Medieval Monday ~ Conflict: Time Enough To Love by Jenna Jaxon

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Welcome to Medieval Monday! We’re exploring a new theme–one of conflict. Remember, it isn’t always about the battle. It can be emotional, physical, or sexual. I’ll let you decide when you’ve read Jenna Jaxon’s excerpt from Time Enough To Love. I was holding my breath the entire time I read this scene. Enjoy!

Excerpt:

Both knights had broken two lances on the torso—their scores were even. In order to win, one would need to either break a lance on the helm or unhorse their opponent. Either feat was possible, but highly improbable, given the lateness of the day and the weariness of the jousters. The best outcome would be for one lance to miss, giving the knight to break a lance victory. Another possibility was a draw if both men broke their lances on the torso. A draw would mean no victor; the debt of honor satisfied without a forfeit. That outcome might be best, but she could not help thinking in that case there would have been a great deal of effort wasted for nothing.

Geoffrey nodded slightly within his helm, as though acknowledging a strategy confirmed. Though the decision was unknown to her, she prayed it would make him the clear winner of the match.

In an instant, Geoffrey streaked down the lists. Alyse gasped at the ferocity with which Saracen raced toward his adversary. Lord Braeton drove his horse fiercely as well, but did not seem to reach the black steed’s breakneck speed.

Moments before the collision, Geoffrey angled his weapon upward slightly, aiming again for the helm and its additional points. Her heart flew into her throat. Should his lance glance off, as it had earlier, she would certainly be leading the first dance with Lord Braeton this evening. That prospect no longer held any delight for her, not after the physical pain this match must have cost Geoffrey—and Lord Braeton—and the mental anguish it had cost her. Had she not seemed so enthralled with the earl, mayhap the challenge would never have been issued. Or would not have been so avidly pursued by Geoffrey. If one of them were injured, it could surely be laid at her feet.

Geoffrey must win. He must.

The impact devastated both knights. Thomas’s lance splintered dramatically along Geoffrey’s right shoulder, twisting him around in the saddle and almost unseating him.

Geoffrey’s lance found its mark in the dead center of Thomas’s helm, snapping his head back with the force of the blow. An immediate cry of pain erupted from his helmet. Alyse bolted from her seat, raced out of the berfrois and onto the field.

* * * *

Thomas managed to pull his horse to a stop, and his squires ran to assist him as he dropped to the ground. Almost as quickly, Geoffrey leaped from his horse, cursing as he ran toward his friend.

’Tis my fault if he dies. I was angered at him. Christ, why did I not aim elsewhere and try to unseat him? Geoffrey could barely hold still as his squire removed his helmet. “Thomas! Thomas!”

Men had lowered his friend to the ground, where he lay motionless.

Dear God! The splinters—

He stared in horror at the long wooden slivers poking out of Thomas’s visor.

Sweet Jesu, have mercy. Holy Mary, mother of God, have mercy.

He fell to his knees beside him, afraid to touch him lest he drive the fragments deeper.

“Fetch the surgeon!” Geoffrey threw the command over his shoulder, his attention fixed on the still body. “Thomas.” He couldn’t be dead.

Blurb:

When Lady Alyse de Courcy is betrothed to Sir Geoffrey Longford, she has no choice but to make the best of a bad bargain. The hulking knight is far from her ideal man, and although he does possess some wit and charm, he is no match for the sinfully sensual man she secretly admires, Thomas, Earl of Braeton, her betrothed’s best friend.

From the first, Sir Geoffrey finds himself smitten by Lady Alyse, and, despite her infatuation with his friend, vows to win her love. When Geoffrey puts his mind to wooing Alyse, he is delighted to find her succumbing to his seduction. But when cruel circumstances separate them, Geoffrey must watch helplessly as Thomas steps in to protect Alyse—and falls in love with her himself.

As the three courtiers accompany Princess Joanna to her wedding in Spain, they run headlong into the Black Plague. With her world plunged into chaos, Alyse struggles with her feelings for both the men she loves. But which love will survive?

