Tag Archives: medieval

Author Showcase – Judith Sterling (Flight of the Raven)

How eager would the bridegroom be if he knew he could never bed the bride? 

Lady Emma of Ravenwood Keep is prepared to give Sir William l’Orage land, wealth, and her hand in marriage. But her virginity? Not unless he loves her. The curse that claimed her mother is clear: unless a Ravenwood heir is conceived in love, the mother will die in childbirth. Emma is determined to dodge the curse. Then William arrives, brandishing raw sensuality which dares her to explore her own.

William the Storm isn’t a man to be gainsaid. He’ll give her protection, loyalty, and as much tenderness as he can muster. But malignant memories quell the mere thought of love. To him, the curse is codswallop. He plans a seduction to breach Emma’s fears and raze her objections. What follows is a test of wills and an affirmation of the power of love.

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            Toasts abounded, and the music soared. Yet Emma’s gaze kept straying to the gold ring on her finger. ʼTwas tangible proof she was a married woman, the property of William l’Orage. Soon, in the bedchamber they would share, she’d discover exactly what that meant.

            She shuddered. Would he understand her predicament? He might laugh. He might even force her to betray her sense of self-preservation. ʼTwas his right, and she’d said the words: “to be bonny and buxom in bed and at board.” The board she could handle; bed was another matter.

            Still, there were moments during the ceremony when he seemed softer somehow. When she entered the chapel, the look in his eyes stole her breath. It implied approval, pride.

            And desire.

            For the second time in as many minutes, she shivered. She looked to the high, vaulted ceiling and twisted her wedding band.

            “Cold again?” her husband asked. The low, rich timber of his voice was seductive and becoming all too familiar.

            She dropped her hands into her lap and cast a cautious glance his way. “Not especially.”

            A pox on the man! He looked sinfully handsome today. It made him unduly appealing and far more dangerous. His eyes glittered like the dark jewels on his belt.

            She squirmed in her high-backed chair. His belt! God save me from what lies below it.

            “You’ll be warmer once we withdraw to our chamber,” he said.

            She swallowed the lump in her throat. “Oh?”

            “I told Tilda to have a fire waiting, and plenty of warm wine.”

            “Oh.”

            “Is that all you can say?”

            “What more do you require?”

            “If not words, how about a smile?”

            “I’ve smiled overmuch the past few hours. My cheeks are numb.”

            His grin was sensual by nature and mischievous by design. “Have you no enthusiasm for the coming festivities?”

            She stifled a grimace. “Festivities. Is that what you call them? If you want a festive night, you’d do better to invite jugglers and mummers to prance about the chamber.”

            His black eyes smoldered. “No, my bride. You and I will devise our own entertainment.”

            The power of speech deserted her. Yet she kept her composure during the toasts and as the people cheered the bride and groom for the last time. Then William rose to his feet.

            The dreaded moment had come. In a daze, she stood. Her eyes sought Meg, but the older woman was deep in conversation with Wulfstan and didn’t notice.

            William guided Emma away from the table and out of the boisterous, oblivious hall. Once they were beyond observation, she pulled her hand from his arm and used her veil as an excuse to occupy her hands elsewhere.

            She climbed the spiral, stone stairs as slowly as she dared, delaying the moment when the bedchamber door would close behind them. The stairwell torches were ablaze with flames that eagerly licked the shafts of wood. Behind her, William’s footsteps were as loud as thunder.

            At the top of the stairs, the large, oak door stood wide open. There was no one inside the bedchamber, not a single soul to grant her one last pardon. Tilda had turned down the bed, and it loomed in the shadows, waiting.

            On shaky legs, Emma crossed the rush-strewn floor and stood in front of the massive, arched fireplace. She studied the inferno roaring inside, refusing to look at William. Behind her, the door closed with a thud, and the bolt slid to with a scrape of finality. She heard and felt each crunching step as he came up behind her.

            “My lady,” he murmured. “My wife.”

            She couldn’t face him. “Aye,” her voice cracked. The fire looked wild, hungry.

            “Would you like some wine?” His breath warmed the side of her neck. A second later, his lips sealed the tender flesh with a kiss.

            “Wine.” She spun around. “Wine would be nice.”

            His eyes blazed hotter than the fire. He hesitated, then smiled. “Then wine you shall have.” In two strides, he moved to the table where it waited. He grabbed the pitcher and poured dark liquid into one of two silver cups. Then he offered one to her.

