S.EX. (Short Excerpt) from Dreaming In Moonlight

Lord Gavin Richard Montague, Grand Duke of Maninberg, remembered all too well his life as a mortal man. He still carried the appearance of being a young man, in the prime of his life. His thick, dark hair did not thin or turn grey and his dark brown eyes did not dim or lose their focus. His strong warrior body did not weaken or stoop with the burden of age. Over the years, the sharp hollows of his cheeks may have grown more pronounced and the timbre of his voice may have deepened, but no other signs of age befell his being.

Time had passed, but his memories never faded. He’d been young, barely thirty years of age, proudly arrogant and supremely egotistical, when his father, the Grand Duke Richard David Montague, had died defending his kingdom. Focusing only on his desire to claim his birthright and gain ultimate control over his father’s realm, Gavin had called upon the highest powers of the land to grant his wish. For better or worse, his wish had been granted, almost too willingly, by the wizard Tazire.

It seemed so simple, so amazingly simple. In exchange for accepting immortality, he had been granted complete and total control of his kingdom, the small but prosperous Duchy of Maninberg. At the time he had thought it the most magnificent blessing possible, the ultimate fulfillment of his grandest desire, to live forever with complete and total control of Maninberg. However, he quickly discovered there was one stipulation he had not fully considered. He was absolutely, positively, and completely limited to inhabiting his domain and only his domain, always and forever, and not one step more.

Years upon years, decades upon decades, had given him ample time to repeatedly test this limitation. Countless times he had tested the power holding him confined to his land, and each time he had experienced the same disappointing results. He could not step one foot outside of his domain. He could not add one square inch of ground to his kingdom, nor could any be taken from him.

His kingdom had become his cage.

Dreaming In Moonlight – Throwback Thursday.

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Dreaming In Moonlight

It’s the longest day of sunlight – the Summer Solace. The hazy, lazy days of summer are moving into full swing.  For this beautiful Throwback Thursday I offer you the Prologue from Dreaming In Moonlight.  May it pique your interest for more.  . . .  More is good.

 

Prologue

A small duchy in Central Europe 1692

 

There wasn’t time to think about the pain burning through his shoulder from the heft of a sword he’d held for too long, or the weight of the armor chaffing against his flesh. There wasn’t time to worry about the loss of his helmet, or to brush away the hanks of bloodied hair hanging over his forehead. There wasn’t even time to consider the horror of the lives being lost. There was only time to fight against the foe advancing upon his kingdom.

The warrior prince had barely a moment to survey the devastation surrounding him before the next wave of barbarians descended upon his army like a black plague of angry rodents.  The invaders, dark, dirty, hairy men, appeared as faceless beasts to his eyes, no longer human. And much like swarming vermin, they carried the stench of death and destruction with them into battle. Even the rain, pouring from grey, overcast skies, could not wash away the filth they inflicted upon his land.

With scarcely a moment to breathe, Lord Gavin Richard Montague, heir-apparent to the Maninberg throne, shouted to the heavens, “This madness must stop! These are my people, this is my land. I must maintain control. By the gods and all the powers that rule, my kingdom must not fall to these undeserving beasts.”

His father had already fallen under the enemy’s sword. It was incumbent upon Lord Gavin to save his kingdom, or what was left of it. The sharp clank of metal against metal rang out, followed by the sickening sounds of crushed bones and tearing flesh. The smell of blood, death, and fear assailed his senses. He cut and slashed at the invading horde, only to be met with wave upon wave of attackers. Driving rain and rivers of mud turned the battlefield into a horrid bloodbath.

“My kingdom must be preserved!” Lord Gavin shouted skyward as his broadsword once again connected with deadly force against his foe. He ducked and dodged sideways to avoid the blade of his opponent as he swung his sword to strike the man. His blade sliced through leather and flesh, drawing blood as Gavin delivered a disabling blow. The barbarian fell to the earth, only to be replaced by another.

