Friday, 19 September 2014

The Highlander Giveaway Hop


Welcome to the Highlander Giveaway hop. Join me and some other great blogs to win some awesome highlander reads. Check out all the blogs listed below and be sure to stop by to win. You can win a ecopy of To Steal a Highlander's Heart on my blog today simply by commenting and leaving your email :)

Excerpt

Wisps of mist rose from the ground and swirled around Alana’s ankles. She thrust out a foot to watch the white haze dance about her before glancing over her shoulder at the keep in the distance. Tucked against the mountain and cut off by a shallow river, the tall stone castle seemed almost insignificant. She blew out a long breath and watched as it too misted.
Though pleased to be free from the keep, and her father’s watchful eye, a sense of foreboding struck her. Alana frowned while she tried to recall why she had come out onto the moors. In truth, she barely remembered getting dressed yet here she was, in her pale blue plaid, hair braided, drawing in the early morning air. Only the foggy remnants of a dream remained, something that beckoned for her to come here.
And how was it there were no men to stop her from leaving?
A strange occurrence indeed, for her father never left the castle walls unattended. It had been deathly quiet. A morbid thought occurred to her and she wondered why she did not check that all was well. Had they been attacked overnight? Were her kinsmen dead? Nay, surely not, for there would be triumphant victors crowding the halls of Dunleith Keep by now and she would either be killed or captured.
The whole morning had been strange. Her first clear memory was standing in the moors and staring off into the distance as if awaiting something. A prickle danced over her skin and she spun wildly, feeling as though fingers had tickled down her spine. Ach, either someone played games with her or her mind was addled. She huffed. Too much time spent cloistered away.
Specks of orange sunlight filtered across the mountains, dancing between the cracks and valleys and Alana tilted her head. The urge to keep going, to see what lay over the other side warred within her. She so missed being outside, missed her freedom.
Da would have a fit.
With a sigh, she turned back to the castle, the stone tower seeming more grey and oppressive than ever before. Hitching up her skirts, she strolled leisurely back, taking her time to admire each wild flower as she went. She ought to walk quickly. Should her father discover her absence, he would no doubt lecture her on the dangers of her actions and would certainly remind hertheir enemies were everywhere. Ach, she saw no—
She spun wildly when the heavy thud of hooves sounded. A brown horse bore down upon her, barely a few paces away. Alana squeaked in surprise when the rider snatched her plaid and hauled her into the saddle in front of him, not even slowing the mountas he positioned her firmly in his arms. She scarcely comprehended how it had happened. One moment there had been no one and then suddenly…A ghost mayhap?
She tried to wriggle in his hold but a strong arm pinned her to his chest. “Release me, ye fool.”

“I think not, my lady.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Moray, Scotland, 1230 

Alana sets eyes on Morgann for the first time in several years and what does he do? He captures her! But Alana refuses to go meekly with the sexy Highland warrior. Her kidnapping will reignite the rift that’s existed between the two clans since her father accused Morgann of theft and she doesn’t want to see her father harmed in the inevitable war that will ensue. 

Unfortunately for Alana, the faeries seek to interfere with her plans to escape. The sidhe have a debt to repay and Tèile, the green faery, is determined to mend the rift between the clans for good. And that means ensuring Alana and Morgann marry. 

Morgann has his own reasons for taking Alana and they are nothing to do with marriage or war. He wants to use her to reveal a secret from the past, the one that had him accused of theft. If only he didn’t find his childhood friend so attractive. When circumstances force them together, Alana’s life is threatened and war is imminent. Can Morgann reveal the truth without losing Alana? And will the faery’s meddling help or hinder his cause? 

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Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Guest Post: How Loving Your Husband Makes All the Difference by Kim Rendfield


Can love triumph over war?


772 AD: Charlemagne’s battles in Saxony have left Leova with nothing but her two children, Deorlaf and Sunwynn. Her beloved husband died in combat. Her faith lies shattered in the ashes of the Irminsul, the Pillar of Heaven. The relatives obligated to defend her and her family instead sell them into slavery.

In Francia, Leova is resolved to protect her son and daughter, even if it means sacrificing her own honor. Her determination only grows stronger as Sunwynn blossoms into a beautiful young woman attracting the lust of a cruel master and Deorlaf becomes a headstrong man willing to brave starvation and demons to free his family. Yet Leova’s most difficult dilemma comes in the form of a Frankish friend, Hugh. He saves Deorlaf from a fanatical Saxon and is Sunwynn’s champion - but he is the warrior who slew Leova’s husband.


Set against a backdrop of historic events, including the destruction of the Irminsul, The Ashes of Heaven’s Pillar explores faith, friendship, and justice. This companion to Kim Rendfeld’s acclaimed The Cross and the Dragon tells the story of an ordinary family in extraordinary circumstances.


Guest Post


How Loving Your Husband Makes All the Difference


By Kim Rendfeld


When I chose a family of pagan Saxon peasants as my main characters for The Ashes of Heaven’s Pillar, I also needed to decide on the relationship, my heroine, Leova, had with her husband. Leova is fictional, so she and Derwine could have any relationship I wanted - abusive, apathetic, comfortable, or loving.


Medieval marriages were arranged, and among aristocrats, they were a means to build alliances. Girls as young as 12 or 13 were considered marriageable, and parents often betrothed both sons and daughters at even younger ages. If the bride was a 15- or 16-year-old Christian, the Church required her consent.  However, in an epoch that didn’t recognize child abuse and considered wife-beating a right, consent could be beaten or starved from a girl. It’s easy to say that girls were pawns. An alternative perspective is that they were important partners for their families when having the right in-laws could prevent feuds or wars.


Whether the couple was Christian or pagan, social considerations always came first. Heck, the couple didn’t even need to like each other. So if your husband didn’t leave you bruised and bloody and didn’t get so drunk he couldn’t work the farm, you’d consider yourself lucky. And a man would think himself fortunate if he could trust his wife not to stray and to take care of his children and the household.


In Leova’s case, her older brother married her off to his good friend to appease his wife, who was jealous of the siblings’ bond. At first, I thought Leova and Derwine were going to have a comfortable relationship like I just described but not much more than that. My characters decided otherwise, that they would love each other.


A happy medieval marriage is not as unusual as you might think. Some historic marriages were loving, even if the reason to wed was political. When authors of the Royal Frankish Annals typically did not trouble themselves with how a couple felt about their reunion after months apart, the 787 entry says King Charles (Charlemagne) and Queen Fastrada “rejoiced over each other and were happy together and praised God’s mercy.” In a letter from Charles to Fastrada, composed before he went to war with the Avars in 791, he greets her as “our beloved and most loving wife,” and when you read the letter, you get the feeling this is not an empty platitude.


Leova and Derwine’s deep love for each other improves the story. It makes Leova’s losses all the more devastating, heightens her guilt when she gets involves with another man, and makes her decision on what to do about Hugh, the Frankish friend who killed her husband, all the more difficult. In other words, love raises the stakes.


Sources:


Pierre Riché’s Daily Life in the World of Charlemagne (translated by Jo Ann McNamara)


Carolingian Chronicles (includes the Royal Frankish Annals and Nithard’s Histories), translated by Bernard Walter Scholz with Barbara Rogers


P.D. King’s Charlemagne: Translated Sources


Excerpt


This scene takes place days after the Saxons’ defeat at Eresburg. Leova and her children, Deorlaf and Sunwynn, have found Derwine’s body. Her sister-in-law, Ealdgyth, and nephews, Wulfgar and Ludgar, have offered to assist with the funeral.


Tucking the cloak under Derwine’s body, Wulfgar held Derwine’s shoulders, while Ludgar grabbed his calves. Although the young men paused several times carrying Derwine’s body, the mourners reached the barrows, where the air was thick with smoke and reeked of charred flesh from other families’ pyres.


Leova forced her tired limbs to move and gestured for her children to follow her into the forest and gather wood for Derwine’s pyre. Ealdgyth built a smaller fire, while her sons collected large branches. When the pyre was waist high, the twins laid Derwine’s body atop it. Leova left her cloak on her husband, unable to bear another sight of his mangled body.


“Farewell, Husband,” she murmured, stroking the cloak, “you died a hero.” She wanted to say more. How his plain face had become handsome to her. How she missed the touch of his calloused hands. How he had made her happier than she had ever thought possible. How she feared life without him. But if she opened her mouth and said those things, she would weep, and Derwine’s spirit would linger.


Deorlaf leaned toward where his father’s ear had been. “By the ashes of the Irminsul, I will avenge your death.”


“I love you, Father,” whispered Sunwynn, her eyes welling.


Leova and her children backed away from the pyre. She picked up a long stick, dipped it into the smaller fire and held the flame aloft. “Mother Holle,” she shouted, “welcome my husband, Derwine, son of Deorhelm, into your hall and to your table. He died protecting us.”


She thrust the branch into the pyre, and her children did the same. The small twigs were the first to start burning; then the fire reached out and licked larger branches. It grew, gobbling Derwine’s body, consuming a piece of her heart.


Just when Leova thought she could not shed another tear, she wept. She wept for the loss of her husband and the children’s loss of their father. Sunwynn clung to her mother, sobs wracking her body. Deorlaf reached up and laid his hand on Leova’s shoulder.


“He will dine well in Mother Holle’s hall,” he said, a crack in his voice. Tears streaked his face.


Bio

A former journalist and current copy editor for a university public relations office, Kim Rendfeld has a lifelong fascination with fairy tales and legends, which set her on her quest to write The Cross and the Dragon and its companion, The Ashes of Heaven’s Pillar. She lives in Indiana with her husband, Randy, and their spoiled cats. They have a daughter and three granddaughters. For more about Kim, visit her website, www.kimrendfeld.com, or her blog Outtakes of a Historical Novelist at kimrendfeld.wordpress.com, like her on Facebook at facebook.com/authorkimrendfeld, follow her on Twitter at @kimrendfeld, or contact her at kim [at] kimrendfeld [dot] com

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Win a paperback copy of To Dream of a Highlander


Goodreads Book Giveaway

To Dream of a Highlander by Samantha Holt

To Dream of a Highlander

by Samantha Holt

Giveaway ends October 13, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

True Love in Medieval Times

It's hard, sometimes, to remember that love ever existed in Medieval times. Most people are no strangers to the idea that arranged marriages were a common occurrence  During my research, frequent references are made to the fact that noblemen and women looked at marriage as more of a business arrangement than anything to do with love. If you were a peasant, you had certain freedoms that noble folk didn't but you were still very much limited in your choices and in such nuclear communities, your chances of finding that one special person would probably have been relatively low. Violence within marriages was also common so if you had a husband that merely tolerated you, then you could probably consider yourself lucky.

However, it was not all doom and gloom. Romantic soul that I am, I love it when I come across a tale of love. Though they are few and far between, we have to consider that there were probably many more love matches than we have record of. Women had few ways of voicing themselves and, poems of chivalry aside, real love was something rarely written of.

Christine de Pizan is a relatively well know feminist and is a fascinating woman. Though still very much a product of her time, she challenged the stereotypes of the time. And as a poet in the late medieval age, she was very highly regarded.

While her surprisingly modern views are absolutely fascinating (and I hope to touch on them at some point) what first drew me to researching her was how she talked about her marriage.


Marriage is a sweet thing,

I can prove it by my own example,

God indeed gave to me 

A good and sensible husband.

Thank God for being willing

To save him for me, for I have truly
Experienced his great goodness: 
Indeed the sweet heart loves me well.

The first night of our marriage,

I could already feel

His great goodness, for he never did to me

Any outrage which would have harmed me,

But, before it was time to get up,

He kissed me, I think, one hundred times,
Without asking for any other base reward:
Indeed the sweet heart loves me well.

And he said, with such tender words:

"God made me live for you,

Sweet friend, and I think that he had me raised

For your personal use."

He did not stop raving like that

The whole night,
Without being any more immoderate:
Indeed the sweet heart loves me well.

Prince, he makes me mad for love,

When he says that he is all mine;

He will make me die of sweetness;

Indeed the sweetheart loves me well.



Christine was married at the tender of age of 15 to Etienne du Castel who was ten years her senior
and she talks of him as a kind and understanding man when it came to their first night together. He also encouraged her to write, though she did not pursue poetry until after his death ten years later. His death greatly grieved her and she threw much of her grief into her work. Without a doubt, theirs was was a love match.


Another story that fascinated me and challenged our modern-day view of medieval marriage was the tale of Margery Paston. The daughter of a wealthy family, she secretly became engaged to the estate bailiff in 1469. Her family were deeply shocked  and we know of her mother's 
disapproval of this match from a letter she wrote to Margery's brother. Margery reportedly very boldly stated her intention to marry Richard and her mother threatened to kick her out! Obviously a strong-willed woman, Margery stated her intention once more and said 'if these words did not make it final then she would make it quite clear before she left.'


Margery did indeed marry Richard and the family found that they lost money without Richard's accounting skills do they were forced to accept the marriage and reinstate Richard.

So there we go! Love did exist, fiery females held their own, and people did marry the one they loved in spite of family pressures. With this in mind, are medieval romances that far fetched? Well, maybe just a little, but these moments did exist and still do. Some lucky men and women truly had a happy ending and these old tales of love will forever stick with me and continue to feed my romantic soul.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

NEWS and Giveaway! Latest Release

Sexy young couple playing in love games in a bedroom.

BOOK BLURB / SYNOPSIS

Have you ever been so desperate you made a decision that would haunt you forever?

Jess has.

She became a porn star.

Jess is on the run from her past. She has no friends, no life. She tries to forget everything that happened to her all those years ago. After changing her image, leaving her home and getting a new job, she’s determined it won’t happen again. If that means never being close to anyone ever again, then so be it. If only Hunter O’Reilly didn’t make her wish things could be different.

Hunter needs this job. After being screwed over by his partner—make that ex-partner—his investigation business is on the line. Already in debt, he eagerly takes on the job of finding some stolen money at triple his going rate and all leads point in Jess’s direction. He expects problems at that price. But he doesn’t expect to fall for her.

However, no job is ever that simple. When he’s forced to spend more time with her, the lines between business and pleasure are blurred. And once Jess’s life comes under threat, they have to make a decision, can they both overcome Jess’s past?

BUY & TBR LINKS

Too Much To Lose - Teaser 1

EXCERPT

“If you’re in trouble, I know some people who can help.”

“I’m not in trouble. Really, I’m not. I mean who would want to kill me? I know bankers aren’t exactly popular—” she lets loose a shaky laugh “—but I’m harmless.”

Harmless? Not sure about that. Jess sends my heart racing, makes my skin clammy. She’s driving me insane. Harmless? No way. “What do you want me to do?” I ask.

“Do?”

“Shall I stick around?”

“Oh. No, you don’t need to do that.”

“I don’t mind.”

“I’m fine. Seriously. Thank you for today. You must be tired and I bet your side hurts.”

It does, but I’m not going to admit to that. “It’s fine.”

“Look about that kiss….”

“That was my fault.”

“I kissed you.”

“You did.” I can’t resist letting my mouth curve upwards. She kissed me, but I don’t know if that’s a bad or a good thing. While my pride basks in it, the voice inside that keeps pulling at my gut wants to scream at her to run while she still can. I’m no good for her. “But I kissed you back,” I point out. “And I should not have been… er… touching you out there.”

She draws her bottom lip between her teeth. “It’s okay.”

Hell, how do those two tiny words send an arrow of need straight to my cock? It’s okay that I was kissing her? Or touching her up? It’s okay that I want her so badly I nearly bent her over my bike to fuck her?

Before I can dwell on it anymore and make an even bigger fool of myself, I get to my feet. “Will you let me stay?”

“I don’t think so. It’s too risky.”

A hard knot forms in my throat. I’m more dangerous to her than a crazed gunman it seems. She might be right. If—when—I find that money, her whole life is going to come crashing down.

“Don’t answer the door to anyone. Be careful. Call me if you need me. In fact, call me tomorrow.” She follows me to the door. “Please?” I add as uncertainty dashes across her face.

Jess opens the door and I step out. “I’ll call you,” she says when I turn to face her.

“Promise?”

She rolls her eyes and her mouth curves. “I promise.”

Those lush lips snare my attention and my own smile drops. My skin feels hot and itchy, my pulse urgent. This is insane. I rest an arm against the door frame, my feet still firmly planted on the other side of the threshold and bring my mouth slowly down on hers. She softens but doesn’t touch me. We’re divided by the invisible line between the corridor and her room. I can’t help thinking of it as symbolic. We’re divided by secrets and lies.

Not that any of that matters once our lips connect. I swear I’ve never wanted to kiss a woman so much. Kisses are about the end game. But not with Jess. I want to drown in her kisses, to kiss her all day and see if I ever tire of them. I suspect it’s unlikely.
Happy young couple in love

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Saturday, 30 August 2014

Blog Tour Stop: The Lady Quill Chronicles

Lady Quill Chronicles - Tour Banner  

BOOK INFORMATION

TITLE – The Promise (book #1) The Vow (book #2) SERIES – The Lady Quill Chronicles AUTHOR – D.D. Chant GENRE – Historical Fiction/romance/adventure/mystery PUBLICATION DATE – 3rd March 2012 / 28th July 2014 LENGTH (Pages/# Words) – 95.620 words / 108.290 words PUBLISHER – Self-Publish COVER ARTIST – D.D. Chant

BOOK SYNOPSIS (The Promise & The Vow)

The Promise Cover
Dear Reader,
I wish to tell you a tale that began with a promise destined to change the lives of many.
When only a child, Lady Adele of Berron lost her family during a dreadful battle and was betrothed to a stranger.
Lord Rafe of Valrek, only a boy himself when the battle of Calis raged, grew to be a feared warrior and trusted advisor to his King. But sadness filled his past and Adele served only to remind him of all he had lost.
However the promise that bound these two together caused great anger to some. What, Dear Reader, happened in those days of treachery and darkness? Incline your ear that I may whisper the secrets that you so desire to hear......
Lady Quill
  The Vow - Book Cover
Dear Reader,
My next story begins with Velrek, where Lord Rafe and Lady Adele's arrival was cause for much celebration and rejoicing.
However Finan of Gournay, Rafe's foster brother and the captain of Valreks army, could not help a lingering feeling of worry.
Were Rafe and Adele truly safe from Lord Kyule's hate?
Adding to Finan's problems was the unsettling presence of Rafe's sister, Lady Esme. Used to keeping his distance from the woman of Valrek, Finan found that he could no longer escape as before.
As danger and treachery enveloped Valrek, Finan and Esme found themselves drawn together to fight the shadowy assailant that threatened the lives of those they loved.
What secrets would they unearth in their search for the enemy that taunted them?
Would they find that their stories were more closely linked than either of them ever knew?
Allow me please to answer these questions...
Lady Quill
AvailableOnAmazonSmashwords  

