#MedievalMonday16 ~ Conflict in the Joust from Jenna Jaxon

In her book, Time Enough to Love, Jenna Jaxon brings us a classic and well researched example of the joust, a stylized but very deadly form of combat. Please leave a comment for Jenna to let her know what you think of her excerpt.

JENNAjaxonEXCERPT:  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  

#Medieval Monday16, Conflict in Silverhawk by Barbara Bettis

Today, author Barbara Bettis visits us with an excerpt from her medieval romance, Silverhawk. Please leave her a comment and let her know what you think of the excerpt.

Silverhawk--new+cover (1)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.

Excerpt: 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.

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.”

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

#MedievalMonday16 Conflict in Dragon Knight’s Shield by Mary Morgan

Cover Art for Mary Morgan's Dragon Knight's ShieldThis week’s #MedievalMonday16 guest is Mary Morgan giving us a sample of conflict from her newest release Dragon Knight’s Shield.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Does that upset you?”

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

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

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

“Tell me about your relic, Angus?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blurb:

Angus MacKay, leader of the Dragon Knights, failed his brothers and his clan upon the death of his sister. Now he must fight the darkness of despair tempting his soul. Back on Scottish soil, he comes face to face with Deirdre who can wield a sword as mightily as his warriors, and he takes her captive. Yet, with each passing day, the fire dragon inside him roars to claim the one woman fate has destined for him.

Famed mystery writer, Deirdre Flanagan, is unprepared for the next chapter in her life. On a vacation to Scotland, she steps through the mists and enters into a skirmish alongside a Highlander. However, the fight has only begun, and now she must battle Angus as well as evil in order to claim the love of this Dragon Knight.

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

Buy Links:

Amazon  Apple iBooks   Barnes&Noble Nook   Kobo   The Wild Rose Press

US VETERAN DIANA COSBY–MAY 2nd

Cover art for Forbidden Legacy a Scottish medieval romance by Diana Cosby.During the months of May, June and July, the Author Travels blog will be honoring U. S. military veterans. All of these vets are authors (some published, some not), but they are my sisters in arms and visiting with them to learn about their life journeys is the best way I know to say thank you to some very special people. Please welcome our first veteran visiting author, Diana Cosby (USN Ret.).

Thank you so much, Rue, for having me as a guest on the Author Travels blog.

You are most welcome, Diana, and thank you for answering questions about your life and careers for our readers.

Q:  What moved you to enlist in the Navy and stay until retirement?

A:  With my dad retiring from the Navy, I grew up a military brat, which meant continual moves during my youth; I’m currently on move #34.  As I neared graduation, I wanted to continue to see the world, and I joined the Navy as a meteorologist/oceanographer.  I enjoyed the travel, meeting so many incredible people, and forecasting weather, so I decided to make the Navy a career.

Q:  Would you recommend enlisting to high school graduates today? Why or why not?

A:  I believe a tour in the military should be a venue considered by anyone preparing to graduate.  In addition to exposure to different cultures along with travel, military training provides a solid decision making foundation that will serve a person throughout their life.

Q:  While living in Europe you acquired an interest in the middle ages. What place or part of European life sparked that interest?

A:  I had the sincere pleasure of a tour in Rota, Spain.  The culture, and people, and rich history were incredible, and it’s one of my all-time places to have lived.   My interest in the middle ages was sparked by a combination of my experience while living in Spain along with traveling through Western Europe.

Q:  Are you bothered by ‘inaccuracies’ in historical fiction (or any other type of fiction)? Or do you concur with those who claim, ‘Accuracy is unimportant in fiction’?

A:  When I write my Scottish medieval romantic suspense, I work hard to ensure any historical events mentioned are true to the best of my ability.

Q:  You are very involved in a number of charitable causes including The National Trust for Scotland, Habitat for Humanity, the Semper Fi Fund, Homes for Our Troops, and The Navy SEAL Foundation. You are definitely leading by example.  Please tell us about one of your favorite charities and how we could get involved.

A:  Giving back is important to me, and I’m honored to share that I’ve joined with Habitat For Humanity for, Diana Cosby’s Romance Reader’s Build A Habitat For Humanity Home.  This fundraiser is an amazing opportunity for romance readers to join together to give a deserving family more than just a home, but provide a foundation on which to start their future and build their dreams.

Goal: Raise $55,000 to build a Habitat For Humanity Home. Now—$7,600!

Exciting news:  We’re only $6260 away from having enough to build two bedrooms and a bathroom!

*Note: All donations, Paypal or via mail, go directly to the Grayson County, TX. Habitat For Humanity.  Please note on your donation:  ‘For the Romance Readers HFH House.’

Q:  Do you think fictional characters should be involved in similar efforts? How might that enhance or detract from a reader’s enjoyment of a romance?

A:  As I tend to write trilogy’s or series, often secondary characters will have their own book, or a hero in one story will appear in as a secondary character in a later novel

Q:  Please tell us about your most recently released book, how we can purchase it, and how we can leave a review.

A:   Fascinated by the Knights Templars, I was thrilled at the opportunity to write The Forbidden Series.  After hundreds of years, many questions remain of where the Templars fled, what treasure they took, and how were so many valiant knights able to disappear without a trace? In The Forbidden Series, I weave my character’s journey, where they face challenges, and in the end fall in love, around these questions and more.

About Forbidden Legacy – book #1 Stephan & Katherine:

A Knight Templar, Sir Stephan MacQuistan desires no bride, only vengeance for a family lost and a legacy stolen.  A profound twist of fate tears apart the brotherhood he loves, but offers him an opportunity to reclaim his legacy – Avalon Castle.  Except to procure his childhood home along with a place to store Templar treasures, he must wed the unsuspecting daughter of the man who killed his family. To settle old scores, Stephan agrees while aware Katherine is but a pawn in a dangerous game, not a woman he will ever love.

*Reviews are always deeply appreciated, and your comments can be left where you purchase my story.

Thank you very much for taking the time to participate in my 3 month thank you to the military veterans.

Rue, thank you for inviting me as your guest.  I thank you for your service to our country.  And, another thanks to your readers for stopping by.  Take care, and I wish each of you the very best.

Diana Cosby, AGC(AW), USN Ret.

International Best-Selling Author

www.dianacosby.com

The Oath Trilogy

MacGruder Brother Series

Forbidden Series: Book #1 Forbidden Legacy — 16 August 2016

About Diana Cosby:

A retired Navy Chief, Diana Cosby is an international bestselling author of Scottish medieval romantic suspense.  Books in her award-winning MacGruder Brothers series are translated in five languages.  Diana has spoken at the Library of Congress, Lady Jane’s Salon in NYC, and appeared in Woman’s Day, on USA Today’s romance blog, “Happy Ever After,” MSN.com, Atlantic County Women Magazine, and Texoma Living Magazine.

After her career in the Navy, Diana dove into her passion – writing romance novels. With 34 moves behind her, she was anxious to create characters who reflected the amazing cultures and people she’s met throughout the world.  With the release of the third book in The Oath Trilogy and the e Box Set of the MacGruder Brothers series, she is now preparing for the release of the first book in The Forbidden Series, Forbidden Legacy, on 16 August 2016!

Diana looks forward to the years of writing ahead and meeting the amazing people who will share this journey.

OH MY! Just a little side trip, then back to Scotland

I just received the cover for Knight Errant (release date August 17, 2015) from my publisher. I would do anything to be able to travel to Palermo, Rome, Northumbria in 1294, or any other time and place, if I could meet this guy. He’s the embodiment of Sir Robert Clarwyn a knight-errant in service to Edward I. Robert is tasked to retrieve the adventurous (and somewhat rebellious) Lady Juliana Verault so their king can hand her over in marriage to an unsuspecting Scot. Robert pitys the poor man, until he meets and gets to know Juliana.
KEcover

Isn’t he absolutely gorgeous?

By the way, this news went out first to subscribers of Rue Allyn’s Very Occasional Newsletter. If you’d like to receive this announcement only communique click here to subscribe.