Medieval Monday with Judith Sterling

Welcome to Week 3 of Medieval Monday! In case you missed our previous posts, fourteen medieval romance authors are sharing a “First Kiss” scene from one of our books. We’ll post our scenes in small excerpts from now until May 10, with plenty of links so you can catch up whenever you join us.

To see all the posts for today, visit our Facebook Group, Medieval Romance Lovers. We’ll have fun giveaways every Friday, so be sure to drop by and comment on the Friday Giveaway post!

This week I am excited to host Judith Marshall! The snippet is from her new book, The Return of the Raven, a tantalizing time travel romance which just released last week. Enjoy!

“Griff, I’m not—”

“I cannot stand it any longer. You’ve been a changed person ever since you saw…whatever the hell you saw. Unburden yourself and tell me about it.”

She looked to the crackling blaze, then back at him. “I saw two moments in time. The first…” She fell silent.

Jeez! What is it? “Go on.”

 

See last week’s snippet on Bambi Lynn’s blog: www.bambilynnblog.wordpress.com

Follow along next week on Daryl Devoré’s blog: https://daryldevore.blogspot.com

True love is eternal.

Margaret, Lady Ravenwood, is trapped in a loveless marriage and firmly entrenched in the medieval world. Along comes Griffin Nightshade, a historian from the future whose soul resonates with hers. He persuades her to return with him to the 1950s, but heeding her heart means courting danger from a curse that could spell her doom.

Haunted by his parents’ sudden deaths, Griffin knows all too well the pain born of love lost. He guards his emotions, but Margaret delves deep and goes straight to the soul. She’s hard to resist…and harder to set free.

The heart’s desire and history’s demands don’t always agree. Yet true love is eternal.

Medieval Monday Week 2!

Welcome to Week 2 of Medieval Monday! In case you missed last week, fourteen medieval romance authors are sharing a “First Kiss” scene from one of our books. We’ll post our scenes in small excerpts from now until May 10, with plenty of links so you can catch up whenever you join us.

To see all the posts for today, visit our Facebook Group, Medieval Romance Lovers. We’ll have fun giveaways every Friday, so be sure to drop by and comment on the Friday Giveaway post!

This week I am excited to host Sherry Ewing! She’s got a fabulous snippet awaiting you below – enjoy!

“What’s wrong?” she inquired of him in a startled whisper. She opened the door wider, surprising him when she grabbed a hold of his arm then all but pulled him inside the chamber. The sound of the door shutting and the bolt being slammed into place, ensuring their privacy, gave him further pause. “Tell me,” she demanded. “Your face is as white as a ghost.”

See last week’s snippet on Sherry’s blog: https://sherryewing.com/2021/02/08/medieval-monday-with-to-follow-my-heart/

Follow along next week and find Sherry’s snippet on Daryl Devoré’s blog: https://daryldevore.blogspot.com

Love is a leap. Sometimes you need to jump…

After a gut wrenching break up with her fiancé, Jenna Sinclair heads to the coast to do a little soul searching. To say everything is subject to change is putting it mildly. Her world is not only turned upside down, but pretty much torn asunder when she is pulled through a time gate on the beach beneath the Cliff House and transported more than eight hundred years into the past.

Fletcher Monroe, captain of the garrison knights at Berwyck Castle, has wasted too much time pining for a woman who will never be his. When he finally decides to move on with his life and focus on his duties, he is suddenly confronted with a woman who magically appears at his feet. This could either be the best thing that has ever happened to him or another cursed event in a string of many.  He soon finds he is wildly attracted to her, but she’s scared to death of him – not a very encouraging beginning.

From the shores of California to twelfth century England and back again, Jenna and Fletcher must find a way to reconcile their two different worlds before Time forever tears them apart.

Valentine’s Day Blog Hop – Bonus Scenes

Valentine's Day Bonus Scene Blog Hop!

Welcome to our special Valentine’s Day Blog Hop!

First, I want to send a big thank-you to A.S. Fenichel for connecting to us! If you didn’t see her post yet, be sure to read it here.

Next, here’s the special treat we have for you today! For Valentine’s Day only, each author on the hop has posted a short, original scene just for this event. That’s right – you haven’t read any of these scenes before!

All fifteen participating authors have posted a bit of original fiction involving the characters of one–or some–of the author’s books. Comment to be entered to win a gift card—and most stops will offer a prize for that site only. Hop to the next author and repeat!

If you comment on this blog post before 5 AM EST on Feb. 15, 2021, you will be entered into the gift card drawing AND a drawing for a free copy of my new book, A Wild Winter.

I chose to write a scene featuring Ronan and Adelina, the hero and heroine of my first book, A Highland Autumn. I imagined this happening after their first kiss, but before the action really takes off. I hope you enjoy it! Be sure to let me know what you think in the comments 🙂

Ronan had to go to the library. Most days, he went for his morning Latin lesson and left promptly, staying far away until the following morn.

It would be fine, he assured himself. All he had to do was retrieve last year’s records and he’d be on his way back.

The trouble, of course, was that the laird’s new advisor was in the library. The laird’s feisty, red-haired, blue-eyed, witty new advisor. Temptation incarnate.

Whom Ronan might have kissed once on accident. Just because he’d kissed her once did not mean ‘twould happen again. He’d be sure of that.

The fact remained that she was entirely unsuitable. She was English. She was common-born. She was a woman doing a man’s work. His father, Laird Calder, hated her. Ronan was already betrothed to a woman of his father’s choosing. The list went on.

But somehow, every time she laid those sky-blue eyes on him for a proper tongue-lashing, Ronan forgot Adelina could not be his.

Taking a long, deep breath and reminding himself for the fiftieth time that morning to keep his hands off her, Ronan opened the door to the large stone cottage that served as Clan Calder’s library.

Adelina sat at a table poring over an unrolled parchment. She was so engrossed in her reading that she didn’t even notice the door open.

Ronan made absolutely certain not to look at the sunlight streaming through the window. That way he wouldn’t see the strands of shimmery copper and bronze it highlighted in Adelina’s fiery tresses. He shut the door loudly behind him, breaking her concentration.

“You’re back?” She stood, moving toward him. “Did you forget something after this morning’s lesson?”

He cleared his throat. “The laird asked for last year’s records,” he replied. “Apparently there were no errand boys to see to the task, so here I am.”

“I see.” She narrowed her eyes at him, biting her bottom lip in thought.

The same lip Ronan had tasted not so very long ago.

“Well,” she said, spinning around and marching behind a tall shelf, “I think Brother Gilbert said they were over here.” Her fingers tumbled over the rough parchments, as though by feeling them she could divine their contents. “I must admit, I haven’t had much reason to look for them yet.”

After opening several rolled parchments and lifting a few that had been laid flat, a bright smile lit her face. “Is this it?”

Ronan glanced at the top of the sheet without getting any closer to Adelina. “Aye,” he mumbled. “Thank you, lass.”

She handed him the roll of parchment, walking back toward her work table without another word. Ignoring him.

She even had the gall to turn her back to him, holding herself at arm’s length from the table to return to her studies.

He knew it shouldn’t upset him. But it did.

“What are you doing?” he growled, unable to keep the frustration from his voice.

Adelina turned, leaning back against the table. “I’m reading,” she shot back. “I believe you’re familiar with the practice.”

Lord, she had a mouth on her. And he couldn’t take his eyes off it.

“I mean, why did you walk away from me?” Instinctively, as though to prove his point, he moved toward her.

She raised her eyebrows. “What else would you have me do?” Her voice dropped to a whisper. “I never know whether you’re going to shout at me or try to charm me out of my skirts.”

“Which do you prefer?” God’s bones, what was he doing?

The lass didn’t even flinch at his question. Nay, she looked him dead in the eyes, pinning him with her ice-blue gaze, challenging him even before she spoke. “Which do you prefer?”

Desire raged within him. Ronan closed the space between them, dropping his parchment so that his hands could grip the feminine curves of her waist. Lifting her onto the table, he raised one hand to her cheek.

“‘Tis the one I prefer as well,” Adelina offered quietly.

Ronan’s thumb traced her smooth lips, caressing each one while he remembered the sweetness of her kiss.

The breath caught in her throat as his hand cupped her face. “Are you going to kiss me?”

“You know I can’t.”

The words hung between them for only a moment before Ronan knew he had to leave. He’d already lingered far too long. When he was near Adelina, reason abandoned him.

He saw the same need in her eyes as he felt burning through his chest. Without another thought, he dropped his hand, turned away from her, and strode out the door.

Really, that had gone remarkably well. He took the steps to the great hall two at a time, basking in the knowledge that he had finally been strong enough to resist her pull. But then he looked down, and noticed his hands were empty.

He’d left the scroll.

If you enjoyed this bonus scene, be sure to check out my book below!

And don’t forget to visit our next blog. Anastasia Abboud will not disappoint–be sure to stop by and say hi! You’ll find her original scene here.

When the laird’s off-limits son meets a tempting English scholar, their fight for forbidden love threatens the entire clan…

Ronan Calder, eldest son of Clan Calder’s laird, is going to stay as far away from marriage as he can get. After losing his mother and beloved sister during childbirth, Ronan knows there is no way he could ever inflict such a fate upon any woman. Things get a little complicated when he meets the enchanting new scholar and mistakes her for his future bride.

Adelina Matheson has every intention of becoming the first female scholar at Oxford, and the quick wit to prove it. The only thing she’s missing is permission to attend lectures. When the masters challenge Adelina to serve as advisor to a Highland laird in exchange for entry, she is left with little choice. She agrees to the challenge – surely she can manage such a simple task to prove herself.

Except that once Adelina arrives at Calder Keep, she realizes that nothing about her task is simple. She must battle her alarming attraction to the laird’s handsome son while enduring the laird’s beastly temper. The only other Englishwoman is also her competition for Ronan’s affection, and the entire clan is under threat of attack at the upcoming Samhain celebration. Can Ronan and Adelina put aside their personal troubles and save Clan Calder, or will they doom the entire clan?

Welcome to Medieval Monday!

Welcome to Medieval Monday!

Thanks to the efforts of the amazing Ashley York (you should really check out her books if you haven’t yet!), a group of fourteen medieval romance authors have put together a blog hop!

Every Monday, from February 8 through May 10, 2021, each author will post an excerpt from one of the other authors’ books on their blog. For this round of Medieval Monday, we all chose a “first kiss” scene from one of our books. The scene is divided into smaller excerpts, so that you can hop between the blogs to read the it! To see all the posts for today, visit our Facebook Group, Medieval Romance Lovers. We’ll have fun giveaways starting this Friday, so be sure to drop by!

It’s a fun way to find new authors. I really enjoyed the blog hop from Fall 2020, as it introduced me to authors I hadn’t read yet by taking me to their home base and giving me a taste of their writing.

This week to kick things off, I’m sharing the first excerpt from my very own “first kiss” scene, just in time for Valentine’s Day!

“‘Tis simply a harmless attraction,” Ronan assured himself aloud. Until two days ago, Ronan had led a life of masculine simplicity. When it came to his relationships with women, Ronan relied upon St. Jerome’s sage words: avoid it like the plague.

Instead, he focused his efforts on improving Clan Calder’s defenses and raiding their neighbors when necessary. He trained, he fought, he made plans with his father and other elders, hunted game, and very occasionally he sent gifts and letters to his niece, Beatrix.

Since the arrival of Adelina, he had been beleaguered by troubles with women. His father pushed him toward marriage. Nothing new, he thought bitterly, but it was far more burdensome this time around.

 

Follow along next week on Sherry Ewing’s blog: https://www.sherryewing.com/blog

A murder, a mix-up, and a midnight missive make for one unforgettable Highland romance…

 

When a fiery, red-haired Englishwoman falls for the laird’s charming, off-limits son, their passion ignites a fire that threatens to engulf the clan.

Ronan Calder, eldest son of Clan Calder’s laird, is going to stay as far away from marriage as he can get. After losing his mother and beloved sister during childbirth, Ronan knows there is no way he could ever inflict such a fate upon any woman. Things get a little complicated when he meets the enchanting new scholar and mistakes her for his future bride. 

Adelina Matheson has every intention of becoming the first female scholar at Oxford, and the quick wit to prove it. The only thing she’s missing is permission to attend lectures. When the masters challenge Adelina to serve as advisor to a Highland laird in exchange for entry, she is left with little choice. She agrees to the challenge – surely she can manage such a simple task to prove herself.

Except that once Adelina arrives at Calder Keep, she realizes that nothing about her task is simple. She must battle her alarming attraction to the laird’s handsome son while enduring the laird’s beastly temper. The only other Englishwoman is also her competition for Ronan’s affection, and the entire clan is under threat of attack at the upcoming Samhain celebration. Can Ronan and Adelina put aside their personal troubles and save Clan Calder, or will they doom the entire clan?

Handfasting, Marriage, & Divorce

One of my beta readers asked an interesting question after reading my novella, To Love a Laird. Alec, the hero of the story, was already married once before. Does he need a divorce? How could he marry the heroine without special dispensation? Let’s find out!

If you’re not interested in the nitty gritty history and source material, skip to the fun part!

Here’s the History:

First, and most importantly, there aren’t many contemporary sources on the subject of how marriages worked (or didn’t, in our case). I found a few interesting articles, the best of which was a master’s thesis published on exactly this topic. You can find it here, if you’d like to read it yourself.

It’s important to know that Scotland, Ireland, and Wales all share a large portion of their cultural history, often referred to as “Celtic”. Traditions like handfasting, divorce laws, etc. often overlap. When there isn’t a lot of evidence for one of these regions, we can divine from what we know of the other two to fill in gaps. It would be hypothetical, but sometimes that’s the best we can do.

In Celtic culture, often multiple forms of marriage can be found. In Ireland, for example, men could have multiple wives through different types of marriages. Though divorce wasn’t sanctioned by the Church (except through annulment in rare cases), secular divorces could and did happen. Church and secular traditions functioned alongside each other, but separately. Scotland, from the limited sources we have, appears to have worked in a similar fashion. 

Handfasting was intended as a trial marriage, lasting only a year and a day from the exchange of vows. Some sources claim that witnesses weren’t even required – it was made only between the two lovers. There are records of couples being handfasted and also betrothed, meaning they intend to be married within the ceremony of the Church following their successful handfasting.

Lynda Pinney Domino’s thesis (linked above) concludes that “The evidence, when considered as a body, is sufficient to conclude that such a custom [handfasting] did indeed exist in medieval Scotland and elsewhere in Britain.” She believes that it was practiced much the way we understand it today and also in variations regionally across the island.

Here’s the Fun:

Tradition claims that handfasting ceremonies were small, intimate affairs. There is a giant standing stone on the Orkney Islands with a great hole in the center. Legend has it that medieval couples would hold hands through the hole to make their oaths to one another.

Wedding ceremonies in the Middle Ages weren’t exactly the same as what we do now. Flowers were still common decorations. Who doesn’t love a bouquet of fresh flowers? But wearing white wasn’t a trend until the marriage of Queen Victoria in the 19th century. 

Rings were typically made of gold, and in the Middle Ages people began inlaying them with gemstones. The exchange of vows hasn’t changed too much over the centuries, and who knows how different the words might have been from town to town!

So, Alec and Gillian were handfasted for a year and a day. She left him once the handfasting was through, thus releasing him from all commitments to her and allowing him to find the true love of his life, Nora. Alec married Nora, forever and always.

A Highland Autumn Out Now!

A murder, a mix-up, and a midnight missive make for one unforgettable Highland romance…

Ronan Calder, eldest son of Clan Calder’s laird, is going to stay as far away from marriage as he can get. After losing his mother and beloved sister during childbirth, Ronan knows there is no way he could ever inflict such a fate upon any woman. Things get a little complicated when he meets the enchanting new scholar and mistakes her for his future bride.  

Adelina Matheson has every intention of becoming the first female scholar at Oxford, and the quick wit to prove it. The only thing she’s missing is permission to attend lectures. When the masters challenge Adelina to serve as advisor to a Highland laird in exchange for entry, she is left with little choice. She agrees to the challenge – surely she can manage such a simple task to prove herself.

Except that once Adelina arrives at Calder Keep, she realizes that nothing about her task is simple. She must battle her alarming attraction to the laird’s handsome son while enduring the laird’s beastly temper. The only other Englishwoman is also her competition for Ronan’s affection, and the entire clan is under threat of attack at the upcoming Samhain celebration. Can Ronan and Adelina put aside their personal troubles and save Clan Calder, or will they doom the entire clan?

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