Buy Link:

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

My guest next week on Medieval Monday is Cathy MacRae! 

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Quote for the Week of May 1, 2016

MidsummerEveLge

“Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale.”

–Hans Christian Andersen

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Spotlight New Release ~ Watchmaker’s Heart by Juli D. Revezzo

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Please welcome back my friend, Juli D. Revezzo! She’s sharing her new release, a Victorian Steampunk romance and sharing some insight on why she chose this genre.

I’ve already started this story and it’s a page-turner!

 

Why Write Victorian Steampunk? By Juli D. Revezzo

Anyone who has read my work before knows I like to write a little bit of history now and then. My romances Celtic Stewards Chronicles takes the reader into the 16th century and beyond. My fantasy series, Antique Magic, however, blends in all sorts of eras. For the last few years, there has been a resurgence of interest, at least in the artistic communities, in the creations of the Victorian age. Or at least a version of them. Called steampunk, it combines the fashion and inventiveness of the 19th century with the possibilities of science fiction and fantasy. Jules Verne with Arthur C. Clarke or Merlin.

So, when I first began my new book, a steampunk/historical romance called WATCHMAKER’S HEART, and the main character began talking the Queen’s English, flouncing her heavy skirts and parasol along, and I knew she came from the Victorian Age. But her gumption seemed to qualify her as punk—how many young women in the 19th century paid much attention to the inventions of their day, let alone created them? Phoebe’s little invention spewed and belched along, and just reminded me of everything steampunk.

The 19th century was a time when women were finally beginning to assert themselves. This is the era of women working in, what we come to know later as sweatshops, but it was the first time women were allowed outside the home without (for the most part) being looked down upon. (Though the working conditions weren’t the best, the factories did employ women rather freely) This was also the era of women’s suffrage, when women began to really look at the political landscape around them and realize they too should have a voice in it and, more importantly, the right to insist on changes.

Many women even went a step further and decided to make the things they couldn’t otherwise get their hands on. Many of the inventions we now take for granted began here, and many made by women.

Here, then, was the thing that interested me when I wrote WATCHMAKER’S HEART. My heroine not only flounced in chattering in a thick British accent, but she brought along an interesting creation. More than just a pretty little statuette, her creation had a purpose, and a (possibly) magical one. What better purpose than to create a thing that can bring peace, and love, between two people—or more?

Here’s the blurb: 

London, 1898: For Miss Phoebe Lockswell, fashionable London tea parties and balls aren’t her style. Instead, she prefers to tinker tirelessly with a clockwork diffuser she’s built from scratch. If only she can get the invention to work on command, she might earn her way out of an arranged marriage to a repugnant member of the House of Commons.

London watchmaker Mortimer Kidd was brought up hard in the arms of an infamous London gang. Despite the respectability he strives for now, the gang leader is blackmailing him. When Mortimer sees Phoebe’s diffuser, he thinks he’s found a way to buy himself out of trouble. The brash Phoebe manages to steal his heart, however, before he can purloin her invention.

Will Mortimer’s unsavory past catch up to him before he convinces Phoebe of his devotion? Worse, once Phoebe learns the truth, will she ever trust him again?

Excerpt:

You shouldn’t have said that, Phoebe scolded herself. Shouldn’t have said a lot of things.

“Did you say aphrodisiacs?” Mr. Kidd asked.

She didn’t care whether men thought she should blush at such things. They would learn.

“London. All out for London!” the conductor called in a tremulous tenor.

Train wheels screeched; steam chuffed and screamed. The car lurched as it slowed. Phoebe plucked up her tapestry-sided bag, tossing her dark hair out of her face.

She slid from her seat. “It was nice meeting you, Mr. Kidd. Enjoy the rest of your trip.”

“It so happens, this is my stop as well,” he said. “May I see you home?”

Phoebe gulped. What had she gotten herself into?

