“Aye,” he said sleepily, followed by a soft snore.
She wiped the blood from the scratches on his cheek and studied him.
Full brows framed his wide-set eyes with long, thick lashes. His high cheekbones accentuated the deep hollows beneath them. His close-clipped beard outlined his full lips. His face spoke of power and ageless strength. He had a face that was easy to look at.
The wounds cleaned and bandaged, she bent over and gave him a lingering kiss on his forehead. Her head snapped up and her fingers went to her lips. They tingled as if she had eaten something spicy. She searched his face. His ashen color hadn’t changed. Panic welled in her throat. Her healing kiss always brought results.
His arm snaked around her and drew her to him. She didn’t resist when he pulled her closer and kissed her deeply. When she moved away his eyes were closed, the corners of his mouth tipped up in a smile, and his face took on a soft pink hue.
Relief flooded through her but was quickly replaced with doubt. For the first time she wondered if her healing kiss would be enough.
She prepared the camp and when she was done, sat back to rest. The smell of the wood and the snap of the fire were soothing. The dancing flames mesmerized her and drew her in deeper. The intertwined flames parted and in its midst she saw two figures following a light. She knew it was an omen but she could not tell if the sign was good or bad. A loud snap and a log fell, sending sparks flying, startling her out of her trance.
After a year of searching, Maximilian, the druid Grand Master, finds the sacred mistletoe destined for his soul mate shriveled and dead. He must journey to the Otherworld and tell the Ancestors of his failure.
Ellyn of Brodgar is an exceptional healer. But each healing kiss depletes her energy and brings her closer to death. Ellyn needs to find her own healing power before it’s too late.
Max and Ellyn are tossed into the Otherworld and have until the third sunset to appeal to the Ancestors or be lost forever. Together they find love, and as the last rays of the third sunset slip away, both are willing to sacrifice their hopes, dreams, and lives for the other. Do they have what it takes to escape the Otherworld and begin their life together?
I'm so excited to have my friend Cathy MacRae on my sight today for Medieval Monday. Cathy is an Amazon best-selling author who enjoys weaving tales of romance in the Highland mists. Her stories feature strong heroes and feisty heroines in pursuit of their happy-ever-afters in medieval Scotland. Here is the first kiss from her novel THE HIGHLANDER'S FRENCH BRIDE.
“Many where I am from speak Gaelic, though many also speak English, or a form of it,” he said casually, his tone easing some of her concern. “Mo chridhe means my heart. That is what ye are, Melisende. The love of my heart.”
Her thoughts were a whirlwind. “I do not know how to respond other than to say you stole my heart years ago.”
“Then why the hesitation?”
She bit her lip against a smile. “`Twas not because I did not understand your words, though it is true I’d not thought about the differences in our languages.” She took a breath to steel her courage. “`Twas because of the look on your face—in your eyes.”
He tilted his head at her. “What look?”
“As though you wished to kiss me,” she whispered, the very depths of her exposed, for there was no taking the words back. Kinnon rose, pulling her to her feet with him, and gathered her in his arms.
His mouth descended, caressing her lips with gentle pressure that quickly built to an insistence, flaming a hunger in her she’d never known. She leaned against him, her breasts aching as they touched his chest. Her lips parted at his urging as though paired to his, and his tongue mated feverishly with hers.
With the force of a sudden storm, she was no longer plain Melisende. Every fiber of her felt beautiful and desired. Her world was nothing more than the roughened velvet of his lips, the taste of ale on his breath, and the tender confines of his arms.
She was loved.
Heir to a lairdshsip, Kinnon Macrory is driven to prove himself by fighting the English on the battlefields of France. His dreams of heroic valor are destroyed by his inability to come to grips with the atrocities visited on the very people he is sworn to protect, and 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 accused of treason. She finds refuge in her uncle’s shop—until a chance encounter sends her fleeing into the unknown once again, always 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: https://www.amzn.com/B018OHXKHK
It's a first kiss with Jenna Jaxon for today's Medieval Monday. Jenna is a multi-published author of historical and contemporary romance. Read on for an excerpt from her novel TIME ENOUGH TO LOVE.
“It has been decreed by His Majesty that on the first day the festivities will begin with a procession of ladies and knights of King Arthur’s court, starting at the Tower of London and winding through the town out to the lists. There are to be twenty-five knights on the king’s side who will joust and fight in a pas d’armes. So there needs be twenty-five ladies as well, to escort them to the field.”
She nodded again. “Princess Joanna rides in this procession.” Her part in the festivities had been determined last week. Did he have anything truly new to impart?
“You have been chosen to be one of the ladies.”
Alyse’s mouth dropped open and a thrill coursed through her. “But I am only Princess Joanna’s attendant, Sir Geoffrey. Usually such honors are reserved for the queen and Princess Isabella’s ladies, or the Duchesses and Countesses in the Royal Family. Why did they choose me?”
“Because I am to be one of the knights, and I begged a boon of the king to allow you to be my lady.”
She stared at him in shock, almost unbelieving, though she knew he would not lie about such a thing. To think she owed such an honor to the man she would soon call husband, that he had asked the king himself to grant the favor, made her heart beat an unsteady march in her chest. Alyse parted her lips to thank him when he swooped forward, secured her chin in his hand and kissed her.
Strangely soft, yet very sweet, his touch sent a searing bolt straight to her stomach, setting it afire. After moments that seemed an eternity, his mouth slackened on hers as though he would release her. Then he flicked the tip of his tongue across the hard-pressed seam of her mouth, testing for another invitation.
With a gasp she jumped back, drawing a chuckle from Geoffrey, who had the grace to glance around to make sure they had not been observed. “Be not discomfited, sweet. We are safe in our conversation.”
“’Twas not in our conversation that I feared harm, my lord.” Lord, ’twas difficult to sound outraged when she could still feel his lips on hers.
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?
For this round of Medieval Monday, our focus is FIRST KISS. What's more exciting than the first time the heroine and hero's lips meets.....<sigh>? Today, I'm thrilled to have Barbara Bettis as my guest. Read on for an excerpt from her Medieval Romance, SILVERHAWK.
Lady Emelin tucked her heavy brown wimple beneath her chin and watched the wounded knight.
Swollen eyelids, a puffy cheek, and bloody scrapes couldn't hide his handsome features. Waves of midnight hair fell across his wide forehead to brush one side of his square, stubble-darkened jaw. Grit clustered on the high bridge of his nose. What shame such a strong, rugged man should be cut down. Her pulse fluttered, and she sucked in a sharp breath. Ashamed of such reaction, she squeezed shut her eyes.
Would Stephen have been so handsome, had he lived? She hardly recalled what her youthful first betrothed looked like when he joined his foster father on King Richard's crusade. If only he'd returned, she'd be wed now, with the family she craved.
She sighed, reached for a leaf on her patient's cheek—and found herself staring into the palest gray eyes she'd ever seen. His mouth moved; she leaned forward.
“What is it?” she murmured.
“Before...I...die,” came the hoarse whisper.
“Yes? What would you like before you die?” If it were in her power, she would provide the poor man with his wish. Drink? Food?
A strong hand gripped the back of her head, pulled her forward. That close, she saw his eyes weren't gray, but layered like a winter pond winking with ice. They were silver.
“To...kiss...a nun,” came the outrageous reply before his lips met hers.
His warm mouth robbed her of breath for an instant. Then she snapped back with a gasp. And, with inborn reflex, slapped him. His head jerked, his eyes closed, and he lay motionless.
“Oh, Sweet Mary,” Emelin whispered, “I've killed him.” Leaning close, she saw his narrow, beautifully molded lips relax. His mouth curved at the corner.
At least he died with a smile on his face.
Sir Giles has come to England to kill his father, who seduced and betrayed his mother. First, however, he’ll seek sweet revenge—kidnap the old lord’s new betrothed. But when Giles uncovers a plot against King Richard, he faces a dilemma: take the lady or track the traitors. What’s a good mercenary to do? Both, of course.
Lady Emelin has had enough. Abandoned in a convent by her brother, she finally has a chance for home and family. Yet now she’s been abducted. Her kidnapper may be the image of her dream knight, but she won’t allow him to spoil this betrothal. Her only solution: escape
Rescuing the intrepid lady—while hunting traitors—is a challenge Giles couldn’t anticipate. But the greatest challenge to Giles and Emelin is the fire blazing between them. For he’s everything a proper lady should never want, and she’s everything a bastard mercenary can never have.
It took staying home sick for three days, but I finally made a dent in my TBR pile. I could hardly wait to start Mary Morgan's DRAGON KNIGHT'S SHIELD. I love this series. You will, too!
His look was predatory, lustful, inviting, and she took a step backward. Words failed her as she took another step back.
He arched a brow and his smile became seductive. “Do I frighten ye?”
“No!” she lied. Like hell you do! You’re as gorgeous as sin standing there, and I want to rip your clothes from your body.
Pushing off from the wall, he stepped into the room and silently closed the door behind him, his eyes never leaving hers. His hair hung in soft waves past his shoulders, and her fingers itched to twine within them. Her body ached in places so deep—longing for even the slightest touch.
“Are ye unwell, my lady?”
The burr of his voice so low—so sexy, she could only stare at him until his words resonated in her mind. “No,” she replied softly, feeling the flames of desire heat not only her face, but also her entire body.
This time when he took another step closer, Deirdre didn’t back away. Now he stood so close she could feel the warmth of his breath across her face—a mix of wine and pure male.
She watched mesmerized as he reached for a lock of her hair, twining it around his finger. “So verra soft.”
Deirdre couldn’t breathe, as he let the curl unravel and cupped her face in his hands. “Ye confuse me. Ye torment me in my dreams,” he whispered against her cheek, sending a wave of pleasure down her spine.
Without thought, she groaned and leaned into him—his beard grazing her cheek. She no longer battled her mind for the man. “Kiss me, Angus.”
This time he groaned, capturing her mouth with savage intensity and drawing the breath from her lungs. His tongue plundered deep, and Deirdre opened fully to the fiery possession.Wil
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?
It's finally here. The fourth and final book in the GODS OF THE HIGHLANDS series is now available for preorder on all platforms where electronic books are sold. Here is an excerpt of the first kiss between Lucan and Neala.
Neala could only nod stupidly, unable to speak the words she had been practicing. She wanted him in a way she had never thought to want a man. She licked her lips and stared up at him.
Lucan’s gaze dropped to her mouth. He clenched his jaw so tight, she could see the bulge of it through his cheek. She held her breath as he lowered his head to hers. When his lips were but a hair’s width from her mouth he paused.
“Are ye going to stop me?” His voice was deep and hoarse with desire. Neala shook her head, but could not find the strength to speak.
Electricity shot through her when he claimed her mouth. It was a soft kiss, gentle and light against her lips, but the force that rocked her nearly made her knees buckle. With a gasp, she parted her lips allowing him to slip into her mouth. His taste exploded on her tongue, making her hunger for more. She opened wider, wanted to take in as much of him as she could.
Lucan wrapped his hands around her arms in a firm but gentle grip and pushed her away enough to stare down at her. She kept her eyes closed, the strange sensation of a smile curving her lips. “Neala,” he croaked out, “ye doona have to do this.”
She opened her eyes then and smiled up at him in earnest. “I want to know what it is like to make love without pain,” she said. “I want you.”
Needing no further encouragement, he pulled the shift over her head in a single movement and lifted her in his arms. He clamped his mouth to hers as he carried her to the bed, then laid her upon the soft mattress as if she were a piece of fine porcelain.
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?
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?
Isn't it wonderful to have a whole day dedicated to all things Medieval? Now if only I could get my hands on a time machine. In lieu of that, I can always immerse myself in a love story set in my favorite time period. This week I'm reading THE GENTLE KNIGHT by Ashley York. Ashley is a New England native who writes historical romance novels full of passion and intrigue set in 11th and 12th century Ireland, Scotland, and England.
"What. Will. It. Be?" He leaned in closer, whispering each word.
"Whatever you think best?" She spoke as calmly as she could but the room was getting very hot.
He glanced up as if trying to read an unclear sign but then that assured smile returned.
A tiny quiver rippled through her. Before she could speak again, he was closing in on her, his body up against hers.
"Whatever I think best?"
She wavered for a moment, unsure why he answered her with that tone. She wanted nothing more than to melt against him, envelope herself in his heat. This was just like in her dream. Hot and heady.
Then his firm lips were on hers. His hard length pressing her into the table, as if trying to meld them together. Her body would gladly have done just that if only it could have turned to pure liquid instead of just a growing warmth where his hips grinded into her.
He pulled his head back enough to search her face. He was breathing hard. He looked bewildered. "Is this what you want then?"
Her body arched towards his where the pressure had eased. "I…I'm not sure." She should not be feeling this way. "Please."
The answering sound from deep in his throat surprised her but then she got what she craved. His lips on hers again, then trailing across her cheek and down her jaw. An intense ripple of pleasure shot straight to her core. His hips undulated against hers, the heat, the dampness. She moaned.
He suddenly stopped, his head still dipped into the crook of her neck. She didn't dare breathe.
"I do not believe your protector will be happy with the outcome if we continue." His voice was husky, his breath warm against her skin. He shifted away.
Her body immediately missed his. Her eyes closed, she took a slow, steadying breath.
A medieval soldier returns home to find his lover died in childbirth just as his own mother had. Believing he is cursed, Peter of Normandy turns from love. When he must give escort to an Irish princess more noble than many knights, he struggles with his decision to live a solitary life. Can he take the chance that his love won't be a death sentence and possibly make them stronger?
Padraig MacNaughton's death bed decree rips his daughter, Brighit, from the shelter of her protective clan in Ireland. Forced to take vows at a Priory in England, she finds herself in the hands of lecherous mercenaries with their own political agendas. Dare she trust the Norman knight to see her safely to her new life as a nun? Even when she finds in him the fulfillment of all she's ever wanted?
Or will honor and duty eclipse their one chance for happiness?
Happy New Year!! For today's Medieval Monday, I'm thrilled to feature the sensational Lane McFarland. Lane writes historical romance, spanning the early Middle Ages through the American Civil War. While her books are fiction, each one is based on historical facts, and you will often see known figures such as William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, or The Red Comyn make guest appearances. Her books revolve around human struggles, sacrifices survivors are forced to make, and their resilience to live and thrive.
Here is an EXCERPT from CAMERON. A first kiss hot enough to make you sizzle.
Robert gently set Cameron on the ground, and she turned to face him. A bit dazed, she ran trembling fingers down the front of her gown. His hands lingered at her waist, and when he didn’t step back, she looked up to find him smiling.
“I believe ye owe me yer thanks, Mistress Cameron.”
At his mention of her name, she searched his face. “How do ye know me?”
He chuckled, his deep voice rumbling throughout his thick chest. “I make it my business to know all the bonnie lasses in the area.”
The men behind him laughed.
Her stomach tightened. She was no beauty. He obviously mocked her—in front of his men. Prickly heat tingled across her cheeks.
“I’ll catch up to ye,” Robert called over his shoulder.
“Oh, aye. Once ye’ve taken care of business,” one man asserted.
“Important business to be sure,” the other bantered.
The men chuckled as they nudged their mounts, then trotted down the path and out of sight.
Robert’s gaze lingered on her mouth before he raised it to her eyes. “I believe it’s customary to thank someone when they’ve helped ye.”
Cameron cleared her throat. “Aye, I do thank ye.”
He studied her lips again. “I had something more in mind. Ye know ye’d still be stuck in that tree if I hadn’t come along, so ye owe me.”
His warm breath caressed her face. He bent and placed his mouth on hers. His arms pulled her close, his muscular frame molding her body against his. Stubble scratched her skin, and she inhaled his male scent of leather, and aye, of horse.
She should be horrified at his advances. What was she thinking, allowing a Graham to kiss her so…so wickedly and deliciously? She should push him away and demand he step back, but somehow, she loathed the idea. Indeed, she reveled in the feel of his hard body pressed against hers.
Determined to band Scots together against English tyranny, Laird Robert Graham seals a truce with his feuding neighbor, the MacDougalls. But after his brother is nearly killed in a treacherous attack, Graham kidnaps the laird’s daughter in an act of revenge.
Cameron MacDougall has devoted her life to the healing arts. She’s long rebelled against her father’s feuding ways, but when Robert Graham abducts her, she’s finds herself at the center of the dispute between their families. She expects the anger she feels, not the simmering attraction to the powerful warrior, or the love she develops for his clan.
Can she stop further violence between the clans with her escape? Or will she find her surrender leads to a lasting peace and her own heart’s desire?
BUY LINK: Amazon
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. Most of you know I teach in my spare time. I was very excited to get the entire week off. I pretended I was a full-time writer every day, even on Thursday when I had guests over and a feast to prepare. Another highlight of the week was celebrating a new release with my friend Victoria Zak. HIGHLAND FATE is the 3rd book in her GUARDIANS OF SCOTLAND series.
The Red Hawk, warrior chieftain of Helmfirth, is an over bearing, dominating dragon who strikes fear in his enemies, until one day a nemesis dares to test his limits and attacks Hawk and all that he holds dear. With one foot in the grave, Hawk finds himself inside the walls of Dunfermline Abbey and his life at the mercy of Sister Kate. In repaying a debt for saving his life, Hawk accepts Kate’s proposal. Will her proposal be the death of him or save him from a terrible mistake?
Growing up in Dunfermline Abbey, boundaries and vows have kept Sister Kate safe until a wounded red-headed Highlander in desperate need of her help turns her guarded life upside down. The lure of this man brings out a side of Kate long suppressed, she now yearns to leave the Abbey in search of her true self. There’s one problem, she can’t make the daunting journey through the Highlands alone. She needs a Highlander with exceptional skills and she has her eyes set on one, Hawk.
Last week saw the release of the third novella in my Gods of the Highlands series. Tanis tells the story of Sirona’s twin brother and his doomed affair with the angel he encountered saving his sister from the dreaded Comyns. People often ask me about my character names. I love unusual names. When my son was born, I really had to rein myself in. As a teacher, I have a steady of supply of unique names and use them often. I first discovered the god of thunder while researching Celtic mythology. His name, Taranus, reminded me of dinosaurs. I just could not get a feel for it. I took creative liberty to make my hero’s name more appealing while trying not to change it too much. Hence the name of my hero.
Here is an excerpt from Tanis:
When Tanis spoke, Kiah let his voice wash over her. She nearly wept, so great was her yearning to feel the vibration of its rich tone, accented with the lilt common among these Highlanders.
The only other time she had heard him speak, he had been bellowing at her. She could imagine what he would sound like speaking of love play in that sultry voice, whispering her name, expressing his pleasure.
When the others left, Tanis stayed behind. He walked back to stand by the bed, his expression unreadable as he stared down at the woman ensconced there. He was the finest example of man Kiah had ever seen. Tall and broad-shouldered, his body was sculpted from years of fighting and living, and from the influence of pagan blood in his ancestry. He wore his raven-colored hair long and wild. He had rich brown eyes, windows to his spirit she longed to stare into. He was the kind of man who did everything with a fierceness that made one long to feed on that essence. He was irresistible.
And dangerous. He had an allure that called to her, despite better judgment. He was proud and arrogant, every bit her equal. She grudgingly admitted that Tanis was not as weak as most humans. She recognized that.
He was the kind of man Kiah avoided.
I ken yer spirit, lass. Kiah drew up when he spoke directly to her.
Have ye come to sate yer desire for me? She was as tempted as if Lucifer himself was standing there. Her wings twitched, anticipating her transformation. But she resisted, easier for her than these weak humans.
Do ye have sin on yer mind? The urge was almost more than she could hold back. She reminded herself of her recent failure. She was in enough trouble.
Perhaps ye are afraid of me? ’Tis no surprise. Most lasses flee in fear after just a few days in my bed. Why should ye be any different?
She could only resist so much. She drifted around the bed and pressed against him. He was tall and wide. She imagined herself in human form, laying her head against that broad back, wrapping her arms around him.
Show yourself and learn the true meaning of sin. Kiah moved away from him, prepared to change into her human form and give in to temptation.
It's been a while since I posted anything for Medieval Monday, so I thought it was high time I did. I am right in the midst of reading Mary Morgan's DRAGON KNIGHT'S MEDALLION. It is the second book in this series, and until I got ready to read book 3, I didn't realize I had yet to read book 2! Imagine my excitement to discover I had so much more to look forward to. With a looming deadline and the start of a new school year, I've had little time to read for my own pleasure. But, this series is so riveting, I snatch every available moment I can to spend time in Mary's world.
To right a wrong, two souls are brought together only to shatter when they are torn apart by the deeds of an evil druid.
Dragon Knight, Stephen MacKay’s powers are altered after the death of his sister. Now he is plagued with visions that threaten to destroy his soul. When Aileen Kerrigan falls through a time tunnel, he vows to keep her safe, despite the fact the beautiful but head-strong half-blooded fae could be the death of him.
When Aileen finds out her dad is a Fenian Warrior, she flees to a nearby ruin. Armed with the medallion her mother gave her, and a matching one belonging to a long dead knight, she is flung into the past and finds a handsome but surly warrior who is on a quest. Now it seems her future could be entwined with his, if she doesn’t kill him first.
Full shock registered inside her brain as she realized where she’d seen this man. Her body started to quake, and she clutched her hands to her chest.
“No, th…this cannot be,” she choked out. “Tell me who you are. I demand to know your name!”
Are all the fae so dumb and beautiful, he thought. “Ye ken who I am.” Stephen’s head caught a glimpse of the fae, as she started to take a few hesitant steps backwards. What the bloody hell was wrong with her? She was standing too close to the edge. If she was not careful, she would slip on over.
Why did he care? She could just vanish, right? Stephen rubbed his face, the remnants of a headache still behind his eyes. Sweet Bridget! Now the fae was yelling at him.
She waved her hands, all the time shaking her lovely head. “You are not him!”
He had to put a stop to this, or she would fall. Perhaps, she was a daft fae. He certainly did not know their ways, nor did he want to find out. However, this creature was becoming more agitated, and for some unfathomable reason, he did not want her to come to any harm.
“Och, fae healer, stop your babbling,” he dismounted with a groan.
“No, no, no!” Pointing a finger at him, she continued to walk backwards. Stumbling, her foot twisted among some tree roots, causing her to lose her balance.
Stephen swore as he lunged for her, grasping her arm and crushing her against his chest. “Are ye truly daft?”
Anne's relationship with her boyfriend Neil has disintegrated. After a two-year separation, they pack for a week vacation in hopes of reconciling. But fate has other plans for them.
The discovery of a bejeweled cross and ancient human bones opens a door to a new and frightening world--one where the ghost of a medieval nun named Genevieve will not let Anne rest. This new world threatens not only to ruin Anne and Neil's vacation but to end all hopes of reconciliation as Anne feels compelled to help free Genevieve's soul from its torment.
Can Anne save her relationship and help Genevieve find her eternal rest?
A touching, compelling story of tragedy, loss and the power of endless love and good magic.
The twists and turns in this paranormal tale keep the reader guessing up to the end and weave themselves together into a quest to rekindle love.
Buy Links: Wild Child Publishing
Andrew pulled her to his chest. "Do you regret you've come with me?"
Passion smothered Genevieve's doubt and guilt. "Never," she answered, aware of her body's response to his touch, and she succumbed to his embrace.
The moonlight bathed his face in silver light. Andrew lowered her wimple, and his fingers threaded into her curls. She swayed, enveloped by the dizzy sensation of drowning in the tumultuous ocean of his gaze. The tenderness of his touch raised in her the wish they had lived in another time and been simple, ordinary people. She longed to feel the warmth of his lips on hers. How much she'd have liked to live the rest of her life beside him and bear his children. A dream not likely to ever come true for her. Why not let the feeling lurking in the pit of her stomach take over and consume her whole being?
Aware of the track of her thoughts, she shifted uneasily, a hot flush warmed her cheeks. Drawing in a deep breath in spite of herself, calming the gnawing unease in her mind and the thought of Sister Dominica guessing she was the dough of a sinner, Genevieve repeated, "Never."
With her eyes closed and their bodies touching she became, for the very first time, simply a woman. She melted in his embrace in spite of the invisible vicious threat breathing around them. Aware they might never be alone again, she fought hard to silence the voice of conscience berating her.
"Oh, God. Please forgive me," Andrew muttered under his breath when he bowed his head to kiss her. Their lips met in a passionate first kiss.
. . . . . . . . .
Far in the forest, the sprightly stream’s clear waters sang their ancient song down the moss-covered banks. Reaching an old, crooked oak tree, bearing the seal of recent lightning damage, the waters trembled, turned muddy and the pale, distorted face of a woman emerged. Her raven black hair floated around her head, the long black tresses writhing and coiling on the waves, like snakes trying to pry free and attack. Her eyes flew open and a hideous grin stretched her lips. She blinked several times and gurgled a hoarse threat to someone known only to her, “You imagine you thwarted my plans even from beyond the grave, but you’re wrong. You shall hear from me. You shall all hear from me! Soon.”
Little by little, the waters of the river became an ugly shade of green, covered the ghastly face, and continued down to the green pastures in the valley while an ominous silence, harbinger of the woman’s spiteful threat, settled over the rugged mountain and its mysterious forest.
My guest this week is Ashley York. Ashley is fascinated by the High Middle Ages in Scotland, England, and Ireland. There are so many world-changing events taking place here from their participation in the Crusades to the Battle of Hastings that formally connected the islands to the continent. If you also love all things Medieval, check out Ashley's new book, THE GENTLE KNIGHT.
The Gentle Knight by Ashley York
BLURB: A medieval soldier returns home to find his lover died in childbirth just as his own mother had. Believing he is cursed, Peter of Normandy turns from love. When he must give escort to an Irish princess more noble than many knights, he struggles with his decision to live a solitary life. Can he take the chance that his love won't be a death sentence and possibly make them stronger?
Padraig MacNaughton's death bed decree rips his daughter, Brighit, from the shelter of her protective clan in Ireland. Forced to take vows at a Priory in England, she finds herself in the hands of lecherous mercenaries with their own agendas. Dare she trust the Norman knight to see her safely to her new life as a nun? Even when she finds in him the fulfillment of all she's ever wanted?
Or will honor and duty eclipse their one chance for happiness?
EXCERPT:. She had dreamed of him! All at once it came to her. He had taken her into his strong arms and held her tight against that hard body. Every muscle pressing into her. Then the touch of his warm lips sliding along her cheek to meet her mouth with a hungry kiss. Brighit had actually felt his lips on hers and that same heat swirled through her now.
She sighed. Yes. It was a very nice dream.
The shock of cold air accompanied with the sound of the curtain being dragged back had her eyes flying open. There in front of her was the man from the lake... the one in her very real dream. In the flash of a second, his eyes changed from wide with shock to a look she’d swear spoke of pleasure.
“And what is this?” He tipped his chin toward her, a knowing smile gracing his pleasing face.
Brighit covered herself. One arm across her breasts and one hand over her private parts. She felt like Eve posing in the Garden of Eden.
The sudden silence stole her breath away. She refused to confirm it but knew all eyes were on her.
