Medieval Monday’s – The Final Installment

If you’ve been following along for the last 14 weeks, you have met thirteen authors via serial snippets describing a hero and heroine’s first significant encounter. My contribution was one of the first scenes between Tomas MacIan and Vida Ruthven from Highland Redemption.

The full scene is presented below–with the ending. Remember, leave a comment for a chance to win a free e-copy of any of my books. Winners will be announced later this week.

Tomas took the pawn from her hand. “White goes first, make your move.”

Initially he was distracted, thinking of Moyna. She appeared to recognize him. That she didn’t acknowledge it was good. He would have to try and find a way to talk with her. But after the first few less than well thought out moves, Tomas realized he had to focus while playing chess with Vida. He also thought he might have an inkling why no one, especially her father, would play with her—they didn’t like to lose. She was exceedingly good and he lost the first game in minutes.

“Ah, Vida, I made the classic mistake of underestimating my foe. Will ye allow me to redeem myself?”

She gave him a heart-stopping smile. “Of course. I’d love to play another game.”

This time he was prepared and paid closer attention.

Perhaps trying to distract him, she asked lots of questions about the Highlands, his home, and Clan Carr. He did his best to answer without telling too many lies.

“Tomas, tell me, is it usual for men to name their horses?”

“That’s an odd question, why do you ask?”

“I just heard once that seasoned warriors don’t name their horses, but you called your horse Duff.”

“I don’t know if it’s usual everywhere, but the warriors I know name their horses. A horse is not a piece of equipment. It is a living creation of God, and in battle, an extension of oneself. I’ve heard some men name their swords. It seems much more reasonable to me for them to name a beast they depend on.”

“Oh, I agree. I can’t imagine not having a name for my horse.”

“Do you have a horse?” asked Tomas.

Her face lit up. “Yes. A black mare. I named her Mab, after the fairy queen.”

“Really?” Tomas was shocked. “I named my first pony Mab.”

“You’re teasing me.”

“Nay, I’m serious. An older girl in the clan had told me fairy stories and Mab was always in them.”

“What an odd coincidence. I’ve never heard of another horse named Mab. Even when I named her, some of my more superstitious clansmen warned me that I might be tempting the fairies to work some mischief.”

Tomas laughed, “I never thought about that. I just really liked the name when I was a wee lad.” His grin broadened as another memory came to him.

“What amuses you so?”

“I was just remembering that I liked the name so much, I wanted my parents to name my baby sister Mab.”

She laughed and Tomas delighted in the sound. It enveloped him in a sweet warmth.

“How many brothers and sisters do you have?”

Damn. Tomas had inadvertently revealed more than he wished anyone at Cotharach to know. He’d have to tread carefully. “I have two brothers and a sister.”

“Older or younger?”

“All younger.”

“Are any of them married? Do you have nieces and nephews who are pining for Uncle Tomas? For that matter, are you married?”

“Nay, I’m not married and neither are any of them. They’re all much younger. My youngest brother is twelve. My sister’s the oldest of them and she’s but eighteen.”

“My age. Exactly how much older are you?”

He chuckled. He had answered this battery of questions before. Young women at court, anxious to find husbands were no less obvious. “I’m twenty-six, my lady.”

“Eight years between you and your next oldest sibling. My goodness.”

“I was adopted.”

“Oh, I see.”

“And your father? Is he one of Laird Carr’s guardsmen?”

“Nay.” Tomas said no more. A discussion about his parents was best avoided and the easiest way to do that was to change the subject. “Who taught ye to play chess?”

She smiled sadly. “My mother started to teach me when I was a very little girl. I learned how the pieces moved and captured other pieces. Before she died, we played some. But mostly I loved just playing with the pieces like they were dolls. I imagined them to be two royal families, with lots of children.” Vida smiled and blushed. “Mama would play that with me too sometimes. I thought it would be fun to live in a big family.”

“Do ye not have cousins?” Tomas knew full well she did—but she might not know that.

“I have cousins in my mother’s family. We visited them some when she was alive, but not since then.”

“And yer father?”

“He had an older brother who died.”

“What about his children?”

“My uncle didn’t have any children. At least, I don’t think he did. None that lived anyway. If he’d had children, my papa wouldn’t have become laird.”

Tomas scowled. By all the angels, Ruthven never told her about Katherine.