“That won’t be necessary,” she said and added a lie. For how could she trust a stranger? “My parents are waiting for me.”

Heart pounding with worry, she swept off the train and into the station. Coal smoke filled her lungs and she choked. When the smoke cleared, Phoebe scanned the crowd. Her family wasn’t here, nor any of their people. She let out a sigh of relief. She had imagined Father hovering, waiting to drag her home by her ear.

Mr. Kidd stepped past her and tipped his hat. “Good day, miss.”

She checked the small silver watch her grandmother had given her. Dainty, with delicate roses etched into the silver cover, and the size of a pence piece, she’d had it since childhood. Another minute passed and she still couldn’t see her father or mother anywhere. In a way, their absence was a relief, but then, here she was, without a ride home.

She spied Mr. Kidd speaking to a porter who handed down his bags. He gave the porter a tip and headed towards the doors.

Phoebe studied the crowded depot seeking a way home, but every cab she approached was already occupied, and she didn’t relish the idea of riding with complete strangers. At least, she reasoned, she knew something of Mr. Kidd.

Ever since she had opened her mouth and said the word “aphrodisiacs” she’d wanted nothing more than for the floor to crack open wide and swallow her. How she let the word pass her lips in the presence of this man, she vowed she would never know. Wasn’t it enough that she was sure she openly stared at him? Wasn’t it enough that she’d flustered herself into embarrassment ever since he had said, “Excuse me?” If any other stranger had offered to tinker with her little goddess, she would have given him the coldest stare imaginable and stalked away. But no. She had let this man do as he pleased. What was so different about him? Waiting be damned, she wanted to speak with him a little more.

She cleared her throat and smiled as she approached him. “Mr. Kidd, I accept your offer, if you still have room in your carriage.”

Now it was his turn to stare at her in surprise. A moment later, he nodded. “All right,” he said. “Let me take your bag for you.”

She bit her lip.

“I won’t damage your creation. I promise,” he said.

She reluctantly handed her carpetbag over and Mr. Kidd relinquished it to his carriage driver. He then pulled the door open for her.

“Thank you, sir,” she said, and climbed inside, praying. God, don’t let this be a mistake!

“Where to, Guv’ner?” the driver asked.

Mr. Kidd met her gaze. “Where are we headed?”

“Eaton Square,” she said.

Kidd called out the destination and climbed into the carriage. The horse lurched the carriage into the flow of traffic. Kidd settled into his seat and situated his hat in his lap. “So, Miss Locksley of Eaton Square,” he said. “You were explaining your little gadget. Do you have a buyer in mind?”

She wasn’t sure whether to use his first name or not so continued on, without it. “I attended the Royal Mechanics’ Society Expo for that very reason. I hoped someone might see value in my goddess, given its various uses,” she said, sarcasm dripping from her tongue.

“She’s a goddess?”

Phoebe nodded. “Isn’t love a gift from the gods?” She pinged a nail against the window. “I see it so.”

“Yes.”

His non-committal tone proved he didn’t share her belief. Maybe he didn’t follow the Pre-Raphaelite vision as she did.

“Did you have any luck at the Expo?” he asked.

Her smile drooped.

He shook his head. “No, I gather not. That’s their loss.”

Phoebe grumbled to herself.

“What’s that, Miss Locksley?”

She took a deep breath, hoping the shadows might hide her embarrassment. “I said you’d think at least someone might find it useful in an opium den.”

“Were there any around,” he pointed out.

“London teems with such establishments.”

“How do you know about opium dens?” he asked.

His question made her stop and think. Maybe I have said too much, she thought, inspecting her tiny watch.

***

If you’re interested to see how this all came out, WATCHMAKER’S HEART is available at Amazon: http://amzn.com/B01CF0HOZG in ebook and paperback.

Thank you, Mary, for inviting me here. I hope you and your readers have a lovely week!

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Mary’s Monthly Travel Blog ~ A Magical Journey to Ireland!

