Category Archives: Harlequin

Medieval Monday: New theme, new style!

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.

 

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Cheshire, 1068

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.

Blurb

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?

To be continued next Monday on Jenna Jaxon’s blog

https://jennajaxon.wordpress.com

 

Buy in the US

Buy in the UK

Come back next week to find out whose villain I’ll be sharing.

In the meantime you can check out the other authors here to find how their excerpts start.

Lane McFarland ~ Rue Allyn ~ Sherry Ewing ~ Jenna Jaxon ~  bambilynnblogAshley York ~ Mary Morgan ~ Barbara Bettis ~ Laurel O’Donnell ~ Cathy MacRae ~ Ruth A. Casie

We’ll be tweeting locations using #medievalhop so you can find out who is where and when.

 

Valentine Giveaway

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.

Valentine's Elisabeth.png

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.

 

 

 

Harlequin hero of the Year

I’m delighted to announce that my Blacksmith hero Hal has made it into the first round of Harlequin Hero of the Year

Each week, the top heroes will go head-to-head for your votes to move on to the next round. Voting for the first round is open now with three days to go.

Hal is the only Historical hero  in the contest so if you loved the character, the book, or just have a soft spot for Historicals (or blacksmiths) please show your support and vote him through.

Vote for Hal Danby

Blacksmith's wife cover

 

The Saxon Outlaw’s Cover reveal

The Saxon Outlaw’s Revenge is out in November in print and ebook in December and I can finally share the cover art and blurb.

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?

 

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I’ll be honest and say the cover doesn’t show the Aelric I had in my head because he’s a Saxon so really should be much blonder than reddish and with longer hair (he’s been living wild in the forests of Cheshire for years after all).  I’d used Tom Hiddleston and Tom Felton as inspiration.  Having said that, I love the pose and his brooding intensity.  He does look like someone who might seriously consider whether to sacrifice the woman he loved to get his revenge on the man he hates.

The original cover was slightly different and I emailed my editor and asked if the hair colour could be changed and the art department worked their magic.  The original and new covers are here for comparison.

SOR spot the difference copy

It’s a December release so will be alongside Christmas books on the shelves so I think the candles give it a festive touch too.

The book can be preordered here for readers in the USA and here for readers in the UK

The UK cover hasn’t been finalised yet so I’ll be interested to see which one they go for.

I’d love to know what you think.  Let me know in the comments below.

Sneak peek

With less than a week to go until the release of The Blacksmith’s Wife I thought I’d share a snippet.  This is the first meeting between Hal and Joanna.  Joanna has talked her way into the tournament grounds, hoping to find Sir Roger, the knight she is in love with.

Joanna made her way to the courtyard where makeshift stables and workshops had been assembled. She had given up hope of finding Sir Roger when, through a sudden parting in the crowd, she saw familiar black curls and glimpsed the line of his jaw just as he turned away.

A thrill of anticipation rippled through Joanna as she eased her way towards him. It had been six months since Sir Roger had last been in York. Despite the urge to run to his arms Joanna stood back and watched in admiration.

Sir Roger was facing away from her, sharpening a sword with slow, sure strokes. He had removed his armour and padded woollen tunic, but instead of the customary fitted doublet of fine wool he favoured, he was dressed in britches and a shapeless tunic drawn in at the waist with a thick belt. As Joanna watched he laid the sword on a trestle table, rolled his head from side to side and stretched his arms high.

Intending to surprise him Joanna crept behind him. She reached on tiptoe to whisper in his ear, her lips close enough to brush against his hair.

‘Greetings, my lord, I’ve been searching for you.’

He stiffened and turned to face her. Joanna found herself gazing up into Sir Roger’s eyes.

In the face of a stranger.

Her mouth fell open and she stumbled backwards away from the man, dropping her bag. Explanations and apologies tumbled unintelligibly from her lips.

‘I didn’t know… I thought you were… I mean… I’m sorry!’

The man folded his arms across his broad chest. His lips curled into an amused smile. Joanna took another step back, her mind whirling with confusion and embarrassment. Her voice tailed off. Her heart was pounding so loudly she would swear it must be audible. She covered her face with her hands in an attempt to conceal the blush that was turning her pale complexion scarlet and peered through her fingers.

It was little wonder she had mistaken the man for Sir Roger. From behind they shared the same build and unruly curls. Facing her there was still a resemblance. She noticed for the first time that what she had taken for a belt was a long leather apron tied about his waist. Whoever he was, the stranger was no knight.

‘I beg your forgiveness!’ Joanna said, wincing with embarrassment.

The man ran a hand through the tangle of black curls that fell to just below his ears. He eyed Joanna with an open interest that made her heart thump.

‘No forgiveness needed. I thought Lady Fortune was finally smiling on me but alas it seems not,’ he said with an exaggerated note of regret. ‘It’s been so long since I have had such a greeting that I believe I should be thanking you for the experience! Perhaps I will do as a companion?’ he suggested.

If that has whetted your appetite then the book is available at Amazon, B&N, Kobo and other online retailers. Preorder now

I also have an Amazon giveaway running until May 2nd which is open to readers in the US Enter here

 

 

Reviews advance readers

Giveaway time

I received my author copies of The Blacksmith’s Wife so am running a giveaway via Goodreads to win copy.

Enter here

The giveaway is open to readers in the UK, North America, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Europe (any further afield and the postage kills me).

Nearer release date I’ll be doing guest posts on a number of blogs and running giveaways via those too so keep watching for details.Blacksmith's wife cover

Belated New Year greetings

Happy New Year.  I feel there should be a statute of limitations (or perhaps a statue of limitations) on saying that.  It’s been a hectic time, as I’m sure it has been for everyone.  My plan to write at least two chapters of m WIP over my Christmas break didn’t go according to plan, though I did manage to scribble notes in between the mince pies and cake.  Just as well as it’s due to my editor by the end of March!  The story is set in Norman Cheshire so I have lots of excuses to go for walks into the hills to soak up the atmosphere for research.

2016 will be another exciting year for me because my next book The Blacksmith’s Wife is out in May.  I haven’t got a cover yet but here is the blurb.

‘A passion forged from fire 

Rejected by her favored knight, Joanna Sollers knows she will never love again. Especially when the man she’s now forced to marry is none other than her beloved’s half brother!

For blacksmith Hal Danby, marrying Joanna makes his lifelong dream of entering the Smiths’ Guild possible, even if the secrets in his past mean he’ll forever keep his distance. But everything changes with one stolen night, and in the arms of his new bride, Hal wonders if this loveless arrangement could transform into something real…’

I was pleased to see the gorgeous Aidan Turner, the inspiration for Hal,  getting so much positive attention for his many charms in And Then There Were None.  Here’s a quick pic in case you missed it.  Definitely someone I’d want to sweep me off my feet.

The rather lovely Aidan Turner

 

I hope I get a cover model just as striking!

I’ll be sure to share its soon as I can.

 

In the meantime, a reminder that I’m on Twitter and Facebook (despite Facebook’s attempts to bury pages under a patio where no one will find them) so do pop in to say hello.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Blacksmiths-Wife-Harlequin-Historical-ebook/dp/B017RCL96M

 

$1.99 book sale!

Harlequin have been publishing ebooks for ten years!  To celebrate they’re offering 10,000 ebooks at $1.99 each, including my first book Falling for Her Captor.  If you haven’t read it now is your chance to get hold of a copy.

Falling for Her Captor at $1.99

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Readers have described it as

A feisty heroine, a drop-dead gorgeous hero, a nastier-than-real-life villain, and a plot you can sink your teeth into.

A really gripping, and at times dark, story that really kept my attention.

A satisfying read, with some great ambiance and a fast-paced romance, if you’ve not read this period before, then this is a great introduction to it.

Loads of emotional tension between the two of them keep you turning the pages and the ending is both heartfelt and satisfying. Highly recommend.

Only a Winter’s Tale?

I think A Wager for the Widow was released at the wrong time of year because I’m definitely getting a more wintery feel to the evenings now and can all too clearly imagine Eleanor and Will shivering out in the gardens and cuddling up for warmth in this scene.

Why not get hold of a copy, light the fire, pour a glass of your favourite winter drink and lose yourself on the Cornish Coast?

Buy your copy here
Buy your copy here

“The sun, which had barely broken through the heavy clouds all day, had nearly disappeared below the archway, turning the buildings grey. Eleanor shivered as the icy wind hit her. She almost went back for her cloak, but the sound of voices and laughter drifted to her from the Outer Hall. She shook her head and made her way round the side of the house to the walled garden where she hoped to find some protection from the weather, and threw herself on to a stone bench.
Eleanor pulled a sprig of rosemary and fitfully ripped the leaves off one by one, letting them drop on to the ground with a trembling hand.  She drew her knees up to her chest and hugged herself tightly to ward off the cold. She stared into the shadows and her stomach twisted again as she thought of the argument with her mother. Her eyes swam with tears that were hot in the biting wind. How long would it be before she was missed and summoned back to the house? She drew deep breaths, fighting the urge to run to her chamber, pack her belongings and return home.
‘Lady Peyton?’
The voice was low and unexpected. Eleanor gave a start. She spun round to find William Rudhale standing by the far end of the bench, a large bundle under one arm. Eleanor bowed her head quickly, unwilling for him to see the evidence of her tears, and wiped them away with the back of her hand.
‘Why are you here?’ Eleanor asked suspiciously. ‘Did my mother send you to find me?’
‘Nobody sent me,’ he answered softly. ‘You looked distressed so I decided to follow you.’
He gestured to the bench and raised an eyebrow. After a moment’s hesitation Eleanor nodded and the steward sat down beside her.
He unfurled the bundle that he carried and Eleanor recognised his voluminous red cloak.
‘I thought you might need some shelter from the wind. It is no weather to be out in without something to keep you warm.’
Eleanor’s lip trembled and she bit down on it. ‘Thank you,’ she whispered, her voice catching in her throat.
Rudhale leaned across and gently wrapped the cloak around Eleanor’s shoulders. Their eyes met and he gave a slight smile, as though being caught in the act of a kindness embarrassed him. He brushed a stray lock of hair from her cheek with fingers that left a trail of heat across her skin.
At this gesture of kindness, Eleanor’s emotions finally overwhelmed her. She put her head in her hands and burst into sobs, not caring that the steward saw or what he might think. Her frame shook with each fresh rush of tears. She was dimly aware of Rudhale’s arm slipping around her shoulders as he drew her head down on to his chest.
Eleanor stiffened momentarily as the unfamiliar closeness provoked feelings that were much more alarming than her grief. Rudhale’s hand found a home in the small of her back and she melted willingly against him. She could not say for how long she cried, conscious only of warmth, of Rudhale’s soothing wordless murmurs as she let her sadness flood out, and of the comfort of his strong arms around her body.”

Excerpt From: Elisabeth Hobbes. “A Wager for the Widow.” iBooks.

Buy A Wager for the Widow here