Monday, April 24, 2017

Medieval Monday Blog Hop - Cathy MacRae

Excerpt Twelve:     Sometimes betrayal is closer than you think
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?”
* * *

Follow along for the final excerpt Cathy MacRae’s Medieval Monday blog May 1!
Back Cover Copy:
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 nothing more than 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.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Medieval Monday Blog Hop - Laurel O'Donnell

Excerpt 11 – ANGEL’S ASSASSIN by Laurel O’Donnell
Damien caught a movement out of the corner of his eye.
Roke darted around him, toward the curtain.
What was there?  More men?  Damien cut him off in two steps, blocking his escape.  He knew instinctively there were no more of Roke’s men behind the curtain, because Roke would have called for them.
Roke backed away from Damien.
Damien could not afford to take his gaze from Roke, but he listened for Mother.  Nothing.  No sound.  Mother was as silent as the night, and as deadly as poison.  There would be no sound before Mother’s attack.  Damien quickly circled to Roke’s right, so his back was against the wall and he could see the entire room.
Roke skittered back away from Damien, farther back from the curtain.
Damien quickly surveyed the room, but Mother was nowhere to be seen.  Was he hiding?  Behind the bed?  He would never have fled without Roke.

Follow along next week by checking out Cathy MacRae's blog with excerpt #12
Back Cover Copy:
Damien is an assassin, a man with no home and a tortured past. Sold into slavery as a young boy, he is trained to kill with cold calculation, without remorse. As a reward for his ruthless success, he is given a chance to earn his freedom from his cruel master. One last mission. One final person to slay…

Lady Aurora of Acquitaine is the epitome of purity and goodness, beloved by all her people. She lives her life trying to atone for her mother’s cruelty by being a fair and just ruler. Secretly she fears that one day her mother’s murderer will return for her.

When Damien enters Aurora’s life, tempting her with promises of dark passion and forbidden lust, he threatens to tear her peaceful world apart with shadowy secrets of his own.

Can Aurora’s light heal Damien’s dark spirit or will his evil consume her? The eternal battle of good versus evil, love versus hate, dark versus light, all come to a shattering climax in this historical romance set in medieval England.
Buy Links:  AMAZON

Monday, April 10, 2017

Medieval Monday Blog Hop - Barbara Bettis

Excerpt  10 — THE LADY OF THE FOREST by Barbara Bettis
If the support of the soldiers in the hall had, indeed, changed, Sir Mortimer stood no chance of winning free. But Henry had seen a cornered wolf fight. He’d be brought down, but not before a last attack.
Henry forced himself to calm. If provoked, Mortimer could lunge any of three directions with fatal results to bystanders, all before Henry could reach him.
In a soothing tone he said, “Lay down your sword, Sir Mortimer. Look. The priest has moved.”
He had no idea if the priest lived, but Henry edged forward when Mortimer squinted at the body. “No one has died this day. You were mistaken about Lady Katherine, but what man could fault you for pursuing the king’s order? Come with me to the authorities, explain the misunderstanding. I know Richard. He can be lenient.”
Mortimer, sword wavering, gazed around at the bystanders. Slowly his hand began to lower, and a cautious relief found Henry.
Then Mortimer’s sight lit on Kate, and he snarled. “It’s your fault, you stupid wench.”
He lunged to his left, snagging her skirt with his hand, jerking her toward him. “You’ve been nothing but trouble from the day I arrived. If only you’d been dead in fact, no one could have usurped me.”
 Mortimer laid his sword against the side of her neck, and a chasm opened in Henry’s chest. Dear God. 

Follow the action next week by visiting Cathy MacRae’s blog:

Back Cover Copy
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.

Buy links:   AMAZON        TWRP

Monday, April 3, 2017

Medieval Monday Blog Hop - Mary Morgan

Excerpt Nine - DRAGON'S KNIGHT SHIELD by Mary Morgan

Honor. The very word seeped into his being, and Angus realized he would risk everything to defend Deirdre. Give his life for his woman. He did not save Meggie. But he could save another. He would not let Deirdre’s life perish. A flash of light glinted from the torches and glancing to his left, he saw his shield within his grasp.

Only one choice was left to Angus and it stared back at him from the ground. “Do ye not want to possess the shield, Lachlan? ’Tis yours to command.”

Follow along next week by checking out Cathy MacRae's blog with my excerpt #10 bobs-author- blog

Back Cover Copy:

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?

Buy Links:

Monday, March 27, 2017

Medieval Monday Blog Hop - Ashley York

Excerpt Eight - The Gentle Knight
Peter straightened. Perhaps Mort could locate the owner of the inn and get some food for her. He dare not leave her alone. "Mort?"
An older man entered from the corner door. He had a thick cloth wrapped around his middle and a large pitcher in each hand. The innkeeper. Mort followed behind.
"Here, my lord," Mort said.
"Andrew, grab the mugs from yonder wall." Peter sat beside Brighit.
Follow along with excerpt #9 next week on Rue Allyn's blog
Back Cover Copy
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?
Buy Links   Amazon    

Monday, March 20, 2017

Medieval Monday Blog Hop - Elisabeth Hobbes

Excerpt 7- The Saxon Outlaw's Revenge

Constance glanced at the men swinging from the ropes and their father waiting in chains. Brunwulf stood, shoulders tense and expression stricken. Robert left the dais and walked to where the boy knelt in the mud. When he reached Aelric he leaned over, putting his face close to the boy’s.
‘And how do you propose to do that, Aelric, son of Brunwulf?’ Robert asked. His voice had taken on the cold, mocking tone that Constance had come to dread.
Aelric’s blue eyes bored into Robert, staring down the man twenty years his senior.
‘By killing you.’
Robert was silent. The crowd hushed in frozen expectation. Constance gripped Jeanne’s hand, waiting for Robert’s response. For him to strike the boy or run him through. Instead he did something unexpected, yet far crueller.
He laughed.
Aelric’s face reddened.
Robert waved a dismissive hand and turned away.
‘Hang him with his father.’

Is this the end for Aelric? Discover his fate next Monday on 
Cathy MacRae’s blog

Back Cover Copy
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?

Buy links         US

Monday, March 13, 2017

Medieval Monday Blog Hop - Jenna Jaxon

Excerpt #6- Beleaguered by Jenna Jaxon
“Your marriage to Seigneur Braeton was not valid.”
“Not valid?” Her face flushed red, and she trembled. “How was it not valid? Our vows were spoken before the cathedral in London. Princess Joanna herself was a witness to it. And it was solemnized within the church immediately afterward by the Bishop of London. We were married in the sight of God and in the sight of man.”
“I did not give consent to the marriage, which was my right. Seigneur Braeton’s offer reached me in early August, but I rejected it.”

Next week I’m at Cathy MacRae’s blog.
When death holds sway in the world, can even the greatest love survive?
Finally in France, Alyse and Thomas’s passion for one another continues to smolder hot and deep—until one fateful encounter changes everything.
During a formal banquet, Alyse must share an intimate dance her first love. His searing touch proves Alyse’s desire for him is as strong as when they first met. Tormented by this revelation, Alyse is bitterly torn between the love of her life and her love for her husband.
Into this agonizing situation, the disaster of the Black Death rears its head. Alyse, Thomas and Geoffrey must try to save the princess from the ravening disease but at a dire cost to themselves. With her world plunged into chaos, Alyse struggles with her feelings for both of the men she loves. But which love will survive?
Amazon Buy Link for Beleaguered:

Monday, March 6, 2017

Medieval Monday Blog Hop - Sherry Ewing

Excerpt #5 – A Knight to Call My Own by Sherry Ewing
The reins were within inches of her fingertips. Should she dare to make yet another effort to gain her freedom? Her eyes traveled to Calum’s retreating backside, but something inside her screamed out not to test his tolerance any further this day.
Almost as if he sensed where her stray thoughts had led her, Calum called out to one of his men. “Lachlan!”
“What?” the clansmen bellowed, causing conversations amongst the men to become muted.
Calum halted his progress to peer at the man. “Is that anyway to speak to your laird?”
“You were my brother afore you became head of the clan,” Lachlan sneered.
“But I am still your laird. Ensure the lady does not get any more ideas of escaping in her pretty little head.”
“I am not your lackey.”
Calum peered at him. “Aye... you are,” he gloated.
Buy Links:

Follow along next week by checking out Cathy MacRae’s blog with excerpt #6 at
Back Cover Copy:
When your heart is broken, is love still worth the risk?
Lynet of clan MacLaren knows how it feels to love someone and not have that love returned. After waiting for six long years, she has given up hope of Ian’s return. Her brother-in-law, the Devil’s Dragon of Berwyck, is tired of waiting for her to choose a husband and has decided a competition for the right to wed Lynet is just the thing his willful charge needs to force her hand.
Ian MacGillivray has returned to Berwyck Castle in search of a bride and who better than the young girl who cared for him all those years ago. But Lynet is anything but an easy conquest and he will need more than charm to win her hand in marriage.
From the English borders to the Highlands of Scotland, the chase is on for who will claim the fair Lynet. The price paid will indeed be high to ensure her safety and even higher to win her love.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Medieval Monday Blog Hop - Rue Allyn

Here is the next snippet in our Medieval Monday Blog Hop. My guest today is Rue Allyn. 
Excerpt Four – Knight Errant by Rue Allyn
“What do you want, Senor Caprizzi?”
“Food, dona. I have brought you food.”
Her stomach rumbled, reminding her that she had not broken her fast this day. How much could it hurt to let the host hand her some food? A great deal if anyone else was with him. She had to get rid of him.
“I cannot come to the door right now. Put the food on the floor nearby. I will get it later.”
“I will wait for you, dona.”
“No need. ’Twill be some time before I can come to the door. I insist you go about your business.” She waited.
“As you wish,” the landlord mumbled.
A moment or two later the sound of his footsteps trailed away down the hall.

Follow along next week by checking out Cathy MacRae’s blog for excerpt # 5

Back Cover Copy
If Sir Robert Clarwyn can't find a way to compel Lady Juliana Verault to return to England, he'll lose any chance of regaining his family lands and redeeming his heritage. Yet Juliana must complete her mission to improve her gender's future in the church. With danger and intrigue mounting, Robert and Juliana must rely on each other and risk everything … including their hearts.
Buy Links  Amazon   B & N   iTunes   Crimson Romance

Friday, February 24, 2017

Books, Chocolate and Wine with Barbara White Daille

Happy Friday! Today my guest is Barbara White Daille and an excerpt from her new story, The Rancher’s Baby Proposal.

“I’ll pay you whatever it is you make hourly at the store,” Reagan said.
I don’t want your money.
But how could she say that? He would find it highly suspicious, especially since she had said she could use the extra cash. And she couldn’t confess to him that minding his baby scared the heck out of her. Not meeting his eyes, she sipped her tea and then touched the paper napkin to her lips.
She thought of all the years she had crushed on Reagan. Everyone in school probably knew how she felt about him. He must have known it, too. He couldn’t have missed it…could he? Now the idea made her cringe. If he had noticed, she couldn’t risk saying something that would make him recall how much she had liked him…and maybe make him change his mind about asking for her help.
Worse, if she didn’t guard her reactions now, he would find out how much she still cared.
“You’d…want me to take the baby home with me until you pick him up?” That would work. Mama could help her with him.
“He’ll be fine with Mrs. B all day, I know that. But his routine will already be upset enough since he won’t be with his regular sitter. I’d rather you bring him out to the ranch and watch him there, if that’s not a problem for you.”
She was stuck between a rock and a hard place, as Jed Garland would say. She would go out to Reagan’s family home to spend afternoons and evenings with him…and a baby she had no idea how to handle.
Fear at her inexperience fought with her longing to be with Reagan.
His small smile crinkled the corners of his eyes. His expression looked hopeful…and just a bit desperate.
Longing left her light-headed. Reagan needed her.
This was the chance she had always wanted to get close to him.

Well, if she could play the role of The Girl Most Likely to Make You Laugh, she could also convince herself she would be an expert babysitter. “No worries,” she said firmly. “Watching the baby out at the ranch won’t be a problem at all.”

The Rancher’s Baby Proposal
The Hitching Post Hotel series

Ally Martinez has always been known as a fun and flirty kind of gal.  But deep down she’s never forgotten the cowboy who left town. When her crush Reagan Chase comes home after a five-year absence, Ally knows this is her big chance. The guy I’ve always wanted. Only Reagan has something different in mind…
Still reeling from his last relationship, Reagan needs a babysitter for his month-old son. With Ally’s help, he can get his family’s ranch ready for sale and get out of Cowboy Creek. The problem? Ally is one seriously cute distraction. But Reagan will do whatever it takes to keep his heart safe. Even if it means losing the only place—and the only woman—he can call home.

Buy Links:

About the Author

Barbara White Daille lives with her husband in the sunny Southwest. Though they love the warm winters and the lizards in their front yard, they haven’t gotten used to the scorpions in the bathroom. Barbara also loves writing, reading, and chocolate. Come to think of it, she enjoys writing about those subjects, too!

