Tuesday, July 24, 2012
"The Eagle's Woman," Part I of my Viking romance "The Eagle," will release August 2, 2012. Here are a blurb and excerpt for you along with the yummy cover featuring Sam Bond!
Son of an impoverished, dying Norse chieftain, Ari raids for booty and slaves so he can feed his people. Pagan himself, still he spares priests though he sells them. He’s a heathen, a murderer, and it is a sin for any Christian woman to love him. Yet when he abducts Maeve from her peaceful Irish fishing village, he may have found the one woman who can.
“What?” Ari asked, reaching with his free hand to take her chin in it. His thumb caressed her bottom lip and she thought she was not out of danger with him, no matter how disheveled her appearance. This man wanted her, no doubt of it. Not enough to commit violence on her, apparently, but she thought gentleness held its own dangers. If she was not careful, it could weaken her will. He was not unattractive—with fair skin, strong angular features and striking eyes—though just then he looked like a drowned rat as all of them did. It did not obscure the strength of his body or the keen intelligence in those eyes. She turned her head to the side, dislodging his thumb.
“I have not seen tears from you before,” he said thoughtfully, “though many of the others are crying. What has finally broken you?”
“I am not broken,” she spat, “only mourning two good people who raised me. But I am sure you know nothing of such feelings.”
He sat back on his heels. “Do I not? Two good people raised me as well. One lies crippled in his sickbed and the other waits for me to bring coin to buy things a sick man needs.”
Maeve was silent, surprised and momentarily chastened. She had never seriously supposed he had motives other than greed.
“Do you think raiding is worthy of a fighting man?” he persisted. “I would rather face an army than hungry children.”
She stifled an impulse toward sympathy. “Ours are dead or captive. You seem to have no trouble facing that.”
Abruptly, he set both feet beneath himself and got up, undaunted by the motion of the ship which made such things impossible for Maeve. She had not noticed a wineskin hanging from the rigging, but she saw him reach for it then.
“I cannot help your children.” He took a fulsome swig. “Just mine.” Wiping the neck with his wet tunic, he held the wineskin out to her.
It was decent wine, probably from their monastery, tasting of strength and summer. She needed strength to remember that summer would come again, so she drank.
Monday, July 23, 2012
Have you ever hear of a baldric or a backadder?
Also spelled bawdrick, bauldrick, or baldrick, this is a belt worn diagonally over the shoulder to hip to hold a weapon, most commonly a sword, or in some case a bugle or a drum.
Baldrics have been around since ancient times and were mostly used in military dress. The baldrick provided the wearer easier access to the weapon and the ability to carry the weapon comfortably. Now in modern day, this belt is mainly used as ceremonial.
Sometimes a baldric would be ornately decorated.
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Monday, July 2, 2012
FOR LOVE OF GWYNNETH
Thank you for inviting me to post here, Miriam!
My new release, FOR LOVE OF GWYNNETH, is a Medieval romance with fantasy~paranormal elements.
Blurb: For Love of Gwynneth:
It is 1135, and everything Gwynneth and Richard thought they wanted is put to the crucible.
Gwynneth's innocent desire to spy on her secret love, brother to the man her father says she will wed, spirals out of control when Richard captures her.
All Richard wanted was a quick tryst with a Wood Nymph. He never imagined he would be forced into a marriage. Richard is not pleased. Everything goes wrong, starting with his plans to avenge the deaths of his father and uncle, not to mention that his brother had planned to wed Gwynneth. A powerful baron from the north claims he has a signed betrothal contract between his son and Lady Gwynneth, which the baron intends to enforce. Then there is the matter of his new father-in-law and his unceasing efforts to end Richard’s life. The only good to come from the marriage, Richard finally realizes, is Gwynneth. Then she’s taken from him.
Richard's journey begins to reclaim his wife. For love of Gwynneth.
* * * *
Gwynneth heard them coming and stopped to listen, at first cocking her head and frowning, then smiling at the unmistakable sound of disgruntlement in Richard’s voice.
"Gwynneth," Richard repeated for what seemed to him the ten hundredth time, he walking on foot as Alden and Geoffrey trailed behind with the horses. "I'm sorry for what I said. I’ll not put you away. Please come out and let me take you home. Gwynneth, I'm sorry..." He said it over and over, repeating what Alden had said he should say, but feeling very foolish.
It was after Alden explained why Gwynneth had reacted as she had about being put to convent that Richard reluctantly agreed to speak aloud to the wood.
As Alden told the story, she’d been sent to convent as a child, but promptly ran away. It had taken over ten days for her to make her way home, during which time everyone was convinced she’d never be seen again, either having been devoured by the wild beasts of the forest, or taken and sold. She’d been given a beating upon her arrival home, but stubbornly insisted she’d do it again if forced to return to the confining convent. Gwynneth was assured she’d be returned the next day. When all awakened the next morning, she was gone.
“That’s when you found her,” Alden said.
“I found her?” Richard queried.
Alden nodded. “She'd been hiding in a tree, but fell and broke her arm. You found her and brought her home to Mother at Aven.”
He screwed up his face in thought. “That scrawny thing was Gwynneth?”
“Yea. She recalls quite clearly how you rescued her. How you teased she must be the clumsiest wood nymph in the wood.”
Wood nymph? Richard frowned.
“Was she ever sent back to convent?” Geoffrey asked.
Alden shook his head.
“Why’d she run from convent?” Richard asked.
“She fears being confined. When she said she’d die if you put her away, she spoke true.”
Richard had grunted and agreed to Alden’s way. But was greatly relieved his men weren't there to hear him speaking, nay, pleading aloud to the trees. He jumped when he felt a small hand settle on his arm, and uttered an oath. He turned to face her. "You," he began darkly.
"You won't put me away?" she asked softly.
Seeing her fair countenance marred by one eye swollen shut, Richard softly growled. He’d killed the baseborn dog too quickly. Should have made him suffer more, suffer mightily, should have made him plead for a swift death. Next time, he promised himself.
Now he had Gwynneth to contend with, to ease her fears and strange notions. At the sight of her face open and trusting, his angry words fled, although irritation remained. "Nay, Gwynneth."
She stared, waiting expectantly.
He rolled his eyes at her loud silence. "Know this, I shall never put you away. This I vow," he declared loudly.
“Or leave me at another holding?”
He muttered at such doubt. “Nay, you won’t be left behind.”
She nodded. “You don’t want me.” Her tone of voice remained neutral.
He growled, anxious to return, although he knew she was waiting for some assurance concerning her future. “I don’t like being forced to do things. And I don’t like your father! Miserable bastard,” he muttered as he looked away.
“I can understand that,” she said softly. “I never set out to deceive you.”
“I know.” He reached for her arm. “Come.”
She pulled away from his hand. “I feared what my father would do if he knew I had met with you. He never would have understood it was by chance we met. Well, the first time. I didn't mean to deceive you.”
“I understand,” he gritted. “We return now.”
She stepped back. “You said you’d never forget what I did.”
“God’s death, woman!”
Alden and Geoffrey moved a little closer.
She stared up at him, waiting.
“What? Jesu, I said I wouldn’t put you away! What? What more do you want?”
“You only marry me because my father—”
“You and I marry, Gwynneth,” he broke in impatiently. “‘Tis not what we want, but we cannot always have what we want, can we?”
She shook her head and frowned.
He growled softly, seeing her apprehension. "'Twas you put us in this mess! What'd you think would happen when that—when your father learned what had happened? Hmmm?"
She pulled herself up straighter, and looked him square in the eye. "'Twas you that brought me to Erlestoke. I told you take me home!"
He snorted. "But you didn't say why, did you? Didn’t say aught about why it would be in my best interest to take you home, now did you? Hmmm?”
“Nay.” She looked down at the ground. "The words never came out. I know it sounds a paltry excuse, but my throat seized whene’er I tried voicing my name or identity."
He wasn’t pleased at the sight of her woeful expression, and his frown increased at the remembrance of her words spoken earlier.
“I don’t kill my wives,” he said darkly. “They die on me. ‘Tis naught I do, just their bad luck.”
She pulled her mantle a little tighter, and again faced him. “I never believed you capable of murdering a wife for gain.”
His eyes narrowed. Gain? Where’d she hear that? “Then why shout it as you ran from me?”
“I didn’t,” she retorted indignantly. With a brief look at the wood, she turned her eyes back to Richard. “If, as you say, ‘twas naught you did, just their bad luck, then if I become your wife, then mayhap my luck will change. I don’t want to die; all your wives die.”
He shook his head at her stubbornness. “You won’t die, Gwynneth. You’re young, strong, healthy; you won’t die.” His thoughts went back again to Renard’s words.
“She comes from good stock, FitzHugh. Her mother, the best of women, a great lady, bore me one jewel of a daughter and five healthy sons; all still alive and well,” he’d gloated. “Gwynneth is small, but she favors her mother, the Lady Cinnia. She’ll beget you a dynasty, FitzHugh...if you can keep her.”
Her face clouded at his impatient tone of voice. “How can you be sure?”
Because your bastard father will decorate the trees with my entrails should aught happen to you. “I won’t let you die.” She looked unconvinced by his declaration. “Your father will be angry with you if you don’t come back with me—" slyly he ached a brow—"if you don't marry me.”
She looked again toward the wood. “You come after me only because you fear my father’s wrath; but so did I.”
“Though true, ‘tis neither here nor there; we wed.” He knew there must be kinder words to say they had no choice in the matter, but he wasn’t of a mind to search for them now. “Know you how long it would take you to walk to Penclyst?”
She shrugged in reply and looked down at the ground.
“Have food with you?” he asked roughly.
She shook her head.
His frown deepened. "Aren't you hungry? Maudie said you refused food all day."
"I had no appetite."
His hands went to his hips. He could put a stop to this by grabbing her and forcing her to return, but realized it would be a temporary solution, for he’d no doubt she’d try this again. “‘Tis dangerous to sleep alone in the wood. Wolves, boars, bears—”
“I would sleep in a tree.”
“Fall and break your arm again?”
She looked up quickly.
He saw her worried expression disappear, the near smile. He spoke in a gentler tone. “I want you to come back with me.”
With a sad sigh, she looked back down at the ground.
He gritted his teeth and forced himself to patience. “I don’t want to have to force you to come back with me. Should I have to force you, I shall have to beat you, you know.” There. That’s a threat she understands.
She snapped her head up and her gaze searched his face.
Now that she recognized he wasn’t a man to be taken lightly, he silently congratulated himself. “When we return you may do whatever you like to the hall so it suits you. It does stink.”
Gwynneth was amazed to hear such words come from him, and felt a surge of pleasure he’d allow her such freedom. “I may?”
"Yea. Should be pleasant for our wedding."
She searched his face carefully, but saw no part of his smile touch his eyes.
“I have spoken to Sheila,” he informed her. “She’s the one who… You’ll have no cause for complaint from her,” he assured her, his tone of voice hinting at dire, unpleasant consequences should Sheila ever cause Gwynneth to voice a complaint.
Her eye opened wide. Was that what she’d seen?
He took her meat knife and dagger from his belt, and held them before her. When she reached for them, he pulled back. "I trust you," he cautioned.
She smiled. Foolish man! Did he think she would ever use her dagger on him?
He glowered at her. “I warn you, should you ever brandish this before me, I shall have to beat you.”
“Never,” she promised softly.
“And no more tears. I hate tears. Should I see tears, I shall beat you. You understand?”
“Yea,” she replied softly. “Is there aught else I needs do to avoid a beating?” She bit her lip closed at his look of shock.
He cleared his throat. “Yea.” He cleared his throat once again. “Yea. As my wife, I’ll not tolerate mindless chatter from you, nor angry silences, nor witless complaints.” He glared at her, as if daring her to whimper up a complaint, grunting when she remained silent.
"Now Gwynneth, you cannot be running off every time I raise my voice to you.”
Raise his voice? He’d threatened to put me away! She arched her brows and opened her mouth to protest.
“Gwynneth,” he continued quickly, “I say things when I am angry. Things I don’t mean to say. It…” He stopped and shrugged.
It wasn’t an apology, but she was sure it was as close to one as she’d ever get from him. It satisfied her. She nodded, and then rested her hand on his arm.
He acknowledged her silent acquiescence with a grunt. “No running away again," he warned darkly. “Know I would quickly find you, and then have to beat you. ‘Tis best you understand I'm not a man who abides women running away from him."
She nodded meekly, and looked down as she bit her bottom lip to keep it closed. Although she dearly wanted to inquire how many women in his life had felt the need to run away from him, she didn't think that now was the time to task him with such a question.
He might threaten to beat her. It took all her willpower to keep from laughing aloud.
Alden stood silent at a distance.
Geoffrey’s eyes looked from Alden to Richard and back again. He knew protecting his lord was now going to be immensely more difficult, and all because of Lady Gwynneth.
* * * *
I hope you enjoyed the blurb and excerpt. If you want to know more about the wild-blooded world I write about, please visit my website, listed below.
This book is to be the first in a series. Next comes THE WAY OF THINGS, next is DELLA, and then, THE LADY ANNE.
My website: http://gerribowen.wordpress.com
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Gerri-Bowen/e/B002BLL6ZE/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1340469903&sr=1-1
Links to buy: