on September 11th 2018
"He who dares not grasp the thorn should never crave the rose." – Anne Bronte
The blooming of the rare and mysterious blue rose heralds great change, for when the buds open to full blossom enemies become lovers. Some fear this omen, some desire it. All respect it. Follow the journey of these brand new historical romance tales from USA Today and Bestselling authors and discover the power--and the promise--of the blue rose for yourself.
A Knight and His Rose by Catherine Kean
I have always been fascinated by Stonehenge and ancient stone circles. I visited Stonehenge when I was a teenager, when visitors could still walk around the monoliths, touch them, and sit on the fallen stones. I will never forget the sense of wonder I experienced. I find it fascinating that to this day, archaeologists are still making new discoveries on the site and in the surrounding lands.
When I was invited to write a story to be part of a special historical romance collection about the legendary blue rose, which only blooms when enemies will become lovers, I knew I wanted to include an ancient stone circle—one with important, life-changing secrets. Here’s an excerpt from the first meeting between the heroine, Lady Violetta Molineaux, and the hero, Osric Seabrook, whose families have been at odds for years. Earlier in the nighttime scene, Violetta, dressed in common clothes, snuck onto his estate to visit the site and stargaze.
A Knight and His Rose © 2018 Catherine Kean
Smiling, she tucked a wisp of hair back behind her ear. Her glove whispered against her tresses, and he yearned to lean in, gently kiss her cheek, and inhale the scent of her skin. But he mustn’t.
“I could at least tell you some of the stories about this place,” she said. “Then you would be as informed as the other locals.”
A chill crawled down Osric’s spine, for he was all too familiar with one particular tale. When he’d been but a boy, his sire had threatened that if Osric didn’t do as he was told, he’d face the ghost of the thief who had supposedly tried to bury stolen riches on the ancient site and been crushed by a toppling monolith. Growing up, Osric had suffered nightmares about encountering the tormented spirit, but thankfully, he never had.
“Are you truly unaware of the old stories?” They were obviously a source of fascination for the woman, since she’d mentioned them several times.
“I recall one that I heard when I was a child. But, I have not lived here for a long while, remember?”
“Well, curious things do occur at this site.”
“Indeed they do. Knights and damsels meet unexpectedly and end up watching the stars together.”
She chuckled. “I certainly was not expecting to meet anyone here tonight.”
“Nor was I.” Resisting the tug on his conscience that told him to beware, he reached out and set his hand upon her gloved one. “I regret I do not even know your name.”
Her eyes widened; in them, he caught a hint of fear. She swiftly withdrew her fingers from beneath his. “I do not know your name, either.”
Suspicion flared. A commoner—especially a woman—would never be so forward as to challenge a man of higher social status in such a way. Even as the thought settled in his mind, her lashes lowered and she shook her head. “I have been overly bold. I…had no right.” She abruptly stood.
The maiden appeared ready to flee, so he reached out and caught her hand.
Squeezing her gloved fingers, he smiled in the roguish manner that usually made women blush. “Surely you are not leaving? If you would rather not tell me your name, so be it. But, I will be disappointed if you go before sharing your tales with me.”
“Mayhap another night,” she said, stepping backward.
How frustrating, that his charms hadn’t worked, but he didn’t let his smile slip. “With much anticipation, then, I look forward to us meeting again soon.” Reluctance crossed her features, even as he added, “May I offer you a ride into the town? My horse is tethered close by.” He’d be sure then that she’d reached home safely, and he’d also learn where she lived.
She glanced across the field bordering the town. “I…’twould be best if I made my own way home.”
His suspicion intensified, but he merely nodded.
“You must not follow me, either.”
Had she read his mind? “Not even to watch over you, until you get home?”
She shook her head.
Osric frowned. “Why not?”
“You will get me into trouble.”
“From whom? Your family?”
“Please, I cannot—”
He rose, unable to sit still a moment longer. “As a knight, I am honor bound to protect you.”
“As I told you before, I have a knife. I can look after myself.” Resolve gleamed in her eyes. “Dare to follow me, and we will never meet again.”
Scottish Rose by Elizabeth Rose
A blue rose, a wedding, and a haunting memory of the past. Can enemies turn into lovers or will old wounds never mend?
Coira MacDuff agrees to marry an Englishman to make an alliance with her clan. But she never expects her new husband, Sir Lance de Selby to take her back to Liddel Castle where the English held her as a prisoner, locked and hanging in a cage three years earlier. (Coira was first seen as the sister of Effie MacDuff in Aidan – Book 2 of the MadMan MacKeefe Series.)
Coira looked up to see the walls of her prison from six years ago, and she immediately found herself living in the past. This is where she’d almost died. It was almost as if she could still hear the laughter of Lord Ralston and his men as they tortured her and Effie. This is the last place she ever wanted to be!
“Coira, your husband is talking to you,” said Zara, nudging her in the side.
“Zara, I canna live her,” she whispered, clamping her fingers around the old woman’s arm. “It’s as if I have stepped back in time. There are too many horrible memories within these walls.”
“Get a hold of yourself, Child. Leave the past in the past. This is your home now, and you need to make the best of it.” Zara pried Coira’s fingers from her arm.
“Wife, what is the matter?” Lance looked at her as if she were daft.
She jumped when he took her by the arm. When she glanced up at his face, her eyes played a trick on her. For a moment, she thought it was Lord Ralston coming to accost her.
“Nay! Leave me alone,” she cried, pulling out of his grip and backing away. Her heart pounded in her chest and sweat beaded her brow.
“Stop it,” Lance commanded, running a weary hand through his hair. “My head hurts like the devil, and I don’t need you acting all squirrely on me.”
“Perhaps if you’d ask her why she’s afraid, you’d understand, my lord,” said Zara.
“Afraid? Coira, are you afraid of me?” He narrowed his eyes and cocked his head.
“I . . . I . . . nay, my lord.” Coira lowered her head, feeling ashamed of her reaction. Still, her body shook with fear.
“I think what we all need is a good meal and a tankard of ale,” said Lance, yawning at the end of his sentence. “Come. We’ll go to the great hall.”
Coira let him lead her away, glancing back to Zara, silently begging her to follow and not leave her alone with the man.
“Go on, Coira. I’ll make sure our things get to our bedchamber.” Zara nodded and waved her hand through the air.
“Jack, take my wife’s things to my solar,” Lance called over his shoulder. “She’ll be staying with me now that we’re married.”
“But – but my handmaid,” said Coira, terrified of thinking of spending the night alone with the man. He was a stranger to her even though they were married. Coira’s head filled with all sorts of thoughts, every one of them being that she had made a mistake by agreeing to this alliance.
“The gypsy – Zara,” said Lance, stressing her name, “can sleep in any of the empty rooms she chooses. But you are my wife, and I don’t want anyone else in my bedchamber but you.”
“Aye, my lord,” said Coira, since she didn’t have a choice.
“The reason I was late to the wedding was that I wanted to clean up the surroundings of my new castle,” he explained. “It looked like a battle had taken place here, and everything was so disheveled.”
“Ye have no idea how right ye are.” Coira took a deep breath and released it, remembering when Aidan had come to this courtyard to help Effie and her escape. It was as if the stones in the walls of the castle could talk and she heard every voice from the past echoing in her head at once. She stopped and closed her eyes, willing the bad memories to leave her.
Coira MacDuff is a secondary character from my book, Aidan – Book 2 of my MadMan MacKeefe Series. It will eventually be part of my Second in Command Series. These are stories of secondary characters from any of my series, getting their happily-ever-after as well.
What is their favorite historical romance era and what do they like about it?
I am giving away two audiobooks of Aidan. It isn’t necessary to read/listen to Aidan first, but it is better to have the backstory before reading Scottish Rose if possible.
To watch a video for Scottish Rose, click here.
A Knight Amid Thorns by Laurel O’Donnell
Thank you, Lisa, for allowing me to share a little bit about my story A Knight Amid Thorns that is in the collection Rogues to Lovers: The Legend of the Blue Rose.
When I began writing A Knight Amid Thorns, I wanted to focus on the legend. The blue rose only blooms once in a lifetime and when the petals open, enemies become lovers. Wow. I mean enemies to lovers? That’s pretty powerful. I imagined many people would seek that kind of power. In A Knight Amid Thorns, my heroine, Lady Ella Rames hates the hero, Sir Graden Dumount, because he killed her brother. Even with the blooming of the rose, how can she see past such a horrible crime to love him? Here’s a glimpse into the story –
“Are you hurt?”
She whirled, surprised at the sound of his deep voice. When she saw him standing beside her, she clenched her teeth. Must he follow her even here, to her sanctuary? Her lips thinned, and she turned back to the rose bush. She bent forward, determined to reach that weed.
“You should use gloves. It would help protect against the thorns.”
Ella wanted to bang her head against a stone wall. “I’m not afraid of the thorns.” She reached farther, bending forward, stretching, almost reaching the weed with the very tips of her fingers.
“I’ve seen the smallest of wounds kill the strongest of men.”
She sat back, empty-handed, furious. “And I’ve seen the dullest of blows kill my brother.”
That got him to close his mouth.
Ella turned to him, looking at him over her shoulder. She regarded him with a cool demeanor. His dark hair fell to his broad shoulders. Her gaze moved up over his square, strong jaw, past a slash for his lips, and beyond a strong straight nose to his eyes. Deep blue eyes stared back at her steadily. He was not the young man she had heard tell of all those years ago. They had told her he was a brash, foolish man with nothing to lose. But somehow, even then, he had won the sympathy of the sheriff. Why? How did he manage to imbue trust in him to all he met? If she truly cared to find that answer, she could figure it out. But she didn’t. “Why did you come here?”
“Miles is a friend. He asked me to stop here on the way home.”
“I meant here to the gardens.”
“Oh.” He took a step toward her. “I just want you to know…” He bowed his head. “I’m not asking for your forgiveness.”
“Good. Because you won’t get it.”
“I don’t deserve it. I carry what I’ve done with me every day.”
“As do I. Your carelessness will never be forgotten.”
“Good,” Graden retorted.
It wasn’t enough for Ella. “Edwin should be alive. Edwin should be here. But you took him away from me. You took him away from all of us. I will never forget or forgive.”
“I’m not asking you to. I’m asking for your tolerance. Miles is my friend. He is your brother. He deserves–-”
Ella shot to her feet, her fists clenched. “Don’t tell me what my family deserves. You have no right to be here. Or to ask anything of me.”
“Miles is my friend. I don’t want to see him torn between us.”
Ella lifted her chin. “That won’t be a problem. He will always choose family over you.”
“As he should.”
She ground her teeth, her gaze narrowed. “I know about you.” Her voice was soft and threatening. “I made it my mission to know everything I could about you. I know what you did.”
What did he do? How can Ella overcome her hate of Graden to earn her happily ever after? Will they find the blue rose? You’ll have to read A Knight Amid Thorns to find out!
To find out more about my historical romance novels, visit my website – www.laurel-odonnell.com
Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter and receive Bravest of Them All for FREE! https://us9.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=1343fd2810731ee69f6cd80fb&id=70c89b6732