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Kim Iverson Headlee

Liberty, A Must Read Historical Novel by Kim Iverson Headlee

liberty

BOOK INFORMATION

TITLE – Liberty, second edion AUTHOR – Kim Iverson Headlee
GENRE – Historical Romance (ancient Rome) PUBLICATION DATE – Dec. 2014
LENGTH (Pages/# Words) – 462 pages/118K words
PUBLISHER – Pendragon Cove Press
COVER ARTIST – Natasha Brown
BOOK INFOhp://kimiversonheadlee.blogspot.com/p/liberty.html

BOOK SYNOPSIS

They hailed her “Liberty,” but she was free only to obey—or die.

Betrayed by her father and sold as payment of a Roman tax debt to fight in Londinium’s arena, gladiatrix-slave Rhyddes feels like a wild beast in a gilded cage. Celc warrior blood flows in her veins, but Roman masters own her body. She clings to her vow that no man shall claim her soul, though Marcus Calpurnius Aquila, son of the Roman governor, makes her yearn for a love she believes impossible.

Groomed to follow in his father’s footsteps and trapped in a polically advantageous betrothal, Aquila prefers the purity of combat on the amphitheater sands to the sinister intrigues of imperial polics, and the raw power and athlec grace of the flame-haired Libertas to the adoring deference of Rome’s noblewomen.

When a plot to overthrow Caesar ensnares them as pawns in the dark design, Aquila must choose between the Celc slave who has won his heart and the empire to which they both owe allegiance. Knowing the opposite of obedience is death, the only liberty

offered to any slave, Rhyddes must embrace her arena name—and the love of a man willing to sacrifice everything to forge a future with her.

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Liberty - Book CoverEXCERPT

FINGERS CRAMPING AND shoulders aching from having wielded the pitchfork all day, Rhyddes ferch Rudd tossed another load of hay onto the wagon. Sweat trickled down her back, making the lash marks sng. Marks inflicted by her father, Rudd, the day before because eighteen summers of anguish had goaded her into speaking her mind.

Physical pain couldn’t compare with the ache wringing her heart.



She slid a glance toward the author of her mood. He stood a few paces away, leaning upon his pitchfork’s handle in the loaded wagon’s shade to escape the July heat as he conversed with her oldest brother, Eoghan. She couldn’t discern their words, but their camaraderie spoke volumes her envy didn’t want to hear.

Her father’s gaze met hers, and he lowered his eyebrows. “Back to work, Rhyddes!” On Rudd’s lips, her name sounded like an insult.

In a sense, it was.

Her name in the Celc tongue meant “freedom,” but the horse hitched to the hay wagon enjoyed more freedom than she did. Her tribe, the Votadini, had been conquered by the thieving Romans, who demanded provisions for their troops, fodder for their mounts, women for their beds, and coin to fill the purses of every Roman who wasn’t a soldier.

If those condions weren’t bad enough, for all the kindness her father had demonstrated during her first two decades, Rhyddes may as well have been born a slave.

She scooped up more hay. Resentment-fired anger sent wisps flying everywhere, much of it sailing over the wagon rather than landing upon it.

“Hey, mind what you’re doing!”

Owen, her closest brother in age and in spirit, emerged from the wagon’s far side, hay prickling his hair and tunic like a porcupine. Rhyddes couldn’t suppress her laugh. “’Tis an improvement. Just wait ll the village lasses see you.”

“Village lasses, hah!” Sporng a wicked grin, Owen snatched up a golden fisul, flung it at her, and dived for her legs.

They landed in the fragrant hay and began vying for the upper hand, cackling like a pair of witless hens. When Owen thought he’d prevailed, Rhyddes twisted and rolled from underneath him. Her fresh welts stung, but she refused to let that deter her. He lost his balance and fell backward. She pounced, planng a knee on his chest and pinning his wrists to the ground over his head.

Victory’s sweetness lasted but a moment. Fingers dug into her shoulders, and she felt herself hauled to her feet and spun around. Owen’s face contorted to chagrin as he scrambled up.

“Didn’t get enough of the lash yestermorn, eh, girl?” Rudd, his broad hands clamped around her upper arms, gave her a teeth-raling shake.

When she didn’t respond, he released her and rounded on Owen. “As for you—”

“Da, please, no!” Rhyddes stopped herself. Well she knew the fulity of pleading with Rudd. Sll, for Owen’s sake, she had to try. Her father’s scowl dared her to connue. She swallowed the lump that had formed in her throat. “’Twas not Owen’s fault. I—” Sweat freshened the sng on her back, and she winced. “The fault is naught but mine.”

“Aye, that I can well believe.” Rudd grasped each sibling by an arm and strode across the hayfield toward the family’s lodge. “Owen can watch you take his lashes as well as yours. We’ll see if that won’t mend his ways.” The thin linen of her ankle-length tunic failed to shield her from his fingers, which had to be leaving bruises. Rhyddes gried her teeth. Rudd seemed disappointed. “I doubt anything in this world or the next will make you mend yours.”

“You don’t want me to change. You’d lose your excuse to beat me.” Sheer impernence, she knew, but she no longer cared.

“I need no excuses, girl.”

The back of his hand collided with her cheek. Pain splintered into a thousand needles across her face. She reeled and dropped to her hands and knees, her hair obscuring her vision in a copper cascade. Hay pricked her palms. Owen would have helped her rise, but their father restrained him. Owen blistered the ground with his glare, not daring to direct it at Rudd for fear of earning the same punishment.

Not that Rhyddes could blame him.

Rudd yanked her up, cocked a fist… and froze. “Raiders!”

Rhyddes whirled about. Picts were charging from the north to converge upon their selement, the bale cries growing louder under the merciless aernoon sun. One of the storage buildings had already been set ablaze, its roof thatch marring the sky with thick black smoke.

Rudd shed his shock and sprinted for the living compound, calling his children by name to help him defend their home: Eoghan, Ian, Bloeddwyn, Arden, Dinas, Gwydion, Owen.

Every child except Rhyddes.

She ran to the wagon, unhitched the horse, found her pitchfork, scrambled onto the animal’s back, and kicked him into a jolng canter. The stench of smoke strengthened with each stride. Her mount pinned back his ears and wrestled her for control of the bit, but she bent the frightened horse to her will. She understood how he felt.

As they loped past the cow byre, a Pict leaped at them, knocking Rhyddes from the horse’s back. The ground jarred the pitchfork from her grasp. The horse galloped toward the pastures as Rhyddes fumbled for her dagger. Although her brothers had taught her how to wield it in a fight, unl now she’d used it only to ease dying animals from this
world.

But the accursed blade wouldn’t come free of the hilt.

Sword alo, the Pict closed on her.

Time distorted, assaulng Rhyddes with her aacker’s every detail: lime-spiked hair, weird blue symbols smothering the face and arms, long sharp sword, ebony leather boots and leggings, breastplate tooled to fit female curves . . .

Female?

The warrior-woman’s sword began its descent.

From the corner of her eye Rhyddes saw her pitchfork. Grunng, she rolled toward it, praying to avoid her aacker’s blow.

Her le arm stung where the sword grazed it, but she snagged her pitchfork and scrambled to her feet. Unexpected eagerness flooded her veins.

As the Pict freed her weapon from where it had embedded in the ground, Rhyddes aimed the pitchfork and lunged. The nes hooked the warrior-woman’s sword, and Rhyddes twisted with all her strength. The Pict yelped as the sword ripped from her hand to go flying over the sty’s fence. Squealing in alarm, the sow lumbered for cover, trying to wedge her bulk under the trough.

With a savage scream, the warrior-woman whipped out a dagger and charged. Rhyddes reversed the pitchfork and jammed its bu into the Pict’s gut, under the breastplate’s boom edge, robbing her of breath. She reversed it again and caught the raider under the chin with the pitchfork’s nes. As the woman staggered backward, flailing her arms and flashing the red punctures that marred her white neck, Rhyddes struck hard and knocked her down.

The warrior-woman looked heavier by at least two stone, but Rhyddes pinned her chest with her knee. She dropped the pitchfork and grasped her dagger, yanking it free. Grabbing a fisul of limed hair, she wrestled the woman’s head to one side to expose her neck.

The Pict bucked and twisted, trying to break Rhyddes’s grip. ’Twas not much different than wrestling a fever-mad calf.

Rhyddes’s de slice ended the threat.

Blood spurted from the woman’s neck in sickening pulses.

Rhyddes stood, panng, her stomach churning with the magnitude of what she’d done. ’Twas no suffering animal she’d killed—and it could have been her lying there, pumping her lifeblood into the mud.

Bile seared her throat, making her gag. Pain lanced her stomach. Bent double, she retched out the remains of her morning meal, spaering the corpse.

Aer sping out the last bier mouthful and wiping her lips with the back of her hand, she drew a deep breath and straightened. As she turned a slow circle, her senses taking in the sights and sounds and stench of the devastaon surrounding her, she wished she had not prevailed.

The news grew worse as she sprinted toward the lodge.

Of her seven brothers, the Picts had le Ian and Gwydion dead, her father and Owen wounded, the lodge and three outbuildings torched. She ran a fingerp over the crusted blood of her scratch, and she couldn’t suppress a surge of guilt.

Mayhap, she thought through the blinding tears as she ran to help what was le of her family, ’twould have been beer had she died in the Pict’s stead.

The surviving raiders were galloping toward the tree line with half the cale. The remaining stock lay sffening in the fields, already aracng carrion birds.

Three days later, the disaster aracted scavengers of an altogether different sort.

REVIEW

Liberty is a captivating novel with so many variables that make it a true masterpiece. Our main character Rhyddes, which translates to mean Freedom daughter of Red (thus Liberty), is sold off to the Romans due to a tax debt. Here she must fight in the Gladiator arena. Fortunately Rhyddes fights well, it’s that ancient Celtic warrior blood that runs through her veins that makes her fierce. Although Rhyddes is plagued with captivation and yearning for the Roman governor’s son, Aquila. He too is irresistibly drawn to Rhyddes and vows to renounce his wealth and power for her. The charm of this novel kept me intrigued from the start. The savagery, ferocity coupled with the longing and purity of true love makes Liberty a captivating must read!


 

CHARACTER BIOS

I am Rhyddes ferch Rudd, which in your tongue means Freedom daughter of Red. The blood of ancient Celc warriors flows in my veins, though I am a farmer’s daughter by the circumstance of my birth. My life spans much of the reign of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, one of a very few men ever to claim that tle who did not abuse his power for personal gain—but I care not who rules and who dies in this gods-cursed empire.

More than anything—even more than my freedom—I yearn to be my lover Aquila’s equal. As a foreign slave in an empire where cizenship stands paramount, where an arena fighter such as I can only be considered the equal of other gladiators, actors, undertakers, and whores, this goal seems impossibly remote. Although Aquila is the son of a powerful Roman, he has declared that he would renounce his aristocrac status, wealth, and power for me, but I cannot in good conscience allow him to destroy himself on my account.


And yet the gods have granted the impossible to other mortals. I pray that I am worthy to receive such a boon from them, for surely divine assistance is the only way for Aquila and I to bridge the vast social chasm that separates us from enjoying a future together.

 

Mornings Journey - Author Photo AUTHOR BIO

Kim Headlee lives on a farm in southwestern Virginia with her family, cats, goats, and assorted wildlife. People & creatures come and go, but the cave and the 250-year-old house ruins—the laer having been occupied as recently as the mid-20th century—seem to be scking around for a while yet.

Kim is a Seale nave (when she used to live in the Metro DC area, she loved telling people she was from “the other Washington”) and a direct descendent of tweneth-century Russian nobility. Her grandmother was a childhood friend of the doomed Grand Duchess Anastasia, and the romanc yet tragic story of how Lydia escaped Communist Russia with the aid of her American husband will most certainly one day fuel one of Kim’s novels. Another novel in the queue will involve her husband’s ancestor, the seventh-century proto-Viking king of the Swedish colony in Russia.

For the me being, however, Kim has plenty of work to do in creang her projected 8-book Arthurian series, The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles, and other novels under her new imprint, Pendragon Cove Press.


 

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– 5 e-copies of Liberty – 10 note cards
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Morning’s Journey by Kim Iverson Headlee

 

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BOOK INFORMATION

TITLE – Morning’s Journey
SERIES – The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles, book 2
AUTHOR – Kim Iverson Headlee
GENRE – Myths, Legends, Historical, Spiritual, Romance
PUBLICATION DATE – 2013
LENGTH (Pages/# Words) – 439 pages/140K words
PUBLISHER – Pendragon Cove Press
COVER ARTIST – Natasha Brown

BOOK SYNOPSIS

In a violent age when enemies besiege Brydein and alliances shift as swiftly as the wind, stand two remarkable leaders: the Caledonian warrior-queen Gyanhumara and her consort, Arthur the Pendragon. Their fiery love is tempered only by their conviction to forge unity between their disparate peoples. Arthur and Gyan must create an impenetrable front to protect Brydein and Caledonia from land-lusting Saxons and the marauding Angli raiders who may be massing forces in the east, near Arthur’s sister and those he has sworn to protect.

But their biggest threat is an enemy within: Urien, Arthur’s rival and the man Gyan was treaty-bound to marry until she broke that promise for Arthur’s love. When Urien becomes chieftain of his clan, his increase in wealth and power is matched only by the magnitude of his hatred of Arthur and Gyan—and his threat to their infant son.

Morning’s Journey, sequel to the critically acclaimed Dawnflight, propels the reader from the heights of triumph to the depths of despair, through the struggles of some of the most fascinating characters in all of Arthurian literature. Those struggles are exacerbated by the characters’ own flawed choices. Gyan and Arthur must learn that while extending forgiveness to others may be difficult, forgiveness of self is the most excruciating—yet ultimately the most healing—step of the entire journey.

Mornings Journey - Book Cover

 

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EXCERPT: Chapter 1

THE CLASH OF arms resounds in the torchlit corridor. Blood oozes where leather has yielded to the bite of steel, yet both sweating, panting warriors refuse to relent.

Her heart thundering, Gyan grips her sword’s hilt, desperate to help the man she loves. Caledonach law forbids it.

Urien makes a low lunge. As Arthur tries to whirl clear, the blade tears a gash in his shield-side thigh. The injured leg collapses, and Arthur drops to one knee. Crowing triumphantly, Urien raises his sword for the deathblow.

Devil take the law!

Gyan springs to block the stroke. Its force jars her arms and twists the hilt in her grasp. She barely holds on through the searing pain.

Urien slips past her guard to slice at her brooch. The gold dragon clatters to the floor. Her cloak slithers to her ankles, fouling her stance. As she tries to kick free, Urien grabs her braid, jerks up her head, and kisses her, hard. Shock loosens her grip. Her sword falls. She thrashes and writhes, but he holds her fast, smirking lewdly.

“You are mine, Pictish whore.”

Urien’s breath reeks of ale and evil promises. She spits in his face. He slaps her. She reels backward, her cheek burning. He grabs her forearms and yanks her close.

“Artyr, help me!”

No response.

Her spirits plummet. Weaponless, she can do nothing—wait. A glint catches her eye.

When Urien kisses her again, she surrenders. He grunts his pleasure, redoubling the force of the kiss. Slowly, she works her hands over his chest until her left hand touches cold bronze on his shoulder. She snatches the brooch and rips it free, hoping to stab him with the pin.

Her elation vanishes with her balance as her tangled cloak thwarts her plans. Face contorted with rage, Urien lunges and catches her wrist. She grits her teeth as his fingers dig in to make her drop the brooch. Pain shoots up her arm. She pushes away. Together, they fall—

***

Gyan gasped and sat bolt upright, pulse hammering. Sweat plastered her hair to her head, which felt like the ball in an all-night game of buill-coise. Bed linens ensnared her legs.

Fingers grazed her shoulder. She recoiled and cocked a fist. Her consort ducked behind his hand. “Easy, Gyan!” She relaxed, and he wrapped his arm about her. “What’s wrong?”

She pressed the heels of her hands to her eyes. “A dream,” she replied, hoping that for once he’d be satisfied with a vague answer.

“Some dream.”

She sighed. “It was the fight—and yet not the fight.” Gently, she traced the thin red line at the base of his neck where she’d scratched him with Caleberyllus to seal his Oath of Fealty to her and to her clan. But dreams cared naught for oaths. “This time, Urien won.”

Arthur grimaced. “That’s no dream.” He hugged her, and she burrowed into his embrace. “I’d call it a nightmare.”

“Ha.” She bent forward to disengage the linens from her feet. The unyielding fabric ignited her ire. She pounded the straw-stuffed mattress, furious at Urien and even more furious at herself for allowing him to creep into her wedding chamber, if only in spirit. “Why must that cù-puc keep coming between us?” She gazed at the table where Braonshaffir, named for the egg-size sapphire that crowned its hilt, lay sheathed inside its etched bronze scabbard beside Caleberyllus. Indulging in the fantasy of her new sword shearing through Urien’s neck, she bared her teeth in a fierce grin. “Just let him cross me openly, and by the One God, I’ll settle this matter!”

Arthur’s warm sigh ruffled her hair. Together they righted the linens, but when she would have risen, he clasped her hands and regarded her earnestly. “I can’t afford to lose either of you.”

She looked at those hands, young and yet already scarred and callused by years of war: hands that cradled the future of Breatein. “I know.” Briefly, she squeezed his hands, hoping to convey her desire to help him forge unity among his people, the Breatanaich, as well as with Caledonaich, her countrymen.

One legion soldier in five called the northwestern Breatanach territory of Dailriata home, and one in three of those men hailed from Urien’s own Clan Móran. In a duel between Gyan and Urien, Arthur’s Dailriatanach alliance would die regardless of the victor.

If politics ever failed to constrain the Urien of the waking world, however, she couldn’t guarantee that diplomacy would govern her response.

She averted her gaze again to the table where their arms and adornments lay. Their dragon cloak-pins sparked a memory. Something else had been odd about that dream, but its details had receded like the morning tide. She couldn’t decide whether to be troubled or relieved.

Closing her eyes, she inhaled deeply, trying to purge Urien map Dumarec from her mind. Moist pressure against her lips announced her consort’s plans. She welcomed his kiss and deepened it. He ran his fingers through her unbraided hair, following the tresses down her neck and over her breasts. Her nipples firmed under his touch. She arched back, and he kissed his way down to one breast, then the other, drawing the nipples forth even farther and awakening the exquisite ache in her banasròn.

The swelling shaft of sunlight heralded a reminder of their duties.

“The cavalry games will be starting soon, mo laochan.” No other man had earned the Caledonaiche endearment from her, and none ever would. Her “little champion” bore her down onto the pillows, and his lips interrupted any other comment she might have made. As they explored the curve of her throat, she whispered, “We must make an appearance.”

“We will, Gyan.” His fingertips teased her banasròn, discovering its damp readiness. “Eventually.”

She stilled his hand. He looked at her, puzzled.

Being àrd-banoigin obligated her to ensure her clan’s future by bearing heirs, but was she ready to abandon the warrior’s path and devote her life to a bairn? She gave a mental shrug. A swift calculation assured her that her courses would return soon, leaving the question to be faced another day. Smiling, she began caressing one of the reasons he’d earned “laochan” as an endearment.

He cupped her face and kissed her, urgency for both of them soaring on the wings of desire. His thigh rubbed hers with slow, firm strokes. Gyanhumara nic Hymar, Chieftainess of Clan Argyll of Caledon, yielded to her consort’s unspoken command. She opened to him, and he plunged her into their sacred realm of mind-blanking bliss.

Whenever Arthur map Uther, Pendragon of Breatein, issued an order, on the battlefield or off, only a fool disobeyed.

BOOK TRAILER (with older cover by Jennifer Doneske)

CHARACTER BIOS

From Legion Headquarters in Caer Lugubalion, Brydein, I send you greetings.

I put pen to parchment in honor of my wife, Gyan—formally, Chieftainess Gyanhumara nic Hymar of Clan Argyll of Caledonia. We have been married a few short months, just since the calends of July, and we met each other for the first time only three months before that. Yet I feel so closely bonded with her in heart, soul, and mind that it seems as if I have known her my entire life.

If you were to ask me what first caught my attention about this remarkable woman, I would have to confess it was her exotic beauty. Her brilliant copper hair, sea-green eyes, berry lips, the wild blue doves winging across her forearm all beckoned to me to learn more about her. Since I knew her to be a warrior—though untried in battle at the time of our meeting—I had expected her to act aloof, cold, haughty, arrogant. From the moment my hand gripped her arm in welcome, I knew she was none of those things.

And I think I knew—on some level, at least, if not overtly—that my heart stood in grave danger of declaring its undying allegiance to her even as I realized that to do while she remained betrothed to Urien might plunge our lands into another war.

Fortunately for both our peoples, Gyan proved herself a canny diplomat and hid her feelings about me until the time was right for both of us to declare our love.

Problems remain, of course. Though together Gyan and I defeated the Scots and bought peace from that quarter for a season, the Saxon and Angli kings remain a looming threat. Urien stands to become chieftain of his clan, and may God deliver us all from that day. And I cannot shake the disturbing thought that, should Gyan and I have children, they might fall victim to treachery from without—or within.

But I also have deep abiding faith in that which makes us strongest: our love for each other, and the love of our God, our families, our clans, and our friends. Against an alliance of that nature no power in heaven or on earth stands a chance.

Arturus Aurelius Vetarus, Dux Britanniarum
Also called by many Arthur the Pendragon

 

Mornings Journey - Author PhotoAUTHOR BIO
Kim Headlee lives on a farm in southwestern Virginia with her family, cats, goats, and assorted wildlife. People & creatures come and go, but the cave and the 250-year-old house ruins — the latter having been occupied as recently as the mid-20th century — seem to be sticking around for a while yet.

Kim is a Seattle native (when she used to live in the Metro DC area, she loved telling people she was from “the other Washington”) and a direct descendent of 20th-century Russian nobility. Her grandmother was a childhood friend of the doomed Grand Duchess Anastasia, and the romantic yet tragic story of how Lydia escaped Communist Russia with the aid of her American husband will most certainly one day fuel one of Kim’s novels. Another novel in the queue will involve her husband’s ancestor, the 7th-century proto-Viking king of the Swedish colony in Russia.

For the time being, however, Kim has plenty of work to do in creating her projected 8-book Arthurian series, The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles, and other novels under her new imprint, Pendragon Cove Press.

 

FOLLOW KIM:

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GIVEAWAY PRIZES

– 5 e-copies of Morning’s Journey
– 10 note cards
– 1 autographed print copy of Morning’s Journey

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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Dawnflight by Kim Iverson Headlee

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BOOK INFORMATION

TITLE – Dawnflight
SERIES – The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles, book 1
AUTHOR – Kim Iverson Headlee
GENRE – Myths, Legends, Historical, Spiritual, Romance
PUBLICATION DATE – 2013
LENGTH (Pages/# Words) – 415 pages/130K words
PUBLISHER – Lucky Bat Books
COVER ARTIST – Natasha Brown

BOOK SYNOPSIS

Gyan is a Caledonian chieftainess by birth, a warrior and leader of warriors by training, and she is betrothed to Urien, a son of her clan’s deadliest enemy, by right of Arthur the Pendragon’s conquest of her people. For the sake of peace, Gyan is willing to sacrifice everything…perhaps even her very life, if her foreboding about Urien proves true.

Roman by his father, Brytoni by his mother, and denied hereditary rulership of his mother’s clan because of his mixed blood, Arthur has followed his father’s path to become Dux Britanniarum, the Pendragon: supreme commander of the northern Brytoni army. The Caledonians, Scots, Saxons, and Angles keep him too busy to dwell upon his loneliness…most of the time.

When Gyan and Arthur meet, each recognize within the other their soul’s mate. The treaty has preserved Gyan’s ancient right to marry any man, providing he is a Brytoni nobleman—but Arthur does not qualify. And the ambitious Urien, Arthur’s greatest political rival, shall not be so easily denied. If Gyan and Arthur cannot prevent Urien from plunging the Caledonians and Brytons back into war, their love will be doomed to remain unfulfilled forever.

But there is an even greater threat looming. The Laird of the Scots wants their land and will kill all who stand in his way. Gyan, Arthur, and Urien must unite to defeat this merciless enemy who threatens everyone they hold dear.

Dawn Flight - Book Cover

Arthurian Romances’ Review
Kim Iverson Headlee is one of the best contemporary Arthurian novelists, case in point, her Dragon’s Dove Chronicle series. Book One Dawnflight, takes the Arthurian legends into another realm. It’s a contemporary take on the legends leading with Gyan (chieftainess by birth, a warrior and leader, better known in traditional Arthurian legends as Guinevere) Arthur and Gyan are star crossed lovers battling not only falling in love but a common enemy. For us lovers of Arthurian Romances, this novel is intriguing with it’s twists and turns and I promise you’ll be picking up the sequel Morning’s Journey as soon as you finish book one of this series!

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EXCERPT: Chapter 1

THE COMBATANTS CIRCLED warily in the churned mud of the practice field, blind to the swelling audience and the chilling autumn rain. One, a giant of a figure, was the teacher. The student was neither as tall nor as well muscled but moved with the speed and agility of youth. The mud splattered on both bodies was mute evidence of the length of the session.

“Keep up your intensity!” Ogryvan swiped at his opponent’s midsection. “Always! Lose your battle frenzy, and you’re dead!”

Neither was fighting in true battle frenzy, but the younger warrior understood. Smiling grimly through the rivulets of sweat, the student danced out of reach, whirled, and made a cut at Ogryvan’s thigh. The blunted practice sword could not penetrate the leather leggings but was sure to leave a bruise precisely over the wound he had taken at Abar-Gleann two months before.

Although the swordmaster gritted his teeth against the pain, his opponent sensed satisfaction in the accompanying nod. The reason for the sign of approval was clear: the student had made an excellent choice of moves. Exploitation of the enemy’s weaknesses was a basic tenet of the warrior’s art. Mastery of this principle would serve Ogryvan’s pupil well in the years to come.

“Strive to outthink your foe. Stay one move ahead,” he advised between feints. The clatter adopted a dancelike rhythm as the opposing blade deftly met each thrust. The onlookers shouted their approval.

The youth answered with a powerful counterattack, silent but for the creak of leather and the hollow thunks as sword met shield. The swordmaster staggered backward. His disciple quickened the attack.

And grew careless. The shield sagged. Ogryvan landed a blow to the unguarded left shoulder. Startled, the youth lost footing in the treacherous mud and fell.

The laughter sparked by the mishap, from teacher and audience alike, was not unkind, yet it did not comfort the mud-painted student.

The Chieftainess of Clan Argyll hated to lose.

The reason rankled like that awful brew Cynda called spring tonic: she’d not done her best. She didn’t need her father to tell her that carelessness had caused the loss.

In battle, such a mistake was fatal.

She began to pick herself up, seething, only to be unceremoniously shoved face-first into the mud. Before she could twitch, her father’s foot pinned her down. His sword at the base of her neck chilled her to the core of her being. It was too easy to imagine what might happen next.

Ogryvan whispered, “Pay attention, Gyan. This is my favorite part.” His rumbling voice poised on the brink of a chuckle. “All hear and beware! The Ogre takes no prisoners!”

Had this been actual combat, her head would have become the newest addition to Ogryvan’s private collection. Such was the Caledonach way. Not only was the foe defeated in death, but to the victor went possession of the soul. Well honored was the warrior who boasted the largest array.

Long years of training had hardened Gyan to this aspect of warfare, yet the prospect of someday ending up on display in an enemy’s feast hall was grisly at best.

By the shifting of his foot on her back, she knew her father was posturing for the crowd. They rewarded his performance with gleeful claps and shouts. The official practice session was over, of course. But she wasn’t quite finished.

Her sword hilt nestled in the palm of her outflung hand. She carefully tightened her grip. In a burst of movement, she writhed and scissored with her legs, twisted free, rolled to her feet, and brought the sword up in both hands. Ogryvan toppled into the mud. The resounding wet thud of his landing was chorused by the guffaws of the audience.

She grinned, holding the point of her sword to his throat. “Neither does the Ogre’s daughter!”

No nectar was as sweet as the joy of winning, and winning before an audience of her clansmen tasted even sweeter. One day, she would lead them into battle; events like today’s added another brick onto the foundation of trust. Their heartfelt adoration warmed her like the summer sun.

She sheathed the sword and offered a hand to her father. “Even?” Her voice was huskier than usual from the exertion of the morning.

Ogryvan took the proffered hand to regain his footing. “Even.”

The crowd drifted back to their various duties around the settlement, but one man remained at the edge of the field. She strode toward him, swatting mud from her thighs and chest.

“Well, Per, how did I look?”

“Like the fen-spirits Cynda used to try to frighten us with.” Her half brother reached for a glob of mud lodged in her braid.

“Ha!” She playfully slapped his hand away. “You know what I mean.”

Per beamed at her. “You did well. I don’t think I could have fooled Father like that. Or held him off for so long.”

She didn’t believe him for an instant. They had sparred with each other often enough to know who was the better swordsman, but she rewarded his flattery with a brilliant smile and a challenge: “Race you to the house!”

She launched herself down the path, bruises forgotten in the autumn mist.

BOOK TRAILER (with older cover by Joe Calkins)

 

AUDIOBOOK VIDEO TEASER (Prologue)

CHARACTER BIOS

I am Gyanhumara nic Hymar, daughter of Hymar and her consort, Ogryvan. My mother, whose name means “song,” named me her “rarest song,” for I was fated before birth to be the only daughter she would ever bear. Those who do not ken the Caledonach tongue call me by many other names: Vennevria … Guanhumara … Ganora … Gwenhwyfar … Guenevara … Guinevere. I am none of those women.

I am Gyanhumara.

The banner under which I fight is not my own but my clan’s: Na Calamaig h’Argaillanaich, which is called in your tongue the Doves of Argyll. Our storytellers tell us of Clan Argyll’s first exalted heir-bearer, who lived countless generations ago. Argaillean was fierce and strong and true to her name, which means “our tempest.” For her valiant battle against those first despised Ròmanach invaders, she chose the doves, for they are the fastest of birds and the strongest for their size. Argaillean and her army had to be fast and strong to defeat the Ròmanaich. She chose two doves to show unity between her and her consort, between her and her clan, and between her clan and Caledon. The silver on the banner represents the natural coloring of doves, but Argaillean also chose it in defiance of the Ròmanaich, who prize silver for their finest armor and adornments. The midnight blue field against which the Doves of Argyll fly represents the vast eternal realm of the Old Ones… or Heaven, as I have learned to call it.

I also proudly fight under the Scarlet Dragon of Arthur the Pendragon, but I shall defer to him for the explanation of its meaning, if he so chooses to share it with you.

Dawn Flight - Author Photo

AUTHOR BIO

Kim Headlee lives on a farm in southwestern Virginia with her family, cats, goats, and assorted wildlife. People & creatures come and go, but the cave and the 250-year-old house ruins — the latter having been occupied as recently as the mid-20th century — seem to be sticking around for a while yet.

Kim is a Seattle native (when she used to live in the Metro DC area, she loved telling people she was from “the other Washington”) and a direct descendent of 20th-century Russian nobility. Her grandmother was a childhood friend of the doomed Grand Duchess Anastasia, and the romantic yet tragic story of how Lydia escaped Communist Russia with the aid of her American husband will most certainly one day fuel one of Kim’s novels. Another novel in the queue will involve her husband’s ancestor, the 7th-century proto-Viking king of the Swedish colony in Russia.

For the time being, however, Kim has plenty of work to do in creating her projected 8-book Arthurian series, The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles, and other novels under her new imprint, Pendragon Cove Press.

