Medieval Monday: A Glimpse of Jenna Jaxon’s SEDUCTION AT THE CHRISTMAS COURT

I’m welcoming the talented Jenna Jaxon to Medieval Monday as October gets underway with the new theme of ‘Travel.’ Jenna brings us a glimpse of SEDUCTION AT THE CHRISTMAS COURT. Just the title makes me want to zip on over to pick it up!  (And don’t you want that fireplace!)
The cold, crisp air burned the inside of Alyse’s nose on the second day of their journey to Havering. Geoffrey had insisted they move slowly to accommodate young Thomas and his nurse, Ysa, a young girl from the village whose husband had been taken by the pestilence and whose babe had been stillborn. Grief stricken, the girl had come to dote on Thomas as though he were her own. They now rode together in the cart, bundled alongside numerous trunks and goods that would last them the month they would spend at court.
Alyse had chosen to ride Mirabelle and now relished the cold that stung her cheeks and made her impatient to move swiftly. Under its blanket of snow and ice, the countryside looked like a new world as the morning sun glinted off the dazzling white. She squinted at the glare and turned to Geoffrey, mounted on Saracen. The big black stallion pranced along, snorting as if he too was impatient for a gallop.
“Shall I race you to that oak tree yonder, my lord? Are you as ready for adventure as your steed or overtired with your journey?” Alyse grinned at her husband who constantly surveyed the landscape. Although the pestilence had left the land bereft of people for the most part, of those who had survived many had become lawless, roaming the countryside, robbing travelers and ravaging outlying villages.
Geoffrey quirked an eyebrow at her. “You are in fine fettle this morn.” He glanced once more across the still land, but nothing stirred. “What forfeit will you pay when I am the victor?”
Laughing at the arrogant flare of his nose as he arched his neck,  Alyse blew him a kiss. “Another of these, save it will have more substance.”
“I’ll take that wager, my lady. ‘Twill be my pleasure to claim your lips when we two are done.”
“And what will you forfeit to me, Lord Longford, when I best you?”
A grin immediately split his face, blue eyes brightening. “What would you ask of me, fair lady? Another feat of Hercules?”
Alyse laughed in return and a warmth spread through her heart, for he reminded her of their early days of courtship. “Nay, my lord. I think those days are put to rest.” Still, what could she ask of him? There was nothing he would deny her an she ask for it. At least she thought not. “If I am the winner, I beg…a lock of your hair.”
The startled expression on his face brought on a fit of giggling from Alyse.
“You want me to cut my hair?” The horror in his voice sent her into fresh peals of laughter.
“Not all of your hair, Sampson. One lock only.” She cut her eyes toward him to find him dragging his fingers through his dark hair, as if to assure himself it still remained on his head. “I want to make a keepsake token, like the one I gave you.”
“Aye. I can bear to be shorn thus.” He stole his hand to the breast of his dark green tunic, to rub the spot above his heart where her favor, a small blue silk bag with a lock of her black hair, lay. His eyes twinkled. “An I lose this wager, of course.”
During their conversation they had walked their horses much closer and the massive oak tree seemed to tower over them.
Not waiting for a signal, Alyse tapped Mirabelle hard with her heel and the mare shot away at a gallop.
Geoffrey sounded farther behind her than she expected. He would not remain so for long. She leaned almost flat over the horse’s withers, urging her mount to greater speed. A quick glance over her shoulder showed Geoffrey and Saracen closing the gap at a frightening pace. They were but yards from the goal if only Mirabelle could keep her lead.
Lord and Lady Longford have journeyed to the Christmas Court of King Edward III in the year 1349 to wait upon the king and take place in some Yuletide merriment. However, when Geoffrey is called suddenly into the king’s service again, Alyse must remain at the court, attending the queen and dissuading her rebellious sister from a disastrous action. When rumors of Geoffrey’s death arise,  Alyse fends off an old suitor who pays court to her once more. But how long will he take “No” for an answer?

Time to Travel: New Season of Medieval Monday Launches with THE LADY OF THE FOREST

Welcome to the Fall Season of Medieval Monday. We begin the new theme of Travel with a look at one of our own books. Most novels deal with journeys of one kind or another–often more than one journey. This time Medieval Monday looks at events that take place during physical travel of our characters.

I’m excited to spotlight my upcoming release THE LADY OF THE FOREST, which is due out Oct.28! It’s a 40,000 word novella featuring Lord Henry and Lady Katherine’s story.


“Tell Kate to take no
chances until I return.” From the downturn of Jamie’s mouth, Henry gathered how
well she’d follow such advice.
“Hold.” Jamie trotted
forward. “Guards patrol along here ever’ day. Don’t know if they been by yet,
but you stay just inside the trees. There’s a path runs along the road. Won’t
nobody see you. The crossroad’s on further, a bit.”
“My thanks, again.”
Henry pinned him with a stern gaze. “Have a care for yourself.”
Before the youth
clambered back into the trees, he flashed his jaunty grin. This time, the smile
contained a trace of sadness.
Kate’s problems
remained on Henry’s mind as he rode, but without all the facts, he couldn’t
devise a plan of action. Of his own circumstance, he suspected Sir Mortimer
played a double game, although why he pretended to believe Paxton was Henry
remained unclear. Perhaps he sought power by supporting a usurper. More than
likely, he played a waiting game, to
see which outcome presented more opportunity.
Travel through the
brushy roadside leveled into a slow, monotonous lull, during which he devised a
variety of options for dealing with Paxton. His mind grappled with one of those
plans when a disturbance, a sound, alerted him.
He reined in his
mount and listened. Silence. It came again. A series of faint, sharp bird
calls. Only a bird called Jamie could emit such a frantic warble. An emergency,
indeed, to have sent the youth after him.
Henry urged the gelding
around and started back. A score of steps later, the calls sounded from just
ahead. Movement to his right sent him in that direction. The boy came into view,
stepping carefully onto an almost-bare tree limb.
“What’s wrong?”
Concern turned Henry’s tone sharp as Jamie jumped to the ground.
“I feared—I’d not
catch you.”  Tight lines etched the
youngster’s face. “It’s Cade and Oscar. They’re following.”
Henry swung down
beside him. “Have they been harmed?”
Jamie hung his head
and gasped for breath, hands on his knees. “Nah. But awful ole Hawise… she saw
Cade leaving…and sent up a shout. Said the lad that…freed Oscar…were the dead
Lady of Stonehill. You gots to help ’em.”
“How far back are
they?” As he spoke, he took the boy’s arm to help him sit.
“A ways. I ran ahead
to catch you.” He heaved in a lung-full of air and blew it out, then flattened
a hand to his chest.
“For awhile I thought my heart would get here a’fore me.”
Kneeling, Henry
ruffled the boy’s hair. “You did well. Stay here and rest while I go for them.
Are Sir Mortimer’s men following?”
Oscar nodded, his
unruly curls flopping into his eyes. “But they’re going the wrong way for now.
Cade took the south road ’till she could double back without ’em knowing.”
“How could they not
see her?”
The boy snorted. “She
knows shortcuts better’n any old guard that don’t gets off his behind. And Sir
Mort never bothered to learn nothing about the land nor the tenants since he
come. He only cares what he can pry out of ’em.”
He gulped another
breath. “See, Maddie caught up to me in the woods. She could leave, ’cause
nobody never pays attention to a kitchen helper. I waited at the hut ’till Cade
got there.”
Henry’s heart thudded
at the thought of Kate being chased by soldiers. “Is she unharmed?”
“Said so, didn’t I?”
The boy’s spirit was
bouncing back. He’d be fine. But Cade…Kate. He hoped they were near. “Do they
have horses?”
Jamie nodded. “Cade
had’em hid. They’ll be slowed down in the woods. That’s why I came after you.”
“You did the right
thing. I’ll find her—“
“Cade said stay here,
they’d come to you. If you gets lost in the forest, we’d have to go looking.”
True. He hated to
admit it, but traipsing through unfamiliar countryside might cost unnecessary
time. Inactivity grated on his nerves, but he had little choice. He paced a
circle around the tree Jamie leaned against until restlessness became too much.
Bedamned to an unknown landscape. Kate might be in trouble.
“I’m going back,” he
“No need.” Jamie
nodded toward the trees. “They’re coming.”
Two figures on
horseback broke through the underbrush, but Henry saw only the blood splashed
down the front of Kate’s tunic.
He must find a traitor; she must protect her people. Can
their love survive the duties that drive 
them apart?
When her elderly husband dies,
Lady Katherine fakes her own death and disappears into the forest with others
escaping the brutish new lord. Determined to protect her people, she knocks the
wrong man senseless. But Lord Henry’s not an enemy, he’s the brother of her
childhood friend. Although his tender confidence tempts her, she’s bound by
Henry of Chauvere has found the
one lady he wants for his own, never mind she’s tied him hand and foot. When he learns the king
has ordered her to wed Stonehill’s ruthless new master, he insists Kate seek
haven with his sister. But she won’t desert her friends. Henry vows to solve
her problem, provided he catches a traitor before the threat from Kate’s past
catches her.
When a daring rescue compels
Henry and Kate to join forces, their attraction grows into love. If only duty
didn’t drive them apart.
BUY LINK:    It’s up for PRE-ORDER right now!!

J.L. Sheppard Introduces, FATE FORGOTTEN, Released Today–With Giveaway

by J.L. Sheppard

Official Genre: Paranormal Romance

Valerie Matlock’s life revolves around her coven. Young and naïve, she knows little about the immortal war brewing until the night her coven is attacked. In the blink of an eye, the family she loves is gone. Devastated, she lays eyes on the angry demon warrior, Jacob Rhodes. A Guardian, he means her no harm, but she fears him as deeply as she craves him. She has to stay away. She just doesn’t know if she can.

The pain of Jacob’s losses have hardened him. He lives for revenge and uses anger like a shield, keeping everyone at arm’s length. He can’t risk losing more. Tragedy strikes, again, and he’s left caring for his four-year-old niece, Annie. The bright girl deserves better than him. But he can’t give her up, not ever. When he sets his eyes on his fated mate, the powerful witch, Valerie, his life gets twice as complicated. Will she accept him, a demon she fears and his adopted child?

A beautiful stranger sleeping on his couch.

His heart pounded faster. His chest heaved. Rubbing his sweaty palms against his jeans, a growl escaped his lips. A sense of possessiveness overwhelmed him.

Taking a step closer, he pulled in a breath. Shivers ran through his body. Holding back a groan, his jaw clenched.




And it was no longer a mystery. The haunting scent was hers.

And it wasn’t just her scent, it was her. Striking, everything about her drew him in. His body pulsed, desire to hold her, comfort her, protect her welled inside him. Powerful, confounding, and indescribable. Even now, staring at her he was drawn inexplicably. He couldn’t put it into words, but he couldn’t ignore it. He knew what it was and why he couldn’t control it.

She was his fated mate, the woman granted to him above all others, his other half. There was no question.

He couldn’t help what he did next. Ever so slowly, he drew closer. A mere few feet away, he held his hand over her face, craving with every fiber in his being to feel the softness of her skin against his. 
Before he could, her eyes snapped open. Painful jolts shot through him. The pain so unbearable it brought him, a demon, to his knees. The current gone a moment later, but the pain hadn’t faded. Every joint, every muscle ached.

And still, all he could think: her eyes were the perfect shade—honey.

J.L. Sheppard was born and raised in Miami, Florida where she still lives with her husband and son.

As a child, her greatest aspiration was to become a writer. She read often, kept a journal and wrote countless poems. She attended Florida International University and graduated in 2008 with a Bachelors in Communications. During her senior year, she interned at NBC Miami, WTVJ. Following the internship, she was hired and worked in the News Department for three years.
It wasn’t until 2011 that she set her heart and mind into writing her first completed novel, Demon King’s Desire, which was published in January of 2013.

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