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Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Excerpt and Giveaway Warrior's Moon by Jaclyn Hawkes

Published: November 15th, 2013

Description:

Warrior's Moon Medieval Historical Romance by Jaclyn M. Hawkes Never in all the kingdom has there been a more brave and protective champion. Nor such a loyal and capable maiden. And they loved each other desperately. But is their love strong enough to withstand all their dark age holds—danger, feudalism, disease, and unfair oppression? Yes, they truly loved each other desperately. They loved their kingdom more.

Praise for Warrior's Moon

"This book has adventure, memorable characters, and tons of action. There is even romance! I absolutely loved it!!!" ~Laura (Goodreads)

"I loved this book! Great characters, I love a strong female lead. I really enjoy all of Jaclyn Hawkes books, but I must say this in one of my favorites!" ~ KMon (Amazon)

EXCERPT




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Sometimes Tristan and Chantaya came to Sir Mordecai’s with Peyton. She always brought her honey cakes or some good thing to give and true to form, she was always right in the middle of whatever Mordecai and Peyton were doing at the time, even though Tristan was often bored of it all. It never even entered Chantaya’s mind that a female shouldn’t necessarily know how to wield a sword or shoot a bow. And, although at first Mordecai was skeptical, he too soon succumbed to Chantaya’s ability to sweet talk anyone into letting her have her way. ‘Twasn’t long before she could ride Wallace expertly and Mordecai even made a small bow that just fit her to teach her archery and gave her a miniature wooden sword for her twelfth birthday. 

By her thirteenth, she was good enough with them that Tristan didn’t even bother trying to compete with her and Peyton himself was hard put to keep her from stabbing him when they sparred. And she had learned to handle even Mordecai’s new younger, more spirited horse, Bartok, like she was glued to it.

Age didn’t make Chantaya any less capricious. She still lived life with an enthusiasm that was at once, entirely endearing and at times entirely dangerous. One afternoon, she spun while sparring and slipped. She took a hard enough spill into the dirt of Mordecai’s yard that she gave herself a bloody nose and Mordecai obviously felt horribly guilty. 

Peyton didn’t feel guilty. He felt like ‘Twas finally time to put his foot down and make her stop playing at being some kind of female Robin Hood, before both of their parents found out and forbade them from seeing Mordecai anymore. As he stood beside her putting pressure on the cloth that he held to her nose, he began to lecture her about acting more like a lady. Thinking that it was going remarkably well, he was rudely awakened when she pulled the bloody cloth from her face so she could laugh up at him.

She pushed him away, stood up and picked up her sword. Peyton began to swear and Mordecai looked from one to the other of them in consternation. He was even more concerned when Peyton listened for a second as she began to wheedle him, then simply picked her up and swung her over his shoulder and headed for home which only made Chantaya laugh again. Peyton simply waved at Mordecai and kept trekking into the woods.

*******
The old man eventually sat down on his porch bench and shook his head. Never had he conceived of a student like eighteen year old Peyton Wolfgar. He was quiet and focused and completely competent and Mordecai knew that if given the chance, he had the potential to become more legendary as a knight than even he himself had ever dreamed. Mordecai just wasn’t sure what to do about that. And he certainly didn’t know what to do about this strikingly beautiful, half girl half woman who could do anything and wrap anyone around her little finger. She was an incredibly good little warrior, yet she looked like a woodland nymph and took absolutely nothing the slightest bit serious.

Mordecai looked out at where the two of them had disappeared into the forest and chuckled. At least Peyton seemed to know how to handle her. Mordecai was surprised that she hadn’t gotten angry at Peyton, but she just always seemed to laugh at him. And Mordecai was surprised that Peyton didn’t get angry at that, but he, in turn, always simply seemed to take Chantaya in stride. Five years apart, but they were quite a pair, those two.

The old knight stood and stretched and walked down to talk to his old horse, Wallace who stood patiently beside his new one and munched lackadaisically. Mordecai wasn’t truly spry enough to be teaching these youngsters like this and yet, he wasn’t nearly as decrepit as his dear old horse. Wallace was literally on his last legs and Mordecai knew it. He wouldn’t be surprised to wake up and find the old boy had died in his sleep any morning now. Mordecai petted the old campaigner, then sighed and rubbed his own shoulder where it ached from sparring earlier. They neither of them were up to this, but Peyton was too good to not train. That was all there was to it.

Peyton and Chantaya were a good ten minutes into the woods when her nose started to bleed again and it dripped down Peyton’s back. She had just been going to let him carry her all the way home like an old grain sack over his shoulder, but the bloody nose changed that. 

‘Twas kind of fun to get Peyton’s dander up. Especially when he resorted to carrying her. He’d become all but brawny as he’d matured and she thought it was great to be hefted over those great shoulders. He was so funny when he thought she needed to behave better, although you’d think he’d realize sooner or later that that old lecture about acting like a lady wasn’t going to get him anywhere. Who wanted to act like a lady when you could act like a knight? Peyton should have figured that one out. Now, if there had been some grand, fancy ball gown involved like she had seen one time in the dressmaker’s shop, that would be one thing. But, village girls had to be content with good, drab sturdy working dresses and they didn’t hold a candle to sword fighting.