Killarney National Park, Co. Kerry, Ireland

Killarney National Park, Co. Kerry, Ireland

Ireland…a place filled with many different shades of green. A land filled with friendship whose people have a fierce pride for their culture and language.

And an island I call my home.

My first visit to Ireland was in the summer of 2000. Nothing could have prepared me for the first glimpse of a land that called out to me. Have I mentioned that Ireland, specifically the Hill of Tara, is the birth place of the Order of the Dragon Knights in my stories? The idea began in Scotland, but I couldn’t get Ireland out of my mind, too. Therefore, I had an epiphany and decided to include both, especially since I love the mythology of Ireland.

 

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We left Pembroke, Wales via the Irish Ferries. It took four-and-a-half hours to cross the Irish Sea during a rainy day. The ferry had eight decks and I still remember the difficulty moving about from place to place.

As our ferry approached, the mists parted and I cried. I can’t explain the emotions…

If you’ve noticed the date and journal entry on the picture to the left, I lost my precious item on the first day in Ireland. Thankfully, someone found it on the lobby floor of our hotel and shipped it to Dublin. I went three days of scribbling notes on various bits of paper and stationary.

Houses, shops along the coast of Rosslare, Ireland. Photo by John Morgan

Houses, shops along the coast of Rosslare, Ireland. Photo by John Morgan

 

My first peek at Ireland on a cold, wet, misty, wonderful day.

 

 

 

 

 

Cottage in Waterford, Ireland. Photo by John Morgan

Cottage in Waterford, Ireland. Photo by John Morgan

 

Taking you on a tour through the countryside….

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Must always include the friends, too…

 

 

 

Blarney Castle, Ireland. Photo by John Morgan

Blarney Castle, Ireland. Photo by John Morgan

A definite must see on any trip to Ireland is a visit to Blarney Castle. Built nearly six hundred years ago by one of Ireland’s greatest chieftans, Cormac MacCarthy, and has been attracting attention ever since. The first building was a wooden structure built in the tenth century. It was replaced in 1210 by a stone structure. This was eventually demolished and a third castle was built in 1446 by Dermot McCarthy, King of Munster of which the keep still remains standing.

More views of the castle…

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Imagine the secrets within this alcove…

 

 

 

 

 

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Slowly we make our way to the top of Blarney…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, me, Mary, kissing the Blarney Stone!

Yes, me, Mary, kissing the Blarney Stone!

Can you see a bit of the green over my left shoulder? That is the ground below. Two men were holding me as I bent backwards to kiss the stone.

Legend has it that Robert the Bruce gave half of the Stone of Scone to McCarthy in gratitude for his aid at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 This, now known as the Blarney Stone, was incorporated in the battlements where it can now be kissed.

My son and I emerging from Blarney Castle.

My son and I emerging from Blarney Castle.

Going up the circular stairs was fine, but coming back down another story. This is what I wrote in my journal…

“Yet, the fun was descending the castle after kissing the Blarney Stone. Argh! Hang onto a rope, sit on your buns, and pray you don’t fall!” 

It might have been exhilarating, but one of the ladies in our tour actually sprained her ankle.

Once is enough and I’m done.

 

 

To learn more about this fascinating place, here is a link to Blarney Castle: http://www.blarneycastle.ie/

I hope you’ve enjoyed this mini tour of my first few days in Ireland. Next month, we’ll visit a place where I’ve always wanted to take their Celtic Studies program. Trinity College!

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Medieval Monday ~ Conflict: Silverhawk by Barbara Bettis

Silverhawk--newcover

Welcome to Medieval Monday and a brand new theme! With any romance novel, there has to be some form of conflict between the characters and not all need to be battles. For the next eight weeks, you will get a glimpse into Medieval romances with various conflicts.

My guest today is my wonderful friend, Barbara Bettis. She’s sharing a conflict excerpt from her book, Silverhawk. It’s currently on sale for only .99! 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.

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.

