Bits 'n Bobs Author Blog
The end of our spring blog hop is here! I hope you've enjoyed the fun, romantic, and sensual mix of excerpts from our authors. This season's theme was the first encounter of the hero and heroine. Was it love at first sight, or will there be drama ahead as they search for their Happy Ever After?
I'll post the full excerpt from The Highlander's Welsh Bride below. Do let me know what you think of Carys and Birk's first encounter.
Leave a comment for a chance to win an ebook copy of The Highlander's Welsh Bride. Winner announced next week.
The Highlander's Welsh Bride
Prince Llywelyn was dead, his soldiers fleeing before King Edward’s army. Carys, a distant cousin to the prince, herself a princess of Wales, had picked up arms alongside her husband more than a year ago. Now homeless, her husband buried beneath the good Welsh soil, she seeks shelter in the north, far from the reach of Longshanks’s men. Carys and Wales would never be the same again.
Birk MacLean has been ordered to take a bride and produce an heir. He grows weary of the lasses paraded before him, women of delicate nature and selfish motives. He desires a wife strong enough to help lead one of the most powerful clans in Western Scotland.
One like the Welsh woman sitting in his dungeon, arrested for poaching MacLean deer.
Can Birk convince Carys marriage to him is preferable to a hangman’s noose? And will the heard-headed Scot be worthy of a Princess of Wales?
From the towering Welsh mountains to the storm-swept Scottish coast comes a tale of betrayal and loss, deceit and passion. An epic tale of honor and the redeeming power of love.
* * *
The heavy wooden door slammed shut. Carys peered about the stone chamber. Aside from a pallet on the floor and a bucket in a far corner, the room was empty. Air blew crisp through an arrow-slit, much too narrow to consider an escape route. She rubbed her arms in an attempt to erase the feel of strong hands manacling them, then, unable to help herself, tested the door. It was securely latched.
“Ffwl!” she spat. Fool. Caught doing nothing more than providing food to hungry people.
She stormed about the cramped space, her boots thudding across the wooden floor. “MacLean deer! MacLean people!” she snarled, targeting the absent laird. “Twmffat!” Idiot.
Carys peered down into the frothy churn of water about the boulders at the foot of the castle, measured the width of the window with a hand splayed within its opening.
“’Tis a fair drop.”
Pivoting on her heel, Carys faced the man at the door, amazed he’d entered unnoticed. His bulk filled the entry and he ducked as he stepped inside. He fastened the latch behind him, the click echoing in the nearly empty room, reminding Carys she was trapped.
She glanced up from his hands, now hanging peaceably at his sides, to his face. Dark eyes peered at her from beneath half-lowered lids, thick brows pulled together above his slightly arched nose as he studied her. His nearly black hair hung loose to his shoulders, a bit of curl softening his wide forehead and hard, chiseled features. She was startled to realize her head would likely reach no higher than his shoulder, for she was tall for a woman, and had found it easy to pass for a man. This giant would have been a more familiar figure stepping from a Norse longboat, had his coloring been the pale blonde of that race. She surreptitiously checked his hands for signs of an axe or sword.
A hint of metal glinted from his wrists and at the top of his boot, doubtless hidden sheaths with daggers. Carys’s fingers itched with the need to somehow gain one of the weapons.
And do what? Doubtless the man was an accomplished warrior. His light step and sure balance told her as much. Relieving him of one weapon left him at least two more, and likely others she had yet to discover.
“A short sword at my back, two dirks in my belt, three throwing blades at wrist and boot, and a sgian dubh in the other boot,” he said, as if reading her thoughts.
Carys shrugged. “I do not like being a prisoner.”
“Killing me willnae get ye released. ’Twould be another feat to fight yer way down the stairs and out of the tower. Plenty of men would be anxious to stop ye before ye traveled far.”
“I wish to be released.” Every muscle thrummed with the urge to flee. For more than two years, she’d remained a step ahead of an English prison, aware a princess of Cymru would not simply be discarded as unimportant. She’d spent every waking moment—and many that should have been spent in much-needed rest—avoiding capture. Being a woman in the hands of an enemy held its own special peril. Fear roiled like an angry snake in her belly, sending the acrid taste of bile to her mouth.
The big man crossed his arms over his broad chest, bulging forearms corded with heavy muscle and overlaid with dark, crisp hairs. Carys was impressed, despite herself. With a mental shake of annoyance, she discarded the urge to touch him.
“Ye have been brought here on a serious charge,” the man said with a frown, his voice rumbling deep and ominous.
Carys matched his stance, not bothering to hide her disgust. “Feeding the hungry should not be a crime.”
“’Tis the fact ye poached on land that doesnae belong to ye.” He tilted his head. “Ye are a stranger to our shores. Why did ye not present yerself to the laird’s man when ye arrived?”
A myriad of emotions flushed through Carys, diluting her anger. Loss. Homesickness. Grief. Loneliness. She quickly tamped them down, shoving the sentiments into the deep space inside where she hid them away. She set her jaw stubbornly. What kind of honor did the MacLean laird have if he punished those who fed his people? He sounded no better than Edward and the cursed English.
“I did not see the need. I asked nothing from the clan—neither food nor lodging. Or protection.”
The man gave a short nod. “Tell me how ye came here. There was rumor of a shipwreck, yet no survivors were found.”
Carys’s eyes narrowed. “You must not have searched very hard,” she scoffed, though she knew she’d covered her tracks well. Once away from the foundered Seabhag, she’d not returned, nor allowed Tully to do so. Precisely because of the fear someone would stumble upon the wreckage. She had not wanted to risk anyone discovering a well-worn path to the cave they called home.
The man shrugged. “’Tis possible, yet the captain was known to us and an effort was made to discover what happened to him and his lad.” His gaze pierced her. “Do ye know if any others live?”
“The men were all lost,” she replied curtly, not placing thirteen-year-old Tully in the same category. She clenched her fists, digging her nails into her palms against the threatened return of grief.
Her captor studied her at length. “How is it a woman came to be a hand on the ship? Did they not object? Sailors are a superstitious lot. A woman is said to bring naught but doom to a ship.”
“They welcomed me after I foiled an attempt to rob the ship whilst at harbor one night,” she answered with a tilt to her chin.
“Ye earned their goodwill?”
“Is it difficult for you to imagine I could be an asset?” Temper flared, warming her skin as it crept from her chest up her neck.
“Women have their place,” the man agreed.
“Mayhap ye are an uncommon woman. Ye gave Iain’s men a bit of trouble. Have ye skill with more than a knife and bow?”
Exasperated with the inquisition, Carys flung her arms wide. “I have no more answers for you. Tell me my penalty for slaying your laird’s deer—which I am certain you have gathered for yourselves—and let us be done. I will waste no more time on your land.”
He arched a brow, though in arrogance or anger she could not tell.
“The penalty for poaching the laird’s stag is death.”
* * *
'Tis the next to last week for our Medieval Monday Excerpts Blog Hop. I hope you've enjoyed the tour and have found excerpts that pique your interest.
Today, Mary Morgan joins me with an excerpt from her book, A Highland Moon enchantment.
You'll find my excerpt on her blog here: https://www.marymorganauthor.com/blog
(You first met this warrior in Dragon Knight’s Axe, Order of the Dragon Knights, Book 3)
Irish warrior, Desmond O’Quinlan has never surrendered his heart to any woman. He has no
wish to have his soul tortured by love. Yet, the moment he locks gazes with Ailsa, his fate is
destined for an adventure he never fathomed. He may have battled alongside a Dragon Knight,
but his greatest challenge will come from within his own heart.
Ailsa MacDuff, a warrior among her clan, has no desire to have a man chain her to a life of
obedience. However, that is before she meets Desmond. The temptation to allow this warrior
inside her heart is a risk she dares to take, but one that could lead to a future of emptiness and
When betrayal looms from within, the battleground of love is no match for these two warriors.
Can the power of a Highland full moon be strong enough to unite or destroy them?
“Father,” she sobbed, slumping down beside him and placing a hand near his nose. “Thank the
Gods and Goddesses.” She looked up at Desmond. “He lives, though his breathing is shallow.”
He watched as she inspected the wound on his head and arm, noticing the odd position of the
limb. “I fear ’tis broken.”
“Aye,” she agreed. “We must straighten the arm.”
He crouched down beside her. “I can help ye. ’Tis best we do it while he is not awake.”
Standing, she wiped a hand across her brow. “I will need my pouch of herbs, salves, and linens.
Tam can assist me.”
