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.

#MedievalMonday ~ Mary Morgan

I’ve made some wonderful friends since I hooked up with this fabulous group of Medieval Romance Writers. Today I’m visited by an author who is near and dear to my heart, 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. Here is an excerpt from one of my all-time favorite books, Dragon Knight’s Shield.

EXCERPT: “Stop!” shrieked Lachlan. “She will die if ye take another step. Drop your weapons and kneel on the ground.”

Angus had no choice, so he dropped to the ground. “Do as he commands,” he ordered his brothers. The blood pounded in his head, watching as tears slipped down Deirdre’s face. Did he not swear to protect her? Where was his honor, as the stench of fire filled his being and Lachlan’s words continued to mock him?

Follow along next week by checking out Ruth A. Casie’s blog with my excerpt #9 http://ruthacasie.blogspot.com/

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 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?

BUY LINKS:  Amazon Barnes Noble Kobo Apple iBooks

Sexy Saturday ~ Wrath of the Fire God

I hope your weekend is off to a great start. If you’re in the mood for a Hot Historical Romance, I have an excerpt from my debut, Wrath of the Fire God. Here’s a teaser.

Wrath of the Fire God CoverEXCERPT: Aemilia found Marcus pacing her room. He had pulled the coverlet from the bed and wrapped it around his waist, hiding his nudity. When she walked in, he dropped it, thank the gods, and rushed over, grabbing both of her hands. The panicked look in his eyes frightened her.

“You must listen to me,” he said. The little lump at the front of his throat twitched. “You are in danger. We must flee before – ”

“Shhh.” She brushed disheveled waves of hair from his brow and cupped his cheek against her palm. Rising up on her tiptoes, she pressed her lips to his.

Fire! Lightning! Minerva’s tit! Had a kiss ever affected her like that? While the kiss turned her insides to porridge and made it impossible to draw breath, it seemed to have the opposite effect on him. He calmed, but only slightly. When she pulled away, he stared at her with a tormented expression. Not the reaction she hoped for.

Why was he so worried? What was this doom he spoke of? “Did you eat?” She moved to inspect the tray of food she had brought in earlier.

It remained untouched.

She picked up the tray with one hand and took his in the other. “Come. You’ll feel better after you’ve eaten and had a bath.”

Marcus reached for the coverlet, but she pulled him away with a grin. “You will not need that. The garden room is just outside my door.”

Despite her reassurance, he hesitated, peering out into the garden. His jaw dropped at the sight of the larger than life marble statue of the goddess. His gaze scanned the perimeter. She tried to see the garden as though for the first time.

Bees zigzagged from one blossom to another. Every possible shade of green was represented in the abundance of plants growing there. She inhaled the scent of flowers. A bench sat at one end, surrounded by lush foliage.

Beautiful. Tranquil.

Seeing no one, Marcus reluctantly let her lead him outside and into the adjacent room that took up this corner of their house. Steam rose from the pool of water, creating a swirling mist inside the garden room. Her hair curled about her face like snakes on Medusa’s head. Luticia had strewn herbs across the surface of the water. The scent of sage and fennel permeated the thick air.

She led Marcus across the mosaic floor to the steps leading down into the pool and set the food tray on the edge. Despite his anxiety, he lowered himself to the bench built around the walls and looked up at her. Gentle waves rose to his chest, lapping softly against the muscles there, as he disturbed the pool.

She licked her lips, watching sun rays from the skylight overhead hit the water and make waves of light that rippled over his tanned skin. He looked better than she thought he would. And vulnerable in a way that tugged at her heart.

Pulling in her stomach and thus insuring her breasts rose and fell as she breathed, she loosened the belt at her waist and slipped her tunic over her shoulders.

Marcus rewarded her with a sharp gasp as the snow white garment slid down her body and pooled at her feet. She stood still, savoring the power she felt as he admired her. At her advancing age, she had to work harder to maintain her tight body. But the look on Marcus’ face made all her efforts worthwhile.

She watched his face as she walked to the steps and descended into the steaming pool. Before the water even covered the tops of her thighs, her auburn curls began to swirl around on the surface. She had never cut it. She loved the luxurious feel of it down her back. And what man could resist the seductive power of a lustrous mane.

By the time she stepped onto the floor of the pool, the water reached her waist. She walked toward him, her movements as languid as the ripples on the surface of the water. He barely seemed to breathe as she drew closer. Resting her knees on the bench on either side of his thighs, she straddled him. He encircled her waist with rough, calloused hands, the hands of a man who worked hard, a strong man.

She closed her eyes, draped her arms over his broad shoulders and allowed a quiet moan to escape her lips as she leaned toward him. She had always loved a strong man, regardless of Mother’s philosophy.

He accepted her kiss, sliding his hands up her back, twisting his fingers in her hair and desperately crushing her lips to his. The instant their lips met, she ignited; burning with hunger she prayed would not go unsatisfied. Shocked at the raw heat lancing through her body, she drew back. Her eyes searched his. He felt it, too. She recognized desire smoldering there. It made the fire within her burn even stronger.

But something else lurked behind those golden eyes. Not fear, exactly. It reminded her of a fallen gladiator, awaiting the crowd’s decision, his fate the whim of the spectators surrounding him. Life or death. The decision no longer his.

Marcus pulled her lips back to his, kissed her as though she alone held his fate.

Her decision came without question.

BLURB: Marcus Valente, a twenty-first century volcanologist, was collecting data near the crater of the volcano when a tremor knocked him to the ground and sent him rolling down the side. When Aemilia rescues him, he gets his first sight of the city. A glittering, thriving Pompeii and not the two thousand-year-old ruins he expects. Marcus decides he must be in a bizarre dream, one where Mount Vesuvius has yet to erupt. He soon discovers that the most famous volcanic eruption in history is less than twenty-four hours away.

Aemilia Nautius would never have guessed that fleeing for her life could be so exciting. The volcano Vesuvius cannot compare to the inferno about to erupt within her. Especially when the man who comes to her rescue is hotter than the Fire God himself.

BUY LINKS: Amazon ~ B&N

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 ~ 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