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Friday Excerpt! King's Warrior

Instead of an update on the anti-productivity of my week, I thought an excerpt was in order. Read on if you’ve ever wondered if it’s worth it to fight back..

The answer is yes! A resounding yes. Especially if you have an Irish outlaw at your side. 🔥 A word of warning, though: you have to pick your outlaws carefully, and at first, it might seem like you’ve made a terrible, terrible mistake…

King’s Warrior

♥♥♥

She’d never done such a thing before. Never defied, never fought back. It quite stirred the blood.

She felt ten feet tall— no, twelve. Surely her heart was larger now too—it was certainly beating harder than she ever recalled. She felt flushed and hot and full of energy and vigor. Like some wild thing, fierce and unrestrained.

It was…wonderful.

She spun to the knight, who was examining his sword. “I do thank you, sir,” she breathed, her eyes shining.

As if just recalling her, he jerked his head up, then strode over with such intense focus she took a step back. But her heart was still hammering with excitement and power, and she did not feel fear.

He drew up in front of her and cupped her cheek with a gloved hand, then tipped her face up to the dim light of fire and oil lamps.

“Are you hurt?” he asked in a gruff voice.

“No. No, I am quite well, thank-you,” she said politely.

A smile flickering across his face. “Den scoth.”

“And you?” she stammered.

Another flicker of amusement, this time in his eyes. “I am well, thank-you.”

Their eyes were close, so close she could see his were as dark as the rest of him, so deep a shade of brown they were almost black. Their mouths were closer even than their eyes, and their whispered conversation was being held at such close quarters, she felt his breath gust over her lips with every word. Hers skidded across his too, until the air between their mouths became a small heated geyser of the warrior’s breath and her own.

“I’ve never fought off soldiers before,” she said in a whisper.

“One would never know it.”

She smiled, recklessly happy. “I did rather well, did I not?”

“You were magnificent,” he drawled, a low male sound, and the hand cupping her cheek tightened ever so slightly.

Then, proof she’d turned entirely to a wild creature, she grinned into those hard, enigmatic eyes and said in an exultant whisper, “We did it.”

This time, amusement appeared as a full-on, darkly handsome smile. “Enjoyed that, did you? I’ll have to see if I can’t find us a tavern brawl later.”

She laughed, and his gaze dropped to her mouth. He was still cupping her face in his powerful, shockingly gentle hand. For seconds—three, four, five—he simply stared at her mouth, and all that had been fluttery and flushed in her became a veritable river of fast-moving heat and desire.

He is going to kiss me.

The thought made a wash of chills rise through her body as if she was a vessel being filled, then he brushed the calloused pad of his thumb across the corner of her mouth. “Your lip, lass. ’Tis cut.”

As if in a trance, she lifted her fingertip to the corner of her mouth and felt the smallest of cuts. Her fingertips came away with a spot of blood.

“Does it hurt?” he asked.

“Oh no,” she whispered.

His thumb still rested at the corner of her mouth as his gaze made the slow climb to her eyes, and her head tipped back the barest inch.

Oh, yes, he was going to kiss her. And she was going to let him.

♥♥♥

Amazon | iTunes | Nook | Kobo | GooglePlay

New Cover-Claiming Her

Got a new cover for Claiming Her!

 

Amazon | iTunes | Nook | Kobo |

GooglePlay

  Why a new cover?, you may ask.

The model shot on the original  was gorgeous, and I adored it. But the cover itself wasn’t getting any attention. So a facelift was in order. I still have the rights to the original image, and because I love it so much, maybe one day I’ll see if I can make it work!

In the meantime…maybe you would like a little excerpt from Claiming Her, since we’re revisiting it today?

♥♥♥

Excerpt:

…The clerk’s voice droned on in Latin, and the Irish Hound was replying—in Latin—then the clerk read the terms aloud in French, and then in English, to ensure no confusion—oh, there was nothing but confusion—while Walter’s grim, furious, yet vaguely triumphant face glared at her.

She had done precisely what she’d told him not to do: seriously underestimated Aodh Mac Con.

The pen in her hand shook slightly. She could not catch her breath. Everyone stared. Silence spread through the hall. A boot shuffled, leather creaked, a burning log shifted, then fell into hot ash in the hearth. All she had to do was sign her name.

If she signed, she was doomed.

Traitor. Treason.

Dead woman.

A drop of bright red ink hung, suspended, at the tip of the pen in her hand. Aodh’s name was already on the page, scrawled in gorgeous, bold, educated letters, large enough to be read in Windsor.

He was afraid of nothing. This castle, this rebellion, Katarina—he claimed it all.