YouTube video interview: http://youtu.be/DV5iKrEIROk

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Liberty by Kim Iverson Headlee

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Title:  Liberty, second edition   
Author:  Kim Iverson Headlee    
Genre:  Historical Romance    
Hosted By: DRC Promotions

Synopsis

They hailed her “Liberty,” but she was free only to obey—or die.

Betrayed by her father and sold as payment of a Roman tax debt to fight in Londinium’s arena, gladiatrix-slave Rhyddes feels like a wild beast in a gilded cage. Celtic warrior blood flows in her veins, but Roman masters own her body. She clings to her vow that no man shall claim her soul, though Marcus Calpurnius Aquila, son of the Roman governor, makes her yearn for a love she believes impossible.

Groomed to follow in his father’s footsteps and trapped in a politically advantageous betrothal, Aquila prefers the purity of combat on the amphitheater sands to the sinister intrigues of imperial politics, and the raw power and athletic grace of the flame-haired Libertas to the adoring deference of Rome’s noblewomen.

When a plot to overthrow Caesar ensnares them as pawns in the dark design, Aquila must choose between the Celtic slave who has won his heart and the empire to which they both owe allegiance. Trusting no man and knowing the opposite of obedience is death, the only liberty offered to any slave, Rhyddes must embrace her arena name—and the love of a man willing to sacrifice everything to forge a future with her.

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Excerpt

FINGERS CRAMPING AND shoulders aching from having wielded the pitchfork all day, Rhyddes ferch Rudd tossed another load of hay onto the wagon. Sweat trickled down her back, making the lash marks sting. Marks inflicted by her father, Rudd, the day before because eighteen summers of anguish had goaded her into speaking her mind.

Physical pain couldn’t compare with the ache wringing her heart.

She slid a glance toward the author of her mood. He stood a few paces away, leaning upon his pitchfork’s handle in the loaded wagon’s shade to escape the July heat as he conversed with her oldest brother, Eoghan. She couldn’t discern their words, but their camaraderie spoke volumes her envy didn’t want to hear.

Her father’s gaze met hers, and he lowered his eyebrows. “Back to work, Rhyddes!” On Rudd’s lips, her name sounded like an insult.

In a sense, it was.

Her name in the Celtic tongue meant “freedom,” but the horse hitched to the hay wagon enjoyed more freedom than she did. Her tribe, the Votadini, had been conquered by the thieving Romans, who demanded provisions for their troops, fodder for their mounts, women for their beds, and coin to fill the purses of every Roman who wasn’t a soldier.

If those conditions weren’t bad enough, for all the kindness her father had demonstrated during her first two decades, Rhyddes may as well have been born a slave.

She scooped up more hay. Resentment-fired anger sent wisps flying everywhere, much of it sailing over the wagon rather than landing upon it.

“Hey, mind what you’re doing!”

Owen, her closest brother in age and in spirit, emerged from the wagon’s far side, hay prickling his hair and tunic like a porcupine. Rhyddes couldn’t suppress her laugh. “’Tis an improvement. Just wait till the village lasses see you.”

“Village lasses, hah!” Sporting a wicked grin, Owen snatched up a golden fistful, flung it at her, and dived for her legs.

They landed in the fragrant hay and began vying for the upper hand, cackling like a pair of witless hens. When Owen thought he’d prevailed, Rhyddes twisted and rolled from underneath him. Her fresh welts stung, but she refused to let that deter her. He lost his balance and fell backward. She pounced, planting a knee on his chest and pinning his wrists to the ground over his head.

Victory’s sweetness lasted but a moment. Fingers dug into her shoulders, and she felt herself hauled to her feet and spun around. Owen’s face contorted to chagrin as he scrambled up.

“Didn’t get enough of the lash yestermorn, eh, girl?” Rudd, his broad hands clamped around her upper arms, gave her a teeth-rattling shake.

When she didn’t respond, he released her and rounded on Owen. “As for you—”

“Da, please, no!” Rhyddes stopped herself. Well she knew the futility of pleading with Rudd. Still, for Owen’s sake, she had to try. Her father’s scowl dared her to continue. She swallowed the lump that had formed in her throat. “’Twas not Owen’s fault. I—” Sweat freshened the sting on her back, and she winced. “The fault is naught but mine.”

“Aye, that I can well believe.” Rudd grasped each sibling by an arm and strode across the hayfield toward the family’s lodge. “Owen can watch you take his lashes as well as yours. We’ll see if that won’t mend his ways.” The thin linen of her ankle-length tunic failed to shield her from his fingers, which had to be leaving bruises. Rhyddes gritted her teeth. Rudd seemed disappointed. “I doubt anything in this world or the next will make you mend yours.”

“You don’t want me to change. You’d lose your excuse to beat me.” Sheer impertinence, she knew, but she no longer cared.

“I need no excuses, girl.”

The back of his hand collided with her cheek. Pain splintered into a thousand needles across her face. She reeled and dropped to her hands and knees, her hair obscuring her vision in a copper cascade. Hay pricked her palms. Owen would have helped her rise, but their father restrained him. Owen blistered the ground with his glare, not daring to direct it at Rudd for fear of earning the same punishment.

Not that Rhyddes could blame him.

Rudd yanked her up, cocked a fist… and froze. “Raiders!”

Rhyddes whirled about. Picts were charging from the north to converge upon their settlement, the battle cries growing louder under the merciless afternoon sun. One of the storage buildings had already been set ablaze, its roof thatch marring the sky with thick black smoke.

Rudd shed his shock and sprinted for the living compound, calling his children by name to help him defend their home: Eoghan, Ian, Bloeddwyn, Arden, Dinas, Gwydion, Owen.

Every child except Rhyddes.

She ran to the wagon, unhitched the horse, found her pitchfork, scrambled onto the animal’s back, and kicked him into a jolting canter. The stench of smoke strengthened with each stride. Her mount pinned back his ears and wrestled her for control of the bit, but she bent the frightened horse to her will. She understood how he felt.

As they loped past the cow byre, a Pict leaped at them, knocking Rhyddes from the horse’s back. The ground jarred the pitchfork from her grasp. The horse galloped toward the pastures as Rhyddes fumbled for her dagger. Although her brothers had taught her how to wield it in a fight, until now she’d used it only to ease dying animals from this world.

But the accursed blade wouldn’t come free of the hilt.

Sword aloft, the Pict closed on her.

Time distorted, assaulting Rhyddes with her attacker’s every detail: lime-spiked hair, weird blue symbols smothering the face and arms, long sharp sword, ebony leather boots and leggings, breastplate tooled to fit female curves . . .

Female?

The warrior-woman’s sword began its descent.

From the corner of her eye Rhyddes saw her pitchfork. Grunting, she rolled toward it, praying to avoid her attacker’s blow.

Her left arm stung where the sword grazed it, but she snagged her pitchfork and scrambled to her feet. Unexpected eagerness flooded her veins.

As the Pict freed her weapon from where it had embedded in the ground, Rhyddes aimed the pitchfork and lunged. The tines hooked the warrior-woman’s sword, and Rhyddes twisted with all her strength. The Pict yelped as the sword ripped from her hand to go flying over the sty’s fence.

Squealing in alarm, the sow lumbered for cover, trying to wedge her bulk under the trough.

With a savage scream, the warrior-woman whipped out a dagger and charged. Rhyddes reversed the pitchfork and jammed its butt into the Pict’s gut, under the breastplate’s bottom edge, robbing her of breath. She reversed it again and caught the raider under the chin with the pitchfork’s tines. As the woman staggered backward, flailing her arms and flashing the red punctures that marred her white neck, Rhyddes struck hard and knocked her down.

The warrior-woman looked heavier by at least two stone, but Rhyddes pinned her chest with her knee. She dropped the pitchfork and grasped her dagger, yanking it free. Grabbing a fistful of limed hair, she wrestled the woman’s head to one side to expose her neck.

The Pict bucked and twisted, trying to break Rhyddes’s grip. ’Twas not much different than wrestling a fever-mad calf.

Rhyddes’s deft slice ended the threat.

Blood spurted from the woman’s neck in sickening pulses.

Rhyddes stood, panting, her stomach churning with the magnitude of what she’d done. ’Twas no suffering animal she’d killed—and it could have been her lying there, pumping her lifeblood into the mud.

