Tag Archives: medieval

Medieval Monday with Barbara Bettis

This week on Medieval Monday I’m delighted to share an excerpt from Barbara Bettis’ The Lady of the Forest.

TheLadyoftheForest_w11020_300

Paxton already must have arrived to spread his lies. Damnation.

“This has all been a mistake,” he insisted.

You might well think so.” She edged closer as they spoke.

Something about her hair—its remarkable color—danced at the edge of his memory. He’d seen it before, but memory failed. No matter. He’d not allow an intriguing female to deter him. “What I think is you should loosen these cords. I’m Henry of Chauvere. I’m no danger to anyone here.”

 

BLURB:

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.

AMAZON  TWRP

Follow along next week at Mary Morgan’s: http://www.marymorganauthor.com/blog Don’t forget to comment for a chance to win an e-copy of The Lady of the Forest

 

In the meantime head over to see how Roger and Lucy are faring on Barbara’s blog

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Meet Roger- cover reveal

I love getting covers through. There’s always a slight anxiety that the model or scene won’t resemble anything in the book but so far (Saxon’s black hair aside) I’ve been very pleased with mine.

The cover for Redeeming the Rogue Knight was particularly important because it was my first book that was linked to a previous one through a character.  We’ve already met the hero Roger in The Blacksmith’s Wife as he was Joanna’s original crush (boo, hiss).  His brother Hal was on the cover of that book so I made it clear when I filled in the Art Fact Sheet that I was hoping for someone with a family resemblance.  Here’s what they gave me.

RTRK NA cover

The story starts with Roger and his companion leaving a nobleman’s house around dawn.  Judging by the colour of the sky it’s pretty early and he certainly looks like he’s checking he isn’t being followed.

‘Roger finished dressing rapidly in his thickly padded jerkin and travelling cloak and reached for his sword. He cast a final look around the room in case they had forgotten anything before leading the way to the kitchens where he knew there was a door that would be unguarded. Making friends with the maidservant was proving to have a benefit he had not anticipated and they were able to creep out without being spotted and make their way to the stables.

In silence, they wrapped sacking around their horses’ hooves and shouldered their saddles. The animals snickered in protest at the early start and Roger paused to run his hand across the rough winter coat of the chestnut courser. They led their mounts around the edge of the courtyard. Fortune was on their side as they passed through the gateway without notice.’

Have you spotted the anachronism? It was the second thing I saw (right after I’d stopped admiring Roger’s arms) but most people admitted they never got past looking at Roger.  Anyway, I’m very happy with it and I think the covers make a lovely pair.

I can definitely see a family resemblance, can you?

Dany brothers NA covers.

 

Redeeming the Rogue Knight is out in August (print) and September (ebook) and is available to preorder viewBook.at/RogueKnight

The Blacksmith’s Wife is still available if you want to discover his backstory myBook.to/BlacksmithWife

 

Medieval Monday

We’re halfway through the Villains theme.  Are you enjoying it?  I know I’m loving getting to read and share some great excerpts.  Today’s comes from The Highlander’s English Woman by Ruth A. Casie

TheHighlandersEnglishWoman300 (1)

 

Laura Reynolds is in love with her long-time friend, Jamie Maxwell Collins. She adores his playful sense of humor, caring nature as well as his strong sense of family and honor.

Jamie lives across the border in Scotland. Outwardly carefree, he hides a dark secret. He can’t involve Laura in this deception. He can’t give her hope for a future together.

Laura stumbles upon Jamie’s secret. In her heart of hearts she knows Jamie is innocent. Their relationship in tatters and with no hope of reconciliation, she plays a deadly game to exonerate Jamie, she agrees to a political marriage. She has no idea the entire game has been orchestrated by her future husband, Jamie’s greatest enemy.

 

Excerpt:

“Then we best return to the others. They’ll want to spend time with you, too.” They moved on toward the hall.

“I have no words, nothing to say to comfort you.” He could barely get the words out.

“Your presence is enough.”

He held back a nervous smile. He visited to give the family comfort. Instead, she comforted him.

“How are my Maxwell cousins?” Laura asked. Jamie guided her toward the great hall.

“They are well when I last saw them.”

Follow along next week by checking out Jenna Jaxon’s blog for excerpt #7

https://jennajaxon.wordpress.com/

 

Available at Amazon

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.

 

SOR front

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.

 

Dance the night away.

>An older post updated to include the scene from Redeeming the Rogue Knight.<

It’s party season and I’m looking forward to getting out on Friday night for a dance with my colleagues so I thought I’d share some of the scenes from my books involving dancing. I love dancing and don’t get to do it often enough so I make sure my couples get the chance.  Learning how to dance properly is on my to-do list when I eventually have the time (and a willing partner).

First from Falling for Her Captor

Falling for Her Captor

Stephen slammed his goblet onto the table. ‘We should dance!’ he shouted, and applause filled the room.

He reached out his hand to Aline, his jaw set and his eyes narrowed. Reluctantly she took his hand and walked to the centre of the room, her eyes cast down. A hush descended over the hall.

‘A quadrille for Lady Aline,’ Stephen announced.

The musicians took up their instruments once more and began to play a simple melody. Stephen took Aline’s hands and together they began to circle the room, the familiar steps of the dance coming back to her as they moved together. She caught a glimpse of Hugh again, deep in conversation with a young woman dressed in scarlet. The woman put her hand to his arm and dipped her head coyly. Hugh smiled. Aline frowned, then caught herself in the act. What was it to her who he talked to?

Hugh gave no indication of noticing her, though she thought she saw him glance in her direction as Stephen lifted and spun her. Stephen didn’t look away from her face, however, and she dared not stare too obviously.

The musicians increased their tempo and other couples joined Aline and Stephen on the floor. The dance became more intricate now: the pairs were weaving between each other, now in one circle, now in two, now in lines, the men lifting the women in sweeping arcs before moving speedily on to a new partner. After her long confinement Aline leapt high and swung wildly, laughing and lost in the dance—until she looked into the face of her newest partner.

A half-smile played upon Hugh’s lips as he bowed to her. His blue eyes met her own. Familiar arms encircled her waist and lifted her off her feet, spun her. They passed shoulder to shoulder, their hands brushing fleetingly as they circled round, their eyes never breaking away.

Then he was gone.

 

Next one from the midwinter feast which Will has staked his savings on in A Wager for the Widow (the dress in the excerpt is the one Eleanor wears on the cover).

piccie

Eleanor walked through the doorway and Will forgot everything.

She wore green. Pale silk under a mantle of heavy, emerald velvet laced with gold braid from beneath her high breasts to her slender waist. Her hair had been twisted atop her head and encased in a net of gold so that her braids flamed between the metal. The gown left her shoulders bare and the elegant expanse of creamy flesh sent Will’s heart thudding into his stomach.

Half-a-dozen men leapt to their feet as they saw Eleanor, but Will was quicker. He tore his gaze from the curve of her throat and collarbone and strode to her. He bowed before her, then lifted his head. His eyes travelled slowly up her body until he met her gaze, determined to leave her in no doubt of the effect she was having upon him. She looked uncertain until Will gave her a discreet wink. She smiled back and the world brightened, as though a hundred more candles had begun to burn.

‘Let me escort you to your seat, Lady Peyton,’ Will said formally. As she took his outstretched arm he whispered in an undertone, ‘You’re the most beautiful woman in the room. It was worth the hailstorm to see you in that dress.’

Eleanor said nothing, but a blush crept across her cheeks and her fingers tightened on his arm. Will led her to her seat, reluctantly relinquishing her to the company of the Sheriff of Tawstott. He could barely keep his eyes from her for the rest of the feast.

When the final dishes had been removed the tables were cleared for the dancing to begin. The musicians tuned their instruments and an expectant hush fell over the hall.

Allencote began to thread his way through the crowd towards her and Will crossed the room to her side. The two men reached her at the same time. Eleanor looked from one to the other apprehensively.

‘Will you dance the first measure with me, Lady Peyton?’ Allencote asked, a shade before Will could ask the same question.

Eleanor’s eyes flickered briefly to Will’s. He held her gaze boldly though his stomach curled with anxiety. It was out of his hands now. If she chose Allencote, he had lost everything.

 

Hal and Joanna’s first dance is at their wedding reception in The Blacksmith’s Wife

Blacksmith's wife cover

‘We should dance,’ Hal said, pushing his chair back and helping Joanna to her feet. He was quick on his feet and graceful. Under any other circumstance dancing with him would have been a delight, but as he led her through the steps Joanna’s thoughts were on his last words. When the day ended they would return to Hal’s lodgings with all that must happen between a husband and wife. The thought made her feel nauseous and she stumbled her footing through the next steps of the reel. Hal’s arm came about her waist, leading her back into the rhythm.

‘Are you ill?’ he asked, concern clear in his voice.

‘Just a little tired,’ Joanna answered.

As she passed down the line one of Simon’s associates overheard her words. He grasped her round the waist and lifted her high. ‘The bride wishes to sleep,’ he cried. ‘We shall have the bedding ere long!’

Joanna’s blood froze in her veins. That part of the wedding night had kept her awake night after night. She had steeled herself to bear whatever her husband bade her do, but to be disrobed in front of the guests would be unendurable. Cheers soared around the room, echoing his words. Joanna felt herself passed from guest to guest through the steps of the dance. Her protestations were ignored as hands gripped her skirts, pulling at the cloth as if they would begin undressing her right there. Laughing faces leered at her as for one terrible moment she became the centre of a circle of dancers before a pair of strong arms gripped her and she was clasped against someone’s chest. She tried to pull free but a soothing voice hushed her, brushing her hair from her face.

‘I’m sorry to disappoint you, gentlemen and ladies, but there will be no bedding,’ Hal said.

Joanna gave a gasp of relief. He smiled down at her with eyes full of intent that caused a shiver to race along her spine.

‘My wife is my own tonight,’ he said quiet enough for only her to hear.

 

Next, the book where no one dances, but which contains a dance scene nevertheless, The Saxon Outlaw’s Revenge

SOR front

The second time they met it had been spring, not many weeks later than it was today. A time after they had settled in Hamestan, but before the thegns rose against her people. A market day filled with rare laughter and music where Constance had believed they were becoming accepted, that they could live in peace alongside each other.

There had been dancing and she’d watched enviously as the girls spun about the circle with their skirts flying, trying to ignore the stares and whispers.

Aelric had been at the centre of the knot, a set of pipes to his lips and his red-blond hair falling into his eyes. He had paused his tune as he spotted her watching and threaded his way through the circle towards her and held out his hand. When she indicated the stick she leaned on his expression hadn’t been one of pity or ridicule like she was used to, but regret. Instead of turning immediately back to the dance he’d taken her hand and bowed, then walked with her through the marketplace, leaving his friends behind.

She’d fallen a little bit in love with him at that moment.

 

Since I originally wrote this post I’ve published Redeeming the Rogue Knight

Featured Image -- 2066

Even though he’s injured, Roger Danby can’t resist the chance to try get Lucy into his arms for a spin.

He took a brief moment of respite, enjoying the view of Lucy’s legs as she twisted her feet to grind the rushes firmly into place. In the time it had taken him to finish his task she had completed half of hers. She looked as though she was working her way through the measure of a dance.

Roger began to whistle the tune to a French jig that sprung to his mind. Lucy stopped mid-step, one leg bent with heel raised in a pose that twisted her hip to the side and caused the curves of her waist and breasts to command Roger’s attention. The effect was only spoiled by the manner in which she glared at him suspiciously. He explained what he was doing and she rolled her eyes as if it confirmed her opinion of him as a wastrel, lowering her leg and smoothing her dress down.

‘We could dance together and finish in half the time,’ Roger suggested with a bold grin. Despite the soreness of his wound he suddenly found himself yearning for further movement. The idea of taking Lucy in his arms and pulling her close as they worked through the steps made his spirits lift. Some dances involved more than hand holding and polite bowing. She did not refuse immediately and looked almost as if she was considering his suggestion seriously, but then shook her head.

‘It’s been too long since I danced. I fear I’d make a poor partner for a man used to fine company.’

He’d expected refusal, but not this excuse. Denial that she had time to spare for such diversions, possibly. Suspicion that it was a ploy of some sort, almost certainly. A criticism of her own abilities, not at all.

‘I don’t think you would,’ Roger said.

He walked to stand opposite her, adding a slight swagger to his walk. He took his time as if he was taking his place in the middle of a dance floor in front of assembled nobles, enjoying Lucy’s eyes on him. Lucy shifted her stance, straightening her back and letting her hands drop to rest at her sides, watching as he crossed to her. As much as she might deny it, Roger recognised she was readying herself to dance.

His pulse began a low drumbeat in his ears.

The skin at the creamy hollow of Lucy’s throat flickered as she lifted her head to meet his eyes, gazing intently at him through pale lashes, before glancing away in a show of modesty that made his blood begin to race all the more for doubting it was real. The room grew hotter, smaller, enfolding them both in a moment that had sprung from nowhere. Roger swallowed, acutely aware of how much he wanted the woman standing before him.

To find out what happens next in any story click on the names of the book to get hold of a copy.

