Over at my other website, Delilah’s Collections, the FREE READS keep on coming!
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Archive for 'vikings'
Over at my other website, Delilah’s Collections, the FREE READS keep on coming!
UPDATE: The winner is…Jennifer Beyer!
* * * * *
I love the run-up to the holidays! Everyone’s so busy! For the first time ever, I have all my gifts purchased in advance. I have a few left to make (I dabble in jewelry!), but that’s part of the fun, too—trying to figure out what will please the women and girls in this family. But then I wondered what I might do for my online friends and readers! Here’s what I came up with! (Lots of exclamation marks here, I know, but I’m excited!!!!)
Anyway, here’s the deal. Throughout the month on the Delilah’s Collections website, I and some of the wonderful authors who’ve appeared in my collections will be giving away our stories! My suggestion, if you’re interested in collecting them, is to subscribe to the Collections blog. Look for the sign-up in the right column. It says “Subscribe To Blog Via Email”—easy-peasy, right? That way you won’t miss a single offering. And beware! These free stories will only be available for a short time, so jump on them!
So, here’ the first…
All you have to do is click on the cover above, and you’ll head to Instafreebie,
where you can download your copy.
Don’t know what a Skjaldmaer is? It’s a Shieldmaiden!
This story first appeared in the Conquests anthology, which features 13 stories by some very talented authors. The entire collection is just $.99! So, if you’re in the mood to meet a slew of sexy, very alpha Viking warriors, check it out: Conquests!
And let me know in the comments below whether you’re subscribing to the Collections blog and intend to follow the authors as we provide you samples of our story-telling abilities! One lucky commenter will receive her choice of one of my recent releases!
Hello Delilah fans! Spring is upon us, most of us at least. Libidos stir in days of budding flowers and warm air. What better time to enjoy a torrid romance?
I’ve got a freebie for you again this month, but fair warning—giveaways with future blog posts may not include frequent freebies as they have in these past few months. If you want to never miss a giveaway, subscribe to my once-a-month newsletter. That’s where to nab freebies plus notices of upcoming releases, juicy tidbits, and other good stuff. Sign-up at http://eepurl.com/bHOyS9 and be assured that your info goes no further than my fingertips. The newsletter is free and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Now to a brief confession: sometimes when I write a story, it keeps on living after I quit. I consider that a success as far as writing goes, but it can become quite the nag. After nearly two years, the nagging that surfaced after I finished writing “The Captive” became deafening. So I’ve written a second installment, “The Escape,” in what seems destined to become a lengthier tale.
“The Captive” is a short story set in the late 9th century England when the Saxons and Danes were fighting over control of the land. Seeking a brief time of secret pleasure with a captured Danish warrior, Elspeth Lady of Hystead hides away in a remote cabin on her estate and has the man delivered to her. Her aging invalid husband will be none the wiser. Yet an unexpected problem arises and it has nothing to do with her husband. It has to do with this stunning man standing before her, tied and injured, his long blond hair partially hiding the disdain in his intense stare. This was not what she expected.
Not at all.
Book 2, “The Escape,” is a novelette, available at your favorite bookseller.
So here you go—use this code RE54R for your free copy of “The Captive” at Smashwords—and always remember, Indie authors thrive on your reviews!
About Lizzie Ashworth
A bit about me – I live in the wilds of the Ozark Mountains with three cats, two hound dogs, and whichever child has taken up temporary residence between grad school and relocation. I’ve been writing my entire life and can’t express how wonderful it is to share stories with readers like you. Every book comes from the heart in the hopes that you will find a bit of pleasure within those pages.
Follow me for free erotic short works, hot photos, and the occasional rant on my blog at http://lizzieashworth.com/
Like my Facebook author page for updates on other nice and naughty works https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLizzieAshworth/
Enjoy some amazing eye candy? Check out my Pinterest page https://www.pinterest.com/ashworthlizzie/
January 2017! A new year and new adventures, hopefully good ones, await us. Best of all, for the not so good days, we’ve got books! Reading takes us away from the present moment and immerses us in pleasure. My mission today is to provide a time of reading pleasure for you.
One of my personal favorites in writing and reading romance is a steamy historical. Men wielding swords, their warrior bodies muscled and scarred—whew, what’s not to like? More than the allure of warriors, though, I enjoy being transported to another time and place. Plus there’s the actual glimpse of history—what did our ancestors face in their struggle to survive? How did the relationship between a man and woman differ from what we experience now?
All those ideas and more course through a writer’s thoughts as she creates a historical romance. For myself, reading actual history or other works of historical fiction helps put me in the mood as well as instructs me on details I need to make my story rich and factual. In the story below, for example, I had read Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon series, which I highly recommend. This series is popular, so you can usually find it in your local library.
Here’s the opening scene to my story, “The Dane’s Bride.” And here’s a coupon code WQ54S you can use to get the rest of the story FREE at Smashwords. (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/610250)
Aetherlin stared at the man through the leaping flames of the firepit. Hrald, Jarl of Dunholm. Her hands clenched in want of a weapon. Taut muscle quivered in her legs, eager for escape. Breath hitched in her throat.
Fire cast his shadow to the far wall as if he were a denizen of Hell itself, his tall frame looming and pale eyes glittering in the orange-red reflection. He wore fitted leather leggings and an open vest over his muscled chest. Lengths of dark hair brushed his wide shoulders. Gold bands wrapped his biceps and forearms, badges of his prowess in battle and the respect of his tribesmen. His forehead creased in his determined expression, although the quirk of his cruel mouth bespoke lascivious thoughts. About her. And what he would do to her.
In spite of the message of anger and resistance she sent with her glare, he did not relent in his survey of her. His gaze lingered over her red marriage dress with its scrolling needlework and golden thread. Her attending lady had wept as she dressed her in the clothing ordered by her father Aetherwulf, Earldorman of Gloucestershire. These were not garments Aetherlin would have chosen, cut low to reveal the curve of her breasts to present her body as if a fattened goose. But then, she would not have chosen this day, this man. Or perhaps any man at all.
“Loose your hair, maid,” Hrald commanded, his deep voice echoing through the empty hall.
Her body stiffened. Again she thought to refuse, to turn and run. But the great hall had been emptied and the door barred. She had been given to him, to be his chattel just as the hall itself, the trenchers and tables, the servants moving in the adjacent kitchens and storerooms, his pledged warriors and lesser vassals going about their evening tasks in the courtyard, the stables. Who was she, a mere woman, to fight off this hardened warrior?
In a fury, she yanked off the narrow silver band holding the linen scarf and flung them to the floor. Her thick braid took more time as her numb fingers combed through the long wavy strands, separating and spreading them over her shoulders and chest. Golden glints of firelight reflected on the red-blonde hair. Aetherlin could not look at him, but she knew his gaze stayed on her—it burned like coals on her skin.
He said nothing for a time. The fire’s crackle barely matched the noise of her heart thudding in her ears. Did he mean to possess her here, in the public hall?
“Now the dress,” he demanded.
His voice had taken a husky tone. That recognition startled her. She wished it did not matter whether he cared about what she did. Surely he did not want her, but rather embraced the power, lands, and wealth that came with the marriage. Still, his reaction caused her to flush.
Her glance flew to his face. What did he intend, forcing her to undress in the main hall? Anyone could enter, even though he had dismissed them all. Would he shame her? What man treated his bride so coarsely?
A fiend, that’s who, she answered her own question. A filthy, bloodthirsty Dane.
His eyes had narrowed and his body leaned slightly forward so that the spiraling patterns carved into his leather vest picked up more of the fire’s light and seemed to move of their own accord. Likewise, the inked design of dragons rippled over his muscled arms as if alive. His dark hair brushed at his wide shoulders, casting his clean-shaven jaw in shadow.
Why did he not simply rip down her clothes like the ravening beast he was? The sudden thought of such an act caused her heart to leap against her ribs. Her fingers stumbled at the clasps. The heavy woolen dress fell to the floor around her ankles. She stood in the linen shift, waiting, her breath shallow and fast.
