Sunday, November 27, 2016

Jenna Jaxon Launches Medieval Monday Celebration Theme With Seduction at the Christmas Court


Jenna Jaxon invites us to spend Christmas at King Edward III's court, but beware the intrigue--and Seduction. Here's Jenna's excerpt to introduce Medieval Monday's new series spotlighting different kinds of Celebration.

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.”

BLURB:
Alyse and Geoffrey, Lord and Lady Longford, have journeyed to the 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 the 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 an old friendship. But how long will he take “No” for an answer?



Friday, November 25, 2016

Sale: THE LADY OF THE FOREST--Through Monday

WooHoo!! THE LADY OF THE FOREST is 40 percent off through Monday--on The Wild Rose Press website, only. That makes it just a bit over $2.00--$2.39, in fact.

http://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/all-titles/4627-the-lady-of-the-forest.html?search_query=the+lady+of+the+forest&results=2


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Mary Morgan Visits Medieval Monday with DRAGON KNIGHT'S RING


We have a real treat today. The fabulous Mary Morgan is here with DRAGON KNIGHT'S RING to wrap up Medieval Monday's two-month-long Travel Theme series. Next up: a Celebration series. But for now, you can enjoy a peek at Adam and Meggie's story.

Excerpt:
“What do ye mean we can finish in the morn?” Adam eyed her skeptically.

Meggie stepped away from him. “I haven’t been riding in a few days, so I thought with the weather being fine, we could take Fion and Ciar out for a long ride. There’s this beautiful ridge called Drumbuie. Ye can see Loch Ness in all directions.” She nodded to the basket. “I’m tempting ye with some food, too.”

Adam dropped the shovel. Grabbing a cloth, he wiped his forehead. He did not need food to be tempted to go anywhere with Meggie. He knew the place well, since it had been a favorite of theirs. He was curious, though, and asked, “Why?”

She grimaced in good humor. “I’m tired of hiding in the shadows. I want to try and remember.”

Pleased with her answer, Adam reached past her, his arm brushing against hers—the mere contact made his groin tighten. Picking up the basket, he whistled for Ciar. “Then I will do my best to help ye.”

After preparing both animals, they made their way out of Aonach and headed for the hills. Clouds loomed in the distance, but Adam deemed they posed no threat to their outing. He let Meggie set the pace, galloping through heather with naught a care in the world. She came to a light cantor when she spotted a herd of deer.

“See the females.” She pointed to the south. “Those belong to Red Brute the stag.”

Bringing his horse alongside her, Adam shielded his eyes from the early afternoon sun. “’Tis a fine family he has there. Why is he given the name?”

Meggie twisted in the saddle, obvious to Adam that she was looking for something. “Bruce named him after some obnoxious client he had dealt with several years ago. He noticed the stag had the same attitude and so aptly named him Red Brute.” She laughed playfully. “Though, knowing Bruce, he meant it in jest. For ye see, he loves all animals, regardless of their temperament. Oh, there he is! See, up along the rocky edge. He never strays far from the females.”

Fascinated, Adam watched as the stag wandered at a leisurely pace and then lifted its head as if sensing their presence. “Noble animal,” he murmured.

“Aye,” she agreed. “I never tire of watching them or any animals. They roam with freedom I long for some days.”

Adam’s gaze turned back to Meggie. He detected a feeling of melancholy in her voice. “Are ye not already free, Meggie?”

Frowning, she looked away. “Aye, I am, but I sense…more within me. There are days I can hear whispers of someone calling my name along the breezes. As if the two worlds—past and present cross over. I’m bound by this and the other.” She kept her gaze focused on the animals. “And there’s always these burning questions I carry.”

“Which are?” he asked, bringing Ciar closer to her and Fion.

When she turned back toward Adam, her eyes glistened with tears.

Adam’s heart stilled. A strong urge to tell her everything overtook him.

****

Blurb:
Crusader, Adam MacFhearguis is on one last quest to the standing stones in Scotland where he seeks to bury the past. However, a silent prayer sends him to an unknown future and to his beloved Meggie. When he uncovers a shocking revelation, Adam questions everything about the woman he thought he knew and loved. He may have traveled the veil of ages, but time is now his enemy.

Margaret MacKay lives a life in the future without the memories of her past—her death. When Adam arrives at her door confessing he knows her, she is confused and wary. With each passing day, she yearns to learn more from this stranger. Yet, when a truth is revealed, can she trust the man to unlock the chains from her mind and heart?

Will love free the bonds to unite the two lovers who were doomed centuries ago? Or will evil finally claim victory over the Dragon Knights?


Buy Links:





Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Book Blast: Tricia Schneider Brings The Pirate's Lady

 
Fellow Rose Tricia Schneider has a new story out--an exciting tale of THE PIRATE'S LADY. Let's help her celebrate! And don't forget to sign up for her Rafflecopter prize which will be awarded at the end of her release tour. See below.
  
Welcome Tricia. Best of luck with Marco and Arianne.
 


 Blurb

Captain Marco Dante was captured and sentenced to hang two years ago, but he escaped before his punishment was carried out. Now he's come back to the woman whose memory kept him alive those long months in prison. Arianne had been his grand passion, but he failed to see how much she meant to him until it was too late. Can he recapture her heart? Or has he lost her forever?

Arianne never imagined she’d see her notorious pirate lover again. Though her heart sings with joy at his return, she knows he hasn't come back for her but for the treasure he left behind. She agrees to help him find it, but can her heart withstand one more adventure with him?


Excerpt

“I have a life here now.”

“There’s nothing for you here. Your place is by my side. In your heart, you know ’tis true.”
She looked away, turning her gaze to the ocean’s waves pounding the beach with hypnotic rhythm. A few moments ago, she sat here, mulling over her life’s misfortunes and attempting to reach a decision about her future.

Her fate.

Arianne shook her head. “I no longer travel your path. You sail without me, my friend.”

She pushed her bare toes into the grainy sand and stood, brushing the remaining sand that clung to her petticoats. In the silence of the crashing waves, she turned and walked away.

Inside, her heart bled. Yet, she deserved no better. Her life led to this heartache. That she walked away from this man now, after all this time only confirmed it.

“Arianne, you’re coming with me.”

His serious tone warned her of his intentions. She spun to face him, unsheathing her sword in time to block his attack. The sound of metal striking metal pierced the moonlit darkness. Her ears rang with the sound.

They stood, neither moving. She stared into his eyes. “You would take me by force?”

“Never by force,” his voice lowered to a growl. “You will come willingly.” And he smiled, that knowing one she hated.

She let out a howl of outrage and swung her sword. He easily blocked. They stepped a deadly dance of striking blades, until again they were trapped by heated gazes.

Her breathing was heavy, labored, filled with excitement. She looked at his lips, wanting to taste them but knowing she dared not. Her will was never strong around him. With one touch she might lose herself and want him again for forever. But that dream would never be achievable with Marco.

With him, she’d always be alone.

“Come with me, Arianne.”

“No.”

She pushed away and again they danced. Her feet moved lightly as she sprang, her petticoats swirling with each movement though she hoped they would not entangle her legs. Her arm swung with lithe movements as she fought. She equaled him with skill and grace. Each time their swords clashed, the noise pierced her soul. That she fought him was a testament to her determination to escape his tyranny over her heart. She could not succumb to him again.

As they battled, a sheen of sweat appeared upon his brow. The exposed skin of his chest glistened in the moonlight. His arms flexed as he swung his sword. His grace, his power, his energy seduced her.
Her heart pounded. Her skin ached to touch his. The heat in her lower regions grew to a fiery inferno.

She trembled.

Again, they locked blades.

They stood a moment, staring. His gaze burned into her soul. She licked the salty sweat from her upper lip, and his eyes followed the movement with utter fascination.

He pushed their swords away. With his free hand, he grabbed her shoulder, pulling her tight against his chest. Arianne tilted her head to look into his eyes. The blue depths called to her, like the ocean’s waves licking at her feet. The yearning to go to him was too great. She hadn’t the will to fight.





About the Author:

Tricia Schneider is an author of historical, paranormal and gothic romance. Before the supernatural took possession of her pen, she worked for several years as Assistant Manager and bookseller at Waldenbooks. After the store closed, she turned to writing fiction full-time. She has written both short stories and full-length novels published by The Wild Rose Press, including her newest book, The Pirate's Lady, and her historical paranormal romance series, The Merriweather Witches. Tricia is a member of Romance Writers of America. She lives in the Pennsylvania coal region with her musician husband, their 4 young children and 3 rescued cats.




Tour Giveaway!

Enter for a Chance to Win a
$20.00 Amazon eGift Card
&
a Pirate Treasure Chest Trinket Box








Monday, November 14, 2016

Medieval Monday: Ashley York Shares a Scene from The Bruised Thistle

Help me welcome my friend and best-selling author Ashley York to Medieval Monday. From one of her popular Highland novels, The Bruised Thistle, Ashley shares a travel scene that's fraught with tension as Seumas seeks revenge.
Seumas kept a fast pace through the night, traveling as if the devil himself were after him. His thoughts were morose, tortured by the screams of people murdered in the dark of night, a young man threatened at sword point to reveal the location of his hidden gold, Giles bending over the young girl. Atrocities no one should ever have witnessed. Atrocities he could not overcome.
By day, he rested. The memories made sleep impossible. He ate nothing and drove himself with only one thought in mind—revenge. Iseabail’s murder would be avenged.
It was near midnight when he finally saw her home. She was a woman of great wealth, and Seumas understood now why her uncle would have been so relentless in trying to acquire his brother’s estate. The castle walls were well-maintained. He would never be able to gain access. Retreating into the darkness of the woods, he pulled his tartan around him and slid down against a tree, keeping watch. His memories pressed down on him, drowning him with heavy thoughts of his revenge. The man would die slowly, in as much agony as Seumas could inflict upon him. Time became just another element, like the wind and the rain. He had lost all sense of it. Daylight came and went. And he waited.
The whinny of his horse woke him instantly. With eyes already adjusted to the dark, he scanned the road. A lone rider traveled toward him from the castle. A hiss escaped Seumas as he saw the way the man was dressed. His opulence was unmistakable.
What type of fool travels the roads at night so ripe for robbery?
Without a doubt, this pompous arse was Iseabail’s uncle.
He stayed hidden beneath the trees as the rider approached. He had worried as he planned out his revenge that he would not recognize their uncle. He almost laughed at the audacity of this man. The whoreson believed he could kill his niece, steal his brother’s lands, and go about his life as if he were a king? Tonight he would find out he was wrong. Seumas stepped out onto the path and waited to be seen.
“Hold.” Seumas held up his hand, demanding compliance.
“What is the meaning of this?” the man blustered as his horse shifted and turned at Seumas’s sudden appearance. “How dare you travel my roads in the middle of the night?”
Seumas bowed in mock respect. “M’lord, I beg yer pardon. Whose lands have I unknowingly trespassed on?”
The man tilted his head and squinted. “These are my lands. I am the MacNaughton.”
Seumas felt the air leave his lungs, to be replaced by rage. “John MacNaughton?”
“No, I am his brother, Henry.” Seumas slowly stepped toward the man, taking the horse’s reins. Henry was clearly not expecting that. “What are you up to?”
“I wish to speak to ye, sir, if ye would please dismount. I would have us speak as men.”
“What business have I with you, sir?” Henry tried to pull the horse back, away from Seumas, who held tightly and moved closer. “Why would you travel these roads at this time of night?”
“I would ask ye the same.” Seumas’s voice was barely above a whisper. “Will ye dismount?”
“I will not. Unhand my horse this instant.”
Seumas gave a sharp yank and the horse reared away, effectively unseating Henry, who fell to a heap on the ground.
Seumas stepped in closer until he towered over him, using his size to intimidate. “Ye will.”
He merely observed the man as he worked to right himself. The buffoon struggled with his cloak, mumbling and grunting as he tried to unwrap his large limbs. The horse skidded away from the bumbling oaf. The knife was a surprise. Henry pointed it at Seumas, the blade glistening even in the dark, all pretense of ineptness discarded.
He sneered. “What do you want from me? Tell me quick and I may allow you to live.”
“Are ye not the brave man?”
His sneer slipped, revealing his confusion. “What are you talking about? Get off my land.”
Seumas rounded on him, his brows arched high at the absurdity of the answer. “Yer land?”
Henry tipped his head as if assessing the true meaning of his obtuse question. Seumas sensed his bravado crumbling.
“I heard ye stole it from yer brother,” Seumas continued, standing with his arms akimbo. The man blanched. “Yea, I know quite a lot about ye.”
“What do you want with me?” Henry’s voice broke with his fear and his blade shivered in the moonlight. “I have no idea what you are talking about.”
“Ah, Henry…” Seumas spoke as if to a child. “Ye were already in a bad way and now ye have made it even worse.”
“How so?” he said, his voice now quivering.
“Tell me.” Seumas moved in closer. The man’s dagger still trembled in his hand. “Is that the dagger ye used to run yer niece through?”

BUY LINKS: Kobo        Amazon     iTunes    B&N







Sunday, November 6, 2016

Rue Allyn Brings her Intriguing The Herald's Heart to Medieval Monday



Rue Allyn visits today with another exciting story of love and intrigue in Medieval England. Her latest is an intriguing tale of The Herald's Heart. King's Herald Sir Talon is on a personal mission of revenge against the father who cast him out, until he's met with an enchanting vision.

EXCERPT: 
 
Sir Talon Quereste refused to allow a little thing like being lost in a fog prevent him from completing his task as a royal herald. After getting garbled directions from an anchoress who screeched at the sight of him, swore evil lived at Hawksedge Keep, and then warned him that no good would come of traveling there, he finally located the town of Hawking Sedge. With the mist thickening, he stopped at the alehouse and asked for better directions or a guide. The alewife refused to give more information than “follow the road.” The patrons of the house, when questioned, refused to a man to guide Talon. Even proclaiming himself King Edward’s royal herald failed to gain their cooperation.
“T’ earl’s disappeared and ’tis haunted, sir,” they claimed. 

They exchanged taunts with him, and Talon left the alehouse swearing to spend the night in the keep and catch any ghost that wandered its halls. If he could ever find the cursed place.
He very much doubted the earl had vanished. More like he was hiding because he knew he’d incurred Edward I’s wrath. When the king of England summoned a man to renew vows of fealty and that man failed to comply, the king might justifiably be angry. So Longshanks had sent one of his heralds—fondly known by courtiers as the king’s hounds. The fact that the chosen hound was the last person the Earl of Hawksedge would want to see was sugar on the plum for both king and herald. Talon would ferret the man out no matter where he hid. Would his father recognize him? Not likely, despite the fact that, according to rumor, Talon’s guinea gold hair and dark purple eyes could have only come from the Earl of Hawksedge.

St. Swithun’s nose! Recognition by the earl was as likely as finding Hawksedge Keep in this fog. Talon couldn’t even see his mount’s ears in the chill gray mass that swirled around him. According to one of the village cowards, the keep “loomed on a hill near the sea, its great black stones a blot from hell upon heaven’s beautiful sky.” Ghosts! Stones from hell! Nonsense is what it was. 

His mount came to an abrupt halt. What now? Try as he might, he could not make the beast move forward. Talon twisted to look behind him. The fog had swallowed all sign of human habitation. The villagers’ absurd fears kept them warm and dry within the alehouse, while his sensible disbelief that Hades somehow escaped its bounds left him cold, wet, and stranded in an impenetrable mist, unable to determine either the way forward or the road back—on a horse gone mad with stubbornness.

Of a sudden, the silence hit. ’Tis the fog. It deadens all sound. He wished for the comforting clop of iron-shod hooves on dirt. He shivered in the enveloping chill and took a deep breath of mist-laden air. The salt tang reassured him. At least he hadn’t ridden off a cliff into the sea. Talon smiled at his own foolishness. If his steed would not go forward on its own, he would dismount and lead the animal.
He had swung his leg across the horse’s rump when a hideous wail arose, bleeding through the fog to ooze fear down his spine. He hung there, suspended above the earth on the strength of a single stirrup. That the horse didn’t bolt was a miracle of good training.

The fog, so thick and impenetrable a moment ago, formed a gap in the wake of the noise. Talon looked in the direction of the sound and met the wide-eyed gaze of a disembodied head.
His breath froze, and he swayed, dizzy with surprise. She ... it ... possessed the most beautiful face he’d ever seen. A delicate nose flared in a perfect oval framed with fiery red tresses. Long, dark lashes fluttered over bright, exotically tilted blue eyes. A berry-red mouth formed an O. Ivory satin skin pinked over high cheekbones as he watched. Every feature vanished the instant the fog closed between him and the vision. Talon choked on the nauseating aroma of death and lavender mixed with the sea-scented fog. The smell dissipated as quickly as the last glimmer of light. However, that hideous, grinding wail lingered, the aural guardian of a soul doomed for eternity to search out a body no doubt long dead. 

What was he thinking? The bright blue eyes had blinked. The berry lips had gasped. She’d even blushed. Whoever she was, that head belonged to a very live woman. He settled back into the saddle and hauled his mount’s head around. With as much speed as he thought safe, given the lack of visibility, Talon hurried after the dying wail, heartened when he heard it rise again, for that meant he was nearing his quarry.

He moved along, pursuing the noise and the woman until his horse once again refused to move. What was wrong with the beast? Talon growled. He could either stay with the horse and lose the maid, or follow the maid and ... And what? Stumble blind over a cliff into the sea and lose not only his horse but his life? Nay, only a madman would go wandering around unknown ground in a fog this thick, which made the dunces back in the alehouse look very wise indeed.
 
Cold chattered Talon’s teeth, and damp soaked his clothing. He needed shelter. No doubt that’s what his mount had been trying to tell him. He could hear his good friend and fellow herald Amis Du Grace laughing in agreement that Talon’s horse was smarter than its rider. He shook his head—once again single-minded determination had led him into trouble. Still, the trouble would be worth it, if he could serve the Earl of Hawksedge even a small amount of the anguish the man had served a six-year-old boy tossed from his home and labeled a bastard.  

Talon dismounted and moved to his steed’s head. The animal needed a stern lecture on obeying its rider. The fog became darker just ahead of him. “I’ve had enough nonsense for one day,” he said, whether to the horse or the fog was hard to tell. “There are no such things as ghosts or disembodied heads that blink and blush.” He lengthened his stride, hoping to pull his mount forward, and ran smack into black stone.  

He’d found Hawksedge Keep. 


BLURB:

Royal herald, Sir Talon Quereste imagined that one day he would settle on a quiet little estate, marry a gently bred damsel, and raise a flock of children. The wife of his daydreams is a woman who could enhance his standing with his peers. She is certainly not an overly adventurous, impulsive, argumentative woman of dubious background who threatens everything he values then endangers his heart.

When her family is murdered, Lady Larkin Rosham lost more than everyone she loved—she lost her name, her identity and her voice. She’s finally recovered her ability to speak, but no one believes her claim to be Lady Larkin. She is determined to regain her name and her heritage. However, but Sir Talon Quereste guards the way to the proof she needs. She must discover how to get past him without risking her heart.



Purchase The Herald’s Heart at Amazon.com. Find Rue Allyn at RueAllyn.com