Bile seared her throat, making her gag. Pain lanced her stomach. Bent double, she retched out the remains of her morning meal, spattering the corpse.

After spitting out the last bitter mouthful and wiping her lips with the back of her hand, she drew a deep breath and straightened. As she turned a slow circle, her senses taking in the sights and sounds and stench of the devastation surrounding her, she wished she had not prevailed.

The news grew worse as she sprinted toward the lodge.

Of her seven brothers, the Picts had left Ian and Gwydion dead, her father and Owen wounded, the lodge and three outbuildings torched. She ran a fingertip over the crusted blood of her scratch, and she couldn’t suppress a surge of guilt.

Mayhap, she thought through the blinding tears as she ran to help what was left of her family, ’twould have been better had she died in the Pict’s stead.

The surviving raiders were galloping toward the tree line with half the cattle. The remaining stock lay stiffening in the fields, already attracting carrion birds.

Three days later, the disaster attracted scavengers of an altogether different sort.

Arthurian Romances’ Review:

Liberty is a captivating novel with so many variables that make it a true masterpiece. Our main character Rhyddes, which translates to mean Freedom daughter of Red (thus Liberty), is sold off to the Romans due to a tax debt. Here she must fight in the Gladiator arena. Fortunately Rhyddes fights well, it’s that ancient Celtic warrior blood that runs through her veins that makes her fierce. Although Rhyddes is plagued with captivation and yearning for the Roman governor’s son, Aquila. He too is irresistibly drawn to Rhyddes and vows to renounce his wealth and power for her. The charm of this novel kept me intrigued from the start. The savagery, ferocity coupled with the longing and purity of true love makes Liberty a captivating must read!

Character Bio

I am Rhyddes ferch Rudd, which in your tongue means Freedom daughter of Red. The blood of ancient Celtic warriors flows in my veins, though I am a farmer’s daughter by the circumstance of my birth. My life spans much of the reign of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, one of a very few men ever to claim that title who did not abuse his power for personal gain—but I care not who rules and who dies in this gods-cursed empire.

More than anything—even more than my freedom—I yearn to be my lover Aquila’s equal. As a foreign slave in an empire where citizenship stands paramount, where an arena fighter such as I can only be considered the equal of other gladiators, actors, undertakers, and whores, this goal seems impossibly remote. Although Aquila is the son of a powerful Roman, he has declared that he would renounce his aristocratic status, wealth, and power for me, but I cannot in good conscience allow him to destroy himself on my account.

And yet the gods have granted the impossible to other mortals. I pray that I am worthy to receive such a boon from them, for surely divine assistance is the only way for Aquila and I to bridge the vast social chasm that separates us from enjoying a future together.

About the Author

Kim Headlee lives on a farm in southwestern Virginia with her family, cats, goats, and assorted wildlife. People & creatures come and go, but the cave and the 250-year-old house ruins—the latter having been occupied as recently as the mid-20th century—seem to be sticking around for a while yet.

Kim is a Seattle native (when she used to live in the Metro DC area, she loved telling people she was from “the other Washington”) and a direct descendent of twentieth-century Russian nobility. Her grandmother was a childhood friend of the doomed Grand Duchess Anastasia, and the romantic yet tragic story of how Lydia escaped Communist Russia with the aid of her American husband will most certainly one day fuel one of Kim’s novels. Another novel in the queue will involve her husband’s ancestor, the seventh-century proto-Viking king of the Swedish colony in Russia.

For the time being, however, Kim has plenty of work to do in creating her projected 8-book Arthurian series, The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles, and other novels under her new imprint, Pendragon Cove Press.

YouTube video interview: http://youtu.be/DV5iKrEIROk

Connect with the Author

YOUTUBE CHANNEL – http://www.youtube.com/user/gyanhumara

Giveaway

All My Best,
1MorganLeFaye

King Arthur’s Sister in Washington’s Court by Kim Iverson Headlee

King Arthur’s Sister in Washington’s Court
~Kim Iverson Headlee

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BOOK INFO
TITLEKing Arthur’s Sister in Washington’s Court
AUTHORKim Iverson Headlee
GENRE – Science Fiction/Fantasy Time-Travel Romance
PUBLICATION DATES:
– 1 November 2014 (ebook, illustrated)
– February 2015 (audiobook, performed by Caprisha Page)
– November 2015 (hardcover, featuring more than 100 illustrations)
LENTH (Pages/# Words) – (350 pages/70K words)
PUBLISHER – Lucky Bat Books
COVER ARTIST – Jennifer Doneske
ILLUSTRATORS – Jennifer “The Royal Portraitist” Doneske and Tom “The Creature King” Doneske

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BOOK BLURB
Morgan le Fay, 6th-century Queen of Gore and the only major character not killed off by Mark Twain in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, vows revenge upon the Yankee Hank Morgan. She casts a spell to take her to 1879 Connecticut so she may waylay Sir Boss before he can travel back in time to destroy her world. But the spell misses by 300 miles and 200 years, landing her in the Washington, D.C., of 2079, replete with flying limousines, hovering office buildings, virtual-reality television, and sundry other technological marvels.

Whatever is a time-displaced queen of magic and minions to do? Why, rebuild her kingdom, of course—two kingdoms, in fact: as Campaign Boss for the reelection of American President Malory Beckham Hinton, and as owner of the London Knights world-champion baseball franchise.

Written as though by the old master himself, King Arthur’s Sister in Washington’s Court by Mark Twain as channeled by Kim Iverson Headlee offers laughs, love, and a candid look at American society, popular culture, politics, baseball…and the human heart.

Character Bio
ALL CALL ME Queen. For my unparalleled skills in leechcraft, most call me “The Wise.” No man dares call me “le Fay,” lest he die.
I hight Morgan.
That is to say, my name is Morgan, so chosen by my mother, Duchess Igraine, to honor the Great Queen of the Old Religion, Mór Rigan, goddess of war. My mother never knew how prophetic her choice would prove to be.
I am the daughter of Duke Gorlois, the sister of Queen Margawse and Queen Elaine, the wife of King Uriens of Gore, and the mother of Sir Uwaine of the Table Round. Blessed good fortune made me all of these things.
By the capricious hand of ill fortune, King Arthur became my younger half brother, spawned upon my most virtuous and blameless mother by that demon in man’s raiment, Uther Pendragon.
I am the only personage, kind reader, with whose biographical information you should concern yourself.
What? You wish to learn more about some of the other minions—that is to say, individuals with whom I cross paths during my sojourn in your century? Fine. Being The Wise does not always make me The Magnanimous, but you caught me in an agreeable mood today, and so I shall make an exception for you.
The first person (of any consequence) I met after my time-travel spell went awry by 300 miles and 200 years was Clarice Centralia, a bright and talented young woman whom it pleased me to later name as my assistant in all matters political and magical.
Clarice introduced me to the woman who would become my greatest ally in this era to which I did not belong, American President Malory Beckham Hinton, and President Malory’s husband, ex-Senator Ambrose Josiah Hinton. The less that is said about Ambrose, the better; I shall leave you to discover how he and I danced.
Clarice also introduced me to the magnificent man who would become the love of my life—two lives, if you account for my shift in time—Alexander “Sandy” Leroy Carter. Sandy could have been the twin of my sixth-century lover, Sir Accolon, but he proved to be ever so much more, in ever so many ways. A renowned expert in all matters baseball, and a world-class player himself once upon a time, Sandy hired on as general manager of my team, the London Knights. In the course of helping me forge a team worthy to take on the formidable American juggernaut, the Connecticut Yankees, he not only taught me about baseball, but he taught me to look into my own heart. Our association was not all wine and roses, and I leave those details for you to discover too, but I must state unequivocally that Sandy Carter was, is, and ever shall be my Once and Future Love.

BUY & TBR LINKS

AMAZON KINDLE US – AMAZON KINDLE CA – AMAZON KINDLE UK
BARNES & NOBLES NOOK – ITUNES – KOBO – SMASHWORDS

 

EXCERPT

Chapter XI: The Queen in Search of a Baseball Club

CLARICE HELPED ME pack my clothing and accessories for the relocation to London: just what I would need for the first brace of weeks, which amounted to eight large traveling cases, one of which was devoted to my hair accoutrements and cosmetics. Not long after arriving in this century, Clarice had introduced me to these wonderful products, which allowed me to create the same visual effect as I had done for decades with the aid of magic; now you sit privy to the secret of how I could cast ever so many enchantments for President Malory and remain looking as glorious as ever.
While I was yet sorting through my garments deciding which to bring and which to leave, my thoughts turned toward a leaving of another sort. I must have appeared sorrowful, for of a sudden Clarice asked if aught ailed me.
“I shall miss you, Clarice, when I get to London.” Since that answer represented only half the truth, I hurried on with: “And yet I know that you shall perform your duties in continuing to oversee my office here in Washington to the utmost of your considerable abilities.”
That made her smile, and she thanked me for the compliment, but her look turned shrewd. “I imagine you’ll miss President Hinton, too.”
“Of course I shall. She has become as a sister to me.”
I resumed examination of the dress I had been holding, a sexy little black thing that I would have loved to have worn only for Accolon…
“Please tell me about him,” said Clarice.
“I beg your pardon?”
The shrewd look was back. Mayhap it had never left. “Sir Accolon. Queen Morgan, you have not—um, partnered with any man of this century more often than once to my certain knowledge, since I manage your schedule. I suspect that you have not yet found anyone you like, let alone love, as well as he. No one of this era could make you go all moony-eyed while looking at a dress; therefore, you must be thinking about Accolon. So, please tell me about him.”
Ha. I knew I had chosen her as my trusted adviser for good reason, and I rewarded her accordingly. As the memories swirled about in my mind, making me yearn even more acutely for Accolon’s company, I said:
“He was a knight with very few peers during his lifetime, excepting only Sir Launcelot and Sir Gawaine. And my brother—those three were the only knights who ever bested him in single combat. So naturally, he was big—in all parts and portions—and muscular, and very strong, yet as a lover he was no brute, but as tender as any virgin maid could ever wish for. His intellect was nearly as keen as mine, as was his eagerness to assist me in righting the wrongs inflicted upon me by my brother. He had hair as glossy black as a raven’s wing, which he kept short-cropped in the old Roman style; he once said it was more comfortable under the helmet than having masses of hair stuffed up under and making the head sweat overmuch. It had a fine curl to it that I found most endearing. His eyes were an unforgettable shade of blue, and he had a strong chin that he kept clean-shaven…Lord God in heaven! Who on earth is that?”
While I had been discoursing on Accolon’s virtues, Clarice had activated her screen, which was now displaying the image of a man who could have been my dead lover’s twin.
Clarice grinned. “You said the other day that you wanted to find another general manager for the Knights. This man is Alexander Leroy ‘Sandy’ Carter, former WBF second baseman and 2073 Tournament MVP for the Connecticut Yankees. Since his retirement as a player, he has served in various capacities for several teams, including as a GM. He is a renowned expert in all matters baseball.”
In any era, when something—or someone—sounds too good to be true, it—or he—usually is. I asked, “If he is so valuable, then why does he not stay with one team?”
A look of chagrin crossed her countenance. “Sandy Carter is what we call a ‘loose cannon.’ He can be temperamental and wild, and he gets into fights with players and coaches and…sometimes even with his bosses. And not just verbal fights, either. Usually his points are quite valid, but his means of expressing them don’t earn him any friends.”
In a word, then, passionate. Passionate men I understood and could work with. It had been thus with Accolon at the start of our association, and look at all I had been able to accomplish with him. Everything I had ever desired, except King Arthur’s throne.
Wit I well that lying and gullibility were two facets of human nature that had not changed in the last fifteen centuries and shall not change in the next fifteen, either. I had learned this while trying to evaluate potential new Knights for the team. Everyone speaks glowingly of his accomplishments and accolades; no one ever mentions his flaws or mistakes or regrets unless a wise employer chooses to ask specific questions of this ilk. Yet Clarice had offered the bad along with the good of this man. Still, I would be forced as a point of honor to relinquish my coveted title of The Wise if I accepted her words at face value; upon turning the thought-receptors toward me, I soon verified everything she had told me about this volatile man.
I asked, “Is Sandy Carter available now?”
Clarice’s grin returned. “For the right price, Queen Morgan, anyone is.”
It took only one call, and Sandy Carter expressed exceeding pleasure and eagerness to accompany me to London as general manager of the Knights. The fact that I had worn the sexy black number during the call saved the team quite a sum with regard to Carter’s agreed-upon salary.
Neither as queen nor as ball club owner do I ever make idle promises.

Author Bio

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Kim Headlee lives on a farm in southwestern Virginia with her family, cats, goats, and assorted wildlife. People & creatures come and go, but the cave and the 250-year-old house ruins — the latter having been occupied as recently as the mid-20th century — seem to be sticking around for a while yet.
Kim is a Seattle native (when she used to live in the Metro DC area, she loved telling people she was from “the other Washington”) and a direct descendent of 20th-century Russian nobility. Her grandmother was a childhood friend of the doomed Grand Duchess Anastasia, and the romantic yet tragic story of how Lydia escaped Communist Russia with the aid of her American husband will most certainly one day fuel one of Kim’s novels. Another novel in the queue will involve her husband’s ancestor, the 7th-century proto-Viking king of the Swedish colony in Russia.
For the time being, however, Kim has plenty of work to do in creating her projected 8-book Arthurian series, The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles, and other novels under her new imprint, Pendragon Cove Press. She also writes romantic historical fiction under the pseudonym “Kimberly Iverson.”
YouTube video interview:  HYPERLINK “http://youtu.be/DV5iKrEIROk” http://youtu.be/DV5iKrEIROk

Arthurian Romances’ Review:
Too be honest, there are 3 things I love in this world, (beside my children, family and friends of course) and they are everything Arthurian, Morgan le Faye, and anything written by one of the best contemporary Arthurian novelists, Kim Iverson Headlee. Not only does Ms. Headlee know all the intricate details of the Arthurian legends and history, she creates an Arthurian world of her own.
King Arthur’s Sister in Washington’s Court ( or KASIWC), has everything us Arthurian lovers could want and more. Time travel, romance, pop culture, sports, politics and Morgan’s eccentric antics are just a few highlights. Having a 6th century queen travel to 2079 and deal with such dramatic change in itself is the novel’s peripheral antagonist and at times it’s humorous and witty. Morgan le Faye stays vigorous while assimilating to her new surroundings and keeping to her mission. KASIWC is irresistible, passionate, and intriguing. Definitely check out this amazing new Arthurian Romance!

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Snow In July By Kim Iverson Headlee

Snow In July - Tour Banner

TITLE – Snow in July

SERIES – N/A

AUTHOR – Kim Iverson Headlee

GENRE – Young Adult Paranormal Historical Romance

PUBLICATION DATE – July 2014

LENTH (Pages/# Words) – 386 pages/94K words

PUBLISHER – Pendragon Cove Press

COVER DESIGNER – Natasha Brown

Snow in July - Book Cover

Sir Robert Alain de Bellencombre has been granted what every man wants: a rich English estate in exchange for his valiant service at the Battle of Hastings. To claim this reward, the Norman knight must wed the estate’s Saxon heiress. Most men would leap at such an opportunity, but for Alain, who broke his vow to his dying mother by failing to protect his youngest brother in battle, it means facing more easily broken vows. But when rumors of rampant thievery, dangerous beasts, and sorcery plaguing a neighboring estate reach his ears, nothing will make him shirk duty to king and country when people’s lives stand at risk. He assumes the guise of a squire to scout the land, its problems, and its lady.

Lady Kendra of Edgarburh has been granted what no woman wants: a forced marriage to an enemy who may be kith or kin to the man who murdered her beloved brother. Compounding her anguish is her failure to awaken the miraculous healing gift bequeathed by their late mother in time to save his life. Although with his dying breath, he made her promise to seek happiness above all, Kendra vows that she shall find neither comfort nor love in the arms of a Norman…unless it snows in July.

