Tuesday, 1 October 2019

A Summer Bewitchment - out today in large print

My medieval historical romance, A Summer Bewitchment, is out today, published by Linford Large Print. You can order it from your library, or from Amazon.


Here's the blurb:

Can a knight and his witch save seven kidnapped maidens? Sir Magnus and Elfrida strive to find the girls, but at what cost to their marriage?

When a shadowy piper kidnaps seven beautiful girls, can a wounded knight and his witch save them? Will Sir Magnus and Elfrida find them in time, and at what cost to themselves?

Magnus, the battered crusader knight, and his witch-wife, Elfrida, are happily married but in secret turmoil. Elfrida dreads that her difference in rank with Magnus will undermine his love for her. Wounded and scarred, Magnus fears he will not be able to give Elfrida children.

Their fears are sharpened when high-born Lady Astrid appears at their manor and demands their help to find seven missing girls. The lady clearly regards peasant-born Elfrida as beneath her notice, but why has such a woman sought out Magnus, a country knight? Who does she really want to recover so badly?

In a scorching summer, Magnus and Elfrida search for the missing girls. Can they recover them in time? And will their own marriage be the same?

Available from Amazon here
Amazon UK here



A Summer Bewitchment is Book 2 of The Knight and the Witch series. The first book, The Snow Bride, is already out with Prairie Rose Publications in ebook and paperback.

She is Beauty, but is he the Beast?

The Snow Bride is up on Amazon Com and Amazon UK and free to read on Kindle Unlimited.

Read Chapter One here



Thursday, 1 August 2019

The Snow Bride - Medieval Romance from Prairie Rose Publications. Blurb/Chapter One/Excerpt

Up now for pre-order is one of my personal favourites, The Snow Bride, due out on August 15th from Prairie Rose Publications

Blurb  

She is Beauty, but is he the Beast?                                                                                                                                   

England, winter, 1131

Elfrida, spirited, caring and beautiful, is also alone. She is the witch of the woods and no man dares to ask for her hand in marriage until a beast comes stalking brides and steals away her sister. Desperate, the lovely Elfrida offers herself as a sacrifice, as bridal bait, and she is seized by a man with fearful scars. Is he the beast?


In the depths of a frozen midwinter, in the heart of the woodland, Sir Magnus, battle-hardened knight of the Crusades, searches ceaselessly for three missing brides, pitting his wits and weapons against a nameless stalker of the snowy forest. Disfigured and hideously scarred, Magnus has finished with love, he thinks, until he rescues a fourth 'bride', the beautiful, red-haired Elfrida, whose innocent touch ignites in him a fierce passion that satisfies his deepest yearnings and darkest desires.

It's up for order on Amazon Com and Amazon UK and free to read on Kindle Unlimited.

Read Chapter One here

Here is another excerpt to tempt you:

Elfrida stirred sluggishly, unable to remember where she was. Her back ached, and the rest of her body burned. She opened her eyes and sat up with a jerk, thinking of Christina.


Her head felt to be bobbing like an acorn cup in a stream, and her vision swam. As she tried to swing her legs, her sense of dizzy falling increased, becoming worse as she closed her eyes. She lashed out in the darkness, her flailing hands and feet connecting with straw, dusty hay, and ancient pelts.

“Christina?” she hissed, listening intently and praying now that the monster had brought her to the same place it had taken her sister.

She heard nothing but her own breath, and when she held that, nothing at all.

“Christina?” Fearing to reach out in this blackness that was more than night and dreading what she might find, Elfrida forced herself to stretch her arms. She trailed her fingers out into the ghastly void, tracing the unseen world with trembling hands.

Her body shook more than her hands, but she ignored the shuddering of her limbs, closed her eyes like a blind man, and searched.

She lay on a pallet, she realized, full of crackling, dry grass. When she scented and tasted the air, there was no blood. She did not share the space with grisly corpses.

I am alone and unfettered. Now her heart had stopped thudding in her ears, she listened again, hearing no one else. Chanting a charm to see in the dark, she tried again to shift her feet.

Light spilled into her eyes like scalding milk as a door opened and a massive figure lurched across the threshold. Elfrida launched herself at freedom, hurling a fistful of straw at the looming beast and ducking out for the light.

She fell instead, her legs buckling, her last sight that of softly falling snow.



* * * *



Magnus gathered the woman before she pitched facedown into the snow, returning her swiftly to the rough bed within the hut. Her tiny, bird-boned form terrified him. Clutching her was like ripping a fragile wood anemone up from its roots.

And she had fought him, wind-flower or not. She had charged at him.

“I wish, lass, that you would listen to me. I am not the Forest Grendel, nor have wish to be, nor ever have been.”

Just as earlier, in the clearing where he had first come upon her, a brilliant shock of life and color in a white, dead world, the woman gave no sign of hearing. She was cold again, freezing, while in his arms she had steamed with fever. He tugged off his cloak and bundled her into it, then piled his firewood and kindling onto the bare hearth.

A few strikes of his flints and he had a fire. He set snow to melt in the helmet he was using as a cauldron. He swept more dusty hay up from the floor and, sneezing, packed it round the still little figure.

No beast on two or four legs would hunt tonight, so that was one worry less. Finding this lean-to hut in the forest had been a godsend, but it would be cold.

Magnus went back out into the snow and led his horse into the hut, spreading what feed he had brought with him. He kept the door shut with his saddle, rubbed the palfrey down with the bay’s own horse blanket, and looked about for a lantern.

There was none, just as there were no buckets, nor wooden bowls hanging from the eaves. But, abandoned as it surely had been, the place was well roofed, and no snow swirled in through the wood and wattle walls. Whistling, Magnus dug through his pack and found a flask of ale, some hard cheese, two wizened apples, and a chunk of dark rye bread. He spoke softly to his horse, then looked again at the woman.

She was breathing steadily now, and her lips and cheeks had more color. By the glittering, rising fire he saw her as he had first in the forest clearing, an elf-child of beauty and grace, a willing sacrifice to the monster. Kneeling beside her, he longed to stroke her vivid red hair and kiss the small dimple in her chin. In sleep she had the calm, flawless face of a Madonna of Outremer and the bright locks of a Magdalene.

He had guessed who she was—the witch of the three villages, the good witch driven to desperation. Coming upon her in that snowfield, tied between two trees like a crucified child of fairy, his temper had been a black storm against the villagers for sparing their skins by flaying hers. Then he had seen her face, recognized that wild, stark, sunken-cheeked grief, seen the loose bonds and the terrible “feast,” and had understood.

Another young woman has been taken by the beast, someone you love.

She—Elfrida, that was her name, he remembered it now—Elfrida was either very foolish or very powerful, to offer herself as bait.


This is Book One of The Knight and the Witch Series.

Monday, 1 July 2019

Christmas in July - 4 Medieval and Ancient World Romance Novels

It's Christmas in July time and I have several romance novels that are set at or around Christmas.

Up now for pre-order is one of my personal favourites, The Snow Bride, due out on August 15th from Prairie Rose Publications

Blurb                                                                                                                                     

England, winter, 1131

Elfrida, spirited, caring and beautiful, is also alone. She is the witch of the woods and no man dares to ask for her hand in marriage until a beast comes stalking brides and steals away her sister. Desperate, the lovely Elfrida offers herself as a sacrifice, as bridal bait, and she is seized by a man with fearful scars. Is he the beast?


In the depths of a frozen midwinter, in the heart of the woodland, Sir Magnus, battle-hardened knight of the Crusades, searches ceaselessly for three missing brides, pitting his wits and weapons against a nameless stalker of the snowy forest. Disfigured and hideously scarred, Magnus has finished with love, he thinks, until he rescues a fourth 'bride', the beautiful, red-haired Elfrida, whose innocent touch ignites in him a fierce passion that satisfies his deepest yearnings and darkest desires.

It's up for pre-order on Amazon Com and Amazon UK and free to read on Kindle Unlimited.

Flavia's Secret, my romance set in Roman Britain and Roman Bath, has its climax during the Saturnalia, the ancient world version of Christmas. You can read more here.

Dare Celtic slave Flavia trust her Roman master Marcus?
In the Roman city of Aquae Sulis (modern Bath), Celtic slave Flavia longs to be free. Her mistress’ death brings a threat to Flavia’s dream: Valeria’s heir Marcus, a handsome, dangerous Roman officer. Flavia is drawn to Marcus but she has a deadly secret to hide and many enemies.

Just 99cents or 99p, free to read with Kindle Unlimited
Amazon UK          Amazon Com

Also in Audio and Large print.













My sweet medieval historical romance, SIR CONRAD AND THE CHRISTMAS TREASURE, is up and out. You can read it for free with Kindle Unlimited.

On Amazon. Com here
And Amazon UK here

In print at Amazon.com here
And in print at Amazon UK here

SIR CONRAD AND THE CHRISTMAS TREASURE Amazon Com USA

Amazon UK

TO READ WITH KINDLE UNLIMITED



What is the true treasure of Christmas?

Maggie’s younger brother, Michael, is kidnapped by outlaws, and it’s up to her to rescue him. Appealing to Sir Conrad, the grim steward of the northern English high lands, is the very last thing she wants to do. With the very real possibility that the outlaws know of Michael’s talent—the ability to open any lock, to reveal any treasure—Maggie races against time to find him before his usefulness to the outlaws is ended.

Sir Conrad desires Maggie from the minute he sees her—she makes him feel alive again—and that has not happened since the death of his wife. Though he hasn’t known Maggie before, a strange feeling of familiarity nags, and he agrees to aid the beautiful peasant girl in this quest of finding her brother.

Joining forces, Maggie and Sir Conrad form a tenuous bond. When an assassin attacks Maggie, the pieces of the puzzle begin to fit, and Conrad realizes that even Maggie doesn’t know the power she holds. But Conrad not only must keep Maggie safe, he must thwart the dangerous devices of his spiteful older brother, Richard, who has lately returned from crusade.

As love blossoms, Maggie and Conrad must protect one another. Evil is all around them, and doubt is a cruel enemy. Will their faith in each other keep them united? In the world of dangerous courtly intrigue, who is saving whom? Love is all that matters…but can that be enough?


A Knight's Captive - a novel that also has it's climax at Christmas-time

It’s 1066, a year of strange comets and portents, harsh battles, dying kings and Norman and Viking invaders. Compelled to go on pilgrimage in a restive northern England, war-worn Breton knight Marc de Sens knows his first obligation is to his three orphaned nieces. But then he encounters the stunning blonde beauty Sunniva and his life changes forever.

I
Thrust together by betrayal, Marc and Sunniva must find a way to survive these turbulent times, but both hold dark and deadly secrets and trust between them is slow to grow. What happens when their tentative truce is shattered? Will Marc be held captive by his past? Will Sunniva become his willing prisoner? And will they find a way to find love and free themselves?


(Previously published by Kensington Publishing, New York, in 2009. Nominated for the ‘Romantic Times’ Reviewers’ Choice Best Historical Novels Award, 2009.)


Amazon Com 99 cents
Amazon UK 99p


Thursday, 6 June 2019

One Midsummer's Knight - Boxed set of Medieval Romance Novellas

Who dares to seek love on a Midsummer’s Eve when the Otherworldly veil is thin, and anything can happen? Magic runs high, and passions flare on this special night made for taking chances. For this is the night when ritual fires burn bright and invite lovers to consummate the promise of their love—and anything can happen! 

In this wonderful boxed set of medieval tales, ONE MIDSUMMER’S KNIGHT holds the key in each story to a “happy ever after” ending! Step into a realm of adventure and magic with these four spellbinding tales of daring, chance, and love with ONE MIDSUMMER’S KNIGHT!

UNICORN SUMMER—LINDSAY TOWNSEND: When the faery queen casts a spell on a knight to change him into a unicorn, there seems to be no hope for him—except the stronger magic of true love!

MIDSUMMER’S PROMISE—KEENA KINCAID: Can a mercenary find his heart’s home with a beautiful healer? Her brother, a seer, says they are not for each other—but can their love change fate?

A FAIR BARGAIN—MELISSA JARVIS: When a maiden trades her own future happiness for that of her sister, it seems all is lost to her—until an Otherworld prince comes to her rescue and seals a different kind of bargain—made of unexpected and forbidden love.

A MISTY KNIGHT--CYNTHIA BREEDING: Can a daring knight’s love bring happiness to a beautiful woman who others call a witch? He must find a way to rescue the stubborn lass before she is killed, but can he do it as a human?

This collection is edited and selected by Cheryl Pierson  for Prairie Rose Publications 


Amazon USA


Amazon UK

Here's an excerpt from my story "Unicorn Summer"


He was bored of eating grass. Unicorn, who had once possessed another name, another form, shook his golden mane and flicked his long black tail in displeasure.
Fairies dress in flowers and sing with the nightingales, cows dispute on where to find the best green forage, horses love to play chase the shadows over the rolling hills and snort tales of adventure to each other. Even chickens banter with dust sprites. Why do I lack such lively speech? Why am I not content?
Unicorn scraped his pale horn on the bare earth and galloped to the edge of the pool. He might have asked “Why am I alone?” Sometimes, in dreams, he heard a woman telling him it was all a punishment, for his pride and cruelty, though when Unicorn woke, he could never remember what his sin had been.
He whickered softly and stared at his reflection in the water. What does it matter that my eyelashes are as long and sparkling as frosted spiders’ webs? What does it matter if my eyes are sometimes blue, often grey, and can spot each tremble of the ash leaves before they fall? Why, with all my flowing beauty, am I solitary?
Who am I? Who was I?                                                                                                          
The rippling spring held no answers but there was something submerged in the deep pool, beyond Unicorn’s hazy reflection. A floating streamer of mane—no, this was hair, human hair—drifted up towards the surface.
What does brown hair floating underwater mean?
Unicorn snorted and stamped the ground. Part of his aching mind knew this mystery should not be beyond him. It was no puzzle at all, even if the long hair was as shiny and lush as the ripe acorns he liked to chew and it clung to the pond’s edge like bladderwrack.
No! Unicorn twisted his neck and bit down on his own flank. The pain shrank down the world and his senses and all at once he understood—There was a body in the pool.
Even as he plunged his head underwater and struggled to grip the hair with his teeth, a pair of flailing hands shot up out of the green-blue murk and grabbed his spiral horn. Unicorn planted his hooves in the churned earth and shuffled backwards. The weight made his head hurt and his shoulders burn but he did not shake the shivering fingers off. One slow step after another he pulled himself and his burden free of the pool.
A final sharp crack as the body broke through and Unicorn could shift much faster, nimbly dragging the figure into a springy soft bank of herbs. The body coughed, rolled onto its stomach and shook like a wet dog, only this was no hound.
A woman, Unicorn realised, and I have rescued her. He tossed his head in a preen, but resisted the impulse to charge off over the hills in a victory gallop.
The woman might need him again.
He settled beside her, careful to keep his sharp horn away from her trembling limbs, and covered her with his black tail. Sleep, he willed her, content as he had not been for an age when she shuffled into his warm side and his sharp ears caught a dainty snore.
When she wakes, I will know her name. But she might ask for his and how could he answer? He glanced at his polished hooves and thought of a way.

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Midsummer Magic - novels and stories. Some Midsummer Excerpts.

Sarmatia is a bull leaper. Fearn is a northern king. Do they have a future together?


BRONZE LIGHTNING 



Midsummer Excerpt.

Above their heads the air grew thicker, the sun heavy through a skein of clouds. Even for a northern summer, the day seemed long.
'Is this an afternoon without an evening?' Sarmatia asked Laerimmer. 'The sun's still high.'
'It's close to midsummer,' replied the Kingmaker. 'Soon, we'll celebrate the solstice on the Sacred Hill.'
'Not this year, thanks to Sarmatia,' put in Anoi spitefully.
There was a loud crack of thunder following her words and after that a heavy silence. Time stretched on. Finally, harsh as the call of a buzzard, came a horn blast, and from different directions, several answering notes.
'Fearn has reached the Beaver River,' said Laerimmer. 'Now the others will wait for him to lead them here.'
Sarmatia's heart quickened. She wet her lips, an act not missed by Anoi.
'Do you think that will help you?' she asked, scornfully. 'Fearn was with me this morning, as he should have been last year, when Waroch died.'

Midsummer is for feasting, bonfires, charms and lovers. Midsummer Maid in 

A Knight's Choice and Other Romances.

 Amazon com Amazon UK  Amazon Canada


Midsummer Excerpt
The village smith glanced up, dice in hand, and Haakon grinned at the man's guilty expression. "The priest will know nothing from me," he mouthed, aware that serious bets were being laid and lost. He turned about to find Clare again, his mood soaring like the skylarks as he saw her, still blessing the land, still safe.
            Later, he planned to walk with her to the stream at the bottom of the hill and float a midsummer candle across the water, bearing a wish for their joining. For now, there was pleasure enough in feasting his eyes on her trim figure and her pretty face. She was far enough away for him to stare at her frankly, and he took the chance to do so.
            Were I a unicorn of the wildwoods, I would come to lay my head in your lap, he thought, wishing he were the stitchwort, daises, and white campion she was scattering, or better yet, the marigolds tucked within her bodice, a golden glow between her breasts. Her long, loose hair had strands of marigold in it and for the rest was as brown and glossy as hazelnuts. Her face was tanned, tinged with rose, with a narrow nose and a full mouth, and her wide, dreaming eyes were spaces to lose himself in. Today she was dressed in white, a simple, long shift, loose and unbelted, a linen thing that should have been as plain as a shroud, but on Clare, animated by Clare, the gown seemed to sparkle. The chalky white of her dress set off the rich brown of her hair and her flawless lightly-bronzed skin. Even at this distance, half a field away or more, he saw how the cloth caressed her subtle curves, her tender breasts and rounded rump, and his throat choked with desire. 

This collection also includes details and an excerpt from my Prairie Rose Publications Romance Novel, Dark Maiden.



My novella "Unicorn Summer" is part of the One Midsummer's Knight boxed set.


Midsummer Excerpt

As custom demanded, she was robed in a plain gown of undyed linen, with a tiny iron brooch that had been her mother’s as her only jewellery. Cool grass, damp and sparkling with dew, stroked her ankles. Ahead, the eastern sky showed pink, a promise of heat and good weather to come.
“Come, you fey of water, of earth, of fire, grant me my wish in payment of my flowers,” Ffion mouthed, aware she must walk to the hill-top in silence. How else would she hear the saints and spirits? Last midsummer her father’s steady breath and peaceful, wordless contentment had matched her own as they strolled together, now the empty space beside her was an aching void.
Please save him, she silently begged, as she cast another posy into a tiny, hidden spring that welled up from the bright green grass, hoping some force would hear her tumbling thoughts. He deserves life and a son, one who will not care that Sir Bors could cut off the Faircrest land from the rest of this realm of England. Lord Tancred has been a good steward.
She stopped herself from protesting aloud that Sir Bors, if he married her, could only do worse.  “Save us,” she said steadily, and bent to unlace her shoes to ford the stream.
Intent on her sacred task, Ffion stepped into the swift-flowing spate, shoes in one hand, the hem of her linen gown in the other. The sweet chill of the water snatched the breath from her lungs and for an instant she almost stumbled.
Her rocking on the smooth stones saved her. A stinking shadow raked along her flank and she heard Sir Bors curse.
“Hell’s bells, wench, keep still!”
He should not be here. Only a Firefall can walk the bounds. Only a Firefall can enter this river. Fast on her indignation came fear. He means to catch me!

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Holiday Photos

My husband and I have been away last week at a place near Bridlington. I remembered Bridlington, and Sewerby as seaside places I used to visit as a child and decided to go back. Here are some photos from our visit.

I remember these massive monkey puzzle trees at Sewerby Park (now part of Sewerby Hall Gardens). They are still imposing!














Bridlington from Fraisthorpe beach. It's a lovely place to walk and a favourite of dog-walkers, very unspoilt.








Rudston Church and standing stone. You can read about both here.

The churchyard is also the burial place of the author Winifred Holtby, who wrote  "South Riding."






Sewerby Hall and the little train that goes over the cliff tops. I remember it being a different colour.




A final photo of the sea, with typical skyscape: