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#MedievalMonday16 Conflict and a Reader’s Visceral Response

It’s Medieval Monday and conflicts abound! Often resulting in a reader tightening her own jaw at the injustice being perpetrated. Barbara Bettis is quite good at causing this sympathetic reaction in her readers. Here is an excerpt from Silverhawk. Enjoy!

Here is Lady Emelin’s first meeting with her brother since he confined her to a convent five years earlier. Now he’s betrothed her to someone without her knowledge.

Silverhawk--new+cover (1)EXCERPT: Ortha had just finished braiding Emelin’s hair when the door burst open. Sir Garley strode in, his bulk filling the space. He jerked his head, and Ortha slipped into the passageway. Emelin shot to her feet, chin raised. The long forgotten fear nibbled at her heart, but she refused to show it.

He loomed closer, looked over the borrowed gown she wore, and picked up a braid. Lips curled in a snarl, he gave it a hard yank before he dropped it. “Too bad we can’t do something about that color.”

Blood-shot eyes narrowed. He grabbed her chin between his forefinger and thumb and forced up her head. She tried to pull away from the stench of his breath, but he pinched harder. “Don’t do anything else to spoil this arrangement.” His voice grated like rusty steel. “I need the payment Langley made for you. I will not return it.”

Garley gave her head a final shake. “Do not interfere in my plans,” he repeated.

Emelin jerked back. Rebellion overpowered the hurt, and she spoke without thought. Again.  “Or what? You’ll immure me in a convent? I believe we’ve done that already.”

Garley’s slap caught the side of the face, sent her staggering onto the bed. “Keep your mouth shut.” His voice held no trace of emotion as he strode to the door. “At least until after the wedding. Then you’re his problem. Just remember, there’ll never be a place for you at Compton. Give the old man a son, and you’ll want for nothing. Fight him and you may find yourself back at the convent—if you’re lucky.”

Blurb: 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.

Amazon has surprised me by running a 99 cent sale for Silverhawk.

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#MedievalMonday16 Conflict? A More Than Necessary Element

Welcome back to another Medieval Monday. Writers may enjoy peace in their own lives but they thrive on creating conflict for their characters. Conflict – disagreement; clash. This conflict moves the story along. It makes the reader sit up and pay attention.  It cranks up the tension. Physical tension. Emotional tension. Sexual tension. Here’s an excerpt from Mary Morgan’s Dragon Knight’s Shield. You can decide for yourself which type this is 😉 Enjoy!

DragonKnight_sShield_w10248_750Excerpt: “Never have I seen a woman command men as she does,” commented Robert coming alongside him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Does that upset you?”

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

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

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

“Tell me about your relic, Angus?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blurb:  Angus MacKay, leader of the Dragon Knights, failed his brothers and his clan upon the death of his sister. Now he must fight the darkness of despair tempting his soul. Back on Scottish soil, he comes face to face with Deirdre who can wield a sword as mightily as his warriors, and he takes her captive. Yet, with each passing day, the fire dragon inside him roars to claim the one woman fate has destined for him. 
Famed mystery writer, Deirdre Flanagan, is unprepared for the next chapter in her life. On a vacation to Scotland, she steps through the mists and enters into a skirmish alongside a Highlander. However, the fight has only begun, and now she must battle Angus as well as evil in order to claim the love of this Dragon Knight.

Will their love be powerful enough to shield them from danger, or burn them to ashes?

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#MedievalMonday16 Betrayal’s Last Stand with

Its Medieval Monday again but the last week for our Betrayal Theme. Today I share R. L. Syme’s  The Outcast Highlander, the first in her Highland Renegade series and it looks great.  Enjoy!

RLSyme_TheOutcastHighlander_800pxEXCERPT: “Bring them forward.” The fat man reached across his table and picked up a charred leg of some animal. Broc had never seen a sheriff eat in court before and hoped this was a sign of his gluttony. Men with deep desires always had a price.

