine is. Up today is Viking Fire by Andrea Cooper. It takes place in Ireland in 856! Neat. Enjoy!

 

roses2

BLURB: In 856 CE, Ireland is a land of myth, magic, and blood. Viking raiders have fought the Irish for over half a century. Rival Irish clans promise only betrayal and carnage.

Kaireen, daughter of Laird Liannon, is suddenly forced into an arranged marriage with her sworn enemy, a Viking. She refuses to submit. With no mention of love, only land and the protection of her clan, she endeavors to get her betrothed banished from her country. Will love find its way around her stubborn heart?

Bram, the Viking, finds himself without future or inheritance as a younger son in his family. A marriage to the Laird’s daughter would grant him land if he swears fidelity and if his men will fight along with the Liannons against any foe—Irish or Viking. However, the Laird’s feisty daughter only holds animosity for him and his kind. Is marriage worth the battle scars of such a relentless opponent?

With the blame for a rival laird’s death treacherously set against the Liannons, Kaireen and Bram must find a way to lay aside their differences as an unforeseen darkness sends death snapping at their heels.

Excerpt: 

“I renounce Father for this.” Kaireen threw the elderberry gown.

“Shame on you and your children for speaking such.” Her handmaid, Elva, gathered the damask and then dusted off the rushes. “It’s a wonder one of the clim has not scolded you from your hearth for such talk.”

“No, curse Father for a fool.” She plopped on her bed and a goose feather floated away. With a huff, she leaned against the oak headboard. Red curtains puffed like a robin’s chest around oak poles supporting her wooden canopy.

Her bare feet brushed against the stone floor.

“You know your da arranged a marriage within a season.” Elva smirked.

Kaireen shook her head. “To another land holder,” and waved a hand in disgust, “not t-this heathen. Twice they raided our land in the last month alone. Now father wants me as wife to one of them?” She clenched her fists. “No, I will not marry this Viking.”

Elva smiled, reminding Kaireen of the rumors of her handmaid’s uncanny foresight.

Whispers of Elva making strange things happen and often blamed as the cause of

Kaireen’s stubborn refusal to behave as a laird’s daughter should.

“You’ve not seen him yet.” Elva wiggled her brows.

“So?” Kaireen shrugged. “I would like to never see him.”

“Well then, would you not like to know if you have a handsome husband or not?” She waited for her response, but Kaireen scowled. Elva chuckled. “I would rather get a good look at him now than the morning after.”

Kaireen’s ears heated. “I am not marrying.” She shook her head for emphasis. “So there will be no morning, nor night, nor wedding.”

“If he is handsome, I may fight you for him.” Elva smiled, deepening the wrinkles around her eyes.

“Welcome to him either way.” Kaireen laughed.
Viking Fire Book Trailer:

Viking Fire Amazon: http://goo.gl/71VAsf

Viking Fire B & N: http://goo.gl/EvBxwf

Viking Fire iTunes: http://goo.gl/fQuKBd

Coming up next week, we have Jill Hughey! See you then.

Ashley

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#FallingIntoLove Author Ally Shields

My guest today is urban fantasy writer Ally Shields with an excerpt from her new book Cross Keys and as a special treat, she has a trailer for you to check out on YouTube but first her blurb:

Ally Shields

Conspiracy, murder, and magic…and the death of all they hold dear.

When the first wanderer—a common elf who isn’t authorized to use the portal—is spotted on the streets of New Orleans, the king assigns Kameo Ryndel to assist in the elf’s capture. But before she can intervene, humans with guns shoot the wanderer and steal his body. When Seth Lormarc, an Elite elf from a rival guild, appears at the scene, Kam suspects he is involved.

Seth Lormarc is in New Orleans to find out who was behind the portal breach, and his best lead is the intriguing Kam Ryndel. When he stakes out her apartment and finds her sneaking out in the middle of the night, dressed in black and leaping to the top of the nearest building, he knows there’s something unique about the beautiful elf. That kind of feat requires magic. Ancient magic.

As their paths cross during their investigations, they develop an irresistible attraction, although there’s little time for romance. The portal breach is tied to an illegal smuggling operation that has come to the attention of the human CIA. But the stakes are raised when Kam and Seth discover a band of conspirators and a rebellion deep in Elvenrude that promises nothing except destruction of their world.

Excerpt:

Kam and Caleb shared two dances—their feet barely skimming the floor as they swirled to the ethereal music of harps and flutes—then followed etiquette by mingling and dancing with others. This was strictly an Elite ball, attended only by the dark-haired members of the houses descended from the ancient elven warriors, often referred to and sometimes vilified in human lore as dark elves. If any of those old stories were true, it was hundreds if not thousands of years ago. Their descendants had evolved into a fair-minded upper class that still maintained the warrior’s energy. Tonight, however, none of their ancestry showed, as the women swayed decorously in their floor-length gowns, the men rather stiff in their unaccustomed fancy coats.

During a break in the music, Kam tracked down her sister. “Did Aaron McClanahan ask you to dance?” She kept her voice low.

Esty blushed and dropped her eyes. “He did. Oh, Kammy, he is so wonderful.”

“Wonderful? Oh, girl, you have it bad.” Kam cut off a laugh. Her sister’s hormones were at it again. At twenty-two, Esty’s body was still developing. She’d been in love three times in the past year.

As if to prove her point, her sister suddenly pulled on her sleeve. “Speaking of wonderful, Seth Lormarc just arrived. What a waste to give all that sexiness to someone I can’t have.”

“Hush,” Kam warned. “Mother would be appalled to hear you talk like that.”

“Well, don’t you think he’s sexy?” Esty wasn’t the least bit cowed by threats of her mother’s censure. “He’s more your age too.” Esty’s eyes danced. She loved to tease Kam about the five years difference in their ages.

“Stop that.” Kam’s grin belied the reprimand. “I would never think about a Lormarc in that way.” But in fairness, she turned to take a look at him. The man in question looked like he was approaching thirty and kept himself in shape. He was deep in conversation with his grandfather Harad, the head of the Lormarc family, and with his great uncle Jermon. All she could see of his face was his profile, strong, sculptured features that said don’t mess with me.

She arched a brow. Bad tempered, no doubt, and probably arrogant too. His black hair lay tousled in a casual style; his body muscled and taut, as if containing an energy resistant to control. He might be considered attractive, she conceded. If you liked the type.

She scanned the room until she found Caleb, charming, polished, each lock of hair carefully combed in place. Compared to him, Seth Lormarc seemed wild, untamed. Maybe a little uncouth.

Esty’s voice brought her back to the conversation.

“Well, I think he’s cute. Ooh, and there is his equally hunky cousin Rhyden.” Esty stifled a giggle. “I’d take either one of them. Who cares about some old family feud.”

Available at AMAZON 

About the Author:

Ally Shields was born and raised in the Midwest, along the Mississippi River, and considers herself a “river rat.” The setting and folklore of the river regions are often incorporated into her urban fantasy books. After  a career in law and juvenile justice, she turned to full-time writing in 2009, and Awakening the Fire, the debut novel in her Guardian Witch series, was released by Etopia Press in September 2012. There are now six published books in that series. Cross Keys is the first novel with all new characters.

When not writing, reading or spending time with family, she loves to travel in the US and abroad. Way too often she can be found on Twitter.

Website:  http://allyshields.com

Blog:     http://allyshields.com/blog.html

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/ShieldsAlly

Facebook: http://facebook.com/AllyShieldsAuthor

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6527209.Ally_Shields

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Ally-Shields/e/B009AKNDZU

 

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#medievalmonday Time Enough To Love

Welcome back to the Medieval Monday Author Exchange. Today I have one of my very favorite books Time Enough to Love by the amazing Jenna Jaxon – she writes in so many genres! This book was originally released as three individual e-books so that’s the way they’re posted here. Enjoy!

They are betrothed by law but can he make it an affair of the heart?

betrothal-with-logo1Lady Alyse de Courcy has fallen in love with Lord Braeton, a nobleman in King Edward III’s court and a man to whom she has barely spoken. Fate, however, has decreed her betrothal to his best friend, Sir Geoffrey Longford—a handsome and imposing knight, yet hardly the man she wants to wed.

When Sir Geoffrey is bound in betrothal by his father, he could not have expected the beautiful stranger to win his heart the moment they meet. Nevertheless, the fascinating Lady Alyse has done exactly that, and his feelings for her only grow as he learns more of her gentle yet spirited nature. But Alyse’s infatuation with his friend casts doubt on whether she can ever return his regard and their wedding day is fast approaching…

Will he have time enough to win her love?

Available in e-book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ARe, and Smashwords.

 

The worst betrayals come from within.

After a night of passion with her betrothed, Sir Geoffrey Longford, Lady Alyse de Courcy isBetrayal_logoeagerly looking forward to her wedding. But when Geoffrey is forced to marry another, a heartbroken and possibly pregnant Alyse finds herself in her own private hell. She must either gamble with her reputation or marry someone she does not love.

A reputed connoisseur of women, Thomas, Lord Braeton, has dallied with many ladies of King Edward’s court, although he has favored none. However, as Geoffrey’s best friend, Thomas has sworn to serve and protect Alyse, an oath now sorely tested when he agrees to marry her—in name only—to guard her reputation. Yet, as they grow closer, and Thomas discovers Alyse’s sweet but spirited nature, he comes to desire a marriage in truth. Can he overcome her memory of Geoffrey or is Thomas doomed to burn with passion for a woman he can never possess?

Available in e-book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ARe, and Smashwords.

 

Beleaguered3When death holds sway in the world, can even the greatest love survive?

Finally in France, Alyse and Thomas return to their roles as courtiers to Princess Joanna. Their passion for one another continues to smolder hot and deep—until one fateful encounter changes everything.

During a formal banquet, Alyse must share an intimate dance with Geoffrey, her first love. His searing touch proves Alyse’s love and desire for him is as strong as when they first met. Tormented by this revelation, Alyse is bitterly torn between the love of her life and her love for her husband.

Into this agonizing situation, the disaster of the Black Death rears its head, decimating the princess’s retinue and threatening all their lives. Alyse, Thomas and Geoffrey must try to save the princess from the ravening disease but at a dire cost to themselves. With her world plunged into chaos, Alyse struggles with her feelings for both of the men she loves. But which love will survive?

Available in e-book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ARe, and Smashwords.

 

TETL front

Time Enough to Love is available in print from Amazon.

Coming to the Medieval Monday Author Exchange next week is Andrea Cooper. It’s going to be good. Don’t miss it.

Ashley

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