Barbara wrote her first short story at the age of nine, then typed "The End" to her first novel many years the eighth grade. Now she's writing contemporary romance on a daily basis, with a brand-new series from Entangled Bliss (Snowflake Valley), an ongoing series from Harlequin Western Romance (The Hitching Post Hotel), and many more books on the schedule.

She would love to have you stop by her website and to look for her on Facebook and Twitter.

Social Media Links

Monday, February 20, 2017

Medieval Monday Blog Hop - Lane McFarland

Excerpt Three
LINDSEY by Lane McFarland
 She could do this.
As a messenger who routinely delivered missives behind enemy lines for the rebellion, she should be used to danger, but she rarely found herself in such an unsavory position. Aye, she could outrun and outmaneuver any man on horseback, but this assignment was different. Hamish, a rebel leader, had given explicit orders to convey a message to the Scots’ commander and leave, but she had not counted upon learning of Logan’s capture.
Her friend needed her.
Swallowing hard, she continued her plunge into purgatory. Upon reaching the bottom step, she hunched her shoulders and shuffled toward the menacing group. Grit crunched beneath her feet and stagnant water soaked the hem of her overly large gown. More tormented howls reverberated through the thick dungeon walls. Her body quaked as she fought to retain composure and pretend the wails did not affect her.
Follow along next week on Cathy MacRae’s blog with excerpt #4
Back Cover Copy:
The Daughters of Alastair MacDougall Series
Set in late thirteenth century Scotland, this series tells the stories of Laird Alastair MacDougall’s four independent and oftentimes, headstrong daughters coming of age in a country fraught with war and feuds amongst rival clans. Follow his daughters as their lives become intertwined with four fierce, rebel highland warriors bent on eradicating the English soldiers from their homeland.
Who said life was fair? Certainly not Lindsey MacDougall. She rebels at a world dominated by men. Dressed in lad’s clothing, she manages her father’s stables, caring for, breeding and selling horses. Unwavering on performing her duty to the rebellion, Lindsey throws caution to the wind and secretly delivers missives behind enemy lines to the Scottish warriors.
Logan Ross uses his happy-go-lucky smile to warm the hearts of many willing lasses, but it also masks his pain—the pain of his birth. As a bastard son, he is unacceptable for any Laird’s daughter, including the spirited Lindsey MacDougall. However, she haunts his dreams. Determined to prove his worth, he throws himself into the middle of the rebellion, leading men into mortal danger.
After helping Logan escape from a brutal English dungeon, Lindsey fights her traitorous attraction to the virile highland warrior, vowing never to lose her heart to any man.  
But Links: AMAZON

Monday, February 13, 2017

Medieval Monday Blog Hop - Bambi Lynn

EXCERPT #2 – Lucan by Bambi Lynn
“Aye. Ye killed my father, Lucan Munro. Today is your day of reckoning.”
Lucan would have attacked him then, but a cry of sheer terror halted him where he stood. Angus Comyn stepped from the shadows. He had Neala in his clutches. Lucan’s heart fell. Angus held a knife beneath her chin. The sharp blade had nicked her and a trickle of her precious blood ran down her slender throat.

Follow along next week by checking out Cathy MacRae’s blog with excerpt #3
Neala Comyn, wife of a powerful laird, wants to end the pain and suffering of an abusive marriage. She is a woman without hope, believing God has forsaken her. When she is kidnapped by a rival laird who claims to be a god himself, her faith is further shaken. Could Lucan Munro be the salvation she has prayed for? Or will her sins condemn her to eternal damnation?
Lucan Munro, has the power of a Celtic god. He can conjure his heart’s desire from thin air. But can he save the woman he loves from a demon hell-bent on claiming her soul?

Monday, February 6, 2017

Medieval Monday Blog Hop - Ruth A. Casie

We're doing something totally different for the next thirteen weeks. Medieval Monday will be all about villains but instead of seeing the same excerpt rotating on our blogs you will see snippets of a great scene that build week after week until you have the entire scene.

Excerpt One: The Highlander’s English Woman by Ruth A. Casie
Jamie turned to the family sitting around the hearth. Wesley slouched in his chair staring at the fire, grief still raw on his face. He had aged over the year. His gray hair thinned, his eyes rimmed red and dulled with pain.
“He’s been like this since we buried... the burial.” Laura, Richard’s sister, was next to him. “Father tires easily and stays locked up inside himself. Mother is the sole person who can reach him, although I have hope. Alex did make him laugh.”
Follow along next week by checking out Cathy MacRae’s blog for excerpt #2

Back Cover Copy: The Highlander’s English Woman
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.

