B is for Bedding the Bride by Jenna Jaxon

Banner.pngPlease welcome historical romance author, Jenna Jaxon. Stay tuned after her guest post for an expert of her new novel.

B is for Bedding the Bride

Marriage customs during the Middle Ages were varied and in some cases, exceedingly strange to our modern day sensibilities.  One such custom was “bedding the bride.”

The ceremony actually should be called “bedding the couple” because both bride and groom were participants along with their family, friends, and wedding guests.

According to Alison Weir,  “One feature of medieval royal weddings that seems shockingly intrusive today was the public bedding ceremony, in which the newly wedded couple were put to bed together by their attendants and toasted by their guests, as the bed was blessed by a bishop or priest.  Then they were left alone to attend to their chief duty, the begetting of heirs to ensure the succession.  This bawdy custom had died out by the end of the 17t century.”

The custom was not confined to royalty, however.  Both nobles and commoners celebrated weddings in this manner as well.

After the marriage ceremony, the bride and groom would retire to separate rooms and their attendants (family or friends) would dress them for bed.  At one time, in Scandinavia, the guests would instead strip the couple naked.  Then they would be conducted to the bedroom, often followed by shouts of bawdy comments.  A priest would bless the bed and the couple would be put into bed and handed a cup of “sweetened and spiced wine, again blessed by the priest, known as the ‘benediction posset,’” according to George Monger.

Afterward, the attendants participated in “the divination custom of throwing the stocking.”  The attendants would have secured the stockings of the bride and groom. Two grooms’ men would sit on one side of the bed and two brides’ maids would sit on the other with their backs to the center.  Each one took turns throwing the stockings over their shoulders.  If a groomsman hit the bride or a bridesmaid hit the groom with one, then it indicated that person would soon marry.  A forerunner of tossing the garter and the wedding bouquet.

Once the posset was drunk and the stockings tossed, the curtains would be drawn, the company would retire, and the newlyweds would be left to their own devices.

In rare cases, if the couple were royalty, or if there was a doubt about the “ability” of the groom, attendants stayed in the room while the consummation took place.

The custom of the bedding ceremony died out by the late 1600s. But until then, brides and grooms had lots of company on their wedding night. Apparently no one had heard that two’s company, twenty’s a crowd. 🙂

Sources:

http://www.alisonweir.org.uk

Marriage Customs of the World:  From Henna to Honeymoons by George Monger

Sex:  A User’s Guide by Stephan Arnott

A Hard Day’s Knight

My medieval novel, Time Enough to Love, is the story of knights in the service of King Edward III of England.  Knights are perhaps the iconic image most readers have of the period. The men didn’t, however, spring fully ready at birth for this way of life.  There were years of training and hard work that went into becoming a knight.

Training to be a knight began actually at birth.  Male children who were not destined for Holy Orders, began learning at his parents’ home what is expected of a knight, good manners, and the code of chivalry. Most knights came from noble families as the training and equipping of a knight was expensive, but any free man could become a knight. At age seven, the young boy would be taken to a different castle and serve the liege lord as first a page and then by about age fourteen a squire.

Pages were considered boys while squires were young men who had arrived at puberty. Growing up in the service of the lord, these young men learned everything about becoming a knight from religion to manners to practical experience. At age fourteen they rose in rank to squire and tended to the knight directly.   They gained experience hawking and hunting by both watching and practicing these skills.  They were also taught to use knightly weapons such as the sword and the lance.

Usually at age twenty-one, although sometimes earlier, the squire, after learning how to comport himself in both combat and chivalry, underwent the ceremony of Knighthood, and was knighted by having a sword tapped on either shoulder, and bidden, “Arise, Sir Knight.”

Knights as the warrior class adopted a set of idealized behaviors known as chivalry to be followed both on and off the battlefield.  These behaviors included being a ferocious fighter, a devout Christian concerned with the well-being of the weak and helpless, a charmer who loved to dance and flirt with ladies, and a man who would allow no stain on his honor.

Although there was no standard of chivalry to which the knight was held, there did arise, in literature, a standard of sorts where the treatment of noble women were concerned.  A knight was expected to honor and serve his lady, whoever he might choose her to be.  She could be the lady of the castle where he received his training or a lady who he esteemed from afar but never met or a lady he was destined to marry.  Whatever their relationship, the knight was bound to do whatever the lady bid him do. Many stories of King Arthur and the Round Table, especially those with Lancelot as the central figure, illustrate this idea of devotion to the lady.

 

TIME ENOUGH TO LOVE

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When Lady Alyse de Courcy is betrothed to Sir Geoffrey Longford, she has no choice but to make the best of a bad bargain. The hulking knight is far from her ideal man, and although he does possess some wit and charm, he is no match for the sinfully sensual man she secretly admires, Thomas, Earl of Braeton, her betrothed’s best friend.

From the first, Sir Geoffrey finds himself smitten by Lady Alyse, and, despite her infatuation with his friend, vows to win her love. When Geoffrey puts his mind to wooing Alyse, he is delighted to find her succumbing to his seduction. But when cruel circumstances separate them, Geoffrey must watch helplessly as Thomas steps in to protect Alyse—and falls in love with her himself.

As the three courtiers accompany Princess Joanna to her wedding in Spain, they run headlong into the Black Plague. With her world plunged into chaos, Alyse struggles with her feelings for both the men she loves. But which love will survive?

 

TIME ENOUGH TO LOVE EXCERPT

Geoffrey hurried on with a suggestion. “’Twould be the work of a few moments for me to teach it you, my lady.”

It would have to serve. She shot a look over her shoulder at her husband, who nodded and laughed with the princess though his eyes were trained on her. Best get on with it then. The sooner ’twas done, the better.

“Your skill at dancing is such that you would certainly learn the steps with but slight instruction from me.” Geoffrey leaned so close his voice, against her ear made her jump and recall herself. She stepped back and looked at him.

His practiced courtier’s smile flickered at her, and she caught something deeper shining in his eyes that she fought not to see. Her heart stuttered a beat.Her body flushed with the anticipation of dancing with him again even as misgivings swirled in her mind. No good would come of this dance, but Thomas watched closely to see that she acted cordially to Geoffrey. Would that it was an act.

With a sense of heavy foreboding, she extended her hand to him. “Very well, Sir Geoffrey. What must I do first?”

He placed her hand atop his arm and led her to their place in the circle of dancers then grasped her hand to pull her around to face him.

The moment his hand touched her skin, a streak of fire shot through her. Her mouth went dry, and her gaze flew to his face. Surely he felt that as well?

He stared back, his eyes mirroring all too clearly the blaze that coursed up her arm.

Damn Geoffrey Longford.

In a daze, she looked around at the other dancers, expecting them to stare accusingly at her. As if they could see this sinful feeling that tore at her soul. At a loss for how to act, she raised her gaze to beseech Geoffrey. “What do we do now?”

’Twas an apt question for, God forgive her, at the touch of Geoffrey’s hand, all thought of her husband had fled. She was back on the deck of the Phillipa, facing him once more. Loving him once more.

Geoffrey cleared his throat, his face flushed, and said simply, “Follow me.”

Then they were twirling around the circle, hands clasped, arms touching intimately, He seemed to brand her wherever he touched. The figure reversed, and her other side was scorched as if a red-hot blade seared her. Her gaze locked onto Geoffrey’s, and the music, the dancers, the Great Hall and all its inhabitants melted away until all that was left was the whisper of his breath in her ear and the heat of his body pressed close against her.

He leaned in closer to whisper, “I must lift you now.”

Before she could grasp that staggering news, his arm went around her waist and he lifted her, twirling them around full circle. She panted, blood pounding in her temples, roaring in her ears.

They continued to dance, but she moved as though she were a doll made of rags, her legs barely able to stand. Her world narrowed to the single source of light and life that was the man who held her in his arms again. The man whose love she could no longer deny. Despite the agony of the betrayal, in the core of her being she knew neither the vows she had spoken to Thomas nor the passion they had enjoyed in his bed would ever match the intensity of love and belonging she shared with Geoffrey. As soon compare a candle’s flame to the sun.

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AUTHOR INFORMATION

 

Jenna Jaxon is a multi-published author of historical and contemporary romance.  She has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager.  A romantic herself, she has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise.  She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories. She lives in Virginia with her family and a small menagerie of pets.  When not reading or writing, she indulges her passion for the theatre, working with local theatres as a director.  She often feels she is directing her characters on their own private stage.

Jenna is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America as well as President of Chesapeake Romance Writers, her local chapter of RWA.

She has equated her writing to an addiction to chocolate because once she starts she just can’t stop.

 

Find Jenna Jaxon online:

BLOG:  https://jennajaxon.wordpress.com/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/Jenna_Jaxon

FACEBOOK:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jenna-Jaxon/146857578723570

 

Cloaked by T.F. Walsh

 

CLOAKED by T.F. Walsh Is Now Out

Cloaked woods

 Blurb:

Raised by an overly protective wulfkin pack, Daciana leaps at the chance to venture into the human world for her one-year independence ritual. But after someone steals the endangered bear cubs she’s been assigned to protect, she must locate them or lose her job and return home in disgrace. The sexy inspector on the case isn’t making this any easier. He knows nothing of her kind, and wulfkin rules forbid relationships with humans.

Newly divorced Inspector Connell Lonescu trusts no one but himself. He’s convinced relationships are a waste of time and thinks burying himself in work will ease the pain. Yet he’s attracted to the gorgeous and mysterious Daciana, even if there’s something slightly odd about her. Can Connell learn to trust the sexy but secretive woman?

 

Cloaked is the prequel to Cloaked in Fur, book 1 in The Wulfkin Legacy Series. Find out how Daciana and Connell fell in love and set in motion the paramount events that forever change their lives and those around them.

 

Cloaked is only 0.99c

Grab Your Copy: Amazon B&N | Kobo | Google Play | iTunes

Publisher: Crimson Romance

3D Cloaked

Coming Soon

Cloaked in Secrecy (Book #2) – March 2016

Cloaked in Blood (Book #3) – May 2016

Sign up here for T.F. Walsh’s newsletter to keep up to date with latest releases, special offers, and exclusive content.

 

About The Author

TF-Walsh-Pic-275x300T.F. Walsh emigrated from Romania to Australia at the age of eight and now lives in a regional city south of Sydney with her husband. Growing up hearing dark fairytales, she’s always had a passion for reading and writing horror, paranormal romance, urban fantasy and young adult stories. She balances all the dark with light fluffy stuff like baking and traveling.

 

Author Links: Website Facebook Twitter Pinterest Goodreads Amazon

Cowboy Dreamin by Starla Kaye

GenCowboyDreamin_200re: Contemporary, erotic romance, GLBT, gay romance, ménage, western romance

Heat Rating: 5

Page Count: 66

 

AUDIO BOOK  BUY LINKS

Audible: http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Cowboy-Dreamin-Audiobook/B017224SQK/

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Cowboy-Dreamin-1Night-Stand-Book/dp/B017224RM0/

ITunes:  https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/audiobook/cowboy-dreamin-1night-stand/id1052883423?mt=3

 

SOUND CLOUD Sample:  https://soundcloud.com/decadent-publishing-audio/cowboy-dreamin-by-starla-kaye-audio-book-sample

 EBOOK BUY LINKS

Decadent Publishing

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

iBooks

Kobo

 

BLURB

Kendra spends her days and nights running a business, sculpting, and leading a Tahitian dance group in Kauai. She can’t squeeze anything else into her life, but she dreams of cowboys. Sexy, hot cowboys in tight jeans, low-tipped Stetsons, and dusty boots. Men who know all about how to please a woman. She enjoys her fantasies, but can’t imagine ever settling down. But one night with one would be so nice. Surely that would get her dreams of a white knight cowboy sweeping her off her feet out of her system.

Because of an accident that Shane believes left him “less of a man,” he doesn’t see a wife and children in his future. Carson, his ranching partner—and sometimes lover—thinks Shane is wrong. Carson refuses to let Shane settle for a life of rodeo bunnies who only want a romp in bed with a bull rider. Shane deserves more than that. He manages to sign Shane up with a matchmaking service to, hopefully, meet another kind of woman, maybe someone who will appreciate Shane for the man he is. Except Madame Evangeline expects both of the cowboys to go on this special one night date. It doesn’t take long for either cowboy to realize that one night with the purple-haired, hip-shaking beauty in Kauai might not be enough….

EXCERPT – PG13

“I can’t do this!” Kendra moaned and glared at Alexis in the dressing room mirror. She had one boob in a coconut cup and one boob that refused to go in the other bra cup. “I can’t!”

Alexis walked over and calmly pushed Kendra’s hands out of the way. She lifted the problem coconut shell cup and gently guided the uncooperative breast into place. “Situation resolved.”

Tears threatened and Kendra’s stomach churned. “That was only part of what’s wrong.”

She’d been stressed ever since learning about this arranged meeting between her and the two cowboys from Kansas. She’d been dreaming about a fantasy, sexy cowboy for so long. But two at the same time? What if neither of them met her visualization? Would she be soured on all cowboys? Would her fantasies be ruined forever? She didn’t have time in her harried life for more than the occasional fantasy. She needed it.

She exhaled deeply, wincing at the slight movement of the rough shells over her tender breasts. She still hadn’t gotten around to replacing the felt lining and she would pay for that negligence today. “My fantasies are all I have. If this goes wrong…. If they are—”

“This could be far better than those dreams of yours,” Alexis chastised with a frown. “It’s two cowboys.”

Kendra paced away and fluffed out her skirt. “Could be being keywords.”

A tear trickled down her cheek and she dashed it ruthlessly away. Then her shoulders slumped and she mumbled miserably, “I should never have agreed to any of this.” She glowered at Alexis. “You pushed me into it, all of it. Agreeing to spend some kind of night with two cowboys is bad enough. But you accepted this dance show without discussing it with me. And they are supposed to meet me here.”

She paced across the small room again, fluffing the sides of her grass skirt again. “First impressions are a big deal, you know. And here I’ll be shimmying my ass around wearing a pink skirt made of fake grass and bouncing my boobs in a really dumb coconut shell bra.”

To her disgust, Alexis laughed. “They’ll think themselves the luckiest cowboys in the world.”

 

2013 Starla-Prof 1 5x5ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Starla has been writing and publishing in different romance sub-genres and lengths for twenty years. Her first published book, Tug of Love, was a “sweet” romance published with iUniverse. Currently she mainly writes edgier romances with an erotic or slightly naughty focus.

She enjoys writing about strong-willed, independent women who butt heads with equally determined, self-confident, and slightly domineering men. Her belief in relation to her heroes is to find them their perfect match, but make him really work for the happily-for-now or happily-ever-after with the woman who wins his heart. Of course, she likes her heroines to be challenged as well. Love isn’t easy.

To date she has published 20 novels, 38 novellas, 8 anthologies, 3 audio books, and 18 short stories. Starla writes for Decadent Publishing, Black Velvet Seductions, and Blushing Books.

 

Social Media Links

Website: http://starlakaye.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/starla_kaye

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

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/starlakaye/

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Starla-Kaye/e/B002ZH8K3U

Goodreads Page: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5494986-starla-kaye

Authors Den Page: http://www.authorsden.com/visit/author.asp?authorid=151725

 

Printable Book List: http://starlakaye.com/my-books/my-complete-book-list/

 

 

Modern Magic – New Release #fairytale retelling

Modern Magic

This spellbinding anthology features modern and sexy spins on four classic fairy tales that will enchant you by Jennifer DeCuir, Stephanie Cage, Andrea R. Cooper, and Nancy C. Weeks.

What if Cinderella ditched the prince’s ball and sent her fairy godmother to find love in her place?

Suppose a streetwise hero hired to steal an all-powerful Genie (stuck in a flash drive rather than a brass lamp) for a tech company ended up running for his life with the CEO’s gorgeous, intelligent daughter?

Or what if the bed that a certain golden-tressed girl accidentally napped in belonged to the hot and famous middle brother of a notorious boy band?

Can you envision the sparks that might fly if a bitter and downright beastly wheelchair-bound woman propositioned a handsome bookseller to stay with her in exchange for her rare book collection?

EXCERPTFairy Trouble

His smile made her heart flutter faster than her wings. Even though he worked in a bakery, muscles filled out the sleeves of his white chef’s jacket, and his stomach was flat. The blue in his eyes was brighter than a summer day.

“Look, I know it’s late notice and we don’t know each other, but are you going to the ball tomorrow? It’s a costume one, and you can even wear a mask if you want.” He cocked his head to the side as he tucked the empty tray under his arm.

“And your fairy costume and indigo hair might win you the grand prize.”

“What’s the reward?” She twirled her wand, dropped it, and then scrambled after it.

“A dance with the prince.”

“Excuse me?” Her ears perked up. Did this guy know Cindy’s prince? She glanced at the name embroidered on his jacket: Ryan.

“Well, he’s not a real prince”—her shoulders slumped—“but he’s richer than any prince.” Ryan’s eyes narrowed slightly as if judging her. “The billionaire heir of Murphy Enterprises?” He seemed to be looking for some kind of recognition.

She placed a hand on her hip. “Am I supposed to know who that is?”

For a moment, he stared at her. “You really don’t know, do you?” She shook her head. Humans were so difficult. Fairies always spoke what was on their minds. “No, I don’t know this Murphy or his enterprises.”

A taxi honked as it swerved around a slow bus. There were more people on the streets now, and she wanted to just poof away to go find Cindy, but she couldn’t with this human standing before her. And for some reason, she liked the idea of him thinking she was a human, too. If she went poof before his eyes, he’d think he was losing his mind, since humans by and large didn’t know fairies existed—unless they were one of the lucky ones who had a fairy godmother. And those few who did know often didn’t believe.

 

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Author Photo AndreaAndrea R. Cooper writes fantasy, paranormal, historical and romantic suspense.

Her 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.