FREE on Medieval Monday: The Druid Knight’s Tale

Medieval Monday. What’s better than reading about a dreadful betrayal that threatens the lives and love of a magical couple? It’s reading the entire story–FREE! Ruth A. Casie has made THE DRUID KNIGHT TALES free for everyone to enjoy. 

So sit back and be tempted!

Excerpt:

He stood by the stone altar. The
mist thickened in deep pools and drifted to the bottom of the great sarsen
stones. Churning like a phantom stew, fingers of mist crept up the stones,
leaving a shimmering outline in its wake. The silhouette thickened, revealing
the hooded forms of the Ancestors.
“Grand Master, who do you bring
to the sacred circle?”
“The healer—” his voice boomed.
“Only you, the Grand Master, are
permitted to approach us for our guidance.” The angry voice of an Ancestor
reached his ears. “But we are forgiving.”
“I come to seek—”
“Before you tell us what you
seek, tell us of your quest.”
A flicker of apprehension pulsed
through him. He was certain Ellyn didn’t have much time and the full red moon
hung large in the sky. Only a thin arc of sun remained on the horizon.
He removed the wrapped cloth
from his pouch and laid the package on the altar stone. “I have passed your
test.” He did not expose the mistletoe. He didn’t want the Ancestors to see the
dead plant, not until he had Ellyn safely back to Avebury. After that he didn’t
care.
“You have found your mate?”
Max hesitated. “Perhaps. I have
much to tell you, but before I begin I ask for a boon.” He glanced over his
shoulder. She waited for him.
“What do you seek?” the
Ancestors rumbled with a cold, hard voice.
“Ellyn of Brodgar is ill. I ask
you to help her. She is honorable and has served the people well and denies no
one at her own expense.”
“You are the people’s Grand
Master. She is your responsibility. We can only guide and help those who have
passed on to our world.”
“No,” he insisted, pounding his
fist on the stone altar. How could this be? For the first time in his life he
felt helpless. He could not lose her. He knew if he did he would lose a part of
himself. “She has done everything—”
“It is not for us to interfere.”
The voice was calm and without empathy.
“You do not interfere? You
demanded I find a mate.”
There was no response.
He tried to keep his control.
“She told me she was compelled to come here. Why?”
Still they did not respond.
Anger surged through him. “You
brought her here. She needs your help. She’s dying.” He pointed to where he
left her.
“Only you can help her, Grand
Master.”
“Me?” He stopped short. “How? If
I could she’d already be cured.”
“Why do you care what happens to
her? She is just a simple Orkney witch. Nothing else.”
Ideas flashed across Max’s mind.
If he was the only one that could help her the answer must lie in his greatest
gift. His magick. He must get her back to Avebury, back to his magick, before
the sun set.
“Here.” He unrolled the
mistletoe. “Here is your talisman. Send us back to Avebury,” he demanded.
“So, you found your mate,” the
Ancestor said with a satisfied voice.
Max looked at the healthy
mistletoe and gaped in astonishment. The plant was dead when he’d last looked.
How could it now be alive? Icy fear raced up his back. He glanced at Ellyn on
the far side of the circle. Her kisses. He had teased her and it was her kiss
all along.
“You hold her destiny in your
hands.”
Blurb:
After
a year of searching, Maximilian, the druid Grand Master, finds the sacred
mistletoe destined for his soul mate shriveled and dead. He must journey to the
Otherworld and tell the Ancestors of his failure.
Ellyn
of Brodgar is an exceptional healer.
But each healing kiss depletes her
energy and brings her closer to death. Ellyn needs to find her own healing
power before it’s too late.
Max
and Ellyn are tossed into the Otherworld and have until the third sunset to
appeal to the Ancestors or be lost forever. Together they find love, and as the
last rays of the third sunset slip away, both are willing to sacrifice their
hopes, drea
ms, and lives for the other. Do they have what it takes to escape
the Otherworld and begin their life together?

Medieval Monday: The Highlander’s French Bride Faces ‘Betrayal’

Welcome to Medieval Monday, when your love of medieval romance is indulged. Today’s exciting vision of betrayal comes from talented author Cathy MacRae, who shares a scene from her exciting THE HIGHLANDER’S FRENCH BRIDE.

Excerpt:
Melisende’s arms fell to her sides. “Why would you go back
to such a life?”
“To the parties,” Lucienne answered, “and the gowns of
fabrics so fantastic they make you cry from the sheer pleasure of them. Laces
so delicate they can scarcely withstand the needle. Embroidery so fine it takes
four seamstresses a week just to produce one sleeve.” Her eyes closed and
rapture lit her face. “The men so courteous, so eager to woo me. Dancing,
stealing kisses behind the fountain. They tell me how beautiful I am, how much
they desire me.” She opened her eyes, settling her gaze on Melisende’s shocked
face.
“Once Raul began annulment proceedings, their interest
increased a hundredfold. I will have no lack of sponsors once I return.”
“That is a shameful way to live, and you know it, Lucienne.”
Tears burned in Melisende’s eyes. 
“How can you do this to yourself?” She swept
a hand toward the bed. “To her?”
The scorn returned to Lucienne’s face, casting ugly shadows
beneath her high cheeks. “You think you know what is right for me. That I
should be exactly like you, drowning behind your polite façade. You believe
everything is perfect in your little world with your adorable new husband who
loves you?” Her eyes narrowed as she slid her gaze to Arielle. “Have you not
wondered why she looks like him?”
Melisende immediately looked at the child asleep on the bed.
Her dark hair spilled across the pillow like a shadow in the dimly lit room.
She glanced back at her sister. “Why do you say that? I think she looks just
like you.”
“She has my nose and eyes, oui. But her dark hair comes from her father.”
 “Raul.”
Non. From your
oh-so-sweet husband.”
Melisende’s gaze bounced from Lucienne back to the child.
Lucienne’s parting words so many years ago loosed themselves from the depths of
her mind. What do you think went on
whilst he slept in our house—only me and him? He would be unable to look you in
the eye if you knew everything that happened.
She shook her head. Non!
It is impossible to think of it!
He
has already assured me there was nothing between himself and Lucienne.
But
her heart grew cold in her breast.
Lucienne strolled to the bed and stroked her daughter’s
hair. “She looks so much like me. But she has Kinnon’s hair.” Her smile set an
arrow in Melisende’s heart.
Brushing aside her doubts, Melisende stepped forward. “Do
not be absurd, Lucienne. Her hair is much like mine, and Raul’s is dark as
well.”
Lucienne tossed her head. “You do not seem to recall Arielle
was born early—or so I told Raul.”
“Lucienne, did you have relations with someone whilst we
lived in Randon?” Melisende demanded. “Did you marry Raul knowing you were
already enceinte?”
Lucienne sent her a mocking look. “You would love to believe
that, wouldn’t you? To keep your lover innocent of the deed.”
“I do not believe you,” Melisende replied firmly, against
the reservations that gnawed at her.
Lucienne’s eyebrows raised, a lofty smile taunting
Melisende. “Yet you see the resemblance, non?
No matter what you tell yourself, you will always know there is the
possibility. We spent an entire week together, unchaperoned. You know how
insatiable he is, n’ai-je pas raison?”
Her eyes glittered. “No matter what you try to believe, you will always wonder
if he shared his body with me first.”
Blurb:
Heir to a lairdship, Kinnon Macrory is driven to prove his
worth by fighting the English on the battlefields of France. His dreams of
heroic valor are destroyed by the realities of war—the atrocities visited by
fellow soldiers on the very people he is sworn to protect. Three years in a
French prison for a crime he did not commit leave Kinnon longing for the one
thing of beauty in his war-torn life—a young woman of great kindness and wisdom
named Melisende.
Melisende de la Roche struggles to stay one step ahead of
soldiers who would imprison her for helping an injured Scotsman wrongly accused
of treason. She finds refuge in her uncle’s shop—until a chance encounter sends
her fleeing into the unknown once again, haunted by the beguiling friendship
with the troubled young Scotsman she is certain she will never see again.
Determined to find the woman of his dreams, Kinnon returns
to France, only to discover a trail of clues to Melisende’s whereabouts. Their
reunion will open the doors to passion, but half-truths and lies from the past
could destroy the one thing they both are willing to fight for—each other.
Buy Link:

Betrayal on Medieval Monday: Jenna Jaxon’s Time Enought to Love

Betrayal! There’s nothing worse whether it’s by a loved one or a friend. The new theme for Medieval Monday looks at that very issue. My first guest is the talented Jenna Jaxon, who features an especially poignant example from Time Enough to Love.
Excerpt:
Abruptly, he gripped her face,
pulling it up until she peered into the dangerous dark eyes of her husband.
Terror surged through her at the sight of his snarling countenance.
“Why so amorous this morning, my
sweet?” he growled, his eyes snapping with anger. “Were Geoffrey’s kisses not
as satisfying as you remembered?” 
Oh,
God. Oh, God. He saw—
Thomas flung her toward the bed.
She huddled at its foot in a heap, shivering, while he strode to where she lay,
towering over her. Alyse cringed before him, head bowed, too frightened and
ashamed for tears. 
“I believe I may have misspoken
earlier, madam.” His voice dripped sarcasm. “I had, in fact, gone in search of
you, to invite you to an intimate breakfast with your husband. Imagine my
dismay to find you engaged in one already, albeit with someone else’s husband.
From the exchange I saw, I can scarce credit that you hunger still. Yet you
enter our chamber apparently unsatisfied. Pray tell me, how many more husbands
would you devour ere the day begins?” 
His voice rose to an excruciating
volume, and Alyse clamped her hands to her ears lest she be deafened. 
“I have played the tender lover
these past weeks. Petted and cajoled you, like some simpering green boy in an
effort to remain true to the vow I made you, despite my right as your husband to demand your obedience in bed. I have been
patient, kind, and true, madam, and I am repaid in treachery!”
“Nay, Thomas!” Quite suddenly, she
found her tongue and raised a resolute face to her livid husband. She rose from
the floor and stood facing him, breasts heaving in indignation. “Whatever you
saw, whatever you think, I did not
betray you with Geoffrey.”
“You were in his arms, your mouths
locked together as though nothing could pull them asunder. Do you deny that?”
He spat the words at her.
“Nay.” She pitched her voice low,
her resentment of his accusation ebbing. “God forgive me, I kissed him and held
him, and he held me. And the world ceased to exist for a little while.”
 Blurb:

When Lady Alyse
de Courcy is betrothed to Sir Geoffrey Longford, she has no choice but to make
the best of a bad bargain. The hulking knight is far from her ideal man, and
although he does possess some wit and charm, he is no match for the sinfully
sensual man she secretly admires, Thomas, Earl of Braeton, her betrothed’s best
friend.
 
From the first,
Sir Geoffrey finds himself smitten by Lady Alyse, and, despite her infatuation
with his friend, vows to win her love. When Geoffrey puts his mind to wooing
Alyse, he is delighted to find her succumbing to his seduction. But when cruel circumstances separate them,
Geoffrey must watch helplessly as Thomas steps in to protect Alyse—and falls in
love with her himself.
 

As the three
courtiers accompany Princess Joanna to her wedding in Spain, they run headlong
into the Black Plague. With her world plunged into chaos, Alyse struggles with
her feelings for both the men she loves. But which love will survive?

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