Buy Link:

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

http://www.amazon.com/Silverhawk-Barbara-Bettis-ebook/dp/B015QIK9CE?ie=UT

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Quote for the Week of April 24, 2016

Mary's roses

Mary’s roses

 

“Friendship with oneself is all-important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.”

–Eleanor Roosevelt 

 

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Mary’s Tavern Recipes ~ Chinese Chicken Salad

Spring in St. Jame's Park, England.  Photo by John Morgan

Spring in St. Jame’s Park, England.
Photo by John Morgan

Welcome to Mary’s Tavern! Isn’t this the month of April? Spring? Yeah, right…

Something went totally wrong with the Weather Gods and Goddesses. ;) I live in sunny California and we jumped from winter to summer in a matter of a week! I’m talking 90 degrees!

Instead of soups, I’m thinking salads that I enjoy in summer. Now if I was in England like the picture above, I would enjoy a warm bowl of soup. I can only reminisce until the temps return back to normal. Ha!

Hope you’re having a lovely spring, summer, autumn, or winter where you live. Here’s one of my favorites during the summer months. Sláinte 

CHINESE CHICKEN SALAD

3-4 boneless chicken breasts, chopped in small bite-sized chunks (we usually do three, but then there are leftovers for the next day)

1 garlic clove, crushed

4-6 green onions, chopped (your preference)

1 can sliced water chestnuts, chopped

Asian Sesame salad dressing of your choice

1 bag of the tri-color Coleslaw (red & green cabbage w/carrots)

1/4 cup unsalted peanuts, crushed

Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a skillet; add 3 chopped green onions and garlic. Sauté for about five minutes. Add your chicken and cook for about twenty minutes. Then add about 2 tablespoons (your choice) of Asian Sesame dressing. Cook for another ten minutes, or until browned. Let cool for about 5-10 minutes.

Toss coleslaw into a large bowl; add water chestnuts, the remaining green onions, and peanuts. Spoon in chicken mixture and dress with more salad dressing. Toss completely and serve.

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Spotlight Author Interview ~ Joyce M. Holmes

Holmes_Headshot

I’m delighted to have fellow Wild Rose Press author, Joyce M. Holmes visiting here today! She’s sharing her new release, Visual Effects. A story that I’m eager to read. And I love the cover!

I’m serving lemonade and sugar cookies. The temps here in California are feeling like summer. Get comfy and lets meet Joyce…

MM: Welcome, Joyce! So happy you could be here today! Describe a typical writing day. Are you a morning, afternoon, or night-owl writer?

JMH: I don’t write every day, but I always try to do something writer-related. In the morning, I do internet stuff and promo – Twitter, Facebook, writing loops. My brain works best in the afternoon, so that’s when I usually write.

MM: I always get rid of business in the morning, too. Can you tell us about your current work-in-progress?

JMH: My wip is stalled right now. I’m about three chapters into the final book of my trilogy, but unfortunately, the first two books in the series are no longer available because the publisher went out of business. Until I place those books somewhere else, I don’t have much motivation to finish the third. I’ve been busy with edits and promo on my new release, Visual Effects, but as soon as that all settles down, I’ll focus on the trilogy again.

MM: I’m wishing you all the best that you’ll be able to release those first two books, and finish the third.

MM: What inspires you when you’re writing?

JMH: I love telling a story – creating believable characters, giving them tough emotional issues to deal with and then helping them find their way to a happy place.

MM: Beautiful, Joyce. What’s your favorite item on your writing desk?

JMH: The photo of my two little grandsons.

MM: Precious! Now for the fun questions. Do you prefer…

Champagne or Beer? Champagne

Southern drawl or Scottish burr? Southern drawl

Kilt or Leather pants? Leather pants

Print book or e-reader? Print book

Thanks so much for visiting, Joyce. Wishing you all the best with your new book!

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Blurb:

Drey Winston is a fierce competitor who enjoys challenging her mind and body. But when it comes to her heart—no one ever gets close enough to compete for it. Having grown up believing she was an unwanted burden to her parents, she prefers to keep her feelings well hidden. Just when her hard-fought goals are finally within reach, the audacious Jesse Devlin comes along to breach her carefully guarded defenses.