“Do you think I wish only to see your undergarments?” he questioned in a hard voice.
“I think you wish to lower me, so that I am the least of all possible things,” she snapped back. “Expose me to your savage acts, like a village girl at the hands of your men.”
Today I sit in the snow-clad wilds of the Ozark Mountains watching the woods with my cats and hound dogs snuggled near the wood stove. I’ve been writing my entire life and can’t express how wonderful it is to share stories with readers like you. Nab more of my exciting romance short stories, novellas, and novels at your favorite bookseller.
Sign up for my free monthly e-newsletter, Liz’s Hot News. It’s a free monthly newsletter with excerpts, freebies, pre-release deals, and much more. No obligation, unsubscribe at any time. Sign up at http://eepurl.com/bHOyS9
Follow my blog for free erotic short works, hot photos, and the occasional rant at http://lizzieashworth.com/
And please—like my Facebook author page for updates on other nice and naughty works https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLizzieAshworth/
CONTEST UPDATE: The winner of the free download of Conquests is… DebraG!
UPDATE: Such a strange week. Some of you had asked for updates. So, quickly, this is what’s happening with the 7-year-old. This week’s tests ruled out cancer anywhere else in her body but her tibia. Yay! Feels so weird to be happy that she only has cancer in one spot. And they’ve set her surgery date for Thursday. She’s undergoing a brand new procedure and will be in a cast until after Christmas. We’ve been going crazy trying to think of all the things that have to be done—get a ramp, wheelchair, move her bed to the living room… The lists go on and on. I’ll keep you posted.
So, time for some fun!
Are you taking any trips this summer? Going to the beach? The lake? Going someplace cold to escape the heat? Comment for a chance to win a free download of Conquests: An Anthology Of Smoldering Viking Romance!
Vikings. Fierce warriors who terrified all in their path as they raided and marauded, enslaved and murdered during Europe’s Dark Ages.
But these rough men from a rugged land were also sailors, explorers, craftsmen, and highly sought after mercenaries.
Conquests: An Anthology of Smoldering Viking Romance will transport you to the realm of fantasy where such fearsome and loyal men are relentless potent lovers. Whether the lady of the keep demands a few stolen hours of pleasure with a captured Viking warrior or the handsome Northman is the one seducing his captive, you will find plenty of lusty adventures in settings as far-flung as Ireland, Iceland, Norway, Byzantium, Moorish Spain and the New World.
Let your fantasies run wild to a time when men wearing bearskin shirts and shining iron helms could capture a fierce maiden’s heart!
Get your copy here! It’s just $0.99 for 13 stories!
Here’s an excerpt from “The Captive” by Lizzie Ashworth…
“Dane, do you know why you were brought here?”
Elspeth, Lady of Hystead, gathered her thick red skirts and sat on the curved stool at the side of the room, opposite the spot where the broad-shouldered man stood. Her hungry gaze drank in the powerful strength of his legs, the ripple of muscle in his chest and arms, the iron line of his jaw. Even wounded, even smeared with the grit and gore of battle, his body glistened with male vigor.
Candlelight reflected off the lime-washed walls and framed the warrior’s furious stare. He strained against the bonds holding his wrists behind him and stretched the short length of rope between his ankles. Animal skins covered the stone-paved floor under his feet, one of few luxuries in the humble room with its bed, bucket of hot coals, and side table.
She turned to the two armed men who’d brought him. “Go now and bar the door until I call.”
An angry string of words followed the men as they departed. Elspeth heard the bar fall into place with a heavy thump.
Pale blue eyes flashed toward her, defiant.
“What of our language do you know, Dane? Can you speak?”
“I know enough,” he snarled, his words heavily accented. “What is your intent, woman?”
“My name is Elspeth, and it pleases me to see you.” His anger excited her, although she tried not to reveal any hint of her swelling desire. She sipped from her cup of ale. “Will you drink?”
His tongue slid over the crease of his narrow lips, but he gave no answer.
