Sunday, 1 December 2019

Warm up your Winter - The Snow Bride, published by Prairie Rose Publications

 She is Beauty, but is he the Beast?

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.


THE SNOW BRIDE (THE KNIGHT AND THE WITCH 1) https://amzn.to/2MZZan0    

Book 2 now out! 


A SUMMER BEWITCHMENT ( THE KNIGHT AND THE WITCH 2)
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZTMNWZ9/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=lindsay+townsend&qid=1572605630&rs=154606011&s=digital-text&sr=1-1
Amazon Co Uk
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07ZTMNWZ9/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=a+summer+bewitchment&qid=1572606494&s=digital-text&sr=1-1

Short 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?

Read Chapter One of "The Snow Bride"

Here is another excerpt from "The Snow Bride" to tempt you:

Magnus was worried. The fire he had made should have brought his people. It was an old signal, well-known between them. His men should have reached the village by now—that had been the arrangement. They were bringing traps and provisions in covered wagons, and hunting dogs and horses. He had been impatient to start his pursuit of the Forest Grendel and so rode ahead, returning with the messenger until that final stretch when the man turned off to his home. He had ridden on alone, finding the wayside shrine.

But from then, all had gone awry. Instead of the monster, he had found an ailing witch, and the snowstorm had lost him more tracks and time.

Magnus shook his head, turning indulgent eyes to the small, still figure on the rough pallet. At least the little witch had slept through the night and day, snug and safe, and he had been able to make her a litter from woven branches. He would give his fire signal a little longer and then return Elfrida to her village. There he might find someone who could translate between them.

Perhaps she did have power, for even as he looked at her, she sat up, the hood of her cloak falling away, and stared at him in return. She said something, then repeated it, and he drew in a great gulp of cold air in sheer astonishment, then laughed.

“I know what you said!” He wanted to kiss her, spots and all.

He burst into a clumsy canter, dragging his peg leg a little and almost tumbling onto her bed. She caught him by the shoulders and tried to steady him but collapsed under his weight.

They finished in an untidy heap on the pallet, with Elfrida hissing by his ear, “Why have you done such a foolish thing as to burn all our fuel?”



He rolled off her, knocked snow off his front and beard, and said in return, “How did you know I would know the old speech, the old English?”

“I dream true, and I dreamed this.” She was blushing, though not, he realized quickly, from shyness.

“Why burn so wildly?” she burst out, clearly furious. “You have wasted it! All that good wood gone to ash!”

“My men know my sign and will come now the storm has gone.” He had not expected thanks or soft words, but he was not about to be scolded by this red-haired nag.

“That is your plan, Sir Magnus? To burn half the forest to alert your troops?”

“A wiser plan than yours, madam, setting yourself as bait. Or had your village left you hanging there, perhaps to nag the beast to death?”

Her face turned as scarlet as the fire. “So says any witless fool! ’Tis too easy a charge men make against women, any woman who thinks and acts for herself. And no man orders me!”

Magnus swallowed the snort of laughter filling up his throat. He doubted she saw any amusement in their finally being able to speak to each other only to quarrel. Had she been a man or a lad, he would have knocked her into the snow, then offered a drink of mead, but such rough fellowship was beyond him here.

“And how would you have fought off any knave, or worse, that found you?” he asked patiently. “You did not succeed with me.”

“There are better ways to vanquish a male than brute force. I knew what I was about!”

“Truly? You were biding your time? And the pox makes you alluring?”

“Says master gargoyle! My spots will pass!”

“Or did you plan to scatter a few herbs, perhaps?”

He thought he heard her clash her teeth together. “I did not plan my sickness, and I do not share my secrets! Had you not snatched me away, had you not interfered, I would know where the monster lives. I would have found my sister! I would be with her!” Her voice hitched, and a look of pain and dread crossed her face. “We would be together. Whatever happens, I would be with her.”

“This was Christina?”

“Is Christina, not was, never was! I know she lives!”

Magnus merely nodded, his temper cooling rapidly as he marked how her color had changed and her body shook. A desperate trap to recover a much-loved sister excused everything, to his way of thinking.

She called you a gargoyle! This piqued his vanity and pride.

But she does not think you the monster, Magnus reminded himself in a dazzled, shocked wonder, embracing that knowledge like a lover.



Friday, 29 November 2019

The Snow Bride - FREE FOR BLACK FRIDAY, through till midnight December 1st

My medieval romance novel, "The Snow Bride" is FREE for the next 3 days at Amazon, from Midnight, November 29 through until Midnight, December 1st 


She is Beauty but is he the Beast?
THE SNOW BRIDE (THE KNIGHT AND THE WITCH 1) https://amzn.to/2MZZan0    

You can get the first part of this KNIGHT AND THE WITCH series for free and buy the second book in the series for under $5.00/£5.00

A Summer Bewitchment.
Genre HISTORICAL ROMANCE
Publisher PRAIRIE ROSE PUBLICATIONS
Date of Publication NOV 14th 2019

ASIN: B07ZTMNWZ9
 Free with Kindle Unlimited
Buy Links Amazon USA 
Amazon UK  Amazon Canada Amazon Australia
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?

Happy Reading!

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Sequel to "The Snow Bride". Medieval Romance Novel "A Summer Bewitchment" out now!



A sequel to THE SNOW BRIDE.



Genre HISTORICAL ROMANCE
Publisher PRAIRIE ROSE PUBLICATIONS
Date of Publication NOV 14th 2019

ASIN: B07ZTMNWZ9
 Free with Kindle Unlimited
Buy Links Amazon USA 
Amazon UK  Amazon Canada Amazon Australia
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-wife save them? Will Sir Magnus and Elfrida find them in time—and at what cost?
Magnus, the fearless, battered crusader knight, and his fey wife, Elfrida, are happily married, but each of them carries a secret. Elfrida believes that being peasant-born will one day undermine her husband’s love for her. Wounded and scarred, Magnus fears nothing—except, perhaps, that he will not be able to give Elfrida her greatest wish—children.
Their fears are sharpened when high-born Lady Astrid appears at their manor and demands their help to find the seven missing girls. Though the lady clearly regards low-born Elfrida beneath her, why has she truly sought out Magnus, a ruthless knight? Which one of the kidnapped girls does she really want to recover so badly—and to what hidden purpose?
In the scorching summer heat, Magnus and Elfrida search together for the missing girls. Will they be able to rescue them in time? And can their own marriage survive?

Here is an excerpt from the opening chapter:


England, summer, 1132

“I am the troll king of this land and you owe me a forfeit.”

Elfrida glanced behind the shadowed figure who barred her way. He was alone, but then so was she.

Do I turn and run along the track? Should I flee into the woods or back to the river? He is close, less than the distance of the cast of a spear. Can I make it hard for him to catch me? Yes.

But catch her he would.

Play for time.

“Indeed?” she asked, using one of her husband’s favorite expressions, then sharpened her tone. “Why must I pay anything?”

“You have trespassed in these woods. In my woods.”

The nagging ache in her shoulders and hands vanished in a tingling rush of anticipation. Elfrida dropped her basket of washed, dried clothes onto the dusty pathway, the better to fight. “King Henry is lord of England.”

“I am king here.”

A point to him. “I kept to the path, and then the river.”

“That may be so, but I claim a kiss.”

He had not moved yet, nor shown his face. The summer evening made his shadow huge, bloody. Her heart beating harder as she anticipated their final, delicious encounter, Elfrida asked, “Are you so bold? My husband is a mighty warrior, the greatest in all Christendom.”

“That is a large claim.” He sounded amused. “All Christendom? He must be a splendid fellow. The harpers should sing of him.”

Elfrida raised her chin, determined to have her say. “I am proud of my lord. He is a crusader. He has seen Jerusalem and he has learning. He can whistle any tune. He defends all those weaker than himself.” Should I say what I next want to say? Tease him as he has teased me? Why not? Are we are not playing? “Go back to your woods, troll king.”

She heard the crack of a pine cone as he shifted. In a haze of motion the troll king was out of the tree shade and into the bright sunset, dominating the path in front of her. Taller than a spear, broad as a door, he had a face as stark as granite, of weathered, broken stone. Heavily scarred—many would say grooved—he had the terrible beauty of a victor, a winner wounded but unbowed.

A ribbon of heat, like hot breath, flickered across her breasts. He was so magnificent , so handsome. She both loved and hated defying him, even in jest. Striving for calm, she said, “You will come no closer.”

“Or what, little laundress?”

That tease irked her. “The clothes and bedding do not wash themselves. Not even for you, troll king.”

He smiled, a daunting unfurling of that scarred, sword-cut face. The churning heat in her belly swept up into her cheeks and down to her loins.

“I am a witch, besides,” she added, though not as coolly as she would have liked. She saw the gleam in his large brown eyes pool into molten bronze.

“You would put a spell on me, elfling?” he challenged.

“Perhaps I already have.” Her tone and mouth were as dry as the summer. How much farther can we stretch this sweet foolishness?

He raised thick black eyebrows, while a breeze flicked and flirted with his shoulder-length curls. “Is that Christian?”

She wanted to cross her arms before herself, to shield her body from his bold stare. At the same time she longed to strip herself naked for him, unlace his tunic and caress him. Unsure how he might react, she armed herself with words instead. “I am a good witch, Magnus.”

“Indeed.” Again he looked her up and down, glanced at her buckets, basket, and clothes. “Should you not have an escort, wife?”

Do I tell him I sent Piers off to help? Are we still playing now or is he truly angry?

Looming over her, he was close enough for her to touch him. To caress his strong body will be like stroking sun-warmed stone. Distracted, she shook her head. “There is the sheep shearing…”

“Done.” He tossed a stack of rolled, lanolin-scented fleeces at her feet. “I did my share and more and, as I have said already, I claim a reward.”

He winked at her and she found herself smiling in return. “Forfeit and reward, too, sire? Is that not greedy?”

“Are we in Lent, that I should fast?” He raised his hand, cupping her face with supple fingers. “But you are too dainty to linger alone, witch or no.”

He traced the curve of her lips with his thumb and, as she trembled, he gathered her firmly into his arms. “Any man will try to spirit you away.”

“Hush!” She made a sign against the evil eye and wood elves, but he shook his head at her caution.

“I have faith in your magic craft, Elfrida. But a passing knave or outlaw? He is quite another matter. He would see you as a tempting piece, my wife, my lovely.”

“I am not helpless,” she protested, but her heart soared at his loving words. His mouth, as crooked and scarred as the rest of his face, stole a kiss from hers.

He smelled of lanolin, salt, and summer green-stuff, and tasted of apples and himself. Elfrida closed her eyes under his tender onslaught, her thighs trembling.

“Troll King?” she murmured, when they broke apart slightly. “Is that how you wish me to address you in the future, husband?”

“‘Sire’ will do, or ‘greatest knight in Christendom.’ Those will do very well.” He kissed her again.

“You rob me, sire,” she murmured, a breathless space later.

“Of kisses?” He sounded delighted at the idea, the beast, and grinned when she pinched him.

“Even one-handed I can do that better than you.”

He demonstrated, squeezing and lightly slapping her bottom, chuckling as she thrust her hips back against his fondling fingers. A shred of modesty remained as her wits dissolved into a sweet blaze of need. “Magnus, what if someone comes?”

Monday, 28 October 2019

Magic and magic-makers in medieval courts #MedievalMonday Blog for Halloween

Seal from a manuscript by John Dee (sourced from Wikipedia Commons)Magic played a strange and ambivalent role in medieval society. Wise-women and wizards were sometimes tolerated or revered or sometimes persecuted as witches, particularly if their 'magic' went wrong. Yet at the same time, priests could perform magic and utter charms as well as prayers to combat evil or demons.

All levels of medieval society believed in magic, including the courts. Magicians might be employed at European courts as entertainers, as alchemists, as healers or as diviners. In the later Tudor period we have John Dee, who served Elizabeth I as her astronomer and occultist, and the alchemist and astronomer Paracelsus. In myth we have Merlin, one of the most famous magicians of them all, who was on the edge first of Uther Pendragon's court and then of King Arthur's, and feared and respected in equal measure. In France in the 14th century, the astrologer Thomas of Pisano made figures out of wax to destroy the invading English by magic.

Astrologers, alchemists and magicians, promising gold, health and power, were often welcomed at court and given high status. Yet their places were always vulnerable. Jealous rivals could accuse them of using magic in an evil way, as happed to Mummolus, a shrewd military tactician of the sixth century AD, a time when Frankish Gaul was split into several kingdoms. Accused of witchcraft by Fredegund, queen to Chilperic I of Soissons, Mummolus was tortured and died of his wounds.

In 1441 Eleanor, duchess of Gloucester, was accused of using ‘treasonable necromancy’ against King Henry VI in order to advance her husband. She was imprisoned for life, while the astrologers Thomas Southwell and Roger Bolingbroke, together with Margery Jourdemayne, ‘the Witch of Eye‘, were condemned to death. In the mid-1480s Richard III of England accused Elizabeth Woodville (previously married to a Lancastrian) of having bewitched his late brother Edward IV into marrying her.

Even the court of the medieval papacy was a place where members could be accused of magic - because magic-making was seen as a part of life and a way of gaining or keeping favours. In 1317 the bishop of Cahors was tried for using magic against Pope John XXII and trying to smuggle magical images into the papal palace in loaves of bread.

Magic and the belief in magic figures in my latest medieval historical romance, The Snow Bride. Elfrida the heroine is a white witch and she must do battle with an evil necromancer who has kidnapped her sister. You can read more about the story and an excerpt here



THE SNOW BRIDE (THE KNIGHT AND THE WITCH 1) https://amzn.to/2MZZan0    

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.