#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

Jessie Clever Takes Us ‘Inevitably’ to London

JessieCleverheadshot

Pleases welcome Jessie Clever, author of Inevitably a Duchess. Jessie adds a London library to our travels. Here’s Jessie.

I’m proud to own a passport littered with stamps, but when I began writing Jane and Richard’s story, I didn’t travel far for it wasn’t the location that was important in this story.  The story unfolds in London as many historical romances do.  Having been blessed to live in the UK for a time, London will always hold a special place in my memory, but it’s a more special place that drew me to this story.

It was a library.

Specifically, the Duke of Lofton’s library.  A grand space in a London townhouse, a place that is at once well-appointed and yet cozy, welcoming, and warm.  A room surrounded by shelves of those things we love (books!), and filled with the light and love of a young family.  It was in this room that I set the stage for a story of second chance, of daring to love once more.

I will be the first to admit that I am a fan of the romances that include sweeping moors and courageous adventures across angry seas.  But there was something about this story that demanded a more intimate setting.  Settings sometimes get lost in the rich texture of the story, but I believe a setting is another tool an author can use to build the story, another layer to give the story vibrancy.  And for Jane and Richard, there is nothing better than a room that promises more than meets the eye.

Cover Art for Inevitably a DuchessInevitably a Duchess: A Spy Series Novella by Jessie Clever, 2014 Golden Leaf Finalist

Blurb: Lady Jane Haven had to find a reason to survive, a purpose to carry on when it seemed God would not just let her die. Widowed after an abusive marriage, Jane seeks solace in the arms of the one man she has always loved. But her scars run deep, and the physical comfort her lover brings does little to heal her pain.

Richard Black, the Duke of Lofton and spy for the British War Office, waited for her, watching as the agony of marriage broke the woman he loved. His instincts tell him to protect her at all costs now that she has come to him, but when Jane stumbles into his current case investigating a bodysnatching ring, his intentions prove harder to meet than he had anticipated.

As a treasonous plot threatens their chance at love, can Jane find the strength to be his duchess?

Goodreads Link:

Inevitably a Duchess: http://bit.ly/1fdAUnY

 Purchase links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1hcbOu7

Audible: http://adbl.co/1DrJ4sC

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1cGPnXV

iBooks: http://bit.ly/1i9gj9m

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1a2OAQA

All Romance eBooks: http://bit.ly/HE1MkW

Smashwords: http://bit.ly/1a1Tu0l

All That Glitters

Readers Treasure Hop Nov. 1 - 4, 2013Authors Rue Allyn, Susana Ellis, Jayne KingstonKristina KnightShay LacyConstance Phillipsand Ray Wenck  bring you the first ever Readers Treasure Blog Hop.

The theme of this hop is Readers Treasure. Now all of you, as readers, know that we aren’t talking about gold and other ‘glittery’ treasures but the treasure of books and stories. The authors participating in this hop (check out the links/list under the hop logo in my sidebar) have a proverbial trove of fiction to offer. To add to the wealth as part of the rafflecopter grand prize treasure box drawing and celebrate the Nov. 18, 2013 release of One Day’s Loving, Wildfire Love # 3, I’m offering a free download of One Moment’s Pleasure, book one of my Wildfire Love Series. Click here to enter the drawing. Don’t forget to visit the other authors and  join the conversation on The Readers Treasure Facebook page.

Cover Art for One Moment's Pleasure  Cover Art for One Night's Desire   Cover Art for One Day's Loving

One Day’s Loving is the story of the youngest Alden sister. Persephone Mae Alden is the invisible Alden sister, quiet, industrious, generous, kind-hearted, loyal and reliable. The words used to describe Mae remind her of a well-trained dog. She’s not happy about it, but what can she do? She likes her quiet life and would be seriously upset if she had to defy convention like Edith or act on instinct like Kiera. But everything changes when necessity forces her to bravery and she must choose between love and family.

A horrifying bequest convinces Boston attorney James W. Collins V that Mae Alden needs a husband, and she’s just the type of wife he wants. The two of them will be a perfect match. Refusing his offer makes no sense, so why won’t the woman accept?