The front guards stepped aside and Elizabeth walked between them, leaving Broc in their midst. With his broad sword strapped to his back, it wouldn’t have taken him long to cut through them if he’d had to. Most of them were boys, even compared to his own years, but more importantly, they were not well-fed nor well-trained. The soldiers were in use elsewhere and those who remained filled what boots they could.

They would be quick fodder if someone threatened Elizabeth.

“My lord and sheriff.” Elizabeth’s voice wavered, but she executed a perfect curtsey, staying near the floor until he bade her rise.

Until he got a good eyeful of her spilling décolletage, more like. Broc shuffled uneasily. She played a dangerous game.

“Rise, lady.” The sheriff burped and set down the leg of fowl. A wild turkey, by the look of it. Large, browned skin, dripping with fatty juices. He licked his lips like the lecherous fool he was and leaned over the table. With a smile, he followed her rise.

“I’m here to beg you for the release of my husband, Lord Andrew de Moray, Twelfth Viscount of Avoch and Strathaven, servant to the king.”

Broc held his laugh in. Servant to which king? The sheriff would assume Edward, who had taken the rule of Scotland along with England. But when Andrew said it, he meant Robert Bruce, whom he considered to be the true King of Scotland.

The sheriff only leered at Elizabeth and grinned. “I’ve heard of your coming, lady. I trust you were safe, even with your company.”

“I am safe.” Elizabeth turned to the dungeon door and cringed visibly. “I’ve heard of my husband’s capture and impending doom. I wish to bargain for his life.”

“And what did you bring to bargain?”

Elizabeth straightened and lifted her chin. This was at least not the posture of a woman who planned to prostitute herself for her husband. For that much, Broc relaxed.

“I have a suit of armor made by Spanish monks in the 11th century for my lord’s father.”

The sheriff pulled a knife from his side pocket and began to pick his teeth. “Yes?”

“And enough gold and silver to fill three chests, but I’m sure I could get more.”

He kept picking his teeth, flicking pieces off the blade to toss at various courtiers. Each one looked disgusted at the act, but smiled in return. He had these men well-trained

“You’ll have to do better than that.”

“My lord is wise, as always.” Elizabeth turned to Broccin and a hint of regret passed across her face.

She was about to offer herself.

Broc’s hand went immediately to the hilt of his sword, but before he could draw, ten long spears had come down around him. Each tip was so close to his neck, if he moved in any one direction, he would be a dead man.

“I have as my captive, the leader of the renegade group of Highland warriors that have been falsely raiding and plundering in my husband’s good name.” Elizabeth sank into another curtsey. “As a token of my good fellowship, rather than having him killed upon capture, I offer him to you in exchange for my husband’s release and the clearing of his good name.”

Broc couldn’t breathe. If there hadn’t been ten sharp edges within striking distance of his throat, he would have pushed forward and demanded she speak sense.

Beneath the spears, a boy snuck forward and twisted rope around Broc’s hands. Suddenly, the knot was so tight, he couldn’t move at all. The spears raised and one of the guards pulled his sword from its sheath, and tossed it forward.

The long weapon slid all the way through the circle of guards, almost to Elizabeth’s side, and she glanced back in her curtsey. Broc met her eyes and seethed, but her countenance did not change.

“They call themselves the Mac Ri Albannach.” Elizabeth over-pronounced the Gaelic like a true English, then returned to the refined, long tones of the court. “Sons of the Rightful King.”

Broc snorted. They did no such thing—they didn’t need to call themselves anything. But to the English, there was nothing more fearsome than an organized group of rebel warriors from the unknown mountains. He struggled against his bonds and one of the spears sliced into his shoulder.

The cut was deep and the hot, thick blood flowed down his back in double time.

“I hear tell there’s a real man behind this legendary Highlander who raids English strongholds and beheads shire magistrates.” The fat sheriff stood and walked around the table.

“I had friends at Carlisle.” The fat man spat from outside the circle of armed guards. “Friends who were killed by some band of rebels, intent on savagery and filth.”

