It’s Medieval Monday with The Good Knight

I’m highlighting The Good Knight, the first Gareth & Gwen Medieval Mystery by Sarah Woodbury

The Good Knight

An enthralling story, sympathetic characters and a visit to another time, another culture.  What more can you ask of an author? – Medieval Mysteries (medievalmysteries.com)

Intrigue, suspicion, and rivalry among the royal princes casts a shadow on the court of Owain, king of north Wales…

The year is 1143 and King Owain seeks to unite his daughter in marriage with an allied king.  But when the groom is murdered on the way to his wedding, the bride’s brother tasks his two best detectives—Gareth, a knight, and Gwen, the daughter of the court bard—with bringing the killer to justice.

And once blame for the murder falls on Gareth himself, Gwen must continue her search for the truth alone, finding unlikely allies in foreign lands, and ultimately uncovering a conspiracy that will shake the political foundations of Wales.

The Good Knight is free at all Amazon stores  Kobo  Smashwords  Apple iBookstore  Barnes and Noble  

Paperback at Amazon 

Paperback at Amazon UK

With two historian parents, Sarah couldn’t help but develop an interest in the past. She went on to get more than enough education herself (in anthropology) and began writing fiction when the stories in her head overflowed and demanded she let them out.  While her ancestry is Welsh, she only visited Wales for the first time while in college.  She has been in love with the country, language, and people ever since. She even convinced her husband to give all four of their children Welsh names.

With over 300,000 books sold, Sarah is the author of 17 novels and 2 novellas, all set in medieval Wales. She is currently working on the next Gareth & Gwen Medieval Mystery.

Sarah’s web page:  www.sarahwoodbury.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/sarahwoodburybooks

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/SarahWoodbury

Youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/SarahWoodburyBooks/

Excerpt:

The Good Knight

Chapter One

August, 1143 AD

Gwynedd (North Wales)

Look at you, girl.”

Gwen’s father, Meilyr, tsked under his breath and brought his borrowed horse closer to her side of the path. He’d been out of sorts since early morning when he’d found his horse lame and King Anarawd and his company of soldiers had left the castle without them, refusing to wait for Meilyr to find a replacement mount. Anarawd’s men-at-arms would have provided Meilyr with the fine escort he coveted.

“You’ll have no cause for complaint once we reach Owain Gwynedd’s court.” A breeze wafted over Gwen’s face and she closed her eyes, letting her pony find his own way for a moment. “I won’t embarrass you at the wedding.”

“If you cared more for your appearance, you would have been married yourself years ago and given me grandchildren long since.”

Gwen opened her eyes, her forehead wrinkling in annoyance. “And whose fault is it that I’m unmarried?” Her fingers flexed about the reins but she forced herself to relax. Her present appearance was her own doing, even if her father found it intolerable. In her bag, she had fine clothes and ribbons to weave through her hair, but saw no point in sullying any of them on the long journey to Aber Castle.

King Owain Gwynedd’s daughter was due to marry King Anarawd in three days’ time. Owain Gwynedd had invited Gwen, her father, and her almost twelve-year old brother, Gwalchmai, to furnish the entertainment for the event, provided King Owain and her father could bridge the six years of animosity and silence that separated them. Meilyr had sung for King Owain’s father, Gruffydd; he’d practically raised King Owain’s son, Hywel. But six years was six years. No wonder her father’s temper was short.

Even so, she couldn’t let her father’s comments go. Responsibility for the fact that she had no husband rested firmly on his shoulders. “Who refused the contract?”

“Rhys was a rapscallion and a laze-about,” Meilyr said.

And you weren’t about to give up your housekeeper, maidservant, cook, and child-minder to just anyone, were you?

But instead of speaking, Gwen bit her tongue and kept her thoughts to herself. She’d said it once and received a slap to her face. Many nights she’d lain quiet beside her younger brother, regretting that she hadn’t defied her father and stayed with Rhys. They could have eloped; in seven years, their marriage would have been as legal as any other. But her father was right and Gwen wasn’t too proud to admit it: Rhys had been a laze-about. She wouldn’t have been happy with him. Rhys’ father had almost cried when Meilyr had refused Rhys’ offer. It wasn’t only daughters who were sometimes hard to sell.

“Father!” Gwalchmai brought their cart to a halt. “Come look at this!”

“What now?” Meilyr said. “We’ll have to spend the night at Caerhun at present rate. You know how important it is not to keep King Owain waiting.”

