Another Monday which means time for another excerpt in our Villains theme. Today’s comes from The Lady of the Forest by Barbara Bettis.
He must pursue his enemy; she must protect her people. Can their love survive the duties that drive them apart?
When her elderly husband dies, Lady Katherine fakes her own death and disappears into the forest with others escaping the brutish new lord. Determined to protect her people, she knocks the wrong man senseless. But Lord Henry isn’t an enemy, he’s the brother of her childhood friend. Although his tender confidence tempts her, she’s bound by duty.
Henry of Chauvere has found the one lady he wants for his own, never mind she’s tied him hand and foot. When he learns the king has ordered her to wed Stonehill’s ruthless new master, he insists Kate seek haven with his sister. But she won’t desert her friends. Henry vows to solve her problem, provided he catches a traitor before the threat from Kate’s past catches her.
When a daring rescue compels Henry and Kate to join forces, their attraction grows into love. If only duty didn’t drive them apart.
“Remain and celebrate, or leave my property,” Sir Mortimer taunted.
Henry’s gaze caught Kate’s. Her eyes were wide, her lips parted, her cheeks pale. Revelation of the order had stunned her as much as it had him.
Her glance moved to Ulah, then Jamie, before returning to Henry in appeal. Damnation, why hadn’t he planned for such a turn?
Behind him stood Bernard and Declan, three of them against at least a score in the hall. Outside, Windom’s eight fighters faced equally overwhelming odds. Could Stonehill’s original force be counted on to join them?
Without more men, what could he do?
He darted a look over his shoulder. Declan winked.
By God! He’d try. But would it work?
“Lady Katherine cannot marry you.” Henry’s voice carried throughout the hall. “She’s wedded to me.”
Are you enjoying the new style Medieval Monday? I’m loving sharing the posts and following them around. This week’s excerpt comes from Dragon Knight’s Shield by Mary Morgan
Angus MacKay, leader of the Dragon Knights, failed his brothers and his clan upon the death of his sister. Now he must fight the darkness of despair tempting his soul. Back on Scottish soil, he comes face to face with Deirdre who can wield a sword as mightily as his warriors, and takes her captive. Yet, with each passing day, the fire dragon inside him roars to claim the one woman fate has destined for him.
Famed mystery writer, Deirdre Flanagan, is unprepared for the next chapter in her life. On a vacation to Scotland, she steps through the mists and enters into a skirmish alongside a Highlander. However, the fight has only begun, and now she must battle Angus as well as evil in order to claim the love of this Dragon Knight.
Will their love be powerful enough to shield them from danger, or burn them to ashes?
“Raise the portcullis!” Angus’s order did not allow for any argument.
Releasing his brother, he walked to the entrance. Hearing the grate of steel being lifted, Angus let the fire dance along his fingers. Fear clawed at man and dragon as he waited for the monster to show himself.
In moments, Angus, horrified, watched Lachlan walk through the portcullis, clutching Deirdre’s bloodied arm while holding a blade to her back. She stumbled forward, and he pulled her back by her braid. His heart slammed inside his chest and it took all of Angus’s strength not to bring out the fire dragon. Blind rage filled him as the man’s laughter echoed all around him.
Follow along next week by checking out Jenna Jaxon’s blog with excerpt #4 https://jennajaxon.wordpress.com/ and remember to come back here to see who I’m hosting next week.
Welcome back to Week 2 of the villains theme. Today I’m sharing an excerpt from Ashley York’s The Gentle Knight.
Mort gave him a disgusted look. “You have ridden us hard, my lord. I believe I am not the only one who thinks so.”
“You’re complaining?” Peter tipped back for a second swallow.
Mort locked his jaw then walked through the door at the far corner.
One small window faced the road with enough grime on it to convince Peter that although the place was quiet now, it was not always so. A sure sign they would be able to meet all his required services.