He pulled Elizabeth to her feet. “And yet you captured this man? How do you intend to prove it was him and not your husband who led these raids?”

“Ask them.”

The sheriff called out. “Bring the raider out.”

From the corner of the room, a man in chains was pushed forward. Broc’s heart sank. The man they’d assumed dead, Tearny MacDonnogh, was almost no better off than if they had indeed killed him. His once muscular frame was now emaciated, with skin hanging from his arms. He was bare to the waist and the scars of beatings reminded Broc of just how long it had been since they had been to Berwick.

“Is this the man who led you at Carlisle?” the sheriff asked. “And is he leading the Mac Ri Albannach?”

Tearney’s greasy, matted hair swung around his face as he nodded. His eyes were half-closed and his mouth hung open, but he managed to make his affirmation known.

The sheriff cackled and threw Elizabeth to the ground. “I’ll be knighted for this for certain.”

With broad gestures, he pointed to Tearny and then the dungeon door. “Release both of them to her care, as we agreed. And take this one down to the bowels. I want the smithy to make him special chains with double-thick cast and no slack.”

He took his captain of the guard by the throat. “And by God, he had better be who she says he is, or it’s going to be your head on a silver plate instead of mine.”

“He’s the man, my lord.” The captain scratched at his throat where the fat hands had gripped him. “He bears the marks from Lord Hobble’s double-bladed Arabian weapon. I saw the scars on his arm.”

Broc swallowed. He did bear such a scar, and he had been the one to kill the perverted English lord in the battle of Carlisle, but only because the man had nearly killed Andrew and was about to disembowel him when Broc discovered and beheaded the man.

He was outnumbered, his weapon lost to him, bound, and soon to be imprisoned. Fighting back now would only mean Andrew’s certain continued imprisonment and possible death. At least if he kept quiet like a captive, he could know Andrew was free. Even if it meant he would rot in the dungeon himself.

The Outcast Highlander begins the Highland Renegades series of medieval romance novels by USA Today bestselling author R.L. Syme (also writing as Becca Boyd). Please visit today to get The Outcast Highlander for FREE! Happy reading!

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#MedievalMonday16 Betrayal Runs Hot with Lane McFarland

It’s Medieval Monday and I have book two from Lane McFaraland’s amazing  The Daughters of Alastair MacDougall series. Heather is about a strong lass with her own ideas for sure.  But you know how betrayal goes – one person’s betrayal is another person’s attempt at survival. Enjoy!

HeatherEXCERPT:  Alec’s chest constricted. How long had it been since he last saw her? Three years? Would she remember him? Would she remember his kiss?

The maid rubbed her mistress’ cheek, and Heather wiped the same spot with a cloth. When the servant nodded, Heather hurried toward him.

Did she stuff a black scarf in her sleeve? His eyes narrowed.

“Laird Campbell, welcome to MacDougall Castle.” She extended a hand. “Yer timing could not have been better.”

“Mistress MacDougall.” He bent and placed a kiss on her knuckles. Calluses covered her once soft palm. He straightened and studied her blue eyes. “Why so formal?”

“It’s been years since we last met. I’m afraid that young lass ye knew grew up.”

The gorgeous azure depths of her eyes mesmerized him. “Aye, she grew into a beautiful woman.”

A flush spread over her cheeks and she withdrew her hand. “I understand we’ve ye to thank for our lives.”

“One of yer da’s men—a young lad—is who ye should thank. He saved Laird MacDougall from certain death.”

Something akin to caution flittered across her eyes. Had he not been watching closely, he would’ve missed it.

She crossed her arms over her waist. “My da’s fortunate to have many good men defending the castle.” Her eyes widened, and she reached out. “Ye’re hurt. Forgive me, I didn’t notice.”

Alec caught her hand and rubbed her skin with the pad of his thumb. “’Tis nothing to worry over.”

“If ye’ll permit me, I’ll tend ye and yer men so ye can be on yer way. I’m sure ye’re anxious to return home.”

Was she eager to be rid of him?

