21 May 2017

Author Interview & Book Giveaway: J Tullos Hennig on SUMMERWODE

This week, we're pleased to welcome author J TULLOS HENNIG with SUMMERWODE, from the Books of the Wode seriesOne lucky winner will receive a copy of the novel in e-book format. Here's the blurb about the novel.

The Summer King has come to the Wode...
Yet to which oath, head or heart, shall he hold?

Once known as the Templar assassin Guy de Gisbourne, dispossessed noble Gamelyn Boundys has come to Sherwood Forest with conflicted oaths. One is of duty: demanding he tame the forest’s druidic secrets and bring them back to his Templar Masters. The other oath is of heat and heart: given to the outlaw Robyn Hood, avatar of the Horned Lord, and the Maiden Marion, embodiment of the Lady Huntress. The three of them—Summerlord, Winter King, and Maiden of the Spring—are bound by yet another promise, that of fate: to wield the covenant of the Shire Wode and the power of the Ceugant, the magical trine of all worlds. In this last, also, is Gamelyn conflicted; spectres of sacrifice and death haunt him.

Uneasy oaths begin a collision course when not only Gamelyn, but Robyn and Marion are summoned to the siege of Nottingham by the Queen. Her promise is that Gamelyn will regain his noble family’s honour of Tickhill, and the outlaws of the Shire Wode will have a royal pardon.

But King Richard has returned to England, and the price of his mercy might well be more than any of them can afford...

**Q&A with J Tullos Henning**

What are you currently working on?

The fifth novel, Wyldingwode, to complete the Books of the Wode. I'm also working on several new speculative fiction short stories, and researching a new historical novel.

Speaking of the Wode Books, when will the next one be out? And how many books are planned?

The 4th book, Summerwode, releases 16 May, 2017. It's on preorder now!
There are five novels planned in the story cycle. The duology of Shirewode and its prequel Greenwode are available began it all. A trilogy that begins with Winterwode will continue with Summerwode, and will end with Wyldingwode (#amwriting).

Why the LBGTQ slant on Robin Hood?

Why not?

Don't just take my word for it, though; several scholars have explored the possibility. There are many excellent essays and non-fiction studies of Robin’s role as a cultural--and changeable--icon. The Robin Hood Project at The Library of Rochester is an excellent place to begin an acquaintance with the ever-morphing facets of the Robin Hood/Robyn Hode mythos.

But I think it really comes down to this: respect. Whenever you take an old warhorse of a legend, you owe it to the Story to respect its legacy, but its purpose in existence. Which means you question it, turn it over and inside out and re-imagine it, shape it to the best of your ability into a vital continuation of its Story. To just rehash a tired trope is disrespectful to not only the power of legend, but your own talents.

Why Robin Hood (okay, Robyn Hode) as a Druid? Why the fantasy element?

Again, why not?

There are so many reasons to explore Robin/Robyn as Green Man of the Forest. Legend and Myth cling to him, and rightfully so. And myth has its own truths, sometimes stronger than what is considered “fact”. All too often the term fantasy is used to dismiss someone else’s belief systems. No question, I’m a great whopping history geek, but also, I’m hyper-aware (no doubt due to my Choctaw heritage) that history is suspect. Speculative, even.

Not to mention, I adore speculative fiction, and am a SF/Fantasy fan from waaaay back. Eons before it was considered cool.

Do you do a lot of research?

Yes, indeed. I love research; have done and still do, ever on. It's not just about long hours in closed stacks, but even more the hands-on trial/error and life experience which, I hope, shall continue for some time. Most of that research never ends up as prose, granted... but it shouldn't. Having knowledge and authority speak through the storytelling is sooo much better than overwhelming an audience with "see what I know?" (Not to mention that for me, Story often trumps Fact. Because Facts can be so... chancy.)

When did you start writing, and what are some major influences on your writing?

I’ve been writing and drawing my own worlds for a very long time; basically since I could hold a pencil. I had an abortive writing career in the 80s, but it’s all part of the process. The books I’m writing now are much better, anyway. *grin*

Influences...On the subtextual level, it's all about the myths, folklore, ancient stories, cultures, and possibilities. Listening to the elders share stories, and to the ideas children express before some of the less palatable aspects of culture start trying to shut them down.

As to specific works/writers: I hail the 3 Marys: Mary Renault, Mary Stewart, and Mary O'Hara. Parke Godwin, Louise Erdrich, Ray Bradbury, Paula Gunn Allen, Starhawk, Leslie Marmon Silko, Albert Payson Terhune, Colleen McCulloch, Taylor Caldwell, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Robert Heinlein, Virginia Woolf. There are others, but these come soonest to mind. No one should regret reading any of these author's works.


