Bits 'n Bobs Author Blog
Today we have an excerpt from Ashley York's newest novel, The Seventh Son.
Will anyone save Tisa from her fate?
What sounded like a bellow of rage brought immediate silence to all in the hall.
It was her father. She started toward the antechamber where the men had gone but Fergus held her fast. “Ye best not interfere.”
The men who had appeared deeply inebriated suddenly sobered, drawing their weapons, clearly unsure of where the danger lay. Doors slammed in the distance. Loud voices came closer. It was the Meic Lochlainn, not her father.
Fergus began to draw his sword but he was too late. The huge man closing in on her sank his dagger into the man’s chest without missing a step. The captain dropped to her feet.
“We need to see this consummated.” Aodh Meic Lochlainn replaced the bloodied blade and grabbed her by the arm, dragging her to the stairs.
Tisa looked behind her at Fergus, his blood spreading beneath him. She couldn’t speak. She couldn’t breathe. Her father came out of the anteroom. Darragh stood beside him.
“Father?” was all she could get out as she was dragged toward the stairs.
The crowd of strange men followed behind. She strained to find her father in the sea of heads but he was lost behind her.
“Nae. Stop. Where are ye taking me?” She pulled against the hurtful grip on her arm.
Darragh appeared on the other side of her and faced his father. “I will see to this, Father.”
“Are ye sure ye’re able to?” His words dripped with derision.
Tisa didn’t understand this interplay.
“Please,” she said. “My father.”
They continued moving to the top of the stairs.
“Release my wife!”
Darragh’s commanding tone brought a look of surprise from his father. They paused to face each other. His expression of surprise changed to one of respect. Tipping his head, he released his hold and raised his hand, palm out. Tisa rubbed at her arm.
“As ye will, my son. See to it then.” His jaw tightened, he moved in close, his eyes widened in warning. “Let. There. Be. No. Doubt!”
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 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 for 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?
This week's threads spotlights Viola Russell's swashbuckling tale, Buccaneer Beauty.
By Viola Russell
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: Sensual
BUCCANEER BEAUTY is the story of Grace, Graínne, O’Malley, the beautiful daughter of a powerful Irish chieftain and a conventional mother. At the age of eleven, Graínne cuts her hair and sneaks aboard her father’s galley ship, determined to follow a life at sea and to seek the company of a handsome Scottish gallowglass, Bruce Donnel. Graínne proves herself a budding warrior when Spanish marauders invade her father’s vessel, but her parents have other plans for her. Though she proves an able sailor, Graínne is forced to marry Donal O’Flaherty, another powerful chieftain. Though enamored of Bruce Donnel, she nonetheless obeys her parents and proves an able helpmate to her violent and rash husband, continuing her own adventures at sea while raising children and supervising her husband’s home. Her heart, however, still belongs to a handsome Scot who she can never have.
Upon Donal’s death by ambush, Graínne continues her adventures along the Irish coast and Europe, secretly battling England’s growing power in her country. Alternately sleeping with the devil or manipulating the British authorities to her own ends, Graínne is determined to save her family and people from the tyranny imposed upon them by England. To make her family stronger, she weds Richard Bourke, one of the most powerful men in the region, but she can never forget Bruce Donnel and the passion he incited within her soul. Richard proves Graínne’s most stalwart supporter and she his, their minds and bodies uniting in an almost mystical union. Together, they faced the English with no fear—with only audacity and boundless courage. Still, the shadow of a youthful gallowglass intrudes on Graínne’s peace.
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“I wish you could come with me to Bunowen.” Grainne heard Bruce’s footsteps when he stepped on the hay spread along the barn. She looked up from grooming her chestnut horse.
“Now what would I be doing there?” Bruce ambled toward her and began stroking the mare’s nose. The horse stomped on the ground with her right front hoof and let out a fierce snort. The Scot took a step back.
“She thinks you mean to dishonor me.” Grainne grinned at him as she combed the horse’s mane. “My da gave her to me after that first voyage. Before that, I’d only had a pony. He said I could handle Anu after that.”
Bruce had regained his courage. He searched within the folds of his cloak and offered the horse a carrot. Anu gazed at him with what looked like suspicion, sniffing the tempting vegetable. “She’s a wild one.”
Grainne laughed and threw her arms around the animal’s long neck. “She’s a smart one, you’re meaning.” She stared at the now fully-grown man before her. His fair hair fell lightly onto his shoulders, and he wore the tartan trews typical of his people. She glanced at the way his muscular legs bulged within the tight material of his tartan trews. He’d spent most of his life yielding an axe, and Grainne didn’t want to admit to herself how lonely the months were when he returned to his native land with the rest of his men. “How old are you now, Bruce Donnel?”
Bruce watched as Anu took a generous bite from the carrot, then he lifted it to his own lips, grinning. “Older than you, Lady Grainne.” He studied her for a few minutes. “Twenty.”
“So no Highland Lass has won your heart, has she?” Grainne swept the coarse mane from the comb and tossed it aside. She wiped her hands on her trews and pushed a stray strand of hair from her face.
“No, my heart’s been stolen by an Irish goddess, but I can’t have her.” He turned to the pawing horse and shared the rest of his carrot.
Grainne’s heart hammered inside her breast. She took a deep breath and forced levity into her voice. “Who is she, pray tell?”
Bruce was suddenly so close to her that she could feel his hot breath feathering the slight hairs on her neck. “Don’t play with me, Grainne. It hurts too much.”
Grainne swallowed hard as her very being lurched with desire and aching need. Every sinew in her body wanted to wrap him within the all-consuming fire of her passion. She forced a laugh into her voice. “What hurts? By what I hear aboard ship you waste no time pining for the chieftain’s daughter. You’re quite the man about port. Many a Spanish and French lass can attest to that.”
“They mean nothing.” His fingertips lightly touched a strand of her hair, but he jerked away as if an electric jolt raced through his body. He added bitterly, “But you’re the daughter of one of the most powerful men in Connaught, and you’re soon to be the wife of another. I’m a poor mercenary.”
“Not so poor by what I’ve heard.” Grainne struggled to control her own rapid breathing. The heat of his body infiltrated her very pores. “Rumor has it you’ve farmland in the Highlands.”
Bruce’s face was very close to hers as he moved closer to her, his breath fanning against her lips as they lightly touched hers. Grainne involuntarily touched his cheek, her fingertips on fire and her own breathing sounding loud in her ears. “You’ve heard right. It would be a great place to raise sheep, if I had the right woman.”
“Aye. It would be in a place with the right woman.”
Grainne looked away, but she still felt his heat. He cupped her chin under with his thumb and forefinger, forcing her to look at him. His brown eyes bore into her soul. Grainne’s whole body grew hot, and she gently slapped away his hand. Turning from him, she replied softly over her shoulder, “I have to finish with Anu.”
“Would you leave with me, my wild rose?” Suddenly, Bruce’s powerful arms encircled her waist. He ran his lips along her neck as his hands shifted to her breasts.
Grainne turned to him, almost against her as though she couldn’t help her conscious will. In his arms, she wasn’t possessed of a mind at all, only an aching body that longed for sexual release. During her long journeys at sea, Grainne had acquired many unsavory sailors’ habits. She loved to game and swore in such a way that made her mother cross herself before flailing her only daughter, but Grainne had never given of herself to man. She’d purposefully withheld her sexual favors from the men inhabiting her father’s ships. Grainne was a chieftain’s daughter. She wouldn’t disgrace him or herself.
Please help me welcome Cynthia Owens back to the blog today. She has a special treat in store for us as we meet the heroine of her newest Irish romance, Everlasting.
Hello, Cathy, and thank you so much for hosting me on your blog today! I must admit I’m super-excited about being here to introduce you to the heroine of my August release, Everlasting, Book IV of the Claddagh Series. It’s wonderful to be back in Ballycashel again!
Those of you who read Coming Home (Book II) might remember Shannon Flynn. She’s the oldest of Tom Flynn’s three daughters, and when last seen, the fifteen-year-old girl was enjoying a budding romance with Mike Donovan.
But time passed and Shannon grew up to face a sudden, shocking tragedy. Now she’s filled with bitterness and determined to exact revenge on the man she holds responsible for the loss of her fiancé.
So allow me to introduce you to Shannon Flynn, all the way from Ballycashel, County Galway, Ireland.
(A gracious nod.) Go raibh maith agat. Thank you.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I enjoy long walks in the woods. I sometimes draw. (A wicked smile) I draw lovely pictures of crows in flight. Just ask Lord Bennington. And I walk by the sea…and remember.
Aye. Remember. Remember how it used to be, when all of us were young. (An aching sigh) ‘Twas the three of us, d’ye see? Meself, Mike and Sean O’Brien. We’d go wading in the strand, catch a fish or two in the river. I loved Sean, so I did. But I loved him like a brother. We were born on the same day, and I grew up alongside him. Sure, wasn’t I in and out of the Big House as if ‘twere me own home? Sean was a brother, but Mike… (Her eyes fill with tears, and she glances away for a moment before forcing a smile) Those were good days, happy days, when we were children and nothing could hurt us, nothing could separate us.
It sounds like you had some wonderful times together. What is your greatest fear?
(Her lashes drop, she studies her hands) Losing the people I love. (A pained pause) I lost Sean. I loved him so much, but sure, wasn’t he involved with the Crow Boys? He and the boys were determined to help set old Erin free, and they thought burning Bennington House was the way to do it. Instead, they were almost caught by the Constabulary. When it was all over, my da’d been shot and Sean fled. He’s in America now, living with his sister, Katie, and ‘tis said he’s done well for himself. But, sure, he’ll never see Ireland again. Son of the landlord or no, there’s a price on his head. (Her eyes fill with tears) And then I lost Mike. The only man I’ve ever loved.
What is your most prized possession?
Sure, for a poor Irish tenant, possessions are few and far between. But I cherish my slingshot. Sean made if for me. Said I might need it one day to fight off the boys. (Her eyes glitter with defiant pride) Well, sure, I never used it for that, but didn’t it come in handy on another occasion? But ye’ll have to read my story to find out about that particular incident.
What’s your most vivid memory?
(Shannon is silent for a long time, a look of utter sadness crossing her face) ‘Twas a cold January day when food was scarce and the hunger ran deep in all Lord Bennington’s tenants. Mike was one of those tenants, and sure, he couldn’t bear to see his brothers and sisters go hungry. My da offered to take him fishing—Da’s been fishing the sea since he was a lad, and his da and his grandda before him.
But a storm blew up without warnin’, and the boat was destroyed. Da managed to swim ashore, but Mike— (a single tear streaks down one cheek)—sure, Mike couldn’t swim. The sea took him. We never even found his body. I say a prayer for him every night, as I have since we lost him, and didn’t I tie a rag to the Rag Tree in the hopes that God would bring him home?
(She squares her shoulders and blinks away her tears, a small smile curving her lips.) I’ll always remember Mike. Sure, wasn’t he me own first love? But I’m happy now, happier than I ever dreamed possible with my Liam and our children.
Shannon, thank you for being here with us today.
Ah, ‘tis I should be thankin’ ye. And may I be offerin’ yer readers a wee Irish blessing?
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields, and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
Go raibh maith agat. Thank you, Shannon and Cynthia for the wonderful interview. Everlasting promises to be a wonderful story, and Shannon sounds like a feisty, heart-melting heroine. I look forward to reading it soon!
7/7/2014 2 Comments
Hi Cathy, and thanks so much for having me today!
Good morning, Cynthia! It’s great to have you here. Could you please tell us a bit about yourself?
I believe I was destined to be interested in history. One of my distant ancestors, Thomas Aubert, reportedly sailed up the St. Lawrence River to discover Canada some 26 years before Jacques Cartier’s 1534 voyage. Another relative was a 17thCentury “King’s Girl,” one of a group of young unmarried girls sent to New France (now the province of Quebec) as brides for the habitants (settlers) there.
My passion for reading made me long to write books like the ones I enjoyed, and I tried penning sequels to my favorite Nancy Drew mysteries. Later, fancying myself a female version of Andrew Lloyd Weber, I drafted a musical set in Paris during WWII.
A former journalist and lifelong Celtophile, I enjoyed a previous career as a reporter/editor for a small chain of community newspapers before returning to my first love, romantic fiction. My stories usually include an Irish setting, hero or heroine, and sometimes all three.
I’m the author of The Claddagh Series, historical romances set in Ireland and beyond, and The Wild Geese Series, in which five Irish heroes return from the American Civil War to find love and adventure.
I’m a member of the Romance Writers of America, Hearts Through History Romance Writers, and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers. A lifelong resident of Montreal, Canada, I still live there with my own Celtic hero and our two teenaged children.
CMR: Wow. You seem to have a destiny with history. How long have you been writing?
CO: To be perfectly honest, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write! In the first grade, we were told to write a few sentences about Dick, Jane and their dog Spot. I wrote about four paragraphs! But talk about stifling creativity: instead of being pleased and praising me, my teacher scolded for writing too much! I can’t help wondering what she’d say if she knew I’ve become a (dare I say it?) multi-published author!
CMR: What do you enjoy most about writing?
CO: Well, let’s see, there really isn’t much I don’t enjoy about writing. ;) But I think the best thing about writing is the creative rush I get when I first begin the story. I love creating my characters, deciding on the time frame, the setting, and of course, the plot. It’s a little bit like falling in love for the first time, with all the wonder and excitement that entails. It’s a great feeling!
CMR: What is it that draws you to historical romance?
CO: I love history! Irish history in particular. Despite the tragedy and hardship of the Irish people in the Victorian era (Queen Victoria was known in Ireland as the Famine Queen), there was so much political upheaval happening at the time, such determination to survive. The Irish are a great people, and I only hope I can do them justice.
CMR: That sounds wonderful! So, tell us a bit about your newest book.
CO: I’m so thrilled to announce the June release of My Dark Rose. It’s the third in the Wild Geese Series, and it’s Dary Greely’s story.
…Like the Wild Geese of Old Ireland, five boys grew to manhood despite hunger, war, and the mean streets of New York…
He was the lucky one…
Dary Greely is the only one of his brothers and sisters to survive the hunger in Ireland and the coffin ship to America. He was the one whose parents made a bit of money, the one who emerged from the war virtually unscathed. He was the lucky one…but when the war ended, his luck ran out.
She was burdened by too many responsibilities…
Róisín Donavan is an Irish girl who lives in a Five Points tenement room. She dreams of a future as a great diva and sings Irish songs at Paddy Ryan's Pub. But her stubborn Irish pride won't allow her to abandon her family, even if it means sacrificing everything for them.
Can Dary make Róisín see her true worth? Can Róisín heal the festering wounds that tear at Dary’s soul? And can love truly mend their grieving hearts?
CMR: What was your inspiration for this story?
CO: My hero, Dary Greely, inspired this story. The lucky one, the one who grew up with a few advantages, who’s everyone’s friend. The easy-going one with the sense of humor. But what happens when his luck runs out? That’s what I wanted to find out!
CMR: That's a great premise! What kind of research did you do?
CO: A lot, and since I love my research, I had a great time! J I’d already done some research into the Famine, the coffin ships that brought the five “Wild Geese” to America, and the Five Points, where they grew up. But My Dark Rose took the characters to such places as Delmonico’s Restaurant, a well-to-do family’s home, and a Central Park roller-skating rink. So I had to find out just what Dary and Róisín would have experienced. And since Róisín’s a singer in an Irish pub, I had to research the lyrics to several Irish songs. No hardship there, as I listen to Irish music whether I’m writing or not!
CMR: How did you decide on the setting? Have you ever been there?
CO: My Dark Rose is set in New York City, and deciding on the setting was easy. Most Irish immigrants arrived in New York, and many of them stayed on and became a close-knit community. I have been to New York City, but only for brief visits. I hope to go back one day soon and explore the city more thoroughly.
CMR: Which character was the easiest to write? Why?
CO: Róisín was very easy to write because we shared a lot of the same character traits. She’s very insecure about her relationship with Dary because of the differences in their economic stations. And she worries about disappointing her music teacher. Having been painfully shy my entire life, I could relate to those insecurities.
CMR: What surprises did you uncover as these characters and story developed?
CO: Probably the biggest surprise was how endearing Róisín’s family was. From her spoiled, selfish sister, Nuala, to her wastrel brother, Joe, I fell in love with all of them. I hope my readers grow as fond of them as I have, because they’ve been tugging at my sleeves and asking for their own stories!
CMR: I’ve learned a lot today, Cynthia, and I’ve certainly enjoyed getting to know you better. Is there anything you’d like to add?
I love to hear from my readers! I love to connect with them on Facebook or Twitter, and I love receiving e-mails through my website. I usually answer right away too. Readers can contact me or connect with me at the following links:
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Cynthia-Owens/e/B003DQ1V2E/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1
CMR: Thanks so much for joining me today, Cynthia! Best of luck with your books!
Thanks so much for having me! I really enjoyed answering your questions, and I look forward to meeting your readers!
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