“You must be thirsty.” She poured another cup from the ewer and carried it to his mouth, tilting it forward.
He drank deeply. The line of his jaw slackened slightly, and she remained beside him, more intrigued than ever by his bristling strangeness. The grime of battle still coated his face and arms, but elsewhere, his body had been covered with clothing and armor, now mostly removed, so that he stood in rough pants that hung from his hips. Blood smeared from cuts on his arms and hands did not disguise the inked design scrolling over his tanned arms. A section of his yellow-white hair clumped against his scalp in a dried, darkened mass while the rest fell in tangles around his shoulders.
“Are all your kind so beautiful?” she asked quietly, trailing her fingertip across his chest. His nipples lay flat on the domed pectoral muscles and more ink patterned a fantastical beast between them. Hardly a hair curled there, although lower on his abdomen a faint line of darker hair collected downward to disappear at the waist of his pants. Her gaze lingered there briefly as her pulse quickened.
He made no answer, but inhaled as her finger stroked over one of the nipples. His posture shifted slightly.
“Is this beast meant to say something about you?” she asked, fingering the tattoo.
“It honors the gods,” he grumbled.
“Have your gods served you well today?”
He did not answer.
She brought a basin and set it beside him before pouring water warmed near the hot coals. With a linen cloth, she bathed him, wiping the sweat-stained whisker stubble on his face to remove blood and dirt. A strong straight nose traveled from his smooth brow and centered between prominent cheekbones. His firm jaw cut sharply to a bold chin, oddly contrasting the cruelly sensual curve of his narrow lips.
Her breath stuttered as she worked, each freshened part of his body even more stunning than she had first considered. His skin, marred by various scars from previous battles, stretched like warm silk over bronzed muscle. She sponged carefully around a gash on his cheek and another shorter mark on his forehead. Bruising on his jaw had turned purplish-blue, and more bruising colored parts of his chest and back. Nicks and scrapes laced his forearms, and a crusted gash on his bicep caused him to jump when she pushed the wet cloth against it. The scalp wound proved more troublesome. His height forced her to stand on tiptoe to reach it.
“Bend over,” she demanded, pressing his head forward so that the water could soak the matted hair. He made no sound as she cleaned his injuries. At length, she set aside the basin.
“Will you take food?” She cut a piece of the cheese and broke a part of the loaf of wheaten bread.
His gaze had become speculative, watching with an almost bemused expression that softened the strained lines of his face. “Why do you trouble over me, when I am to be killed?”
“Perhaps that isn’t your fate, Dane.”
“Do you have the power to determine my fate?”
“It seems I do, does it not?”
“Things are not always as they seem,” he replied.
But he accepted the stool she pushed behind him and sat to eat the food she fed him, and after a time, with the loaf, cheese, an apple, and considerably more ale consumed, she noted a certain relaxation in his frame.
“You mean to have me,” he observed and raised one eyebrow in question.
“Yes.” She noted the hint of a smile, which pleased her.
“My hands…” He shifted his shoulders to struggle with the bonds holding his wrists.
She laughed lightly, swallowing past the growing tension in her neck. How she would love to release him, let him tear at her, throw her down, and take her to the ends of her reckoning. “Dane, surely you don’t think me foolish enough to release you?”
He smirked. “My name is Magnus, and I don’t think of you at all,” he replied. “I was not aware the Saxons gave over the task of torture to their women.”
Anger swept up her cheeks, and she held her skirts to kick out the stool from under him.
Unsteady, he gained his feet as the stool flew back.
“Torture?” Her face burned. “You see pleasuring me as torture?”
She thought them of equal age. But she was no maid, rather the wife of a doddering old man who couldn’t keep from dribbling on himself when he pissed. On her, alone, lay the full array of tasks necessary to run such a large estate. Even the thanes sworn to her husband’s service knew she ruled Hystead. Many had made suit to her, surreptitiously, for standards required decorum in such matters. In these uncertain times, she could not risk loss of respect for herself or her husband.
