Monday, April 29, 2019

Medieval Monday with Ruth A. Casie - Full Excerpt

Today is the last day of our blog hop. It’s been fun sharing excerpts from stories written by my friends. I hope you’ve enjoyed them as much as I have.

Deception and family honor are at stake – so is her heart.

Wesley Reynolds will do anything to avenge his family’s banishment from Dundhragon Castle even throw in with the notorious pirate, MacAlpin. His plan, ruin Lord Ewan’s trading network. He has a more devious plan for his father’s ‘best friend,’ the man who abandoned them at the eleventh hour. He’ll ruin the man’s most precious jewel, his daughter Darla. Wesley’s so close to ruining the trade network and succeeding he can almost taste it, but revenge is not nearly as sweet as Darla’s kisses.
Darla Maxwell, beloved by her parents has no prospects of marriage. Her father and Lord Ewan search to find her the right husband. Darla’s special gifts are frightening to many. She has visions that often come true. The murky image of a man haunts her, she’s sure it’s Lord Ewan’s soon-to-be son-in-law, but the vision morphs when she meets Wesley. The meaning couldn’t be any clearer to her, her destiny lies with Wesley.
When revelations surface indicating Wesley has been deceived and his revenge misplaced. Will he find the truth of what really happened to his family in time to stop the pirates? Will Darla ever forgive him? Will he ever forgive himself?
Amazon  Free for KU Subscribers or $0.99
As promised, here is the entire excerpt with the final part of the scene from The Pirate’s Jewel. I love Wesley and Darla. So did some others who left Amazon reviews…
Fast and furious this story whips you into the Pirate world, black flags 🏴 are raised and tempers flare, who Will come out if this on top.” ~ M.Whitworth, Amazon
“Ruth A. Casie has written a masterful mystery full of magic, dragons, jewels, pirates and romance. This is an amazing read! ~ BMichaels, Amazon
Complete Excerpt:
Wesley stayed tucked in the shadows within earshot and watched Maxwell delight in Lord Ewan’s pleased reaction.
“It looks heavy. It will be slow in the water,” Lord Ewan said.
“Yes, it is heavier than the birlinn, but the benefits more than compensate for the weight,” Maxwell said as they boarded the ship and stood on the deck at the top of the gangplank.
 “The Black Opal approached us at the Point. When we shifted the rudder to avoid a collision, we lost the wind, but by adjusting the mainsail and using the lateen, we caught the wind, circled the pirates, and sailed into the channel. The Black Opal’s sheet was limp. They had to use their oars,” Maxwell said.
“Luck?” Lord Ewan’s left eyebrow raised a bit.
“No. Skill. Wesley Mills was aboard. He’s captained cogs in Europe and has learned his craft well,” Maxwell said. “When our Leo was struck down, he wasted no time and stepped in. With Richards at the sail, the two made a good team. We were lucky to have him with us.”
Wesley’s breath caught. What was this? Maxwell gave him free passage and high praise.
“You have a good idea here. Let’s talk when you return. I’ve given you as many men as I can spare. My main force is two or three weeks from home,” Lord Ewan said.
“Come this way, m’lord. I’d like to show you my castle.” The two men walked to the stern of the ship.
Wesley made his way back to Richards and helped roll the last of the barrels up the gangplank.
Richards mopped his brow and looked at the sky.
“I’ll make sure there is no other cargo lingering on the dock while you lash down the barrels, then I’ll rouse the men in the tavern. From the looks of the sky and building wind, you’ll want to leave as soon as possible.” Wesley hurried down the gangplank.
He made his way between the crates where he could still see and hear what was happening. It would be better for everyone if Lord Ewan didn’t catch sight of him.
The two men came out of the aft-castle.
“You know we have enjoyed having Darla with us,” Lord Ewan said. Maxwell walked him to the wagon.
“She insists on coming home with me. I hate to disappoint her,” Maxwell said.
Lord Ewan laughed. “You and I are two of a kind, not wanting to upset our daughters. I will have an escort available by the end of the week to bring her home. I expect you to be back for the wedding with your prize gem, to keep my daughter happy.”
Maxwell looked up and down the dock and pathway. Lord Ewan mirrored his movements.
“What are we looking for?” Lord Ewan asked.
“Not what, who,” Maxwell said. “Darla. It’s not like her to give up so easily.”
* * *
Darla, with her small satchel in hand, stood in the shadows of the ship and waited for Lord Ewan to leave. She let out a nervous breath. This was her last chance to speak to her father. She couldn’t fail.
Lost in her thoughts, the seemingly magical appearance of a man near the hull startled her. Although he walked in the shadows and she was unable to see his face, his height and build spoke for itself.
The docks by the castle were safe, but at night a woman of her breeding would never wander by the ships. Tonight, it was a calculated decision, maybe not a good one. That didn’t matter now. What was done was done. Aware of her predicament, she remained alert and kept her eye on him. As he moved past her she recognized the man’s familiar stride.
“Magnus,” she called. The man kept walking.
“Magnus,” she said more urgently. The shadow turned and faced her.
“You’re …you’re not Magnus.” Caught off guard, the face was familiar, but not the man.
“No, a pity that I’m not.”
“My apologies.” She craned her head for a view of the gangplank. “You appeared to have the features…in the shadows…I thought you were Lady Maria’s fiancĂ©.”
“Oh, you’re meeting her fiancĂ©—”
“No, no, no,” she said growing more agitated by the minute. She snapped her head around as the sound of the horse’s hooves and the wagon on the cobblestones leaving the dock reached her ears. She gasped and shuffled back a step stumbling on the edge of the dock.
With lightning speed, the stranger grabbed her arm and pulled her to his chest before she tumbled into the water.
Darla stared up into overpowering gray eyes that seemed to see right through her. His ruggedly handsome face was familiar, but she couldn’t place from where. She lowered her head and looked away. Crushed against his chest, she felt his hard muscles under her hand. For a moment, she couldn’t move, she didn’t want to. A heady sensation wrapped her in a daze like dream. A shiver across her shoulders cleared her mind and she caught her wits.
“I’m sorry.” She stepped away fidgeting with her skirt, glad she’d worn her sturdy brown wool. Any of her other dresses would not have survived. She looked at his hand on her elbow then at him.
“It’s dark. And the shadows can be deceiving. I’ve seen many a seaman take a false step and land in the water.” He let her go. The warmth of his touch lingered when he removed his hand. For a moment her fingers ached with a need to touch him. An overwhelming desire rushed through her veins before the heady feeling subsided as quickly as it started.
Be sure to leave a comment to be entered into a drawing for a free digital copy of THE MAXWELL GHOST. The winner will be announced here next Monday, May 6,
The Maxwell Ghost – Part of the Stelton Legacy
Their destinies are intertwined with hidden passions and a love that will last for eternity.
The Maxwell’s Caerlaverock Castle, on the Scottish border is in an uproar. Traitors, deception, murders and ghosts run rampant. The crops have failed and the granaries set ablaze. Rumors fly when servants Evan and his bride-to-be, Angel are found murdered and Evan’s ghost haunts the castle. Did Evan kill Angel then take his own life? Sonia, a young cook is sure everyone has it wrong. The ghost haunts the castle seeking justice. She will move heaven and earth to get to the truth, but she is helpless.
Laura Reynolds travels from England to her cousin, The Maxwell’s castle to put Evan’s ghost to rest. She has one week to complete the task or Evan’s ghost is doomed to haunt the castle forever. The Maxwell, while he loves his cousin, doubts her sorceress ways and has more important issues at hand, a traitor in their midst.
Jamie Maxwell Collins has finished his service to The Maxwell and eager for his promised farm. While long-time friends with Laura, he has little patience for her sorcery, but in order to get his farm The Maxwell requires Jamie protect and help her. Will Sonia’s information tip the scales and help them find the true murderer and bring justice to Evan and Angel? Will Sonia’s insight help Laura and Jamie realize their destinies are intertwined with hidden passions? All is in jeopardy when Laura becomes the murderer’s next target. Jamie will find he needs more than ghostly assistance to save Laura and realize they have a love that will last for eternity.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Medieval Monday with Bambi Lynn - Excerpt #12

Five fierce invaders. Five innocent maids. One land to conquer.