BUY & TBR LINKS

  10569809_678664178895129_1665521022_o  

EXCERPT (The Promise)

Rafe watched as Adele pushed a wisp of hair back from her cheek and tucked it behind her ear. She was unaware of his eyes upon her, all her attention was on the robin that hopped about on the frozen earth, pecking at the crumbs she had scattered for it. She must be tired, she had to be. Eda was even now asleep, curled up in the shelter of a fallen log. It was Eda who had begged for rest, for food, but never once had Adele demanded anything, no word of complaint had passed her lips. Still he was uneasy. Adele and Eda had talk in a desultory manner, but there had been silence between himself and her for too long. At first he had not noticed, his head was too full of plans and worries for him to spare a thought for conversation. But for a long while he had been conscious of the deafening silence between them and had been made uncomfortable by it. That was strange in itself because he had been used to long marches from an early age and had never found the quiet awkward before. Certainly he had never voluntarily conversed with any lady not related to him. He was surprised to find that the hush had become oppressive and longed for her to say something, however inconsequential, to show him that she was not upset by his having ignored her for so long. Maybe he should talk to her, but he could think of nothing to say. The robin, encouraged by Adele’s stillness and enticed by the crumbs, bravely moved a little nearer. Adele smiled breaking another piece of rye bread and crumbling it between her fingers before dropping them to the floor. The robin fluttered away nervously and Adele laughed. “’Tis only crumbs, you silly thing.” The robin cocked its head to one side, regarding her speculatively from one beady eye before hopping a little nearer. He was so close that Rafe could see with incredible clarity the overlapping feathers on his bright red chest and he realised that he had never really looked at a robin before, not really looked. “He’s a handsome fellow, isn’t he?” Rafe was startled to hear Adele’s warm and friendly voice. He looked up to find her regarding him from wide, clear eyes. “Welcome back to the land of the living, you were gone a long time you know.” She was still smiling, there was no reproach in her words. “I was thinking,” answered Rafe apologetically. “Forgive me, I have not been very good company for you.” “You are worried,” shrugged Adele. “I only hope that you have found some solution to the problem that vexes you so. It is not pleasant to be always troubled.” She scattered a few more crumbs for the waiting robin. “You know, this little fellow reminds me of a passage in the Bible.” Adele smiled again. “When Jesus was teaching upon the Mount of Olives and he said to take a lesson from the lilies of the field because they neither toil nor spin but even Solomon in all his glory was not comparable to one of them.” Her serene eyes drifted up to meet his gaze. “’Tis true; for I have never yet seen a fabric that could equal this little robin redbreast.” Rafe stared hard into her softly unfocused eyes for some moments. “You are a very unusual girl.” The words slipped from his mouth before he could check them. Adele’s eyes met his and, for the first time in the short while he had known her, he saw that they were clouded with uncertainty. It had been meant as a compliment, in his own mind it had been a praising description, although it was true that he never meant to speak the words out loud. It seemed that although she might well be unusual, she did have one thing in common with the rest of her sex. That was the belief that in a woman, unusual was not an epithet to aspire to. She had taken the comment to be little better than a slight and was embarrassed, he could tell. It was with some surprise that he discovered that he would have given a great deal to unsay those words, or to come into possession of others that would assure her of his meaning. But he had none. He knew not how to converse with women, although there were many who would have refuted that statement. Rafe was held as a favourite with ladies, they thought him charming, attentively courteous and yet still retaining that elusive air of reckless danger. Rafe had never been easy in their company, it had rendered him silent. Strangely enough this silence had the effect of inspiring admiration in female hearts and these ladies believed that his lack of words had betrayed a great depth of emotion and sympathy. Gradually he had learnt to suffer the discomfort he felt in their presence stoically. He had never found their conversation particularly interesting, but then again he had not found it to be fraught with as many difficulties as conversation with Adele so often was. Indeed these ladies would have said, had they been asked, that it was possible to converse with Lord Rafe in complete openness. Rafe was innately polite and had always listened to their prattle in well concealed boredom, leaving them with the impression that he was a wonderfully sensitive man, with whom a lady could always enjoy a deep and meaningful conversation in which the souls of the principals had been poured out with unrestrained and frank honesty. The fact that Lord Rafe rarely said a word, but listened in silence while the Lady in question divested herself of her opinions on every subject under the sun, completely escaped them. This left said Lady with the impression that Rafe were something of a fountain of wisdom. Thankfully there had never been the need to say very much, for it had often been his reflection that ladies were quite capable of holding a conversation without the participation of a second party. In fact they seemed vaguely put out when one interrupted them half way through their monologue. It was different with Adele, she required active participation. To her conversation was to learn about others, not discussing, at length and in great detail, her own feelings and needs. He should have found the change refreshing, and in a way he did, but he found it alarming too. Adele would have been greatly surprised to know that he had any interest in her at all and her opinion of this last remark was not well defined. She was conscious of a sinking feeling of disappointment, tangled up with hurt and embarrassment. It had never occurred to Adele that she might be different to other girls, for she had thought that the whole point of her training at the fort was that she might conform to the idea of a proper wife. It came as something of a shock to find that this was not so and she knew a sudden and uncomfortable fear that perhaps she would not please Lord Rafe, that he too would be disappointed. “Are you thirsty, Lady Adele?” Rafe didn’t know what she was thinking, but he misliked the look of perturbed concentration on her face. She looked up at him, not having heard what he had said but knowing that he had addressed her. Her large, troubled eyes met his and he felt as if the breath were knocked from his body, suddenly he heard himself speaking. “I did not mean that!” He registered the meaning of his words and began to stammer. “That is… ‘tis not that I didn’t mean it, ‘tis just… I just…” He broke off, unsure if his tangled explanations were making it worse. He was relieved to find that the worry had faded from her eyes and that they were filled with the beginnings of mirth. “You are funny when you become nervous.” “I’m not nervous!” Rafe looked vaguely revolted by this description. “It is only that I did not mean it like that.” Again he looked sheepish. “All I meant was, that to be different… ’tis good... that is, Lord Rafe will be pleased.” He broke off abruptly again. “You do not think Lord Rafe will mind?” asked Adele blushing. “You think he will like it, Finn?” “I… yes.” Rafe cleared his throat and stood, looking in the direction in which they had come. The conversation was becoming a little too complicated, too difficult. He even had a vague suspicion that the discussion should not have been taking place. As he looked through the trees, his eyes keen and searching, worry entered his face. Adele saw it, saw his mind change track and begin on lines wholly different to those of a few moments before. He was gone again, lost to her as a companion. Though his form was still there standing across from her, his mind was somewhere else, somewhere along the trail that they had traversed, restless, questing, searching for answers, for something that she did not know. “Finn?” Rafe turned at the sound of her voice, it was low, gently probing and for a few seconds he said nothing as he tried to recover his wondering thoughts. She didn’t speak again, did not question him, but sat looking up, her eyes placid, waiting for him to say something. He had the feeling that she was not requesting confidences, but merely seeking reassurance, the comfort of companionship with another person. “You look tired.” “So do you,” she replied. “In truth I think you must be more weary than I, for ‘tis you who must bear the responsibility of our journey.” She stole a look up at him from beneath lowered lashes. “And I think you are plagued by much worry, more even than befits the gravity of our situation.” Rafe was taken back, few were the people who could read his thoughts with such a degree of perspicacity, and rare was the person who could hold their curiosity in check, questioning not from whence these other worries came. For some reason her understanding unsettled him. “We have yet much ground to cover before we make camp tonight, it is best that we move along now.”
Facebook.LQC.

EXCERPT (The Vow)

The night was black as pitch, so dark that Finan could not make out anything in the room. He sat upright, wondering what could have woken him. He was by no means a light sleeper and during the evening’s festivities had indulged liberally in mead. It had not been enough to inebriate, but enough to relax him and give him an altogether more cheerful view of the world. So why was he sleepless now? Grinding a fist against his eye, it suddenly occurred to him that the room was too dark. The fire had gone out, leaving the air to take on the chill of the night. He shivered and grumbled irritably under his breath. He had managed to remove his tunic before falling in to bed, now with the woollen blanket and the furs covering the bed pooled at his waist, his skin was covered with gooseflesh. Vaguely he wondered if he could be bothered to relight the dead fire, or if it would be simpler to find another blanket. He was almost certain there was a spare at the foot of his bed. Yawning he flung back the covers, but his sleepiness made him clumsy and he cracked his knee against the table to one side of the bed. With an angry oath he lurched to rest against the wall, soothing his bruised appendage. He stood there for some considerable time, cursing with a fluency that would have alarmed Lady Ebba, if only she had heard him. He found a great many things to curse: the table, himself and whatever fool had thought to put the table there in the first place. Finally he straightened and sighed heavily. The flavour of smoke hung on the air and Finan frowned glancing to where his fire should have been burning merrily. There was enough of the scent of smoke to burn the back of his throat, yet no source for its abundance. The mists of sleep cleared sharply from his brain, replaced by an uncomfortable sensation that something somewhere was amiss. It was a feeling that he had learnt long ago not to ignore, a cold certainty that clawed in his stomach giving him no peace. Opening the door he stepped out into the hall beyond. The main house and great hall was used only during the day. One of the smaller secondary halls housed the bedchambers. It was a square structure with an apex roof, built with a secondary wall within a first and partitioned into private rooms. Finan had been given the first chamber on the left, as his duties called for him to be readily available for his men. The stench of smoke was stronger in the hall but the large fire toward the end of the room was nothing more than a few glowing embers. After a few moments investigation, Finan found the source of the smoke; it seeped under the door of Rafe’s bedchamber. Panic welled within him and he threw back the bedroom door. Smoke billowed out, causing him to recoil, with a shout for help he plunged into the room, almost blind with tears as the smoke laden air assaulted his eyes. He fought his way forward to the bottom of Rafe’s bed. He could just make out his friend’s form, unnaturally still beneath the covers, a twisted woollen blanket spreading flames over the furs. “Rafe!” Finan’s hoarse voice had no affect on the still form and he reached to pull the burning covers free from the bed. The walls on either side were aflame preventing Finan from stepping forward, and greedy flames licked at the frame of the bed. Finan made out Rafe’s heavy, fur lined cloak carelessly thrown over a nearby chair and used it to cover Rafe’s inert body. It would at least shield him from the flames long enough for Finan to get him out of the room. He sucked in a dry lungful of hot air that scorched his throat and wiped the sweat free of his eyes. There was no way past the flames that surrounded the bed, no way to reach Rafe but through the scorching heat. With sudden determination Finan plunged forwards, pain filling his mind as he felt the touch of fire on his hands and crawling along his forearms. This couldn’t happen again, he couldn’t lose another brother! Wrapping Rafe within the cloak, he hoisted him over his shoulder and staggered towards the door. The scorching burn against his shirtless skin was agonising but Rafe’s lax body in his arms frightened him more. Dimly he was aware of shouting as the rest of the house became aware that something was wrong. As soon as he made it into the hall, eager hands lifted Rafe away from him. “Don’t put him down in here.” Adele’s voice cut through the noise, her tone calm and confident. “Get him outside, he needs clean air, Finan too.” “I must help with the fire.” A firm grip fell on his shoulder and Finan grimaced shifting away from the touch. Esme released him immediately. “You have helped enough Finan, there are sufficient people to see the fire is put out.” Looking at the men staggering to and fro with buckets of water, he saw the truth of her statement. Worry for Rafe propelled him out into the cool night air. Too many was the time he had seen someone shut too long in a smoky room die. It didn’t seem to matter whether the flames had touched them or not, they fell into a sleep that no one could rouse them from. Adele directed the men to lay Rafe down some distance from the house. She was shrouded in a plain nightgown, without a cloak to offer her protection from the night air. She looked more childlike than ever with the voluminous white folds billowing about her and her hair plaited neatly down her back. Finan swayed, his vision blurring and nausea making his stomach roll. “Finan? What is it? What is wrong?” Lady Esme’s concerned face swam before his eyes and he shook his head attempting to bring her into focus. The nausea hit harder and Finan turned and vomited on to the grass. He’d never felt so weak before, his legs as unsteady as a newborn colt. Someone slid their arm around his waist, giving him much needed support as he discharged the rest of his evening meal on to the ground. His legs gave way and he dropped to his knees, despite the cold air his skin still seemed to burn. Esme watched his laboured breathing worriedly. His hands were fisted and pressed into the ground either side of his knees and his head was bent forward, eyes tightly closed. She could see the pain in the lines of his face and red burns stood out patchily against pale skin. Reaching forward she drew his head to rest against her shoulder, surprised that he didn’t pull away, but sagged tiredly against her. The new position gave a better view of his arms and hands. The blood drained from her face and she winced. Large blisters and red open wounds covered his skin from hand to elbow. Finan would bear a constant reminder of this night for the rest of his life. “Rafe?” Finan’s voice, rough and husky made her jump and she looked where Adele held Rafe’s limp form in her arms. Tears blinded her, closing her throat so she could hardly breathe. It didn’t seem possible that her energetic, vibrant brother could be lying so still and silent. Was it just a few hours ago that he had stood before them all with the tale of his adventures? Her gaze shifted to where her father clasped her sobbing mother tightly, a grey expression of horror drawing his features tight. Aisly stood to one side, immaculately elegant as ever, her long chestnut locks hanging around her slender frame, making her appear as some ethereal pagan goddess. There were tears standing in her eyes but Esme knew that Aisly would not let them fall. She clenched her hands into fists and stood stiff and defiant. Finan struggled upright on receiving no response and cast a worried look down into her face. Whatever he saw expressed upon her features caused him to pull away and drag himself to where Rafe lay pillowed in Adele’s embrace. Adele wasn’t crying but there was bleakness in her expression, pain in her eyes. “Is he…?” “Give him but a moment.” Adele’s soft voice was no more than a whisper and Finan felt that she was not exactly answering his question but reassuring herself. He gazed down at Rafe’s lifeless body and pale face. Bile rose in his throat as he recalled another white face and lax body laid out as if in sleep. His vision blurred between the two faces, both so dear to him. Once again it seemed as though he sat in Lord Brogan’s tent, a bloody battle field without and Evoric’s body laid within. His brother had looked so calm, so peaceful, as if he slept. Finan had felt that he had only to reach out and touch his shoulder and Evoric would rise from his slumber. He couldn’t recall how long he’d sat by his brother’s still form. It hadn’t seemed possible that Evoric was truly dead, Finan’s mind had recoiled from the idea, yet deep down he had known it to be the truth. It was why he could not bring himself to touch Evoric’s body and find it cold and lifeless. In the end he had sat beside his brother through the night, and when the soldiers came to bury him the next morning, Finan had exchanged his own dagger with Evoric’s. At least they would always have something of each other that way. “Rafe?” Finan jumped at Adele’s soft voice, she was stroking Rafe’s cheek with gentle fingers. “You must wake up now, you have to try, can you not do that for me?” Her voice trembled with the effort it took to hold back her tears, but still Rafe made no move. She bent her head to touch her lips to his brow. “I know how strong you are, your heart still beats with the might of a warrior.” Adele shifted to set a lingering kiss against Rafe’s mouth. Her next plea was so softly spoken Finan doubted anyone but he heard it. “Pease, Rafe, you cannot leave me all alone.”

