Medieval Romance Release! – Betrayal: Time Enough to Love

Betrayal_logo

Betrayal

Time Enough to Love

Book Two

Jenna Jaxon

 

Historical Romance

 

The worst betrayals come from within.

After a night of passion with her betrothed, Sir Geoffrey Longford, Lady Alyse de Courcy is eagerly looking forward to her wedding.  But when Geoffrey is forced to marry another, a heartbroken and possibly pregnant Alyse finds herself in her own private hell. She must either gamble with her reputation or marry someone she does not love.

A reputed connoisseur of women, Thomas, Lord Braeton, has dallied with many ladies of King Edward’s court, although he has favored none.  However, as Geoffrey’s best friend, Thomas has sworn to serve and protect Alyse, an oath now sorely tested when he agrees to marry her—in name only—to guard her reputation. Yet, as they grow closer, and Thomas discovers Alyse’s sweet but spirited nature, he comes to desire a marriage in truth.  Can he overcome her memory of Geoffrey or is Thomas doomed to burn with passion for a woman he can never possess?

If you would like to purchase the first part of the trilogy, Betrothal, it is available at Amazon  Smashwords 

An  excerpt:

“Geoffrey bade me give you this.” From beneath his cloak, Thomas withdrew a small purse, opened it and presented Alyse with a single sprig of lavender. “He picked it this morning ere I left and warned me not to crush it.”

Tears started at the sight of the bit of lavender. She wiped them carefully before she took the sweet-smelling flower from him. Raising the little plant to her nose, she inhaled its familiar scent. And remembered their interlude in the rose bower.

Thomas chuckled. “You and Geoffrey are certainly well matched. He did the self-same thing before he handed it to me.”

Alyse smiled with pleasure at the image his words conjured. “Thank you, Thomas. You are more than kind to have carried these messages from my lord.”

Thomas lifted her hand to his lips. “I am, as always, yours to command, my lady.” He kissed it, barely skimming the surface of her flesh.

It tickled, and she suppressed a giggle.  “Will you take your rest now?  You must be tired with your double journey in so short a space of time.”

Thomas stretched, the lines on his face making his weariness even more apparent. “Nay, I am off to attend the king. His Majesty will desire my report on how Sir Roland fares.” He smiled kindly. “However, should you have need of me, lady, you have but to summon me. I am at your service until Geoffrey’s return.” With a dashing bow, Thomas spun on his heel, his cloak swirling ’round him.

Alyse watched him go, savoring the words from her betrothed as she once again lifted the sprig of lavender to her nose. A token from her beloved she would cherish until his return. With a sigh for that day to come quickly, she pushed the door to the princess’s chamber open.

She tried to slip in quietly, hoping to be unobserved. Of course, everyone turned their gaze to the door the moment she entered. Alyse sped inside and crossed to the princess, immediately sinking into a low curtsy. She waited, fearing the displeasure of the young woman who had only ever shown her kindness.

Princess Joanna paused before bidding her to rise. “Well, Lady Alyse, you were overlong at your prayers this morning, were you not?”

Alyse stood and nodded, unease sweeping through her.

The princess gave Alyse an eager look. “Are you doing penance for some…indiscretion?”

Her heart leaped into her throat. Guilt over her tryst with Geoffrey on the night of the tournament made her drop her gaze to her hands.

Lord, did she know? Did everyone?

Alyse fidgeted with the edge of her sleeve. She opened her mouth to deny the allegation—what else could she do with her reputation at stake?—when Anne spoke up. “Aye, Your Highness, she should have been on her knees all morning.”

Shivers of dread coursed through her. Anne had seen her that night. She knew.

Alyse gaped at her chamber mate, her mouth bone dry. How much would she tell?

The disagreeable girl continued to stare at her, arching her neck, a triumphant smirk on her face.

Eyes wide, Princess Joanna looked from Anne to her before leaning forward. “Is this true, Lady Alyse? What dire transgression have you committed?”

 

Fabulous excerpt! You can find Betrayal on:

Amazon and Smashwords

Or leave a comment on what you think for an opportunity to win one  a free copy of Betrayal! And as additional icing on the celebration cake, book #1, Betrothal, is on FREE on Amazon until next week when it goes for .99 cents up to February 14!!

 

About the Author:

Jenna Jaxon is a multi-published author of historical and contemporary romance.  Her historical romance, Only Scandal Will Do, the first in a series of five interconnecting novels, was released in July 2012. Her contemporary works include Hog Wild, Almost Perfect, and 7 Days of Seduction.  She is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America as well as a member of Chesapeake Romance Writers. Her medieval romance, Time Enough to Love, is being published as a series of three novellas.  The first book, Betrothal, released on April 19th.  The second novella, Betrayal, will release at the end of January.

Jenna has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager.  A romantic herself, she has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise.  She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories. She lives in Virginia with her family and a small menagerie of pets.  When not reading or writing, she indulges her passion for the theatre, working with local theatres as a director.  She often feels she is directing her characters on their own private stage.

She has equated her writing to an addiction to chocolate because once she starts she just can’t stop.

Find Jenna online at:

http://jennajaxon.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jenna-Jaxon/146857578723570

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4960704.Jenna_Jaxon

Other Books by Jenna Jaxon:

Betrothal–Historical Romance

Only Scandal Will Do–Historical Romance

7 Days of Seduction–Contemporary Erotic Romance

Almost Perfect–Contemporary Erotic Romance

Hog Wild–Contemporary Erotic Romance

 

 

Celebration of Reader’s Support Blog Hop & Giveaway!

Blog Hop button              {Hit the button above to be able to enter for the giveaways!!!!}

 

In celebration of Collette Cameron’s Blog Hop & Giveaway, Thanking & Appreciating all who have supported authors, I am posting a section of my upcoming novel, Love & Vengeance. This novel on Ancient Rome, based on the gladiators, will be released in April.

postcard-4inx6in-h-frontLove & Vengeance

Rome 108 A.D., under the Emperor Trajan, is the center of the civilized world. It is a time of sophistication and decadence, a brutal world to their conquered.

Marcus, a Roman citizen sentenced to die as a gladiator, accused by his wife and brother for a crime he did not commit. Yet death eludes him and he rises to become champion of the sands. The title he does not want. He seeks revenge but his victories in the Colosseum bestow monetary rewards he can use to save a beautiful slave, Gustina, from certain death by the beasts. She gives him a taste of love in a world full of lies, betrayal and murder.

But his overwhelming desire for vengeance, for blood and the kill, brings a higher price tag – can he satisfy the demon inside him and face the truth? A truth that will kill the woman he loves?

Excerpt:

[WARNING – This story is based on research to accurately depict life in Ancient Rome . It contains the brutality and sexuality with course language. Reader’s discretion is advised]

Gustina stood, her lips curved slowly. “Hi.”

He gazed over her and noticed her bare toes curled on the dirt floor. With a smirk, he returned, “Hi.”

Every nerve in his body tingled at her presence. She was here. In his cell. And it was night, long after the final meal. He wanted to get up but found he had no control and it wasn’t all wine induced. There was no need to bother. She came and sat down next to him.

His mouth dried. His insides tightened. And for once, the demon was silent – he felt the creature hovering, as if crouched and waiting. Last time, she stormed away from him.

She reached for his hand on the injured arm. Lifting it gently, she untucked the ends and unraveled the linen, exposing the wound. He watched, as if in a trance, as she turned it slightly, humming. A small pot he hadn’t seen her bring in, was at her side. She popped the corked lid off it and dipped her fingers in it, pulling them out covered in golden gel – honey.

“Tell me if I hurt you,” she said quietly, gently covering the healing lash marks with the stuff. Her touch was warm. It didn’t hurt except for the longing that burned deep within him. With every one of her strokes, he felt his cock stiffen, hardening and painful but he wouldn’t tell her. Fear she’d flee from him kept him quiet.

She tied the ends of the new binding and still holding his arm, slowly gazed up at him. He wondered if she noticed his tented subligaculum. Every muscle tensed, expecting if she looked into his eyes, she run, because he couldn’t hide his desires. To feel her body next to him, his cock buried inside her, his tongue tasting her mouth. It was a fever, one he hoped she had too. He felt a shiver in her touch and the knot she swallowed, so elegantly the muscles in her neck worked.

“Marcus,” she whispered.

He felt the raw, primal urge sweep through him. To claim her again. Make her his again. But he didn’t move.

“I. Want. You.” Gods, his own tone husky, deep, that it didn’t sound like him.

Her cheek ticked as her teeth tugged her lower lip between them. She nodded.

His body understood that language. Without another word, he pulled her into his arms, his mouth covering hers. Her arms snaked around his neck as she smashed herself against him. His tongue traced the seam to her lip, barely a touch when they fell open to his invasion and he moaned loudly.

They were on his bedding, arms embracing, legs intertwined, and tongues dancing in a hunger older than the gods. He turned her underneath him and broke the kiss. Her face was flush, her breath deep and hard like his. He grinned as his hand pulled at the tie on her tunic. It separated and he quickly snagged the cloth from her. Damn, she was beautiful. As he bent to kiss her, she spread her legs, her hips shifting below his hardened cock, begging him. With a growl, he took her mouth as his arousal slid into her.

The demon purred.

 

May I Introduce…

Civil War Ball 2 2            By the time of the American Civil War, Victorian America followed many of Great Britain’s rules of society. Ladies looked forward to their next copy of Godey’s for the latest fashion for instance. What Queen Victoria did in London set the tide for manners and etiquette both in England and “across the pond” here in the United States. It is these actions that dictated society and guarded the sexes that give us a taste of life back then. Let us take a look at the foundation of society as set back in the mid-19th century.

Introductions: When people met back then, introductions were made based on the rules of etiquette. No man would consider simply walking up to a lady he didn’t know and say “hi”. That was considered rude and crass. If there was a lady he wished to meet, he needed to find someone who knew them both to make introductions. “Miss Smith, may I introduce Mr. Silvers of Charleston…” Now, if Mr. Silvers was of low account and totally unsuitable for the lady, this friend could deny introducing him or if it was made and she didn’t care for Silvers, she could snub him off. Really raise her nose as it were and ignore the man. This, of course, would be held against him as unworthy and the news passed quickly to avoid him.

While we are here, let us discuss names. Gentlemen and the workingman were always called Mr. Lastname while in public. Ladies were Miss if they were single or Mrs. if they were married (there was no such creature as “Ms.”). Mrs. John Smith was Mary Smith’s public name as ladies took their husband’s surname at marriage and protocol stated the first in public. If Mary was single and her father’s name was Charles Silvers, her name on invitations to her coming out ball were “Miss Charles Silvers invites…”

CW-dancers          At societal gatherings, like a ball, a couple was announced as Mr. Charles Silvers and lady – not even Mrs. Charles Silvers if she is his wife!

It was a gentlemen’s role to protect the fairer sex. For instance, if he was with her on the boardwalk in the city, he’d place himself between the street and her to keep her away from harm if a wagon or horse got out of control and barreled into the curb or to give her another type of barrier from mud or horse dung from slinging off the road onto the curb. If she were on an outing with a servant, the maid or male servant would serve the same purpose.

If a man was courting a lady, first the man had to ask her father for permission (or her male guardian if her father was deceased). Courting had its own rules. Ladies of the lower classes could marry at age 14 – an age we writers shy from, considering today’s way of thinking. Middle to upper class ladies usually had a “coming out” at about 18 or 19 years of age. Many times this was a ball where they were introduced and they dressed in bright pastels like pink, yellow or light green, often with flowers in their hair – even if it was winter. They wore the light colors because in candle or oil light, darker color dresses blended with the walls but the light stood out.

Civil_War_Ball_GownsAs they made the marriage circuit, it should be easy to find a husband in America at this time as the number of men out numbered the women prior to the War. Granted, some men headed west where land was cheap but that is another discussion. If a man wanted to court a lady, he needed to be 5 to 10 years older than her (if she was 18, he needed to be 23-28) and show he had the way and means to support her and their future children – in other words, he needed to have a job and a house, not living at home off of mom and dad.

Courting rules were simple – the couple was never allowed alone. A trusted servant or family member accompanied them – trusted by the parents, not the daughter. If she liked him enough, she might allow him to call her by her first name but it was her decision, not his. Otherwise, she was Miss Silvers. Also, fashion had women wearing gloves whenever they were out or in formal situations. These gloves were generally white or ivory though they could match the color of her dress. Made of kid leather for the upper classes and cloth for the lower, these gloves protected her hands from the sun and other elements and from chafing. If she started to have feelings for her gentleman friend, not only would she allow him to call her by her first name, but also grant him the privilege of holding her bare hand (prior to this, only her father, brothers and lady friends could do so). And gentlemen of all classes wore gloves as well and one reason was, it was an honor and a privilege to help a lady in distress (i.e.: she fell or needed help in a carriage). If he ruined her gloves with callus on his hands, he was obligated to replace her gloves. For the workingman, kid gloves equaled more than he made in a month!

valentines-dayBack to courting, there were two ways a couple could be “alone.” One was on the front porch – basically they were on display for the whole street. No hanky-panky there. The other was the front parlor. Usually the front parlor had a couple of doors to it and/or a parlor mirror. These mirrors were convex in shape and reflected EVERYTHING in the room that anyone could see as they passed the doorway. Quite a hampering device.

Rule of thumb was if they were alone anywhere else for more than fifteen minutes, she was ruined, a “soiled dove”, and no man would want her therefore the young man with her would be forced to marry her to save her reputation. The “shotgun” marriage so to speak though there no doubt was a time or two daddy stood with a loaded gun and cocked it if the man almost backed out from saying “I do.” If he was shot after the ceremony, she was a widow and in good standing. Not saying that happened but…

Divorce – unacceptable in the Victorian age. Only one ground allowed it to happen and that was infidelity, mostly by the wife. No, if you didn’t like your spouse, you might live on different floors of the house and never meet or in different houses but if invited to an event, you went together as husband and wife and put a front on for society.

If she made it to age 23 without getting a proposal (a forward lady, speaking her own thoughts or opinions and not being the demur delicate flower could steer men away), the lady was now a spinster, “put on the shelf” as it were. If she attended balls, she had to wear the darker colors of navy, dark green, etc. with no flowers in her hair and sit against the wall, resigned. Society wasn’t designed to have ladies be “independent”. Women were under male guardianship their entire lives – first their father than husband. If a wallflower, they still were under dad and could be the mistress to their father’s home if mother was dead, the nanny to their sibling’s kids or work in a hat boutique – those were about the only options available. If they taught, they had to go out to the wild west (at this time, Kansas City represented the wild west) for lady teachers were not the norm in the 19th century and very few allowed to teach in a classroom. The west was desperate for teachers so they’d take anyone willing to travel to the sparsely settled wilderness. If in KC teaching, she meets the man of her dreams and they marry, it is expected of her to quit teaching. Which brings us to another issue –

Work. Ladies didn’t work. The lower classes did but middle to upper were not suppose to. Even if her husband lost his job, it was unacceptable for her to work, as it’s his job to make the money to feed and support the family and hers to raise the kids and run the house (the “Spheres of Domesticity” firmly in place). Therefore, some took in mending or laundry, under the table, and kept it hidden. If discovered, it could be a problem. And as to domestic abuse, the rule was what happened behind marriage doors was no one’s business. Quite disturbing.

CW-355-Capitol-Farewell_Colson_forPrintThis is a taste of society in Victorian America. There are plenty of etiquette books made at that time – these were for the middle and lower class and mostly for men so they’d know how to carry themselves. Upper classes were taught this as they grew up.

What time do you want to live in? Back then, it’s very polite and structured but for ladies of an independent nature, it was hell!