Some very exciting news came in tonight and what a way to kick off November! Norseman's Deception, Book 2 in The Norsemen Sagas, is a finalist in the historical category of the RWA NYC's Kathryn Hayes When Sparks Fly Contest! Needless to say, I am very thrilled by this news – doubly so because I almost missed the deadline! Literally got it in at the very last second.
Finaling on its own is a very sweet reward, regardless of whether I win or not. To me, it's a sort of validation that my books ARE good, for all the doubts I have when sales are slow, or if I get a bad review that literally takes the breath out of me. Reading is, of course, subjective, and I fully understand that my books are not everyone's cup of tea, but sometimes the folks leaving a bad review can be positively cruel. That does sting, because as most writers will agree, our books are like our babies. We bring them to life, nurture them and help them grow to their fullest potential, just like I do with my real children – though truthfully, seeing my kids happy and successful is obviously tons better than having a book received well by readers. I'm a mom first, after all.
I'm still very excited, though! :D Who wouldn't be? This is praise from my peers and colleagues, and I thank all who read and judged Norseman's Deception to be worthy of finaling. Check out the shiny finalist badge I received:
Isn't it pretty? :D I will find a nice permanent home for it here on the blog and on my website.
Here's more about Norseman's Deception, along with an excerpt and links where you can find it:
* He Saved Her from Outlaws – Who Will Save Her from Him? *
Fearing an arranged marriage, Thora Korisdotter flees her village, vowing never to return. With her two pet wolves beside her, she is confident in her safety, protected by the loyal animals. But outlaws attack, wounding one of her beloved pets. Only a mysterious stranger saves her from certain death. Now in his debt, she must repay him as he asks – with her body.
After being cast out of his clan as an outlaw, Ari Hugisson has wandered for years. The time of his banishment is nearing its end, and Ari has the proof he needs to clear his name and unmask the real murderer – his brother. His journey is delayed when he comes across a beautiful woman under attack. Compelled to save her, he also knows exactly how to claim the debt she owes, using the passion lurking under the surface of her fiery nature.
Betrayal cuts deep with the revelation Ari has lied and knows well the man Thora was to wed. But the passion he stirs is unlike anything she has ever known, even if he insists on treating her as little more than a slave.
When Ari confronts those who would see him killed, will Thora stand beside him, even at the risk of losing her family – and her heart?
** Contains explicit love scenes featuring A Kinky Twist on History! bondage, spanking and more!
Amazon US: http://ow.ly/Zwcz305UHi6
Amazon UK: http://ow.ly/N0Qr305UHlg
CreateSpace (print): http://ow.ly/9Hpr305UHBh
Here's that excerpt, when Thora tells Ari the reason for her flight. Enjoy!
"So you are to wed him, then?"
She nodded. "My father has made the agreement. After The Thing, he was to bring Hersir back to Grindafell for the wedding."
"You fled before they could return."
She nodded. "I won't go back. And I can't go to Tingwalla."
"An impossible dilemma." Ari leaned back against the log once more, his thoughts racing with ideas. "But I must be compensated. Don't you agree?"
Again, she nodded. "I've given your demand some thought. If I were to… offer myself to you, then afterward you can continue to Tingwalla, and I will go my way. But I will no longer be valuable as a bride. I would ask that you take a message to my father and perhaps he will stop searching for me."
Ari sucked in a breath. The wench was cunning and his admiration for her grew even more, as did his yearning. He shifted, his cock now hard and uncomfortable. He cleared his throat.
"Aren't you worried your father's honor will be ruined? You place him in a difficult position by refusing a marriage he's agreed to."
Thora shrugged. "I know. But I have no choice. My father married my mother for love, and when she died, he found another, and their love is strong. I only want the same for myself."
Ari nodded in understanding. Thora was like most other women, wanting a love match, rather than an alliance to ensure the strengthening of both families and clans. He also knew full well that she would never have that while wed to Hersir. But Ari had no intention of letting Thora leave his side. She'd likely be furious when she realized his lies, and again the idea of binding her so she couldn't flee poked at him. Hel, once she learned the truth, he'd have no choice. He held back the eager grin and thought carefully on his next words.
"Very well, Thora. I will accept your offer of payment, however, there are conditions on this agreement."
Her lips pressed together, her eyes flashing with suspicion. "What are your conditions?"
"I decide when it is time for us to part ways."
She nodded. "What else?"
"You will obey my every order. Please me and you shall be rewarded."
"And if I don't?"
He shrugged. "You'll be punished."
Only the crackling of the flames broke the abrupt silence. Even the creatures of the forest had quieted, as if all waited to hear her reply. He held her stare, daring her to refuse.
She didn't. In fact, he wasn't sure he managed to completely contain his surprise when she nodded again.
"Very well. I accept your terms." She looked away for a moment, then leveled her dark stare on him once more. "When… I assume you want…"
He chuckled. "Yes, Thora, I want you. And I will have you. Tonight."