Medieval Monday- Sherry Ewing

I’m delighted to be taking part in Medieval Monday where each week (guess which day) I’ll be sharing a cover and excerpt from a different medieval novel.  The overall theme is ‘celebrations’ and I’m starting off with ‘Hearts Across Time’ by Sherry Ewing.

hearts_across_time_cover_for_kindle

 

The golden sun began to peek over the ocean horizon, splashing the morning sky with a thousand shades of pink and orange. The further it rose, the more color splattered across the cloudless sky until all traces of the earlier shades vanished. ’Twas obvious, the perfect day was a gift from the heavens and a priceless tribute to the woman Riorden would call his wife for the rest of his life.

Riorden was in no rush to head down to the Great Hall. There was no need. Katherine and her ladies had insisted ’twas bad luck to see the bride afore the wedding. He had never heard of such a custom, but who was he to tempt fate? Nay, he dare not look upon her, if such an occurrence would displease God, and in His wrath, He would wrench Katherine back from whence she had come.

Patrick brought Riorden a small repast, along with water to wash and fresh garments Lynet had lovingly sewn for his wedding. He was not surprised when he saw the tunic. Gilded fabric had been embroidered and used as trim on the deep blue cloth Katherine herself had chosen, saying the color would match his eyes. He smiled, wondering how she would look in the golden material he had chosen for her. He supposed, he would find out soon enough.

A knock roused Riorden from his musings of his lovely lady. Opening the door, he saw Aiden standing there, also dressed in his finest.

“What…no sword?” Riorden inquired in jest. He also was to leave his sword within his chamber, although he stowed a small, serviceable blade in his belt.

Aiden appeared completely ill at ease. “Nay! Amiria refused to allow such in the chapel. God’s wounds, Riorden…I feel as if I am only but half dressed.”

A chuckle rumbled inside Riorden. “Do not be so troubled, my friend. The mass and ceremony should be no longer than an hour or two. Surely, your sister will allow you your blade afterwards.”

“Ha! Easy for you to say. She made it clear she does not trust me.”

“Let me guess,” Riorden mulled over. “She hid it from you, did she?”

“My twin knows me only too well, I am afraid,” Aiden muttered miserably. “Dristan has hidden hers, as well. At least he managed to get her into a dress, instead of boots and hose.”

“Knowing Amiria, I am sure she will in no uncertain terms let me know of the sacrifice she has made, on the behalf of my lady, to appear in such.”

Aiden at last smiled knowingly. “You can count on it.”

“Why are you here? It cannot be time, as yet, is it?”

“Damn, I almost forgot my purpose,” Aiden cursed. “Dristan asked that you come to his solar. He will then accompany you to the chapel at the appointed hour.”

“Then let us be on our way, since I am all but done here,” Riorden said, and they made their way up to the third floor.

He had just taken the last step on the tower stairs, when he halted his progress to peer down the passageway toward Lynet’s chamber. Intent on listening to the bubbly laughter of his soon to be wife and her friends, he began to hear a strange haunting melody, most likely coming from the machine Kat called a cellphone. She was so close, and he found he had missed her company this past eve, more than he would have thought possible.

He took a step in the direction towards where, in his heart, he wanted to be until he felt Aiden tugging at his arm.

“Come on, Riorden. You shall see her afore you know it.”

 

Blurb:

Bestselling author Sherry Ewing presents this special edition box set getting 5 star reviews that is combining Katherine and Riorden’s complete story from For All of Ever and Only For You in Hearts Across Time: The Knights of Berwyck, A Quest Through Time Novel (Books One & Two).

Sometimes all you need is to just believe…

For All of Ever: Katherine Wakefield has dreamed and written of her knight in shining armor all her life. Yet, how could she have known that when she and her three closest friends take a dream vacation to England that they’d find themselves thrown back more than eight hundred years into the past? Riorden de Deveraux travels to Bamburgh answering the summons of King Henry II. But nothing prepares him for the beautiful vision of a strangely clad ghost who first appears in his chamber. Centuries are keeping them apart until Time gives them a chance at finding love. Will the past of one consume what their future may hold, or will Time take the decision from them and hurdle Katherine forward to where she truly belongs?

Only For You: Katherine de Deveraux has it all but settling into her duties at Warkworth Castle is not easy and downright dangerous to her well-being. Consumed with memories of his father, Riorden must deal with his sire’s widow. Yet how could he know how far Marguerite will go to have the life she feels they were meant to live? Torn apart, Time becomes their true enemy while Marguerite continues her ploy to keep Riorden at her side. With all hope lost, will Katherine & Riorden find a way to save their marriage?

 

Buy Links – available in eBook and paperback

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$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.