Available at Amazon

Monday, January 30, 2017

Medieval Monday with Cathy MacRae

This is the last excerpt in the celebration series. I hope you enjoy today’s guest, Cathy MacRae and her passage from The Highlander’s Reluctant Bride.
At a nod from the priest, Riona stepped forward, and Eaden placed her hand in Ranald’s. She glanced at him from beneath lowered lashes, her heart racing wildly.
“Lady Caitriona, do ye come here of yer own free will and accord, without let or hindrance, free of all moral and legal encumbrance, to enter into this contract?”
Riona inhaled a deep breath. “Aye.”
The priest’s voice droned on, and she and Ranald murmured the correct responses, pledging their troth.
“Laird Scott, will ye have Gilda as yer daughter, to act as father and counsel, granting her all the attendant rights, privileges and responsibilities?”
Riona’s gaze flew to Ranald. This was not part of any wedding ceremony she’d ever attended. What was Ranald promising?
He squeezed her hand reassuringly and motioned for Gilda to approach. Placing his palm on the child’s shining head, he faced Riona, his gaze compelling her to listen to his words.
“Aye. I will offer all this in love and custom, giving her place in law alongside such other children as may arise from this union.”
Riona barely heard the challenge from the priest for any to speak who had just cause to oppose the marriage. Nor could she stop the tears spilling down her cheeks as she strove to breathe past the lump in her throat. Before their wedding guests and God, Ranald had pledged to give her daughter all the benefits of his own children, and to love and provide for her always.
Ranald leaned close, brushing the back of a hand over her damp cheek. “Dearling, will ye say yer vows?”
Abruptly Riona realized the priest was staring expectantly at her and she gathered her scattered thoughts. She handed her bouquet of heather to Gilda and faced Ranald, taking both of his hands in hers.
“Ye are blood of my blood, and bone of my bone.” She lifted her gaze and found dark blue eyes burning into hers. “I give ye my body, that we two might be one. I give ye my spirit, ‘til our life shall be done.”
* * *
Ranald knew he had surprised Riona. By taking Gilda as his daughter, he pledged to his new wife the lass would never want for a home or honor. He meant also to prove they both would never lack for love. The trusting, earnest look in her eyes as she gave him her vows humbled him, and he answered her with a promise of his own.
“I pledge my love to ye, and everything I possess. I promise ye the first bite of my meat and the first sip from my cup. I pledge yer name will always be the name I cry aloud in the dead of night. I promise to honor ye above all others. The love we forge will be never-ending and we will remain, forevermore, equals in our marriage. This is my wedding vow to ye.”
The priest nodded and continued the ceremony as Ranald faced Riona, Gilda tucked between them. The lass rested against her mother’s gown, swinging her basket from one hand, back and forth, watching as petals drifted to the floor.
“Ye may kiss yer bride.”
“‘Tis the best part,” he replied softly, drawing an answering smile from her that lit her eyes. He lowered his head and touched his lips to hers. Riona leaned into his kiss, and his heart skipped to know she willingly sought him before the enormous crowd around them.
A subtle cough from the priest ended their pledge, and they parted, only to turn, cheek-to-cheek, to face the cheers of their guests.
Ranald straightened, pulling Riona against his side, a hand on Gilda’s shoulder. “‘Tis my privilege and honor to introduce ye to my wife and daughter. Together we invite ye to have a drink,” Ranald stared pointedly at a guest near the forefront of the crowd who already held a chalice in his hand, “as the tables are set for the banquet.”
Another cheer went up and people surged forward, congratulating them with hugs or kisses for Riona and a clout to the shoulder for Ranald.
The banquet was quickly readied and everyone found a seat. At Ranald’s left Eaden stood, raising his goblet in a bid for silence. Gradually the jovial noise subsided.
“I would be the first to make a toast. My brother has always been a lucky man, but he has outdone himself this time.”
He faced Ranald and Riona. “A thousand welcomes to ye with yer marriage. May ye be healthy all yer days. May ye be blessed with long life and peace, and may ye grow old with goodness and with riches.”
Slainte!” The cheer rose from every throat as Ranald lifted Riona’s hand and pressed a kiss to her fingers.
Determined to keep the Macrory clan’s holdings out of the clutches of the Lord of the Isles and marauding pirates, King Robert II sends his man, Lord Ranald Scott, to hold Scaurness Castle. There, Laird Macrory lays dying, awaiting word from his son who is missing on the battlefields of France. If the son is not found before the old laird dies, Ranald will take over as laird—and marry Laird Macrory’s headstrong daughter.
Lady Caitriona sees no reason she cannot rule the clan in her brother’s stead, and is bitterly disappointed with the king’s decision to send a man to oversee the castle and people. Not only is Ranald Scott only distantly related to the Macrory clan, but he was her childhood nemesis. She has little trust or like for him.
Her disappointment turns to panic when the king’s plan is completely revealed and she realizes she must wed Ranald. Pirates, treachery, and a four-year-old girl stand between her and Ranald’s chance at happiness. What will it take for them to learn to trust each other and find the love they both deserve?

