Medieval Monday with Barbara Bettis & a giveaway!

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We’re winding down on our theme for Medieval Monday. Please welcome my guest Barbara Bettis who is sharing her snippet from Silverhawk. Be sure to read to the end to learn about her giveaway. a winner will be chosen on December 31st. Happy reading and enjoy!

Excerpt:

The evening meal was well advanced by the time she arrived at table. Lord Osbert scowled. His eyes lingered on her face. With a glance at Garley, he grunted, then nodded at her. Emelin swore she detected a flash of pity.

“Sit. Eat.” For once, his rumble sounded almost kind. “You’ll need your strength.” He was certainly right about that. Barring a miracle or a war—could a war be a miracle?—she would wed this man old enough to be her father.


Blurb:

He’s everything a proper lady should never want; she’s everything a bastard mercenary can never have.

Sir Giles has come to England to kill his father, who seduced and betrayed his mother. First, however, he’ll seek sweet revenge—kidnap the old lord’s new betrothed. But when Giles uncovers a plot against King Richard, he faces a dilemma: take the lady or track the traitors. What’s a good mercenary to do? Both, of course.

Lady Emelin has had enough. Abandoned in a convent by her brother, she finally has a chance for home and family. Yet now she’s been abducted. Her kidnapper may be the image of her dream knight, but she won’t allow him to spoil this betrothal. Her only solution: escape

Rescuing the intrepid lady—while hunting traitors—is a challenge Giles couldn’t anticipate.  But the greatest challenge to Giles and Emelin is the fire blazing between them.

Buy Link: SILVERHAWK

Please leave a comment for the chance to win a copy of SILVERHAWK. And join me next week at my place for the last installment of Family Theme:  www.barbarabettis.blogspot.com 

If you would like to read last week’s installment, check out Judith Marshall’s blog: https://judithmarshallauthor.com/blog/

First Kiss Friday with guest Lizzi Tremayne

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Welcome to another First Kiss Friday, my lovelies! This week, I have fellow Bluestocking Belle Lizzi Tremayne as my guest who will give you her first kiss scene from her novella Somewhere Like Home in our holiday box set, Follow Your Star Home. Happy reading and enjoy!

Hello! Thanks for coming by today, and thank you, Sherry, for having me here!

We pick up our story as things are going from bad to worse for Rob and Sofia in the Scottish Highlands… and they haven’t even been cleared from their village yet.


Excerpt:

“Sofia.” Rob’s heart wrenched as he called her name from around the corner of the chapel the following morning, his fingers gripping the cut stones.

“Robbie,” she whispered. With a furtive look in all directions, she slipped into the shadows beside him and threw her arms around his neck.

“Are you going up to work at the castle?” He could barely get the words out. “Tell me Archibald was just torturing me,” he murmured, his lips against her kerchief.

“What do you mean?” She pulled her head back and their eyes locked.

“Archibald said a Sofia from the village is going up to work as a maid. You’re the only Sofia here.” He looked away and bit his lip, fearing what he’d see in her eyes.

She shook her head and her fair skin paled. “This is the first I’ve heard of it,” she breathed. “But Màthairwas screaming yesterday morning. She said I wasn’t to talk with you. Did ye ask for me?”

“Apparently, I’m not good enough fer the likes o’ye,” Rob said, his head about to explode, “and I’m to stay away.”

“Oh, Rob,” she said, burying her face in his shirt.

“Yer da was going to talk wi’ me today, but he’s been avoidin’ me,” Rob muttered. “And if I won’t be tacksman, me father’ll disown me. Doesn’t want to know me—ever.”

If she was pale before, she was a ghost now. “We’re both old enough. We can marry. Take me away wi’ ye.”

“If our parents naysay us, Father MacIvor might ha’ somethin’ to say about that, mo luaidh.”

“We can run away and get married.”

He gripped her to him tightly. “I want to, but I canna take ye wherever I might need to go without knowin’ if I could feed us.”

“I’ll wait for ye, then.”

He nodded and nearly smiled, though his heart was breaking. “I’ll find work and build something for us, mo chridhe, then return for you. I’ll show your da, if not your màthair, that I am ‘good enough’—if ye can wait.”

“Forever, Rob,” she said fervently, “forever I’ll wait fer ye, mo chridhe. We can write, thanks to yer teachin’ me to read an’ write.”

“I dinna ken where I’ll be yet.” He pulled her hard against him and leaned back against the wall, its roughness digging into his back beneath his shirt, while he searched his mind for a way they could exchange letters.

The stones of the chapel.

For the first time since he’d entered Sofia’s father’s house the previous morning, he drew a full breath and then another. Squeezing her to him once more, he tilted her chin up to his. “The priest. He’ll exchange letters for us.”

“Do ye think he will?”

“I’m sure he will.” His lips cracked into the first grin in days, and he took a deep breath. “He’ll be happier for that than marry us against our family’s wishes, anyway.”

“Rob,” she said, pulling her kerchief from her head and looping it into the beginnings of a knot, “this was my grandmother’s kerchief. That makes it more solemn. Shall we? If the priest won’t marry us, we can pledge our troths anyway and handfast ourselves. Seanairsaid it was done that way in the old days.”

He smiled and helped her tie the kerchief around their hands, joining left to left and then holding their right hands together over the top.

“I don’t know how they did it,” Sofia murmured, eyes shining, “but this should work.”

“Sofia,” Rob said, for her ears alone, “to you I pledge my troth. I will return to marry you and become your husband, for ever and ever.”

Sofia repeated the words, finishing with, “and become yer wife, fer ever and ever.” Their lips met to seal their joining. “I canna believe this will be our last kiss. Come home to me soon,” she whispered.

“When I return, we’ll have kisses anytime we will.”

“At least yer calmer now,” Sofia murmured. “Yer language reverts when ye’re upset.

Rob allowed himself to smile at that. He could only hold her as her tears fell wetly on his shirt, and his into her hair, until the sun rose and their dark sanctuary slipped away into the morning mist.

“I’ll return for you, mo nighean ruadh, mo chridhe, my heart.” They untied the scarf and held fast to each other again. “Now go,” Rob said against her hair.

“Wait, Rob, gi’ me yer dirk,” she said and reached for one of the tendrils of hair curling around her face. “And the locket from your màthair.”

He drew his blade and carefully cut the lock Sofia held out, then handed it to her. Opening the golden heart, she placed the curl inside, sealed it shut, and kissed it.

“Keep it by yer heart,” she murmured.

“Until the day I die,” Rob said, watching her glowing eyes. “I love you. Now off with you before you’re seen.” He kissed her one last time and gave her a gentle push.

Not looking back, she turned and ran for home.

Now back to the real world… or is it?

You don’t even have to enter a drawing to get a free book today! I’m giving away a free sampler of my stories, just for becoming one of my VIP members!

Get yours here at https://lizzitremayne.com/VIP


Follow Your Star Home:
A Bluestocking Belles Collection
On sale through December 15th for $0.99!

Be sure to grab Follow Your Star Home while it’s still on sale.

Divided sweethearts seek love and forgiveness in this collection of seasonal novellas.

Forged for lovers, the Viking star ring is said to bring lovers together, no matter how far, no matter how hard.

In eight stories covering more than a thousand years, our heroes and heroines put this legend to the test. Watch the star work its magic as prodigals return home in the season of goodwill, uncertain of their welcome.

25% of the proceeds benefit our mutual charity the Malala Fund.

Amazon US  |  iBooks |  Kobo |  NookSmashwords

Amazon AU | Amazon BR  | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon ES | Amazon FR | Amazon IN | Amazon IT | Amazon JP | Amazon MX | Amazon NLAmazon UK

Belles’ Blog Hop on now!

Come join our blog hop to see the interlinking stories between all eight of the stories in our new Follow Your Star Home!

It’s here: https://lizzitremayne.com/holiday/


Be the first to know about new releases, special offers, and news by signing up for Lizzi Tremayne’s Newsletter and get a copy of her Lizzi Tremayne Sampler for free! It’s here: https://lizzitremayne.com/signupsampler/

Author Bio:

Lizzi writes about the Old West, Russia, and Colonial New Zealand, as well as veterinary fiction and non-fiction—all with a horsey flair. She’s also one of the newest members of the Bluestocking Belles!

She grew up riding wild in the Santa Cruz Mountain redwoods, became an equine veterinarian at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, and practiced in the California Pony Express and Gold Country before emigrating to New Zealand.

Lizzi has two wonderful, grown-up boys, a new grandbaby, and an awesome partner in this sea of green. When she’s not writing, she’s swinging a rapier or shooting a bow in medieval garb, riding, driving a carriage or playing on her hobby farm, singing, or working as an equine veterinarian or science teacher. She’s multiply published and awarded in fiction, special interest magazines and veterinary periodicals.

Sign up for Lizzi Tremayne’s Newsletter and get a copy of her Lizzi Tremayne Sampler for free. Be the first to know about new releases, special offers, and news here:  https://lizzitremayne.com/signupsampler/

Connect with Lizzi:

Lizzi’s Website :   http://www.lizzitremayne.com
Facebook:   www.facebook.com/lizzitremayneauthor
Amazon:   www.amzn.to/16VVn1
Goodreads:   www.goodreads.com/LizziTremayne
Instagram:   www.instagram.com/lizzitremayne/
Pinterest:   https://nz.pinterest.com/lizzitremayne/
Twitter:   www.twitter.com/LizziTremayne/
YouTube:   www.youtube.com/user/lizzikiwi
Newsletter signup:   https://lizzitremayne.com/signupsampler/
Google Plus: Google +: https://plus.google.com/+LizziTremayneAuthorandElizabethThompsonDVM

Thanks for coming by! Great to meet you!

Lizzi

Medieval Monday with Ashley York

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Today on Medieval Monday I’d like to welcome Ashley York and her excerpt from Daughter of the King. Happy reading, my lovelies, and enjoy!

Excerpt:

Brighit hesitated, not sure what the right answer should be. “I will protect it. As ye would.”

His expression relaxed into a broad smile. “And so much more.”

“And so much more.” She mimicked him back. Although she had no idea what he referred to, she was certain she would find out soon enough. The excitement was back in her belly, more intense even than the thought of slipping away tonight for a late-night adventure. That thought stirred the guilt she’d been trying to ignore.

Daughter of the king – book three in The Derbfine Series

A mistaken identity. A gruesome murder. The uniting of two powerful clans.

Trained as a warrior…

Brighit of Clonascra is the only daughter of the fearsome overking, Sean, but despises the trappings and demands of womanhood. She’s far more comfortable training for battle than preparing a meal. Long held alliances require she set aside selfish dreams and take Darragh as her husband. The union intended to promote peace between the clans is interrupted by the shocking murder of a neighboring king and she quickly discovers there are far worse things than being wed.

Trained to be king…

Darragh of Drogheda has no wish to follow in the path of his father, Tadhg, but he is an obedient son and supports his father’s plans. His marriage to Brighit, however, will be no hardship at all since he finds her most intriguing especially when she fights him at every turn. A she-warrior indeed. Her persistent dismissal of him merely blows the fire aflame and sets him down the path to discovery of all her most tightly held secrets.

When she stands accused of the murder, can they finally come to an agreement that will give them each what they truly desire?

Buy all my books here!

Don’t miss next week when I’ll be visiting Elisabeth Hobbes blog. Come by and say hello 😊

First Kiss Friday with Nicole Zoltack

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Welcome to another First Kiss Friday, my lovelies! This week, I have fellow Bluestocking Belle Nicole Zoltack as my guest who will give you her first kiss scene from her novella A Yule Love Story in our holiday box set, Follow Your Star Home. Happy reading and enjoy!

Excerpt:

“One winter,” Anoundus said as they climbed into his longship, “Gunni and I had been riding horses. We were chasing after a beautiful white-tailed doe, the likes of which I never saw before.”

“You were hunting her instead of letting her live to produce more beautiful does.” Sonja shook her head sadly.

He laughed. “She got away, I will have you know. And we wouldn’t have killed her for sport. We were going to feast on her. As I was saying, we chased her for hours. Hours! We worked up a healthy sweat and found a pond. While our horses drank, we stripped and jumped into the pond. We swam and splashed each other and enjoyed the peacefulness. It wasn’t until we returned back home, shivering, our teeth chattering, that we realized how stupid we had been. Although we enjoyed the coldness of the waters since our bodies had felt so hot, our bodies did not take well to the temperature.”

“You still have all ten fingers and toes?” she asked.

“I have every part of me,” he assured her.

As before, she gathered them food, and he poured them wine. They talked and laughed and drank and ate.

By the light of the moon, she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.

She was sitting on a bench facing him. Normally, they sat on the floor and used the bench between them to hold their food. This time, the plate sat beside her. All he had to do was lean forward, and he would be able to press his lips against hers.

So that was precisely what he did.


A Yule Love Story, by Nicole Zoltack

When Sonja stumbles upon fallen bodies littering her beach, she heals the lone survivor. After all, her late mother had been a healer.

Unbeknownst to Sonja, that survivor is none other than Anoundus. At one time, he ruled alongside his brother as co-kings of Sweden, but no longer. He has been banished.

What kind of life will he face here? What role will Sonja play? Can the two dare to find love this Yuletide?

Follow Your Star Home:

A Bluestocking Belles Collection

Divided sweethearts seek love and forgiveness in this collection of seasonal novellas.

Forged for lovers, the Viking star ring is said to bring lovers together, no matter how far, no matter how hard.

In eight stories covering more than a thousand years, our heroes and heroines put this legend to the test. Watch the star work its magic as prodigals return home in the season of goodwill, uncertain of their welcome.

The Bluestocking Belles are proud to present eight never before published novellas in their latest Holiday collection. As always, we will donate some of the proceeds of the box set to a cause dear to the hearts of the Bluestocking Belles, women’s education. 25% of all proceeds will be donated to the Malala Fund.

Eight original stories, more than 600 pages of diverse characters, complex relationships, and happily ever afters.

Follow Your Star Home is currently on sale for just $0.99! Hurry while the sale lasts.

Buy Links:

Amazon US  |  iBooks |  Kobo |  NookSmashwords

Amazon AU | Amazon BR  | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon ES | Amazon FR | Amazon IN | Amazon IT | Amazon JP | Amazon MX | Amazon NLAmazon UK

Bio:

Nicole Zoltack is a USA Today bestselling author whose first love is epic fantasy. When she’s not writing about knights, superheroes, or witches, she enjoys spending time with her loving husband, three energetic young boys, and precious baby girl. She enjoys riding horses (pretending they’re unicorns, of course!) and going to the PA Renaissance Faire dressed in garb. She’ll also read anything she can get her hands on. Her current favorite TV shows are The Walking Dead and Stranger Things.

Social Media:

Website: www.NicoleZoltack.com
Author newsletter: http://www.subscribepage.com/m0k3l8
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1PpYUI0
FB Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/authorNicoleZoltack
FB Street Team: https://www.facebook.com/groups/NicolesRockinReviewCrew/
Blog: http://nicolezoltack.blogspot.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/NicoleZoltack
Authorgraph: http://www.authorgraph.com/authors/NicoleZoltack
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/nicole-zoltack

 

A new release from Judith Sterling & a giveaway

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I have a double treat for you today, my lovelies. Please help me welcome my friend Judith Sterling on a special post just for you. Today Judith is sharing a scene from The Cauldron Stirred along with offering a giveaway to a lucky person who leaves her a comment. She also has The Stone Awakened releasing December 19th so be sure to grab yourself a copy! Read on and enjoy!

Excerpt for The Cauldron Stirred:

The night air was deliciously cool. Moonlight and darkness held equal sway over the backyard thanks to the shifting clouds. I dashed across the lawn and halted in the exact spot where Aengus had stood. Panting, I looked around, willing some kind of clue to materialize.

The ruins in front of me darkened as large, heavy clouds swallowed the moon whole. The wind tugged at my long, loose hair and pajamas. Tiny raindrops spattered on my nose and cheeks. I turned my palms to the sky, and cold rain pelted them.

“Great.” Intending to return to the house, I swiveled around.

I gasped. My right hand flew to my chest. “Aengus?!”

The man himself stood an arm’s length in front of me. “Why are you here?”

“You scared the crap out of me!”

“Whisht!”

“What?”

“Shush!”

Pop!

The strident sound came from the ruins. I whirled around and stared at the dark keep.

Aengus grabbed me from behind. He pulled me to him and wrapped his arms around me. I reveled in the feel of his taut body, of his warm flesh against mine.

Suddenly, everything changed. The rain stopped. The wind died. The entire landscape was bathed in the soft hue of twilight. Breasal Castle looked brand spanking new, just as it had during the bizarre dream in which I brought Aengus to the cottage. But this time, I knew I was awake.

Dumbfounded, I gawked at the medieval magnificence before me. I had no idea what had happened and no desire to pull away from his embrace.

His lips brushed my right ear, sending a shiver down my spine. “This way.”

His right arm released me, and his left slid down to my waist. Maintaining body contact the entire time, he steered me toward the stand of oaks on our right.

Once sheltered by the trees, he turned us around so we faced the castle.

“Are we hiding?” I whispered.

“We are.”

“Why? And what just happened?”

“I can’t say.”

“Can’t or won’t?”

“Both.”

Until that moment, I’d forgotten I wore pajamas. Now I was acutely aware of it. Satin was pleasing to the touch, but something told me my attire had nothing to do with his grip on me.

I looked up at him. “Not that I mind, but why are you holding me so close?”

His hand tightened on my waist. “It’s necessary.”

“I don’t suppose you can explain that, either.”

With his gaze locked on the castle, he shook his head. He pressed his right forefinger against his mouth in a silencing gesture. Then he pointed up at the keep.

High on the battlements, the black-haired woman from my dream—and from Branna’s painting—paced back and forth. Her hair whipped about her pale face and slender frame.

She paused beside a gap in the crenelated wall and glared down at the fairy mound. Her colorless lips curled into a sneer. Then her human form morphed into a dark shadow, which fragmented into what seemed a million black particles. They swarmed into the air and shot across the twilit sky, disappearing into the distance.

I took a deep breath. “So she’s real.”

He nodded. “She’s real, to be sure. Come.” With his arm still hooked around me, he led me out of the woods and toward the fairy mound.


The Cauldron Stirred and The Stone Awakened
by Judith Sterling

Blurb for The Cauldron Stirred (Guardians of Erin, Book One):

Ashling Donoghue never dreamed moving to Ireland would rock her perception of reality and plunge her into a mystery that brings legend to life.

At seventeen, she’s never had a boyfriend, but she feels an immediate connection to Aengus Breasal, the son of the wealthy Irishman who’s invited her family to stay at his Killarney estate.  For the first time in her life, a guy she likes seems attracted to her.

But Aengus is secretive, with good reason.  He and his family are the Tuatha Dé Danann, ageless, mythical guardians adept at shifting between this reality and the magical dimension known as the Otherworld.  Evil forces from that world threaten the Breasals, the Donoghues, and all of Ireland.  Ashling must open her heart, face her fears, and embrace a destiny greater than she could ever have imagined.

Buy Links:

Buy at The Wild Rose Press

Buy at Amazon

Buy at Barnes and Noble

Buy at Walmart

Buy at iTunes

Blurb for The Stone Awakened(Guardians of Erin, Book Two) – the one releasing on 12/19:

Since moving to Ireland, Ashling Donoghue has tackled one challenge after another.  Now the mystery of her parents’ disappearance seems unsolvable.  Are they dead or only missing?  No one—not even the godlike Breasals—has a clue.  Hope and fear war inside her, but she’s determined to find answers and stay strong for her siblings.  Even as she hones newfound powers, her banshee-in-training sister Deirdre needs her support.

Ashling could use a little help herself.  She’s struggling to navigate her first romance, and while Aengus Breasal stirs her body, mind, and soul, his nemesis Lorcan does too.  Both men harbor secrets about her past life as Caer.  One has ties to Aoife, the scheming wind demon whose influence is on the rise.

As the Stone of Destiny awakens, so does the conflict within.

Buy Links:

Amazonhttps://www.amzn.com/B07K4Y7QV6

Barnes and Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-stone-awakened-judith-sterling/1129823740

The Wild Rose Press https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/all-titles/6385-the-stone-awakened.html

Author Bio:

Judith Sterling’s love of history and passion for the paranormal infuse everything she writes. Flight of the Raven, Soul of the Wolf, and Shadow of the Swanare part of her medieval romance series, The Novels of Ravenwood. The Cauldron Stirred and The Stone Awakened are part of her young adult paranormal series, Guardians of Erin.  Written under Judith Marshall, her nonfiction books—My Conversations with Angels and Past Lives, Present Stories—have been translated into multiple languages. She has an MA in linguistics and a BA in history, with a minor in British Studies. Born in that sauna called Florida, she craved cooler climes, and once the travel bug bit, she lived in England, Scotland, Sweden, Wisconsin, Virginia, and on the island of Nantucket. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and their identical twin sons.

Social Media:

Website – https://judithmarshallauthor.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/judithsterlingfiction/

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16291161.Judith_Sterling

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01MT3KB7L

The Wild Rose Press – https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/2212_judith-sterling

 

Happy Holidays from the Bluestocking Belles & a giveaway!

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Happy holidays, my lovelies! I would like to extend the very best to you and your families for this holiday season from the Bluestocking Belles. Welcome to our blog hop in celebration of our holiday box set, Follow Your Star Home. My gift to you is a short story of what happened to the ring after Thomas returned it to his father.

If you’ve read my novella in the set, One Last Kiss, you’ll certainly remember Jade Calloway’s friend, Zoe.

Zoe & the ring

Zoe’s breath hitched. She must be dreaming. How else could she possibly be walking through an ancient hall in a medieval castle? She moved forward, or more like floated, so she knew she must have been sleeping.

She watched the scene play out before her as though she watched it on a flickering movie screen. She smiled when she saw her friend Jade conversing with a knight at the raised dais. The name Thomas skimmed across her mind and Zoe knew her friend had found her soul mate whether Jade knew it yet or not. But how was any of this possible?

A feeling of being watched washed over her and she suddenly turned as though a force beyond her control made her do so. Startled, she came face to face with a handsome stranger. A knight of olden days to make any fair maiden lose her heart in the instant their glances met. Tall with black hair that fell below his broad shoulders, the knight continued to watch her with sparkling blue eyes as though he knew some secret she was not privy to.

Mademoiselle,” the knight murmured before taking her hand and raising it to his lips. His eyes searched hers until they assessed her clothing… her very modern day clothing.

Zoe suddenly felt out of place. “Sir…” she allowed her unfinished words to linger in the air between them.

“Morgan… at your service,” he replied. He looked around the room before he took her arm and placed it in the crook of his arm.  A jolt of heat raced up her hand at the contact. “You appear lost. Mayhap you are one of the new ladies come here to attend the Lady Amiria?”

Zoe’s eyes widened. “Lady Amiria? As in the lady of Berwyck Castle?”

“Is there any other who could measure up to such a name?” he chuckled. “Let me escort you to her. She will be able to ensure you are properly attired. You must have traveled a long way in order to be here.”

“Sir Morgan, I need you to take me to Kenna. Is she here?” she asked quietly. Kenna would be able to explain everything… after all… the woman was her great-grandmother, several generations removed that is.

“She must still be outside. We had several men who were injured in the lists this day. Come, I can take you to her hut,” Morgan said, as he began ushering Zoe from the hall.

He grabbed at a cloak thrust into his hand by a servant and placed it upon her shoulders. She shivered when he closed the clasp at her neck. “Thank you,” she murmured, suddenly feeling shy in the presence of this very handsome knight.

“You are most welcome, Lady…” he gave her this lopsided grin that completely transformed his rugged face making him appear several years younger.

Zoe laughed realizing she had not given her name. “Zoe. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Sir Morgan,” she answered him as she thrust her hand forward for him to take.

He looked at her offering oddly before taking her hand in his calloused one. Warm heat seared straight to her heart and Zoe watched his eyes widen at their contact. He raised her hand once more towards his lips but instead kissed the inside of her wrist. Her toes curled and she swore such a sensation had never before consumed her of this magnitude.

“The pleasure is mine, dear lady. Perchance once you have concluded your business with our healer, you would allow me to accompany you to the table to break your fast.”

Zoe smiled. “I would love to, kind sir,” she said. I could get used to this kind of treatment.

He opened the door of the hall and Zoe walked outside only to stare in wonder at what she saw: snow falling upon a full-blown medieval castle in all its glory. She should have been watching where she was going but she was so preoccupied with the view and her companion that she completely missed the steps in front of her. She began to tumble forward while a scream tore from her lips.

Arms of steel wrapped around her to break her fall and her arms automatically went around his neck as though holding onto Morgan was the only thing that kept reality and her dream from colliding. His lips parted and she watched when his head began to bend forward to steal a kiss. She had never wanted anything more in her entire life.

“Zoe!”

Their lips were but a breath away. Quickly they broke apart but Zoe still clung to Morgan’s arm, afraid that if she were to let go she would lose him to Time.

“Zoe… you must needs go home!” Kenna’s voice rang out in the inner bailey.

Morgan pulled her close, even while Zoe knew she was beginning to return to her own place in time. “Stay with me…” he murmured against her ear. “I just found you and cannot let you leave me so easily.”

Zoe reached up to cup his cheek, rubbing her thumb against his five o’clock shadow. “I would stay if I could,” she whispered. “Remember me…”

“Always.” He took her hand and once more placed a gentle kiss into her palm. “Come back to me, Zoe,” he said before leaning forward to kiss her.

It was everything she would ever want in a first kiss and as she tightened her arms around this handsome knight she gave herself into the moment… that was until her eyes snapped open and she found herself staring up at the ceiling in her apartment. A sob tore from her throat while she flung off the covers to sit at the edge of her bed.

“Why!” she yelled out in frustration only to see a vague vision of Kenna standing before her. “Why? Why would you show me him and then not let me stay?”

“Dearest granddaughter… I showed you nothing other than what you desire but you are not finished with your work in this time and until you are, you must stay here.”

“But what about Morgan?” she asked while tears ran down her face.

“You will know when it is the right time and place for you to find each other again. He will be waiting for you to come home…”

Zoe reached out for the woman who had been a constant in her life yet lived century’s ago. Before her grandmother faded from view, a soft golden glow began shimmering in her hand. She blew a kiss and a twinkling trail like starlight went towards Zoe’s bedside table. Zoe stared in wonder when a golden ring took shape. She reached over to clasp the ring to her chest and smiled knowing she would one day see Morgan again.

***

And in another place in time, Morgan awoke to still feel the lips of Zoe upon his own. He reached up to feel them still tingling from the contact. He began to dress to seek out Berwyck’s healer knowing Kenna would have the answers he stood in need of. He needed to find Zoe no matter the cost. Even Time itself would not keep them apart!

The Holiday Blog Hop Giveaway!

Did you enjoy Zoe & Morgan’s dream together? I sure have an idea for a full story for them after I take care of a few other characters who are vying for my attention. Be sure to leave me a comment here and to follow the Viking star ring to each of the Belles’ websites to be in the running for our giveaway. You can learn more about it here at the Belles’ website along with the sale we’re running until December 15th: https://bluestockingbelles.net/follow-your-star-blog-hop/. The more you comment on each site, the better your chances to win!

Follow Your Star Home

Divided sweethearts seek love and forgiveness in this collection of seasonal novellas.

Forged for lovers, the Viking star ring is said to bring lovers together, no matter how far, no matter how hard.

In eight stories covering more than a thousand years, our heroes and heroines put this legend to the test. Watch the star work its magic as prodigals return home in the season of goodwill, uncertain of their welcome.

Amazon US  |  iBooks |  Kobo |  NookSmashwords

Amazon AU | Amazon BR  | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon ES | Amazon FR | Amazon IN | Amazon IT | Amazon JP | Amazon MX | Amazon NLAmazon UK

Medieval Monday with Elisabeth Hobbes

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Today on Medieval Monday, I’d like to welcome back Elisabeth Hobbes who is sharing a snippet from her novel A Wager for the Widow. Happy reading and enjoy!

Excerpt:

Will sighed. He had intended to keep his encounter with Lady Peyton to himself, but now the matter had arisen of its own accord. The wine had relaxed his mood enough that he had a sudden impulse to share his tale.

‘We have met before tonight, though not in the best circumstances,’ Will admitted, a wry smile crossing his face. ‘Today I nearly caused her to drown. I’m fortunate not to be packing my bags as we speak!’ He described the encounter on the ferry and his requests for a kiss. By the time he had finished his tale Rob was open mouthed in disbelief. Edmund’s face was twisted into an incredulous smile.

‘I swear, Edmund, if I had known she was your sister I would never have behaved in such a manner,’ Will insisted. ‘I intended no offence.’

Edmund swigged his wine with a careless shrug and raised an eyebrow. ‘None taken. The thought of my dear sister in such disarray has brightened up an otherwise tedious day. In all honesty I wish you had kissed her, Will. I wish anyone would, in fact.’


Blurb: “I suppose a kiss of gratitude is out of the question?”

Widowed Lady Eleanor Peyton has chosen a life of independence. Living alone on her rocky coastal outcrop, she’s cut herself off from the world of men—until William Rudhale saves her life and demands a kiss!

As steward to Lady Eleanor’s father, Will knows the desire he burns with is futile—but he’ll still wager he can claim Eleanor’s kiss by midwinter. Yet when the tide turns Will realizes vulnerable Eleanor is far too precious to gamble with. Can he win his lady before it’s too late?

 Buy links

Amazon: viewbook.at/WagerforWidow

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-wager-for-the-widow-elisabeth-hobbes/1121093242?ean=9781460384640

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/a-wager-for-the-widow-mills-boon-historical-1

Mills & Boon: https://www.millsandboon.co.uk/p45341/a-wager-for-the-widow.htm


Is Will going to rise to the bait?  Read next week to find out on Mary Morgan’s blog. www.marymorganauthor.com

For the previous excerpt visit  https://judithmarshallauthor.com/blog/

First Kiss Friday with Cathy MacRae

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Welcome to another First Kiss Friday. You may remember today’s guest, Cathy MacRae, from our Medieval Monday hop. Today she’ll be sharing a first kiss excerpt from Mhàiri’s Yuletide Wish that is currently available in the box set, Once Upon a Christmas Kiss. Happy reading and enjoy!

First Kiss excerpt:

Mhàiri closed the brooch carefully, folding it within her fingers. She stood and Michaell rose to his feet. “Och, Michaell, this is beyond my wildest hope. I hadnae thought to find it so quickly. I dinnae know how to thank ye.”

Her eyes sparkled, lips parted slightly.

Michaell stepped closer, placed his hand lightly on her sleeve, feeling every warp and weave against his fingertips, aware of the warmth of her skin through the cloth. He lowered his head, inhaled the sweet fragrance of her hair. He threaded his fingers through the plaited tresses at the back of her head, cupping her head in his palm.

“Like this.”

Mhàiri’s eyes closed at the touch of Michaell’s fingers at the nape of her neck and she melted as his lips touched hers. Colors as luminous as the lights in the north sky burst inside her. She leaned into his embrace, giddy with the sensations of his hands and mouth. She was no longer the long-suffering granddaughter of Lord Scott, doomed to wed a man who did not want her, but the young woman Michaell Kerr had chosen for his bride.

A crash doused them in reality. Henry yipped and leapt onto the bed as if the platter rattling to a stop on the floor had chased him to the tall mattress. Giving the tray a glower, he sank onto the thick coverlet and proceeded to devour the meat pie he’d stolen.

“Henry!” Michaell’s scold was half-hearted and breathless. He cleared his throat and pulled Mhàiri against his chest. She rested there, hand tucked beneath her chin, one arm about Michaell’s waist. No place had ever felt so good, so right. All her accusations and anger against Michaell vanished. He was her hero and had saved her once again. But she had a more pressing task ahead, and regret at leaving his arms would not save her uncle.

“I must go.” She gently broke from his embrace.

“Ye cannae,” he protested. “’Tis late and the weather is bad for travel. Yule feasting begins tomorrow, and . . ..”

Mhàiri placed three fingers over his lips, stalling his objections. “My uncle willnae live past Yule. I will wait here the night, but must be gone on the morrow.” She inhaled swiftly, blocking the pain of leaving Michaell. “My horse is sheltered in a copse just beyond the wall. I must bring him inside for the night.”

“I will send someone to fetch him. Rest easy.” He stroked a braid over her shoulder and Mhàiri’s heartbeat quickened.

Overwhelmed by the desire to return to his arms, she twirled slowly, grasping for distraction. Her gaze lit on the little terrier greedily licking stains off the bed cover and rushed to his side, shaking a scolding finger.

“Henry! Ye are a naughty pup. Did Michaell not explain eating in bed attracts rodents?”

“That would suit Henry just fine.” Michaell’s voice tightened, his eyebrows tilted together over his nose.

Mhàiri’s heart twisted, knowing he thought she spurned him. “Dinnae be angry with me, Michaell,” she murmured. “Let me catch my breath. I am at a loss . . ..”

His smile returned. “’Tis the first night before Yule. Whatever ye wish for this night will come true.”

“Truth?” She flashed him a merry grin. “What if I make more than one wish?”

His hand lifted then dropped back to his side. “It will be granted. I promise ye, Mhàiri.”

Their gazes locked for long yearning moments. “And if I dinnae know what to ask?”

“Another kiss would be simple enough to grant.”

“How will ye know ’tis what I’ve wished for?”

This time his hand reached her cheek, smoothing the pad of his thumb across her skin. “I will see it in yer eyes. In the way ye part yer lips, inviting me to kiss ye.”

Happiness and something unidentifiable swept through Mhàiri. She sighed.

Michaell lowered his hand. “Go to bed. Ye will be safe here. I will be in the hall below with the others. Heat from the great fireplace will rise up the stairwell and help keep this chamber warm.” He nodded at the bed. “Keep Henry with ye. He’ll alert ye if anyone or anything approaches.”

Mhàiri nodded, afraid if she spoke again she’d ask him to stay. It was impossible to want him so and know she was expected to marry Lord Henderson. If Baron de Percy rejected the offer of her brooch, Lord Henderson was her uncle’s only hope.

Michaell gripped one of her hands then kissed her cheek. A moment later, he was gone.

Mhàiri’s Yuletide Wish
by Cathy MacRae

Bound to a man more than twice her age in exchange for the price of her uncle’s ransom, Mhàiri Burns is desperate to avoid the match. Rather than simply await her fate, she sets out in a snow storm to seek a mysterious brooch rumored to the answer to her prayers. Though it is the season for peace and goodwill, her uncle will perish at the hands of the English if Mhàiri cannot rescue him by the end of Yuletide.

Michaell Kerr has loved Mhàiri since they were children. Discovering her grandfather has pledged her to another man sets Michaell in a race against time to find a way to break the betrothal—and help Mhàiri save her uncle.

What Mhàiri and Michaell receive this Yuletide season could prove more than they had ever dreamed.

Buy link for Once Upon a Christmas Kiss: https://www.amzn.com/dp/B07J1CWS9X

Author bio:

Cathy MacRae lives on the sunny side of the Arbuckle Mountains where she and her husband read, write, and tend the garden—with the help of the dogs, of course.

You can visit with her on facebook, or read her blogs and learn about her books at www.cathymacraeauthor.com. Drop her a line—she loves to hear from readers!

To keep up with new releases and other fun things, sign up for her newsletter!

Other ways to connect with Cathy:

Facebook

Twitter: @CMacRaeAuthor

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Amazon author page

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Book bub

Medieval Monday with guest Mary Morgan

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Today’s guest for Medieval Monday is my dear friend, Mary Morgan who is sharing an excerpt from her novel Dragon Knight’s Shield, Order of the Dragon Knights, Book 4. Happy reading and enjoy!

Excerpt:

Walking steadily along the wall, he opened the door to his chamber. Sniffing the air and hearing movement below and to the right, he bent down.

“So, I see Nell has sent ye to watch over me. Is it Cuchulainn?”

The dog gave a low growl.

“Are ye angry with me, as well?”

The dog let out a short bark.

Angus ruffled the dog’s fur. “I shall make good on my sour mood. Go fetch your mistress and tell her I need my horse and Deirdre’s, as well.”

Cuchulainn barked again and ran off.

Blurb:

Angus MacKay, leader of the Dragon Knights, failed his brothers and his clan upon the death of his sister. Now he must fight the darkness of despair tempting his soul. Back on Scottish soil, he comes face to face with Deirdre who can wield a sword as mightily as his warriors, and takes her captive. Yet, with each passing day, the fire dragon inside him roars to claim the one woman fate has destined for him.

Famed mystery writer, Deirdre Flanagan, is unprepared for the next chapter in her life. On a vacation to Scotland, she steps through the mists and enters into a skirmish alongside a Highlander. However, the fight has only begun, and now she must battle Angus as well as evil in order to claim the love of this Dragon Knight.

Will their love be powerful enough to shield them from danger, or burn them to ashes?