Desmond stood and glanced at Alastair. “Have ye found any alive?”
Alastair motioned behind him. “Only one. He took a blow to the head, but lives. Tam is tending
to his injuries.”
Ailsa brushed past Desmond. “Did he say who it was?”
“I believe he mentioned the name of Muir.”
“Thank ye, Mother Danu,” she muttered, running off in the direction Alastair gestured.
* * *
Follow along next week for the exciting conclusion on Mary Morgan's blog https://www.marymorganauthor.com/blog
and leave a comment for a chance to win a signed print copy of A Highland Moon
And don't forget to return here next week for the rest of the excerpt from The Highlander's Welsh Bride!
Buy Links for A Highland Moon Enchantment:
Apple iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/a-highland-moon-
week # 11
Join me in welcoming award-winning author Ashley York to the blog today. She's sharing an excerpt from the first book in her Warrior Kings series, Curse of the Healer.
You can find my excerpt from The Highlander's Welsh Bride on her blog here: https://www.ashleyyorkauthor.com
Curse of the Healer
After the death of Brian Boru in 1014, a legend arose of a healer so great she could
raise a man from the dead, with a power so strong it could make any warrior the next
high king of Éire...and to steal it away from her, he need only possess her.
Fated to be a healer…
Aednat has spent her entire life training to be the great healer, knowing she must
remain alone. When she meets Diarmuid, the intense attraction she feels toward him
shakes her resolve to believe in such a legend. If she gives in to the passion he ignites in
her, can she settle for being less?
Destined to be his…
Diarmuid of Clonascra is renowned for his bravery in battle. Only one thing daunts him:
the prospect of taking a wife. The safest course would be to keep his distance from
Aednat, the bold, headstrong healer who's far too tempting for his peace of mind. But
his overking orders him to protect her from a group of craven warriors intent on
kidnapping her to steal her power.
What starts as duty for Diarmuid quickly transforms into something more. Aednat's
power might be at risk, but so is his closed-off heart.
“Mmm, my fiery one, is yer need as great?”
She heard the guttural sound as if from someone else. A gnawing alarm grew somewhere in
the back of her brain. She pulled away, immediately missing the heated contact, and resisted the
nearly overwhelming urge to return.
She couldn’t speak, and he remained where he was, watching her, ready to resume as soon
as she returned. A mere hair’s breadth away. She need only move in closer, and she would again
know his touch. He could ease the tension now centered much lower, she was certain of that.
Taking a shaky breath, she struggled to remember why she had pulled away from his tempting
His intense gaze never wavered from her. She imagined what he must see. Surely he must
think her a peasant with her blackened skirt, her hair tumbling about her unkempt. He was
being… too familiar. Too enticingly familiar, and she relished it.
“I’m no peasant.” Her words were again breathy.
* * *
Follow along next week when Ashley visits Barbara Bettis blog with her next snippet: http://barbarabettis.blogspot.co.uk
BUY LINK: https://www.ashleyyorkauthor.com/curse-of-the-healer
Today I have guest author Kate Hill on the blog, sharing an excerpt from her historical romantic suspense, Captain's Mercy.
Mercy Brown’s life changes when she accepts a position as companion to the disabled sister of wealthy shipyard owner Jonah Barnes. She is instantly attracted to the rugged former sea captain, even if his brusque manner offends her. Mercy soon finds herself entangled in the quirky family’s secrets.
From the first, Mercy is troubled by prowlers, disturbances from the attic, and unearthly howls on the property. After meeting several unusual household members, including a groundskeeper who works by night and the mischievous Maxwell Barnes, Mercy realizes she should flee while she can.
Pages from Mercy’s first novel go missing and Jonah’s domineering personality causes tension in the house. Only Mercy’s fondness for her young companion, Faith Barnes, as well as her fascination with Jonah prevent her from leaving, but will her desire for him endanger her life?
* * *
“Mr. Barnes?” she called again.
She glanced over her shoulder, back toward the stairs. When she turned around, she cried out, startled to find herself facing Jonah who now stood outside the attic door, holding a lamp.
“Miss Brown, what are you doing up here?” he demanded, wearing his usual scowl.
“I heard noise from up here. A crash. I thought perhaps lightning had struck the house and someone might be hurt.” She couldn’t keep the tremors from her voice. “I’m also worried about your siblings. You don’t suppose they’re caught in the storm?”
Jonah’s brow furrowed and he stepped closer to her. He held up the lamp and studied her face.
“I’m sure they’re fine,” he said in a gentler tone. “Max is quite capable and I doubt they’d venture out until after this passes. Are you all right, Miss Brown?”
Another clap of thunder made her jump.
“You don’t look fine,” he said. “Are you afraid of the storm?”
She chuckled nervously. “Silly isn’t it? A grown person afraid of a thunderstorm.”
“Why don’t we wait it out in the library?”
“There’s no need for you to keep me company.”
Again she jumped at the thunder and lightning.
“Keeping you company is far more pleasant than the paperwork I’ve been looking over.” He offered her his arm in a gallant gesture that took her aback. She rested her hand on it lightly. Goodness, she shouldn’t enjoy how solid and warm he felt, yet she was unable to ignore it. His arms were rock hard from years at sea and working in the shipyard.
On their way downstairs, she asked, “What were you doing in the attic? I thought I heard howling up there a short time ago and then a crash.”
“The wind, I’m sure. No doubt the crash you heard was Michaels. He tripped over an old trunk. He’s up there now, making repairs on a window that was blown open by the storm. He’s also trying to get rid of more unwanted guests of the flying rodent variety, so I remind you to stay away from the attic.”
“Why do you suppose the pests keep coming back?”
“I’m not sure. My expertise is the sea. Ask me about whales and sharks and I could probably answer. Bats are another story.”
“Do you still go to sea?” she asked, eager to keep her mind off the storm.
“Not as much as I used to.”
“Do you miss it?”
“At times. I miss the straightforwardness of being at sea. The simplicity. Aboard ship, a man is valued more for what he knows than for his bloodlines.”
“You don’t have much use for polite society, do you?”
“As long as rich men keep buying my ships, I like it well enough.”
* * *
* * *
Always a fan of romance and the paranormal, Kate Hill started writing over twenty years ago for pleasure. Her first story, a short erotic vampire tale, was accepted for publication in 1996. Since then she has sold over one hundred short stories, novellas and novels.
When she's not working on her books, Kate enjoys reading, working out, spending time with her family and pets, and running the Compelling Beasts Blog, dedicated to antagonists, antiheroes, and paranormal creatures. She also writes under the name Saloni Quinby. Find her online at https://www.kate-hill.com and https://www.twitter.com/katehillromance.
Barbara Bettis joins me this week with an excerpt from her book, The Lady of the Forest. Barbara loves creating stories of other times and places, of heroines 'to die for', and heroes to live for. And of course, happy endings.
You can find this week's excerpt from The Highlander's Welsh Bride on her blog here: http://barbarabettis.blogspot.co.uk
The Lady of the Forest
He must pursue his enemy; she must protect her people. Can their love survive the duties that drive them apart?
When her elderly husband dies, Lady Katherine fakes her own death and disappears into the forest with others escaping the brutish new lord. Determined to protect her people, she knocks the wrong man senseless. But Lord Henry isn’t an enemy, he’s the brother of her childhood friend.
Although his tender confidence tempts her, she’s bound by duty.
Henry of Chauvere has found the one lady he wants for his own, never mind she’s tied him hand and foot. When he learns the king has ordered her to wed Stonehill’s ruthless new master, he insists Kate seek haven with his sister. But she won’t desert her friends. Henry vows to solve her problem, provided he catches a traitor before the threat from Kate's past catches her.
When a daring rescue compels Henry and Kate to join forces, their attraction grows into love. If only duty didn’t drive them apart.
“Quickly.” Kate motioned to the pallet. “Tie him.”
The two dragged off the heavy metal link armor and managed to bind his hands before he
shook his head and blinked his eyes.
“Easy there,” Oscar warned, “don’t want to have to hit ye again.”
The knight attempted to kick out. Oscar caught him under the chin with a smart blow,
then grumbled. “Told ye, didn’t I?”
He grabbed the prisoner beneath the arms while Oscar looped a rope around the ankles.
Before Kate could gather her thoughts, the two deposited him on the pallet where he lay
motionless, eyes closed.
* * *
Come visit Barbara next week for the next installment: https://www.rueallyn.com/blog/
And leave a comment for a book drawing at the end of the tour.
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