Ashley A won the free download! Ashley, email me! ~DD
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Begin with the end in mind.
I’m pretty sure I learned that from some Steven Covey productivity/time management seminar back when I worked in the corporate world. And while that works for me when I set my schedule, it almost never does when I sit down to write a book. Yes, I know vaguely that at the end, boy saves girl/girl saves boy, kiss-kiss, I’ll love you forever will happen, but I don’t have the particulars concerning the ending. I like to let it happen. Endings are nearly as important as the opening of a story. A good opening ensures a reader will continue the story. A good ending ensures a reader will close the book with a sigh and a smile.
The one time I knew absolutely what would happen at the end of the story was the ending for Jacq’s Warlord. This was a story that my sister and I co-wrote. While she was working on some saggy middle dilemma, I was thinking about the ending, and it came to me as clear as day. So I wrote it before we’d even gotten to the first turning point of the story. It worked. And helped me figure out where the characters needed to go in their personal journeys to lead them to that moment.
Hope you enjoy it and that it makes you want to read the rest of the story!
a free download of this book!
“…Set in the time and in the battles fought as Henry takes the English throne, the combination of battle action and sexy romance makes this story a standout.” ~ 5 Stars, Just Erotic Romance Reviews
With proportions that would make Xena weep, Jacqueline Frazier despairs of ever finding a lover she can’t intimidate. Until the day she ignores an itty-bitty warning regarding the use of a family heirloom, and finds herself swept off her feet by a knight in not so shining armor, back to the twelfth century. Forced to accept the protection and sexual attentions of the overbearing, beast of a man, Rufus of Rathburn, Jacq struggles to find her place in the past while searching for a way back to the future. In the meantime, she aids Rufus’s war cause with a little 21st century ingenuity. Nothing like shaking up the warlord with lessons in bomb-making, guerilla tactics, and the Joys of Sex.
At first unwilling, and downright ungrateful, Rufus begins to see merit in Jacq’s odd ways. Through Jacq’s eccentricities and wilfulness, Rufus learns she is a woman to be reckoned with, not to mention she is a lusty handful in bed. Will his admiration of her cunning, strength and uninhibited sexuality grow into a love that breaks the barriers of time? And will their love be strong enough for Jacq to plot a different future in the past?
The day couldn’t have been more perfect for a wedding. What better way to celebrate than with the sun rising in a clear blue sky? Jacq knew she would never take sunshine for granted in merry Old England.
Preparations for the wedding had been underway since well before dawn. Everyone had conspired to let Jacq sleep late. As if she could.
She had woken with the first rays of sunlight spilling through the windows. Dust motes, gilded by the rays, danced in the faint breeze. Jacq had promised herself she wouldn’t think about chores. Especially not today.
Jacq hugged herself and spun around in her nightshift as giddy as a schoolgirl attending her first dance. She was about to marry the most gloriously imperfect man. Her protector, the conqueror of her heart. Her one regret was her father wouldn’t be there to share her happiness.
But today, she would shed no tears. She hoped he’d received her message and that he understood her choice. Her father had prepared her all her life for this adventure, now was the time for her to make him proud.
She stood before a polished silver mirror Enid had produced. She was still too tall and her features were still too strong to ever be considered beautiful. But now, instead of gawky angularity, she noted the softness to her features. Her love for her husband-to-be, for the child growing in her womb and for the new family of friends surrounding her, gave her a feeling of serenity and acceptance.
She smoothed the skirt of the russet silk dress—another of Enid’s miracles—with her hands, and pulled at the cream-colored lace at the points of her sleeves until it fell in graceful folds. The people of Rathburn would find no fault in her appearance today. She was well suited in stature and temperament to be the bride of the Lord of Rathburn.
Jacq left her black hair loose to fall in a cascade of curls down her back. Rufus preferred it that way. Then she lifted a crown of thornless white rosebuds with their shiny green leaves intertwined to place on top of her head.
Annie had delivered the fragrant crown to her room earlier. For once, the child was clean and someone had brushed her long hair, uncovering that surprising hint of gold in her tresses. Her excitement had shone in her eyes as she reverently passed the arrangement to Jacq. The gift was from Rufus, she’d said, and the men had teased him ruthlessly while he’d cursed at every prick of thorns he suffered as he prepared her gift.
Jacq’s eyes misted.
Rufus was learning some softness too.
A knock at the door told her it was time to go. Donald’s broad shoulders filled the doorway. He gave her a long look, and then grinned. “Rufus is luckier than he deserves, milady. You’re bloody beautiful.”
Jacq didn’t bother to correct him—she felt “bloody” beautiful. She followed Annie and Donald down the long staircase and out the doors of the keep, and was blinded for a moment by the brightness of the sunlight.
A loud cheer rose from around her, startling her. Once her eyes adjusted to the brightness, she saw all the people she had come to love spilling out into the bailey.
From the center of the crowd, Rufus strode forward with a ferocious frown on his face.
Her heart lightened in response.
She understood he was just as impatient for the wedding to be over as she was. The ruddy color in his cheeks told her he liked what he saw every bit as much as she was pleased with his appearance. The plush green surcoat, pulled taut across his massive shoulders, complemented the brown leggings he wore beneath.
Her hands itched to test the strength she knew rippled in the muscles there. She still couldn’t believe she would have the right to explore this mountain of a man for the rest of their lives.
As he drew near, he circled an arm around her and pulled her close for a kiss. His lips and tongue danced teasingly over hers to the delight of the boisterous crowd. He drew away, still frowning ferociously. “Damnation, Jacq, did you have to be so beautiful today? We’ve hours before I can admire you properly.”
With a saucy grin, she held out her hand to him. “Then why are you wasting daylight?”
Rufus grasped her fingers and proceeded to drag her to the church to end his misery. But Jacq dug her feet into the earth, bringing them both to a halt.
When he turned back to see what was the matter, his heart skittered to a stop.
Jacq’s face was pale and she stared at something over his shoulder. With his hand on his sword, he spun to defend the woman he loved above life itself.
Beyond the gates of the keep, a roiling cloud of mist swept up to the entrance, then halted. Sunlight glinted on the droplets of moisture and splintered into the many colors of a rainbow. From the center of the cloud a figure strode forward.
He heard Jacq’s ragged sob a moment before she tore her hand from his and ran for the gate. The man, older than Jacq, but unmistakably related by the looks of him, dropped the many bags he carried and swept Jacq into his arms. They twirled in a circle, both of them laughing giddily.
Rufus allowed Jacq her moment of joy in greeting her father, then walked over to join them.
They had a wedding to finish and the wedding night to begin.
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Be sure to check out the snippets on these other authors’ blogs: