Thoughts on the wild, the weird, and the romantic from author Joy Nash

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Joy Nash is a USA Today Bestselling Author and RITA Award Finalist applauded by Booklist for her "tart wit, superbly crafted characters, and sexy, magic-steeped plots."

» Wednesday, June 03, 2009

To Tempt a Knight by Gerri Russell

The Countdown Continues!

Days 'till the Summer Solstice: 18

Today, for your pleasure, another Great (Late) Summer Read, coming Aug 25th! Geez. Wish I didn't have to wait that long for this one - I love hunky knights!


To Tempt a Knight by Gerri Russell


In the light of the moon, the pale woolen cloth nearly glowed. But it was the bloodred cross sewn onto the fabric at the side of the cloak that riveted her attention. A Templar’s cloak.

Siobhan’s gaze shot to William’s. “Yours?”

He nodded as he settled himself on the ground next to the opening.

“How long have you been …” She hesitated, not quite certain how to phrase what she wanted to know.

“Hiding?” he provided for her.

She nodded.

“It feels like a lifetime, but in reality it’s been only four years for me.”

Sorrow lingered beneath his words. “Do you miss your home?”

He averted his gaze, hiding any emotion the darkness might not conceal. “I never truly had a home. All my life I’ve lived by my sword. It shelters me, feeds me, and protects me.”

“It sounds very lonely,” she said, casting a glance at his profile in the darkness of the cave.

“It gives me what I need.”

Siobhan hesitated from asking more because of the dour tone of his voice. She’d touched on something that he didn’t want to discuss. As her eyes adjusted to the pale moonlight, Siobhan looked around the small cave. Nothing but bare, damp rock surrounded them. The soft surge and retreat of the waves sounded below. She crossed her arms over her chest, hugging the scroll close to her, trying to ward off the chill of the night.

“We can’t risk a fire,” he said as though he sensed the shudder that raced through her just then. “Come, sit beside me.”

She sat, leaning back against the shale wall, then held the leather casing that contained the scroll in her lap. With hesitant fingers, she brushed the leather surface.

“What’s on the scroll?” he asked, his tone even now.

“I’m not certain.”

Even in the darkness she could see his puzzled frown. “You risked your life for that scroll and you do not even know what it contains?”

She frowned down at the leather that protected the contents inside. “My father sent me to retrieve this moments before he was abducted.” She turned toward William. In the half-light his face was a study of dark planes and angles. “I can’t help wondering if he knew something would happen to him today.” She bit down on her lip as she fingered the container’s cap. “This is all I have left.” She didn’t expect him to understand.

“Open it,” he said softly with no accusation in his tone. Did he understand? Or was he anxious for her to reveal the scroll’s secrets for another reason?

Could she trust him? William had saved her life today … Her own curiosity forced doubts about William’s interest aside.

She forgot about the cold. She forgot about the tragedy of the day. She forgot about everything as carefully, almost afraid to breathe, she opened the leather casing and gently shook out the papyrus scroll inside. She unrolled the papyrus. Straining her eyes in the half-light, she stared down at line after line of her father’s dense code. Even if she’d been able to see it clearly, she doubted she could identify the words he’d hidden in the strange code. She angled the paper toward the cave’s opening, trying to catch what light she could. Dark shapes appeared. A map? She sighed. “It’s too dark. I can’t make anything out.”

“Then any discoveries will have to wait until first light.” He shifted beside her and with a rasp of sound, drew his sword. He set the weapon across his lap, his hand on the hilt. “Just in case,” he said as he settled back against the wall. “You had best sleep. Who knows what challenges tomorrow will bring?”

She knew he was probably right. She rolled the scroll and placed it back in its protective leather casing, then held the treasure close to her chest, protecting what she had left of her life with her father.

She tried to block the sound of the surf, but the further darkness only made her more aware of her surroundings—especially the man sitting next to her, a sword gripped in his hands. “Why did you come to see my father today? Did you know de la Roche would come as well?”

He shifted, turning toward her in the darkness. His face was cast in complete darkness now. And for a moment she wondered if he’d planned that, secluding himself in darkness. “Nay. ‘Tis mere coincidence that de la Roche appeared when he did, although there were those of us who suspected he would show himself sooner or later.”

A gust of cool wind touched Siobhan’s cheeks. She pulled the cape he’d given her closer around herself. “Those of us?” she prompted.

She could feel his gaze upon her. “The Templars. Your father has information we desperately needed.”

“And now that he’s gone…?”

“I am hoping you have that information. Or that the scroll we saved from the fire contains something we can use to find what it is I need.”

Siobhan’s hands tightened on her father’s work. A surge of hope moved through her. Today’s events had taught her one thing. She needed this man’s help if she were ever to rescue her father from de la Roche’s clutches. Could the scroll help her secure his aid?

“What do you need?” she asked, trying to temper her growing excitement. This man was still a stranger. His motives were unproved.

“The Holy Lance. It’s the one piece of the Templar treasure de la Roche wants above all the rest. Your father was the treasure’s guardian.”

A shiver rippled across her nape. Her father had told her stories of many legendary treasures over the years, but she’d had no idea he was so intimately connected to them.

“My father called it the Longinus Spear …” Her voice trailed off in wonder. She shifted, trying to see his face in the darkness. If only she could see his eyes. Then she’d know whether he was being honest or not. “How do you think I can help you?”

“It’s how we can help each other, Lady Siobhan.”

“Please, just call me Siobhan. No one ever refers to me as anything more.”

“Siobhan. Help me locate the Spear, and I’ll help you find your father and get you both to safety.”

She knew nothing about this man, except that he had saved her from de la Roche earlier and that he had gone back into her burning home to rescue the scroll without fear for his own life. Were those things enough to trust him with her father’s life? His deepest secrets?

“Do we have an agreement?” he asked, his voice deep, expectant.

She nodded. Then realizing he could not see her any better in the dark said, “Aye.”
“Then you had best try to get some sleep because tomorrow will be another difficult day if I know de la Roche.”

Instantly, her mood sobered at the reminder of the dangers outside of their dark cave, no doubt the reason he’d drawn his sword. “Will you be able to sleep?” she asked.

“Nay.”

Siobhan released a soft sigh. She doubted she’d find sleep this night either. Her lack of sleep wouldn’t stem from the ever-present danger, even though she knew she should be more fearful of discovery than she was. Instead, her mind filled with a million possibilities of what secrets the scroll might reveal.

She shifted her gaze to what little she could make out of William. Did her father truly have something to do with the Knights Templar?

Coded text … Drawings …

What could her father be involved in?

This week's prizes: Comment on any post from Monday June 1st, through Sunday June 7th for a chance to win one of two prizes:
  • Winner's choice of Gerri Russell 's backlist - Warrior's Lady, Warrior's Bride, or The Warrior Trainer.
  • Winner's choice of one Joy Nash Druids of Avalon backlist books - Deep Magic, The Grail King, or Celtic Fire.
Winners chosen at random and posted on Monday June 8.

Oh! Almost forgot - another fun contest. Author Emily Bryan is holding a contest on her blog - and the winner will get a chance to name a character in Emily's summer 2010 book Stroke of Genius.

Wonder if you get to pick whether the character you name is good or evil? lol :-) Details at emilybryan.blogspot.com.


See you Friday!

Joy Nash
www.joynash.com



Available NOW!

A Little Light Magic

Summer at the Jersey Shore has never been so hot!


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23 Comments:

Blogger Estella said...

I enjoy historical reads!

3:27 PM  
Blogger Infinite Designs said...

Hi Joy! Hope your week is off to a good start. The end of Aug does seem far away, but it will be here before you know it :)!

Thank you for posting this excerpt today. I really enjoyed it. Sounds like it will be a good read!

PamS
pams00@aol.com

3:28 PM  
Blogger Caffey said...

Oh I don't want to wait til August for this one!! Thank you for the peek into this upcoming book of Gerri's!

4:13 PM  
Blogger Raonaid Luckwell said...

Man, I'll have to jot this book down because it sounds soo good. I like the heroine's name Siobhan. It's the type of name you don't see a whole lot in books, and it's unique (Gaelic?) which is why I like it.

5:23 PM  
Blogger housemouse88 said...

Hello Joy,

Historicals are such works of art. The excerpt for "To Tempt a Knight" was dripping with suspense which I love. I'll have to check this out. Have a great day.

6:14 PM  
Blogger dsadler53 said...

Historicals are still a favorite of mine and this one sounds great

7:26 PM  
Blogger Virginia said...

Hi Joy who doesn't love hunky knights, I know I do. Historicals are my favorite read.

7:29 PM  
Blogger librarypat said...

Sounds like just my type of book. Maybe by the end of summer I'll be caught up enough on my reading to get right to it. I have a great niece named Siobhan. Her mom is from Ireland. When I heard how it was pronounced, I was really surprised. Her two brothers also have irish names that don't sound like they look. They have fun when they go to school. I feel sorry for the teacher the first time she tries to say their names.

9:03 PM  
Blogger Cheryl S. said...

A Templar knight & a beautiful lady - a great combination!

Thanks for the excerpt!
megalon22[at]yahoo[dot]com

10:53 PM  
Blogger Sue A. said...

Historicals was an early love of mine and is even more so today!

11:35 PM  
Blogger darbyscloset said...

I always have fun naming the characters, thanks for the heads up!
Darby
darbyscloset at yahoo dot com

10:41 AM  
Blogger Angi said...

Thank you for the excerpt! I've never read any of Gerri Russell's work, but she is DEFINATELY on my summer reading list!

1:30 PM  
Blogger Carol L. said...

This ecerpt was a firt for me by Geri Russell. I loved it. Now we'll wait till August to finish it. Thanks Joy for sharing. I also love reading about the Knight Templars.
Carol L.
Lucky4750@aol.com

7:22 AM  
Blogger Pissenlit said...

Oooh! I'll have to keep my eye out for this. *sigh*, is it August yet?

3:55 PM  
Blogger Gerri Russell said...

Joy,

Thanks for including me in the "countdown to summer" to celebrate your fabulous new release.

And for your readers, thank you, all, for your kind comments. August will be here before you know it! Until then, my newly revised website is set to launch July 1. So plan to pop on over and check out even more excerpts and fun activities before the release of TO TEMPT A KNIGHT at www.gerrirussell.net

Until then,

--Gerri

7:07 PM  
Blogger chey said...

I love historicals! This one sounds great.

2:01 PM  
Blogger lastnerve said...

I have just gotten into historicals and can't wait to read your book.

Val
lastnerve2000@gmail.com

5:18 PM  
Blogger Karin said...

Shades of Angels and Demons (which I am re-reading before I go see the movie)!

5:57 PM  
Blogger scottsgal said...

Historicals take you to a place we'll never experience for real - can't wait for this one to come out

msboatgal at aol.com

9:02 PM  
Blogger one6ylady said...

I've always loved the stories involving knights and ladies... keep up the great work!

10:47 PM  
Blogger storylady said...

Another great summer read. The beach is my favorite place to sun and read, along with a cool drink.
Count me in to win. Hey I rhyme.

Thanks
Sharon

10:38 PM  
Blogger binabug said...

oh just saw your post on twitter and would love to win a new read!!

10:43 PM  
Blogger storylady said...

Sounds like a great read. I enjoy historical romance. Great excerpt too.
Hope I win.

Thanks
Sharon

10:47 PM  

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