Torture. Her nostrils flared as she met his insolent gaze. Her copper-red hair and green eyes received regular comment from the flatterers, and she knew her form remained comely. This man meant to provoke her.
“To what end do you taunt me, Magnus?” she challenged, standing next to him so the swell of her bosom grazed his chest. “Shall I slap you, cause you pain? Would that please you more?”
He laughed, revealing white teeth and creases in his cheeks. “Battle pleases me.”
She ran her hand over his chest, stroking the smooth skin and lingering over the nipples to toy until the flesh thickened. Her own nipples hardened against her bodice as she noted a hitch in his breathing. He may have seemed carved as the finest work of metal, but he was made of mortal flesh. Her hand slid down to the bulge pressing the front of his pants, and a sly smile grew on her mouth.
“Torture becomes you, Magnus,” she said quietly.
Two years ago, my husband and I took a trip to Norway. At one of the museums outside of Oslo on an island called Bygdøy, three Viking longboats sat mostly preserved, excavated from burial mounds nearly a hundred years ago. This fired my imagination, envisioning muscle-bound, blond or red-haired warriors marauding their way across the lands of Scotland and the islands of the North Sea. Ten men rowing across the swells of the open ocean, braving harsh weather to conquer, and finding themselves scaling cliffs of a foreign shore. The story of Harald Sigurdsen and Eivind Halvorsen was born.
As we continued our vacation and exploration of Norway, we drove along the rugged coastline of the east and south of the country. Rounding the southern tip, the rugged cliffs and long fjords became flatter and more fertile with farms as far as the eye could see. After the warriors conquered, settlers arrived from Norway and integrated with the locals, setting up commerce and trade between the new colonies and the Viking homeland.
The Orkney Landing incorporates both the warriors and the eventual settlements of the Vikings on the Ornkey Islands. Halvor and Eivind, along with their raiding party, pillage their way across the islands, taking no prisoners until they find a Pict servant cowering behind a tapestry. Halvor makes Talorc his slave, and allows him to live and serve. Talorc is a willing and enthusiastic servant, coming to Halvor’s aid in the midst of battle. Things heat up between the two warriors and their slave as the Vikings continue their conquest of the Orkney Islands.
You can pre-order Harald, Eivind, and Talorc’s story The Orkney Landing here, part of the Warlords and Warriors anthology.
In the morning, after a breakfast of rations, Harald directed Talorc in the efficient packing of the tent and its contents as Eivind looked on.
“Be quick. It’s time to move forward.” Harald stepped from the tent into the crisp morning air.
Talorc finished the packing and carried a large bag of supplies as the other Vikings disassembled the camp. “Ready, Lord Viking.”
Two of the closest warriors glanced at Talorc, and then to Harald with a smirk.
“You men have something to say?”
Both of their faces reddened. “No, Harald. We’re only admiring your new slave.”
Harald bristled for a moment, and Eivind placed a hand on his shoulder. He relaxed and grinned. “He’s a quick learner.” He watched Talorc lift the bag of supplies, his slender muscles straining. Why did that bother me? He’s a slave. A willing slave, but a slave nonetheless.
Shaking off his confusion, he focused on the march at hand. The raiding party covered several leagues over the hilly countryside, burning farmhouses as they went. At each dwelling, Harald paused to look inside.
After they plundered their fourteenth farm, he shook his head as he lit a torch. Each house deserted. This doesn’t bode well for the stealth of our assault.
Before he could light the thatched roof, a cheer arose from a far off hill. He dropped the torch and turned to his company. The men crowded behind him, facing the oncoming attack.
Grey clouds descended as Harald counted the naked Pict men painted blue, yielding swords and clubs and surging across the moor. Twenty seven. These look more like warriors. The farm woman or the children survived and sounded the alarm. He turned to his men. “Torvald, Andreas, and Halvor, take the savages on the right. Erik, Tallak and Sigurd, take the left. The rest of you with me and Eivind down the center.”
Turning, he brought his attention to Talorc. “Hide amongst the supplies. If the battle goes ill, run. If you’re needed, you will hear two blasts of my horn.”