YOU TUBE TRAILER & PLAYLIST

My sister is a musician and she wrote two custom pieces for both books.
The Promise [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsFh7KI6i5U]
The Vow: [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8XJp1Ezcwo]
    Lady Quill Chronicles - Author Photo  

AUTHOR BIO

Hi everyone! My name is Dee Dee, I’m twenty six and I live in a beautiful part of Devon, England with my family. I have a younger sister, Amy who is a brilliant guitar player, some chickens, duck, geese, pheasants, a cat (that adopted us when we moved in!!!) and some Koi.
Broken City is actually my second novel. My first, as my Aunt so delicately put it, was crazy but in my defence I was only sixteen at the time. On the plus side I learnt a lot (or so I hope) and two years later ‘Broken City’ was finished.
I really hope you enjoy reading my books as much as I enjoy writing them.
I love reading and have a kindle: I read almost anything with adventure and romance in it! I also like to cook and wear impractical high heels!!! And as you might have noticed I have a horrible addiction to exclamation marks!!!

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Monday, 25 August 2014

Exclusive Excerpt: Too Much to Lose

Today I'm sharing a sneaky peek from my upcoming NA romance, Too Much to Lose which will be releasing on the 5th September. Enjoy and don't forget to join my release party where there will be a prize a day! 
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“Don’t fight this, princess. I’ll make it worth your while. I won’t make life harder for you. Just let me into your life… just a little.”
As she gazes up at me, I see the internal fight. Like a little girl lost, she stares up at me, trying to decide if I’m her salvation or not. I’m so far from it, it’s insane, but I keep my expression sincere and pray she doesn’t see that.
Then in an unexpected move, she leaps forward and her arms tangle around my neck. Before I can utter a sound of surprise, her lips are on mine. I hear the jacket she was holding drop to my feet with a woosh but everything else fades and I wrap my arms about her waist. I pin her to me and, unable to control myself, I rock my hips into her in an attempt to ease the agony.
She moans and opens her mouth to me. I take the opportunity to thrust my tongue in to meet hers. My muscles go taut at the taste of her; a tingle runs down my spine. Every part of me is on fire. Who knew a kiss could have such an effect?
I slide my hands around to cup her ass, notching myself against her. She’s breathless and pliant in my arms. Putty in my hands. I swear I could take her here and now if I just kept up the pace. We stumble as the kiss deepens and I manoeuvre her around so she’s propped up against the bike. I draw away to briefly eye her.
My Harley and a hot woman.
“God, you drive me insane, Jess.”