“Is something wrong?”

He shook his head, forcing a smile. “Nay, lass, I’m just trying to figure out how to get out of the corner ye’ve boxed me into. Ye didn’t learn to play chess like this by pretending the pieces were dolls. Did yer da continue yer lessons?”

“Nay. Well, I suppose in a way he did. He wanted me to learn how to read and write and do sums. So, he had our priest teach me.” A warm smile spread across her face. “Father James, was wonderful. He taught me so much more than just those basic skills, including chess. He died when I was ten and it was nearly as painful as when mama died.” She sighed. “But he was elderly and in his last year he’d become very frail. He said he was ready for the angels to lead him into paradise.”

Tomas remembered Father James. He was exceedingly kind and Lady Katherine had adored him. Tomas had known he must have surely passed away by now, but his heart ached a little anyway. Almost without thinking, he made the sign of the cross and said a silent prayer for his soul.

Vida had a slightly bemused look on her face. “That was kind of you.”

“I’m sorry, what?”

“Saying a prayer for the soul of a stranger. It was kind.”

A stranger. Right. Tomas had to be more careful. “I…uh…I have known priests who were dear to me. And I suppose it never hurts to pray for the soul of a priest.”

“Nay, I don’t suppose it does. But it was kind of you anyway.”

They played in silence for a few minutes. He realized she was only three moves from checkmate and he had no way of preventing it. Then, to his surprise, she made a move that killed her chance at checkmate and created an opening for him to win. He’d seen enough of her skill so far to know she’d thrown the game intentionally.

He frowned at her, irritated. “Don’t do that.”

“What?” Her tone was innocent, but her eyes told a different story.

“Put that piece back and make the move ye’d intended to make.”

“I…I…don’t know what you mean.”

His eyes narrowed, as his irritation shifted slowly to anger. “Don’t pretend ye don’t know what ye just did. Make the correct move. Now.”

Her eyes grew suspiciously bright and she blinked as if trying to hold back tears. She looked down, quickly and replayed the move.

He hadn’t intended to make her cry. But her pretending to lose was not only insulting to him, it demeaned her. One of her hands rested on the table and he covered it with his. “Lass, ye’re an extremely skilled chess player. Truly one of the best I’ve ever encountered. Don’t belittle that by intentionally losing.”

“I’m sorry. It’s just…I…most people…”

He suspected he knew what she was trying to say. He reached out, putting a finger under her chin, tilting her head up so he could look into her eyes. “I don’t need to win to enjoy the game. I’m sorry you’ve played with people who do.”

She swallowed hard and nodded.

The game ended quickly, but she didn’t meet his eyes when she said checkmate.

He knocked over his king, conceding the win. “Vida, ye’re a worthy opponent. Especially for one whose tutelage ended when ye were ten.”

Her smile returned. “My tutelage didn’t end when I was ten. Father James was a smart man and a reasonably good chess player, but Father Michael is a master of the game and, frankly, ruthless.”

“So, he’s the only one who can best ye?”

She laughed outright, the warmth of it filling him again. “Aye, occasionally, but he doesn’t best me very often. You, however, are every bit as skilled.”

“Thank ye, my lady.”

“You agreed to call me Vida.”

“Well then, thank you, Vida. I look forward to our next match.”

Her eyes widened in surprise. “Really? You’ll play with me again?”

He grinned.

She blushed. “Stop it. You know what I mean. You’ll play chess with me again?”

“Of course, I will. It never pays to sit back and think one knows everything. The only way I will continue to improve my chess game is to play with people who can best me.”

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Medieval Monday’s – Nicole Locke

We are continuing with our medieval first encounters. This week you will find another snippet from Highland Redemption on Nicole Locke’s website.

Below is a snippet from Nicole’s, Her Christmas Knight.

Locke-HCK

The seal. She had the seal.

How could she have forgotten the game? How long had she been held by Hugh, staring at him as if she…as if she wanted to see him again? Embarrassment did more than warm her skin this time. This time she knew she turned red. Something she couldn’t control. But what she could control was what she did about it.

Putting as much coldness into her features as possible, she looked up. He wasn’t there. The crowd had surrounded her and was pushing her forward. Digging her heels into the flooring, she struggled against the crowd until they suddenly opened before her. With a last push she was released into a small opening.

She righted herself, running one hand down her crumpled dress, and turned to glare at the courtiers—but a glint of red and gold at the corner of her eye shocked her into stillness.

Disbelieving, she turned towards the red and gold of the King’s throne. It wasn’t empty. Instead there was a very tall, very thin bearded man reposing on the ornately carved chair.

Fighting the instinct to hide, she dropped in a deep curtsey. King Edward had returned to the Tower of London and he was staring right at her.

Blurb

A knight to protect her—this Yuletide 

By order of the English king, Alice of Swaffham searches London nobility for the traitor dealing information to the Scots. Little does she know that the mysterious spy she seeks is the man she once loved and thought she’d lost forever…

If Hugh of Shoebury felt unworthy of Alice before, as the Half-Thistle spy he can never claim her heart. Now he must fight to keep not only his dark secrets—and Alice—safe from a vengeful king…but also his burning longing for her at bay!

 Buy Links:

Amazon: myBook.to/Lovers-n-Legends6

Harlequin: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/authors/24841_nicole-locke.html

Continue to follow along as Nicole goes on to Laurel O’Donnell’s blog next week. And be sure to leave a comment below for a chance to win a prize at the end of the tour.

The tour ends next week so be sure to read the conclusion to Nicole’s excerpt on her website and check back here for the final installment from Highland Redemption.

 

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Medieval Mondays – Jenna Jaxson

We are continuing with our medieval first encounters. This week you will find another snippet from Highland Redemption on Jenna Jaxson’s website.

Below is a snippet from Jenna’s, Betrothal.

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In a daze, she watched Geoffrey wrench his lips from her hand and stand, eyes widened as if amazed. His brows furrowed a moment then he spoke to the king. “May I ask, Your Majesty, when the banns will be read? I am sorely pressed to begin my repentance.”

The king chuckled. “You are impatient, Sir Geoffrey, but with such beauty before you, I well understand your desire for haste. The first banns will be read this Sunday, and a fortnight hence you shall be husband and wife. Now take the maid back to her table lest you devour her with your eyes.”

Blurb

The heart can choose, but can it also change?

Lady Alyse de Courcy has fallen in love with Lord Braeton, a nobleman in King Edward III’s court and a man to whom she has barely spoken. Fate, however, has decreed her betrothal to his best friend, Sir Geoffrey Longford—a handsome and imposing knight, yet hardly the man she wants to wed.

When Sir Geoffrey is bound in betrothal by his father, he could not have expected the beautiful stranger to win his heart the moment they meet. But Alyse’s infatuation with his friend casts doubt on whether she can ever return his regard and their wedding day is fast approaching…  Will he have time enough to win her love?

Buy Links:

AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CF6UZFW

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/betrothal-jenna-jaxon/1115182506?ean=2940044481251

SMASHWORDS: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/307838

Continue to follow along as Jenna goes on to Laurel O’Donnell’s blog next week. And be sure to leave a comment below for a chance to win a prize at the end of the tour.

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Medieval Mondays – Elisabeth Hobbes

We are continuing with our medieval first encounters. This week you will find another snippet from Highland Redemption on Elisabeth Hobbes’s website.

Below is a snippet from Elisabeth’s, Redeeming the Rogue Knight (The Danby Brothers, book 2).

 

Thomas began to fumble at his neck, but the man pushed his hand aside.

‘Not you, Thomas. You go tend to the horses. Dove, you can do it.’

Lucy knelt by the bed and tried to do as he asked, but when she attempted to ease the cloak from his back, it stuck fast around the shaft of the arrow. The man gave a gasp of pain as she tugged. Lucy let go, realising the arrow had gone through all the layers of clothing. Something moved in the corner of her eye. Thomas was pointing a dagger at her face. His hand shook and the expression of fear in his eyes made him almost unrecognisable.

‘Cut it free,’ Thomas said, pushing the dagger into her hand. ‘Remove all the clothing you can. When I return, we remove the arrow.’

 

Blurb: 

The spy who sought refuge…

When injured spy Sir Roger Danby comes asking for shelter at her inn, Lucy Carew is wary. He may be strikingly handsome, but the disgraced single mother has learnt the hard way with men like him. Against her better judgement, she gives him refuge.

Sir Roger has never been at the mercy of a woman before, and he’s never met one as mysterious and bewitching as Lucy. He hasn’t come looking for redemption, but Lucy is a woman who could reach in and touch his closely guarded heart…

Buy Link:
Amazon

Continue to follow along as Elisabeth goes on to Laurel O’Donnell’s blog next week. And be sure to leave a comment below for a chance to win a prize at the end of the tour.

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Medieval Mondays – Sherry Ewing

We are continuing with our medieval first encounters. This week you will find another snippet from Highland Redemption on Sherry Ewing’s website.

Below is a snippet from Sherry’s,  For All of Ever: The Knights of Berwyck, A Quest Through Time Novel (Book One).

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“My lady, I─”

 “Ugh!” She all but growled at him, and he was puzzled as to what had caused her outburst, let alone to take the Lord’s name in vain. Turning her back to him, she began muttering beneath her breath. She ran her hand through her tawny colored hair, afore she finally returned her attention to him with a grim expression. Her aquamarine eyes leveled on his face, all but boring into his very soul. “I’ve dreamed of you my entire life, for God’s sake, and now that you’re here, you can barely stand the sight of me. I’m not some kind of freak, you know. You must be here for a reason, or didn’t you think of that? It’s not fair you can be right here in front of me and want nothing to do with me!”

Blurb

Sometimes to find your future, you must look to the past…

Katherine Wakefield has dreamed and written of her knight in shining armor all her life. Never finding a man to measure up to the one of her imagination, she and her three closest friends take a dream vacation to England. Yet, strange things begin happening while visiting Bamburgh Castle, but how could they have known they’d find themselves thrown back more than eight hundred years into the past?

Riorden de Deveraux travels to Bamburgh answering the summons of King Henry II knowing his past life is about to catch up with him. But nothing prepares him for the beautiful vision of a strangely clad ghost who first appears in his chamber, let alone the fact he begins having a conversation with her.

Centuries are keeping them apart until Time gives them a chance at finding love. But there are obstacles threatening the fragile bit of hope that Riorden and Katherine can remain together. Will the past of one consume what their future may hold, or will Time take the decision from them and hurtle Katherine forward to where she truly belongs?

Buy Links:

Read For All of Ever: The Knights of Berwyck, A Quest Through Time Novel (Book One) for #FREE in Kindle Unlimited.

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1zoF0pl

Amazon AU: http://bit.ly/1Iis7D5

Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/18UOvm8

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1xB3jLv

Continue to follow along as Sherry goes on to Laurel O’Donnell’s blog next week. And be sure to leave a comment below for a chance to win a prize at the end of the tour.

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Review: WEAVE FOR ME A DREAM BY Kathryn Lynn Davis ~ a story of depth, compassion, sorrow, and hope

Source: Review: WEAVE FOR ME A DREAM BY Kathryn Lynn Davis ~ a story of depth, compassion, sorrow, and hope

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Medieval Mondays – Judith Sterling

We are continuing with our medieval first encounters. This week you will find another snippet from Highland Redemption on Judith Sterling’s website.

Below is a snippet from Judith Sterling’s, Soul of the Wolf, the Novels of Ravenwood, book two.

Her gaze dropped to the mantle slung over her right forearm.  She transferred it to her left arm and kept her gaze lowered.  “Have you any questions for me?”

“Not particularly.”

Her brown eyes claimed his once more.  “None at all?”

He frowned.  “What would you have me ask?”

“Something about my dowry, mayhap.  Or my travels.”

“Very well.  How fared you on your journey?”

Her lips twisted.  “In truth, my dowry fared better than my backside.”

Soul of the Wolf – Blurb

A Norman loyalist, Lady Jocelyn bristles when ordered to marry Wulfstan, a Saxon sorcerer. She nurses a painful secret and would rather bathe in a cesspit than be pawed by such a man…until her lifelong dream of motherhood rears its head.

A man of magic and mystery, Wulfstan has no time for wedded bliss. He fears that consummating their marriage will bind their souls and wrench his focus from the ancient riddle his dying mother begged him to solve. He’s a lone wolf, salving old wounds with endless work. But Jocelyn stirs him as no woman ever has.

Their attraction is undeniable. Their fates are intertwined. Together, they must face their demons and bring light to a troubled land.

Buy Links:
Wild Rose Press
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

Continue to follow along as Judith goes on to Laurel O’Donnell’s blog next week. And be sure to leave a comment below for a chance to win a prize at the end of the tour.

 

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