Sexy Saturday ~ The Vikings

I can’t do it. I’ve tried. I have writer friends who are cranking out novels every couple of months. But I need more time. I feel productive if I can get a full-length novel out every six months. How to compete? Most readers are voracious and are devouring books as fast as they come out. My next book is not scheduled for release until June 1st, but never fear. The Vikings are here!
That’s right. I LOVE Vikings. AND I love erotica (shhh ~ that’s a secret). So to feed my passion and keep my fans interested between books, I’ve started an erotic series of Viking shorts. These are quick reads: 25-40 pages. The first two, Gunnar and Wulf, have been well received. I’ve gotten some great feedback. If you have half an hour or so, give one of them a try. But be warned: these stories are HOT, HOT, HOT!

BLURBS and BUY LINKS:

gunnar-cover-200-x-300Gunnar ~ Gunnar Sigurdsen needs a place for his band of Norsemen to hold up for the winter. An unguarded stronghold at the mouth of the Seine River is the perfect target. Oliana du Fossé waits helplessly for her brute of husband to claim her. She doesn’t realize she is being seduced by an invader from the north until it is too late. Will Gunnar and Oliana set aside their differences long enough to create a safe haven that just might last longer than a season?

 

wulf-cover-200-x-300Wulf ~ When her village is overrun by vicious barbarians from the north, Farin becomes a bed slave to the most savage of them all. Will her growing affection for her master’s friend get in the way of the revenge she has planned? After losing his wife and infant son, Wulf let his friends convince him to give up the life of a simple farmer and become a raider under the leadership of Gunnar Sigurdsen. Now they’ve captured a stronghold in Francia, fat with treasure and slaves. One slave in particular, a haunting image of Wulf’s wife, threatens to drive a wedge between him and his friend, a breech he cannot afford.

 

 

 

Medieval Monday ~ Lane McFarland

Our villain theme continues. This week, Lane McFarland is joining me to celebrate Medieval Monday. Lane writes historical romance, spanning the early Middle Ages through the American Civil War. While her books are fiction, each one is based on historical facts, and you will often see known figures such as William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, or The Red Comyn make guest appearances. Her books revolve around human struggles, sacrifices survivors are forced to make, and their resilience to live and thrive. Here is an excerpt from her book, Lindsey.

Lane McFarlandEXCERPT: Nerves stretched taut, sweat dribbled down her temples. She prayed the moisture didn’t cause the ash-paste that disguised her face to slide onto the bodice of her scratchy woolen gown. However uncomfortable, she wanted the soldiers to be put off by her ungainly appearance.

She peered over the railing and let her eyes adjust to the dim light at the bottom of the stairs. Ominous looking corridors ran in four directions like spokes of a wheel, with three English soldiers positioned in the center, huddled around a wooden crate.

One guard threw down several cards on the makeshift table and roared while slapping the soldier next to him on the back.

Another tossed his cards on the discarded pile. “I’m out.”

A high-pitched scream followed by agonized moans sent chills slithering down her spine. What evils did the darkened corridors hold? An urge to run back up the stairs and escape the nightmarish scene nearly overcame her. Instead, she inhaled a fortifying breath and took another step down.

Follow along next week by checking out Ruth A. Casie’s blog with excerpt #3 http://ruthacasie.blogspot.com/

BLURBThe Daughters of Alastair MacDougall Series ~ Set in late thirteenth century Scotland, this series tells the stories of Laird Alastair MacDougall’s four independent and oftentimes, headstrong daughters coming of age in a country fraught with war and feuds amongst rival clans. Follow his daughters as their lives become intertwined with four fierce, rebel highland warriors bent on eradicating the English soldiers from their homeland.

Lindsey ~ Who said life was fair? Certainly not Lindsey MacDougall. She rebels at a world dominated by men. Dressed in lad’s clothing, she manages her father’s stables, caring for, breeding and selling horses. Unwavering on performing her duty to the rebellion, Lindsey throws caution to the wind and secretly delivers missives behind enemy lines to the Scottish warriors.