When the Viking leader, Rollo, sets his sights on conquering Paris, he sends a band of his fiercest warriors to capture a stronghold to shelter the invaders through the winter. Collect all five episodes in one volume.
GUNNAR - Gunnar Sigurdsen finds an unguarded stronghold at the mouth of the Seine River is the perfect target. Oliana du Fossé waits helplessly for her brute of a husband to claim her.
WULF - Wulf contemplates his share of the spoils after capturing a stronghold in Francia, fat with treasure and slaves. Farin longs to escape her fate as bed slave to the most savage barbarian of them all.
BRON - Brondulf Adilson has struck terror into his enemies for as long as he can remember, as well as the women who share his bed. Now he finds himself saddled with a beauty who may just steal his heart.
THORLEIF - Thorleif Rolvsson has been captured by the enemy. The Queen of the Franks has needs. Will a single night of passion change his fate? Or will he dine with his sons in Valhalla?
MAGNUS - Magnus hasn't the time or motivation to take a wife. Especially not one who will most likely try to slit his throat while he sleeps.

Buy Link: Amazon
Excerpt #12
The strength and conviction in her voice surprised him, that she would show such courage in the face of the unknown. Despite her display, she flinched when he raised his arm toward the door. “You are free to leave whenever you want,” he said.
They stood there, staring each other down.
Soon she began to fidget under his scrutiny. “I have nowhere else to go,” she mumbled.

Medieval Monday with Elisabeth Hobbes - Excerpt 11

He’s her enemy…

…and she must not fall for him!

When her mistress is claimed as an enemy knight’s betrothed, handmaiden Aelfhild knows it would be too dangerous for her lady; she must go in her place. But there’s more to the scarred knight than she first thought—she isn’t expecting to fall for him! As the line between friend and enemy blurs, Aelfhild realizes she might be protecting her mistress, but not her heart…

Buy links

Excerpt #11
The girl took a careful step backwards, folding her arms tightly across her breasts. To Gui’s relief she didn’t scream again, but widened her eyes and jutted out her jaw assertively. Their eyes locked and Gui recognised terror brimming in hers below the confrontation.
‘What are you? Swartalf? A dweorgar?’ she demanded.
‘What did you call me?’ He recognised the Danish words for elf and dwarf and barked a laugh at such a preposterous accusation.
The girl looked furious. ‘Don’t laugh at me, monster!’
Her voice was deep. Hoarse from screaming.
‘Are you a child to believe in such things?’ Gui mocked. ‘I’m no monster. I’m a man.’
‘Well, you look like a beast!’

Oh dear! It isn’t looking good for Gui. Look out for next week’s excerpt on Lane McFarland’s blog to find out if things improve:

Elisabeth is offering one reader chance to win an ebook copy of her brand new Scottish romance, A Runaway Bride for the Highlander which comes out in May.   To be in with a chance all you have to do is leave a comment on each excerpt.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Medieval Monday with Jenna Jaxon - Excerpt 10

When Lady Alyse de Courcy is betrothed to Sir Geoffrey Longford, she has no choice but to make the best of a bad bargain. The hulking knight is far from her ideal man, and although he does possess some wit and charm, he is no match for the sinfully sensual man she secretly admires, Thomas, Earl of Braeton, her betrothed’s best friend. 
From the first, Sir Geoffrey finds himself smitten by Lady Alyse, and, despite her infatuation with his friend, vows to win her love. When Geoffrey puts his mind to wooing Alyse, he is delighted to find her succumbing to his seduction. But when cruel circumstances separate them, Geoffrey must watch helplessly as Thomas steps in to protect Alyse—and falls in love with her himself.

Excerpt #10
As the three courtiers accompany Princess Joanna to her wedding in Spain, they run headlong into the Black Plague. With her world plunged into chaos, Alyse struggles with her feelings for both the men she loves. But which love will survive?
Spellbound, she watched him, head bent over her now-smoldering hand, kissing it with an unhurried thoroughness that seemed to stop time. His lips scorched where they lingered, spreading a fire that consumed her body and mind. Had she the strength, she would have snatched her hand from his grasp to save herself from immolation. Other men had danced with her, held her hand, kissed it--they had never made her feel thus.
In a daze, she watched Geoffrey wrench his lips from her hand and stand, eyes widened as if amazed. His brows furrowed a moment then he spoke to the king. “May I ask, Your Majesty, when the banns will be read? I am sorely pressed to begin my repentance.”

Stay with me a little bit longer. Next week I’ll be at Lane McFarland’s blog with more!

Monday, April 1, 2019

Medieval Monday with Mary Morgan - Excerpt #9

You first met this warrior in Dragon Knight’s Axe, Order of the Dragon Knights, Book 3
Irish warrior, Desmond O’Quinlan has never surrendered his heart to any woman. He has no wish to have his soul tortured by love. Yet, the moment he locks gazes with Ailsa, his fate is destined for an adventure he never fathomed. He may have battled alongside a Dragon Knight, but his greatest challenge will come from within his own heart.
 Ailsa MacDuff, a warrior among her clan, has no desire to have a man chain her to a life of obedience. However, that is before she meets Desmond. The temptation to allow this warrior inside her heart is a risk she dares to take, but one that could lead to a future of emptiness and sorrow. 
When betrayal looms from within, the battleground of love is no match for these two warriors. Can the power of a Highland full moon be strong enough to unite or destroy them?
Buy Links:
“How can we be of service?” asked Desmond, handing Ailsa her dirk. Her name sounded familiar, yet he could not place where he had heard it mentioned.
“We were traveling to the loch when we came under attack by English soldiers. Ye must come now. Several of our guards have already been killed. My father was battling two men when he ordered me to run away.”
Alastair retrieved his axe. “Bloody bastards! Our contacts have informed us King John has ordered more soldiers into these parts. We have managed to keep the peace, but this comes too close to Urquhart land.”
“Then ye will help us?”
“Aye,” Desmond and Alastair stated in unison.
Follow along next week on Lane’s blog and leave a comment for a chance to win a signed print copy of A Highland Moon Enchantment.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

How the West Was Won - Not Necessarily As You Think

From time to time, my sister sends me bits of interesting information. This past weekend was one of those times. You don't need to be a Western enthusiast to enjoy this story.

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Western stagecoach companies were big business in the latter half of the 19th century. In addition to passengers and freight, stages hauled gold and silver bullion as well as mining company payrolls.

Stage robbery was a constant danger and bandits employed many strategies to ambush a stagecoach. Thieves rarely met with much resistance from stage drivers, since they had passenger safety foremost in mind. The gang was usually after the Wells Fargo money box with its valuable contents. Passengers were seldom hurt, but they were certainly relieved of their cash, watches and jewelry.  Before the completion of the transcontinental railroad over Donner Pass in 1868, the only transportation through the Sierra was by stage.  Rugged teamsters held rein over six wild-eyed horses as they tore along the precipitous mountain trails. The stagecoaches were driven by skilled and fearless men who pushed themselves and their spirited horses to the limit.

One of the most famous drivers was Charles Darkey Parkhurst, who had come west from New England in 1852 seeking his fortune in the Gold Rush. He spent 15 years running stages, sometimes partnering with Hank Monk, the celebrated driver from Carson City. Over the years, Pankhurst's reputation as an expert whip grew, while doing it with a patch over one eye which was lost when kicked by a horse.

From 20 feet away he could slice open the end of an envelope or cut a cigar out of a man's mouth. Parkhurst smoked cigars, chewed wads of tobacco, drank with the best of them, and exuded supreme confidence behind the reins. His judgment was sound and pleasant manners won him many friends.

One afternoon as Charley drove down from Carson Pass the lead horses veered off the road and a wrenching jolt threw him from the rig. He hung on to the reins as the horses dragged him along on his stomach. Amazingly, Parkhurst managed to steer the frightened horses back onto the road and save all his grateful passengers.

During the 1850s, bands of surly highwaymen stalked the roads.  These outlaws would level their shotguns at stage drivers and shout, "Throw down the gold box!" Charley Parkhurst had no patience for the crooks despite their demands and threatening gestures.

The most notorious road agent was nicknamed "Sugarfoot."  When he and his gang accosted Charley's stage, it was the last robbery the thief ever attempted.

Charley cracked his whip defiantly, and when his horses bolted, he turned around and fired his revolver at the crooks. Sugarfoot was later found dead with a fatal bullet wound in his stomach.

In appreciation of his bravery, Wells Fargo presented Parkhurst with a large watch and chain made of solid gold. In 1865, Parkhurst grew tired of the demanding job of driving and he opened his own stage station. He later sold the business and retired to a ranch near Soquel, Calif. The years slipped by and Charley died on Dec. 29, 1879, at the age of 67.

A few days later, the Sacramento Daily Bee published his obituary.  It read;

"On Sunday last, there died a person known as Charley Parkhurst, aged 67, who was well-known to old residents as a stage driver. He was, in early days, accounted one of the most expert manipulators of the reins who ever sat on the box of a coach. It was discovered when friendly hands were preparing him for his final rest, that Charley Parkhurst was unmistakably a well-developed woman!"

Once it was discovered that Charley was a woman, there were plenty of people to say they had always thought he wasn't like other men.  Even though he wore leather gloves summer and winter, many noticed that his hands were small and smooth. He slept in the stables with his beloved horses and was never known to have had a girlfriend.

Charley never volunteered clues to her past. Loose fitting clothing hid her femininity and after a horse kicked her, an eye patch over one eye helped conceal her face. She weighed 175 pounds, could handle herself in a fistfight and drank whiskey like one of the boys.

It turns out that Charley's real name was Charlotte Parkhurst.  Abandoned as a child, she was raised in a New Hampshire orphanage unloved and surrounded by poverty. Charlotte ran away when she was 15 years old and soon discovered that life in the working world was easier for men. So, she decided to masquerade as one for the rest of her life.

Now for the rest is history.

Well, almost. There is one last thing. On November 3, 1868, Charlotte Parkhurst cast her vote in the national election, dressed as a man. She became the first woman to vote in the United States, 52 years before Congress passed the 19th amendment giving American women the right to vote.

References are below:

Monday, March 25, 2019

Medieval Monday with Ashley York - Excerpt #8

After the death of Brian Boru in 1014, a legend arose of a healer so great she could raise a man from the dead, with a power so strong it could make any warrior the next high king of Éire...and to steal it away from her, he need only possess her.

Fated to be a healer…

Aednat has spent her entire life training to be the great healer, knowing she must remain alone. When she meets Diarmuid, the intense attraction she feels toward him shakes her resolve to believe in such a legend. If she gives in to the passion he ignites in her, can she settle for being less?

Destined to be his…

Diarmuid of Clonascra is renowned for his bravery in battle. Only one thing daunts him: the prospect of taking a wife. The safest course would be to keep his distance from Aednat, the bold, headstrong healer who's far too tempting for his peace of mind. But his overking orders him to protect her from a group of craven warriors intent on kidnapping her to steal her power.

What starts as duty for Diarmuid quickly transforms into something more. Aednat's power might be at risk, but so is his closed-off heart.

Excerpt #8
She glanced down at herself, expecting to see a mark from where his gaze had caressed her so intimately. Seeing none, she struggled to remember what he had said.
“I was gathering them earlier, then…”
The touch of his calloused hand gliding up her arm set her skin aflame, and she took a deep breath, holding it in.
“Ye were interrupted,” he said.
His voice was so close, and his touch, excruciatingly gentle. And pleasant. So very pleasant. She brought her gaze back to his handsome face. Tightness spread across her bosom. An uncomfortable tightness she wanted him to ease.
“And now it must be done by the light of the moon?”
“Aye, it must.”
His head moved toward her and she closed her eyes, anticipating with great eagerness her first kiss.

Ashley will be visiting Lane McFarland's blog next week with another snippet.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Medieval Monday with Barbara Bettis - Excerpt #7

The Lady of the Forest

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.


“You walloped him good, Cade.” Jamie sidled over to stare at the unmoving figure. “A shame he’s an enemy. He’s a fierce one. And strong, by God. He took you for a good ride ’afore you clobbered him. I watched from the other tree. Wish it’d been me that done it. Look at that knot on his head.”

“He hit a rock when he fell.” Luckily the impact stunned him enough to allow the men to subdue him. She’d been foolish to think a blow to the head with her knife hilt would do the job. Still, he’d been brought down. That’s what mattered.

Come visit me next week for the next installment:   And leave a comment for a book drawing at the end of the tour. To review last week’s installment:   

Monday, March 11, 2019

Medieval Monday with Cathy McRae - Excerpt #6

The Highlander’s Welsh Bride

It was over. Prince Llywelyn was dead, his soldiers fleeing before King Edward’s army. Carys, a distant cousin to the prince, herself a princess of Wales, had picked up arms alongside her husband more than a year ago. Now homeless, her husband buried beneath the good Welsh soil, she seeks shelter in the north, far from the reach of Longshanks’s men. Carys and Wales would never be the same again.

It was time. Birk MacLean has been ordered to take a bride and produce an heir. He grows weary of the lasses paraded before him, women of delicate nature and selfish motives. He desires a wife strong enough to help lead one of the most powerful clans in Western Scotland.

One like the Welsh woman sitting in his dungeon, arrested for poaching MacLean deer.

Can Birk convince Carys marriage to him is preferable to a hangman’s noose? And will the heard-headed Scot be worthy of a Princess of Wales?

From the towering Welsh mountains to the storm-swept Scottish coast comes a tale of betrayal and loss, deceit and passion. An epic tale of honor and the redeeming power of love.

BUY LINK: Amazon

“I wish to be released.” Every muscle thrummed with the urge to flee. For more than two years, she’d remained a step ahead of an English prison, aware a princess of Cymru would not simply be discarded as unimportant. She’d spent every waking moment—and many that should have been spent in much-needed rest—avoiding capture. Being a woman in the hands of an enemy held its own special peril. Fear roiled like an angry snake in her belly, sending the acrid taste of bile to her mouth.

Catch last week’s excerpt on Sherry Ewing’s blog:
Follow me to next week’s excerpt on Lane McFarland’s blog:

Monday, March 4, 2019

Medieval Monday with Judith Sterling - Excerpt #5

Shadow of the Swan (The Novels of Ravenwood, Book Three)

Lady Constance de Bret was determined to be a nun, until shadows from the past eclipsed her present. Marriage is the safest option, but she insists on a spiritual union, in which physical intimacy is forbidden. Not so easy with a bridegroom who wields unparalleled charm! But a long-buried secret could taint his affection and cloak her in shadow forever.

Back from the Crusades, Sir Robert le Donjon craves a home of his own and children to inherit it. From the moment he meets Constance, he feels a mysterious bond between them. When she’s threatened, he vows to protect her and agrees to the spiritual marriage, with the hope of one day persuading her to enjoy a “real” one. She captivates him but opens old wounds and challenges everything he thought he believed.

Two souls in need of healing. Two hearts destined to beat as one.

Buy Links:

Excerpt #5
            Robert gazed into amber eyes that stole his breath.  They plunged the depths of his memory and beseeched him to recall another time and place.  But when?  Where?
            Guy cleared his throat with gusto.  “Sir, will you not answer?”
            Wrenched out of his reverie, Robert glanced at his squire.  “What?”  He returned his focus to the young woman.  “You asked me a question?”

Leave a comment for a chance to win a signed print copy of Shadow of the Swan, and follow along next week on Lane McFarland’s blog: