Monday, January 16, 2017

Medieval Monday with Barbara Bettis

The winter seems to be plodding along. I hope you’re staying warm. Today my guest is Barbara Bettis and an excerpt for her story, The Lady in the Forest. In this passage, Henry has interrupted the wedding celebration at Stonehill Castle to challenge Mortimer’s right to marry Kate.
[Henry and his two friends] stalked into the hall where the lord held forth at the high table before the household left for the chapel. Kate sat at his right, the priest at his left.
“Sir Mortimer.” Henry’s voice boomed above the din. “Stand and answer my challenge.”
Mortimer lifted his head. “Lord Henry. Sit, break your fast before I wed my lady.” His oily tone did not match his hard set of jaw and narrowed eyes.
Henry ignored the words and continued across the floor. Mortimer rose but before he could speak, Henry leaped onto the dais.
 “You have no right to demand Lady Katherine in marriage.” It took all Henry’s determination not to glance at Kate.
 “I have an order from the king, granting me this holding and the lady as my bride.”
 “I say the order does not exist.” A murmur rose from the people seated at the lower tables. Calling the lord a liar meant a fight. But no sounds arose of benches scraping back. Perhaps the soldiers awaited a signal. Henry stepped closer. “Produce this writ. Let me examine the seal.”
Dull red moved up Mortimer’s neck; his nostrils flared.
Henry sucked in a breath of satisfaction. He had him now. “You cannot. The people of Stonehill have been mistreated and their lady driven into hiding in fear for her life. You’ve lied and cheated, and you’ve taken part in a treasonous attempt to overthrow one of the king’s barons.”
He hadn’t known what to expect from Mortimer, but it wasn’t the self-satisfied upturn of the man’s mouth. Dread scraped a cold trail along Henry’s spine.
 “You may be another baron and a pet of the king,” Mortimer said, “but that don’t make you always right, and that don’t keep you from facing a fight when you accuse an honest man of wrongdoing.”
He motioned to the priest, who stood and withdrew a section of parchment from a leather satchel beside him on the bench. It contained no seals.
Henry clenched his teeth. Why in the devil’s own hell hadn’t he considered the priest as the knight’s accomplice?
The churchman opened the document and at a nod from Mortimer, read. “Sir Mortimer of Corbeau, in gratitude for service, is granted the holding of Stonehill in Nottinghamshire…”
A loud buzzing in Henry’s ears blotted the words that followed. Satan’s backside! The writ existed. The parchment was stained and tattered, not the official document often used to dispense favors, but he’d seen Richard direct a clerk to scratch out such awards after a battle. They were rough and hurried, yet they carried the weight of the king’s power.
And they always carried his seal.
Where was the seal for this order?