Logan Ross uses his happy-go-lucky smile to warm the hearts of many willing lasses, but it also masks his pain—the pain of his birth. As a bastard son, he is unacceptable for any Laird’s daughter, including the spirited Lindsey MacDougall. However, she haunts his dreams. Determined to prove his worth, he throws himself into the middle of the rebellion, leading men into mortal danger.

After helping Logan escape from a brutal English dungeon, Lindsey fights her traitorous attraction to the virile highland warrior, vowing never to lose her heart to any man.

BUY LINK: Amazon

Medieval Monday ~ Lucan

We have a new theme and a new format for Medieval Monday. For the next few months, you’ll be treated to ongoing excerpts as you hop from one blog to another each week. Each of the Medieval Monday authors will post their excerpts today, then introduce you to some new authors in the posts that follow. If you’d like to get a glimpse (and a head start) on each of these fabulous Medieval Romances, you can follow the links at the bottom. Here is the first installment of my excerpt from Lucan.

Lucan_200x300EXCERPT: These men looked different than the others. Darker, more sinister. Power radiated from them that had been absent in the first wave of attackers. One of them looked familiar.

Lucan drew his brows together, confusion making him hesitate. “Fergus?” he breathed. He looked like Angus’ brother, but younger. “I saw ye die, by my own hand.”

This version of Fergus grinned, a gesture so purely evil, Màili gasped behind him. “Demon spawn,” she murmured.

Follow along next week by checking out Ruth A. Casie’s blog with excerpt #2 http://ruthacasie.blogspot.com/

BLURB: Neala Comyn, wife of a powerful laird, wants to end the pain and suffering of an abusive marriage. She is a woman without hope, believing God has forsaken her. When she is kidnapped by a rival laird who claims to be a god himself, her faith is further shaken. Could Lucan Munro be the salvation she has prayed for? Or will her sins condemn her to eternal damnation?

Lucan Munro, has the power of a Celtic god. He can conjure his heart’s desire from thin air. But can he save the woman he loves from a demon hell-bent on claiming her soul?

BUY LINKSClick Here

Check out all the Medieval Monday authors:

Lane McFarland ~ Rue Allyn ~ Sherry Ewing ~ Jenna Jaxon ~ Elisabeth Hobbes ~ Ashley York ~ Mary Morgan ~ Barbara Bettis ~ Laurel O’Donnell ~ Cathy MacRae ~ Ruth A. Casie

Medieval Monday ~ Ruth A. Casie

Our celebration theme is coming to an end as we prepare a new format for your Medieval Romance reading pleasure. Next up: Villains! How exciting!!! For our final celebration installment, I’m thrilled to introduce you to Ruth A. Casie. Ruth is a USA Today bestselling author of swashbuckling action-adventure time-travel romance about strong empowered women and the men who deserve them, endearing flaws and all. Her Druid Knight novels have both finaled in the NJRW Golden Leaf contest. Here is an excerpt from her Medieval Romance, The Druid Knight Tales.

Ruth CasieEXCERPT: She woke before sunrise refreshed by a good night’s sleep. After her morning routine she picked up her staff and joined the others at the standing stones. Today, the shortest day of the year, they would welcome the day and celebrate the sacred marriage between Father Sky and Mother Earth. She waited while Doward finished cleansing and purifying the area for the Grand Master.

Ellyn and the people from all the clans proceeded through the outer circle to the Cove and its three standing stones. Doward came up to her. “Another year. They seem to hurry by.”

A wave of unease washed over her. She hardly made out what Doward said. She was too busy trying to control her rising apprehension.

The clans formed a large circle around the stones and waited. The Grand Master walked down the wide avenue and took his place. He stood beside her. She had imagined his tall, commanding presence quite correctly.

Everyone in the large circle faced east and waited for the sun to peek over the horizon. Slowly sunlight crept up and bathed the central Cove stone with its first rays of light.

“Hail and welcome,” declared Max.

“Hail and welcome,” the clans around him responded.

In unison they faced the center of the large circle.

