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#Medieval Monday – Ruth A. Casie with The Druid Knight Tale

It’s Medieval Monday and I am very excited to share Max and Ellyn’s first encounter from The Druid Knight Tale. It’s a good one. Enjoy 😉

TheDruidKnightTaleEXCERPT: “I thought they called out and I followed,” Max said.

“Who called out?” Ellyn asked.

“The Ancestors, of course. This is the shortest way to the standing stones. I was too eager. I knew something was amiss.” He winced in pain. “I should have listened to my own words,” he said between clenched teeth. “The Otherworld is not to be trusted.”

“Yes. There are traps and villains everywhere,” she mimicked his words. She opened the pouch she wore at her waist and removed a vial. “You must have slid down cliff on your back. The scrapes are deep.” Before she took care of his wounds she pressed her lips tenderly on his head, a kiss she was certain he would not feel. But his muscles twitched in response. She gasped in surprise at his reaction.

“I stepped onto the platform. It was fine.” He yawned. “But when I moved to the walkway the ropes gave way and I was falling through the air…” His voice trailed off and his eyelids slid closed.

She tenderly touched the rune tattoos on his back and gaped as each touch made them glow. She heard the tales of the magick runes but thought they were just that, tales. She stared at him, unable to say a word. She worked quickly, checking every scrape.

His wounds dressed and bandaged, she massaged his shoulders. When she was satisfied his muscles were relaxed, she gently prodded him to roll onto his back. The scrapes on his chest appeared to be minor.

Kneeling beside him, she ministered those wounds as well. When she was done, she sat back on her heels, startled. “Well, Grand Master, that is as much as I can do. The rest is up to you.”

“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. 

Blurb:   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?






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#Medieval Monday – Kim Headlee and Snow in July

Welcome back! Doesn’t it make Monday so much nicer when it’s a Medieval Monday? I think so and I have Kim Headlee with an excerpt today. Love this cover. Enjoy:

SnowinJuly-FINAL-SmashwordsExcerpt:  As Sir Ruaud babbled in his semicoherent English about Sir Robert, Kendra fought a jumble of emotions regarding Ruaud’s squire. Not only was his station beneath her rank, his being Norman placed him beneath her contempt. And yet she couldn’t tear her gaze from him.

Several inches taller than Sir Ruaud, the squire was trim where Ruaud sported a paunch, and he radiated quiet dignity to counter Ruaud’s comic disposition. Both men wore their blond hair cropped close, but Ruaud’s darker locks didn’t curl about his ears and forehead in whimsical wisps begging to be touched. Ruaud’s nose bore the lumpish evidence of having been broken at least once, but no scars marred the squire’s face. And those eyes—merciful heaven, if the squire regarded her once more with those probing, sea-green eyes, she would faint from the delectable agony.

Relief washed over her when he broke eye contact and strode to the packhorse. Broad shoulders and sinewy arms rippled as he wrestled something from a saddle pack. For one wanton moment, she imagined being encircled by those arms, protected, cherished. Loved… happy…

She shook her head. One of his countrymen had murdered her brother. She must despise this man.

And yet that task was proving to be a major chore.


Sir Robert Alain de Bellencombre has been granted what every man wants: a rich English estate in exchange for his valiant service at the Battle of Hastings. To claim this reward, the Norman knight must wed the estate’s Saxon heiress. Most men would leap at such an opportunity, but for Alain, who broke his vow to his dying mother by failing to protect his youngest brother in battle, it means facing more easily broken vows. But when rumors of rampant thievery, dangerous beasts, and sorcery plaguing a neighboring estate reach his ears, nothing will make him shirk duty to king and country when people’s lives stand at risk. He assumes the guise of a squire to scout the land, its problems, and its lady.

Lady Kendra of Edgarburh has been granted what no woman wants: a forced marriage to an enemy who may be kith or kin to the man who murdered her beloved brother. Compounding her anguish is her failure to awaken the miraculous healing gift bequeathed by their late mother in time to save his life. Although with his dying breath, he made her promise to seek happiness above all, Kendra vows that she shall find neither comfort nor love in the arms of a Norman…unless it snows in July.

Alain is smitten by Lady Kendra from the first moment of their meeting; Kendra feels the forbidden allure of the handsome and courtly Norman “squire.” But a growing evil overshadows everyone, invoking dark forces and ensnaring Kendra in a plot to overthrow the king Alain is oath-bound to serve. Kendra and Alain face a battle unlike any other as their honor, their love, their lives, and even their very souls lie in the balance.

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#Medieval Monday – Jenna Jaxon and Betrothal

Welcome back to another Medieval Monday. Our  “first encounters” theme comes from Jenna Jaxon today. Her “Time Enough to Love” series, book one. Great series, btw. Enjoy :)


Mere seconds before she learned her fate. She could scarce affect an indifferent pose before the court when inside every inch of her quivered with anticipation of the name. His name, pray God, on the king’s lips.


In her mind, she heard the word.

The king straightened, glanced at her then at the man by her side.

“What say you then, Sir Geoffrey? Does the lady not speak fair? I vow she will make you a proper wife and a dutiful one as well.”

Alyse turned, until that moment unaware that Geoffrey Longford stood beside her. Chills coursed down her body as the king’s words echoed in her mind. The sensation of falling backward assailed her, as though she rushed away from the tall man at her side even as his figure loomed larger and larger in her sight.

Not Lord Braeton.

Her numbed brain repeated the phrase, trying to comprehend that instead he would be her husband. Geoffrey Longford.

God have mercy on me, for by the look of him, this man will not.

Fearful, she cringed as her gaze climbed higher, over his chest, over his chin, finally resting on the dark blue eyes turned toward her.

Geoffrey returned her appraisal, his gaze sweeping her figure as a smile crept over his face. “Your Majesty.” He spoke to the king but his attention remained fixed on Alyse. “When my father told me of the betrothal contract before I left his home, I resolved to play the dutiful son. Now, however, I find I do not wish to act that role after all.” His eyes held hers as he paused.

Dear God, does he mean to renounce me here before the entire court?

Alyse stared at the man beside her, willing herself to remain upright, despite the waves of ice and fire alternating through her body.

“Now I find I would rather play the ardent lover.”

An amused murmur ran through the Hall at his words. Sir Geoffrey grinned, his eyes sparkling with humor and something more. Despite the uneven light, Alyse saw an unfathomable promise in their dark depths. She took a shaky breath and looked away.

“I affirm Lady Alyse to be all that could be hoped for in a wife. Please you and God, we shall make the match and with all good haste.”

His self-satisfied tone and the thought of his outrageous teasing touched a contrary nerve in Alyse. She pulled her wits together and beamed brilliantly at her newly-betrothed lord. “Take care, my lord, for the wise women say, ‘Marry in haste, repent at leisure.’”

Sir Geoffrey raised a dark eyebrow while those around the banquet hall laughed. Heart pounding at her audacity, Alyse watched helplessly as he reached over and lifted her hand. “Such repentance could never be suffered too slowly, my lady, if ’twere your gentle hand that held mine through it.”

Laughter and applause washed over Alyse, who was struck absolutely dumb at the touch of his lips to her skin. Her heart pounded, and a strange roaring sounded in her ears; she wondered vaguely if she were about to faint.

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.”


The heart can choose, but can it also change?

Lady Alyse de Courcy has fallen in love with Lord Braeton, a nobleman in King Edward III’s court and a man to whom she has barely spoken. Fate, however, has decreed her betrothal to his best friend, Sir Geoffrey Longford—a handsome and imposing knight, yet hardly the man she wants to wed.

When Sir Geoffrey is bound in betrothal by his father, he could not have expected the beautiful stranger to win his heart the moment they meet. But Alyse’s infatuation with his friend casts doubt on whether she can ever return his regard and their wedding day is fast approaching…  Will he have time enough to win her love?




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#Medieval Monday – Barbara Bettis and Silverhawk

Today my Medieval Monday guest with her First encounter excerpt is Barbara Bettis. She’s thoughtful enough to give a little background but I don’t think it’s needed. This is a great scene. Love her writing. Enjoy!

(Sir Giles has been rescued from outlaws by Lady Emelin’s escort of soldiers and she’s insisted that she take the unconscious knight to her betrothed’s castle for treatment.)

Silverhawk--new+coverEXCERPT:  Swollen eyelids, a puffy cheek, and bloody scrapes couldn’t hide the knight’s 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 through the crusade? She hardly recalled what her youthful first betrothed looked like when he left, a hopeful squire at nineteen, to follow his foster father on King Richard’s journey. If only he’d returned from Outremer, she’d be wed now, with the family she craved.

She sighed, reached for her patient’s cheek—and found herself staring into the palest gray eyes she had ever seen. His mouth moved, and 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 flat gray, but clear, layered like a winter pond winking with ice. They were silver.

“To…kiss…a nun,” came the outrageous reply before his lips met hers.

The brush of his warm mouth robbed her breath for an instant. Then she snapped back with a gasp. And, with in-born 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.


He’s everything a proper lady should never want; she’s everything a bastard mercenary can never have.

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.



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#FoodyFriday – Crawfish Cornbread with Pamela Thibodeaux

Please welcome Pamela Thibodeaux to Foody Friday with Crawfish Cornbread.

Crawfish Cornbread 

Hailing from SW Louisiana, crawfish season is revered and looked forward to every year. Boiled, fried, used in Etoufe, Stew, Gumbo or Court Bullion, this Cajun delicacy is a staple when available. When my mother first mentioned crawfish cornbread I wasn’t the only sceptic. However, it fast became a favorite at reunions and other family functions.


1lb crawfish tails (store bought) *you can use previously home-boiled but save as much of the drippings, fat & seasoning. I’ve found that the store bought are better.

1 stick butter

1 can cream-of-mushroom soup

1 box jiffy cornbread mix.

Optional: Onions, bell peppers, celery, mushrooms, shredded cheese


In melted butter, sauté onions, bell pepper, mushrooms or your favorite combination of seasonings. Add crawfish tails and simmer for 5 minutes. Add cream of mushroom soup – simmer another five minutes.

Remove from heat.

Pour into baking dish and stir in cornbread mix. Bake according to directions on box. Add shredded cheese if desired

*Recipe can easily be doubled by adding another pound of tails, another can of soup and 2nd box of cornbread mix.

*Some folks have tried this with boiled shrimp and other seafood but I’ve found it doesn’t taste as well nor have the same consistency due to the fat/seasoning of crawfish tailsPamela

Author bio: Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”

The Visionary (set in SW Louisiana)

pamela t Blurb: A visionary is someone who sees into the future Taylor Forrestier sees into the past but only as it pertains to her work. Hailed by her peers as “a visionary with an instinct for beauty and an eye for the unique” Taylor is undoubtedly a brilliant architect and gifted designer. But she and twin brother Trevor, share more than a successful business. The two share a childhood wrought with lies and deceit and the kind of abuse that’s disturbingly prevalent in today’s society.  Can the love of God and the awesome healing power of His grace and mercy free the twins from their past and open their hearts to the good plan and the future He has for their lives? 

Excerpt: “Thank you for taking such good care of me.”

“I’m not through yet,” he mumbled, then slid off the couch and swung her up in his arms.

Fear snuck in, darkening her eyes. She stiffened and opened her mouth to protest. He brushed his lips over hers and silenced her objections.

“I just want to hold you,” he whispered and laid his forehead against hers. “That’s all. I promise,” he added, unable to camouflage the need in his voice.


He’d offered her another step to relinquish her fear and trust him. Triumph lit his expressive eyes when she wrapped her arm around his neck, smiled, and whispered, “Okay,” then snuggled her face against his shoulder and let him carry her to the bedroom.

With exquisite tenderness, he laid her on the bed, crawled up beside her, and took her in his arms. Taylor felt the strength of his need in the heat and tensed against the hardness of his body. He eased his grip and propped up on one elbow beside her. His eyes pleaded for grace when he stroked the hair off her face and said in a soft, husky voice, “Please don’t be afraid of me; please trust me. I will never force or even persuade you to give more than you’re ready to.”

They gazed at each other for a long, tender moment. She cupped his cheek in her hand, brushed her thumb over his mouth, then curled her fingers in his hair and urged his head down to fasten her lips to his. A low moan escaped his throat, yet he held himself taut.

Taylor ran her hand over his shoulder and back in a soft caress then wrapped her arms around his waist. “Hold me, Alex, I trust you.”

The emotions reflected in his tone caressed her heart when he thanked her in that beautiful velvety-rough voice. He rolled onto his back, pulled the covers over her, and held her while she slept. 

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Medieval Monday – Mary Morgan and Dragon Knight’s Axe

This is the same Medieval Monday that features some of the best romance out there but now it’s with a twist. Each week a different author will be featured here with a “themed excerpt.” This month, all the excerpts will be about the hero and heroine’s first encounter. I posted my own here a few weeks ago and today I have Mary Morgan. Just a warning – this is a great excerpt. Enjoy!

DragonKnightsAxe_w9181_750Excerpt: The closer he came, the more Fiona began to tremble. His face bore a deep crescent scar from his left eyebrow down below his cheek. This giant was a demon, and some actually crossed themselves as he passed them.

When he reached the platform, he narrowed his eyes and glared at the two men by her side. They instantly stepped away. As with everyone else, he was no different. He looked her up and down, though when he gazed into her eyes for a moment, Fiona saw confusion.

The demon spoke. “How much do ye want, Robert?”

“Ye cannot have her.” He spit onto the ground in front of the man.

The monster’s voice remained deadly calm. “And why would that be?”

“Ye have nothing to offer.”

Fiona saw the shift of color in the demon’s green eyes. It was enough for the man called Robert to back away.

“I dinnae want any trouble.”

The giant leaned his head down. “Would ye take these?” He pulled out a small pouch and opened it. Pulling out several stones, he held them aloft. “Amber from the Northmen’s homeland.”

Robert’s eyes went wide, but then he crossed his arms. “I will take the lot and a barrel of your whisky.”

The man arched a brow. “How do ye ken I have whisky?”

“Do ye take me for a fool, MacKay?”

“Nae, Robert, but only foolish if ye do not take my offer of ten stones and one barrel.”

The moments stretched out between the two men, and Fiona’s heart pounded in her chest. She was being traded for amber stones and a damn barrel of whisky.

BLURB: Battled scarred, Dragon Knight, Alastair MacKay, has fled to the seas to separate himself from his powers that are connected to the land. Yet, when he rescues a woman from a slave trader in Ireland, he steps back inadvertently into a world filled with magic—taking on the role of protector and leading him on a journey to confront his greatest fears.

Research assistant, Fiona O’Quinlan loves translating ancient artifacts at Trinity College. When she falls asleep on an archeological dig, she awakens in another time. She soon discovers a Dragon Knight’s relic has been entrusted into her care. Determined to return the artifact to the Great Glen, Fiona is unprepared for the danger ahead—losing her heart and soul to Alastair “Beast” MacKay.

Will their love be strong enough to soothe the beast and heal the man? Or will Death swing its axe, leaving them lost for all eternity?

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#MedievalMonday – Betrayal! From The Saxon Bride

I hope you’re enjoying these little snippets from the Medieval romance authors. I’m enjoying going back and finding the best scenes to share :) This week’s theme is…BETRAYAL! Enjoy!

To the victor go the spoils...

To the victor go the spoils…

When she started to stand, he held her hand fast, forcing her to remain seated. His grip was overly firm. Her uneasiness grew.

“Let us talk first,” he said.

Relenting, Rowena settled down again. His eyes were cold, unreadable.

“Do you have news?”

“I would not have you be here alone,” Arthur said.

“This is my home. Where else would I be?”

“Do you fear you have been abandoned?”

The frankness of his question surprised her. He appeared to be holding something back.

“Have you news? I know there has been unrest in the area but I have not heard what the cause was.”

Arthur shook his head in disgust. “It is always the same trouble. The Normans push the Saxons around and we fight back.”

He spoke as if distracted. Rowena waited for him to say more. He did not.

“It is just the same fighting then?”

“Did I not just say as much?” His voice rose in irritation. Rowena never knew Arthur to speak so to anyone and especially not to her.

“Arthur.” She reached her other hand out from her cape, exposing her swollen abdomen underneath. “Tell me what you know.”

Arthur seemed mesmerized by the sight of her body. Rowena resisted the urge to pull the ends of her cape back together. She was not indecent. She was just pregnant. When his eyes met hers, she would swear she saw tears.

“What is amiss?” Quickly the look was gone. “Has something happened to John? Tell me, please. I need to know.”

Arthur stood suddenly, and he let her hand drop abruptly onto the bench. He walked a short distance away before turning toward her again. His face was red, his jaw clenched while he looked to be struggling with what to say. “I am afraid you are correct. John has been injured.”

Rowena’s body tensed in response. She stood and reached out to Arthur. Stepping away from her reach, he continued. “I have come to bring you to him right away.”

“What? Why did you not tell me immediately? I must tell Joan…”

“No!” Arthur’s grasp hurt where he pulled her arm unexpectedly.

“We must leave now. I told Joan when I saw her. There is no time to wait.”

Rowena frowned, uncertain what to do. It did not feel right to just leave. She wanted to tell someone. “But…”

“There is no time! We must leave! Now!” His harsh voice broke through her befuddlement, and she allowed him to lead her roughly through the outer bailey.