“But Father!” Gwalchmai leapt from the cart and ran forward.

“He’s serious.” Gwen urged her pony after him, passing the cart, and then abruptly reined in beside her brother. “Mary, Mother of God…”

A slight rise and sudden dip in the path ahead had hidden the carnage until they were upon it. Twenty men and an equal number of horses lay dead in the road, their bodies contorted and their blood soaking the brown earth. Gwalchmai bent forward and retched into the grass beside the road. Gwen’s stomach threatened to undo her too, but she fought the bile down and dismounted to wrap her arms around her brother.

Meilyr reined in beside his children. “Stay back.”

Gwen glanced at her father and then back to the scene, noticing for the first time a man kneeling among the wreckage, one hand to a dead man’s chest and the other resting on the hilt of his sheathed sword. The man straightened and Gwen’s breath caught in her throat.

Gareth.

He’d cropped his dark brown hair shorter than when she’d known him, but his blue eyes still reached into the core of her. Her heart beat a little faster as she drank him in. Five years ago, Gareth had been a man-at-arms in the service of Prince Cadwaladr, King Owain Gwynedd’s brother. Gareth and Gwen had become friends, and then more than friends, but before he could ask her father for her hand, Gareth had a falling out with Prince Cadwaladr. In the end, Gareth hadn’t been able to persuade Meilyr that he could support her despite his lack of station.

Gwen was so focused on Gareth that she wasn’t aware of the other men among them—live ones—until they approached her family. A half dozen converged on them at the same time. One caught her upper arm in a tight grip. Another grabbed Meilyr’s bridle. “Who are you?” the soldier said.

Meilyr stood in the stirrups and pointed a finger at Gareth. “Tell them who I am!”

Gareth came forward, his eyes flicking from Meilyr to Gwalchmai to Gwen. He was broader in the shoulders, too, than she remembered.

“They are friends,” Gareth said. “Release them.”

And to Gwen’s astonishment, the man-at-arms who held her obeyed Gareth. Could it be that in the years since she’d last seen him, Gareth had regained something of what he’d lost?

Gareth halted by Meilyr’s horse. “I was sent from Aber to meet King Anarawd and escort him through Gwynedd. He wasn’t even due to arrive at Dolwyddelan Castle until today, but …” He gestured to the men on the ground. “Clearly, we were too late.”

Gwen looked past Gareth to the murdered men in the road.

“Turn away, Gwen,” Gareth said.

But Gwen couldn’t. The blood—on the dead men, on the ground, on the knees of Gareth’s breeches—mesmerized her. The men here had been slaughtered. Her skin twitched at the hate in the air. “You mean King Anarawd is—is—is among them?”

“The King is dead,” Gareth said.

 

 Next Monday, October 6th, I’ll feature Jill Hughey

 
Check every Monday for a new medieval author on this blog exchange and check this and their blogs weekly for more wonderful medieval novels:
Ashley YorkJenna JaxonLaura Strickland Cathy McRaeMary MorganVijaya SchartzJill HugheySarah WoodburyLaurel O’Donnell

The Glass Orchid – by Emma Barron – Time after Time Historical Romance Bundle

The Glass Orchid by Emma Barron is another wonderful full-length Historical Romance bundled as Time after Time from Crimson Romance.


A beautiful courtesan fighting to control her own destiny. A young man struggling to find his way in the world. Will falling in love mean sacrificing everything they’ve fought for?

roses2Orphan Adele Beaumont spent her childhood being passed around to cruel or indifferent relatives. She quickly learned the harsh lesson that a fatherless, penniless girl becomes an unmarriageable woman, leaving her alone and vulnerable to the whims of society. Determined to take charge of her own fate, Del decides to pursue the only means to an independent life available to her: become a courtesan to wealthy and powerful men. 

Rhys Camden has just turned twenty one and is now employed as factotum in his father’s shipping company. He is eager to find his place in the world, but he finds himself fighting against his father’s control as the elder Camden seeks to increase the family’s social standing to match their newfound wealth. 

After a chance meeting on a foggy street, Del’s and Camden’s lives become increasingly intertwined. Their passion for each other ignites and, realizing there can be no true freedom without love, they vow to defy society and family and risk everything to be together. But they soon learn how dangerous that defiance can be. 

 

Excerpt:

Suddenly, Camden was at the settee, looming over Del like an angry storm cloud. “Bloody hell, woman, why can’t I stay away?” He dropped on his haunches in front of her, searching her face as if it held the answers to his torment.

Del knew she should say something. She should lay a hand gently on his arm and murmur reassurances. Or she should feign outrage and righteous indignation and throw him out of her townhouse with admonishments to never darken her door again, so he would be released from his anguish by the knowledge that now he had no choice but to leave her alone. But she couldn’t. Like Camden, she was conflicted, torn between wanting him to go away and never return, and feeling like she would be empty if he ever left her.

Camden took her by the arms and pulled her toward him. His grip was strong and there was tension in his fingers, yet there was strange tenderness about him too. “Is it just me?” he asked, his voice low and husky. “Am I the only one fighting this madness?”

He leaned into her, and Del was warmed by the heat of his body, touched by the energy thrumming just below the surface of his skin. She simultaneously wanted to move closer to him until his warmth enveloped her, and to pull away before she was singed by his fiery restlessness.

“No,” Del said, her voice barely a whisper. She brought her hand up to his face, traced the rough outline of his jaw. “I can’t stop thinking about you, though it would be better for both of us if I could.”

“Bloody hell,” Camden said again.

He lifted her off the settee and brought her down to the floor with him. Her nightgown and robe were billowing out around her, pooling around her knees and tangling with Camden’s booted legs. He cupped her cheek with one hand, snaked the other arm around her waist and drew her tightly against him. Del felt trembling, but she wasn’t sure which one of them was shaking. He brought his face down to hers, his breath hot against her cheek, and Del parted her lips in anticipation. He hesitated for a moment, and Del knew he was still fighting himself, still fighting the attraction between him. Merciless, she threaded her fingers through his hair and brought her lips to his.

Camden made a strangled sound low in his throat, and then some of the tension in him eased, though he didn’t become relaxed. That energy was still there, pulsing harder, and Del knew he had given into it and would fight it no longer. He kissed her, hard, like a man long denied of sustenance finally getting his fill.

It was as if all her mental faculties had left Del. Normally in such situations, she felt little and thought much–touch him here, make a hungry noise now, don’t forget to pant heavily as if overcome with desire. All of it to create the illusion that she returned her lover’s ardor, experienced the same sexual passion. Now, here, with Camden, there was no thinking, no illusions, no careful control of her responses.

She had no control of anything.

Her entire body responded to him automatically, from the fullness of her lips to her genuine lack of breath. It startled and scared her, that her body had overtaken her mind, that she was not carefully orchestrating their every move. In her fear, she wanted to pull back, to demand he leave so she wouldn’t have to feel the burgeoning terror of an actual physical and emotional connection with someone.

Camden seemed to sense her hesitation, and he withdrew his lips from hers, though his thumb brushed lightly over her cheek. “Del,” he said, and that simple word, gruffly spoken, was her undoing. It was a question, an answer, a plea, and a pledge. It was infused with both an anguished longing that said he wanted everything from her, and a solemn promise that he would never take what she couldn’t give. It told her he was filled with a yearning for her he could barely contain, but that if she said the word, he would muster up an inhuman strength and walk away.

Reviews:

5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect summer read! 
I loved the style of writing; very intelligently written, but easy enough to get completely lost in. This steamy love story is definitely not ordinary. I loved Adele Beaumont, a fiercely independent woman who protects herself by shutting out intimacy in her relationships. Rhys Camden is young man, obedient and earnest, trying to find and define himself having just turned 21 years old. They meet by accident and the sparks fly! This love story is hot, and you yearn for these two to finally give in to each other. The character development is beautiful. You get to watch two burdened souls, Adele and Rhys, find each other and eventually peel away their layers. The result is pure love, and each finds the inner peace that they didn’t even know they needed. What a wonderful book.
5.0 out of 5 stars Like a Vacation from Life 
I loved this novel. Reading it was like taking a break from my life and going on vacation — to 19th century London. For a week, I experienced life through Adele Beaumont – fierce independence, blissful love and steamy romance, not to mention unspeakable fear and dread. Finishing the last page left me wanting more. I hope Emma Barron has more in store for us.
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book! 
I loved this book! The writing really drew me in, and the author had an interesting take on the usual romance novel characters. Del, the heroine, is experienced and independent, but yet vulnerable. Camden is younger and less experienced, but still strong and protective. I enjoyed reading how the characters dealt with their doubts about themselves and each other, and with disapproving society and family. I’ll definitely be looking for more from Emma Barron.

Available for Pre-Order Now! #99cents only. Check out 10 fabulous historical romance novels by 10 terrific authors Buylink: 

Emma BarronBio:

Emma Barron lives in upstate New York with her family and two dogs. When not writing, she’s usually chasing her daughter, starting house projects she makes her husband finish, or killing all the plants in her garden. 

 

Author website: www.emmabarronbooks.com

Viking Fire – another historical romance from the Time after Time bundle

Happy July 4th!

Today is another historical romance novel featured from the Time after Time Historical Romance bundle from Crimson Romance. And mine!

Viking Fire – a feisty Irish lass battles wits against a charming Viking for her heart

roses2

In 856 CE, Ireland is a land of myth, magic, and blood. Viking raiders have fought the Irish for over half a century. Rival Irish clans promise only betrayal and carnage.
Kaireen, daughter of Laird Liannon, is suddenly forced into an arranged marriage with her sworn enemy, a Viking. She refuses to submit. With no mention of love, only land and the protection of her clan, she endeavors to get her betrothed banished from her country. Will love find its way around her stubborn heart?

Bram, the Viking, finds himself without future or inheritance as a younger son in his family. A marriage to the Laird’s daughter would grant him land if he swears fidelity and if his men will fight along with the Liannons against any foe—Irish or Viking. However, the Laird’s feisty daughter only holds animosity for him and his kind. Is marriage worth the battle scars of such a relentless opponent?

With the blame for a rival laird’s death treacherously set against the Liannons, Kaireen and Bram must find a way to lay aside their differences as an unforeseen darkness sends death snapping at their heels.

 

Excerpt:

Blast it, she needed more time away from him to rid herself of thoughts of kissing him. Instead, she brushed a strand of her auburn hair from her face. “Why are you standing there?”

“I missed you.” His blue eyes shimmered.

“Miss someone else. You need to get away from here.” She jerked on his hand, but he would not budge.

Then he grasped her around the waist, hauling her to him. She bit her lip knowing what she must smell like from the barrels of dye and yet he was still undeterred.

One hand held her to him, the other stroked her hair.

She felt the heat of him throughout her body. “Has your wound festered?” she asked, attempting to distract him. “I will tell Elva you need more salve.”

He brushed his lips across hers, making every vat and mordant vanish leaving only his smell of leather, sea and the hint of mead on his breath filling her senses.

His tongue wet her lips, sending shivers down through her fingertips. His kiss became hungrier, more intense as she opened for him. Their tongues stroked each other’s. Kaireen’s hands grasped his hair.

Bram smiled against her lips. Then he pulled away from her. Their gasping breaths appeared like wisps of white smoke between them.

Pretending as though nothing out of the ordinary had happened, she brushed her grey skirts. She hoped her shaking legs would not give away how he made her want to rip his clothes and feel his skin beneath her fingers. She felt Bram’s stare.

He leaned against the wall, the grin bigger than before.

“What?” She placed her hands on her hips.

“Your kiss speaks more to me than your words.”

 

Reviews:

“Andrea Cooper weaves a tantalizing tale of life in a not-too-civilized Ireland. Best of all she weaves in the unique thread of a courtship filled with fun, fury, and fighting that leads to a love that show how true loves are willing to give their lives to protect each other. Good entertainment.” –Long and Short Reviews

“The story is fast paced with almost constant action. The love story is sweet as Kaireen matures into an incredible and strong woman. Sinister plots and violent betrayals tell a compelling story. A very enjoyable story.” –Night Owl Reviews

Book Trailer:

 

Available for Pre-Order Now! #99cents only. Check out 10 fabulous historical romance novels by 10 terrific authors Buylink: 

 

 

 

Bio Pic 300x400Andrea R. Cooper’s favorite childhood memories revolved around creating vibrant characters for her friends, and then acting out their adventures. Inside her fantasy worlds of darkened forests, dragon-filled glades, and iced islands, nothing was banned. From the ethereal Elvin to the most maligned Vampires, all were welcome in her fictional realities, a stark contrast to her home, where the magical and mythical was forbidden.

Divorced and disillusioned of love and believing all the love songs and books exaggerated, she put aside her creativity for life. Many years past before characters, from the familiar to the freshly conceived, came to her again, but this time teasing at a new passion, the written word.

Gradually, her real life hero brought love and magic back into existence. During the time when her characters were getting reacquainted, the love of her life was showing her that true love never gives up and rekindles no matter how many times others attempt to extinguish it. Today, she is happily married with three children.

Andrea believes in the power of change and delighting in each moment. But most fervently, she believes in the magic of love and imagination again.