Monday, January 23, 2017

Medieval Monday with Jenna Jaxon

This week, Jenna Jaxon is my guest. According her one of her reviewers, Jenna’s story, Seduction at the Christmas Court, is the perfect medieval romance for a lazy winter afternoon.
No sooner had they taken their seats than the mummers appeared, bringing a great crash of applause from the courtiers and a low hum of murmuring. The King pounded the broad arm of his ornate, high-backed chair. Queen Phillipa sat smiling, still clutching the small silk bag Alyse had given her.
The guisers were indeed disguised in peculiar clothing. One wore the headdress of a Turk and green and yellow striped pants; his shoes were scarlet and turned up in a curving point with bells sewed onto the tips, so he jingled each time he took a step.
Alyse smiled and clapped until her hands ached, but finally settled herself on the bench. The mummers’ play had ever been her favorite part of the Christmas festivities at home at Beaulieu, the fanciful costumes the best part of the performance.
Several other characters now entered the Great Hall, one a knight in white with a huge wooden sword. That would be St. George. Four others, dressed in even more outlandish garb, would be the foolish knights and the Doctor followed them all, in oversized black robes, his long sleeves dragging the ground.
The court chattered excitedly as the mummers spread out all over the hall, talking and laughing with the courtiers.
With a sigh, Geoffrey smiled and grasped her chin, raising it so he could steal a kiss. His warm lips brushed hers, stirring her inner warmth as his touch always did.
“This entertainment will be tedious. I would much rather retire for a good night’s bedding right now,” he whispered, the puff of his breath tickling her ear and sending prickles of excitement down her neck.
She laced their fingers together. “’Twill be finished ‘ere long, my love. Then you can wield your weapon with a vigor yon knights cannot.”
He laughed and drank deeply. “Aye, sweet Alyse. My skill with both weapons outshines any other knight.”
“As you will not want me to be judge of that, I think, I will demur to your claim, although I will test your skills again with the one blade ‘ere the night is done.”
At Geoffrey’s bark of laughter—so loud it turned heads on the dais their way—Alyse settled back to watch the mummers, her cheeks burning, but a pleasant anticipation building within as well.
The mummer playing St. George took the center spot in the Great Hall and began a sing-song rhyme that soon had the court laughing at its nonsense. A stream of knights—played in turn by the other mummers—approached, made their rhyming challenge, and were quickly slain by St. George, whose wielding of his sword became swifter and swifter. He slayed the knights in such short order that by the time he faced the final knight, he did no more than look at the Turkish knight than the man fell down, his toes jingling softly as he landed on the soft rushes covering the floor.
A burst of laughter and applause followed that performance as the quack Doctor shuffled forward, his “magic potion” in a large bottle, gripped in his hand.
Thoroughly engrossed, Alyse laughed and clapped her hands. She held her breath and leaned forward as the Doctor poured the potion down the throats of the slain knights, spoke his own rhyme over them, and one by one, they began to twitch and dance, the rush-strewn floor seeming to come alive as they did. The room resounded with merriment as all seven knights revived.
Loud applause burst out from the courtiers, many of whom threw gold and silver coins onto the floor. Geoffrey tossed a gold florin to the Turkish knight. “For my lady’s pleasure,” he called.
The man nimbly caught the coin and made a deep bow. “Thank you, my lord.”
With a lecherous grin, Geoffrey grasped Alyse’s arm and urged her to rise. “And now allow me to attend to my lady’s pleasure as well.”
Alyse and Geoffrey, Lord and Lady Longford, have journeyed to the glittering Christmas Court of King Edward III in the year 1349 to wait upon the king and take part in some Yuletide merriment. However, when Geoffrey is suddenly called into the king’s service again, Alyse must remain at court, attending the queen and persuading her rebellious sister to accept an unwanted betrothal. When rumors of Geoffrey’s death arise, Alyse fends off an old suitor who wants to renew their friendship. But how long will he take “No” for an answer?