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Medieval Monday: Conflict

It’s time for another Medieval Monday. This month’s theme is “Conflict”.

I’m delighted to share a wonderful excerpt on “conflict” in Ashley York’s, The Seventh Son!

TheSeventhSonFinalExcerpt:

What sounded like a bellow of rage brought immediate silence to all in the hall.

“Never!”

It was her father. She started toward the antechamber where the men had gone but Fergus held her fast. “Ye best not interfere.”

The men who had appeared deeply inebriated suddenly sobered, drawing their weapons, clearly unsure of where the danger lay. Doors slammed in the distance. Loud voices came closer. It was the Meic Lochlainn, not her father.

Fergus began to draw his sword but he was too late. The huge man closing in on her sank his dagger into the man’s chest without missing a step. The captain dropped to her feet.

“We need to see this consummated.” Aodh Meic Lochlainn replaced the bloodied blade and grabbed her by the arm, dragging her to the stairs.

Tisa looked behind her at Fergus, his blood spreading beneath him. She couldn’t speak. She couldn’t breathe. Her father came out of the anteroom. Darragh stood beside him.

“Father?” was all she could get out as she was dragged toward the stairs.

The crowd of strange men followed behind. She strained to find her father in the sea of heads but he was lost behind her.

“Nae. Stop. Where are ye taking me?” She pulled against the hurtful grip on her arm.

Darragh appeared on the other side of her and faced his father. “I will see to this, Father.”

“Are ye sure ye’re able to?” His words dripped with derision.

Tisa didn’t understand this interplay.

“Please,” she said. “My father.”

They continued moving to the top of the stairs.

“Release my wife!”

Darragh’s commanding tone brought a look of surprise from his father. They paused to face each other. His expression of surprise changed to one of respect. Tipping his head, he released his hold and raised his hand, palm out. Tisa rubbed at her arm.

“As ye will, my son. See to it then.” His jaw tightened, he moved in close, his eyes widened in warning. “Let. There. Be. No. Doubt!”

Blurb:

Drogheda, Ireland 1076

The sixth son bears a curse as certain as the seventh son bears a blessing. When Tadhg MacNaughton’s betrothed is ripped from his arms and married to another, he believes the legend is true.

Tisa O’Brien’s life slams into a downward spiral at the news she is no longer betrothed to the love of her life but to the tanist of a warring, prideful clan with dangerous political aspirations, the Meic Lochlainn. She faces her destiny with all the strength and dignity of her Irish heritage despite dealing with a husband who resents her, fighting off the lustful advances of her father-in-law, Aodh, and longing for the husband of her heart.

Tadhg MacNaughton makes a deal with the devil to ensure the survival of his clan as he is commanded to fight for Aodh who envisions himself the new Brian Boru, High King of Eire. Up close and personal, Tadhg must witness his true love’s marriage and remain silent even as it rips him apart. When a sinister plot to over throw King William of England led by the exiled Leofrid Godwin and Clan Meic Lochlainn comes to light, Tadhg is faced with saving his clan or endangering his sister and her Norman husband.

An Irish beauty and a warrior betrayed, doomed in love from the start or does fate have something else in store for them?

The Seventh Son Buy Link:  Amazon

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Medieval Monday: Conflict

It’s time for another Medieval Monday. This month’s theme is “Conflict”.

I’m delighted to share a wonderful excerpt on “conflict” in Rue Allyn’s, Knight Defender!

RUE ALLYN_Knight+DefenderHALFExcerpt – Conflict, His, Hers, Theirs

Mid-April 1295, the northwest coast of Scotland

“Unhand me.” She pushed against the massive chest and writhed in the arms cradling her body.

He gathered her closer, mashing her cheek against him.

For an instant, his blazing gray eyes held her spellbound as tightly as his strength gripped her body. Unable to look away, she shivered, but not with cold. The odor of damp wool and man nearly drowned her. All sound faded away save her own harsh breathing.

“Ho, ho!” His chuckle was impossible to miss. “So you are no dying, are you then? Well liars and deceivers must suffer the consequences of their actions.”

She refused to be intimidated. She forced her head away from him. “Is rudeness the customary greeting for your guests, Baron MacKai? I’ve a mind to refuse to wed you. Then King Edward will decline to pay you rent for docking his ships in your excuse for a harbor.

“You think you could resist me?” More chuckles shook his chest.

“It would be a small matter to deny an oaf such as you.”

Flames of some inner fire shone in his unyielding stare. She was unfamiliar with fear, but what else twisted in her belly and skittered just beneath her skin? She wanted to deny his effect on her but in all honesty could not.

“I could make you beg.” He growled low, like some big cat poised to pounce.

“Never.” She could be honest with herself about her body’s betrayal, but she’d plenty of reason not to give the churl any hint of her weakness.

His forward motion halted, his head dipped then stopped a finger’s width from her face. His gaze bored into hers.

Her breath froze at the frenzy of emotions she saw there. ‘Anger, threat, resentment, and something she could not identify. She refused to care. Her fingers itched to slap him, and she raised her hand.

“I wouldna, if I were you.” He anchored her hand beneath a brawny arm and started walking again.

“You’ll regret insulting me.”

His brows rose. “We’ll see about that. For now, I need you safely stowed away.”

“Stowed away!” He made her sound like bothersome chattel, useful for only one purpose. She squirmed and finally released her outer hand from his hold to beat her fist against his chest. “Beast! You will treat me with the courtesy and respect due a lord’s daughter.”

He made no response other than to quicken his pace.

She hit him harder. “You and your entire cowardly clan will rue this day.”

He stopped abruptly and shifted his grip. Her feet fell downward but found no purchase on solid ground. She hung suspended from the large hands thrust under her armpits. The heels of those palms pressed against her breasts, and heat flooded her body at the intimate touch.

“You, you …” He and every other MacKai disgusted her beyond words. Raising her head to berate him further, she stilled. Once more, the gleam in those stony eyes compelled her attention. The downward tip at the outer corner of his lids gave him a slumberous appearance belied by glints of indecipherable emotion. Those deceptive lids narrowed. She longed to hide but could not look away.

“Listen to me.”

His quiet words slid over her skin, causing a rise of goosebumps.

“You are naught but a troublesome woman. You have no power or authority here, so if you value your overly pampered English hide, you’ll no insult clan MacKai. Do you understand?”

She swallowed and nodded.

“Excellent.”

He tossed her over his shoulder, secured her legs against him with an arm, and continued walking.

“How dare…”

One of those huge palms smacked her rump.

“Oooo! I’ll make you regret you ever touched me.”

A second smack was followed by an order for silence.

Since her backside began to throb, Jessamyn subsided in favor of plotting retribution. She’d start with boiling in oil followed by a sound beating and end with banishment.

She was deciding whether or not to add tar and feathers when she heard the creak of leather hinges. They crossed a doorway, and she went flying through the air to land in a heap, face down on a feather bed.

“Dry clothing will be brought. Dinna imagine I care for your comfort. I simply canna be bothered to find another woman if you catch an ague and die.”

She struggled to right herself, sputtering and pulling her hair from her face. The brute deserved the sharp side of her tongue. She gathered breath as she turned to speak, just to see the coward disappear and the door bang shut behind him.

He was not getting away that easily. She leapt from the bed, ran for the door, and nearly jerked her arms from her shoulders when the wooden barrier refused to budge at her angry pull.

Dumbfounded, she could only stare.

He’d barred the door? Boiling oil and banishment are too good for him. I must see him drawn and quartered.

Blurb:

Baron Raeb MacKai is done allowing himself and everyone he loves to live in poverty and despair. His betrothal to a wealthy English heiress will solve a decade of problems. He will do everything necessary to defend his home and his country, but can he defend his heart?

Knight Defender Buy Links:

AMAZON   B & N     GOOGLE BOOKS     iBOOKS     KOBO     Crimson Romance

About Rue Allyn

When not writing, loving her spouse, or attending meetings, Rue travels the world and surfs the internet in search of background material and inspiration for her next heart melting romance. She loves to hear from readers, and you may contact her at contact@RueAllyn.com. She can’t wait to hear from you.

Author Links: Amazon   FaceBook   @RueAllyn   Goodreads   Author Travels Blog   Website

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Medieval Monday: Betrayal

It’s time for another Medieval Monday. This month’s theme is “Betrayal of any kind”.

I’m delighted to share a wonderful excerpt on “betrayal” in Bambi Lynn’s, Sirona!

SironaEXCERPT:

Ty stepped away from the Cleary lass, much to Rhain’s relief. He had been on his way to Father Baen’s apothecary when he rounded the corner and found Sirona in the man’s arms. The monster, dormant most days, rose up within him. If he had had a weapon, he would have attacked Ty on the spot. Rhain curled and uncurled his fists, ready to beat the life out of him.

“Doona fret, cousin. The lass is safe.”

“’Twas no’ her safety I was worried about.”

Ty fixed him with a look, the look of an elder who knew so much more about the world, despite his much younger mien. “Perhaps, ye should be. I caught Fergus assailing her, his intentions less than noble. If I had not come along when I did…”

Fury, violent and ferocious, welled up within him. “I’ll kill him,” he ground out through clenched teeth.”

Sirona seemed to get her bearings and spoke up. “Please, Rhain. I doona want to cause a rift betwixt you and yer brother.” She looked at Ty and placed a hand on his arm. “Thank you,” she said.

Rhain crossed the distance and put one arm around her possessively. With a sly grin, Ty pulled his arm from beneath Sirona’s touch. “Think nothing of it, lass. But doona be wandering about the castle alone.” With a curt nod to Rhain, he left them. The clack of his boots echoing down the length of the corridor as he disappeared around a bend.

To Rhain’s surprise, Sirona snuggled against him. He held her, savoring the way she fit him perfectly. Her slender body molded to his as if she had been created just for him.

“I am sorry I was not here to protect ye,” he said over her head. “I barely made the promise err I broke it.”

She shook her head. “Doona fash yerself. He dinna hurt me. Not really. Asides, I shall be going home soon. Your da promised.”

His heart tightened. Without a doubt, the best thing for her was to be gone from this place. But already Rhain dreaded her departure like the threat of plague.

Blurb:

She has the power to heal his body, but can she heal his soul?

Sirona Cleary tries to hide her unholy healing powers from everyone around her, denying her divine heritage even as she saves those who would see her punished. When she is kidnapped by a rival clan, she is sure her execution is near. Rhain Comyn is dying from a mysterious disease, and he couldn’t be more glad of it. After the atrocities he has committed, Rhain believes he has no right to a decent life and welcomes the ailment that leaves him with unquenchable thirst and hunger, extreme fatigue, blurred vision and ultimately drives him into a deep slumber from which no healer can awaken him. Can a witch from the clan of his enemy save him?

You can find Sirona here:

Amazon  Amazon UK  iTunes  Nook  KOBO

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Medieval Monday: Betrayal

It’s time for another Medieval Monday. This month’s theme is “Betrayal of any kind”.

I’m delighted to share a wonderful excerpt on “betrayal” in Ruth A. Casie’s, The Druid Knight’s Tale!

RuthCassie_DruidKnightTalesEXCERPT:

He stood by the stone altar. The mist thickened in deep pools and drifted to the bottom of the great sarsen stones. Churning like a phantom stew, fingers of mist crept up the stones, leaving a shimmering outline in its wake. The silhouette thickened, revealing the hooded forms of the Ancestors.

“Grand Master, who do you bring to the sacred circle?”

“The healer—” his voice boomed.

“Only you, the Grand Master, are permitted to approach us for our guidance.” The angry voice of an Ancestor reached his ears. “But we are forgiving.”

“I come to seek—”

“Before you tell us what you seek, tell us of your quest.”

A flicker of apprehension pulsed through him. He was certain Ellyn didn’t have much time and the full red moon hung large in the sky. Only a thin arc of sun remained on the horizon.

He removed the wrapped cloth from his pouch and laid the package on the altar stone. “I have passed your test.” He did not expose the mistletoe. He didn’t want the Ancestors to see the dead plant, not until he had Ellyn safely back to Avebury. After that he didn’t care.

“You have found your mate?”

Max hesitated. “Perhaps. I have much to tell you, but before I begin I ask for a boon.” He glanced over his shoulder. She waited for him.

“What do you seek?” the Ancestors rumbled with a cold, hard voice.

“Ellyn of Brodgar is ill. I ask you to help her. She is honorable and has served the people well and denies no one at her own expense.”

“You are the people’s Grand Master. She is your responsibility. We can only guide and help those who have passed on to our world.”

“No,” he insisted, pounding his fist on the stone altar. How could this be? For the first time in his life he felt helpless. He could not lose her. He knew if he did he would lose a part of himself. “She has done everything—”

“It is not for us to interfere.” The voice was calm and without empathy.

“You do not interfere? You demanded I find a mate.”

There was no response.

He tried to keep his control. “She told me she was compelled to come here. Why?”

Still they did not respond.

Anger surged through him. “You brought her here. She needs your help. She’s dying.” He pointed to where he left her.

“Only you can help her, Grand Master.”

“Me?” He stopped short. “How? If I could she’d already be cured.”

“Why do you care what happens to her? She is just a simple Orkney witch. Nothing else.”

Ideas flashed across Max’s mind. If he was the only one that could help her the answer must lie in his greatest gift. His magick. He must get her back to Avebury, back to his magick, before the sun set.

“Here.” He unrolled the mistletoe. “Here is your talisman. Send us back to Avebury,” he demanded.

“So, you found your mate,” the Ancestor said with a satisfied voice.

Max looked at the healthy mistletoe and gaped in astonishment. The plant was dead when he’d last looked. How could it now be alive? Icy fear raced up his back. He glanced at Ellyn on the far side of the circle. Her kisses. He had teased her and it was her kiss all along.

“You hold her destiny in your hands.”

Blurb:

After a year of searching, Maximilian, the druid Grand Master, finds the sacred mistletoe destined for his soul mate shriveled and dead. He must journey to the Otherworld and tell the Ancestors of his failure.

Ellyn of Brodgar is an exceptional healer. But each healing kiss depletes her energy and brings her closer to death. Ellyn needs to find her own healing power before it’s too late.

Max and Ellyn are tossed into the Otherworld and have until the third sunset to appeal to the Ancestors or be lost forever. Together they find love, and as the last rays of the third sunset slip away, both are willing to sacrifice their hopes, dreams, and lives for the other. Do they have what it takes to escape the Otherworld and begin their life together?

You can find The Druid Knight’s Tale here:

Amazon   BN   iBook   KOBO

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Medieval Monday: Betrayal

It’s time for another Medieval Monday. This month’s theme is “Betrayal of any kind”.

