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Category: I Love Books

Release Day! King's Warrior

King’s Warrior is all yours!

“‘Knight and Day’ set in the Middle Ages!”

Amazon | iBook | Kobo | B&N | GooglePlay

(Some vendors are taking awhile to get the book up. I’ll update when they go live.)

 If you’re in the mood for a big bad Irish warrior with questionable intentions, a rollicking, non-stop, scorching hot medieval adventure, here’s your fix.

King’s Warrior, your one-stop, did-they-just-have-sex-against-a-wall historical romance thriller.

Just what you wanted on a grey Tuesday in February, yes?? 

France, 1193. Tadhg O’Malley is a wanted man.  (pronounced /tie-g/) Outlawed & on the run, he’s got very little to lose. Except his contraband, which can win a kingdom for whoever gets it first. But that innocent merchant standing on the quay?  She means nothing.  Nothing except his only way out.

Magdalena is a proper merchant who abides by all the rules, all the times.  Even the unfair ones. Especially the unfair ones. She knows better than to get mixed up with dark-eyed strangers. But when one saves her one night, she’s utterly and inadvisedly charmed.

But she’s about to discover the true consequences of joining up with outlaws: they might do anything. Anything at all.

Including drag her into a terrifying, exhilarating adventure of a lifetime.

King’s Warrior is out in the wilds, so go hunt it down.  Tadhg is waiting for you.

Amazon | iBook | Kobo | B&N Nook | GooglePlay

(Some vendors are taking awhile to get the book up. I’ll update when they go live!)

Want an excerpt?  Of course you do!

♥♥♥♥

…Voices broke out from the other end of the quay. They turned. The reeve’s assistant was coming back along the quay with an even more officious-looking man in his wake. On their heels stalked several armed men.

Goddammit.

“Mother Mary,” she said in a desperate whisper. “What more can go awry?”

Tadhg shared the query.

There was nothing for it. He made his decision in a heartbeat. Sliding his hands up her arms, he spun her and almost flung her up against the side of the nearest building, then reached up and tore off her headdress.

“Good heavens,” she cried, her hands flying up to capture the silky veil, but he’d already pulled it off and was tugging off her distinctive cloak next.

“Mon Dieu,” she gasped, grappling for the cloak, but he fisted it together with the veil, down by his hip, then stretched out his other hand and planted it on the wall beside her head, blocking her face from the interlopers hurrying down the quay.

“Kiss me,” he ordered.

Her shocked face stared up at him. “I b-beg your pardon?”

“Kiss me, then run.”

“What?”

“If you kiss me, you’re a whore. If you stand there staring, you’re a merchant with a pouch of stolen buttons in her hand.”

A second’s pause, then she pushed up on her toes and pressed her lips to his.

Dizziness and heat swooped in like hunting birds for Magdalena, dispelling sense and reason and anything else that might have been of use to her at the moment. She had barely touched her lips to his when he descended without mercy, his mouth hard and slanting. There was no prelude, no warning, no kindness or care, no quarter given. She was a whore and he was having her.

He played the ruse exceptionally well.

He plowed her mouth open with teeth and tongue, explored the depths of her mouth with sinful abandon. She could do nothing but cling to him, her hands around his neck, her head forced back, her spine cupped, her body…thrilling.

Madness. Madness, all.

The hand not holding her cloak and wimple closed around her hip and began to tug up her skirts. She made a feeble attempt to stop him, but his grip grew fierce, and he yanked the gown, dragging it up the side of her leg until she felt cool air on her shin and calf.

Her head spun as if she’d been twirled like a top. Picked up by a bird and sent flying.

Her knees grew weak, but she did not break the kiss. She could not. He’d become a field of energy, the way a metal was pulled toward iron, or how one drop of water clung to another. She was affixed to his kiss, to his chest, which she’d somehow pressed up against, to his shoulders, which she’d somehow wrapped her arms around, to his tongue, which was tangled with hers, his hot male breath, his cunning male hand, his hard knee now making all manner of incursions between her thighs, and she, she, reveling in it.

Then—it might have been an hour, or five seconds—he pulled away, took his heat and his kiss and his hard hands and that soaring sensation, took it all away and broke the kiss.

For a second, his head hung beside hers. “What is your name?” he asked softly.

Her name? What was her name? “M-Magdalena.”

He repeated it, “Magdalena,” so it became a hot, accented breath of her name, then he slid his hands down to her elbows and pushed her away. She stood wavering, bereft, panting against the haberdasher’s wall.

“Run,” he said.

 She stared. “I—”

He gave her a little push. “Run.”

♥♥♥♥

Don’t worry, he’s going to find her later, and make her pay for being a trusting soul.

And then, she’s going to steal the one thing he never knew he had: a heart.

Seriously, go get it!

Amazon | iBook | Kobo | B&N Nook | GooglePlay

(Will update vendor list when all sites go live)

Intro The Hero: Defiant

I was updating the ebook file of DEFIANT, and was reminded of what a bad man Jamie Lost is.  Really, not nice at all.  Eva is convinced he’s a menace cast up from Hell to plague her, thwart her, endanger her…tempt her.

True on all counts.

If you haven’t read DEFIANT yet and are in the mood for a big (110K words big!) adventure-strewn, road romance set in the time of King John and his not-so-chivalrous knights, go indulge yourself today!

Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | Nook

Here’s Eva’s first impression of the devil:

…The rogue’s thick fingertips touched the middle of her back and pushed her the rest of the way inside the tavern.  Then he stepped in too and pointed to a table by the far wall.

“Over there. Sit.”

Again with the commands.

She wanted to growl at him.

He tromped over the bulging plank floors toward the back counter that ran the length of the room, moving through flickering shadows of torchlight.

His hair-roughened square jaw could denote either a dull blade or a rough nature, but his hair, barely tethered by a leather strip, long and dark, bespoke only outlawry.

His cape was nondescript, calf-length. Beneath he wore a black, quilted surcoat, sleeveless, covering what she supposed was a mail shirt, although he wore a longer-sleeved tunic over it, as if to conceal what lay beneath. Both surcoat and tunic hung to mid-thigh, slit up the sides. Mucky knee-high boots completed the ensemble, but it was the dark hose, molded tight over his thighs, that kept Eva’s attention riveted far longer than was necessary.

He wore no insignia on his dark surcoat, bore no identifying colors, yet everyone either had a lord or was a lord. Even the most feared, ruthless mercenary, a Brabançon, identified himself with someone. Here in England, that usually meant the English king.

By the look in this one’s eye, ’twas a simple matter to place him there, among the terrible, ruthless sorts.

But somehow, she couldn’t believe something so…beautiful could be so awful.

And he was beautiful, to a hard line, masculine magnificence, all long, lean contours of hard heat and piercing eyes. A beast in his prime.

Her dark-eyed proteus looked over his shoulder, scowling when he saw she had not ‘come,’ was not ‘over there.’

“Sit,” he growled. “And stay.”

A fissure of anger opened up inside her. She narrowed her eyes and, very softly, barked.

***

For the record, Jamie didn’t like being barked at.

And so the adventure begins….

HAVE FUN IN THERE!

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Confession: I'm Addicted To Research

I’m addicted to research.  There, I admit it. 

I spend way too much money on research books, and way too much time reading them.  While Oxford University Press should just go ahead and open up a corporate account for me, my husband remains tolerant but unamused. Especially when half the books are for research on a book I’m not even writing. Yet. 

Partly, this is because an author has to know way more about the topics used in her books than she’ll ever actually put on the page, because after all, it’s a story, not a non-fiction treatise.  

This, of course, is my excuse.

It’s the way I permit myself to descend into the rabbit hole of Totally Unnecessary Research.  You can picture me leaping down a large hole, looking over my shoulder, smiling and waving, calling, “I’ll be just a minute!”

I’m never just a minute.  Go on and leave without me.

When I’m at work on the contemporaries, I find myself digging deep into crazy biotech, when I’ve already decided my tech-y secondary character will not be doing BIOtech, just straight coding, computer tech.

And yet…addict.  Because have you ever researched biotech, then thought of ways to twist it to nefarious purposes???  It’s insanely frightening and compelling.

A skirmish with smugglers from Finland at the Russian border, 1853, by Vasily Hudyakov

But my biggest weakness is historical research. Even when writing the contemps, I find myself on websites for medieval spice trade, or with a book sitting open beside me that discusses smuggling in 17th c.

 

These are not useful research topics for a contemporary story, not unless a character in the books happens to be studying the spice trade or the history of smuggling.  Which my hero and heroine are not. 

Although….wait a second….

This can become troublesome.  One must choose a story and proceed, not get distracted by all the other exciting stories she could be telling.

While writing CLAIMING HER, I found myself studying far more than was necessary about how

Wooden tankard found on board the 16th century carrack, Mary Rose.

alcoholic beverages were stored in the late 16th c.  I mean, really.  I needed my heroine to store whisky, and suddenly I’m learning about the history of bottling beer.

Fascinating stuff.

For instance, did you know bottled beer was already used by the late 16th century?  They even used expensive glass to do so (beer was sold in glass bottles in 1561 in Germany), although stoneware was more commonly used.  By the early 1600’s, the practice of bottling beer was well-established, and the debate was on: which is better, bottled beer or beer from a keg?

Do you have a preference?? 

(Note: in 1492, the Scottish Parliament prohibited any adulteration of beer or wine on punishment of death.  Careful out there, beer adulterers.)

Then there’s pocket watches.  Need I say more? 

Okay, I will.

Replica, German pocket watch, 1580.

Sweet, gorgeous, etched and carved pocket watches–with alarms!

By 1524, German inventor Peter Henlein used the invention of mainspring to create watches that did not require falling weights as the source of their power, and voila: portable clocks. 

They caught on quickly. Initially quite bulky and worn around the neck like a pendant, the later adoption of screws reduced their bulk, and by the third-quarter of the 1600’s, were small enough to be housed in, well…a pocket. (fyi, screws used to be made BY HAND, obviously, so individuals were doing the extremely time-consuming task of filing threads and cutting slots in the heads, so screws were of variable thread depth & quality.  The first screw factory in England, in 1776, with a patented screw-making machine, failed miserably. It’s not clear why, though, because…)

Gah!  See, it’s happening as I speak! So much for my parenthesis. One thing leads to another, to another…

Back on topic….I had a wonderful scene where the hero in CLAIMING HER (set in 1589) has a pocket watch, and it totally makes the heroine swoon. Unfortunately, I had to cut it. As it was one of the inspirations for the story, cutting it was like carving out a little part of me. But for various reasons, the pocket watch scene wasn’t going to work, so out it came.

But I kept researching the damned things. Because…addict.

Fortunately, not all is wasted. Maybe none is. Because if the historical detail is organically connected to the story, then it does more than just sit there as a prop.  It bolsters/reveals/reverses something that’s core to the characters. And so I learn something far more important that factoid A or B.  I learn about the hero & the heroine, even if the historical detail must be surgically removed. 

Writing the early versions of the pocket watch scene revealed Aodh & Katarina to me.  Katarina has been stuck out in her lonely castle beyond The Pale for many years, and did not expect this barbaric Irishman to upend her world. To be, in fact, the opposite of barbaric. To bring her etched silver and silk and news from faraway places from men he called friends. To show her maps of unknown worlds. To beam prisms of light into the dark corners of her life, and prove to her anything is possible. Anything at all. Even loving a rebellious, treasonous Irishman.

So, I guess this is why I waste my time.  Because it lights my fire.  And reveals the truths of my characters.

Which maybe doesn’t count as wasted time after all.  

Do you have interests that make you “waste your time”?

Good Enough To Eat

“Books have to be read (worse luck it takes so long a time).  It is the only way of discovering what they contain.  A few savage tribes eat them, but reading is the only method of assimilation revealed to the West.”  ~E.M. Forster

Oh, E.M., how I love you. Your insights, your storytelling, your love of characters, your wit. 

 

And yet, we’ve all read those books that are good enough to eat, right??  The ones we feel like we’re sinking down into, as if the story is silk-water. The one when we see its cover, we smile.

 

What’s one of your Good-Enough-To-Eat books?