7 Days Until Release! How it all began
TODAY’S WINNER: EVE MARDIS
Seven days to go! Seven days left to enter and win fabulous prizes! Today I’m giving away an eBook copy of ONE KNIGHT ONLY, the first book in the series. Answer the question below the excerpt to enter as well as enter to win the grand prize—A Nook Simple Touch Reader! Grand Prize open to US Residents only.
The Realm of Honor series started with ONE KNIGHT ONLY way back. Like 2005 back. It was actually a straight historical with romantic elements when I first began the story. My heroine was different. My hero was different. But the basic story was the same—love found at a jousting tournament.
I had always wanted to write a book set during a jousting tournament. Call it some wild fascination with men on horses carrying big sticks trying to bash each other in the head and knock each other off their horses. I read books on the subject. I searched websites for “faire speak” and incorporated that. I did extensive searches on what they did at banquet. It was probably some of the best and most fun research I’ve ever done. I loved it. I could get lost in. All I could think about was writing this book.
But it was on the back burner for a long time until I finally came up with an idea that would work. When I went back to writing it, my heroine started talking like a modern woman. She’d crack jokes and say things like, “Why don’t you use a Jedi mind trick?” Things that would NOT be said in the thirteenth century. I finally figured out who my heroine was—a modern woman sent back in time to break a curse and save a knight. How romantic is that?
So Maggie was born. She was transported back to the Middle Ages and awoke to find herself in bed with a totally smexy Scotsman. Meet Sir Finian “Finn” McCullough. The perfect medieval knight. Noble, chivalrous, honorable. And Elyne, the Fae princess who held a grudge against Finn. He’d accidentally killed her love, Derron, during a tournament and she condemned him to an eternity of wandering his castle as a ghost.
I’m sure you’re wondering how this all ended up but you’ll have to read the book for that. Want a little sneak peek? Here’s the opening pages of the book. Be sure to comment to enter to win an eBook copy (either Kindle or Nook format).
“This is a dream,” she said aloud.
It had to be, right? It wasn’t real. Because it was the only explanation her tired mind would accept. Maggie slid to the edge of the bed, her bare feet hitting the cold floor and sending a shiver up her spine. Glancing down, she wore the underwear she had changed into last night—her lacy black bra and matching panties. But where were the rest of her clothes? Her suitcase? How in the hell did she get in this bed?
Staring into the fire, she mentally retraced her steps. The car breaking down, walking in the rain, getting soaked to the bone. And then the castle on the hilltop that was there and then wasn’t there. Yes, the castle. She glanced around. Was she still in that castle now? This one was fully furnished, it seemed. Whereas the one she ended up at last night was empty. And cold. And dark.
Maybe someone found her sleeping on the floor? She’d been so tired she didn’t notice when that someone had lifted her and brought her back to a warm bed. And any minute now that someone would bring her a steaming mug of coffee.
A groan behind her made her spin around, grabbing the linen and holding it to her bosom. On the bed, a dark-haired man she had never seen before rolled onto his back. He was shirtless, showing off every ripple of muscle and fantastic pectorals, the likes of which she had never seen in her life. Smooth, hairless skin with tremendous biceps and a narrow waist disappearing into the bedding that made her imagination run away with hot fantasies.
“Ooohhhh,” she breathed.
Who was this man? More importantly, where the bloody hell was she?
A soft snore escaped him and Maggie couldn’t stop staring at that beautiful chest rising and falling with every breath. His long dark hair spilled around him. And his face…
The word slipped out before she could stop it. His chiseled face hosted a strong square chin with a tiny indention in the center covered with a day’s growth of beard, a perfect nose, pronounced cheekbones, dark eyebrows. She propped a knee on the mattress, scooting closer to lean over him for a better look, amazed at how powerful his face appeared. Fierce. A man not to be trifled with. A man who knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to get it.
Maggie cocked her head to the side, enjoying her view, a smile tugging at the corner of her mouth. For a moment, she had forgotten the fact she was in a strange place. Her long, auburn locks cascaded over her shoulder and brushed against him. The baby-fine strands must have tickled his skin, for his eyes popped open and stared back at her.
Gorgeous silvery eyes met hers and she blinked and pulled back.
But he was faster than she. He grasped her by her upper arms and dragged her to him, placing her on his lap as his large, powerful hands gripped her hips. Maggie was completely aware of all of him now. A hot fantasy splashed through her mind as she shifted on top of him. What was under the linen was apparent between her legs. Every last inch of him. Her hands landed on his chest, her senses delighting in the warm, soft skin beneath her palms.
His gaze lingered on her face a moment before gliding down, pausing on her lace-covered breasts and then continuing his downward jaunt. He fingered the waistband of her panties, running the pad of his forefinger over first one hipbone then her abdomen and back again.
The small movement sent white-hot heat shooting through her, awaking parts of her that weren’t used to being on alert so early in the morning. Especially without a cup of coffee.
His hands moved up her sides then, desire evident in those depthless silver eyes…and the appendage on which she happened to be sitting.
“Now, lass, you best be telling me who you are and why you’re in my bed. Not that I mind, but I canna recall tupping you last eve and I always remember bonnie lasses I tup.”
His deep-timbre brogue purred the words and sent a delicious rumble right through her. She resisted the urge to shudder. She loved sex-with-stranger dreams and this one was starting off with a bang.
The only thing she did know was that she was in a strange place with a very sexy man beneath her hands, straddling his lap with nothing but a breath of linen and cotton between them. It wouldn’t take much for her to remove that material and get exactly what she was feeling.
But she wasn’t the kind of girl to have sex with a stranger, was she?
I could be.
Besides, this was just a dream. She would wake up any minute in the cold, deserted castle all alone. And then she would be faced with the problem of how to get herself back to civilization. In the meantime, she could do anything she wanted in her dream. Couldn’t she?
“I certainly don’t mind being in your bed,” she told him. He really was quite delicious. She ran her hands along the smooth skin of his chest and leaned toward him.
He grasped her wrists in iron fists and pushed her back. “You are the one trespassing.”
How in the world could he have the nerve to look angry at her? Maggie wrenched her wrists free and sat up, crossing her arms over her chest. She could play that game too. She was good at it. Sitting on his lap, she thought, gave her a position of being in control. She glared down at him, though even she had to admit it was hard to glare at a man that looked as good as he did.
“Maybe you should tell me who you are, then?” she demanded.
The burly man gripped her hips and flipped her onto her back in one swift movement. Suddenly her position of control and power was removed as he hovered over her, pinning her against the mattress. His brawny weight pressed into her. With one hand on his shoulder, Maggie tried to push him away but he quickly captured her wrist in his big hand and held her arm above her head, thereby removing any chance she could wiggle free.
“You best not play games with me, lassie.”
Do you believe in knights and fairies?