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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Lady Knights of Barony Release Party - "Scavenger Hunt"

Happy Release Day to Elise Marion!!!!  
The Lady Knights of Barony is OUT today!!!
We're so happy to be apart of her RELEASE Party for the next book to the Kings of Cardenas...which is actually a collection of 3 novellas.  If you've read The Second Son (Book 2 to the Kings of Cardenas), you know who the characters are in The Lady Knights of Barony.
 I, (FranJessca), was excited to find out that Elise Marion was going to write about the 3 female characters who kicked butt in "The Second Son".  =) 
Now let's get onto the Release Party and what Elise has planned for you all...which is a Scavenger Hunt from 10am (Central time) to 1pm (Central time).  
Our blog is the first part of the Scavenger make sure to scroll down and read the excerpt since it has the clue to the scavenger hunt question that needs to be answered in the Rafflecopter provided below for a chance to win some great prizes.  =) 
Good luck to everyone!!!
Make sure to stop at the next stop on the hunt at 11 am (central time)

Book  blurb:
Three women. Three stories. One Sisterhood.

With the war in Barony at an end, peace reigns and rebuilding efforts continue beneath the steady vigilance of King Serge and Queen Isabelle. The lady knights have returned home, unchanged by new titles and lands. But with a rash of kidnappings spreading across the province, the lady knights will find themselves torn apart by the machinations of a mad man.

Ava Longley, captain of the lady knights, never expected to become the target of an obsessed murderous madman. When a kidnapper is sent to abduct her, Ava sees it as the perfect opportunity to bring the mastermind to justice. To Julian Vincent, Lady Longley is no more than the means to an end. However, when sparks fly between them, Julian is faced with an impossible decision.

After being sold into slavery by her king and washing up onto the shore of Cardenas, the friendless African Amazon, Mudiwa Akua, was taken in by Barony’s female soldier’s regiment. When her tranquil existence is disturbed and she finds herself on a ship bound for the exotic island of Martinique, Mudiwa faces certain death and possible enslavement for the second time in her life, dredging up ghosts of a past she had long thought forgotten. When planter Isaac Prideux comes upon a mysterious African woman, beaten and half-dead, he takes it upon himself to care for her. He never imagined doing so would shake up his monotonous life so completely.

After the highly honored title of onna bugeisha—the feminine equivalent of a samurai—begins to lose its power in Japan, Hanako Kiyomi sees no choice but to flee. But when her deserted husband comes searching for her, Hanako escapes him the only way she knows how: marriage in name only to a stranger. Lord Garrick Overton has always admired the cool, stoic Hanako from afar. Marriage to the woman he’s desired for years seems like a good idea; until she proposes the marriage be in name only. As he sets out to win her heart, he faces not only a tough task but a begrudged man that will stop at nothing to win back what he has lost.

Their courage will be tried. Their hearts will be put to the test. Can three headstrong women maintain their independent natures while surrendering to love? 

“There are some things we should discuss,” he said.
The severity of his tone wiped the smile from Ava’s face and her eyes became shuttered and defensive. She thinks you didn’t like it, he told himself with an inward groan.
“It’s not what you think,” he said quickly, trying to lose some of the nervous tension that laced his voice. His hands shook with the effort. “You were amazing last night, truly. It’s something else. Something serious.”
She nodded silently as she slipped the shirt on. Julian turned his back as she stood from the bed and buttoned it. He heard her slipping the breeches and belt on as well. Ava joined him at the small round table when she was dressed.
“Your conscience is nagging you because you think you took advantage of me,” she said before he could begin.
Julian’s head snapped up and their eyes met. Her expression was blank but her eyes were turbulent. He knew her thoughts must be as confused as his own. What sort of sick relationship had come of this kidnapping?
“Yes,” he admitted.
She shook her head. “I was naked first, remember?”
He couldn’t help a smile as he recalled the moment.
“It wasn’t a bargaining chip, you know,” she said. “I didn’t do it to coax you into letting me go. I did it because I wanted to know what it was like. I wanted to experience passion for the first time in my life and I’m glad I did it. Do you hear me Julian? Even after you do whatever it is you plan on doing with me, I won’t regret it.”
Julian’s eyes narrowed as the truth of what Simon had told him reared its ugly head. He crossed his arms over his chest and prepared himself for the ensuing battle.
“Ava, may I ask you a question?”
“Why is it that a woman of your impressive skill on the battlefield and headstrong nature has not yet made a break for freedom?”
Ava’s eyes narrowed as well and two molten gazes clashed. She didn’t move, didn’t breathe, didn’t make a sound. Julian had at least been hoping for a gasp of surprise. None was forthcoming.
“It’s just that you fought so viciously when we first captured you,” he continued when she didn’t respond. “I thought for sure I’d have my hands full with you for the entire journey. I even gagged you at first to save myself the trouble of having to listen to your incessant nagging, but you never even asked where we were taking you. Aren’t you the least bit curious, Ava? Don’t you want to know your fate?”
Ava stood, her hands gripping the table’s edge. “Tell me then, Julian. Tell me what you’re going to do with me.”
“You already know, so there’s no need for you to ask is there?”
“Tell me!” she bellowed, the strength in her voice reminding Julian that this woman was captain of an entire regiment. This was not a request. “I want to hear you say it!”
“I’m going to marry you.”
Ava’s eyes grew wide and shock filled their depths. Her hands dropped from the table and fell limp at her sides. “I don’t understand. That’s why you kidnapped me? But I thought—”
“The plans have changed, Ava. You and I will marry once I’ve returned you to Barony long enough to inform King Serge that you are well and sound. I’m sure that during the journey back we can come up with a reasonable enough excuse for your disappearance.”
Numb shock began to melt away and Julian watched the fight creep back into her eyes. “I know what your original plans were. What I don’t know—”
“We’ll get to what you don’t know in a moment,” he interjected, rising to his feet as well. He refused to be on uneven ground with her during this conversation. “What I want to know first, is what you know about a man named Dorian Blake.”
Ava’s lips turned up into a disdainful sneer. “The real question here is what do you know about Dorian Blake? What do you know about the man who paid you so much money to deliver me to him? Perhaps, he told you all about his stable of kidnapped women, some of them no older than fourteen. Maybe he even showed them to you. Tell me Julian, did you sample what the men in the West Indies will be paying for? Did you find the merchandise to be to your satisfaction?”
Anger and shame swirled within him in a potent mixture that left him feeling sick. Had he really fallen so low that he now dealt with a man who sold women in to slavery?
“Ava,” Julian said softly, his eyes unable to connect with hers. “I didn’t...”
“It doesn’t matter Julian, because you actually did me a favor. The night that you and Simon kidnapped me, I was preparing weapons and armor for my regiment. Our plan was to pursue Blake and his men after they kidnapped a group of women from Trilor. We have reason to believe that he’s kidnapped women in other areas as well. King Serge wanted him stopped and placed the burden upon my shoulders.”
The sickness increased as Julian remembered reports of raiders in Barony’s village. There had even been reports of them back home in Rinland. He hadn’t known about the kidnapped women or even thought to tie those events to a man like Blake.
“You were awake that first night,” he said. “You heard Simon and me discussing Blake.”
She nodded. “I knew then that I could use you to get to him so I played helpless. When you take me to him tomorrow, I have every intention of finding the missing women and bringing him to justice.”
“Ava, I won’t allow...”
You won’t allow?”
Suddenly the space between them was gone and Ava’s slender index finger was jabbing him in the center of his chest.
“After all that has happened, you dare—”
He grasped her wrists in a bruising grasp, pulling her against him roughly. Fear for her mingled with his frustration over her stubbornness.
“I will not allow you to put yourself in danger!”
“I’ve been in danger from the moment I met you! ‘A means to an end’, right Julian? Isn’t that how you think of me? You were so convinced that I was like all the other ladies you’ve known and that I deserved whatever I was getting from that snake!”
“I didn’t know you then,” he whispered, his hold on her wrists slackening as he hung his head. “I wish I had.”
“You don’t know me,” she hissed, the venom of her words hitting him with precision. “You don’t know me at all if you think I’ll stop now. You owe me Julian. You will take me to him, leave me there then take the money and go on your way.”
“No! I won’t let you go to him.”
“Why, Julian?”
“Why, what?”
“Why do you want to marry me?”
Her sudden shift back to his original declaration surprised him. Ava’s calm and even tone surprised him even more. He found real curiosity in her eyes as well as something else. Hope? His heart dropped into his stomach and he gave voice to his very worst fear.
“You could be with child, Ava.”
Understanding filled her eyes, yet Julian also detected disappointment there as well. Her shoulders sagged and she sighed.
“You don’t want your child to be born without a father,” she said.
He sighed, relieved that she had seen things his way. “Yes,” he said. “We should wed immediately. We could—”
He was unprepared for the fist that connected with his jaw. His head snapped back and his thick body made contact with the table. If she was going to hit him, Julian would have expected a very exaggerated and feminine slap. He had forgotten what he was dealing with here. He vowed not to forget again.
1.      (1) Prize pack of books 1&2 in Kings of Cardenas series  
The Third Son

Rake. Rogue. Scoundrel. Each of these words has been used to describe Damien Largess, youngest prince of Cardenas, most frequently by his ridiculously somber eldest brother. Damien is perfectly content to spend his days drinking at the card tables, and his nights in the bed of his scheming mistress, especially since doing these things seems to vex his high-handed brother to no end. But when he steps into a glittering ballroom on the night of his twenty-fifth birthday, the roguish young prince’s life will be forever changed.

Beautiful. Graceful. Sensual. When Esmeralda steps into the center of the King’s ballroom to perform for his youngest son’s birthday, every eye in the room is glued to the tall, lithe Gypsy dancer. One pair of eyes seems to burn straight through her, and though she has worked endlessly to shield her heart, she finds her defenses slowly slipping away in the presence of the handsome prince. She cannot resist his devastating charm, nor is she immune to the earth shattering desire in his kiss. As she falls rapidly under his spell, Esmeralda dares to hope for a future she would never have thought possible.

With a deadly plot against the royal family surrounding him in danger and intrigue, Damien will face a decision he never thought he would have to make. Would he step up to claim a responsibility that should never have fallen to the third son? Or will he abandon it to risk all for love?

The Second Son

Princess Isabelle has spent her entire life bending to the will of those who have planned her life out for her. Sent into hiding when she was just an infant to protect her from the rebellion in her own homeland, Barony, she was betrothed to Prince Lionus from the neighboring province Cardenas when she was just an infant. Despite the forced engagement, Isabelle has loved Lionus all of her life. When a devious plot against the royal family results in her husband’s death, Isabelle is left with a broken heart and an uncertain future. Only one year after his brutal murder, she has no choice but to choose a new husband and return to her homeland to take her place as queen and repair the war-torn land.

Prince Serge has secretly loved Princess Isabelle his entire life. The fact that she was promised to his brother has brought him no end of pain and suffering. The second born son of the king, he has resigned himself to a life of living in his brother’s shadow. After a deadly plot against the royal family leaves Serge hovering on the edge of death, he awakens from a coma one year later to find that his older brother has died and his youngest brother has taken the throne in his stead. His future is now uncertain, but Serge is determined to find his own way in the world now that he has been given the gift of new life. When it is suggested that Princess Isabelle take him as her husband, Serge begins to hope that all of his most secret dreams will now come true.

Despite unexpected spark of desire between them, Isabelle resists the new path her heart is taking as she clings desperately to Lionus’ memory. Can Isabelle let go of her past and learn to Serge return, or is she destined to a life tied to one man as she still mourns the other?

Once united as king and queen, Isabelle and Serge face the monumental task of rebuilding her broken homeland and rescuing it from the clutches of those seeking to destroy it. Can the pampered princess find the strength to stand beside her husband and fight for her people? Will the second son of a king finally get the chance to prove his worth? Can either of them learn to let go of the ghosts of the past and find love?

Set in a world of kings and queens, palaces and royal courts, warriors and battlefields, book two of Elise Marion’s ‘Kings of Cardenas’ family saga continues with a story of love, passion, and destiny. 

2.      (1) Prize pack Lady Knights beaded bookmark courtesy of Sezzy’s Sparkles 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Chrissy said...

What an awesome excerpt!!!! I enjoyed it so much!

Chrissy said...

I enjoyed this excerpt so much. Thanks for hosting this giveaway. This book looks fantastic!

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