Buy Links: AMAZON: http://amzn.to/2czF6Fl

Monday, January 9, 2017

Medieval Monday with Mary Morgan

Happy Medieval Monday! It’s cold here on the northeast coast, snow and freezing temperatures. Ah, but a good story and a hot cup of tea (or a glass of wine) can take the edge off the weather. Today I’m hosting Mary Morgan. Here is an excerpt from her story, A Magical Highland Solstice. I hope you enjoy it.
Excerpt:
Cormac’s stomach protested fiercely as he descended the stairs. He had eaten little on his journey with Eve—happily content to watch her munch on an apple, or nibble on bread and cheese. She chatted between bites, her hands flying about to match her liveliness. When she complained he had not eaten anything, he relented. He watched in fascination as she wedged cheese and apple slices between the two pieces of bread she tore off for him. It was the most glorious meal he had ever eaten. However, his heart almost stopped beating when she nearly cut her finger with his sgian dubh.
As he attempted to snatch the blade from her hand, she smacked him away, informing him she knew how to handle a knife.
He chuckled at the memory and nearly collided with the golden-haired beauty coming toward him.
“Yikes! I’m sorry, Cormac.” She grabbed his arm, trying to steady the trencher with her other hand.
He lifted the item from her hand as it was about to tumble free. “My pardons. My thoughts were elsewhere.” Inhaling the aroma, he asked, “Wild boar with mushrooms and onions?”
“You have guessed correctly, Laird Cormac.”
He arched a brow. “We are feasting grandly with only a few days before the Yule?”
Eve glanced over his shoulder and behind her before stepping close, as if she was about to pass along some great secret. “They’re experimenting with new mushrooms and herbs from Cathal. I heard it on good authority that a certain laird must approve the dish.” She gave him a wink.
Cormac inspected the dish and then lifted his finger.
“You wouldn’t dare,” she protested, smacking his hand away.
Lifting the trencher high over his head, he replied, “Remember, I am the laird, aye?”
Eve fisted her hands on her hips and glared at him. “And because you are the leader of the clan, you must show some respect.”
His gaze raked over her face and settled on her lips. “I will concede defeat, but only if ye grant me a kiss.”
Her cheeks flushed as she looked around the corridor. “Here?”
“Aye.” As Cormac stepped closer, Eve moved backward.
“What if…someone sees us?”
Cormac’s smiled turned predatory. “All I asked for was a kiss, nae to plunder your body.”
When her back hit the wall, she parted her lips. “One kiss only?”
He arched a brow, understanding her meaning. “I beg for only one. Yet, later, I shall demand many more.”
 “Then take your kiss, my laird,” she whispered.
Slowly, Cormac lowered his mouth to hers, and a moan of pleasure slipped through her lips. Powerful, hungry desire spiraled through him as her tongue invaded him, seeking, stroking. He growled, taking all she had to offer. When one of her hands wrapped around his neck, he deepened the kiss. He was lost in her touch, her lips, and Cormac burned for more.
Finally breaking free, Cormac found he was the one trembling.
“Is your arm getting tired?” she asked, breathing heavily as her hand slipped across his shoulder.
“Nae.”
She gave him a gentle push back and stepped away from his embrace. “Good. I’ll relieve you of the trencher, though I’ll make sure to place it near you.”
Obliging, Cormac handed her the trencher of food. As he strolled away, he said, “Ye may inform Moira and the others I approve of the meat.”
Eve glanced over her shoulder at him. “Now why would I lie? You haven’t tasted the food?”
“Och, but I have, fair Eve. From your lips.”
“You’re incorrigible.”
Cormac roared with laughter. “I shall leave it to ye to help me make amends for my bad habits, Lady Eve.”
She snorted and walked into the Great Hall.
“By the hounds…what have ye done to me, sweet lass?”
Back Cover Copy:
Laird Cormac Murray has witnessed how love destroyed his own father after the death of his mother, and he vows to never take a wife. Yet, when he comes upon a bewildered lass traveling alone, he finds his heart will no longer listen to his mind. In the end, Cormac risks everything to claim the love of a woman not of his time.
Eve Brannigan loves helping others and baking. After winning a contest, she is stunned to learn that the Clan Murray has requested her assistance to cater to their guests during the holiday season. When a lost path in Scotland leads her to a handsome but gruff Highlander, Eve fights the temptation to allow love to enter her heart for the first time.
Can the Fae and the magic of the Yule season bring together two souls who have forsaken love? Or will tragedies from the past separate the lovers forever?
Buy Links:
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Monday, January 2, 2017

Medieval Monday with Sherry Ewing

Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful holiday. My children came home and filled the house. Everyone is gone and while my celebration is over, you can read more celebrations on this month’s Medieval Monday. Today my guest is Sherry Ewing. She has an excerpt from her book, Hearts Across Time.
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.”
Back Cover Copy:

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
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1trffVj

Monday, December 26, 2016

Medieval Monday with Elisabeth Hobbes

I hope you’ve had a great weekend celebrating which ever holiday is yours. At our house, the kids came home and we’re still celebrating.
Our Medieval Monday is still about Celebrations. This week our guest is Elisabeth Hobbes. She has an excerpt for The Blacksmith’s Wife. I hope you enjoy it.
Excerpt

Thundering beats on the door roused them from their bed as men from the villagers came to claim ale from Hal as Lord Danby’s representative. He allowed himself to be taken away, leaving Joanna in the hands of Meg and the other women to gather flowers and greenery from the moors and bind them into wreaths.
The women arrived on the village green at midday. Raucous, uncontrolled games were taking place amid cheers and catcalls of the onlookers already well into the ale, but stopped as they appeared.
‘Crown the queen!’
The call was taken up and repeated by everyone present. Girls giggled and blushed, young men freely ogled them and Joanna felt hands in her back pushing her to the front of the crowd.
Hal appeared from among the men. He took her by the hand and turned her to face everyone. A crown of twisted greenery was placed on her head to cheers and good-natured whistles from everyone watching. Pipers began to play and dancers found their partners.
‘I thought the May Queen was supposed to be a maiden,’ Joanna whispered to Hal.
He held her waist tightly as he led her to the circle. ‘This year I thought I’d exercise my rights to choose.’
‘You can do that?’
‘I can do what I like, I’m their lord’s son,’ he joked. He put one hand on her back, the other to her cheek and looked into her eyes. ‘I cannot give you tournaments and pageants to delight you, but I wanted to give you something to remember.’
She covered her hand with his. ‘You have,’ she said. ‘This is enough.’
She realised as she said it that she spoke the truth.