Buy Links: AMAZON | BN | KOBO | iTUNES

Follow along on Cathy MacRae’s blog: https://www.cathymacraeauthor.com/bits-n-bobs-author-blog

First Kiss Friday with Meant to Be…Kissed

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Welcome to First Kiss Friday. Today I have a box set treat for you, my lovelies and a couple of sales. Check it out and happy reading!

Meant to Be Press announces the release of Meant to Be…KISSED (Love Notes Book 2). This is the second collection of sweet of stories from Meant to Be Press authors. This heartwarming collection is themed around winter kisses. The two primary stories are historical romances, with a bonus contemporary flash fiction piece from Meant to Be Press’s newest author, M. M. Genet.

There are several stories in Meant to Be…Kissed, so you get more than one first kiss!

“The Grand Gesture” by Lela Bay, takes a public humiliation and turns it into an act of heroism. Rosamund Windham, daughter to the duke, literally drops herself into a pool of filth to save an innocent and in the process befriends the girl’s brother.

From “The Grand Gesture” by Lela Bay in Meant to Be…KISSED

Rosamund inhaled, examining his face for any spark of malice and finding none. He’d really come out of gratitude. “Your sister is a treasure. I am glad to know her better. Take care of her.”

“Naturally.”

He stepped toward the doorway, and Rosamund pressed a hand to his sleeve. She pointed above their heads.

“Mistletoe.”

The tall, striking fellow with the cocky half-smile blinked in surprise and colored. “Yes, I see.”

He bent down and delivered a peck on her cheek.

“I see you take after your maiden aunt.”

He laughed aloud, “Insults. Now I recognize you.”

She laughed too.

He reached for her shoulders and drew her close, lowering his mouth to hers with slow intensity. She gave herself over to the warm press of his lips, finding it too brief.

He drew back, releasing her.

He bowed and stepped away.

She pressed a hand to her lips. “Sparks.

“Miss Montague’s Winter Kiss” by Emmy Z. Madrigal turns sadness into hope. Grayson is a man who has lost everything, but Cecelia saves his life and rekindles his belief in love. Broken ice and traumatic losses give way to the start of something new, if only the hero can give up past hurts.

From “Miss Montague’s Winter Kiss” by Emmy Z. Madrigal in Meant to Be…Kissed

“Miss Montague?” Mr. Nash called.

Miss Montague turned from her friends in the parlor to face him. She blushed and her eyes grew big, as if she’d been caught doing something bad.

“Might I have a word?”

“Of course, Mr. Nash.”

He took her arm and led her onto the porch where they’d been that afternoon. The memory of her lips on his cheek brought heavier thoughts then he wished to explore at that moment.

“Miss Montague, I wanted to thank you again for helping me on the cliff and for your discretion.”

“You need not be uneasy.” Miss Montague’s expression relaxed into a smile and she placed a hand on his forearm. “I was simply repaying a favor and I…” She looked into his eyes, her face lit by the moonlight, her dark curls blowing back in the slight breeze. “I’ve come to care what happens to you.”

The emotion in his chest could not be withheld. In that instant, he loved her with all of his being. He couldn’t bring himself to say anything and so he did what any man with nothing left to lose would do. He took her in his arms and kissed her well. She gasped at first and drew back, but then she touched her lips again to his and melted into his embrace. His sense of propriety would not allow him to hold her there long, but he tasted her lips as long as he dared. When he pulled back, he looked into her eyes, trying to gauge her feelings.

Fun stuff!

Meant to Be Press is celebrating the release with sales and raffles!

November 20-25th: For five days only, Tempo of Temptations by Lela Bay and Lord Harrington’s Lost Doe by Emmy Z. Madrigal will be on sale for $0.99 each!

November 19-30th enter to win free Meant to Be Press ebooks. Prizes include the Meant to Be…MINE anthology, Tempo of Temptations by Lela Bay, Lord Harrington’s Lost Doe by Emmy Z. Madrigal, and The Harpist by M. M. Genet and Michele Roger.

https://kingsumo.com/g/d3ynaw/meant-to-be-press-romance-ebook-raffle

Learn more at http://meanttobepress.wordpress.com

About Meant to Be…KISSED

Love sweet romance? Meant to Be…KISSED is a collection of short stories to sample Meant to Be Press romance authors.

“The Grand Gesture” by Lela Bay, takes a public humiliation and turns it into an act of heroism. Rosamund Windham, daughter to the duke, literally drops herself into a pool of filth to save an innocent and in the process befriends the girl’s brother. His sister quotes him as saying, “You can’t just throw two people together and expect sparks. It takes the right sorts, like flint and steel. They may not look like they go together until they hit up against each other. Then, sparks.”

“Miss Montague’s Winter Kiss” by Emmy Z. Madrigal turns sadness into hope. Grayson is a man who has lost everything, but Cecelia saves his life and rekindles his belief in love. Broken ice and traumatic losses give way to the start of something new, if only the hero can give up past hurts. As Emmy writes, “It was more of a feeling that, if the flame between them was fanned, they could be happy for the rest of their lives. He’d endured so much grief, she longed to bring him joy.”

Finally, as a bonus, check out the contemporary romance flash fiction from Meant to Be Press’s newest author M. M. Genet, “A Year and a Day.” Behold of the promise of the future.

Like the seasons, love has many variations, so let these stories inspire you to discard what holds you back and welcome new opportunities.

Buy Link

Meant to Be…KISSED is available as an ebook on Amazon. Read it for free through Kindle Unlimited, and remember to enter the raffle for other Meant to Be Press romances!