Alain is smitten by Lady Kendra from the first moment of their meeting; Kendra feels the forbidden allure of the handsome and courtly Norman “squire.” But a growing evil overshadows everyone, invoking dark forces and ensnaring Kendra in a plot to overthrow the king Alain is oath-bound to serve. Kendra and Alain face a battle unlike any other as their honor, their love, their lives, and even their very souls lie in the balance.

BUY & TBR LINKS

AMAZON KINDLE US – http://goo.gl/d4p7UA

AMAZON KINDLE CA – http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00L6K50V2

AMAZON KINDLE UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00L6K50V2

AMAZON PAPERBACK – http://www.amazon.com/dp/0990505502

BARNES & NOBLES NOOK – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/snow-in-july-kim-headlee/1119853202?ean=2940149693818&itm=1&usri=2940149693818

BARNES & NOBLES PAPERBACK – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/snow-in-july-kim-headlee/1119853202?ean=9780990505501

SMASHWORDS – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/450831

ITUNES – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id892162990

GOODREADS – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22398941-snow-in-july

SHELFARI – http://www.shelfari.com/books/37731943/Snow-in-July

Review
How could one not love this novel by Kim Iverson Headlee? Snow in July has everything a reader could want, Romance, Intrigue, History, Magic, and most of all (for us Arthurian lovers) a knight in shining armor! The story is set during the Normans and Saxons, which in itself, the history is a character that parallels the novel. In the midst of everything, our star-crossed lovers have to overcome thievery, beasts, and dangerous sorcery, however the biggest obstacle of all is their intense feelings for one another. I must say, that this novel does not drag at any point. I found myself not wanting it to end. Our beloved characters find themselves falling in love whether they want to or not. Alain and Kendra have what this time period is known for, honor. But the question remains, can our lovers throw caution to the wind and be honest and vulnerable? See for yourselves, as today you can grab a copy of this intriguing and irresistible novel and find out. I couldn’t recommend a better book this fall, Snow in July fits in so many genres, it will please everyone.

Here’s a sneak peek…

Character Bios

Robert Alain de Bellencombre. Preferring the name Alain for use by close family and friends, he is a Norman knight in the service of William the Conqueror and a court favorite. Being the second son of Count Hugh FitzWalter and Countess Margaret has prevented Alain from inheriting his father’s title and lands, which caused his first fiancée to jilt him in favor of Alain’s older half brother Philippe. Alain is the older brother of Étienne de Bellencombre, and Alain’s failure to protect Étienne at the Battle of Hastings becomes a major source of grief that Alain must learn to vanquish. The device on Alain’s shield represents the Norman town Bellencombre, his birthplace: a white rose nestled in tangle of greenery, on saffron yellow.

Kendra Waldronsdotter. Lady Kendra is the heiress to her father’s estate of Edgarburh, near London. King William the Bastard has decreed that she marry one of his knights…perhaps even the very man who had ambushed her brother and dealt him his mortal wound. Though Kendra cannot bear to imagine what the king will do to her father or her people if she disobeys this command, she vows that she will never marry a Norman unless it snows in July. The name Kendra is the female form of Kendrick, meaning “keen power,” and in fact the Lady Kendra is heiress, through her mother, to a powerful healing gift that she must learn how to wield in order to save those she loves.

Synopsis

FIFTEEN THOUSAND MEN and horses writhed across the valley below, appearing as toys in a children’s game.
Many might consider war a game, but Sir Robert Alain de Bellencombre, knight of Normandy bound to the service of Duke William and commander of a unit in the cavalry reserves, did not number among their ranks.
Edward the Confessor, King of England via his Saxon father but Norman by his mother, was dead. This battle, raging near the coastal hamlet called Hastings, would decide the right of one man to wear the English crown: William the Norman, acknowledged by Pope Alexander to be Edward’s lawful successor; or Harold the Saxon, brother of Edward’s wife, the man alleged to be Edward’s deathbed choice.
Stroking his war horse’s glossy charcoal neck to calm her, Alain pondered Harold’s claim. It had to be true. This many men would not sacrifice their lives for a lie. Yet the vast majority of Harold’s supporters were Saxons harboring no wish to bear the Norman yoke. Perhaps such men might be desperate enough to fight for a lie that promised to restore Saxon rule.
A trumpet blared. He signaled his men forward, couched his lance, and spurred Chou to send her careening into the melee.
Harold’s shield wall, which had seemed impregnable, began to crumble under the onslaught of Alain’s unit, hastened by the desertion of men who no doubt decided they weren’t quite so willing to die. Their lord stood exposed just long enough for a Norman archer to sight his mark. Harold fell, screaming and clutching an arrow that protruded from one eye.
Harold’s supporters closed ranks around him, blocking Alain’s view and giving him more than enough to do as the Saxons redoubled their efforts to guard their lord’s body.
A familiar whirl of colors caught Alain’s attention. The saffron leopard prowling on a green field—Étienne! A Saxon knight, with a blue arm and fist blazing defiance across his gray shield, bore down upon Étienne with leveled lance. Étienne tumbled from his horse. He scrambled to his feet and retrieved his sword, putting it to good use on the Saxons surrounding him, although the knight who’d unhorsed him had already ridden in search of other targets.
Lance long since discarded and sword now rising and falling with fatal precision, Alain surged to reach his brother’s side. Protection of her youngest son had been their dying mother’s wish, and he had sworn on his own life to keep Étienne safe.
Before he could close the distance, another Saxon knight fought past Étienne’s guard to thrust a war-knife into his throat. Through the visor the knight’s eyes gleamed with startling, fathomless malice. Alain could only watch in stunned disbelief as he laid his hand upon Étienne’s chest for a few moments. Uttering a soul-freezing howl, the Saxon yanked out his seax and disappeared into the press with Étienne’s shield, denying Alain vengeance.
Shame and grief rent his heart asunder.
He had failed the two he loved most; failed them so utterly that he could never beg their forgiveness in this lifetime.
Pain slammed into his shoulder, toppling him from the saddle. Étienne’s body broke his fall. He tried to roll clear, but a spear through his chest pinned him to Étienne. His gut convulsed, and bile burned his throat. Blinding agony killed his struggle to free himself. Death’s stench invaded his nostrils.
He closed his eyes and waited for his final journey to begin.

Snow In July - Full Sleeve

AUTHOR BIO

Kim Headlee lives on a farm in southwestern Virginia with her family, cats, goats, and assorted wildlife. People & creatures come and go, but the cave and the 250-year-old house ruins — the latter having been occupied as recently as the mid-20th century — seem to be sticking around for a while yet.
Kim is a Seattle native (when she used to live in the Metro DC area, she loved telling people she was from “the other Washington”) and a direct descendent of 20th-century Russian nobility. Her grandmother was a childhood friend of the doomed Grand Duchess Anastasia, and the romantic yet tragic story of how Lydia escaped Communist Russia with the aid of her American husband will most certainly one day fuel one of Kim’s novels. Another novel in the queue will involve her husband’s ancestor, the 7th-century proto-Viking king of the Swedish colony in Russia.
For the time being, however, Kim has plenty of work to do in creating her projected 8-book Arthurian series, The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles, and other novels under her new imprint, Pendragon Cove Press. She also writes romantic historical fiction under the pseudonym “Kimberly Iverson.”

Snow in July - Book Spine

AUTHOR FOLLOW LINKS

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE – http://www.amazon.com/Kim-Headlee/e/B001KE2LK2
WEBSITE / BLOG – http://kimiversonheadlee.blogspot.com/
FACEBOOK – https://www.facebook.com/KimIversonHeadlee
TWITTER – https://twitter.com/KimHeadlee
GOOGLE+ – https://plus.google.com/+KimHeadlee
PINTEREST – http://www.pinterest.com/kimheadlee/
GOODREADS – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/845537.Kim_Headlee
SHELFARI – http://www.shelfari.com/o1514267737
LINKEDIN – http://www.linkedin.com/in/kimheadlee/
YOUTUBE CHANNEL – http://www.youtube.com/user/gyanhumara
Video Interview: http://youtu.be/DV5iKrEIROk

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10 eBook Copies of Snow in July
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