“Do you mind?” Ivan’s voice cut through the awkward moment as he stood next to the carriage. He yanked the curtain from the fine-looking man’s hand, dropping it back in place. Brighit was again cocooned in darkness.
“Yours?” The man’s voice was low, resonating through her core. It was as appealing as his body.
She took a steadying breath, trying to calm her nerves enough to cover herself. She couldn’t have done a better job of calling attention to herself if she’d tried.
Just how many men were out there? How many men had seen her without so much as a stitch of clothing? She yanked the chemise down but it refused to cooperate. The sopping material bunched at her hips. She grabbed at her gown, her hands shaking with the rage coursing inside her.
That now familiar sound of fist-against-flesh cut through the silence.
An unfamiliar laugh. His laugh. A slight tremor responded through her insides.
“Mort,” the handsome man called to someone.
The indistinct image of a shorter man with a gaping mouth came to mind. “Yes, my lord?”
“I believe this man was about to take a terrible misstep with his fist. Does it seem to you these men have a certain…lack of knowledge?” he asked.
Ivan’s angry face came to mind. She shivered. The handsome man did not know who he was dealing with.
“I would say that it does.” The shorter man was closer now.
“Mayhap some learning is required?”
“Do you believe it’s possible, my lord? Are they trainable?”
“They have a naked woman in a carriage while they fight out here over who will get her.”
She gasped, a soundless intake of air. Like a standard being dropped, the men talked at once. Tears threatened and a few leaked down her cheek. She wiped them away. She was only trying to clean herself not be fought over. Who was he to say such cruel things about her?
The morning had started out so promising. They’d had a nice time breaking their fast with very little interaction at all. Cole’s offer of extra water had come as a surprise but not one she wanted to miss.
Sudden silence. Brighit held her breath.
“And what would your name be?”
“I am called Ivan.”
“And this…young lady?”
This was just getting worse and worse. His words fairly dripped derision.
“Brighit.” She answered for herself albeit through a clenched jaw from within the carriage.
“Ireland? You’ve taken her from Ireland?”
Brighit was surprised at his ability to name where she’d come from. She wished she were still there... any place but here. This was infuriating. She could not go out there now. They may have imagined her naked and their occasional lustful glances assured her that they did. But to have them actually see her was beyond embarrassment. Embarrassment only increased by the fact that at least two of them weren’t even known to her.
“That I have.” Ivan’s smug voice drifted to her.
“Please clothe yourself forthwith.”
He must be facing her now for he sounded very close. A warmth tingled up her spine. No! His voice may be low and quiet but there was nothing intimate about this situation. She struggled with the ties up the front of her dress.
“It’s what I’ve been trying to do.” Her irritation came through in her tone of voice. Good!
“And I wonder why you have not been successful thus far.” He had the nerve to sound irritated? “Just do it... and be quick about it.”
Arrogance oozed from the man!
“Yes, my lord.” She clipped her words, struggling with her wimple, and hoped her sarcasm carried through the curtain.
“I am hurrying!” Her thick hair refused to cooperate but she was not about to go out there with so much as a single strand visible.
The man cleared his throat. Brighit would like to take a knife to it. He may be pleasant to look at but his manners lacked even the slightest courtesy.
I'm thrilled to be hosting my friend Cathy MacRae for today's segment of Medieval Monday. Cathy weaves tales of romance in the Highland mists. Her stories feature strong heroes and feisty heroines in pursuit of their happy-ever-afters in medieval Scotland.
Cathy MacRae and DD MacRae
Fleeing the English army that murdered her family before her eyes, Anna Braxton rescues two young women, kidnapped by a barbaric Highland clan only to find herself unjustly imprisoned by the clan she aided. Disgusted by her treatment, she counters their belated offer of friendship with anger and distrust. But she does not count on the unexpected effect the laird’s son has on her heart.
Duncan MacGregor does not understand his da’s command to imprison the young woman who saved his sister’s life. He is more than intrigued with Anna’s skill with a bow and sword—in fact, he is fascinated by everything about her, in spite of her lack of feminine wiles. Straightforward and with a deep-seated sense of honor, Anna Braxton disrupts his entire notion of a suitable woman.
Trained as a warrior and unwilling to be any man’s chattel, Anna shuns the idea of marriage—until Duncan coaxes her into a world of acceptance and passion she never knew existed. He wants her as his wife. She will agree, but only on her own terms—conditions Duncan is not sure he can accept.
Neil led them through the double oak doors and into the great hall. A score or so men sat on stools and benches around trestle tables, eating. As their group walked past the seated men, a deep voice bellowed, "Wench, why are ye dressed like a man? Come here, and I will teach ye what it means to be a woman."
He followed his taunt with a stinging swat to Anna’s backside, hard enough to propel her forward. Anger ignited Anna's blood, accelerated by the accompanying laughter of his companions. She shot a warning look to Duncan to stay out of it, shoving his chest for emphasis.
She took a quick side step toward the man who'd hit her, bringing her knee up high to her chest. Using the momentum of the step toward this oaf, Anna released a sidekick, driving her booted heel into the center of his chest. Her stepping kick knocked the breath from his lungs with an exaggerated grunt, and sent him sprawling backward onto the floor, his head bouncing off the flagstones.
Not allowing him time to recover, Anna grasped his left hand, twisting it away from his body, locking both his wrist and elbow. Bringing one foot down on his neck and jaw, she stretched his arm out further.
"You will apologize, mongrel, or lose the use of these fingers," she snarled.
He struggled against her hold, but she had the lock cinched tight and his struggling only caused him additional pain.
"I willnae apologize to a wench who plays at being a man!" he ground out between clenched teeth.
"As you please," she answered. An audible snap sounded as Anna pulled his smallest finger out of socket at the second knuckle, causing it to protrude at an odd angle.
A loud yelp and an anatomically impossible curse flew from his mouth.
"Apologize!" she yelled at him.
She responded by displacing his third finger, creating a louder snap. This time, his fellows groaned in sympathy with him, but none dared come to his aid.
Anna glanced at Duncan, who leaned against an empty table, arms folded across his chest, a smirk on his face. Only the taut muscles of his jaw belied his calm expression. He warned off the MacGregor men with a glance and slight hand gesture. Before she could demand another apology, Duncan spoke up. "What is yer name, Graham?"
The man on the floor continued to hurl curses, each more creative and colorful than the last, as he struggled uselessly against her hold.
"What is his name?" Duncan calmly asked the man seated nearest to him.
"Angus, I would like ye to meet Anna of clan MacGregor. She has been adopted by our laird, my father, as a daughter, and is my future wife if she will have me."
Anna shot Duncan a look of astonishment. The expression on his face showed no emotion except the silent fury he barely contained.
"I have seen her defeat six Highlanders in battle unassisted and another two warriors from my own clan. She saved yer commander's life this afternoon. Ye might want to reconsider yer position on that apology."
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Buy link: http://www.amzn.com/ B00X60XB2U
Thanks for tuning in to this week's episode of Medieval Monday. Today I'm hosting award-wining author, Barbara Betttis. Barbara has always loved history and English. As a college freshman, she briefly considered becoming an archeologist until she realized there likely would be bugs and snakes involved. And math. Ewww!
Some call him a ruthless mercenary; she calls him the knight of her heart
Lady Evelynn’s childhood hero is home—bitter, hard, tempting as sin. And haunted by secrets. A now-grown Evie offers friendship, but Sir Stephen's cruel rejection crushes her, and she resolves to forget him. Yet when an unexpected war throws them together, she finds love isn’t so easy to dismiss. If only the king hadn’t betrothed her to another.
Can be cruel
Sir Stephen lives a double life while he seeks the treacherous outlaws who murdered his friends. Driven by revenge, he thinks his heart is closed to love. His childhood shadow, Lady Evie, unexpectedly challenges that belief. He rebuffs her, but he can’t forget her, although he knows she’s to wed the king’s favorite.
When his drive for vengeance leads to Evie’s kidnapping, Stephen must choose between retribution and the love he’s denied too long. Surely King John will see reason. Convict the murderers; convince the king. Simple. Until a startling revelation threatens everything.
“I don’t believe you heard me, Sir Stephen.” Evie’s words dripped honey. “I’m going home on orders of my brother. If the travelers Davy were to join haven’t appeared, then he can accompany me.” She shot a glance toward the youth, deep in conversation with the maid.
The back of Stephen’s neck tingled, and he clenched his hands. God’s blood, she made him so angry he longed to grab those soft arms and shake some sense into her.
“You are not remaining at the monastery, and you are not traveling to England.” His words came out in a growl. He stepped forward, and she tilted back her head to meet him eye to eye. “Must I tie you to that horse?”
She leaned in. “Just you try, Sir Stephen-the-Bully.”
He glared and crossed his arms against his chest, daring her to continue.
“Do as you think you must.” She echoed his stance, her crossed arms pushing her plump breasts higher.
Not that he noticed, blast her.
“I vow I will return the moment I’m free,” she added. “You have no authority over my movements, for you are no relative of mine.”
“And I thank God for it. How Henry has put up with you all these years I do not know. A more troublesome, contentious wi...woman I’ve never seen.”
“Did you call me a witch?”
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