Trembling, she looked up into his eyes.

“Aodh,” she whispered. It slipped out helplessly.

He went into motion. “Leave us,” he ordered, taking the pen from her hand.

And once again, the people in the hall dispersed like pebbles running down a hill. His clerk and hers, the witnesses and soldiers, everyone turned and left, until she and Aodh were once again alone.

Shaking, she stood, head down, staring at the ground, braced for his fury. That is what men did, vent their fury. It would be over soon enough. He circled her once; she watched his boots make the circuit around her body.

“What is it?” he asked while behind her.

She inhaled, shook her head, looked at the papers, the signatures, then her gaze dropped to his sword. Everything about this was a conquest.

“I…cannot,” she whispered.

He’d followed her glance at his sword, and with a swift sweep of his hands, he unbuckled it and let it fall to the ground. It clattered in a heap. He stepped over it and came nearer.

“Why are you saying no?”

“Because I would lose everything.”

“Och, lass, you’ve already lost everything. All you can do now is gain.”

She gave a broken laugh. “That is no good answer.”

His gaze roved over her face, then he took the last, natural step and drew up before her. “Listen to me.”

“No.” She could not listen to his low, resonate persuasions, spoken in that dark Irish lilt, the one that tempted as if it were touch.

He curled a finger beneath her chin and tipped her face up. “You cannot think it would have gone well for you when Bertrand of Bridge arrived? The queen’s interrogator?”

She gasped. “Wh-what do you know of it?”

“In England, they are calling you a traitor. A priest-lover. An unwed dye-witch.”

Shock made her hands fly to his chest. Fear curled them into fists, bunching his tunic. “No.”

“Aye. So now, maybe, it is not so mad an idea to have something standing between you and England.”

“Oh no,” she whispered as he slid his fingers to the back of her neck and guided her closer, against the towering length of him, until they were touching from knees to stomach.

“I swear to you, Katy,” he said in a low rasp. “I will protect you.”

Confusion washed through her, an amalgam of shifting emotions. Protect her? When he was the danger, England her salvation?

Protect her? No one protected Katarina. She was the protector, of Rardove, of the people within, of the queen’s rights in Ireland.

But that this warlord had offered…

Their mouths were so close she could feel his breath on her. She wanted his breath.

“Now, Katy, let me show you the truth of us,” he said, and bent his head.

She leaned back against the table before her knees buckled, her neck arching as he touched his lips to the base of her throat. A wash of chills rained down her body so potent she almost did not notice the wide palm now skimming down her waist. She was far too focused on the other hand that had plunged into her hair, fingers splayed. He fisted his hand and tugged her head back. The pressure was hard and exquisite, the pleasure undeniable. Unstoppable.

The breath burst from her, a loud, stuttered gasp in the silent, echoing room.

Head bent, he worked his way up the line of her throat and chin, his tongue and teeth an assault of carnal skill and, wasting no time on preludes or introduction, when he reached the summit of her mouth, he simply claimed her. Slanted his mouth over hers, completed his conquest of Rardove by sliding his tongue between her already-parted lips, and deconstructed every notion she’d ever had of who she was, and what passion meant.

Showing her what he meant by their ‘truth.’

♥♥♥

Amazon | iTunes | Nook | Kobo |

GooglePlay

Have fun in there!

Always love comments, and always respond!

Weekly-ish Wrap-up- March 24

Another Friday, another yay! Hope your week was great!  Mine was busy with mostly non-writerly stuff.

Writer Stuff

Been working on a contemporary romance.  There are lots of alpha dog sexytime scenes.  Be prepared. Be very prepared….

Non-Writer Stuff

Loads of promo the past couple weeks to spread the word about King’s Warrior. I’m sometimes astonished at how much work it takes to sell books.  For the record, I’m a terrible, terrible saleswoman.

Reviews for King’s Warrior

Was really touched by this blog Courtney Milan did over at Amazon’s Book Review blog, Omnivoracious, recommending exciting, immersive, out-of-the-box historical romances. She rec’ced King’s Warrior, saying

“…medieval romances that manage to capture, on the one hand, the hard, almost epic romanticism of an era filled with castles, brigands, and nobles, and on the other, romances that appeal to modern sensibilities with searingly hot romances with plots that start at adventure and never stop.”

 All About Romance reviewed King’s Warrior and said, “King’s Warrior is full of action and Ms. Kennedy is a superb storyteller…I’d definitely recommend King’s Warrior to you.”

 I was especially touched by one reader’s review over at Amazon, who said, “This felt so…E P I C. Well done, dear author. And thank you. You made Magdalena, our intrepid auburn-haired heroine, even more sensual, capably resourceful, and fierce. You also gave her grace. OMG I love her!! Our, Tadhg? You made him truly heroic….you gave him an inner voice so profound, unsure, yet resolved, that all I wanted was what HE wanted. To go home.”

New Cover for Claiming Her

Getting a new cover for Claiming Her!!  It’s super pretty.  It’ll be up on bookseller sites soon. I hope you love it!
I gave newsletter readers a sneak peek yesterday.  If you aren’t getting the newsletter, it’s free & easy–just drop your email address in the the sign-up form on the sidebar of every page of my website.  See?? —>

Or just click HERE!

A Shout-Out…

…to all the author friends who talked up King’s Warrior in their newsletters & social media. Here are some of the book deals & releases I’ve shared in my newsletter this week (are you on the newsletter??  Come on over–it’s fun! I only send it when there’s book news, and I make sure you get all the news first.  For instance, see the next item….)

Erica Ridley, USA Today bestselling author has an upcoming Regency, Lord of Chance, only 99 cents as preorder! 

 

 

Vanessa Kelly, has a new short story, Three Renegades and A Baby, part of her RENEGADE ROYALS series, and it’s only 99 cents!

When a former crime lord and two lethal spies take on the task of caring for a baby girl found on the doorstep, it’s up to Jack Easton, Marquess of Lendale, to decide who does the best job. But none of the men have any idea how much mayhem one little girl can create!

 

New York Times bestselling author Claire Delacroix has a new MEDIEVAL–yes, medieval ladies!–release this week. Crusader’s Vow is ready for you.

 

 

Behind The Scenes: Writing King's Warrior

Thought it might be fun to give you a sneak peek behind the scenes at the writing of King’s Warrior, which just released last week. 

His plan was heartless, ruthless, and simple. Until he met her.

My plan for this story was simple, too.  (Not so much ruthless, but then I’m not an Irish warrior….)

I wanted to write a story where the hero exploits the heroine while appearing to help her, a story that would set up the new series I was starting, Renegade Lords.

I originally wrote King’s Warrior (originally titled The King’s Outlaw) for an anthology with three other author friends, Eliza Knight, Vonda Sinclair, and Jennifer Haymore, Captured by a Celtic Warrior (out of print now).  It was terrific working with these ladies, and if you haven’t checked out their stories, do!

The theme for our Captured anthology was, perhaps unsurprisingly, ‘captured.’  All the stories were also going to have a jeweled dagger running through them.  The same jeweled dagger. And yet, the stories were going to span hundreds of years.

Since my story was appearing first in the anthology, I  knew I wanted to set up a compelling, exciting ‘story’ for the dagger that the other authors were going to be working with.  But I also had to keep the storyline relatively tight, because these were all novellas—no sprawling 400 pg epics here!  And of course, it had to be über-sexy. All within a ‘captured’ theme.

I wrote and wrote, but kept writing around the story, until I wrote what is now the opening scene with Tadhg, the Irish hero of our story. He’s on the docks in a grubby little French seaport, trying to get out of town before he’s captured by the villain, and, boom, the story took off.

I really loved the challenge of this story, and when it came together, it came together fast and tight. Really fun!

But that was only half of it. Because as I wrote, the story morphed and grew (of course!) and kept getting longer. This hero had a backstory, a big one, with complicated relationships that were going to yanked brought back to the forefront and tested.

Clearly this was not a novella.  And so not all of it could make it into the anthology version. But I knew Tadhg (pronounced /tie-g/) needed to have his story told.  As did Magdalena, his simple, innocent heroine, who, Tadhg is about to find out, has the heart of a lion.

King’s Warrior is their story, in a full, single title release, with loads of adventure and scorching hot passion.

Travel to medieval France & England and get a taste of the Holy Lands with King Richard the Lionheart. Visit a sea town shrouded in darkness and corruption, sneak into hidden caves, and get snowbound in a firelit cottage with no one but a dangerous outlaw and the way he’s looking at you, firelight glinting in his eye… (Yes, there is snowbound-ness!)

I hope you love it.  Let me know; I love to hear from readers!

Have fun in there! 

Amazon | iTunes | Nook | Kobo | Google Play

Availability Update: Claiming Her

Claiming Her is now available at Google Play!

 

So happy I can now offer my Google Play reader peeps the story!

What happens when a big bad warrior hero intent on conquering everything in his path comes up against a strong-willed heroine who has no intention of being conquered?

A seriously scorching hot romance, that’s what!

Go see!

 

If you prefer other vendors, here are your links!

Amazon | iTunes | Nook | Kobo