Lane McFarland’s ELSBETH:Celebrating Nature–and Heroes–on Medieval Monday

You’re in for a treat today with an excerpt from ELSBETH, by the talented Lane McFarland. Medieval Monday is celebrating nature, and Lane’s lyrical description will transport you to Scotland’s countryside. Plus it will give you a glimpse of the ingenuous heroine Elsbeth and the enigmatic chieftain Brandon. I love this book.
Excerpt:
Exhausted from a sleepless night spent on the unforgiving
ground, Elsbeth curled on her side with Mum’s little wooden cross clutched in
her hand. She stared at the campfire’s dying embers glowing through charred
wood and ash. It would be light soon, and the group would continue their
journey to Stonecrest.
Conflicting
emotions churned her stomach like turbulent tides. Her heart fluttered at the
memory of riding with Brandon but squeezed when she recalled his violent
nature. She closed her eyes and tried to conjure Fabien’s image, his light hair
and smiling face. But Brandon’s dark eyes and boyish grin emerged before her.
Wishing
to get the man out of her head, she rose and wrapped her blanket around her
shoulders. Bea slept beside the orphans, and Brandon’s men lay clustered in the
small clearing. Elsbeth tiptoed from camp and strolled along a narrow dirt
path, winding through trees and down to the loch. Brisk air blew off the water,
and chill bumps peppered her skin. She rubbed her arms and tugged the blanket
tighter about her neck.
Dawn
bathed the awakening forest in golden hues, and fog wafted off the tranquil
loch. A black-throated diver floated across the pond. The industrious bird
disappeared beneath the surface, leaving nothing but ripples in its place. As
she’d done so many times beside Da’s loch, Elsbeth studied the calm water and
tried to guess where the creature would re-appear. Moments passed. Not even an
air-bubble crested. Without so much as a splash, the creature bobbed to the top
with a wiggling fish in its black bill.
Wistful
memories of playing with her sisters while Mum and Da rested beneath a shade
tree surfaced. Three long years had passed since she’d last seen her family.
She was homesick and longed for those precious, carefree days.
The sun
stretched, sending its warming rays through an arbor of branches and leaves.
Brushing aside her melancholy, Elsbeth continued along the light-dappled trail.
A thunderous roar drifted on the wind, and she hurried downhill to view the
water cascading over a stone ledge. Mist off the noisy flow dotted her face,
and a rainbow of blue, red, and yellow arched from one side of the falls to the
other.
She hiked
her skirt, hopped to a flat stone, then another, and landed on a grey boulder
positioned before the falls. Stretching her legs, she settled in to enjoy the
stunning view.
A torrent
poured over the shelf’s edge into a deep pool. Spray wafted from the churning
white water, sprinkling lush vegetation bordering a trail that snaked alongside
the basin and disappeared behind the falls. Her gaze traveled across the deluge
to the far side. Pleased to see the trail continued, she wondered what
creatures stole behind the wall of water.
Her mind
wandered back to Brandon McLeod. It aggravated her that he affected her so. She
must keep her distance, but accomplishing such a feat while traveling with him
would not be easy. Once Da arrived, she would leave the commander’s care and
return home with the orphans. Until then, she would endeavor to stay away from
the man.
Sadness
washed over her and seeped into her heart. By all accounts, the plan should
give her a sense of resolution, but the thought of leaving Brandon caused
lonesome emptiness.
Something
burst through the falls and dove into the deep pool.
Elsbeth
gasped. She drew her legs beneath her bottom, poised to sprint. Her heart
raced, and her gaze darted across the rippling water.
A man
emerged.
Brandon.
Her
breath caught at the sight of his broad shoulders and chiseled muscles. Black
hair covered his sculpted chest and abdomen. He shook his head and droplets
sluiced along his bronzed skin.
She
swallowed, and her interest roamed lower, but the water’s shadowed darkness
concealed his…other attributes.
He ran a
hand through his wet hair as he waded in the basin.
She
couldn’t look away. Curiosity and more than a twinge of disappointment piqued.
Her eyes strained, and she craned her neck to have a better angle.
He raised
his head, and his eyes locked on hers.
Heavens! He’d caught
her admiring him. What the devil was wrong with her?
His
boyish grin returned. “Good morn, Sister.”
Blurb:
Elsbeth MacDougall recoils at the violent
Scottish rebellion and the bleak plight of orphans. Vowing to protect the
homeless, she embarks on a journey to Scone and sets her course to become a
nun, sheltering children from the cruelties of war. But when Brandon McLeod
arrives at the Abby, he shakes her convictions and stirs provoking emotions she
buried long ago.
After English
soldiers murder his family, Brandon McLeod determines a course of revenge and
leads numerous clans in Scotland’s fight for freedom. Bent on the annihilation
of English oppression, he is resolved to a life of solitude, vowing never to
marry and chance the pain of losing loved ones again. However, that was before
he met the enchanting Elsbeth.
Buy Link: Amazon

ANGELS FLY for Debut Author Donna Simonetta

Today I’m thrilled to welcome debut author and fellow Rose Donna Simonetta with her brand
new release ANGELS FLY.  Woot! on your first book, Donna
.

Thank you so much, Barbara! ANGELS FLY is the first book
I’ve had published, so it is an especially exciting time for me!

Each book we publish is special, but nothing takes the place of the pride and excitement of a very first book. Please tell us a little about the story.

Love to. Here’s the blurb: 
Two years after her husband’s death, Kelly believes her
romantic life is done. Until she reconnects with her girlhood crush on social
media, and as fate would have it, he lives across the street.
James is over the whole true-love thing. His grasping
ex-wife tore that belief out of him, when she left him for a rich, old man.
Then he finds out his first love moved to San Diego too, and their attraction
burns as hot as ever.
What they don’t know is that Fate didn’t bring them together
– the Guardian Angel Corps did, led by two unlikely Cupids – Kelly’s late
husband and Zane, a rough and tumble, 19th century cowboy. When a
Fallen Angel decides to tear Kelly and James apart, cherubs and harps aren’t
going to cut it, and Zane’s unique skills might be just what they need to get a
second chance at their first love.
Love the idea of second chances. And the Guardian Angel Corps? What a great idea! This is your first published work. Have you written others?
This is the first book I’ve had published, but is the third
book I’ve written. I’ve learned a lot and got a little better with each one. I’m
not sure if those first two will ever see the light of day, but maybe someday–I
really liked them, and I may go back someday and tweak them with what I’ve
learned over the years. I also have a second book coming out with the Wild Rose
Press­–no release date as yet. We’re in the editing stages with it. It is a
contemporary romance, with no angelic influence this time around–the humans are
on their own! Hope they don’t blow it.
 
LOL. I don’t know whether to trust us humans alone with romance! What draws you to this genre?
 I like the happy
endings in romance. I know a lot of people are turned off by the H-E-A, because
it’s not always realistic. That’s actually what I enjoy about reading a good
romance. Real life is a mix of good times and bad, and we all face our fair
share of unhappiness and hard times. I love being able to escape into a romance
novel, where I know everything will work out in the end. Real life doesn’t
always have that promise.
Absolutely true! What inspired you for this particular story?
A trip to visit my brother-in-law in San Diego was the
initial inspiration. He is a houseboat resident there, in the neighborhood
where Kelly and James live.  I love it
there and decided I wanted to set a story in San Diego. Initially there were no
fallen angels, but a friend read the first chapter and suggested I needed a Big
Bad. I mulled that over for a bit and–voila! Mildred, the fallen angel, was
born.

Sounds like a challenging turn. Was any character particularly stubborn in cooperating with
you during the writing process?
 
Not really. They were a remarkably cooperative
bunch.
If you had to describe this book as a color, what would
that color be? 
A bright, sunny yellow! Like the color of Kelly’s cheery,
little car, or of the San Diego sunshine!

I feel more positive and energetic just reading your description of sunny yellow. Now, if you had to describe the book as a taste, what would it
be?
When I think of food in San Diego, I think of fish tacos! So
I think that would be the taste of Angels Fly.
Fish tacos. I must admit, I’ve never tried them. When you’re not in San Diego, do you have a special place you like to write?
I have a little spot set up in my house. My husband calls it
my “Command Center”! Everything I need is within reaching distance.
How handy to have a Command Center—great term. Sounds like your husband has a sense of humor. With everything so convenient, do you still have challenges with finding writing time? 
I work part-time in a school library. During the summer, and
other school vacations, I luxuriate in the freedom to write all day! Once the
school year is on, my writing time is much more restricted, but I love working
in an environment where I can be surrounded by books, and kids who love to
read!
You do have a perfect position. I’ve always thought working in a library–any library–would be a dream job. So now that you have your first publication out, what’s your next project? 
I’m working on a couple of things right now. As I mentioned,
I’m in the editing process with the Wild Rose Press on a contemporary romance
titled A SWEETER SPOT. Also, I’m working on a new story that I’m really excited
about–another contemporary, but this one is a ghost story. I’m having a lot of
fun writing it, and hope a publisher will feel the same way about it when I’m
done!
Sounds like you have a soft spot for ghosts, Donna. I’m sure a publisher will snap it up. What one tip would you offer writers? 
Hmm…this question is a hard one. I think that every writer
has their own way of writing, and what works for me might not work for someone
else. I guess the answer is deceptively basic, and that is to write. There are
so many distractions, so many reasons to put off writing, but you just need to
write. Let it flow and see what comes out–you can always edit it later. Or toss
it out later! I know people who have amazing ideas for stories, and they never
seem to get them on paper. 
Great advice!  Thanks so much for being here today. Best of luck with ANGELS FLY. I hope you’ll come back
again.

Thank you so much for letting me visit today, Barb.
Angels Fly Buy
Links:
Amazon:

Barnes & Noble:
Amazon UK:
The Wild Rose Press:
AUTHOR LINKS:
AUTHOR BIO:
After years working in the business world, my love of reading
led me to get my MLS, and I currently work part-time in a school library, a job
that allows me lots of time to explore my other love – writing romance! I live
in Maryland, with my husband, who is my real-life romance hero. We both enjoy
traveling to visit our far-flung family and friends, and spending time on the
beach with an umbrella drink and a good book.

Bambi Lynn Brings MASK OF THE HIGHLANDER to Medieval Monday

It’s Medieval Monday and here’s a treat from the talented Bambi Lynn’s latest, MASK OF THE HIGHLANDER. The years at war have changed Ty, but Kenna isn’t sure she can trust the transformation. This lovely, tender scene shows just how Ty’s different behavior may find the way to Kenna’s heart.
EXCERPT
It was late afternoon by the time they arrived at the dilapidated cottage.
The door was nearly impossible to find amidst the overgrowth, even to one who
knew where it was. Ty halted his stallion nearby and helped Kenna down from her
own horse.
She eyed him with the suspicion that had been growing steadily since
they passed the first village. She had made no comment as they skirted the
ramshackle huts, but her cheery prattle had diminished considerably. By the
time they passed the second, she had clammed up like a mute and said nary a
word. Since leaving the third village behind them, she had made no effort to
hide her uncertainty.
Ty would have found her wariness endearing had he not known the source,
but at least she did not cower from him in fear. The hate and loathing she had
shown at his homecoming was gone, leaving only doubt and caution. He could not
be more proud than to have a wife of such strength as Kenna Cleary Vass.
She stood there, looking back and forth from him to the hidden door.
“What are we doing here?”
Her voice trembled. Ty ached to soothe her concerns, but nothing he
could say would accomplish that. Soon enough she would trust him, and if not
sooner, then later.
He smiled and jerked his head toward the mass of brambles that hid the
cottage. “I have something for you…inside.” He reached through the
brush and pushed the door open. Without waiting, he went inside and began
lighting candles. By the time she joined him, the room was bathed in a soft
glow that revealed a hideaway very different from the one they had visited the
last time.
Kenna stopped just inside the threshold, a gasp of surprise the only
sound in the small cottage. Ty busied himself starting a fire in the hearth,
giving her time to look around. He squatted before the fire, staring at the
growing flames. He ached to see her face, to know if she was pleased with what
he had done.
He tensed when he felt her behind him. His body was already so hard for
her. His craving surprised him at times. He was like a man starved, and she the
only sustenance that could satisfy him. His skin tingled when she placed her
hand on his shoulder.
“You did this?”
He stood, towering over her and filling the small room. “Lá breithe shona dhuit,” he
whispered.
She frowned at the phrase. “It’s my birthday?” He nodded. She
looked around with newfound surprise. “And all this…is for me?”
‘All this’ was a complete transformation of the sanctuary she had
escaped to as a child. Gone were the few pieces of broken furniture, the
cobwebs, the decades of dirt and neglect. The place had been scoured until nary
a ball of dust remained, even the tiny window allowed in a scant amount of the
remaining sunlight. The decrepit furniture had been replaced with a table, two
short stools and a bed frame, a fresh inviting tick nestled inside. A bundle of
primroses filled a vase in the middle of the table, filling the room with a
spicy, comforting fragrance that reminded Ty of spring.
He smiled down at her. “I suppose fairies must have fixed the
place up since the last time ye were here.” He took her hand and lifted it
to his mouth, pressing a soft kiss to her palm. “D’ye like it, then?”
Tears sparkled on her lashes, and he could tell she had trouble speaking.
He almost laughed. That must be a first. She laid her palm against his cheek,
smoothing the patch that covered his eye and staring deep into the other one.
“No one has ever done anything like this for me. Thank you.”
He cocked his eyebrow at her, pressing her with his most devilish grin.
“I hope ye have some other way of showin’ yer thanks?”
BLURB
Kenna dreads her husband’s homecoming like the plague. The
man she married is vile and cruel. She has prayed every day of his absence he
would be killed in the fighting, freeing her from a life of brutal torment and
a loveless marriage. But the man on her doorstep has changed. This man is kind,
gentle and sparks a fire in her she never felt in the early days of her
marriage.
Ty is returning home after years fighting in France. He
yearns for the arms of his beautiful wife and to finally meet the daughter he
has never known. But can Kenna forgive the man she married and love the man he
has become?
BUY LINKS
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