“Please. You are hurting me.” She pulled against him but he didn’t seem to notice. Thoughts of John maimed and dying caused havoc to her senses. “How far must we travel?”

Arthur was pushing her up onto his horse. “It is not far. We will do better traveling together.”

“Are you sure? My horse is…”

“I am sure!” The force of his command startled her. He didn’t seem to notice as he settled behind her and took the reins, effectively imprisoning her where she sat. “Keep silent and we will arrive shortly.”

She sat stiffly and tried not to lean against him. The fear she felt was as much for her as for John. Arthur’s behavior was strange. The baby lurched in response, and she rubbed it soothingly. Arthur roughly pulled her hand away and wrapped it around his side.

“Hold on so you don’t fall.”

She had no choice but to lean against him. His woolen tunic stunk; its roughness chafed her cheek as she was jerked against it by the speed of the horse. “I’m concerned for my child. Do we need to travel this fast?”

“I don’t want John to die before you get there.”

The reality that John was near death overwhelmed her. She turned her face against Arthur’s shirt and cried. No, John could not die. He had a child and didn’t even know about it.


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Check out these other #MedievalMonday Betrayal posts: Jenna Jaxon   Mary Morgan

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#MedievalMonday – A Battle Scene from The Saxon Bride

Welcome back to a themed Medieval Monday. This week is a battle scene between John of Normandy and Arthur from The Saxon Bride. Arthur has kidnapped Rowena, John’s wife. This is a turning point for John who must trust that Rowena did not go willingly with her “closest friend” but was taken against her will. John hunts down Arthur in this scene. Enjoy :)

To the victor go the spoils...

To the victor go the spoils…

EXCERPT: The unnatural silence sent a cold shiver of anticipation through John’s body. Arthur was close by. He sensed it. Slowly approaching the fallow fields, little tufts of tall grass had taken over the once well-maintained path. The lingering death and destruction after all this time gave John a glimpse of what Arthur had lost when William had laid claim to the area.

John’s horse snorted but kept its head low. No imminent danger. His hands ached where they clenched the reins, the persistent cold drizzle saturating his leather gloves. The branches from the surrounding woods creaked sharply in the breeze. John scanned the distant tree line. He heard their horses before he saw their approach through the fog.

Arthur had four men with him, so this would be an easy fight. No, this was just a necessary fight. The memory of Rowena’s ashen face flashed in John’s mind. She would be avenged. Arthur had to die. John’s two men followed directly behind him, closing the distance across the uneven fields. The horses’ approach was muffled by the damp earth. Each side stopped. Their breathing vaporized in the mist. At the sight of Arthur’s smirking face, John’s jaw clenched. He squared his shoulders. “Ready to end this?”

“You arrogant bastard!” Arthur shook his head, his nose crinkled in disgust. “She never had any use for you.”

Refusing to take the bait, John waited. His horse shifted impatiently beneath him. John released his tight hold of the reins. The weight of his mace rested comfortably against his thigh. He caressed the worn handle of the formidable weapon. He would enjoy smashing this man’s brains in. He smiled at Arthur.

Arthur sneered back, struggling to control his skittish mount. “I have to say though…” He lifted his chin in defiance. “She wasn’t really worth waiting for. Disappointing even.”

John reached for the heavy mace at the same time his knees squeezed his battle-ready horse beneath him. It reared slightly in anticipation of its target. Arthur did not hesitate as he, too, advanced his horse, closing the distance between them. As if on cue, Peter and Philip cut Arthur’s men away from their leader. Their horses unequal to the task of warfare quickly turned tail and ran. They were easily chased into the dense forest.

Arthur continued toward John at full speed. He leaned forward, his spear at the ready. John’s eagerness increased as the distance closed between them. Arthur’s horse unexpectedly broke the advance and made a wide arc around him. John snorted in frustration. With satisfaction, he heard his opponent’s muffled curses at the animal’s lack of training.

John laughed, bringing his horse around with ease to face his opponent. “You can pretend to be Norman but you…and your mount… verily fall short!”

Arthur pulled up sharply on the reins, his animal reared in distress. His face was a mask of fury. He pushed his horse forward. John smirked. He remained motionless. The horse would not come close. He was right. Arthur nearly unseated himself, his raised spear unable to make contact.

Turning his horse back around, Arthur faced him, huffing in his outrage. John crossed his arms, leaned against the mace in front of him, and gave him a menacing smile. “Would you like to see how it is actually done?”

Arthur’s nostrils flared in anger. John spurred his horse forward, hunched low for speed. His body protected by his shield; his other arm honed into the rhythmic arc of his mace. He focused on Arthur’s skull. Jerked at the reckless pace, Arthur’s horse whinnied in distress. With a firm pull on the reins, John cut off their retreat. The weighted mace swung in a downward arc. His heels pushed into the stirrups. He prepared for the impact.

Arthur’s skull was cracked under the impact. Unseated, he dropped to the ground. The shaft of his spear snapped loudly beneath him. Arthur lay motionless, face down in the mud.

John dismounted. The jolt of the ground ran up his body. The weight of the mace pulled at his arm. Exhaustion. Blood matted Arthur’s hair to his head. John approached cautiously. Moaning, Arthur shifted his arms. Thrashing would begin soon if it had indeed been a death blow. John waited. Thick drops of rain started. It pounded against his helmet, against his throbbing head. His mace rested head down against the ground. He leaned slightly against its shaft. Arthur moaned again. There was little movement. Wiping the rain that dripped down his nose, John was caught off guard by the sudden movement. The mace flew away from his grasp. He struggled to remain standing. In one movement, Arthur swung the spear handle as he planted himself before John.

Unarmed, John was pressed backward by Arthur’s quick advance. His broken spear shaft whipped by, hissing near John’s ear. Arthur’s speed and accuracy surprised John, and he stumbled, unable to move fast enough. The ground beneath his feet turned to muck and oozed around him. He staggered back with one foot sucked into the mud, costing him precious seconds and Arthur was on him. He swung the shaft again. Contact.

The pain shot across John’s upper body. Arthur’s smug smile spurred John to react. His foot now free, he charged at his body, just missing Arthur’s swinging shaft, grabbing his chest. The rain pelted down on them. They fell to the ground. Arthur’s soaked hauberk slipped easily through John’s frozen fingers.

Air whooshed from John’s lungs, Arthur’s knees squeezing as he straddled his body. Arthur steadily pushed the shaft across John’s chest, closer and closer to his neck. The slivers pierced John’s hand where he strained against the downward motion. Arthur’s strength was far superior. John’s injured arm dipped first. Fear shot through him like a hot iron. If he died here, Rowena would be forced into marrying this man. If he died here, this devil’s spawn would rally the Saxons against the Normans. If he died here, the rest of Rowena’s people would be caught up in a bloodbath not of their doing. No. That is not the way of it.

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The Irish Warrior – A Norman Conquest Novella

Thomasina is quite a spit fire. She hasn’t had any proper training in how to behave as a good, Christian woman so she says it like it is. Her father gives her away to some old man who has been lusting after since she was very young. That will not do so she leaves her father screaming after her while she goes to find her brother. Her brother you’ll remember from The Gentle Knight – Niall. I’m sure you noticed that he had strong leadership qualities. With their drunkard father getting them kicked out of their clan, Niall is the leader of his outcast family which translates into Thomasina’s only hope for getting her father to realize the mistake he was making. The fact that he cannot be found only makes things worse for her.

IrishWarrior_850novellaOutcast and alone, Thomasina MacDonell is hell-bent on finding her brother, the only person who can thwart their father’s latest scheme to offer her as payment for his gambling debts. Disguised as a lad, she defiantly sets off on foot to locate him—never expecting to find a handsome, Irish warrior riding her beloved horse. The warrior’s offer of help and unsolicited advice on how to be manlier sparks an intimate desire to reveal her more feminine side.

Rejected by the love of his life, Sean O’Cisoghe wants simply to return home and heal his broken heart. When a young “lad” steals the horse out from under him, he discerns the spirited woman may be in way over her head against her ruthless father. Finding her brother while keeping her would-be betrothed at bay, Sean must confront the fact that Thomasina has stolen his heart. Will Norman soldiers out for his blood and shifting clan alliances cut short their growing passion?


Sean grabbed him by the tunic, yanking him off the ground, pulling him in close to his face. Their noses nearly touching. The large club that had been hidden behind the tree dropped harmlessly from his grasp.

“Were ye going to brain me with that?”

The lad took a shaky breath. His entire body trembled while his feet dangled beneath him.

“So yer bravery came from yer weapon?” Sean looked him over, grimacing, to convey his disgust at what he saw. “Not much of a man are ye?”