After a disastrous marriage early in life, Jesse Devlin prefers strings-free relationships. Confident and outgoing, he gets along well with women, but his natural charm can’t seem to penetrate Drey Winston’s aloofness. While attempting to win her over, he’s the one who ends up losing his heart.

Can this commitment-phobic bachelor convince the stubbornly independent woman he loves that his feelings—and hers—are the real deal?

Excerpt: 

Jesse leaned against a tree to draw in a few deep breaths. As he straightened, he plucked his ball cap off his head and wiped his forearm across his brow, then hooted a victory cheer. “Hard work’s over. Time for the reward.”

He dropped the cap onto the sand and emptied his pockets into it. Then he pulled his T-shirt over muscled shoulders, dropped it onto the sand on top of his cap, and made quick work of his footwear. Drey stared in disbelief as he beelined down the beach and ran straight into the low surf. When he was hip-deep in the water, he slipped smoothly beneath the surface. He reappeared several feet out and turned to wave.

“Join me,” he called. “The water’s great.”

“Not a chance. The ocean is cold in summer, I can only imagine how frigid it must be today.”

“Wuss,” he scoffed and splashed water in her direction.

Shivers that had nothing to do with feeling chilly shot through Drey as she watched him emerge from the water a few minutes later. Rivulets ran down his chest, following the ridges and planes of his brawny body. Wet shorts clung to muscular thighs.

He ran his hands over his face and then shook himself like a playful pup. “You don’t know what you missed. Nothing like a dip in the salt chuck to get the heart pumping. Well, almost nothing.” He stalked deliberately up the beach toward her, and the look on his face made her back away, but she didn’t react fast enough. He caught her up in his arms, laughing at her shrieks of protest.

“Lemme go, Jesse. You’re cold. Come on, Jesse, lemme go. You’re getting me all wet.”

“That’s the whole idea. Get you wet and me warm.”

She gave him a firm push in the wrong direction as she sprinted down the beach. “Not if you can’t catch me,” she threw over her shoulder as she went.

Buy Links:

The Wild Rose Press:  http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=195&products_id=6730

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Visual-Effects-Joyce-M-Holmes-ebook/dp/B01CB1C3P0/

Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/Visual-Effects-Joyce-M-Holmes-ebook/dp/B01CB1C3P0/

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/visual-effects-joyce-m-holmes/1123498235?ean=2940157945060

More about Joyce:

Joyce Holmes lives with her husband and very small dog in the beautiful Okanagan region of British Columbia. The award-winning author is happily living her dream of being a stay-at-home writer. Photography and blogging about her travels are two of her passions, along with visiting her kids and grandkids. When she’s not dreaming up stories in her head or planning her next great adventure, she’s off enjoying the great outdoors.

Author Links:

http://JoyceHolmes.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/Joyce.M.Holmes

https://twitter.com/Joyce_Holmes

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6431862.Joyce_M_Holmes

http://www.amazon.com/Joyce-M.-Holmes/e/B008H5HTV8/

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Medieval Monday ~ Betrayal: The Seventh Son by Ashley York

TheSeventhSonFinal.850

Welcome to Medieval Monday! Continuing with our betrayal theme, I’m delighted to have my friend, Ashley York here today! She’s sharing an excerpt from her new release, The Seventh Son. Enjoy!

Excerpt:

Tisa. Yer betrothal to the MacNaughton has been severed. Ye’ll marry into the Meic Lochlainn clan of Inishowen. They’ll be here in two days time.”

The pain in her chest intensified with every word he spoke, like nails hammering into her heart, but her brain refused to understand his meaning beyond his first statement.

Your betrothal to the MacNaughton has been severed.

Her betrothal to Tadhg? They’d been betrothed forever. They grew up knowing they would one day be wed. Tadhg was all she wanted in a husband.

