#MedievalMonday ~ Mask of the Highlander

It’s our last round of Medieval Monday for this session. We will have a new theme and start up again in just a few weeks. In the interim, I’ll be plying you with more Medieval Romance to stock your TBR pile (or folder ;-). For this finale, I’m giving you the excerpt from Mask of the Highlander in its entirety.  Peace and Love, gods and goddesses!

Kenna stood rooted to the spot, just inside the door of her husband’s bed chamber. Little had changed. The hearth, cold and dark, gaped like the maw of Satan, large enough to consume any unsuspecting human who ventured too close. The bed to which he had bound her sat against the far wall. The blood-stained linens long since replaced. A trunk, where he kept his instruments of torture, stood at the foot, an ominous reminder of what lay in store for her.

Mrs. Dingwell cleaned the room regularly, but the air reeked of a mustiness brought on by disuse. There was an unearthly silence to the granite walls, hung with faded tapestries and notched with arrow slits at random intervals. A single window let in light from outside, but it was not enough to chase away the gloom. Or the memories.

Kenna choked back a sob. The last time she had been in this room, she had prayed for her own death. Now she pleaded silently for the Lord to strike Ty Vass dead where stood. She fantasized about stepping over his dead body, leaving it to whither and rot while she returned to her duties, running the household, raising her daughter, overseeing the welfare of the people she had come to love in the laird’s absence.

When that did not happen, she gave in to her debilitating fear and gave up trying to remain calm. She shook so hard, she worried her knees would give way. Just a few hours ago, she had been at peace, content in the belief that her husband would never return, and they could live out their days in peace. Oh, the difference in such a short time.

She yelped when his hands closed around her shoulders from behind. He gave them a gentle squeeze and rubbed his palms down her arms.

“Ye are trembling, lass.”

She was surprised by his gentleness. He almost seemed to be…comforting her. Indeed, his entire demeanor since arriving had hardly been what she expected. He had smiled more than once, a real smile. Not some sadistic grin that spoke of unvoiced threats, but a genuine smile that lit up his face and revealed a man glad to be home. He had tried to tousle Robby’s hair and had even teased Mrs. Dingwell. The housekeeper had actually blushed.

Kenna tried to relax, but found it impossible to do so. His touch did not threaten to leave marks, but worse was yet to come. She was sure of it. What game did he play at?

Unable to speak past the lump in her throat, all she could do was swallow hard and dig deep for any vestige of courage she could muster. She forced her thoughts to Isla. Kenna would suffer any torment to distract Ty from her existence. She would keep her secret as long as possible, trusting Mrs. Dingwell to keep her daughter out of sight.

“Why so afraid?” he asked. His continued stroking of her arms only increased her discomfort. He glanced around the room. “It does not seem so bad.”

His flippant dismissal of her distress infuriated her. Was he so daft as to think she had forgotten the abuse he meted out? She had survived more in three days that most women suffered in a lifetime, had lived through the suffering and pain and come out stronger. Kenna was struck with the sudden realization that she was no longer the weakling he left broken and battered five years ago. His brutal treatment of her body, and her survival of it, had given her a strength she had not realized she possessed until perhaps this very moment.

She jerked away from him, empowered—albeit frightfully so—by his surprise. She glared at him with the full might of a woman capable of commanding grown men to do her bidding, smart enough to run a large, complex household, and brave enough to protect those she loved. “Ye dare make light of the suffering ye inflicted?”

His dark brows drew together. Confusion crossed his features. Had he forgotten?

Impossible.

“Ye bound me to this very bed, brutally plowing through my maidenhead, laughing at my cries for mercy.”

Kenna’s chest rose and fell with the strength of her ardor. Further empowered by his silence, she continued her tirade. “For three days, I suffered at the hands of the very man who should have been my greatest champion, who instead treated me worse than the lowliest whore. Ye turned what should have been the happiest days of my life into a nightmare. I was a girl, an innocent.”

By now the muscle in his jaw twitched with gusto. His handsome features were clouded with fury. She ignored the warning in her head, and surged ahead. “Now ye return home, expecting your wife to greet you with open arms—and legs, no doubt—while ye callously belittle the torture ye inflicted in this very room.”