THANK YOU!

BUY LINKS:

Kobo 

E-books 1 & 2 in the series are currently on sale through most retailers until the 16 May release: GREENWODE is free, and SHIREWODE is $2.95!

About the Author

J Tullos Hennig has always possessed inveterate fascination in the myths and histories of other worlds and times. Despite having maintained a few professions in this world—equestrian, dancer, teacher, artist—Jen has never successfully managed to not be a writer. Ever.

Her most recent work is a darkly magical & award-winning historical fantasy series re-imagining the legends of Robin Hood, in which both pagan and queer viewpoints are given respectful voice.

Musings blog (You can subscribe to my newsletter at either the Musing blog or main site—you’ll receive the first and earliest notification on all updates and news, plus a gift: several short stories seldom seen in the wild.)


19 May 2017

New & Noteworthy: May 19

M.J. Neary announces the publication of her newest novel SIRENS OVER THE HUDSON, set in Recession-era Tarrytown. The book will be released by Crossroad Press in Summer 2017. Congrats M.J.!

And if you'll be at the HNS Conference in Portland, stop by and see our contributors:

Kim Rendfeld will moderate a panel entitled "How Am I Supposed to Write about This When They’ve Destroyed All the Evidence?”, in which the panelists will discuss navigating around research dead-ends.

Judith Starkston will serve on a panel entitled “Mythic Tradition and Legend vs. the Historical Record”, which will discuss shifting the stereotyped expectations of readers to make room for more diverse mythic fiction.

J.K. Knauss will be at the book signing on Saturday, June 24, signing copies of her work.

18 May 2017

Excerpt Thursday: SUMMERWODE by J Tullos Hennig

This week, we're pleased to welcome author J TULLOS HENNIG with SUMMERWODE, from the Books of the Wode seriesOne lucky winner will receive a copy of the novel in e-book format. Join us again on Sunday for an author interview, with more details about the story behind the series. Here's the blurb about the novel.


The Summer King has come to the Wode...
Yet to which oath, head or heart, shall he hold?

Once known as the Templar assassin Guy de Gisbourne, dispossessed noble Gamelyn Boundys has come to Sherwood Forest with conflicted oaths. One is of duty: demanding he tame the forest’s druidic secrets and bring them back to his Templar Masters. The other oath is of heat and heart: given to the outlaw Robyn Hood, avatar of the Horned Lord, and the Maiden Marion, embodiment of the Lady Huntress. The three of them—Summerlord, Winter King, and Maiden of the Spring—are bound by yet another promise, that of fate: to wield the covenant of the Shire Wode and the power of the Ceugant, the magical trine of all worlds. In this last, also, is Gamelyn conflicted; spectres of sacrifice and death haunt him.

Uneasy oaths begin a collision course when not only Gamelyn, but Robyn and Marion are summoned to the siege of Nottingham by the Queen. Her promise is that Gamelyn will regain his noble family’s honour of Tickhill, and the outlaws of the Shire Wode will have a royal pardon.

But King Richard has returned to England, and the price of his mercy might well be more than any of them can afford...

**An Excerpt from SUMMERWODE**

Someone shouldered hard into him, nearly sending him sprawling. Quick as a ferret, Robyn recovered and danced sideways, hand to knife and a ready snarl upon his lips.

He faced a small brace of soldiers. The one who’d nearly plowed him over hadn’t so much as stopped, but his two companions recognized a threat when they saw it. Hands on sword hilts, one with yellow chevrons emblazoned on his tunic raised a mailed fist and a voice tinged of the shire as Robyn’s own. “Gerrout, bloody fool—!”

“Is there some problem?” Gamelyn appeared at Robyn’s right, voice soft, nearly too reasonable. Deceptive as always, were one not paying attention to the steel beneath the velvet—and most didn’t.

Robyn fingered his dagger into a better position.

These soldiers, however, eyed the red sigil upon Gamelyn’s gray cloak. “Your pardon, Brother Templar,” the one in yellow offered, with a conciliatory spread of hands. His companions muttered like apologies, ducking their heads: hounds threatened with the whip. One even crossed himself as they retreated.

Robyn watched them go rather stupidly, ears still heated, heart pounding. A hand snatched his sleeve and pulled him out of the main path, close by the roar and clang of a smith’s furnace; for a half breath Robyn almost went for Gamelyn, too, stifled it just in time.