The dancing and games carried on long into the night. As the sun set Hal and the men carried brands from the forge and lit the bonfire. More barrels of ale were tapped and the ox that had been roasting all afternoon was speedily eaten.
As groups and couples began to disperse to find their own diversions Joanna sat alone by the fire, warming her hands and yawning. She’d danced until her calves burned and drunk far too much wine. Her bed called her. Hal had vanished a while before, called away by the miller, and she was becoming tired of waiting. She walked home and was halfway to the door when she noticed light coming from the forge.
Curious, she walked across the dewy grass. The door was partly open, but no sound came from within. Cautiously Joanna pushed the door wider and peeped around it.
Hal was standing by his workbench. In the dull glow of the furnace Joanna could only see his back.
‘What are you doing?’ she asked.
Hal jumped at her voice. He strode towards her, blocking her entry into the forge.
‘What’s wrong? Why won’t you let me in?’ she asked.
‘Nothing’s wrong. I’m coming now,’ Hal said. His voice was guarded. He took hold of her arm and tried to turn her away.
He was so obviously hiding something. Determined to find out what Joanna twisted from his grip and pushed past him. Her blood drained slowly away, leaving her cold to the bone as she recognised her own drawing pinned to the beam above the furnace.
‘That’s mine!’ she hissed. ‘How did you get it?’
‘You dropped it on the moors,’ Hal said.
She remembered the day, but that had been over a week ago and he had kept it all this time! Furious, she lunged and ripped the drawing from the wall. She rounded on Hal.
‘How dare you keep it,’ she stormed. ‘You had no right to do that.’
She pushed roughly past him and wrenched the door open, stumbling out into the darkness.

Back Cover Copy
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…
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Monday, December 19, 2016

Medieval Monday with Ashley York

Happy Holidays! I hope your plans for the holidays are going smoothly. I’m still shopping and will soon be cooking. I expect my kids to be coming home soon. We’ll be celebrating. This week we continue with the theme Celebration. My guest is Ashley York. She has a great scene from her book, The Saxon Bride. I hope you enjoy it.
Excerpt
John's breath against Rowena's neck sent a shiver down her spine. Knowing now how easily she could be distracted, she fought to keep her head. Those who'd been waiting for the new lord of the manor acknowledged him with some excitement when he entered, Rowena at his side. John accepted their respectful greetings as if he'd always been such a high ranking lord yet Joan had said he was only a knight.
"My lord," a burly man with a ruddy complexion bowed overly long before them, causing his face to turn even redder. "Accept the greetings of a distant friend. I am Mort of Bedgrove near Aylesbury, at your service."
"And what would that service be?" John paused beside the extravagantly dressed man. It was not a man Rowena had ever seen before. John's mouth twitched with humor as he seemed to take in all the fine silk, silver bells and feather adornments in one glance.
The man bowed again before answering. "My lord…" Stepping closer, the man was a head shorter than John but he managed to look him directly in the face when he answered. "Whatever service that you might need."
John's humor fled. Rowena sensed a sudden tension between the two men. Their eyes were locked as if sizing each other up. His arm finally relaxed where her fingers lay lightly atop it. Smiling, he tipped his head in acknowledgment and continued on.
Finally reaching the far center wall, John and Rowena took their seats at the long table. It was covered with a clean cloth and adorned with small bunches of the last flowers from the garden. The scene was festive and Rowena's own spirits seemed to lift as well. It was a time to celebrate. The long awaited lord had finally returned. There would be time later to find out what that would mean to her. For her people, it was time for celebration. A time for peace.
The meal was eaten with the new apple wine Rowena had chosen. The assortment of breads, meats and pies was plentiful. The mead and cider flowed without restraint. All seemed relaxed, happy even. At the tables grouped with eight and ten people each, there was an easy exchange as they talked amongst themselves and the noise level rose as the amount of drink increased. The Normans, however, sat off by themselves and spoke more quietly. They were soldiers after all. Rowena tried to squelch her uneasiness at this realization.
Wondering if John noticed the subdued behavior of his men, she was startled to find his gaze running over her body. Her own breath quickened. It felt as if he were actually touching her. The memory of his touch had left a lasting impression. He wet his lips before taking his goblet to his mouth, opening it right before the cold metal touched his lips. The movement along his throat as he drank mesmerized her. She found herself wanting to put her lips there, to taste him. She looked away. She could never be so bold.
Her response to his looks was quite disconcerting. She cleared her throat."How do you find your manor after your long absence, my lord?"
John eyebrows shot up. She hadn't meant to find fault...or maybe she did.
"I was taken aback to find you do not care for the stores and such. Is there a reason you refuse to act as is your right as my wife?"
Her mouth opened slightly at the lie. "My lord, I have been given no such leave. Your king replaced me as chatelaine on his first visit here."
John searched her face before correcting her. "Our king."
Back Cover Copy
Rowena Godwinson, a Saxon princess, refuses to go willingly into a forced marriage to one of King William's most favored knights but her struggle against enemy occupation fades away in the pleasurable arms of her Norman husband. Will he bring her people to their knees in his attempt to please his liege lord? Or can she win him over to the Saxon's side even while one of her own plots to overthrow the bastard king?

John of Normandy is a soldier made for battle, ingrained with chivalry and a deep sense of loyalty to his mentor and king. Serving his liege is reward enough. Neither a title nor a child bride will entice him to become an indolent lord. A chance encounter with an alluring beauty, however, releases all his pent up desires and unspoken needs. His young bride has become a passionate woman, tempting him beyond his endurance. Can he win her over before she learns the truth of her father's death?
Buy Links

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