Bits 'n Bobs Author Blog
This week's Medieval Monday post features the betrayal of family and loss of childhood dreams in Ashley York's newest book, The Seventh Son.
"Tisa. Yer betrothal to the MacNaughton has been severed. Ye'll marry into the Meic Lochlainn clan of Inishowen. They'll be here in two days time."
The pain in her chest intensified with every word he spoke, like nails hammering into her heart, but her brain refused to understand his meaning beyond his first statement.
Your betrothal to the MacNaughton has been severed.
Her betrothal to Tadhg? They'd been betrothed forever. They grew up knowing they would one day be wed. Tadhg was all she wanted in a husband.
Her father's eyes never wavered from her face. Surely he measured her reaction as if he cared.
"Ronan came here to make the agreement on their behalf. He has been a great help to our clan."
The kind eyes seemed familiar but no. Those would have been the eyes of her father that loved her. A father that wanted her to be happy. A father that wanted her settled nearby. This? This was a man that cared nothing for her. A man that would rip away her future dreams of happiness. A man that would send her away from him. A man that would give her to strangers. Strangers that saw her as nothing more than...breeding stock.
No. She was more than that. She would not stand here and be handed off to a stranger and not even a word of protest.
"Why?" Damn her eyes. The tears swelled and her father became a blurry figure. "How?"
He looked away. "The MacNaughton broke our agreement."
Her jaw dropped. A slap to the face would have hurt less. "No!"
"After Moira died, Padraig sent word he would not see his son married to an O'Brien."
"And ye did not think to tell me this?"
Her head reeled with the implications.
"And Moira? Tadhg's mother is dead?" Her breath hitched. Moira had been like a mother to her. "When was she buried? I wish to pay my resp—"
"Ye will not! Padraig would not allow us to come. None of us." Her father finally faced her. "We are no longer welcome on his land. He wants nothing to do with us."
"Nothing to do with us? They are our kinsmen."
"Ye canna just let him cut us off like this."
"I was given little choice in the matter."
"Then go to him! Beg his forgiveness for whatever you have done!"
"I have done nothing wrong! 'Twas Padraig's doing. He chose to give me no reason. I will abide by his decree."
Tisa's mind struggled to make sense of what her father was saying. There must be something he was not saying. "Why would Padraig treat us like this?"
He looked past her. "It matters not. What does matter is that the O'Neill threatens us to the west."
"When will Seamus and Ian return?" Her only unwed brothers had been away going on two years now.
Her father's eyes rounded in pain. "I dinna wish to upset ye but yer brothers will not be returning. They died in battle against the O'Neill."
Tisa cried out. "When?"
"We received the news spring last."
"Again ye decide to keep this from me? Do ye think I am a child? If that is the way of it, 'tis because my own father kept me from the truths in life, shielding me as if I would break."
"Ye brothers went against my wishes. My anger was at them, not ye."
"Be angry then. Be sad. Be devastated! But dunna keep me from the truth."
"A great loss." Her father closed his eyes against the pain.
Her own heart cried out. They were much older than her as were her sisters. The MacNaughton's were closer in age and felt more like family. Brighit was like her own little sister.
"I must make decisions that ye may not wish to abide by—but ye will. The O'Neill will not back down. We need an alliance with a strong clan. I need men I can count on, who will fight with me against them."
"They will not fight for us now. 'Tis not their land that is threatened." He shouted the words, his nostrils flaring. "They have broken our agreement, daughter. We are defenseless. Ronan was good enough to make a new alliance for us."
"At what cost to us?" Tisa knew the answer as soon as she asked the question. The way Ronan had looked at her, assessing her worth as a mate.
"You will marry their tanist."
"So I am to be exchanged for the promise of protection?"
"Ye will have a place of prominence in their clan."
"I do not care about prominence! I want the life I had always been promised. The life I was raised for."
"That life is gone, Tisa. This is the life ye will have."
"I do not accept this...betrayal."
"Ye have no choice."
* * *
Available for pre-order with March 30th release only on Amazon
BLURB: Drogheda, Ireland 1076
The sixth son bears a curse as certain as the seventh son bears a blessing. When Tadhg MacNaughton’s betrothed is ripped from his arms and married to another, he believes the legend is true.
Tisa O'Brien's life slams into a downward spiral at the news she is no longer betrothed to the love of her life but married to the tanist of a warring, prideful clan with dangerous political aspirations—the Meic Lochlainn. She faces her destiny with all the strength and dignity of her Irish heritage despite dealing with a husband who resents her, fighting off the lustful advances of her father-in-law, Aodh, and longing for the husband of her heart.
Tadhg MacNaughton makes a deal with the devil to ensure the survival of his clan as he is commanded to fight with Aodh who envisions himself the new Brian Boru, High King of Eire. Up close and personal, Tadhg must witness his true love's marriage and remain silent even as it rips him apart. When a sinister plot to over throw King William of England led by the exiled Leofrid Godwin and Clan Meic Lochlainn comes to light, Tadhg is faced with saving his clan or endangering his sister and her Norman husband.
An Irish beauty and a warrior betrayed—doomed in love from the start or does fate have something else in store for them?
Help me welcome Sarah Hoss to the blog today. She's answered some questions for us about herself and her writing, as well as fun information about her latest book, Highland Savior.
Also, comment below for a chance to win an ecopy of her book, Highland Savior!
Cathy: Hi, Sarah! It’s great to have you here today. Could you please tell us a bit about yourself?
Sarah: Thank you for having me. I’m a married mother of 3. I work in a nursing home in the activities department so I spend my day doing exercises, art, playing cards, etc. with the residents.
Cathy: That sounds like an interesting day. I'm sure the residents look forward to their time with you.
Cathy: How long have you been writing?
Sarah: I have been writing now for about 7 years.
Cathy: What do you enjoy most about writing?
Sarah: I enjoy the research the most.
Cathy: I love research, too! It's too easy to slip down a trail I'd not intended to take, lol!
Cathy: What draws you to the romance genre?
Sarah: I prefer to read and write in the romance genre. I think romance is the one thing that links every individual and it is something that can be experienced in so many different ways.
Cathy: You are quite right, Sarah. Romance translates across so many platforms.
Cathy: Since you write in more than one genre, what are some of the elements you have in each?
Sarah: I write in historical paranormal romance and contemporary romance and the one thing that crosses over into each genre is that love will conquer all if you just have faith in it.
Cathy: What, if any, differences between your genres do you write into your heroes?
Sarah: The men in the historical romances are less trusting.
Cathy: So, tell us a bit about your newest book.
Sarah: Highland Savior is about Hamish Macpherson, the second of the three Macpherson brothers. Hamish is thrown into the future and tried desperately to get back to his time for in his time, he has a murder to solve. His sister’s. He never expects to fall in love with Gillian and is surprised when the spell to take him home, brings Gillian along, too.
Cathy: What was your inspiration for Highland Savior?
Sarah: Well, I knew there would be three brothers and they would each get their own story. My ancestors were Cherokee and I thought it would be neat to have a character that is also Cherokee.
Cathy: That's pretty neat. I think that should be an awesome blend of characters.
Cathy: What kind of research did you do for this book?
Sarah: I had to research arson, spells, and the Cherokee language.
Cathy: Oh, my! I hope no one is monitoring your browser, lol! That's really interesting, though. Highland Savior just landed on my TBR stack!
Cathy: How did you decide on the setting for Highland Savior? Have you ever been there? My critique partner lives near Philadelphia and she took me on a tour. I knew it’s where I wanted this story to be.
Cathy: I can't wait to learn about Philadelphia through your eyes in Highland Savior.
Cathy: Is there anything you’d like to add?
Sarah: The first brother’s book is titled Dreams of the Highlander. I am also working on James’s story, the third brother.
Thanks so much for being here today, Sarah! It has been a lot of fun getting to know you. Best of luck with your books!
Readers, do you enjoy timetravel romance? Leave a comment for a chance to win an ecopy of Highland Savior!
Buy link for Highland Savior: http://tinyurl.com/jlog4z7
* * *
Two Lifetimes – Two Hearts – One future, if they can only survive the past.
Hamish Macpherson is surrounded by turmoil: an arsonist is on the loose, he’s in the middle of a feud with a local clansman, and just as he’s trying to save his sister from a burning cottage, he appears in the middle of a foreign living room three hundred years past his own time.
Gillian Meadows thinks she’s self-sufficient and can handle anything until she witnesses a murder in the alley next to an Olde City tavern. In a desperate run to escape being the next victim, she stumbles into a wiccan store and accepts the help of the shop owner. Little does she know that one mis-spoken word of a simple incantation can change everything.
Neither world is safe, but Hamish can better protect Gillian if he returns to his own time. Gillian has no choice but to go with him if she wants to escape the danger closing in. Little do they know that his past could be the biggest threat of all to their future.
Rich with history and betrayal, RL Syme's book The Outcast Highlander is featured on Medieval Monday today.
From The Outcast Highlander, by R.L. Syme
“Bring them forward.” The fat man reached across his table and picked up a charred leg of some animal. Broc had never seen a sheriff eat in court before and hoped this was a sign of his gluttony. Men with deep desires always had a price.
The front guards stepped aside and Elizabeth walked between them, leaving Broc in their midst. With his broad sword strapped to his back, it wouldn’t have taken him long to cut through them if he’d had to. Most of them were boys, even compared to his own years, but more importantly, they were not well-fed nor well-trained. The soldiers were in use elsewhere and those who remained filled what boots they could.
They would be quick fodder if someone threatened Elizabeth.
“My lord and sheriff.” Elizabeth’s voice wavered, but she executed a perfect curtsey, staying near the floor until he bade her rise.
Until he got a good eyeful of her spilling décolletage, more like. Broc shuffled uneasily. She played a dangerous game.
“Rise, lady.” The sheriff burped and set down the leg of fowl. A wild turkey, by the look of it. Large, browned skin, dripping with fatty juices. He licked his lips like the lecherous fool he was and leaned over the table. With a smile, he followed her rise.
“I’m here to beg you for the release of my husband, Lord Andrew de Moray, Twelfth Viscount of Avoch and Strathaven, servant to the king.”
Broc held his laugh in. Servant to which king? The sheriff would assume Edward, who had taken the rule of Scotland along with England. But when Andrew said it, he meant Robert Bruce, whom he considered to be the true King of Scotland.
The sheriff only leered at Elizabeth and grinned. “I’ve heard of your coming, lady. I trust you were safe, even with your company.”
“I am safe.” Elizabeth turned to the dungeon door and cringed visibly. “I’ve heard of my husband’s capture and impending doom. I wish to bargain for his life.”
“And what did you bring to bargain?”
Elizabeth straightened and lifted her chin. This was at least not the posture of a woman who planned to prostitute herself for her husband. For that much, Broc relaxed.
“I have a suit of armor made by Spanish monks in the 11th century for my lord’s father.”
The sheriff pulled a knife from his side pocket and began to pick his teeth. “Yes?”
“And enough gold and silver to fill three chests, but I’m sure I could get more.”
He kept picking his teeth, flicking pieces off the blade to toss at various courtiers. Each one looked disgusted at the act, but smiled in return. He had these men well-trained
“You’ll have to do better than that.”
“My lord is wise, as always.” Elizabeth turned to Broccin and a hint of regret passed across her face.
She was about to offer herself.
Broc’s hand went immediately to the hilt of his sword, but before he could draw, ten long spears had come down around him. Each tip was so close to his neck, if he moved in any one direction, he would be a dead man.
“I have as my captive, the leader of the renegade group of Highland warriors that have been falsely raiding and plundering in my husband’s good name.” Elizabeth sank into another curtsey. “As a token of my good fellowship, rather than having him killed upon capture, I offer him to you in exchange for my husband’s release and the clearing of his good name.”
Broc couldn’t breathe. If there hadn’t been ten sharp edges within striking distance of his throat, he would have pushed forward and demanded she speak sense.
Beneath the spears, a boy snuck forward and twisted rope around Broc’s hands. Suddenly, the knot was so tight, he couldn’t move at all. The spears raised and one of the guards pulled his sword from its sheath, and tossed it forward.
The long weapon slid all the way through the circle of guards, almost to Elizabeth’s side, and she glanced back in her curtsey. Broc met her eyes and seethed, but her countenance did not change.
“They call themselves the Mac Ri Albannach.” Elizabeth over-pronounced the Gaelic like a true English, then returned to the refined, long tones of the court. “Sons of the Rightful King.”
Broc snorted. They did no such thing—they didn’t need to call themselves anything. But to the English, there was nothing more fearsome than an organized group of rebel warriors from the unknown mountains. He struggled against his bonds and one of the spears sliced into his shoulder.
The cut was deep and the hot, thick blood flowed down his back in double time.
“I hear tell there’s a real man behind this legendary Highlander who raids English strongholds and beheads shire magistrates.” The fat sheriff stood and walked around the table.
“I had friends at Carlisle.” The fat man spat from outside the circle of armed guards. “Friends who were killed by some band of rebels, intent on savagery and filth.”
He pulled Elizabeth to her feet. “And yet you captured this man? How do you intend to prove it was him and not your husband who led these raids?”
The sheriff called out. “Bring the raider out.”
From the corner of the room, a man in chains was pushed forward. Broc’s heart sank. The man they’d assumed dead, Tearny MacDonnogh, was almost no better off than if they had indeed killed him. His once muscular frame was now emaciated, with skin hanging from his arms. He was bare to the waist and the scars of beatings reminded Broc of just how long it had been since they had been to Berwick.
“Is this the man who led you at Carlisle?” the sheriff asked. “And is he leading the Mac Ri Albannach?”
Tearney’s greasy, matted hair swung around his face as he nodded. His eyes were half-closed and his mouth hung open, but he managed to make his affirmation known.
The sheriff cackled and threw Elizabeth to the ground. “I’ll be knighted for this for certain.”
With broad gestures, he pointed to Tearny and then the dungeon door. “Release both of them to her care, as we agreed. And take this one down to the bowels. I want the smithy to make him special chains with double-thick cast and no slack.”
He took his captain of the guard by the throat. “And by God, he had better be who she says he is, or it’s going to be your head on a silver plate instead of mine.”
“He’s the man, my lord.” The captain scratched at his throat where the fat hands had gripped him. “He bears the marks from Lord Hobble’s double-bladed Arabian weapon. I saw the scars on his arm.”
Broc swallowed. He did bear such a scar, and he had been the one to kill the perverted English lord in the battle of Carlisle, but only because the man had nearly killed Andrew and was about to disembowel him when Broc discovered and beheaded the man.
He was outnumbered, his weapon lost to him, bound, and soon to be imprisoned. Fighting back now would only mean Andrew’s certain continued imprisonment and possible death. At least if he kept quiet like a captive, he could know Andrew was free. Even if it meant he would rot in the dungeon himself.
* * *
The Outcast Highlander begins the Highland Renegades series of medieval romance novels by USA Today bestselling author R.L. Syme (also writing as Becca Boyd). Please visit http://rlsyme.com today to get The Outcast Highlander for FREE! Happy reading!
I'm thrilled to have an excerpt from Lane McFarland's book, Heather, on my Medieval Monday blog today!
Alec’s chest constricted. How long had it been since he last saw her? Three years? Would she remember him? Would she remember his kiss?
The maid rubbed her mistress’ cheek, and Heather wiped the same spot with a cloth. When the servant nodded, Heather hurried toward him.
Did she stuff a black scarf in her sleeve? His eyes narrowed.
“Laird Campbell, welcome to MacDougall Castle.” She extended a hand. “Yer timing could not have been better.”
“Mistress MacDougall.” He bent and placed a kiss on her knuckles. Calluses covered her once soft palm. He straightened and studied her blue eyes. “Why so formal?”
“It’s been years since we last met. I’m afraid that young lass ye knew grew up.”
The gorgeous azure depths of her eyes mesmerized him. “Aye, she grew into a beautiful woman.”
A flush spread over her cheeks and she withdrew her hand. “I understand we’ve ye to thank for our lives.”
“One of yer da’s men—a young lad—is who ye should thank. He saved Laird MacDougall from certain death.”
Something akin to caution flittered across her eyes. Had he not been watching closely, he would’ve missed it.
She crossed her arms over her waist. “My da’s fortunate to have many good men defending the castle.” Her eyes widened, and she reached out. “Ye’re hurt. Forgive me, I didn’t notice.”
Alec caught her hand and rubbed her skin with the pad of his thumb. “’Tis nothing to worry over.”
“If ye’ll permit me, I’ll tend ye and yer men so ye can be on yer way. I’m sure ye’re anxious to return home.”
Was she eager to be rid of him?
He hesitated. “We are ready to be home, but we’ll repair yer keep first.”
Her back stiffened. When she smiled, it didn’t quite reach her lovely eyes. “Thank ye. If ye will excuse me, I need to see to Da.”
Heather slipped past him. Her hips swayed as she stepped around a lass carrying blankets and hurried through the hall to her father.
Alec exhaled and raked a hand through his hair. He was needed out-of-doors. Rubbing the stinging cut on his chest, he marched past the injured. As he strode down the grey steps and into the bailey, his thoughts turned to the slender lad with the black scarf.
Why did he feel something was amiss? Why was the lad spirited away? And why did Heather make light of his fighting?
* * *
Bent on overcoming the belief he’s failed his aging father, Laird Alec Campbell concentrates on proving his worth to his people. He provides for them and leads men into battle, vowing never again to disappoint his clan or lose his heart.
Bound by a promise to her dying mother, Heather MacDougall secretly leads rebel warriors in her quest to keep her clan intact and hold off those who plot to overtake her father’s land. She fights to keep her secrets safe, while resisting the lure of the handsome young laird who challenges her defenses.
They can’t deny their passionate attraction, but can their love survive their secrets?
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