Sunday, June 26, 2016

Cathy MacRae Celebrates Nature with The Highlander's French Bride: Medieval Monday



I'm so happy to welcome Amazon best-selling author Cathy MacRae to Medieval Monday as we Celebrate Nature with an excerpt from her exciting and tender story THE HIGHLANDER'S FRENCH BRIDE. 

Excerpt:
Seagulls shrieked as they circled overhead. The promise of spring was in the warm breezes and the green grasses. Young boys hurried after their wooly charges as the sheep eagerly sought the new fodder, tiny lambs tottering behind their dams on shaky new legs across the rocky landscape.
Brother Padraig clasped Kinnon’s shoulder. “My friend, ye are doing the right thing. Some serve in the world by preaching the Gospel, and a few give themselves over to God in solitude and silence with constant prayer and penance.” He smiled. “Yet others are called to married love, mayhap bringing new life into the world. I pray ye find whom ye seek, but there are always places to tend the poor and needy in this world. Ye need not take vows to help God.”
Kinnon gripped the monk’s upper arm, conveying his thanks in the strengthening grip, the earnestness of his gaze. “I have no words powerful enough to thank ye, Brother. Ye have given me much to contemplate, and have healed more than my poor body.”
“Rest is a balm for the soul and healing for the body,” Brother Padraig quipped. “I will take good care of wee Angus. `Tis a good thing ye decided to leave him here. After these past months without battling the rats for the last of the winter stores, I fear we would have had an uprising amongst the monks had ye insisted he go with ye.” He grinned. “Take care, my friend. If possible, I would hear word of yer travels.”
Kinnon stared deep into the monk’s kind eyes, hesitant to bring himself to the moment of parting. But the gentle thumping of the waves against the boat’s waiting hull reminded him the time to tarry was over.
Ranald’s men-at-arms met him as the boat docked on Mull, a horse saddled and waiting for him. Kinnon greeted them warmly, wondering at the sense of freedom stealing over him. It had begun as a flash of clarity the moment he’d resolved to search for Melisende. At first he wasn’t sure if he simply needed to be certain she and her sister had survived and were doing well, or if he truly longed to be with Melisende again. But the idea that she could have married in the years they’d been apart struck his chest with a peculiar agony that was a curious mix of anticipation and fear. The thought of another man holding her, loving her, being the center of her life, sent strong jolts of alarm through him.
It was then he realized he had to find her—for himself, not so he could worry less, but so he could care more.

Blurb:
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 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.
Buy Link: Amazon

Monday, June 20, 2016

Jenna Jaxon's TIME ENOUGH TO LOVE Celebrates Nature on Medieval Monday



 
Jenna Jaxon kicks off Medieval Monday's Celebration of Nature theme with a wonderful and touching excerpt from TIME ENOUGH TO LOVE. I love this section about roses.

EXCERPT:
Snipping the stems of a sweetly-scented pale lavender Apothecary’s rose, she started when a shadow fell over the flower in her hand. She looked up to find Thomas standing before her, smiling at her basketful of blooms.
“You wish to take a part of Knowlton’s Keep with us when we leave, my lady?”
Her answering smile masked the strange thumping that became the beat of her heart. “I hope you approve, my lord. I would dry the petals and use them to remind us of home while we journey so far from it.”
“Of course, my sweet. Whate’er your heart desires is yours.” He took a dark pink blossom from her and held it to his nose. “Sweet.” The warm brown eyes held her blue ones. “Thank you.”
Alyse stared at him, uncertain what he meant. “I beg pardon, my lord?”
He placed the rose in her basket. “’Tis what the dark pink color means. In the language of flowers. Thank you. At least,” he grinned at her, “according to my mother that is what it means. I am not sure how she came by this knowledge.”
Curious idea. “What do the others mean?”
He drew her arm through his and led her to a bush with snowy-white double blooms. “This is the Cheshire rose. The white blooms stand for purity.”
Alyse bent to smell the delicate scent. “I suppose that would be expected.”
Thomas took her shears and snipped the bloom, adding it to her basket. “Purity, for a pure heart.”
Beside the Cheshire grew a large bush of clear pink blooms. “And this?” She could not contain her eagerness. The names and meanings of the roses had stirred up the banked embers in her soul. Or perhaps the nearness of Thomas’s masculine body excited other, more passionate yearnings. Suddenly, the feel of his arm in hers filled her senses.
What was happening? Why this sudden lift in spirits?
She had been more melancholy of late, ever since Thomas had abandoned her bed. But it made no sense.
Did she not still love Geoffrey, heart and soul?
The thought sobered her. The sharp pang of sorrow that always stabbed her heart at the thought of him had dulled. Was she coming to regard Thomas as her husband and long for him as such?
“This is my favorite.” He clipped another pink bloom and held it under her nose. “What do you smell?”
Puzzled, she sniffed the showy pink blossom, but he moved the stem and leaves for her to smell instead. A wonderful scent assailed her, but one she did not associate with roses.
“Apples?”
A smile lit his face as he placed an entire stem of the flowers, leaves and all, into her basket.
“But what is it called?”
“Eglantine or Sweet Briar Rose.” He looked down at his thumb where a fat drop of blood welled. “The latter is probably the more apt name.” He smiled ruefully.
Seeing his glance, she took his hand and, without thinking, raised the injured thumb to her lips. She gently kissed the drop away, and he gasped. Their gazes met, his frankly searching hers for an answer.


BLURB:
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.
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?

BUY LINK:
AMAZON: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01ACF9L98?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Mary Morgan Brings Dragon Knight's Shield to Medieval Monday


You'll love the way Medieval Monday's Conflict theme wraps up this week with my friend Mary Morgan's DRAGON KNIGHT’S SHIELD. Mary sends us out in high style in this excerpt which weaves a tempting conflict between Angus and Deirdre. But this might be a conflict neither wants to win.

Excerpt:

Never have I seen a woman command men as she does,” commented Robert coming alongside him.

Angus kept silent. He knew his friend had set his sight on the woman as well. He had flirted with her outright at the table last evening, stirring the outrage of Hugh. The man dared to tempt fate to the edge of his life, and Angus wanted to slice out Robert’s tongue with a blade.

Rubbing his hands together to ward off the chill, Robert removed his cloak. “I believe ’tis my turn at a lesson or two.”

Without thought, Angus blocked his progress with an outstretched hand. “Nae. My turn.”

The man raised an eyebrow in amused contempt and took a step back.

As Angus stepped into the clearing, he saw Deirdre’s eyes go wide in surprise. As he gave the others a passing glance, they understood his meaning and retreated to the trees. Removing his cloak, he faced her.

“There is nothing I can teach you, Angus. I’ve seen you fight.” She rubbed her hands down the sides of her gown, and he took this as a nervous gesture.

His steps slowed as he circled her, making her turn as he did. “Ye show the others. Why not me?”

“Because there are some techniques…umm ways…to improve…and they asked, since they believe me…”

“Ye are rambling. Not good for a hunter.”

“I’m not playing this game, MacKay,” she hissed.

“This is no game we play, Flanagan. There is a real danger that cannae be fought with strength alone.”

“Then you’re the fool if you don’t think I understand. The Fianna have told me about the magic of this evil druid. But what they haven’t told me is why he wants to claim the relics of the Dragon Knights.”

Angus clenched his fists. They had no right discussing his past with her.

“Does that upset you?”

He continued his spiral movement around her. “Why would it?”

“Because it shows in your eyes. They go from light brown to blazing amber.”

His smile became predatory. “Ye are a keen witness.”

“Tell me about your relic, Angus?”

Chuckling softly, he kept silent. Her gown twisted as her steps faltered, and he realized she had not mastered moving in the clothing.

She stomped her foot in anger. “Stop moving!”

In one swift move, he had her hands behind her back with his face mere inches from the lips he wanted. “Ye have now become my prey.” He could feel the rise and fall of her breasts with every breath she took, and he fought to control his body. By the gods how he wanted her. She smelled of the woods, wild and untamed.

She blinked and he found desire staring back at him. Twisting her head away from his, she spat out, “Let me go.”

If the others were not around, Angus feared he would have claimed her right there in the snow. He shook his head of the blinding lust and released her. “Ye are correct, Deirdre. There is naught ye can teach me.” Turning slowly, he started to walk away when he felt the blade at his back.

“The first lesson, Angus, in any battle is never to turn your back on the enemy. You have forgotten the basics in defense.”

He held his arms out wide. “Then strike for the kill, Deirdre and pray ye have the strength to aim true.”

She punched him hard in his lower back, causing him to stumble a few feet. “Trust me, I have the strength.” Her words sent a chill down his spine, and the beast became unleashed.

As Angus whirled around, he reached for the arm that held the blade. Her gown twisted and she slipped, bringing them both to the ground. Wasting no time being so close to her heated body, he stood. Shoving a hand through his hair, he then pointed to her bunched up gown. “And the first lesson ye should master is to fight in your clothes. They will be your undoing.” Hissing out several curses, he stormed off to the trees, whistling for Artair.

As he passed one of the pines, a blade flew past his head and landed with a loud thump into the wood. The fire danced off his fingertips, but he made no move to turn around. “Ye missed.”


 
Blurb:
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 he 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:




Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Cover Reveal: My Next Book, THE LADY OF THE FOREST

I am thrilled to reveal the cover of my next book, THE LADY OF THE FOREST.  Lord Henry and Lady Katherine's story, the novella will be out later in the year. Cover art is by R.J. Morris, The Wild Rose Press. Henry is Lady Evie's brother (The Heart of the Phoenix) and Sir Giles' friend (Silverhawk).

Here's the 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.