I’m delighted to share a wonderful excerpt on “betrayal” in Cathy MacRae’s, The Highlander’s French Bride!

TheHighlandersFrenchBride_high+resEXCERPT:

Melisende’s arms fell to her sides. “Why would you go back to such a life?”

“To the parties,” Lucienne answered, “and the gowns of fabrics so fantastic they make you cry from the sheer pleasure of them. Laces so delicate they can scarcely withstand the needle. Embroidery so fine it takes four seamstresses a week just to produce one sleeve.” Her eyes closed and rapture lit her face. “The men so courteous, so eager to woo me. Dancing, stealing kisses behind the fountain. They tell me how beautiful I am, how much they desire me.” She opened her eyes, settling her gaze on Melisende’s shocked face.

“Once Raul began annulment proceedings, their interest increased a hundredfold. I will have no lack of sponsors once I return.”

“That is a shameful way to live, and you know it, Lucienne.” Tears burned in Melisende’s eyes. “How can you do this to yourself?” She swept a hand toward the bed. “To her?”

The scorn returned to Lucienne’s face, casting ugly shadows beneath her high cheeks. “You think you know what is right for me. That I should be exactly like you, drowning behind your polite façade. You believe everything is perfect in your little world with your adorable new husband who loves you?” Her eyes narrowed as she slid her gaze to Arielle. “Have you not wondered why she looks like him?”

Melisende immediately looked at the child asleep on the bed. Her dark hair spilled across the pillow like a shadow in the dimly lit room. She glanced back at her sister. “Why do you say that? I think she looks just like you.”

“She has my nose and eyes, oui. But her dark hair comes from her father.”

“Raul.”

Non. From your oh-so-sweet husband.”

Melisende’s gaze bounced from Lucienne back to the child. Lucienne’s parting words so many years ago loosed themselves from the depths of her mind. What do you think went on whilst he slept in our house—only me and him? He would be unable to look you in the eye if you knew everything that happened.

She shook her head. Non! It is impossible to think of it! He has already assured me there was nothing between himself and Lucienne. But her heart grew cold in her breast.

Lucienne strolled to the bed and stroked her daughter’s hair. “She looks so much like me. But she has Kinnon’s hair.” Her smile set an arrow in Melisende’s heart.

Brushing aside her doubts, Melisende stepped forward. “Do not be absurd, Lucienne. Her hair is much like mine, and Raul’s is dark as well.”

Lucienne tossed her head. “You do not seem to recall Arielle was born early—or so I told Raul.”

“Lucienne, did you have relations with someone whilst we lived in Randon?” Melisende demanded. “Did you marry Raul knowing you were already enceinte?”

Lucienne sent her a mocking look. “You would love to believe that, wouldn’t you? To keep your lover innocent of the deed.”

“I do not believe you,” Melisende replied firmly, against the reservations that gnawed at her.

Lucienne’s eyebrows raised, a lofty smile taunting Melisende. “Yet you see the resemblance, non? No matter what you tell yourself, you will always know there is the possibility. We spent an entire week together, unchaperoned. You know how insatiable he is, n’ai-je pas raison?” Her eyes glittered. “No matter what you try to believe, you will always wonder if he shared his body with me first.”

Blurb:

Heir to a lairdship, Kinnon Macrory is driven to prove his worth by fighting the English on the battlefields of France. His dreams of heroic valor are destroyed by the realities of war—the atrocities visited by fellow soldiers on the very people he is sworn to protect. Three years in a French prison for a crime he did not commit leave Kinnon longing for the one thing of beauty in his war-torn life—a young woman of great kindness and wisdom named Melisende.

Melisende de la Roche struggles to stay one step ahead of soldiers who would imprison her for helping an injured Scotsman wrongly accused of treason. She finds refuge in her uncle’s shop—until a chance encounter sends her fleeing into the unknown once again, haunted by the beguiling friendship with the troubled young Scotsman she is certain she will never see again.

Determined to find the woman of his dreams, Kinnon returns to France, only to discover a trail of clues to Melisende’s whereabouts. Their reunion will open the doors to passion, but half-truths and lies from the past could destroy the one thing they both are willing to fight for—each other.

You can find The Highlander’s French Bride here: Amazon

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Medieval Monday: Betrayal

It’s time for another Medieval Monday. This month’s theme is “Betrayal of any kind”.

I’m delighted to share a wonderful excerpt on “betrayal” in Jenna Jaxon’s, Time Enough to Love!

Jenna_Jaxon_TimeEnoughToLoveEXCERPT:

Abruptly, he gripped her face, pulling it up until she peered into the dangerous dark eyes of her husband. Terror surged through her at the sight of his snarling countenance.

“Why so amorous this morning, my sweet?” he growled, his eyes snapping with anger. “Were Geoffrey’s kisses not as satisfying as you remembered?”

Oh, God. Oh, God. He saw—

Thomas flung her toward the bed. She huddled at its foot in a heap, shivering, while he strode to where she lay, towering over her. Alyse cringed before him, head bowed, too frightened and ashamed for tears.

“I believe I may have misspoken earlier, madam.” His voice dripped sarcasm. “I had, in fact, gone in search of you, to invite you to an intimate breakfast with your husband. Imagine my dismay to find you engaged in one already, albeit with someone else’s husband. From the exchange I saw, I can scarce credit that you hunger still. Yet you enter our chamber apparently unsatisfied. Pray tell me, how many more husbands would you devour ere the day begins?”

His voice rose to an excruciating volume, and Alyse clamped her hands to her ears lest she be deafened.

“I have played the tender lover these past weeks. Petted and cajoled you, like some simpering green boy in an effort to remain true to the vow I made you, despite my right as your husband to demand your obedience in bed. I have been patient, kind, and true, madam, and I am repaid in treachery!”

“Nay, Thomas!” Quite suddenly, she found her tongue and raised a resolute face to her livid husband. She rose from the floor and stood facing him, breasts heaving in indignation. “Whatever you saw, whatever you think, I did not betray you with Geoffrey.”

“You were in his arms, your mouths locked together as though nothing could pull them asunder. Do you deny that?” He spat the words at her.

“Nay.” She pitched her voice low, her resentment of his accusation ebbing. “God forgive me, I kissed him and held him, and he held me. And the world ceased to exist for a little while.”

Blurb:

When Lady Alyse de Courcy is betrothed to Sir Geoffrey Longford, 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, he is no match for the sinfully sensual man she secretly admires, Thomas, Earl of Braeton, her betrothed’s best friend.

From the first, Sir Geoffrey finds himself smitten by Lady Alyse, and, despite her infatuation with his friend, vows to win her love. When Geoffrey puts his mind to wooing Alyse, he is delighted to find her succumbing to his seduction. But when cruel circumstances separate them, Geoffrey must watch helplessly as Thomas steps in to protect Alyse—and falls in love with her himself.

As the three courtiers accompany Princess Joanna to her wedding in Spain, they run headlong into the Black Plague. With her world plunged into chaos, Alyse struggles with her feelings for both the men she loves. But which love will survive?

You can find Time Enough for Love here: Amazon

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Medieval Monday: Betrayal

It’s time for another Medieval Monday. This month’s theme is “Betrayal of any kind”.

I’m delighted to share a wonderful excerpt on “betrayal” in Barbara Bettis’s, Dragon Knight’s Axe!

TheHeartofthePhoenixEXCERPT:

(Sir Stephen has just escaped attack as he returned from a secret meeting.)

This had been no random assault. The trap had sprung for him alone. But only three people knew of his rendezvous this night. His mind worked the trio of relationships. All friends—he’d thought. Which one had betrayed him? Bitter regret burned his throat, and he forced a swallow. Hadn’t he learned long ago not to trust anyone? Especially friends.

The ringing in his ears died, and he heard silence once more. Not until the rustle of a hare whispered through the brittle dry grass did he move. He settled back against a tree to gingerly unkink his leg, then brush his knuckles across his aching thigh. The thick blood had clotted. A sigh fought free of his clenched lips.

The bay was long gone, leading the others on a futile chase to the river. It would find its way back later. Stephen was on his own for now. And it was a damned long hobble back to St. Anselm. He’d best get started if he wanted to make it before dawn.

The eastern horizon glittered pearl before he espied the monastery’s roof outlined against the night sky’s fading pitch. He limped toward the narrow opening obscured by a tangle of grape vines so ancient no one recalled when they last produced. A muted grunt escaped his throat when he tugged at the warped wood. The old door creaked, then gave a few precious inches.

He squeezed through sideways and hauled it shut.

The scriptorium lay ahead on the right. He’d wait for Brother Gerald there—if his double-cursed leg continued to move. He limped forward, neck and jaw locked rigid in his struggle to remain erect. Perspiration plastered shirt and aketon to his body, soaked through to the plain tunic he wore over a finely wrought chain doublet. But in his chest, a block of ice lodged where his heart belonged. During the long walk back to the monastery, he’d worked out which of his three closest comrades bore the title of traitor. Bile rose in his throat at the answer.

Inside the copy house, Stephen dropped to his knees, numb to the explosion of pain in his thigh. He prayed. He prayed he was wrong. And if his reasoning proved right, he prayed for the strength to act. Tomorrow he’d confront Brother Michael. God help the monk if harm befell even one of the men because of his treachery. Why had Michael turned, now of all times? The Phoenix Brotherhood hadn’t been this close to uncovering the treacherous Dragon for years.

Whatever happened must be quick. They must either find the leader of the murdering mercenaries before the Dragon escaped Normandy, or they must move operations to England. Stephen had promised to be home before the conclave to support John’s claim as Richard’s successor. His father may have recovered in the past months, but he needed Stephen’s help. And

Stephen had vowed to assume duties at Riverton Castle or die trying.

Although that was a distinct possibility.

Blurb:

Some call him a ruthless mercenary; she calls him the knight of her heart.

Memories

Lady Evelynn’s childhood hero is home—bitter, hard, tempting as sin. And haunted by secrets. A now-grown Evie offers friendship, but Sir Stephen’s cruel rejection crushes her, and she resolves to forget him. Yet when an unexpected war throws them together, she finds love isn’t so easy to dismiss. If only the king hadn’t betrothed her to another.

Can be cruel                                                                                                                                    

Sir Stephen lives a double life while he seeks the treacherous outlaws who murdered his friends. Driven by revenge, he thinks his heart is closed to love. His childhood shadow, Lady Evie, unexpectedly challenges that belief. He rebuffs her, but he can’t forget her, although he knows she’s to wed the king’s favorite.

And deadly                                                                                                                                        

When his drive for vengeance leads to Evie’s kidnapping, Stephen must choose between retribution and the love he’s denied too long. Surely King John will see reason. Convict the murderers; convince the king. Simple. Until a startling revelation threatens everything.

You can find Heart of the Phoenix here: Amazon

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Medieval Monday: Betrayal

It’s time for another Medieval Monday. This month’s theme is “Betrayal of any kind”.

I’m delighted to share a wonderful excerpt on “betrayal” in Mary Morgan’s, Dragon Knight’s Axe!

DragonKnightsAxeEXCERPT:

Panic gripped Fiona. Something wasn’t right. Why would he leave her? She thought he cared with all the time they’d spent together. “Why in the hell did Alastair leave?” she choked out holding back the scream.

“He didn’t want to watch you die. Each day that passed took you further away. There was nothing he or any of us could do,” replied Brigid.

Her voice quivered. “Got it….umm…he abandoned me.”

Brigid sighed. “I believe he cared for you so much, he could not stand to watch you leave him.”

Fiona’s tone turned bitter as she clutched the furs. “When you care for someone, you stay with them until the very end. No matter what happens. What? Did he say good-bye, kiss me, and then just walk out of here? I hope to God our paths never cross again.”

“Do you really mean that, Fiona?” asked Aileen in a soft voice.

Closing her eyes, she didn’t want to look at either of the women. Her head throbbed, and her heart weighed heavy knowing that the only man she would ever love had walked away from her.

“Please leave,” she murmured.

When the door closed, she finally opened her eyes. She refused to let the tears fall, so she bit her lip and swallowed. Digging her hands into the furs, she kept trying to breathe. Everywhere she looked there was something that reminded her of Alastair. The plaid he had given her to stay warm, a sgian dubh for protection, and glancing around the room slowly, her eyes caught sight of something on the chair by the head of the bed.

Squeezing her eyes shut, she counted to ten. Yet, when she opened them, there was no denying it any longer and sadness engulfed her. As she tried to reach for the object, her vision became clouded, the tears streaming down her face, as she was unable to hold them back.

Grasping the chess piece, she clutched it to her chest. “Why, Alastair?” Sobbing uncontrollably, she realized that he had given her the Dragon King as his parting gift to her.

And Fiona’s heart shattered completely.

BLURB:

Alastair MacKay, a battled-scarred Dragon Knight flees to the sea to separate himself from his fae-given power connecting him to the land. But it is on land that he rescues a woman from a slave trader in Ireland. It is through Fiona he steps back inadvertently into a world filled with magic—taking on the role of protector and at the same time leading him on a journey to confront his greatest regret and fears.

Research assistant, Fiona O’Quinlan loves translating ancient artifacts at Trinity College. When she falls asleep on an archeological dig, she awakens in another time. She soon discovers a Dragon Knight’s relic has been entrusted into her care. Determined to return the artifact to the Great Glen, Fiona is unprepared for the danger ahead—losing her heart and soul to Alastair “Beast” MacKay.

Will their love be strong enough to soothe the beast and heal the man? Or will Death swing its axe, leaving them lost for all eternity?

You can find Dragon Knight’s Axe at the following locations:

Amazon  Barnes & Noble  Kobo  Apple iBooks  The Wild Rose Press

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Medieval Monday: Betrayal

It’s time for another Medieval Monday. This month’s theme is “Betrayal of any kind”.

I’m delighted to share a wonderful excerpt on “betrayal” in Ashley York’s, The Seventh Son!

TheSeventhSonFinalEXCERPT:

“Tisa. Yer betrothal to the MacNaughton has been severed. Ye’ll marry into the Meic Lochlainn clan of Inishowen. They’ll be here in two days time.”

The pain in her chest intensified with every word he spoke, like nails hammering into her heart, but her brain refused to understand his meaning beyond his first statement.

Your betrothal to the MacNaughton has been severed.

Her betrothal to Tadhg? They’d been betrothed forever. They grew up knowing they would one day be wed. Tadhg was all she wanted in a husband.

Her father’s eyes never wavered from her face. Surely he measured her reaction as if he cared.

“Ronan came here to make the agreement on their behalf. He has been a great help to our clan.”

The kind eyes seemed familiar but no. Those would have been the eyes of her father that loved her. A father that wanted her to be happy. A father that wanted her settled nearby. This? This was a man that cared nothing for her. A man that would rip away her future dreams of happiness. A man that would send her away from him. A man that would give her to strangers. Strangers that saw her as nothing more than…breeding stock.

No. She was more than that. She would not stand here and be handed off to a stranger and not even a word of protest.

“Why?” Damn her eyes. The tears swelled and her father became a blurry figure. “How?”

He looked away. “The MacNaughton broke our agreement.”

Her jaw dropped. A slap to the face would have hurt less. “No!”

“After Moira died, Padraig sent word he would not see his son married to an O’Brien.”

“And ye did not think to tell me this?”

Her head reeled with the implications.

“And Moira? Tadhg’s mother is dead?” Her breath hitched. Moira had been like a mother to her. “When was she buried? I wish to pay my resp—”

“Ye will not! Padraig would not allow us to come. None of us.” Her father finally faced her. “We are no longer welcome on his land. He wants nothing to do with us.”

“Nothing to do with us? They are our kinsmen.”

“No longer.”

“Ye canna just let him cut us off like this.”

“I was given little choice in the matter.”

“Then go to him! Beg his forgiveness for whatever you have done!”

“I have done nothing wrong! ‘Twas Padraig’s doing. He chose to give me no reason. I will abide by his decree.”

Tisa’s mind struggled to make sense of what her father was saying. There must be something he was not saying. “Why would Padraig treat us like this?”

He looked past her. “It matters not. What does matter is that the O’Neill threatens us to the west.”

“When will Seamus and Ian return?” Her only unwed brothers had been away going on two years now.

Her father’s eyes rounded in pain. “I dinna wish to upset ye but yer brothers will not be returning. They died in battle against the O’Neill.”

Tisa cried out. “When?”

“We received the news spring last.”

“Again ye decide to keep this from me? Do ye think I am a child? If that is the way of it, ’tis because my own father kept me from the truths in life, shielding me as if I would break.”

“Ye brothers went against my wishes. My anger was at them, not ye.”

“Be angry then. Be sad. Be devastated! But dunna keep me from the truth.”

“A great loss.” Her father closed his eyes against the pain.

Her own heart cried out. They were much older than her as were her sisters. The MacNaughton’s were closer in age and felt more like family. Brighit was like her own little sister.

“I must make decisions that ye may not wish to abide by—but ye will. The O’Neill will not back down. We need an alliance with a strong clan. I need men I can count on, who will fight with me against them.”

“The MacNau—”

“They will not fight for us now. ‘Tis not their land that is threatened.” He shouted the words, his nostrils flaring. “They have broken our agreement, daughter. We are defenseless. Ronan was good enough to make a new alliance for us.”

“At what cost to us?” Tisa knew the answer as soon as she asked the question. The way Ronan had looked at her, assessing her worth as a mate.

“You will marry their tanist.”

“So I am to be exchanged for the promise of protection?”

“Ye will have a place of prominence in their clan.”

“I do not care about prominence! I want the life I had always been promised. The life I was raised for.”

“That life is gone, Tisa. This is the life ye will have.”

“I do not accept this…betrayal.”

“Ye have no choice.”

 

BLURB:

Drogheda, Ireland 1076

The sixth son bears a curse as certain as the seventh son bears a blessing. When Tadhg MacNaughton’s betrothed is ripped from his arms and married to another, he believes the legend is true.

Tisa O’Brien’s life slams into a downward spiral at the news she is no longer betrothed to the love of her life but married to the tanist of a warring, prideful clan with dangerous political aspirations—the Meic Lochlainn. She faces her destiny with all the strength and dignity of her Irish heritage despite dealing with a husband who resents her, fighting off the lustful advances of her father-in-law, Aodh, and longing for the husband of her heart.

Tadhg MacNaughton makes a deal with the devil to ensure the survival of his clan as he is commanded to fight with Aodh who envisions himself the new Brian Boru, High King of Eire. Up close and personal, Tadhg must witness his true love’s marriage and remain silent even as it rips him apart. When a sinister plot to over throw King William of England led by the exiled Leofrid Godwin and Clan Meic Lochlainn comes to light, Tadhg is faced with saving his clan or endangering his sister and her Norman husband.

An Irish beauty and a warrior betrayed—doomed in love from the start or does fate have something else in store for them?

 

Available for pre-order with March 30th release only on Amazon

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Medieval Monday: Betrayal

It’s time for another Medieval Monday. This month’s theme is “Betrayal of any kind”.

I’m thrilled to share a wonderful excerpt on “betrayal” in R.L. Syme’s, The outcast Highlander!

OutcastHighlanderEXCERPT:

“Bring them forward.” The fat man reached across his table and picked up a charred leg of some animal. Broc had never seen a sheriff eat in court before and hoped this was a sign of his gluttony. Men with deep desires always had a price.

The front guards stepped aside and Elizabeth walked between them, leaving Broc in their midst. With his broad sword strapped to his back, it wouldn’t have taken him long to cut through them if he’d had to. Most of them were boys, even compared to his own years, but more importantly, they were not well-fed nor well-trained. The soldiers were in use elsewhere and those who remained filled what boots they could.

They would be quick fodder if someone threatened Elizabeth.

“My lord and sheriff.” Elizabeth’s voice wavered, but she executed a perfect curtsey, staying near the floor until he bade her rise.

Until he got a good eyeful of her spilling décolletage, more like. Broc shuffled uneasily. She played a dangerous game.

“Rise, lady.” The sheriff burped and set down the leg of fowl. A wild turkey, by the look of it. Large, browned skin, dripping with fatty juices. He licked his lips like the lecherous fool he was and leaned over the table. With a smile, he followed her rise.

“I’m here to beg you for the release of my husband, Lord Andrew de Moray, Twelfth Viscount of Avoch and Strathaven, servant to the king.”

Broc held his laugh in. Servant to which king? The sheriff would assume Edward, who had taken the rule of Scotland along with England. But when Andrew said it, he meant Robert Bruce, whom he considered to be the true King of Scotland.

The sheriff only leered at Elizabeth and grinned. “I’ve heard of your coming, lady. I trust you were safe, even with your company.”

“I am safe.” Elizabeth turned to the dungeon door and cringed visibly. “I’ve heard of my husband’s capture and impending doom. I wish to bargain for his life.”

“And what did you bring to bargain?”

Elizabeth straightened and lifted her chin. This was at least not the posture of a woman who planned to prostitute herself for her husband. For that much, Broc relaxed.

“I have a suit of armor made by Spanish monks in the 11th century for my lord’s father.”

The sheriff pulled a knife from his side pocket and began to pick his teeth. “Yes?”

“And enough gold and silver to fill three chests, but I’m sure I could get more.”

He kept picking his teeth, flicking pieces off the blade to toss at various courtiers. Each one looked disgusted at the act, but smiled in return. He had these men well-trained

“You’ll have to do better than that.”

“My lord is wise, as always.” Elizabeth turned to Broccin and a hint of regret passed across her face.

She was about to offer herself.

Broc’s hand went immediately to the hilt of his sword, but before he could draw, ten long spears had come down around him. Each tip was so close to his neck, if he moved in any one direction, he would be a dead man.

“I have as my captive, the leader of the renegade group of Highland warriors that have been falsely raiding and plundering in my husband’s good name.” Elizabeth sank into another curtsey. “As a token of my good fellowship, rather than having him killed upon capture, I offer him to you in exchange for my husband’s release and the clearing of his good name.”

Broc couldn’t breathe. If there hadn’t been ten sharp edges within striking distance of his throat, he would have pushed forward and demanded she speak sense.

Beneath the spears, a boy snuck forward and twisted rope around Broc’s hands. Suddenly, the knot was so tight, he couldn’t move at all. The spears raised and one of the guards pulled his sword from its sheath, and tossed it forward.

The long weapon slid all the way through the circle of guards, almost to Elizabeth’s side, and she glanced back in her curtsey. Broc met her eyes and seethed, but her countenance did not change.

“They call themselves the Mac Ri Albannach.” Elizabeth over-pronounced the Gaelic like a true English, then returned to the refined, long tones of the court. “Sons of the Rightful King.”

Broc snorted. They did no such thing—they didn’t need to call themselves anything. But to the English, there was nothing more fearsome than an organized group of rebel warriors from the unknown mountains. He struggled against his bonds and one of the spears sliced into his shoulder.

The cut was deep and the hot, thick blood flowed down his back in double time.

“I hear tell there’s a real man behind this legendary Highlander who raids English strongholds and beheads shire magistrates.” The fat sheriff stood and walked around the table.

“I had friends at Carlisle.” The fat man spat from outside the circle of armed guards. “Friends who were killed by some band of rebels, intent on savagery and filth.”

He pulled Elizabeth to her feet. “And yet you captured this man? How do you intend to prove it was him and not your husband who led these raids?”

“Ask them.”

The sheriff called out. “Bring the raider out.”

From the corner of the room, a man in chains was pushed forward. Broc’s heart sank. The man they’d assumed dead, Tearny MacDonnogh, was almost no better off than if they had indeed killed him. His once muscular frame was now emaciated, with skin hanging from his arms. He was bare to the waist and the scars of beatings reminded Broc of just how long it had been since they had been to Berwick.

“Is this the man who led you at Carlisle?” the sheriff asked. “And is he leading the Mac Ri Albannach?”

Tearney’s greasy, matted hair swung around his face as he nodded. His eyes were half-closed and his mouth hung open, but he managed to make his affirmation known.

The sheriff cackled and threw Elizabeth to the ground. “I’ll be knighted for this for certain.”

With broad gestures, he pointed to Tearny and then the dungeon door. “Release both of them to her care, as we agreed. And take this one down to the bowels. I want the smithy to make him special chains with double-thick cast and no slack.”

He took his captain of the guard by the throat. “And by God, he had better be who she says he is, or it’s going to be your head on a silver plate instead of mine.”

“He’s the man, my lord.” The captain scratched at his throat where the fat hands had gripped him. “He bears the marks from Lord Hobble’s double-bladed Arabian weapon. I saw the scars on his arm.”

Broc swallowed. He did bear such a scar, and he had been the one to kill the perverted English lord in the battle of Carlisle, but only because the man had nearly killed Andrew and was about to disembowel him when Broc discovered and beheaded the man.

He was outnumbered, his weapon lost to him, bound, and soon to be imprisoned. Fighting back now would only mean Andrew’s certain continued imprisonment and possible death. At least if he kept quiet like a captive, he could know Andrew was free. Even if it meant he would rot in the dungeon himself.

 

BLURB:

Kenesy MacLeod returns home after a failed marriage alliance in France to find her world in turmoil: her best friend married to an English sympathizer, her mother at death’s door, and her father imprisoned and thought dead. As an English lord descends to claim her father’s lands, Kenesy escapes north with her mother and brother, and runs straight into the arms of the outcast Highlander.

Driven from home and family by a crazed father, Broccin Sinclair refuses to stand aside while the English invade his beloved Scotland. But who should he champion? The freedom fighter who saved his life, the family who has forgotten him, or the woman who captured his childhood heart?

The Outcast Highlander begins the Highland Renegades series of medieval romance novels by USA Today bestselling author R.L. Syme (also writing as Becca Boyd).

Please visit http://rlsyme.com today to get The Outcast Highlander for FREE! Happy reading!

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Medieval Monday: The First Kiss

It’s time for another Medieval Monday. This month’s theme is “The First Kiss”.

I’m thrilled to share a wonderful “first kiss” in Bambi Lynn’s, Tanis, A Gods of the Highlands Novella, Book Three!

Tanis Book CoverFirst Kiss EXCERPT:

He stopped abruptly when she appeared. His demeanor changing quickly from one of surprise to that of hungry predator. She smirked. He would soon see which of them was prey. She pressed him back into the room with a strength belied by the dainty hand on his immense chest. She kicked the door shut with her foot as they entered.

With one beefy arm around her waist, Tanis gathered her up against him. Fighting the urge to squeal with delight, Kiah wrapped both legs around him. He was massive. And hard.

She wore nothing beneath the fur around her waist that left her legs bare to her thighs and drove men wild. The ridges of his stomach teased her through the fabric of his shirt, but Kiah savored the anticipation of feeling his skin against her almost as much as the contact itself. It would be difficult to say which gave her more pleasure.

A choice she was glad she did not have to make.

Winding her arms around his neck, she captured his mouth with hers. She was hit with the most mind-numbing kiss she had known in all the ages. A groan of sheer ecstasy bubbled up in her throat. What elements caused such a reaction? Why did she not feel it with all men?

Why did it not last more than a few days?

She felt like she could fly, something she had done every day since her creation, one of few gifts withheld from man. But in human form, the sensation of flying was far greater than the reality. It was not fair.

Emotions combined with her human sensations, roiling through her in a tangled mess that left her bereft of coherent thought. She kissed him fiercely, inhaling his essence as her tongue danced with his. He smelled of male and sex, tempting her to vanquish their clothes and feel his naked skin against hers. His body was sculpted muscle, hard and strong, beckoning her to meld her own warrior’s body against it, to stroke it, to lick it, to conquer it.

Tanis kissed her back, with equal enthusiasm, alternately teasing her and devouring her. She tasted his humanity and for once was not revolted by it. His passion enflamed her own, leaving her drunk with lust. He tangled his fists in the fur at the small of her back. In many other parts of the world, her attire would be scandalous. It certainly was not acceptable here in Alba, but in the wilds of the Highlands, she found it a simple matter to ensure her existence went unnoticed, even in human form.

Woven within his humanity was the hint of pagan blood. Its impurity laced the delectable flavor of the man. She recoiled from the foulness of it, only because she reminded herself she should, before it was too late.

 

BLURB:

Tanis Cleary, laird of a small Highland clan, wants to protect what’s left of his family from the pagan god who hunts them. But even with his colossal strength, fed by the unholy blood in his veins, he cannot do it alone. His only ally is an insatiable angel with a chip on her shoulder. Will he desert his clan to follow the only woman who can save him from eternal damnation?

Kiah is an angel of God, tasked with guarding one of His most sacred vessels. Like any woman desperate to win her Father’s approval, Kiah will stop at nothing to succeed in her mission. Distracted by the lure of a man more compelling than any other, Kiah soon finds herself battling the fires of hell, her very existence in jeopardy.

 

BUY LINKS:  Amazon

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Medieval Monday: The First Kiss

It’s time for another Medieval Monday. This month’s theme is “The First Kiss”.

I’m thrilled to share a wonderful “first kiss” in Ruth Cassie’s, The Druid Knight’s Tale!

RuthCassie_DruidKnightTalesFirst Kiss Excerpt:

“Aye,” he said sleepily, followed by a soft snore.

She wiped the blood from the scratches on his cheek and studied him.

Full brows framed his wide-set eyes with long, thick lashes. His high cheekbones accentuated the deep hollows beneath them. His close-clipped beard outlined his full lips. His face spoke of power and ageless strength. He had a face that was easy to look at.

The wounds cleaned and bandaged, she bent over and gave him a lingering kiss on his forehead. Her head snapped up and her fingers went to her lips. They tingled as if she had eaten something spicy. She searched his face. His ashen color hadn’t changed. Panic welled in her throat. Her healing kiss always brought results.

His arm snaked around her and drew her to him. She didn’t resist when he pulled her closer and kissed her deeply. When she moved away his eyes were closed, the corners of his mouth tipped up in a smile, and his face took on a soft pink hue.

Relief flooded through her but was quickly replaced with doubt. For the first time she wondered if her healing kiss would be enough.

She prepared the camp and when she was done, sat back to rest. The smell of the wood and the snap of the fire were soothing. The dancing flames mesmerized her and drew her in deeper. The intertwined flames parted and in its midst she saw two figures following a light. She knew it was an omen but she could not tell if the sign was good or bad. A loud snap and a log fell, sending sparks flying, startling her out of her trance.

 

Blurb The Druid Knight’s Tale

After a year of searching, Maximilian, the druid Grand Master, finds the sacred mistletoe destined for his soul mate shriveled and dead. He must journey to the Otherworld and tell the Ancestors of his failure.

Ellyn of Brodgar is an exceptional healer. But each healing kiss depletes her energy and brings her closer to death. Ellyn needs to find her own healing power before it’s too late.

Max and Ellyn are tossed into the Otherworld and have until the third sunset to appeal to the Ancestors or be lost forever. Together they find love, and as the last rays of the third sunset slip away, both are willing to sacrifice their hopes, dreams, and lives for the other. Do they have what it takes to escape the Otherworld and begin their life together?

BUY LINKS:  Amazon   Barnes and Noble   iBook     Kobo

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Medieval Monday: The First Kiss

It’s time for another Medieval Monday. This month’s theme is “The First Kiss”.

I’m thrilled to share a wonderful “first kiss” in Cathy MacRae’s, The Highlander’s French Bride!

TheHighlandersFrenchBride_high+res

Heir to a lairdshsip, Kinnon Macrory is driven to prove himself by fighting the English on the battlefields of France. His dreams of heroic valor are destroyed by his inability to come to grips with the atrocities visited on the very people he is sworn to protect, and three years in a French prison for a crime he did not commit leave Kinnon longing for the one thing of beauty in his war-torn life—a young woman of great kindness and wisdom named Melisende.

Melisende de la Roche struggles to stay one step ahead of soldiers who would imprison her for helping an injured Scotsman accused of treason. She finds refuge in her uncle’s shop—until a chance encounter sends her fleeing into the unknown once again, always haunted by the beguiling friendship with the troubled young Scotsman she is certain she will never see again.

Determined to find the woman of his dreams, Kinnon returns to France, only to discover a trail of clues to Melisende’s whereabouts. Their reunion will open the doors to passion, but half-truths and lies from the past could destroy the one thing they both are willing to fight for—each other.

 

Excerpt:

“Many where I am from speak Gaelic, though many also speak English, or a form of it,” he said casually, his tone easing some of her concern. “Mo chridhe means my heart. That is what ye are, Melisende. The love of my heart.”

Her thoughts were a whirlwind. “I do not know how to respond other than to say you stole my heart years ago.”

“Then why the hesitation?”

She bit her lip against a smile. “`Twas not because I did not understand your words, though it is true I’d not thought about the differences in our languages.” She took a breath to steel her courage. “`Twas because of the look on your face—in your eyes.”

He tilted his head at her. “What look?”

“As though you wished to kiss me,” she whispered, the very depths of her exposed, for there was no taking the words back. Kinnon rose, pulling her to her feet with him, and gathered her in his arms.

“I do.”

His mouth descended, caressing her lips with gentle pressure that quickly built to an insistence, flaming a hunger in her she’d never known. She leaned against him, her breasts aching as they touched his chest. Her lips parted at his urging as though paired to his, and his tongue mated feverishly with hers.

With the force of a sudden storm, she was no longer plain Melisende. Every fiber of her felt beautiful and desired. Her world was nothing more than the roughened velvet of his lips, the taste of ale on his breath, and the tender confines of his arms.

She was loved.

BUY LINKS:  Amazon

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Medieval Monday: The First Kiss

It’s time for another Medieval Monday. This month’s theme is “The First Kiss”.

I’m thrilled to share a wonderful “first kiss” in Jenna Jaxon’s, Time Enough to Love!

Jenna_Jaxon_TimeEnoughToLove“It has been decreed by His Majesty that on the first day the festivities will begin with a procession of ladies and knights of King Arthur’s court, starting at the Tower of London and winding through the town out to the lists. There are to be twenty-five knights on the king’s side who will joust and fight in a pas d’armes. So there needs be twenty-five ladies as well, to escort them to the field.”

She nodded again. “Princess Joanna rides in this procession.” Her part in the festivities had been determined last week. Did he have anything truly new to impart?

“You have been chosen to be one of the ladies.”

Alyse’s mouth dropped open and a thrill coursed through her. “But I am only Princess Joanna’s attendant, Sir Geoffrey. Usually such honors are reserved for the queen and Princess Isabella’s ladies, or the Duchesses and Countesses in the Royal Family. Why did they choose me?”

“Because I am to be one of the knights, and I begged a boon of the king to allow you to be my lady.”

She stared at him in shock, almost unbelieving, though she knew he would not lie about such a thing. To think she owed such an honor to the man she would soon call husband, that he had asked the king himself to grant the favor, made her heart beat an unsteady march in her chest. Alyse parted her lips to thank him when he swooped forward, secured her chin in his hand and kissed her.

Strangely soft, yet very sweet, his touch sent a searing bolt straight to her stomach, setting it afire. After moments that seemed an eternity, his mouth slackened on hers as though he would release her. Then he flicked the tip of his tongue across the hard-pressed seam of her mouth, testing for another invitation.

With a gasp she jumped back, drawing a chuckle from Geoffrey, who had the grace to glance around to make sure they had not been observed. “Be not discomfited, sweet. We are safe in our conversation.”

“’Twas not in our conversation that I feared harm, my lord.” Lord, ’twas difficult to sound outraged when she could still feel his lips on hers.

 

BLURB:

When Lady Alyse de Courcy is betrothed to Sir Geoffrey Longford, 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, he is no match for the sinfully sensual man she secretly admires, Thomas, Earl of Braeton, her betrothed’s best friend.

From the first, Sir Geoffrey finds himself smitten by Lady Alyse, and, despite her infatuation with his friend, vows to win her love. When Geoffrey puts his mind to wooing Alyse, he is delighted to find her succumbing to his seduction. But when cruel circumstances separate them, Geoffrey must watch helplessly as Thomas steps in to protect Alyse—and falls in love with her himself.