The flame was at forging heat, and they were closer than was comfortable; that and the clang-ti-tink-clang of the smith’s hammer against iron and anvil struck Robyn back into his senses. Both hands were gripping his arms, now, and hard enough to make him wince. Robyn tossed the forelock from his eyes and let a smile curve his mouth, jerking his chin at Gamelyn’s tabard. “I keep forgettin’ how handy yon sign bides in a tussle.”

The disquiet knit upon those gilt brows melted. One arched, familiar vexation. “I can’t take you  anywhere, you daft pillock.”

“And here I thought I were taking you.”

“Hardly.” Gamelyn gave him a tiny shake, an unspoken You’re all right, then? and at Robyn’s shrug, released him. “We’ve too long been in the forest.”

Nay, hardly long enough by my reckoning. But Robyn followed, gritted teeth and muscles against the beckon and lure of sensation.

Gamelyn was right; what made up the purest of survival instincts in the forest could prove ruinous in this teeming, dangerous place. Even the silent, careful pace of a forest dweller would be nowt to the likes of these but the cant of a hesitant villein… easy prey to the road-filthy men who were still arriving, marking territory with swagger and weaponry.

It was a lesson hard-learned in boyhood, long since shucked away in his own place. But this now, here?

Aye, here. What villeins bided in the camp were blending into the scenery, busy at the drudge work. Not walking the muddy, main paths as broad-shouldered and accoutered—entitled—as nobleman in whose wake Robyn ambled. No question Gamelyn had the way of it; not just because of the cloak he wore, but the manner of his wearing it. People unconsciously gave way… and twisted a curious brow at the lanky fellow keeping pace with the Templar Knight: a proper wild man dressed in furs and leathers with a monster of a longbow strapped to his back.

One foot faltered and skittered sideways in a particularly wet patch; Robyn heaved his balance back and nearly ran into another soldier stinking of mud, blood, and balls. Again, Gamelyn had to yank him out of the way.

Bloody damn, but it was a sad case when he couldn’t even walk straight, and him proper sober!

“Robyn?”

And bloody damn but Gamelyn was sounding as Shall we wrap you in a wool basket, pet? as Will Scathelock! “Aye, but ’m fair enough to skelp you one, see if I waint.”

“Fine.” Gamelyn’s nose took a decided noble’s tilt. “I’ll just let the bastards knock you sideways next time, shall I?”

“You’re saying that like I’m all up for letting ’em knock me si—!” It rattled up into a yip as Gamelyn grabbed his arm and dragged him between two hobbled sumpters.

“I’m saying we’ve no room for pride!”

“Lessen it’s yours,  milord?”

Putain de! It was a barely stoppered growl between bared teeth, those green eyes gone to gilt… and bloody sodding damn but it stood every bit Robyn had to attention when Gamelyn transformed into dangerous, knife-edge Templar.

With the added mercy of blocking every other sensation, at that.

Abrupt exasperation filled Gamelyn’s gaze. Robyn’s lip twitched sideways, and he leaned in, head cocked. “So that’s the secret to doin’ battle, then. Haver away t’ noise by having a proper rod in your pouch and no way to ease it?”

Another Frank curse; even fouler, Robyn would warrant, the way it burst from between curled lips and gritted teeth. “In case you’ve forgotten, you’ve a price on your head to make any man here wealthy.”

“Ah, but your Master would see me safe.”

“Safe.” A snort. “That depends on which Master you mean.”

Robyn snorted back. “You and Marion both, thinkin’ that bloody Temple sorcerer more’n he is.” Robyn leaned closer. “I never forget what I am, even here. ’Tis you as ent believing in what you are—“”

“My lord Confanonier?”

Gamelyn lurched back as if he’d been caught with his hand down Robyn’s breeks. No such luck, Robyn mourned.

“Ah,” Gamelyn said, prim. “Stephen.”

“Commander sent me to find you.” Young Stephen was fair-haired, flushed, and rather buggy-eyed at finding his superior surrounded by a pair of horse’s arses.

And no doubt, given the look Gamelyn flicked his way, Robyn was being considered as a matched third of the pair.

But Stephen’s attention was fastened, not on Gamelyn, but Robyn. The lad tried to speak several times, then finally stammered out, “M-my lord, is that him? Robyn Hood?”

Gamelyn rolled his eyes, and Robyn started to laugh.