“Hail this new day and year. We remember those who have left us. And we welcome those who have joined us by marriage, birth, or simply by choice.” He nodded toward Ellyn. “Ellyn of Brodgar, we welcome you into Fendrel’s clan.”

“Thank you, Grand Master.” Ellyn’s voice carried loud and clear. She faced Fendrel. “Thank you for making a place for me at your hearth.”

The first part of the morning ritual completed, the circle broke. She followed Max and the others as they made their way to the great oak in the nearby grove.

“Are you familiar with this part of the ritual?” Doward asked.

“Yes. The Grand Master will enter the Otherworld and meet with the Ancestors.”

“There is more to the ritual,” Doward said. “To ensure a good year and banish evil, when the Grand Master returns with the message from the Ancestors, the women will cut down and collect springs of mistletoe from the sacred oak tree. The Grand Master will give the sprigs to the families in the clan for them to hang in their house.”

Everyone gathered around the ancient oak. Once again she and Doward stood in the great circle next to the Grand Master.

Max waited for quiet before he faced the east and raised his arms. “Hail, Guardians of the East. I summon the power of air.” His voice echoed through the grove.

“By the air in her breath, be with us now,” the congregation replied.

He turned to the south. “Hail, Guardians of the South. I summon the power of fire.”

“By the fire in her spirit, be with us now,” came the reply.

He faced the west. “Hail, Guardians of the West. I summon the power of water.”

“By the waters of her womb, be with us now.”

Turning north he said, “Hail, Guardians of the North. I summon the power of earth.”

“By the earth that is her body, be with us now.” Every eye turned to Max when he faced the ancient oak, mistletoe hanging in great bunches from its mighty branches.

“As above, so below.

As within, so without.

Four stars in this place be

To open the door to the Ancestors to me.”

The cold air chilled even more and the sky turned an array of colors. Every muscle in Ellyn’s body tensed. This was magick she was not supposed to see. She must be too close to the Grand Master. She struggled to move away but was fixed to the spot. Slowly the world began to spin. She took a few deep breaths to steady herself, planted her staff deep into the ground, and held on. She peered through a hazy filter and witnessed Doward’s nod. She studied his lips silently mouthing, Safe journey.

Blurb:

Maximilian, the druid Grand Master, was given a year to find his soul mate. On the final day, the sacred mistletoe has shriveled and died—proclaiming his failure. He must do what no other Grand Master has done before and journey to meet with the Ancestors formally relinquish his title.

Ellyn of Brodgar has the gift of healing. But each use of her magick, through a kiss, depletes her energy and brings her closer to death. Time is running out as she searches for a way to continue saving lives—especially her own.

Max and Ellyn are tossed into the Otherworld together—a place filled with magick and wonder, it’s also fraught with danger, traps, and death. They have only until the third sunset to find the Ancestors, or be lost to the world forever. The domineering druid must work with the stubborn healer, not only for survival, but for the promise of the future—a future together.

Included is an epilogue fifteen years later. See how the man destined for Max and Ellyn’s daughter takes the first steps in becoming a druid knight.

Arik, son of Fendrel and Dimia, prepares for training with his adopted brother, Bran, setting into motion a ripple effect that will carry love, betrayal, and death across the centuries.

Buy Link:

AMAZON

Medieval Monday ~ Cathy MacRae

My dear friend, Cathy MacRae, is visiting me today for Medieval Monday. Cathy is a best-selling author who enjoys weaving tales of romance in the Highland mists. Her stories feature strong heroes and feisty heroines in pursuit of their happy-ever-afters in medieval Scotland. Here is an excerpt from her Medieval Romance, The Highlander’s Reluctant Bride.

cathy-macraeAt a nod from the priest, Riona stepped forward, and Eaden placed her hand in Ranald’s. She glanced at him from beneath lowered lashes, her heart racing wildly.

“Lady Caitriona, do ye come here of yer own free will and accord, without let or hindrance, free of all moral and legal encumbrance, to enter into this contract?”

Riona inhaled a deep breath. “Aye.”

The priest’s voice droned on, and she and Ranald murmured the correct responses, pledging their troth.