As the three courtiers accompany Princess Joanna to her wedding in Spain, they run headlong into the Black Plague. With her world plunged into chaos, Alyse struggles with her feelings for both the men she loves. But which love will survive?

BUY LINKS:  Amazon   ARe

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Medieval Monday: The First Kiss

It’s time for another Medieval Monday. This month’s theme is “The First Kiss”.

I am excited to share a wonderful first kiss in Barbara Bettis’s, Silverhawk_BarbSILVERHAWK!

Excerpt:

Lady Emelin tucked her heavy brown wimple beneath her chin and watched the wounded knight.

Swollen eyelids, a puffy cheek, and bloody scrapes couldn’t hide his handsome features. Waves of midnight hair fell across his wide forehead to brush one side of his square, stubble-darkened jaw. Grit clustered on the high bridge of his nose. What shame such a strong, rugged man should be cut down. Her pulse fluttered, and she sucked in a sharp breath. Ashamed of such reaction, she squeezed shut her eyes.

Would Stephen have been so handsome, had he lived? She hardly recalled what her youthful first betrothed looked like when he joined his foster father on King Richard’s crusade. If only he’d returned, she’d be wed now, with the family she craved.

She sighed, reached for a leaf on her patient’s cheek—and found herself staring into the palest gray eyes she’d ever seen. His mouth moved; she leaned forward.

“What is it?” she murmured.

“Before…I…die,” came the hoarse whisper.

“Yes? What would you like before you die?” If it were in her power, she would provide the poor man with his wish. Drink? Food?

A strong hand gripped the back of her head, pulled her forward. That close, she saw his eyes weren’t gray, but layered like a winter pond winking with ice. They were silver.

“To…kiss…a nun,” came the outrageous reply before his lips met hers.

His warm mouth robbed her of breath for an instant. Then she snapped back with a gasp. And, with inborn reflex, slapped him. His head jerked, his eyes closed, and he lay motionless.

“Oh, Sweet Mary,” Emelin whispered, “I’ve killed him.” Leaning close, she saw his narrow, beautifully molded lips relax. His mouth curved at the corner.

At least he died with a smile on his face.

Blurb:

Sir Giles has come to England to kill his father, who seduced and betrayed his mother. First, however, he’ll seek sweet revenge—kidnap the old lord’s new betrothed. But when Giles uncovers a plot against King Richard, he faces a dilemma: take the lady or track the traitors. What’s a good mercenary to do? Both, of course.

Lady Emelin has had enough. Abandoned in a convent by her brother, she finally has a chance for home and family. Yet now she’s been abducted. Her kidnapper may be the image of her dream knight, but she won’t allow him to spoil this betrothal. Her only solution: escape

Rescuing the intrepid lady—while hunting traitors—is a challenge Giles couldn’t anticipate. But the greatest challenge to Giles and Emelin is the fire blazing between them. For he’s everything a proper lady should never want, and she’s everything a bastard mercenary can never have.

BUY LINK: Amazon  

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Medieval Monday: The First Kiss

It’s time for another Medieval Monday! This month’s theme is “The First Kiss”, and I am excited to share a splendid first kiss in Mary Morgan’s,  DRAGON KNIGHT’S SHIELD.  

Mary Morgan_DragonKnightsShield

EXCERPT:

His look was predatory, lustful, inviting, and she took a step backward. Words failed her as she took another step back.

He arched a brow and his smile became seductive. “Do I frighten ye?”

“No!” she lied. Like hell you do! You’re as gorgeous as sin standing there, and I want to rip your clothes from your body.

Pushing off from the wall, he stepped into the room and silently closed the door behind him, his eyes never leaving hers. His hair hung in soft waves past his shoulders, and her fingers itched to twine within them. Her body ached in places so deep—longing for even the slightest touch.

“Are ye unwell, my lady?”

The burr of his voice so low—so sexy, she could only stare at him until his words resonated in her mind. “No,” she replied softly, feeling the flames of desire heat not only her face, but also her entire body.

This time when he took another step closer, Deirdre didn’t back away. Now he stood so close she could feel the warmth of his breath across her face—a mix of wine and pure male.

She watched mesmerized as he reached for a lock of her hair, twining it around his finger. “So verra soft.”

Deirdre couldn’t breathe, as he let the curl unravel and cupped her face in his hands. “Ye confuse me. Ye torment me in my dreams,” he whispered against her cheek, sending a wave of pleasure down her spine.

Without thought, she groaned and leaned into him—his beard grazing her cheek. She no longer battled her mind for the man. “Kiss me, Angus.”

This time he groaned, capturing her mouth with savage intensity and drawing the breath from her lungs. His tongue plundered deep, and Deirdre opened fully to the fiery possession.

BUY LINKS: Amazon   Barnes&Noble Nook   Kobo   The Wild Rose Press

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 Medieval Monday: The First Kiss

Welcome to Medieval Monday! Each month will showcase a theme, and on Mondays, I will share a favorite author’s book to illustrate the subject. January’s theme is “The First Kiss”.

I am excited to present a spectacular first kiss in Ashley York’s,  The Gentle Knight.   Ashley York_TheGentleKnight

Excerpt:

“What. Will. It. Be?” He leaned in closer, whispering each word.

“Whatever you think best?” She spoke as calmly as she could but the room was getting very hot.

He glanced up as if trying to read an unclear sign but then that assured smile returned.

A tiny quiver rippled through her. Before she could speak again, he was closing in on her, his body up against hers.

“Whatever I think best?”

She wavered for a moment, unsure why he answered her with that tone. She wanted nothing more than to melt against him, envelope herself in his heat. This was just like in her dream. Hot and heady.

Then his firm lips were on hers. His hard length pressing her into the table, as if trying to meld them together. Her body would gladly have done just that if only it could have turned to pure liquid instead of just a growing warmth where his hips grinded into her.

He pulled his head back enough to search her face. He was breathing hard. He looked bewildered. “Is this what you want then?”

Her body arched towards his where the pressure had eased. “I…I’m not sure.” She should not be feeling this way. “Please.”

The answering sound from deep in his throat surprised her but then she got what she craved. His lips on hers again, then trailing across her cheek and down her jaw. An intense ripple of pleasure shot straight to her core. His hips undulated against hers, the heat, the dampness. She moaned.

He suddenly stopped, his head still dipped into the crook of her neck. She didn’t dare breathe.

“I do not believe your protector will be happy with the outcome if we continue.” His voice was husky, his breath warm against her skin. He shifted away.

Her body immediately missed his. Her eyes closed, she took a slow, steadying breath.

Blurb:

A medieval soldier returns home to find his lover died in childbirth just as his own mother had. Believing he is cursed, Peter of Normandy turns from love. When he must give escort to an Irish princess more noble than many knights, he struggles with his decision to live a solitary life. Can he take the chance that his love won’t be a death sentence and possibly make them stronger?

Padraig MacNaughton’s death bed decree rips his daughter, Brighit, from the shelter of her protective clan in Ireland. Forced to take vows at a Priory in England, she finds herself in the hands of lecherous mercenaries with their own political agendas. Dare she trust the Norman knight to see her safely to her new life as a nun? Even when she finds in him the fulfillment of all she’s ever wanted?

Or will honor and duty eclipse their one chance for happiness?

BUY LINKS: Apple  Kobo  Amazon  Barnes and Noble

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