            Her fingers brushed his as she took the cup. She thanked him with a closed-mouth smile and took a sip of wine. The heady mixture of cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, and cloves tickled her tongue. The liquid warmed and soothed her throat.

            “Good?” he asked.

            She nodded and sipped again.

            He grinned. “Perhaps ʼtwill loosen your tongue.”

            “Perhaps.”

            His grin deepened. “Though I see it’s had no effect yet.”

            Hours of nervous tension crystalized. “I’ve better use for my tongue than to prattle the night away.”

            “Really?” He inched closer. “Would you care to demonstrate?”

 

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~~ Purchase Books 1-3 Today! ~~

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~~ MEET THE AUTHOR ~~

Judith Sterling is an award-winning author whose love of history and passion for the paranormal infuse everything she writes. Whether penning medieval romance (The Novels of Ravenwood) or young adult paranormal fantasy (the Guardians of Erin series), her favorite themes include true love, destiny, time travel, healing, redemption, and finding the hidden magic which exists all around us. She loves to share that magic with readers and whisk them far away from their troubles, particularly to locations in the British Isles.

Her nonfiction books, written under Judith Marshall, have been translated into multiple languages. She has an MA in linguistics and a BA in history, with a minor in British Studies. Born in that sauna called Florida, she craved cooler climes, and once the travel bug bit, she lived in England, Scotland, Sweden, Wisconsin, Virginia, and on the island of Nantucket. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and their identical twin sons.

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Author Showcase – Judith Sterling (Soul of the Wolf: The Novels of Ravenwood, Book Two)

A Norman loyalist, Lady Jocelyn bristles when ordered to marry Wulfstan, a Saxon sorcerer. She nurses a painful secret and would rather bathe in a cesspit than be pawed by such a man…until her lifelong dream of motherhood rears its head.

A man of magic and mystery, Wulfstan has no time for wedded bliss. He fears that consummating their marriage will bind their souls and wrench his focus from the ancient riddle his dying mother begged him to solve. He’s a lone wolf, salving old wounds with endless work. But Jocelyn stirs him as no woman ever has.

Their attraction is undeniable. Their fates are intertwined. Together, they must face their demons and bring light to a troubled land.

 

 

Wulfstan’s expression shifted faster than the midnight clouds. “Why are you here?” he asked in a low, tight voice.

Keeping her distance, Jocelyn eyed the wolf behind him and willed her voice to sound calm. “Why do you think?”

 Wulfstan’s eyes were like ice. “I think…that you’re spying on me.”

 She held his wintry gaze. “Then you think rightly.”

 “What? No denial? No protestations of innocence?”

 “Would you have me lie?”

 He clenched his fists. “No.”

 “Then you cannot—”

 “Nor would I have you pound your pestle into my private affairs.”

 Heat swept through her. “Pray, what affairs have you that are not private?”

 “I’ve given you a free hand with the servants and the keep. What more do you want?”

 The wolf turned away and padded toward the forest. Her courage doubled. “More.”

 Her mind made up, she strode past Wulfstan and approached Woden’s Stair. She raised her foot above the first step.

 “Stay!” he shouted above the wind.

 She stopped short and turned to him. “Are you addressing me?”

 He tore his gaze from the forest and settled it on her. “No. The wolf.” With powerful strides, he bridged the gap between them.

Her stomach quivered. He stood but a foot away. “Good,” she croaked. Then she cleared her throat. “For a moment, I thought you ordered me to stay, as you would order a dog.”

Humor softened his features. “Now there’s an idea. I must say, it does have a certain appeal.”

 “Be serious.”

 “A dog can be trained to please its master, but the master also enjoys pleasing the dog. Some hounds are spoiled, in fact.”

She frowned. Something in his tone was…suggestive. “Were I a bitch, I would not be so easily managed.”

He grinned. “That I believe. And I know you’re no animal to be trained. You’re a strong woman with a mind of your own. But even the strong-willed like to be pampered. Wouldn’t you like it?”

“I…I wouldn’t mind being pampered.”

“And pleasured?” His hair looked like spun starlight.

She stepped backward, and the heel of her boot met stone. Flustered, she clambered onto the step.

Wulfstan’s demeanor darkened. “Get down from there.” His large hands invaded her mantle and encircled her waist.

She wriggled free of his hands and backed onto the second step.

He crossed his arms. “Didn’t you hear me? Come down. That’s an order.”

Her body heat flared anew, and she climbed three steps higher. “I heard you, but I’ll not play the bitch to any man.”

“This isn’t a game.”

“No? What would you do if I ran all the way to the top?”

His words, exactly measured, were a promise. “I would stop you.”

“You could try.” She whirled around and started upward.

He grabbed her from behind and hoisted her several inches off the stairs. She struggled and kicked, and her left foot connected with his flesh.

“Woden’s blood!” He hauled her away from the stairs and planted her on the ground.

She twisted in his arms to face him. “Your nerve is unparalleled.”

His face was mere inches from hers. “Trust me, it bows to yours.”

“You’ve a clever tongue, my lord.” The hard, hot length of his body pressed against her.

His eyes were now dark and inviting. Expectant. “Would you care to see how clever?”

 

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~~ Check these out! ~~

The Novels of Ravenwood, Book One

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The Wild Rose Press

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The Novels of Ravenwood Book 3

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Judith Sterling’s love of history and passion for the paranormal infuse everything she writes. Flight of the Raven, Soul of the Wolf, and Shadow of the Swan are part of her medieval romance series, The Novels of Ravenwood. The Cauldron Stirred is the first book in her young adult paranormal series, Guardians of Erin.  Written under Judith Marshall, her nonfiction books—My Conversations with Angels and Past Lives, Present Stories—have been translated into multiple languages. She has an MA in linguistics and a BA in history, with a minor in British Studies. Born in that sauna called Florida, she craved cooler climes, and once the travel bug bit, she lived in England, Scotland, Sweden, Wisconsin, Virginia, and on the island of Nantucket. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and their identical twin sons.

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The Wild Rose Press

            

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Review of “Lord of Sherwood” – Laura Strickland

(The Guardians of Sherwood Trilogy Book 3)
 

Curlew Champion, master archer, has always known his destiny. With his cousin, Heron Scarlet, he will become a guardian of Sherwood Forest and further his people’s fight against Norman tyranny. But the third member of the triad is still to be revealed, the woman who will complete the magical circle and, perhaps, answer the longing in Curlew’s heart.

Anwyn Montfort has fled disgrace in Shrewsbury and come to Nottingham at her father’s bidding. He wishes her to make a good marriage and settle down. But the wildness that possesses her refuses to quiet. She knows she’s been searching for something all her life, but not until she glimpses Curlew does her spirit begin to hope it has found its home.

Only the magic of Sherwood can bring them together, and only their union can complete the spell woven so long ago…

 

PURCHASE LINKS:  KINDLE / PAPERBACK
 
 
 
(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)
 
This tale was worthy of being a story arc on the highly acclaimed hit show Once Upon A Time. It had twists and turns which kept the storyline flowing at a nice pace. It also had true love for the romantics in us all. 
 
I must note though……


Even though Amazon has this book listed as a historical romance and not fantasy, there was magic involved which helped in the battle with the villain threatening their lives. Actually, magic was a focal point of this story.


 And, of course, there was a HEA because (as we all know) LOVE CONQUERS ALL!! 
 
Heart Rating System – 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score:❤❤❤❤

 

PURCHASE LINKS: KINDLE / PAPERBACK

 

 

 
CHECK OUT THESE OTHER TALES IN THE GUARDIANS OF SHERWOOD SERIES!!

 


 
Daughter of Sherwood  (Book 1):  KINDLE / PAPERBACK
 

Champion of Sherwood (Book 2):  KINDLE / PAPERBACK



 
Born and raised in Western New York, Laura Strickland has pursued lifelong interests in lore, legend, magic and music, all reflected in her writing. Though her imagination frequently takes her to far off places, she is usually happiest at home not far from Lake Ontario with her husband and her “fur” child, a rescue dog. Author of Scottish romances Devil Black and His Wicked Highland Ways as well as The Guardians of Sherwood Trilogy consisting of Daughter of Sherwood, Champion of Sherwood and Lord of Sherwood, she has also published two Steampunk romances, Dead Handsome: a Buffalo Steampunk Adventure and Off Kilter: a Buffalo Steampunk Adventure and two Christmas novellas: The Tenth Suitor and Mrs. Claus and the Viking Ship. Her Lobster Cove Historical Romance, The White Gull, is followed by a Lobster Cove novella, Forged By Love.

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