Her father’s eyes never wavered from her face. Surely he measured her reaction as if he cared.

“Ronan came here to make the agreement on their behalf. He has been a great help to our clan.”

The kind eyes seemed familiar but no. Those would have been the eyes of her father that loved her. A father that wanted her to be happy. A father that wanted her settled nearby. This? This was a man that cared nothing for her. A man that would rip away her future dreams of happiness. A man that would send her away from him. A man that would give her to strangers. Strangers that saw her as nothing more than…breeding stock.

No. She was more than that. She would not stand here and be handed off to a stranger and not even a word of protest.

“Why?” Damn her eyes. The tears swelled and her father became a blurry figure. “How?”

He looked away. “The MacNaughton broke our agreement.”

Her jaw dropped. A slap to the face would have hurt less. “No!”

“After Moira died, Padraig sent word he would not see his son married to an O’Brien.”

“And ye did not think to tell me this?”

Her head reeled with the implications.

“And Moira? Tadhg’s mother is dead?” Her breath hitched. Moira had been like a mother to her. “When was she buried? I wish to pay my resp—”

“Ye will not! Padraig would not allow us to come. None of us.” Her father finally faced her. “We are no longer welcome on his land. He wants nothing to do with us.”

“Nothing to do with us? They are our kinsmen.”

“No longer.”

“Ye canna just let him cut us off like this.”

“I was given little choice in the matter.”

“Then go to him! Beg his forgiveness for whatever you have done!”

“I have done nothing wrong! ‘Twas Padraig’s doing. He chose to give me no reason. I will abide by his decree.”

Tisa’s mind struggled to make sense of what her father was saying. There must be something he was not saying. “Why would Padraig treat us like this?”

He looked past her. “It matters not. What does matter is that the O’Neill threatens us to the west.”

“When will Seamus and Ian return?” Her only unwed brothers had been away going on two years now.

Her father’s eyes rounded in pain. “I dinna wish to upset ye but yer brothers will not be returning. They died in battle against the O’Neill.”

Tisa cried out. “When?”

“We received the news spring last.”

“Again ye decide to keep this from me? Do ye think I am a child? If that is the way of it, ’tis because my own father kept me from the truths in life, shielding me as if I would break.”

“Ye brothers went against my wishes. My anger was at them, not ye.”

“Be angry then. Be sad. Be devastated! But dunna keep me from the truth.”

“A great loss.” Her father closed his eyes against the pain.

Her own heart cried out. They were much older than her as were her sisters. The MacNaughton’s were closer in age and felt more like family. Brighit was like her own little sister.

“I must make decisions that ye may not wish to abide by—but ye will. The O’Neill will not back down. We need an alliance with a strong clan. I need men I can count on, who will fight with me against them.”

“The MacNau—”

“They will not fight for us now. ‘Tis not their land that is threatened.” He shouted the words, his nostrils flaring. “They have broken our agreement, daughter. We are defenseless. Ronan was good enough to make a new alliance for us.”

“At what cost to us?” Tisa knew the answer as soon as she asked the question. The way Ronan had looked at her, assessing her worth as a mate.

“You will marry their tanist.”

“So I am to be exchanged for the promise of protection?”

“Ye will have a place of prominence in their clan.”

“I do not care about prominence! I want the life I had always been promised. The life I was raised for.”

“That life is gone, Tisa. This is the life ye will have.”

“I do not accept this…betrayal.”

“Ye have no choice.”

******

Blurb: 

Drogheda, Ireland 1076

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 married 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, 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 with Aodh who envisions himself the new Brian Boru, 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 over throw 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?

Buy Link: Amazon 

This ends our theme of “betrayal” excerpts for Medieval Monday. Watch for a brand new one coming soon! 

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Quote for the Week of April 17, 2015

Photo by John Morgan

Photo by John Morgan

“There are only two ways to approach life. As a victim or as a gallant fighter and you must decide if you want to act or react.”

–Merle Shain

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