“Laird Scott, will ye have Gilda as yer daughter, to act as father and counsel, granting her all the attendant rights, privileges and responsibilities?”

Riona’s gaze flew to Ranald. This was not part of any wedding ceremony she’d ever attended. What was Ranald promising?

He squeezed her hand reassuringly and motioned for Gilda to approach. Placing his palm on the child’s shining head, he faced Riona, his gaze compelling her to listen to his words.

“Aye. I will offer all this in love and custom, giving her place in law alongside such other children as may arise from this union.”

Riona barely heard the challenge from the priest for any to speak who had just cause to oppose the marriage. Nor could she stop the tears spilling down her cheeks as she strove to breathe past the lump in her throat. Before their wedding guests and God, Ranald had pledged to give her daughter all the benefits of his own children, and to love and provide for her always.

Ranald leaned close, brushing the back of a hand over her damp cheek. “Dearling, will ye say yer vows?”

Abruptly Riona realized the priest was staring expectantly at her and she gathered her scattered thoughts. She handed her bouquet of heather to Gilda and faced Ranald, taking both of his hands in hers.

“Ye are blood of my blood, and bone of my bone.” She lifted her gaze and found dark blue eyes burning into hers. “I give ye my body, that we two might be one. I give ye my spirit, ‘til our life shall be done.”

* * *

Ranald knew he had surprised Riona. By taking Gilda as his daughter, he pledged to his new wife the lass would never want for a home or honor. He meant also to prove they both would never lack for love. The trusting, earnest look in her eyes as she gave him her vows humbled him, and he answered her with a promise of his own.

“I pledge my love to ye, and everything I possess. I promise ye the first bite of my meat and the first sip from my cup. I pledge yer name will always be the name I cry aloud in the dead of night. I promise to honor ye above all others. The love we forge will be never-ending and we will remain, forevermore, equals in our marriage. This is my wedding vow to ye.”

The priest nodded and continued the ceremony as Ranald faced Riona, Gilda tucked between them. The lass rested against her mother’s gown, swinging her basket from one hand, back and forth, watching as petals drifted to the floor.

“Ye may kiss yer bride.”

“‘Tis the best part,” he replied softly, drawing an answering smile from her that lit her eyes. He lowered his head and touched his lips to hers. Riona leaned into his kiss, and his heart skipped to know she willingly sought him before the enormous crowd around them.

A subtle cough from the priest ended their pledge, and they parted, only to turn, cheek-to-cheek, to face the cheers of their guests.

Ranald straightened, pulling Riona against his side, a hand on Gilda’s shoulder. “‘Tis my privilege and honor to introduce ye to my wife and daughter. Together we invite ye to have a drink,” Ranald stared pointedly at a guest near the forefront of the crowd who already held a chalice in his hand, “as the tables are set for the banquet.”

Another cheer went up and people surged forward, congratulating them with hugs or kisses for Riona and a clout to the shoulder for Ranald.

The banquet was quickly readied and everyone found a seat. At Ranald’s left Eaden stood, raising his goblet in a bid for silence. Gradually the jovial noise subsided.

“I would be the first to make a toast. My brother has always been a lucky man, but he has outdone himself this time.”

He faced Ranald and Riona. “A thousand welcomes to ye with yer marriage. May ye be healthy all yer days. May ye be blessed with long life and peace, and may ye grow old with goodness and with riches.”

Slainte!” The cheer rose from every throat as Ranald lifted Riona’s hand and pressed a kiss to her fingers.

Blurb:

Determined to keep the Macrory clan’s holdings out of the clutches of the Lord of the Isles and marauding pirates, King Robert II sends his man, Lord Ranald Scott, to hold Scaurness Castle. There, Laird Macrory lays dying, awaiting word from his son who is missing on the battlefields of France. If the son is not found before the old laird dies, Ranald will take over as laird—and marry Laird Macrory’s headstrong daughter.

Lady Caitriona sees no reason she cannot rule the clan in her brother’s stead, and is bitterly disappointed with the king’s decision to send a man to oversee the castle and people. Not only is Ranald Scott only distantly related to the Macrory clan, but he was her childhood nemesis. She has little trust or like for him.

Her disappointment turns to panic when the king’s plan is completely revealed and she realizes she must wed Ranald. Pirates, treachery, and a four-year-old girl stand between her and Ranald’s chance at happiness. What will it take for them to learn to trust each other and find the love they both deserve?

Buy Link: Amazon

Medieval Monday ~ Barbara Bettis

I’m so excited to have award-winning author, Barbara Bettis, hanging out with me today for Medieval Monday. Barbara has always loved history and English. As a college freshman, she briefly considered becoming an archeologist until she realized there likely would be bugs and snakes involved. And math. She now lives in Missouri, where by day she’s a mild-mannered English teacher, and by night she’s an intrepid plotter of tales featuring heroines to die for—and heroes to live for. Here is an excerpt from her Medieval Romance, The Lady of the Forest.

barbara-bettisEXCERPT: In this excerpt, Henry has interrupted the wedding celebration at Stonehill Castle to challenge Mortimer’s right to marry Kate.

[Henry and his two friends] stalked into the hall where the lord held forth at the high table before the household left for the chapel. Kate sat at his right, the priest at his left.

“Sir Mortimer.” Henry’s voice boomed above the din. “Stand and answer my challenge.”

Mortimer lifted his head. “Lord Henry. Sit, break your fast before I wed my lady.” His oily tone did not match his hard set of jaw and narrowed eyes.

Henry ignored the words and continued across the floor. Mortimer rose but before he could speak, Henry leaped onto the dais.

“You have no right to demand Lady Katherine in marriage.” It took all Henry’s determination not to glance at Kate.

“I have an order from the king, granting me this holding and the lady as my bride.”

“I say the order does not exist.” A murmur rose from the people seated at the lower tables. Calling the lord a liar meant a fight. But no sounds arose of benches scraping back. Perhaps the soldiers awaited a signal. Henry stepped closer. “Produce this writ. Let me examine the seal.”

Dull red moved up Mortimer’s neck; his nostrils flared.

Henry sucked in a breath of satisfaction. He had him now. “You cannot. The people of Stonehill have been mistreated and their lady driven into hiding in fear for her life. You’ve lied and cheated, and you’ve taken part in a treasonous attempt to overthrow one of the king’s barons.”

He hadn’t known what to expect from Mortimer, but it wasn’t the self-satisfied upturn of the man’s mouth. Dread scraped a cold trail along Henry’s spine.

“You may be another baron and a pet of the king,” Mortimer said, “but that don’t make you always right, and that don’t keep you from facing a fight when you accuse an honest man of wrongdoing.”

He motioned to the priest, who stood and withdrew a section of parchment from a leather satchel beside him on the bench. It contained no seals.

Henry clenched his teeth. Why in the devil’s own hell hadn’t he considered the priest as the knight’s accomplice?

The churchman opened the document and at a nod from Mortimer, read. “Sir Mortimer of Corbeau, in gratitude for service, is granted the holding of Stonehill in Nottinghamshire…”

A loud buzzing in Henry’s ears blotted the words that followed. Satan’s backside! The writ existed. The parchment was stained and tattered, not the official document often used to dispense favors, but he’d seen Richard direct a clerk to scratch out such awards after a battle. They were rough and hurried, yet they carried the weight of the king’s power.

And they always carried his seal.

Where was the seal for this order?

BUY LINKS:

AMAZON TWRP

Medieval Monday ~ Mary Morgan

Happy New Year! I hope you’ve had a safe and enjoyable holiday season. We are still celebrating with Medieval Monday. My guest today is my dear friend Mary Morgan. Mary’s passion for books started at an early age along with an overactive imagination. She spent far too much time daydreaming and was told quite often to remove her head from the clouds. Thank the gods and goddesses she didn’t listen. It wasn’t until the closure of Borders Books where Mary worked that she found her true calling—writing romance. Now, the worlds she created in her mind are coming to life within her stories. Here is an excerpt from her Medieval Romance, A Magical Highland Solstice.

mary-morganExcerpt: Cormac’s stomach protested fiercely as he descended the stairs. He had eaten little on his journey with Eve—happily content to watch her munch on an apple, or nibble on bread and cheese. She chatted between bites, her hands flying about to match her liveliness. When she complained he had not eaten anything, he relented. He watched in fascination as she wedged cheese and apple slices between the two pieces of bread she tore off for him. It was the most glorious meal he had ever eaten. However, his heart almost stopped beating when she nearly cut her finger with his sgian dubh.