“Yes, my lord.” Talorc scurried to the pile of wood for the tents and ducked out of sight.
Harald raised his sword as the rain fell and a peel of thunder rolled over the moor. “Forward, and take no prisoners!”
He roared as they ran toward the approaching savages. Excitement surged through his veins, and he slashed his sword at the lead Pict, slicing the life from him. Another swung a club at him, but he missed. He dispatched the fiery-haired man with a single stroke.
Harald looked on with satisfaction as more of the Picts fell to the Vikings’ swords. He stabbed another man in the shoulder, and the savage fell. Turning toward another, he thrust the blade through the attacker.
“Harald, look out!”
Brent Archer began writing in 2011 at the nudging of his cousins. His first story sold, and he was hooked! The second story in his Golden Scepter Series, Pennington’s Conquest, will release in the Summer of 2016 with MuseItHOT Publishing. Stay tuned!
Visit his website to keep up on upcoming releases, and follow him on Twitter: @brentarcherwrit.
Life happens, and last year I hit rock bottom. In an emotional whirlwind, I found myself unable to write mysteries or crime stories. They took me to a place that I couldn’t quite crawl out of. Their darkness I couldn’t so easily wash away.
But the love of writing didn’t just leave. Words continued to loop. I needed to write, to place words on a page—even if no one ever saw them. Simply put: I had to again find out who I am, and why I write the things that speak to me. Sometimes the sexy Highlander is just what this girl needs, but other times a vampire or two would be enough to keep reality at bay.
During my worst days, the comfort I found in a paranormal romance—the action, adventure, romance and smoking hot heroes—made it all worth it. I could curl up and enjoy the ups and downs, following their trials and tribulations. So, it wasn’t long until the muse showed up again with characters in tow. And the characters just happened to be of the fantastical kind, carrying the Viking sword called the Ulfberht.
The Ulfberht made it that the Vikings were fierce in battle, for the steel sword was strong, practically unbreakable (it was in such a demand and quality that there were even counterfeit Ulfberhts created and sold for those who could not afford or obtain the original).
Getting in bed with a paranormal romance has not been an easy feat for this crime fiction author. Sure, research is part and parcel of creating a story, but there is so much that I didn’t know. As the story unfurled, I then realized that I wished to tell more than what people might expect with Vikings—the stereotypical tale, especially since Viking is probably not a name that they called themselves, but a name given to them. There was no united Viking army, but instead they lived in factions, as tribes (and it must not be forgotten that these tribes, led by chieftains, fought each other).
I didn’t just want to throw in the names of Norse gods, but truly celebrate what we typically know and maybe even reveal things that we didn’t know. So, the what-if questions formed and elements of time travel mixed with Vikings, and the fantastical tale of a shape-shifting dragon. I wanted to build a world that provided enough of a backdrop that could embrace this fantasy with all of its magick.
Taking Delilah’s Plotting Workshop also helped tremendously in pushing me in the right direction with my story. Through this, I learned that my process is multifaceted. It will start with a simple idea, and then the layering begins. Surely, inside my head is a magnificent web of intricate information that I am not even aware of. When I’am inspired and the muse is talking, I am practically living a movie – watching as the characters interact, taking notes as to their performance, and trying to herd the cats struggling to take lead.
I am putting the finishing touches on my next release, and first paranormal romance, Snakes and Dragons. Who doesn’t like men wielding swords?
Why Vikings and Dragons? The answer is why not!
So tell me, what do you like about Vikings and Dragons?
About the Author
In 2015, Tina created a reader-centric blog called Celebrate with a Book, where she promotes authors and their works. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Sisters in Crime Central Virginia, Romance Writers of America, and Virginia Romance Writers.
A proud geek-girl, Tina resides in Virginia. She holds a Masters of Arts in Religion degree; enjoys history, traveling, and cooking; and, when she is not creating a story, she can be found putting paint on a canvas or playing video games. Connect with Tina online at her website and join her newsletter to stay up-to-date on her next release.