The nostrils flared. “And ye threatened me with yer sword. What does that say about ye?”

Point well taken. Still fisting his tunic, Sean allowed his feet to touch the ground now. Long lashes framed almond-shaped eyes that held his own. To say this lad was pretty would be an understatement. If he was a girl, he’d be—she’d be quite comely. He glanced at his hand that lay nearly flush against the heaving chest. Clearly if it was a girl, she was trying to hide the fact. Despite what the lad might think about Sean’s intelligence, he was clever enough to figure out someone’s sex.

“Let me go.” The lad’s bravery had returned and he tried to break free. “Take my horse and leave me.”

And now he was giving orders.

“Take yer horse?” Sean searched his face. The tracks left clean from the tears gave him pause. “So ye can whistle it out from under me? Or so ye can say I stole it from ye and have me whipped? But then again, ye’ve given me yer permission. Or is there nae longer a distinction?”

The scowl said the lad was mad enough to spit. “I willna bother ye one way or the other.”

“So says the thief.”

“I’m nae thief.”

“Ye stole my horse from me!” Sean said.

“’Tis my horse!” The pitch of his voice rose a bit.

Sean glanced around the darkened woods. He saw no sign of anyone else. No trails leading away. No place that could be used for shelter. If this were a lass, she had no business being here. Mayhap that was reason enough to dress as a boy.

“Is no one with ye?”

His eyes widened ever so slightly, revealing flecks of gold even in the waning light. “Why?”

Defensive. It wasn’t looking good. Sean indicated the club on the ground beside her. “Yer only protection?”

“I can protect myself just fine. Unhand me.” She pulled at his hand. “Isn’t that why ye willna drop yer weapon? Because I can defend myself?”

Sean smirked. He shoved her away with a well-placed push to her chest which was far more fleshy than it should have been. She adjusted her shirt with narrowed eyes, searching his face as if to assess if he’d uncovered the truth. He had, but she didn’t need to know. He kept his features blank. Sean placed his weapon on the ground, carefully, crossed his arms and stared her down.

She shrugged. “So? Leave! Go! Take her.”

“I am waiting for answers but my patience wears thin. Do I need to take ye over my knee?”

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Kathleen Bittner Roth – When Hearts Dare Book 3 – Josette

Today I have the extreme pleasure of welcoming Kathleen Bittner Roth back to my blog with her new release, Josette.

Thanks so much for being a guest on my blog.

Thanks so much for having me, Ashley!

Tell us how your writing journey began.

When I was a little girl, my younger sister would climb in bed with me at night and have me tell her stories until she fell asleep. It was only a matter of transferring my words to paper before I began writing them. I’ve been published since June of 2014. I write Historical romance set in the Victorian era. My fifth book, JOSETTE, was just released on September 29th.

And what is the best part of being an author?

Ah, I get to disappear from today’s oftentimes raw world into a faraway place where my mind wanders around as it pleases and the story unfolds on its own. I get to choose the people who will participate in my little “Movie of the Mind” (although secondary characters often pop in of their own accord). I love sharing my stories with readers.

How are you like your characters?

I’ve heard it said that authors unknowingly put something of themselves into everything they write. Someone once likened me to a weed in a crack on a sidewalk: “No matter how many times someone steps on you, you always spring back, stronger than before.” I like to think that if I am inserting a bit of myself into my stories, then the women I write about inherit that same resiliency.

What is your writing schedule like?

Writing is my job so I treat it like one. I am at my desk the same number of hours as any other workaholic (oh, did I say that)! I love writing and doing research so I spend a great deal of time at both. I take one full day off a week.

Kathleen Bittner Roth Lunch along the DanubeI live in Budapest, Hungary by choice because it’s a beautiful, lively, safe city with an incredible history. I love sitting at sidewalk cafes situated in front of  architecturally stunning buildings, and meeting my Hungarian and expat friends at great restaurants that have thrived for years. Lunch along the Danube is awesome. I never tire of it. I also love to visit the thermal baths which abound here. I live only a block from City Park where there is a castle and the famous Szechenyi Baths. I spend time at both places as my writing reward.

What are you working on now?

I just finished page proofs for JOSETTE, book three in my When Hearts Dare series. I am actually working on three books at once. One of them is a WWII novel that needs a bit of hands on research so I will hie off to Northern France in September to get the setting clear in my mind. That’s another thing I love about living in Europe—I can be almost anywhere in no time!

Tell us something we’d be surprised to find out about you?

I taught myself to sew when I was ten-years-old. I would save up babysitting money (25 cents an hour) but I didn’t want to waste my hard-earned coin on patterns so I also taught myself to create my own out of newspaper. My father was duly impressed. Finally, after many years of sewing, sewing, sewing, I burned out. I am lucky if I manage to make the occasional pillow cover in a year’s time.

That is very impressive! Now for the quick pick this or that portion. coffee or tea

Tea – Earl Grey

dark chocolate or milk chocolate

Having to choose would be utter cruelty. I purchase delicious Hungarian truffles by the box. Dark chocolate on the outside, creamy milk chocolate on the inside. Yum.

A girl after my own heart :) driver or shotgun

Shotgun. I like to watch the views.

white or red wine

White but very little of it. I’m not much of a drinker.

cake or ice cream

Eszterhazy TortaDepends if I’m in Europe or the U.S. I don’t care for European ice cream unless it’s Italian Gelato (do I sound like a snob? Gosh, I hope not). Blue Bell Ice Cream out of Texas is my favorite (OK, I’m a snob about this particular ice cream). Cakes here are awesome and so are the pastry shops. My favorite cake is the Eszterhazy Torta, a pastry that has alternating thin layers of cake with frosting and lots of minced nuts.

the beach or the mountains

Both! I once lived in Opatija, Croatia where the emerald green mountains meet the turquoise-blue Adriatic. Heavenly! Opatija is a spa town built up in the 1800’s by Emperor Franz Josef for his wife Empress Elizabeth. The seaside is lined with mile after mile of grand baroque villas, now apartments and boutique hotels with restaurants.Kathleen Bittner Roth Opatija, Croatia

Is there anything you’d like to share with the readers?

I really enjoy hearing from readers. I create a bios for each of my characters, a lot of which never shows up in the book, so I like to post those little tidbits on Facebook, my web page and Goodreads. Authors really rely on book reviews, so if you enjoy my stories, I’d love for you to leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, or Barnes & Noble.

Thanks so much for being here. And you have a give away?

I’d like to do an audio giveaway of Celine and Alanna, my first two books in the When Hearts Dare series. My question is “If you were handed two round trip airline tickets, including all expenses paid to anywhere in the world where would you go and who would you take with you?”



Across the oceans, between worlds old and new—two lost souls find themselves at a crossroads

Following a devastating personal tragedy, Cameron Andrews, a wealthy shipping magnate, plans to sail off to nowhere for a few years. His plans are knocked off kilter when a precocious young girl bursts into his life, claiming to be his daughter. His attraction to the girl’s aunt, Josette LeBlanc—an independent beauty long scorned by society—is a complication neither wants. However, the passion that sparks between them cannot be denied. Soon, Cameron finds himself at Josette’s door during the oddest of hours. While both their hearts desperately need the healing they find in each other’s arms, will their wounded souls drive them apart forever? 


Merde, but she was lovely. He’d guess Josette’s age to be three or four years younger than his thirty-two. And she was Louis LeBlanc’s widow? Egads. LeBlanc had been middle-aged even before Cameron left for England. “And you are a Thibodeaux as well, Madame LeBlanc?”

Oui.” She glided into the room, the hem of her pale blue gown whispering across the floor. “Removed from the bayou to a lovely home in what people are referring to as the exclusive Garden District, yet no one in New Orleans has forgotten where I came from, or worse, that I am Odalie Thibodeaux’s daughter. Thus, I am considered even lower than Cajun bayou trash. I want something different for my niece.”

At her frank honesty, Cameron caught a glimpse of fleeting pain, replaced by a calm demeanor and benevolent smile. Oh, there was anger in this woman. And he’d not get within ten feet of it.Kathleen Bittner Roth headshot

Kathleen Bittner Roth thrives on creating passionate stories featuring characters who are forced to draw on their strength of spirit to overcome adversity and find unending love. Her own fairy tale wedding in a Scottish castle led her to her current residence in Budapest, Hungary, considered one of Europe’s most romantic cities. However, she still keeps one boot firmly in Texas and the other in her home state of Minnesota. A member of Romance Writers of America®, she was a finalist in the prestigious Golden Heart® contest. Book three of her When Hearts Dare series, Josette, releases today. Find Kathleen on Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, Pinterest and

Cover.Celine - CopyAlanna.cover.fullJosette_cover




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