BUY LINKS:

Kobo 

E-books 1 & 2 in the series are currently on sale through most retailers until the 16 May release: GREENWODE is free, and SHIREWODE is $2.95!

About the Author

J Tullos Hennig has always possessed inveterate fascination in the myths and histories of other worlds and times. Despite having maintained a few professions in this world—equestrian, dancer, teacher, artist—Jen has never successfully managed to not be a writer. Ever.

Her most recent work is a darkly magical & award-winning historical fantasy series re-imagining the legends of Robin Hood, in which both pagan and queer viewpoints are given respectful voice.

Musings blog (You can subscribe to my newsletter at either the Musing blog or main site—you’ll receive the first and earliest notification on all updates and news, plus a gift: several short stories seldom seen in the wild.)



14 May 2017

Author Interview: Blythe Gifford on RUMORS AT COURT



Today, we welcome Blythe Gifford, a long time contributor to the Unusual Historicals blog.  Her twelfth novel, RUMORS AT COURT from the Harlequin Historical line, has just been published and an excerpt was published here https://unusualhistoricals.blogspot.com/2017/05/excerpt-thursday-rumors-at-court-by.html  on Thursday.  She’s offering a free print copy to one randomly chosen commenter, so leave a comment at the end of the interview with your email address before next Sunday, May 21, for a chance to win.

First, here’s a bit about the book.  It is the third book in the Royal Wedding Series, and is set in England, late in the Fourteenth Century. At this time, England’s earlier success against France in the Hundred Years War has slipped away and the once extensive English holdings on the continent are in danger. There is unease in the country and rumors abound about the royal family and the intentions of the enemy.

The story includes a number of real historical figures, as has been the case with the other two Royal Wedding Stories and today’s interview revolves around the joys and challenges of putting real people into historical fiction.

You have had real historical figures in nearly every book.  Why?

I’m drawn to stories about real historical events and often, a story is sparked from wondering how a specific event would affect someone caught up in it.  To answer that question, my characters need to interact with the real people who were part of it.  After all, this collection of events we call “history,” is not dates and facts and battles.  It is what people caused to happen and/or how they reacted to what happened to them.

What do you like about having real people in the book?

To me, my characters are just as “real” as the historically documented ones.  And I think
Portrait of John of Gaunt, painted more than 100 years after his death
they, or people like them, might have actually existed, if we could just peek behind the curtain that hides the past from us.  So to make the situation real, it has to be as close to real people and events as I can imagine.  And I have discovered that when I am forced to understand a character in order to make that person  live on the page, it helps bring the period to life.  This can be particularly true of recognized historical figures, who, too often, have been turned into stick figures by the history books.

What are the drawbacks and challenges of including historical figures?

When a character, a king, for example, is well known, there is a certain perspective of the kind of person he was and it is difficult to violate that.  Since I write primarily in the medieval time period, details of temperament are scarce.  Even contemporaneous portraits for this period are nearly impossible to find.  This is particularly true of women, for whom, often, it is hard to pinpoint such basic information as dates of birth and death.  I’ve included many well-known (at least, to medievalists) women in my books:  Alice Perrers and Joan of Kent, for example.  For most of these women, not a single full-length, scholarly biography has ever been written. 

Ostensible portrait of Constanza (Constance) of Castile
That is certainly true of Constanza of Castile, who appears in RUMORS AT COURT.  Most of what we know of her must be inferred from meagre references in other sources, particularly biographies of her husband, John of Gaunt.  Katherine Swynford, Gaunt’s mistress and also a character in the book, has been slightly better covered, primarily because of Anya Seton’s novel KATHERINE.  For me, for this story, that was a particular challenge because I have known, and loved, Katherine’s story for most of my life.  From that point of view, which was Katherine’s as a heroine, Constanza was little more than Gaunt’s means to the throne and  a vessel for his child.  Constanza was portrayed as an unpleasant, overly religious woman who kept to herself and hated England.  Suddenly, in my book, I had to understand and portray both women, in a way that made sense for the story.  It made me much more sympathetic.

And do you ever fudge the facts?

In order to tell a story, you inevitably have to streamline, leave things out, tell the essentials that affect this story, but may not tell the whole story.  For example, Geoffrey Chaucer,
Possible portrait of Katherine Swynford
English poet and author of “The Canterbury Tales,” was part of Gaunt’s household and married to Katherine’s sister.  It’s a wonderful historical tidbit, but I could not find a way to drop it into the story without making it feel gratuitous.  I did include a reference to love such as “the poet” wrote of.  And my editor, who knows the period well, recognized the poet as Chaucer and the allusion to his “Book of The Duchess.”  But you do not have to know that background to understand the story.

My books are historical romance, not non-fiction, but I try not to violate the reader’s trust.  If a reader goes on to explore more books about the period, and I always hope she does, my goal is that she will never feel betrayed by my choices.  All my books except for the first contain an author’s afterward, in which I can explain where I took liberties with the facts and a little of what came after the book ends.

You always use real historical figures as secondary characters.  Have you ever thought of writing a fictionalized biography?

No! That would create too many constraints.  I like having my own characters, and drawing on my own imagination to see their stories develop.  I don’t think I could rationalize even the minor historical license I do take if I were telling the story of a real person. 

So now a question for commenters:  How do you feel about real historical figures in fiction?  Any examples of books in which it has worked particularly well?  Or, have you ever learned something about history from a work of fiction?  Leave a comment before May 21 for a chance to win a copy of RUMORS AT COURT.

About the author:
After many years in public relations, advertising and marketing, Blythe Gifford started writing seriously after a corporate layoff. Ten years and one layoff later, she became an overnight success when she sold her first book to the Harlequin Historical line.  Since then, she has published ten books, primarily set in England and on the Scottish Borders, most revolving around real historical figures and events.  For more information, visit her webpage: www.blythegifford.com, find her on

Author photo Jennifer Girard - Other illustrations in Public Domain
 Cover Art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited.  All rights reserved. ®and T are trademarks of Harlequin Enterprises Limited and/or its affiliated companies, used under license. Copyright 2017

11 May 2017

Excerpt Thursday: RUMORS AT COURT by Blythe Gifford


Today, we have a peek at the newest release from long-time Unusual Historicals contributor Blythe Gifford, RUMORS AT COURT, out now from the Harlequin Historical line.  Blythe will be back on Sunday for an interview about the book.  She’ll be focusing on the joys and challenges of using real historical figures in fiction, so this excerpt includes a scene featuring several of the real people who are part of the story.

 

RUMORS AT COURT is the third Royal Wedding story.  All three are set in the 14th century English court of Edward III.  This time, while the royal wedding in the book is that of Edward’s son Edmund to Isabella of Castile, the royal marriage at the center of the book is that of Constanza of Castile, Isabella’s older sister, to John of Gaunt, Edward’s third son.  Through marriage to Constanza, Gaunt assumed the title of King of Castile. Also a character in the book is Katherine Swynford, who became Gaunt’s mistress.  (Blythe wrote about her here.)

 

But the center of the story is the romance between two fictional characters, who serve John and Constanza.  Here’s a recap:

 

Wed by royal command! 

Widow Valerie of Florham wants nothing more than to forget her abusive marriage and live peacefully at the mercy of no man. She'd never have dreamed of a liaison with handsome Sir Gil Wolford, but then comes a royal decree—they must wed! 

Gil craves military conquest in Castile, far from his haunted past. Marriage to Lady Valerie is the last thing he should want, yet both have truths to hide from the rumormongers at court. They have no choice…and, once wed, the marriage bed changes everything!


RTBookreviews gave it a 4-Star review, writing “delights on every level, from the sumptuous settings to the whispered…rumors spinning through the royal court.  …Gifford’s characters are always well developed and…deeply resistant to a new passion…until, of course, love gets its way…”


 

From Chapter One of RUMORS AT COURT:

The Savoy Palace, London—February 9th, 1372

 

The English and Castilian ladies were shepherded into the palace and then to the Hall side by side, close enough for Valerie to hear the foreign chatter. She could not follow all the words, but the lilt of the language, the faint scent of Castilian soap, seemed familiar.

Perhaps her blood remembered these things. Blood that had come from another Castilian woman exiled to England, generations ago. Like Constanza, Queen of Castile, she, too, had been taken from her home and sent to a distant place.

Valerie touched the brooch of copper and enamel on her gown, a reminder of her long-dead relative. She must hold her head high amidst the unfamiliar trappings of court. Soon enough, she would be allowed to return to the earth of her home and her garden, slumbering now in winter.

The Queen reached the front of the Hall and turned to face the room. Valerie squinted, trying to see her clearly. She was fair, even sallow. Were her eyes blue? Too far to see, but her nose looked longish for the fashion, her figure tall and sturdy.

Her looks, in truth, were unimportant. Her gift to her husband was her country, not her beauty. And a woman, even a royal one, had no more choices than any other woman. She must marry for reasons of state, no matter what her heart. And if she wanted to be Queen in fact instead of just in name, this woman needed a man both willing and wealthy enough to fight for her kingdom.

Suddenly, the Queen touched a hand to her belly and the curtain of women around her closed tightly.

Were the rumours true? The Queen had arrived in England months ago, but had stayed in the country, some said because of the early ills of being with child.

The Duke—Valerie could still not think of him as a king—would have wasted no time getting an heir on her. They both needed to prove they could produce another generation to sit on Castile’s throne, so that might be the reason the woman did not look her best. All would be forgiven if she bore a son.

Something Valerie had failed to do.

‘She looks so young,’ Lady Katherine, next to her, whispered.

Valerie murmured something that might be mistaken for assent. The Queen was nearly Valerie’s own age and only a few years younger than Lady Katherine. Katherine, too, was newly widowed and had three children of her own. She might be feeling the length of her life.

Though she mourns her husband no more than I do mine.

She could not say how she knew. They had met only recently and never spoken of it, but Valerie felt certain that they both recited the requisite prayers for the loss of a husband while secretly revelling in their new freedom.

The line of ladies shielding the Queen parted. The Queen had settled into a chair at the front of the hall beside the Duke. Her sister came to stand beside her and the procession of lords and ladies shuffled into line to be presented.

Valerie, following Katherine, was surprised and honoured that she had been invited to this ceremony. Her husband had been a knight, but a lowly one. Lady Katherine’s husband had been the same, but she was here because she took care of the Duke’s children by his first wife. Now, she would move into his second wife’s household, a strong link to what the Queen needed to know about England and, perhaps, even about her husband.

As Valerie was presented to at least a dozen of the Queen’s ladies, she was called upon to do little beyond nod politely. The Queen’s people smiled, silent, not attempting the unfamiliar tongue.

Even the Queen remained impassive in the face of all the introductions. Surely the poor woman had absorbed nothing about the strangers paraded before her.

Then, Valerie heard her name called and knelt before the Queen. A flurry of conversation, the Duke, speaking to the interpreter, who then spoke to the Queen.

Descended from one who came to England with Eleanor of Castile, wife of the first Edward.

Ah, it was her ancestor who had brought her here, the woman who had served that other foreign Queen nearly a hundred years ago.

Finally, the Queen understood and nodded. ‘Habla la lengua de sus antepasados?’

Now she was the one who struggled to understand. Speak? Did she speak…?

She was a widow now. She could speak aloud, even to a queen, without looking over her shoulder for her husband’s permission. And yet, the language of Castile was as foreign to her as hers was to the Queen.

She shook her head. ‘Only enough to say Bienvenida.' That meant welcome. At least, she thought it did.

It was enough to make the Queen smile. ‘Gracias.’ She stretched out a hand, touching the brooch with reverent fingers, then spoke to her interpreter.

‘La Reina wishes to know, is the brooch you wear hers?’

Valerie smiled. ‘Yes, Your Grace. It, too, came from Castile.’ The Queen, the story went, had been generous to her ladies.

Nodding, this Queen cleared her throat and spoke, each word careful and distinct. ‘We to meet again.’

The words touched her like a benediction. ‘I hope so, Your Grace.’

Valerie paused to kneel before the Duke—no, the King—barely looking at him as she hugged the Queen’s words close to her heart.

When she rose, still smiling, and turned away, it was to come face to face with the knight she had seen earlier at the Duke’s right hand. Dark, ragged brows shielded pale blue eyes. His nose and cheeks were sharply carved. He looked to be a man, like her husband, more at home in battle than in the Hall.

She nodded, courteous. Waiting.

‘Lady Valerie, I am Sir Gilbert Wolford.’

Her momentary glow faded. ‘The man they call The Wolf.’

The one who had commanded her husband to his death.

  


About the author:
After many years in public relations, advertising and marketing, Blythe Gifford started writing seriously after a corporate layoff. Ten years and one layoff later, she became an overnight success when she sold her first book to the Harlequin Historical line.  Since then, she has published ten books, primarily set in England and on the Scottish Borders, most revolving around real historical figures and events.  For more information, visit her webpage: www.blythegifford.com, find her on

Author photo Jennifer Girard  Excerpt © 2017 Wendy B. Gifford, all rights reserved
Cover Art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited.  All rights reserved. ®and T are trademarks of Harlequin Enterprises Limited and/or its affiliated companies, used under license. Copyright 2017