BLURB: Brighit MacNaughton is an obedient daughter following her father’s death bed decree that she take her vows and become the virginal bride of Christ. The hired men seeing her to the Priory at Tanshelf are more interested in the building resentment against the English king than her safety. But when the handsome Norman knight offers his protection against the lecherous mercenaries, he sparks her passion with his gentle touch and smoldering looks of desire, reminding her of dreams best forgotten. Can one night with him quench the intense need in her or will it cause the fire to burn out of control?
Peter of Normandy is a trusted knight of King William, sent north to subdue the unrest and rumblings of revolt at York. Giving aid to an Irish princess more noble than many knights, he is quickly overcome with the need to possess her. With a body meant for a man’s pleasure and an unrelenting stubbornness to follow her father’s wishes, he struggles against giving her what she wants if it can only be for one night. Will one night of passion prove to be enough or will it unleash an insatiable need that makes him never want to let her go?
‘I’m glad I caught you, Elisabeth. I’ve got a proposal for you…’
Words to stir anyone’s heart. In this case not from Tom Hiddleston (I keep hoping) but the librarian at Macclesfield Library where I do my Tuesday morning writing session. She asked me if I would be interested in taking part in the Romance on the Road campaign organised jointly by Mills & Boon, The Reading Agency and the Mobile Library Service.
Mills & Boon have had a long involvement with mobile libraries but I didn’t know until I started looking into the campaign that Charles Boon, one of the founders, worked in a mobile library before going into partnership and starting the publishing house.
With all that in mind, and the chance to spread the Mills & Boon love for Valentine’s Day, how could I resist!
As a result, earlier this week found me out bright and early in Cheshire , heading down country lanes that got smaller and more twisty to meet up with Jon and the mobile library. While over 70 mobile libraries are taking part in the event around the country, Cheshire East has been chosen to be one of the ‘Fabulous Five’ with stickers, balloons,sashes for the driver, and gifts to give out to library users.
Our first rendezvous was in the car park of the Badger Inn Church Minshull . I waited, hoping I was in the right place and before long the car park had filled up with a group of eager readers, waiting with piles of books. I can imagine that if I lived there the tri-weekly visit would be a real highlight for me. I was excited even waiting once! The library van arrived decorated with stickers and a poster with my books in the window, the doors slid open and in we went to be greeted with bunting and shiny pink padded envelopes.
I had taken along some of my books to discuss and the villagers were particularly impressed with the cover of The Blacksmith’s Wife, especially when I mentioned I had asked for Aidan Turner as the cover model. They told me that inspired by the recent BBC adaption of Poldark, the village had got together and created a calendar featuring village men in Poldark-y poses. So far they’ve raised over £2000 which is incredible!
It was wonderful to meet such an enthusiastic crowd and I’m half tempted to move there, if only so I can join the ballroom dancing class!
If you’re wondering what I’m holding in the photos, they’re Valentine’s gifts that Mills & Boon had sent along. I had a box of packages waiting for me inside the library. It was very hard not to peek to find out which books were inside!
The residents of Church Minshull went off for their regular post-library coffee in the pub while I looked on enviously. While we waited for time to leave, we made a display of some of the copies of Mills & Boon titles that were in the library van.
Our next stops were at the two ends of Home Farm Park in Lea where we met residents who live on the park permanently (I was super impressed with Jon’s ability to reverse park in such small spots). It was a warm, sunny day so it was nice to stand around with light streaming in through the library door and be able to chat to borrowers (of library books, not small people living under the floorboards). One of the visitors told me her daughter lives just outside Macclesfield and is a keen reader of historical so I was pleased to be able to give her a copy of The Saxon Outlaw’s Revenge which is set in the area. We spent some time discussing our favourite historical authors and browsing the shelves (the library is impressively stocked with something to suit everyone- a real TARDIS).
I recommended my favourite author and managed to pick up a copy of a book I’ve been searching for in the process (well I couldn’t spend a morning in a library and not leave with something).
The van had to move on to the next stop and I needed to get back to carry on writing my new story. Before I said goodbye I did get to wear the sash that I had been coveting since I arrived.