Peyton put her down when she mentioned the blood on his back. He looked at her with concern as he pulled another cloth from his pocket and put pressure to her nose again. With his other hand, he wiped at the blood on her face with his sleeve, sighed again and said, “Chani, what’s to be done with you? Isabella would be horrified.”

She rolled her eyes at him. “Oh, a nose bleed never bothered my mother and well you know it, Papa.”

He tried to look stern and said, “I’m not talking about the nosebleed, Chani. I’m talking about the sword fighting. And the archery and the riding astride Bartok. Grand Goshen girl, I daresay you’d wrestle me if I agreed to it. It’s pure shameful. You’re not six anymore. It truly is time you grew up and acted like a lady. You near look like one, if one doesn’t notice you’re carrying some gruesome weapon. Isabella would be appalled and don’t try to deny it. If you don’t straighten up, I’m going to tell her myself and she’ll make you stay home and learn to sew or something.”

“I already know how to sew and I don’t think she’d be as thoroughly appalled as you think. She’s the one I got my nature from, you know. Why do you think she knows how to read and ride astride as well? She’s not exactly your most demure matron.”

“Your mother never acts inappropriately.”

“Neither do I.” She pushed his hand away and gingerly touched her nose to see if it had stopped. “I think it’s all right now.”

He leaned toward her and gently began to wipe at her face. “You’re covered in blood. Isabella will think I tried to beat you. Sword fighting is inappropriate, Chani. And you’re done. There will be no more sparring girls. It’s over. It should have been over as soon as you began to . . . uhm . . . As soon as you . . . Now that you’re not a little girl anymore.”

Chantaya put her hands on her hips. “I am thirteen, Peyton Wolfgar. And I’ll do as I please, thank you! You are not my Papa.”

“You’re almost fourteen. And you look like you’re seventeen. So act like it. And your Papa would have said the same thing and you know it. Now come. Let’s get you home before your nose starts to spout again.” He turned and began to walk and she fell into step with him.

Stubbornly, she said, “Thirteen is thirteen. I don’t have to act seventeen until I am seventeen and I might not even then if I don’t want to. My nose would be fine without some brute packing me around like a sheave of thatching. Why would looking older preclude my learning to sword fight? ‘Tis ridiculous!”

“Preclude? Lovely word. But there’s no need to impress me because I can read as well as you, girl. And ’tis not ridiculous. People will commence to talk, Chani. You’ll get a reputation as a wild girl and the boys will come round and expect . . . Well, they’ll . . . Just trust me on this, Chani. You have to behave.”

“Peyton, you and Mordecai are the only two people in the world who know I sword fight. Well, and Tristan.  Or can shoot a bow or ride astride or throw a knife or anything else. And it’s not like you two are going to give me a reputation or start a rumor that I’m a witch. In public I behave perfectly. Always. More than perfect. My mother insists I wear a hooded cloak nearly every time I go anywhere where there are people. She’s near ashamed of me for some reason. So you can’t accuse me of misbehaving.”

His voice softened. “She’s not ashamed, Chani. Just the opposite. She’s worried people will notice how beautiful you’ve become. She’s trying to protect you.”

“Protect me from what?”

“From . . . Simply from . . . You need to talk to her about this, Chani. It’s not truly my place, but I can promise you she’s not ashamed. She just wants you to be protected. Not every man is going to be as trustworthy as Tristan and me and Mordecai. Especially some of the spoiled gentry who think they’re untouchable. And indeed, in many ways, they are. They’re . . . ” He hesitated and then said, “Just ask your mother. I’m sure as pretty as she is that she learned as young as you.”

She looked up at him and for once wasn’t sure what to say. Finally, she said, “You’re talking in riddles, Pey.  I haven’t a notion of what you’re saying.”

“Good then. I wish that you never need know what I’m trying to say. ‘Tis a shame you will have to learn. It’s not fair, but then life seldom is. Even at thirteen I’m sure you know that by now.”

They reached her cottage and stepped up on the porch. Her mother met them at the door and took one look at Chantaya’s face still smeared with some of the blood and she quickly glanced back and forth between the two of them as she said, “Great heavens! What has she been up to this time, Peyton? Chantaya, are you well?”

Chantaya nodded as Peyton turned back and said, “She’ll tell you, I imagine, Mrs. Kincraig. It’s always something with her, but then you already know that. Good evening.”



About the author:
Jaclyn M. Hawkes grew up in Utah with 6 sisters, 4 brothers and any number of pets. (It was never boring!) She got a bachelor’s degree, had a career and traveled extensively before settling down to her life’s work of being the mother of four magnificent and sometimes challenging children. She loves shellfish, the out of doors, the youth and hearing her children laugh. She and her fine husband, their family, and their sometimes very large pets, now live in a mountain valley in northern Utah, where it smells like heaven and kids still move sprinkler pipe.


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2 comments:

horade said...

Thanks for this giveaway !

Daniela Ella said...

O carte legata de medieval? Foarte frumos, dar cred ca acea coperta nu e chiar potrivita. Interesanta ideea cu regatul aflat in pericol, cu iubirea lor care trebuie sa ramana vie pe tot parcursul luptei si tot asa.