Sadly only one person can win the treasure chest including prizes from all participating authors. However, the first two books in the series One Moment’s Pleasure and One Night’s Desire are available at http://www.amazon.com/Rue-Allyn/e/B00AUBF3NI, or you may pre-order One Day’s Loving here.

Leave a comment telling me your thoughts about blog hops and giveaways. Who knows I may just give away an ARC of One Day’s Loving to some lucky commenter.

About Rue Allyn: Author of historical, contemporary, and erotic romances, Rue Allyn fell in love with happily ever after the day she heard her first story. She is deliriously married to her sweetheart of many years and loves to hear from readers about their favorite books and real life adventures. Learn more about Rue at her website, on Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads.

I’m on the radio — sorta

Cover Art for One Moment's PleasureTonight the brave and gracious Kathy Wheeler is interviewing me on MFRW’s Blog Talk Radio Channel. She and I are firsts together at this so we could use your support. Kathy has the hard job of asking questions and getting me to talk about my books and the writing life. Please listen in tonight at 11p Eastern, 10p Central, 9p Mountain, or 8p Pacific. We’ll be using twitter hashtag #BRT as well. Here’s the BTR Link. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/marketingforromancewriters/2013/03/27/happily-ever-after-with-rue-allyn.

One Moment’s Pleasure will become a lifetime’s passion when spinster, Edith Alden, embarks on a search for her missing sister.  Pretending to be a rich bored woman looking for an interlude with an anonymous male Edith enters the San Francisco bordello where her sister was last seen. She escapes the bordello almost too easily, but she can’t escape the passion ignited by a stranger’s kiss.

 Born and raised in the brothels of the California gold rush, Dutch Trahern worked for years to erase a childhood spent committing petty crimes and worse in order to survive. That past comes back to haunt him in the form of a woman he rescues from prostitution. Now his hard won respectability is threatened by an irresistible desire for a woman he shouldn’t want.

Who’s Your Wildfire Love ~ TRS Release Party

Cover art for One Moment's Pleasure ~ Wildfire Love # 1 Cover Art for The Widow's Revenge Off Limits, cover art Cover Art for Hazard Duty, Sexy Sailors # 2

The first of three posts at http://trsparties.com/2013/03/07/whos-your-wildfire-love/ is live. I want readers to choose which Wildfire Love they like best. Check it out and spread the word please. I’m celebrating all of my hunky heroes in three different posts throughout the day, so please keep checking back at http://trsparties.com/2013/03/07/whos-your-wildfire-love/. Comments at the release party are sincerely appreciated.

 

And the Winner Is. . .

Book, cover, romance, Rue Allyn, Western, historical, novel, author, writer, 1870, San Francisco, chocolate, prize, gift card, vote, word-biteShadowLuvs2Read. In a hard fought race between word bites #1 and # 4, # 1 emerged the victor. From all the votes cast for that word bite, the contributor drawn was ShadowLuvs2Read. Shadow, I’ll be contacting you privately within the next twenty four hours to arrange delivery of your prize. For the rest of you, I have edited your comments to remove all visible e-mail addresses.

I want to thank everyone who participated and who commented. This was my first attempt at running this kind of drawing, and I think it worked out fairly well. I know learned a lot from all the votes and comments. Don’t forget to leave a comment and let me know what you think about word bites and using them in a drawing.

If any of you wish to read these word bites in a little more context please follow this link to the excerpt for One Moment’s Pleasure found on my website.

I’ll be very busy over the next several weeks getting the word out about One Moment’s Pleasure. Please stop by often to learn what I’m up to, or visit the Heart Melting Romance website and check the calendar page.

Which First ~ Book or Chocolate?

 Book, cover, romance, Rue Allyn, Western, historical, novel, author, writer, 1870, San Francisco, chocolate, prize, gift card, vote, word-bite  I know, why not have both at the same time? Sadly some occasions force you to chose. Happily for you, this isn’t one of them. You can have both, but I choose to tell you about the chocolate first.

   You can win a $20.00 Ghirardelli Chocolate Gift Card. Why Ghirardelli and not some other maker of fine chocolates? My first western historical, One Moment’s Pleasure is set in San Francisco, 1870, and my hero, importer-exporter Dutch Trahern, has a fondness for chocolate. He fell in love with the dark, semi-bitter, sweet when one of his clients—a Mr. Ghirardelli—offered Dutch a sample. You’ll have to read the book to discover the small part that chocolate plays in bringing Dutch and his heroine, Edith Alden together. However, all you have to do to win the gift card is vote.

  Below is a list of four out-takes (I like to call them word-bites) from One Moment’s Pleasure. In your comment tell me by list number which word-bite is most likely to interest you in reading One Moment’s Pleasure. I’ll draw the winner’s name from the word-bite with the most votes. Tell me why you voted for a particular word-bite, and if you voted for the winning out-take, I’ll put your name into the hat twice. Sorry only one vote per person and you must leave your e-mail address to be included. I have to be able to contact you to send the gift card. Winners will be notified at my earliest opportunity and announced on this blog http://rueallynauthorblog.com/ by 9:00 AM EST Feb 15, 2013.

   Now a few words (more than a bite) about One Moment’s Pleasure ~ Wildfire Love # 1 available from Crimson Romance Publishing on March 18, 2013.Cover art for One Moment's Pleasure ~ Wildfire Love # 1, Book, cover, romance, Rue Allyn, Western, historical, novel, author, writer, 1870, San Francisco, chocolate, prize, gift card, vote, word-bite, romance

   One Moment’s Pleasure will become a lifetime’s passion when spinster, Edith Alden, embarks on a search for her missing sister. Pretending to be a rich bored woman looking for an interlude with an anonymous male Edith enters the San Francisco bordello where her sister was last seen. She escapes the bordello almost too easily, but she can’t escape the passion ignited by a stranger’s kiss.

  Born and raised in the brothels of the California gold rush, Dutch Trahern worked for years to erase a childhood spent committing petty crimes and worse in order to survive. That past comes back to haunt him in the form of a woman he rescues from prostitution. Now his hard won respectability is threatened by an irresistible desire for a woman he shouldn’t want. woman he rescues from prostitution. Now his hard won respectability is threatened by an irresistible desire for a woman he shouldn’t want.

   Want to know more about Dutch, Edith and One Moment’s Pleasure? Visit my website http://RueAllyn.com. Oh, you just want to vote for your favorite word-bite so you can win the chocolate? Sorry for the delay, here are your options:

  1. He saw it coming, and if he’d believed she’d follow through, he might have stopped her.
  2. She cradled one hand against her waist, using the other to fight a losing battle with the decolletage that slid lower with each step as she backed away.
  3. He couldn’t pull his eyes away. “For petesakes put your clothes back on.”
  4. For the third time in almost as many days, Dutch had a female at his feet. He stared at the woman sprawled before him. She was beautiful. Naked and beautiful and not moving. How had he gotten into this situation, and who would believe it if he told them?

To vote, remember:

  • In your comment identify by number the word-bite most likely to interest you in reading One Moment’s Pleasure.
  • Tell me why you’re voting for that word bite to increase your chances of winning
  • Leave your e-mail address so I can contact you if you win.
  • Example. “I vote for bite # __ , because. . . . You may contact me at .”
  • Only vote once.

Check http://RueAllyn.com for more on One Moment’s Pleasure and about other events where you can find me and chat or maybe win something else.

Cover Reveal & Great News

Take a look at this fabsolutely gorgeous cover for my first western historical romance, One Moment’s Pleasure ~ Wildfire Love # 1. I just got the cover today and I love it. It’s tasteful and conveys the gist of the story in one image. My thanks to the artist.

Cover art for One Moment's Pleasure ~ Wildfire Love # 1

In addition to getting the cover art for One Moment’s Pleasure, I also received an offer for the next two books in the Wildfire Love series ~ One Night’s Desire and One Day’s Loving. I’ll be announcing more on this series in the coming weeks, so check back often or sign up for my very occasional newsletter. Just send an e-mail to contact@rueallyn.com and put newsletter subscribe in the subject line. Then put the e-mail address where you want the newsletter sent in the body of the e-mail. The next issue is due out very soon, so sign up now. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think of the cover. I pass all helpful comments (and only comments, no e-mail addresses or contact info) on to my publisher for future reference. Thanks for your support. Happy reading, Rue Allyn