He hesitated. “We are ready to be home, but we’ll repair yer keep first.”

Her back stiffened. When she smiled, it didn’t quite reach her lovely eyes. “Thank ye. If ye will excuse me, I need to see to Da.”

“I understand.”

Heather slipped past him. Her hips swayed as she stepped around a lass carrying blankets and hurried through the hall to her father.

Alec exhaled and raked a hand through his hair. He was needed out-of-doors. Rubbing the stinging cut on his chest, he marched past the injured. As he strode down the grey steps and into the bailey, his thoughts turned to the slender lad with the black scarf.

Why did he feel something was amiss? Why was the lad spirited away? And why did Heather make light of his fighting?


Bent on overcoming the belief he’s failed his aging father, Laird Alec Campbell concentrates on proving his worth to his people. He provides for them and leads men into battle, vowing never again to disappoint his clan or lose his heart.

Bound by a promise to her dying mother, Heather MacDougall secretly leads rebel warriors in her quest to keep her clan intact and hold off those who plot to overtake her father’s land. She fights to keep her secrets safe, while resisting the lure of the handsome young laird who challenges her defenses.

They can’t deny their passionate attraction, but can their love survive their secrets?

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#8Sunday – WeWriWar April 10th Iain’s Story WIP

I’m baaaaack! And looking forward to checking out all the amazing authors participating in WeWriWar this Sunday. Check the link below to follow along as well.

I write historical fiction or historical romance. You decide. Having just completed my Norman Conquest series with The Seventh Son, I’m returning to The Order of the Scottish Thistle. The Bruised Thistle was book one in this series.  Book two is about Iain but no title yet. This is truly a WIP. Here are my eight lines:

Iain stomped down the worn path to the village cooper, his blood boiling. The chilling sound of his sister’s tormented sobs still echoed in his ear. His total inability to help her galled him nearly beyond his control. His fists balled at his sides, he walked into the dimly lit hut. The thatch roof allowed patches of light to shine on the worn iron tools lined up against the far side as well as the grey haired man working there. Bent over the barrel staves at the rear of the hut, Seth glanced toward him but continued to remained focused.

“Iain, calm yourself.” The older man’s voice sounded stronger than he appeared, his command brooking no room for discussion. “Sit!”

And that’s it for now. Click here to link back to WeWriWar.


TheSeventhSonFinal.850Drogheda, Ireland 1075

The sixth son bears a curse as certain as the seventh son bears a blessing. When Tadhg MacNaughton’s betrothed is ripped from his arms and married to another, he believes the legend is true.

Tisa O’Brien’s life slams into a downward spiral at the news she is no longer betrothed to the love of her life but to the tanist of a warring, prideful clan with dangerous political aspirations, the Meic Lochlainn. She faces her destiny with all the strength and dignity of her Irish heritage despite dealing with a husband who resents her and meets his needs in the arms of others, fighting off the lustful advances of her father-in-law, Aodh, and longing for the husband of her heart.

Tadhg MacNaughton makes a deal with the devil to ensure the survival of his clan as he is commanded to fight for Aodh who envisions himself the new High King of Eire. Up close and personal, Tadhg must witness his true love’s marriage and remain silent even as it rips him apart. When a sinister plot to overthrow King William of England led by the exiled Leofrid Godwin and Clan Meic Lochlainn comes to light, Tadhg is faced with saving his clan or endangering his sister and her Norman husband.

An Irish beauty and a warrior betrayed, doomed in love from the start or does fate have something else in store for them?

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#MedievalMonday16 Betrayal Continues with Bambi Lynn

Happy Medieval Monday to you all. Betrayal continues in all shapes and forms here and today is no different. I have Bambi Lynn with power words like violent, ferocious, and I’ll kill him, I don’t think you’ll want to miss this excerpt. Enjoy!

Sirona_600x900EXCERPT: Ty stepped away from the Cleary lass, much to Rhain’s relief. He had been on his way to Father Baen’s apothecary when he rounded the corner and found Sirona in the man’s arms. The monster, dormant most days, rose up within him. If he had had a weapon, he would have attacked Ty on the spot. Rhain curled and uncurled his fists, ready to beat the life out of him.

“Doona fret, cousin. The lass is safe.”

“’Twas no’ her safety I was worried about.”

Ty fixed him with a look, the look of an elder who knew so much more about the world, despite his much younger mien. “Perhaps, ye should be. I caught Fergus assailing her, his intentions less than noble. If I had not come along when I did…”

Fury, violent and ferocious, welled up within him. “I’ll kill him,” he ground out through clenched teeth.”

Sirona seemed to get her bearings and spoke up. “Please, Rhain. I doona want to cause a rift betwixt you and yer brother.” She looked at Ty and placed a hand on his arm. “Thank you,” she said.

Rhain crossed the distance and put one arm around her possessively. With a sly grin, Ty pulled his arm from beneath Sirona’s touch. “Think nothing of it, lass. But doona be wandering about the castle alone.” With a curt nod to Rhain, he left them. The clack of his boots echoing down the length of the corridor as he disappeared around a bend.

To Rhain’s surprise, Sirona snuggled against him. He held her, savoring the way she fit him perfectly. Her slender body molded to his as if she had been created just for him.

“I am sorry I was not here to protect ye,” he said over her head. “I barely made the promise err I broke it.”

She shook her head. “Doona fash yerself. He dinna hurt me. Not really. Asides, I shall be going home soon. Your da promised.”

His heart tightened. Without a doubt, the best thing for her was to be gone from this place. But already Rhain dreaded her departure like the threat of plague.

BLURB:  She has the power to heal his body, but can she heal his soul?

Sirona Cleary tries to hide her unholy healing powers from everyone around her, denying her divine heritage even as she saves those who would see her punished. When she is kidnapped by a rival clan, she is sure her execution is near. Rhain Comyn is dying from a mysterious disease, and he couldn’t be more glad of it. After the atrocities he has committed, Rhain believes he has no right to a decent life and welcomes the ailment that leaves him with unquenchable thirst and hunger, extreme fatigue, blurred vision and ultimately drives him into a deep slumber from which no healer can awaken him. Can a witch from the clan of his enemy save him?


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Release Day for The Seventh Son – book four in the Norman Conquest Series

Wow! It’s finally here and I feel like my child is going off to Kindergarten, both excited and a little sad. Tisa, Tadhg, and Darragh have been my close friends for the past eight or nine months. Even longer since “fermenting” also applies to the process of an author developing her story line 🙂 Here’s a little teaser:

TheSeventhSonFinal.850EXCERPT: “Ye sound like an old married woman.”

Tisa’s eyes crinkled with her smile. “’Tis how I feel as well. We’ve been betrothed for a long while. Time has passed slowly. I’ve waited forever for this.”

“Well, it will not be long now.”

In companionable silence, they sat beside the brook, enjoying the last warm spell of the summer and taking a respite from the reaping that had begun in earnest at her father’s word. Tisa would miss quiet times like these with her close friend when she moved to the MacNaughton’s land. Perhaps her friend could marry one of the other MacNaughton warriors—like Sean. She glanced toward her friend. No, Sean was too… hard a man for Caireann. She would require a gentle touch, a slow coaxing, or she’d be running scared as a rabbit.

“I’ll miss ye.” Caireann spoke as if reading her thoughts.

“I’ll miss ye. I was just thinking if ye wed someone from Tadhg’s clan, ye would be close.” She pushed a wayward strand of red hair from her friend’s face. “I would like us to remain friends. Ye are closer to me even than my own sisters.”

Caireann rested her head against Tisa’s shoulder, hugging her arm, and looking down at the brook. “I will still be happy for ye to be with such a grand warrior. He’s a handsome one, that Tadhg.”

Tisa covered Caireann’s hand where it rested in the crook of her arm. “Aye. He is that. His kind eyes.” She impulsively kissed the top of her friend’s head. “I could not love him if he were cruel.”

Caireann tipped her face up and smiled. “True enough. Ye see a kindness in him for certain for ye to love him as ye do.”

A call in the distance sent Tisa’s heart to pounding. “What’s tha—”

Young Liam burst through the trees, his breath coming in such great gasps he could not speak. He shook his head, bent forward, steadying his hands on his knees. “I… ran…”

Tisa stood, her breaths coming quicker. “Well, I can see that ye ran, Liam. What are ye about?”

Liam looked to the heavens, his chest heaving as he tried to catch his breath. His dark hair hung in limp clumps, soaked through with sweat. “Yer da—”

Dread tore through her like an arrow. She moved in closer. “What? What about my da? Oh speak!”

BLURB:  Drogheda, Ireland 1075

The sixth son bears a curse as certain as the seventh son bears a blessing. When Tadhg MacNaughton’s betrothed is ripped from his arms and married to another, he believes the legend is true.

Tisa O’Brien’s life slams into a downward spiral at the news she is no longer betrothed to the love of her life but to the tanist of a warring, prideful clan with dangerous political aspirations, the Meic Lochlainn. She faces her destiny with all the strength and dignity of her Irish heritage despite dealing with a husband who resents her and meets his needs in the arms of others, fighting off the lustful advances of her father-in-law, Aodh, and longing for the husband of her heart.

Tadhg MacNaughton makes a deal with the devil to ensure the survival of his clan as he is commanded to fight for Aodh who envisions himself the new High King of Eire. Up close and personal, Tadhg must witness his true love’s marriage and remain silent even as it rips him apart. When a sinister plot to overthrow King William of England led by the exiled Leofrid Godwin and Clan Meic Lochlainn comes to light, Tadhg is faced with saving his clan or endangering his sister and her Norman husband.

An Irish beauty and a warrior betrayed, doomed in love from the start or does fate have something else in store for them?

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#MedievalMonday – Betrayals Even with Special Powers?

Welcome back for another medieval Monday with an amazing medieval author – Ruth A. Casie. She has a series on Druids and this excerpt is from a book that is currently free! Take a peak 🙂

The Druid Knights Tale (1)Excerpt: He stood by the stone altar. The mist thickened in deep pools and drifted to the bottom of the great sarsen stones. Churning like a phantom stew, fingers of mist crept up the stones, leaving a shimmering outline in its wake. The silhouette thickened, revealing the hooded forms of the Ancestors.

“Grand Master, who do you bring to the sacred circle?”

“The healer—” his voice boomed.

“Only you, the Grand Master, are permitted to approach us for our guidance.” The angry voice of an Ancestor reached his ears. “But we are forgiving.”

“I come to seek—”

“Before you tell us what you seek, tell us of your quest.”

A flicker of apprehension pulsed through him. He was certain Ellyn didn’t have much time and the full red moon hung large in the sky. Only a thin arc of sun remained on the horizon.

He removed the wrapped cloth from his pouch and laid the package on the altar stone. “I have passed your test.” He did not expose the mistletoe. He didn’t want the Ancestors to see the dead plant, not until he had Ellyn safely back to Avebury. After that he didn’t care.

“You have found your mate?”

Max hesitated. “Perhaps. I have much to tell you, but before I begin I ask for a boon.” He glanced over his shoulder. She waited for him.

“What do you seek?” the Ancestors rumbled with a cold, hard voice.

“Ellyn of Brodgar is ill. I ask you to help her. She is honorable and has served the people well and denies no one at her own expense.”

“You are the people’s Grand Master. She is your responsibility. We can only guide and help those who have passed on to our world.”

“No,” he insisted, pounding his fist on the stone altar. How could this be? For the first time in his life he felt helpless. He could not lose her. He knew if he did he would lose a part of himself. “She has done everything—”

“It is not for us to interfere.” The voice was calm and without empathy.

“You do not interfere? You demanded I find a mate.”

There was no response.

He tried to keep his control. “She told me she was compelled to come here. Why?”

Still they did not respond.

Anger surged through him. “You brought her here. She needs your help. She’s dying.” He pointed to where he left her.

“Only you can help her, Grand Master.”

“Me?” He stopped short. “How? If I could she’d already be cured.”

“Why do you care what happens to her? She is just a simple Orkney witch. Nothing else.”

Ideas flashed across Max’s mind. If he was the only one that could help her the answer must lie in his greatest gift. His magick. He must get her back to Avebury, back to his magick, before the sun set.

“Here.” He unrolled the mistletoe. “Here is your talisman. Send us back to Avebury,” he demanded.

“So, you found your mate,” the Ancestor said with a satisfied voice.

Max looked at the healthy mistletoe and gaped in astonishment. The plant was dead when he’d last looked. How could it now be alive? Icy fear raced up his back. He glanced at Ellyn on the far side of the circle. Her kisses. He had teased her and it was her kiss all along.

“You hold her destiny in your hands.” 

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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#MedievalMonday – Betrayals Can Definitely Make The Story!

Medieval love stories abound with knights and warriors, ladies and lasses, and women ready to rip the rushes right out from under our gracious heroines. Cathy MacRae’s The Highlander’s French Bride is no exception. Read this breath catching excerpt where Melisende’s faith in her “oh-so-sweet husband” is put to the test! Don’t worry – the buy button is here, too 😉

CMacRae.TheHighlandersFrenchBride_high resExcerpt: Melisende’s arms fell to her sides. “Why would you go back to such a life?”

“To the parties,” Lucienne answered, “and the gowns of fabrics so fantastic they make you cry from the sheer pleasure of them. Laces so delicate they can scarcely withstand the needle. Embroidery so fine it takes four seamstresses a week just to produce one sleeve.” Her eyes closed and rapture lit her face. “The men so courteous, so eager to woo me. Dancing, stealing kisses behind the fountain. They tell me how beautiful I am, how much they desire me.” She opened her eyes, settling her gaze on Melisende’s shocked face.

“Once Raul began annulment proceedings, their interest increased a hundredfold. I will have no lack of sponsors once I return.”

“That is a shameful way to live, and you know it, Lucienne.” Tears burned in Melisende’s eyes. “How can you do this to yourself?” She swept a hand toward the bed. “To her?”

The scorn returned to Lucienne’s face, casting ugly shadows beneath her high cheeks. “You think you know what is right for me. That I should be exactly like you, drowning behind your polite façade. You believe everything is perfect in your little world with your adorable new husband who loves you?” Her eyes narrowed as she slid her gaze to Arielle. “Have you not wondered why she looks like him?”

Melisende immediately looked at the child asleep on the bed. Her dark hair spilled across the pillow like a shadow in the dimly lit room. She glanced back at her sister. “Why do you say that? I think she looks just like you.”

“She has my nose and eyes, oui. But her dark hair comes from her father.”


Non. From your oh-so-sweet husband.”

Melisende’s gaze bounced from Lucienne back to the child. Lucienne’s parting words so many years ago loosed themselves from the depths of her mind. What do you think went on whilst he slept in our house—only me and him? He would be unable to look you in the eye if you knew everything that happened.

She shook her head. Non! It is impossible to think of it! He has already assured me there was nothing between himself and Lucienne. But her heart grew cold in her breast.

Lucienne strolled to the bed and stroked her daughter’s hair. “She looks so much like me. But she has Kinnon’s hair.” Her smile set an arrow in Melisende’s heart.

Brushing aside her doubts, Melisende stepped forward. “Do not be absurd, Lucienne. Her hair is much like mine, and Raul’s is dark as well.”

Lucienne tossed her head. “You do not seem to recall Arielle was born early—or so I told Raul.”

“Lucienne, did you have relations with someone whilst we lived in Randon?” Melisende demanded. “Did you marry Raul knowing you were already enceinte?”

Lucienne sent her a mocking look. “You would love to believe that, wouldn’t you? To keep your lover innocent of the deed.”