The van goes out on three-weekly timetables around villages in Cheshire. The promotion is running until the 14th February and there are still plenty of gift bags to collect before Valentine’s Day itself so keep an eye out for the van with pink stickers heading your way!
Thank you Cheshire East Libraries for inviting me along. I had a lovely morning and it was great to see how well the library was used. I’m lucky to have always lived in towns where there is a library and made great use of it, from nipping in on the way home from school as a teenager to fill in time before the bus (and often missing the next as a result of getting absorbed in a book) to taking my own young children as welcome moment of sanity amid sleepless nights and PND. Not everyone is so lucky to have a library on their doorstep and the Mobile Library Service provides a wonderful way of accessing books for those living too far to get to one regularly. With funding cuts and libraries being threatened increasingly with closure, keeping services like this going will be so important to people living in more isolated areas.
Libraries, exploring and Mills & Boon- three of my favourite things in one day!
The Reading Agency is a charity whose aim is to inspire more people to read. They do a superb job of encouraging people of all ages to pick up a book and targeting groups who might not have access otherwise. You can find out more of what they do here.
We have a new theme for Medieval Mondays and a new way of sharing our excerpts.
The theme is Villains so join us to find some of the nastiest, most ruthless bad guys who ever plagued our heroes and heroines.
Rather than share a whole excerpt in one go each of us is hosting a shorter snippet on our blogs with a link to where the next instalment can be found. You’ll be able to track the story on its tour from blog to blog and there will be a new excerpt from a different author to read on our own blog each week.
We’re all starting off with our own stories. My excerpt comes from chapter one of my newest release The Saxon Outlaw’s Revenge.
After a failed uprising, Constance Arnaud is forced to watch the execution of Saxon rebels at the hands of her brother-in-law, Norman nobleman Robert de Coudray.
‘Open your eyes and watch how those who would threaten your King die, girl,’ Robert commanded in an undertone. ‘Don’t shame me before these Saxon savages or I’ll whip the skin from your back.’
Constance raised her head obediently and forced herself to watch as man after man was lifted high alive and cut down a corpse. Some resisted as the knots were pulled tight, one or two looked on the verge of weeping; others walked with dignity to their deaths. Without exception all spat towards the dais where Robert’s household sat, fixing any Norman who met their eye with a loathing that made Constance shiver with fear.
Their deaths were not quick or easy, but if the uprising had not been prevented and they had joined with those in other counties, how slow and degrading would her death at their hands have been? She’d heard the tales of what had happened elsewhere, of children speared in their beds and women shared between the rebels until they begged for death. Even a twist-footed cripple like Constance would not be spared the degradation. Jeanne was right, it was relief she should feel, not pity.
At the mercy of her enemy!
Abducted by Saxon outlaws, Constance Arnaud comes face to face with Aelric, a Saxon boy she once loved. He’s now her enemy, but Constance must reach out to this rebel and persuade him to save her life as she once saved his…
Aelric is determined to seek vengeance on the Normans who destroyed his family. Believing Constance deserted him, he can never trust her again. Yet, as they are thrown together and their longing for each other reignites, will Aelric discover that love is stronger than revenge?
It’s the season of romance (unless you’re cynical and Northern like me). To celebrate Valentine’s Day Harlequin are running a giveaway with a difference.
All the authors taking part are giving away a copy of one of their own books and a secret surprise title by another author. I’m giving away a copy of The Saxon Outlaw’s Revenge and I’ll give you a clue to my secret book-it’s by one of my fellow Unlaced Ladies – all Harlequin Historical authors who manage The Unlaced Book Club where we discuss writing, inspirations and anything else that takes our fancy with a historical or romantic theme.
The giveaway runs for the whole of February. Lucky it’s a short month so you won’t have to wait for too long to find out if you’ve won.
You can enter the giveaway here or by clicking the picture and find details of other authors taking part with the hashtag #HarlequinSecretValentine on Twitter.