Shut up, shut up, shut up, a tiny voice screamed inside her head. You will only make it worse. But Kenna could not stop, despite the every-growing rage that seemed to render him speechless and the certainty that he would punish her for her insolence.

Perhaps she, too, had forgotten. Had her recollection faded over the years? Had she lived with such fear until now it was little more than a faded memory, its intensity diminished by time? She stood taller, squaring her shoulders and fixing him with a look of disdain that would make most men shuffle their feet and look away in shame.

His expression, however, did not reveal a man ashamed of his actions. Only a devil, enraged at being dressed down by a wisp of a lass and plotting the best ways to punish her.

Kenna clenched her fists at her sides, wishing she had a blade hidden in the folds of her smock. She glared at him, her eyes locked on his despite the murderous rage she saw there. “Do with me as ye will. It is yer right as my husband. But know this: I willna cower in fear of ye. Not again. I willna suffer yer abuse submissively. You will have to kill me this time.”

BLURB: Once she was afraid to touch him. Now she’s afraid to let go.

Forced to marry to avoid war between clans, Kenna Cleary endured three days of her new husband’s painful brutality before he rode off to battle the English. In the five years of his absence, she bore him a daughter, increased his holdings, and gained the love and respect of his people. Now he’s home. Must she and the clan learn to endure his cruelty once more?

Can an ancient Celtic god find peace in the mortal world?

The Laird of Domhnul has returned from war a changed man—moreso than his wife or clan can possibly know. Now the warrior faces a new battle, one for his wife’s heart, and his peoples’ trust. He must walk the knife’s edge of deception and danger, while proving he is no longer the cruel tyrant they came to know all too well.

But when his father embroils both them in a deadly plot, can the couple find a way to prevent war between the clans?

BUY LINK: Amazon

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#NewRelease ~ Mask of the #Highlander

It’s here! After weeks of rewriting, the new, expanded version of Mask of the Highlander is here. I realized I had not taken advantage of the prequel by packing it with all the information needed to set up the Gods of the #Highlands series and lay the foundation for the world I had built. So, I went back to the drawing board and added another 40,000 words. That’s about 125 more pages, if you’re counting. I’m thrilled to present the 2nd edition of my Paranormal Romance, Mask of the Highlander, for the low price of #99cents. Here is an excerpt.

Time stood without end. It seemed an eternity, an eternity in the darkest pit of hell, passed as she stared down at his expectant face. He had never kissed her, much less asked her for anything. He took what he wanted, with as much pain and suffering as he could inflict with the taking. Kissing had not been a demand he had made of her during those three days of hell.

Kenna swallowed the bile that rose to the back of her throat. She bit down on her bottom lip to stop its trembling. She glanced around the baily. Expectant faces loomed all around her, waiting to see what would happen. The entire household knew of his mistreatment of her. He was cruel to everyone, but her cries for mercy must surely have been heard during those first days. Thankfully, no one had ever mentioned it, saving her the humiliation of having to face her brutalization out loud.

Get your copy of Mask of the Highlander by clicking here. Only $0.99 for a limited time.

BLURBOnce she was afraid to touch him. Now she’s afraid to let go.

Forced to marry to avoid war between clans, Kenna Cleary endured three days of her new husband’s painful brutality, unaware of his demon heritage. Leaving her for dead, he rode off to battle the English. In the five years of his absence, she bore him a daughter, increased his holdings, and gained the love and respect of his people. Now he’s home. Must she and the clan learn to endure his cruelty once more?

Can an ancient Celtic god find peace in the mortal world?

The Laird of Domhnul has returned from war a changed man—moreso than his wife can possibly know. Now the warrior faces a new battle, one for his wife’s heart, and his peoples’ trust. He must walk the knife’s edge of deception and danger, all while learning to manage the supernatural power flaring inside him and discovering a heritage he never imagined.

But when his father embroils both them in a deadly plot, can the couple find a way to prevent war between their clans?

BUY LINK: Click Here

#MedievalMonday ~ Judith Sterling

Six more weeks of winter. I’m not sure I can stand it. I love summer, partly because for the past twenty years I’ve taught school in my spare time. These days I long for summer. I only know one way to combat the winter blues and that’s with a good book. And what kind of book is better than a Medieval Romance? Today, Judith Sterling is visiting the forest. Judith’s love of history and passion for the paranormal infuse everything she writes. Born in that sauna called Florida, she craved cooler climes, and once the travel bug bit, she lived in England, Scotland, Sweden, Wisconsin, Virginia, and on the island of Nantucket. Today she is sharing an excerpt from her new release, Shadow of the Swan.

From the other high-backed chair, Robert eyed the pie that lay unprotected on the table between them. “Do you plan to eat that?”

A predator drawn to his prey. She shrugged. “I suppose not. Do you want it?”

“I thought you’d never ask.” He attacked the food.

Follow along next week at Jenna Jaxon’s blog: http://www.jennajaxon.wordpress.

BLURB: Lady Constance de Bret was determined to be a nun, until shadows from the past eclipsed her present.  Marriage is the safest option, but she insists on a spiritual union, in which physical intimacy is forbidden.  Not so easy with a bridegroom who wields unparalleled charm!  But a long-buried secret could taint his affection and cloak her in shadow forever.

Back from the Crusades, Sir Robert le Donjon craves a home of his own and children to inherit it.  From the moment he meets Constance, he feels a mysterious bond between them.  When she’s threatened, he vows to protect her and agrees to the spiritual marriage, with the hope of one day persuading her to enjoy a “real” one.  She captivates him but opens old wounds and challenges everything he thought he believed.

Two souls in need of healing.  Two hearts destined to beat as one.

BUY LINKS:   Amazon   B&N   Wild Rose Press

#MedievalMonday ~ Mary Morgan

I’m so happy today to welcome, the best friend I never met, 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. 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. If you enjoy history, tortured heroes, and a wee bit of magic, then time-travel within the pages of her books. Mary is the author of the fabulous Dragon Knights series, and today she is sharing an excerpt from my favorite, Dragon Knight’s Axe.

An identity revealed…

Her mouth parted slightly. “And you? Who are you?”

He leaned toward her. “Does it matter?”

“Yes.”

“I am called the Dubh Dragon, but ye can call me Alastair. Now, may we leave?”

No! Fiona’s mind screamed at her. He couldn’t be. Could he? She shook her head in confusion.

“Impossible.”

Alastair blinked. Then he threw back his head and laughed. Afterwards, he spread his arms wide. “Och, little bird, I am indeed the Dubh Dragon.”

Follow along next week on Ruth A. Casie’s blog: https://www.RuthACasie.blogspot.com

Leave a comment for a chance to win a digital copy of Dragon Knight’s Axe by Mary Morgan.

BLURB: Alastair MacKay, a battled-scarred Dragon Knight flees to the sea to separate himself from his fae-given power connecting him to the land. But it is on land that he rescues a woman from a slave trader in Ireland. It is through Fiona he steps back inadvertently into a world filled with magic—taking on the role of protector and at the same time leading him on a journey to confront his greatest regret and fears.

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

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

BUY LINKAmazon  B&N  Kobo  iBooks

Medieval Monday ~ Sherry Ewing

Greetings, gods and goddesses. When I was younger, people told me that time seems to speed up as you get older. How right they were! Thank the gods we have time-travel fiction to aid us in slowing it down. One of my favorites is by Sherry Ewing. Sherry picked up her first historical romance when she was a teenager and has been hooked ever since. A bestselling author, she writes historical & time travel romances to awaken the soul one heart at a time. Here is an excerpt from her Medieval Time-travel, For All of Ever.

She tripped on the blanket she had been sitting on, but quickly regained her footing to stand afore him although ’twas done somewhat shakily. He got control over his steed and slid from the saddle, giving his mount’s neck a calming pat. It seemed placated as it now stood still as stone.

Riorden removed his gauntlets and placed them on the saddle. To say that he was hesitant to come too close to this ghostly apparition was an understatement. As he drew closer, Riorden tried to conceal his shock when he saw the woman had her oddly shaped hose rolled up, exposing her ankles. As he gazed at her feet peeking through the sand, he backed up, thinking perchance she was plagued with some sort of malady since her toes were oddly colored. Still, he could not take his eyes from her although, in truth, she was but a vague transparent vision and, mayhap, merely a figment of his imagination.

Catch next week’s episode at Lane McFarland’s blog.

BLURB:  Sometimes to find your future, you must look to the past…

Katherine Wakefield has dreamed and written of her knight in shining armor all her life. Never finding a man to measure up to the one of her imagination, she and her three closest friends take a dream vacation to England. Yet, strange things begin happening while visiting Bamburgh Castle, but how could they have known they’d find themselves thrown back more than eight hundred years into the past?

Riorden de Deveraux travels to Bamburgh answering the summons of King Henry II knowing his past life is about to catch up with him. But nothing prepares him for the beautiful vision of a strangely clad ghost who first appears in his chamber, let alone the fact he begins having a conversation with her.

Centuries are keeping them apart until Time gives them a chance at finding love. But there are obstacles threatening the fragile bit of hope that Riorden and Katherine can remain together. Will the past of one consume what their future may hold, or will Time take the decision from them and hurtle Katherine forward to where she truly belongs?

BUY LINKS:    Amazon US Amazon AU  Amazon CA  Amazon UK

Medieval Monday ~ Mask of the Highlander

The goddess has heard the cries for more: more story, more character, more detail. More. More. More. In response, the first five stories in the Gods of the Highlands saga is going away. That’s right, as of September 1st, publication will cease. But never fear, the goddess will not stay hidden for long. Mask of the Highlander, the prequel to the series, will be re-released with 35, 000 words of new material. Included is a prologue that sheds light on why the goddess Arduinna hid Ioeannan away in the Highlands, the catalyst that sets the saga in motion. This full-length novel heralds the rebirth of of the entire series, with a new edition being released every other month between now and Summer 2018. Subscribers to my newsletter received the prologue in its entirety. Not a subscriber? You can sign up here. For now, here is a sneak peak.

The Ardennes Forest – a thousand years after the birth of the Son

Arduinna emerged from the trees for the first time in four hundred years. She had not seen Demona in at least a dozen millennia and curiosity had gotten the better of her. Why would the wife of Borvo, the god of warm springs, summon her? They were not friends, not even in the old days, when the entire pantheon had lived a carefree existence, foolishly believing humans would worship them forever. Arduinna had at first feigned disinterest but she could no more lie to herself than she could the small contingent of fairies that flitted around her like annoying little mosquitoes.

She sauntered through what remained of the village, towering over the few humans she passed. Most of them kept their eyes downcast. Others, bolder, gaped openly, waving their hands before them to make a sign that had been in existence long before it came to symbolize the sacrifice made by the Son.

She chuckled. Humans would be pagans until the end of time.

Sign up for my newsletter to read the full prologue and be entered to win an Amazon gift certificate and be one of the first to get word of the release of the NEW Mask of the Highlander.

Medieval Monday ~ Why Mary Morgan Writes Medieval Romance

Happy Memorial Day! School is out, and I’m looking forward to spending the summer being a writer. So it’s fitting that today I’m hosting one of my best friends, fellow writer 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. 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. Read further to hear the journey that led her to writing romances set in the Middle Ages.

I’ve often been asked this question, “Why Medieval romance? Why not Regency, Victorian, or Western?” In truth, I love them all, but my heart belongs to one. It started when my fingers opened a book about the great Irish King, Brian Boru (941-1014A.D.). His story is legendary, especially with the people of Ireland. King Brian led the Irish to the peak of their Golden Age—from poetry, arts, saints, and scholars. A spark ignited within my soul for more.

I sought out tales of knights in shining armor and folk heroes, delving into a life teeming with richness, though at times harsh and violent. Yet, it wasn’t until I devoured the history of Brian Boru that I became immersed in medieval life. From there, I treasured tales of life in castles, traveling on horseback, studying foods and herbs. My list is endless and always growing on medieval ways. Yes, there are even days when I long to travel back in time and explore the history, lore, and beliefs.

Therefore, when it came time to pen my own stories, it only made sense for me to place them all in a medieval setting. One might say I live vicariously through my characters. It’s a love affair with all things medieval.

For more about my stories, please visit my book page: http://www.marymorganauthor.com/books

Bio: Award-winning Scottish paranormal romance author, Mary Morgan, resides in Northern California, with her own knight in shining armor. However, during her travels to Scotland, England, and Ireland, she left a part of her soul in one of these countries and vows to return.