“I do not believe you,” Melisende replied firmly, against the reservations that gnawed at her.

Lucienne’s eyebrows raised, a lofty smile taunting Melisende. “Yet you see the resemblance, non? No matter what you tell yourself, you will always know there is the possibility. We spent an entire week together, unchaperoned. You know how insatiable he is, n’ai-je pas raison?” Her eyes glittered. “No matter what you try to believe, you will always wonder if he shared his body with me first.”


Heir to a lairdship, Kinnon Macrory is driven to prove his worth by fighting the English on the battlefields of France. His dreams of heroic valor are destroyed by the realities of war—the atrocities visited by fellow soldiers on the very people he is sworn to protect. Three years in a French prison for a crime he did not commit leave Kinnon longing for the one thing of beauty in his war-torn life—a young woman of great kindness and wisdom named Melisende.

Melisende de la Roche struggles to stay one step ahead of soldiers who would imprison her for helping an injured Scotsman wrongly accused of treason. She finds refuge in her uncle’s shop—until a chance encounter sends her fleeing into the unknown once again, haunted by the beguiling friendship with the troubled young Scotsman she is certain she will never see again.

Determined to find the woman of his dreams, Kinnon returns to France, only to discover a trail of clues to Melisende’s whereabouts. Their reunion will open the doors to passion, but half-truths and lies from the past could destroy the one thing they both are willing to fight for—each other.

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#MedievalMonday Betrayals Continue

The thing about betrayals, no matter what the time period, they only have to be perceived as betrayals. Many times they are not even betrayals in truth! One of my favorite television betrayals was from Season two (?) of Viking. The opposing clan was planning the overthrow of Ragnar and had even convinced FLOKI to go along with them. I admit that the whole time I was very upset and not believing he would ever betray his beloved Ragnar…but I’m not a spoiler 🙂

Today I have the diverse writings of Jenna Jaxon. This author is quite a lady in her own right so naturally her characters are going to rock. From her book aptly entitled Betrayal!  Enjoy 🙂

Jenna Jaxon First Kiss+200x300Excerpt: Abruptly, he gripped her face, pulling it up until she peered into the dangerous dark eyes of her husband. Terror surged through her at the sight of his snarling countenance.

“Why so amorous this morning, my sweet?” he growled, his eyes snapping with anger. “Were Geoffrey’s kisses not as satisfying as you remembered?”

Oh, God. Oh, God. He saw—

Thomas flung her toward the bed. She huddled at its foot in a heap, shivering, while he strode to where she lay, towering over her. Alyse cringed before him, head bowed, too frightened and ashamed for tears.

“I believe I may have misspoken earlier, madam.” His voice dripped sarcasm. “I had, in fact, gone in search of you, to invite you to an intimate breakfast with your husband. Imagine my dismay to find you engaged in one already, albeit with someone else’s husband. From the exchange I saw, I can scarce credit that you hunger still. Yet you enter our chamber apparently unsatisfied. Pray tell me, how many more husbands would you devour ere the day begins?”

His voice rose to an excruciating volume, and Alyse clamped her hands to her ears lest she be deafened.

“I have played the tender lover these past weeks. Petted and cajoled you, like some simpering green boy in an effort to remain true to the vow I made you, despite my right as your husband to demand your obedience in bed. I have been patient, kind, and true, madam, and I am repaid in treachery!”

“Nay, Thomas!” Quite suddenly, she found her tongue and raised a resolute face to her livid husband. She rose from the floor and stood facing him, breasts heaving in indignation. “Whatever you saw, whatever you think, I did not betray you with Geoffrey.”

“You were in his arms, your mouths locked together as though nothing could pull them asunder. Do you deny that?” He spat the words at her.

“Nay.” She pitched her voice low, her resentment of his accusation ebbing. “God forgive me, I kissed him and held him, and he held me. And the world ceased to exist for a little while.”

Blurb for Time Enough to Love

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?

Available at AMAZON



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