As he attempted to snatch the blade from her hand, she smacked him away, informing him she knew how to handle a knife.

He chuckled at the memory and nearly collided with the golden-haired beauty coming toward him.

“Yikes! I’m sorry, Cormac.” She grabbed his arm, trying to steady the trencher with her other hand.

He lifted the item from her hand as it was about to tumble free. “My pardons. My thoughts were elsewhere.” Inhaling the aroma, he asked, “Wild boar with mushrooms and onions?”

“You have guessed correctly, Laird Cormac.”

He arched a brow. “We are feasting grandly with only a few days before the Yule?”

Eve glanced over his shoulder and behind her before stepping close, as if she was about to pass along some great secret. “They’re experimenting with new mushrooms and herbs from Cathal. I heard it on good authority that a certain laird must approve the dish.” She gave him a wink.

Cormac inspected the dish and then lifted his finger.

“You wouldn’t dare,” she protested, smacking his hand away.

Lifting the trencher high over his head, he replied, “Remember, I am the laird, aye?”

Eve fisted her hands on her hips and glared at him. “And because you are the leader of the clan, you must show some respect.”

His gaze raked over her face and settled on her lips. “I will concede defeat, but only if ye grant me a kiss.”

Her cheeks flushed as she looked around the corridor. “Here?”

“Aye.” As Cormac stepped closer, Eve moved backward.

“What if…someone sees us?”

Cormac’s smiled turned predatory. “All I asked for was a kiss, nae to plunder your body.”

When her back hit the wall, she parted her lips. “One kiss only?”

He arched a brow, understanding her meaning. “I beg for only one. Yet, later, I shall demand many more.”

“Then take your kiss, my laird,” she whispered.

Slowly, Cormac lowered his mouth to hers, and a moan of pleasure slipped through her lips. Powerful, hungry desire spiraled through him as her tongue invaded him, seeking, stroking. He growled, taking all she had to offer. When one of her hands wrapped around his neck, he deepened the kiss. He was lost in her touch, her lips, and Cormac burned for more.

Finally breaking free, Cormac found he was the one trembling.

“Is your arm getting tired?” she asked, breathing heavily as her hand slipped across his shoulder.

“Nae.”

She gave him a gentle push back and stepped away from his embrace. “Good. I’ll relieve you of the trencher, though I’ll make sure to place it near you.”

Obliging, Cormac handed her the trencher of food. As he strolled away, he said, “Ye may inform Moira and the others I approve of the meat.”

Eve glanced over her shoulder at him. “Now why would I lie? You haven’t tasted the food?”

“Och, but I have, fair Eve. From your lips.”

“You’re incorrigible.”

Cormac roared with laughter. “I shall leave it to ye to help me make amends for my bad habits, Lady Eve.”

She snorted and walked into the Great Hall.

“By the hounds…what have ye done to me, sweet lass?”

Blurb: Laird Cormac Murray has witnessed how love destroyed his own father after the death of his mother, and he vows to never take a wife. Yet, when he comes upon a bewildered lass traveling alone, he finds his heart will no longer listen to his mind. In the end, Cormac risks everything to claim the love of a woman not of his time.

Eve Brannigan loves helping others and baking. After winning a contest, she is stunned to learn that the Clan Murray has requested her assistance to cater to their guests during the holiday season. When a lost path in Scotland leads her to a handsome but gruff Highlander, Eve fights the temptation to allow love to enter her heart for the first time.

Can the Fae and the magic of the Yule season bring together two souls who have forsaken love? Or will tragedies from the past separate the lovers forever?

Buy Links: Amazon   BN   Kobo   Apple iBooks