With fierce determination he fought against his attackers, spearing another faceless man with the blade of his sword. He needed a miracle to save his kingdom. All appeared hopeless, but he would not yield. With his last dying breath he would fight for is kingdom, he would not yield.

“By the gods above, I demand my kingdom be preserved,” Lord Gavin cried out again, his voice thundering above the din of the fighting. “I demand my birthright.”

The battle raging around him suddenly stilled. Every drop of rain, every breath of man, was held in place, unmoving, except for Lord Gavin. In awe, the warrior prince lowered his sword, stunned by the power holding the ferocious battle at bay.

A voice as powerful as the wind pierced the stillness. “Say ye true, what demands do ye place upon the powers of this land?”

“I demand nothing less than the safekeeping of my kingdom and my people,” Lord Gavin replied, turning his head from side to side. His eyes searched through the rain soaked skies as he sought the source of the voice. Adrenalin pumped through his veins, driving his arrogance to overrule his apprehension.

“By what right do ye make this demand?” A strange-looking figure appeared in the mists. His long robe, the color of polished gunmetal, was belted at his waist by thick braided cords of black leather. Thick, dark hair with strands of silver hung in waves to his powerful shoulders, framing a long narrow face highlighted by piercing grey eyes.

Lord Gavin drew in a sharp breath. There was no mistaking the identity of this ghostly apparition. He was too familiar with the myths and legends told throughout his land to doubt that standing before him was Tazire, an ancient and powerful wizard.

Standing steadfast and proud, Lord Gavin held his head high and faced the wizard. “By the right of my birth,” he replied. “By the blood of my father and his father before him. By the generations of my family who have ruled this kingdom in peace.”

“Your birthright?” Tazire glared at him. “Do you really believe your birth grants you the right to seek control of men’s destinies?”

“It’s my birthright to seek control of this kingdom and all who live here.” Gavin refused to back down. The reason for his birth, the very purpose of his life, was to rule his father’s kingdom. He would do anything to secure his rule.

“How far does this birthright extend?” the wizard asked.

“I ask only for the control of Maninberg, my rightful kingdom.”

“Your rightful kingdom? Ha! Tell me, how long does this birthright exist?” A wicked smile graced Tazire’s lips, but his eyes remained hard.

“For as long as I have breath in my body.” Gavin shifted his stance, raising his sword before him.

“And if you were to live forever, would this birthright still hold true?” Tazire’s dark, grey eyes bore deep into Gavin, as if seeking his soul.

“Yes. Forever.” Lord Gavin returned the wizard’s steely gaze, inflexible in his demands, unyielding in his beliefs.

“Beware, young prince. Would you truly agree to accept immortality in exchange for total control of your kingdom – and only your kingdom?” A note of caution crept into Tazire’s voice.

“I would accept nothing less,” Lord Gavin stated confidently, ignoring the wizard’s warning.

Tazire cocked his head, studying the young prince. “Such arrogance shall be rewarded.” The wizard lifted his hands to the heavens. “Granted,” he shouted, loud and clear. “Thy will be done.” And with the wind, he was gone.

Until She Says Yes

Until She Says Yes-300dpi-3125x4167Until She Says Yes
A Jules Vanderzeit Gilded Age novel

The socially awkward eldest son of a prominent New York family must defy his family to secure the love of the Italian governess rejected by his mother.

When Anna Maria Lucci leaves her home and family in Italy to work as a governess in the prosperous city of New York, she soon finds herself carelessly shuffled from one wealthy family to the next. She resents their control over her life, but what can she do?  After being banished from her father’s house, she needs the job.

When Kingsley Goddard needs help translating an old Italian text book, he naturally turns to Miss Lucci, the new governess his mother has hired for his younger siblings. It soon becomes clear that spending time with his attractive tutor is much more appealing than the text book she’s helping him translate.

But when Mrs. Goddard learns the governess is flirting with her eldest son she sends Anna Maria packing. She’ll not allow a servant to sit at her table, much less marry her son.

Willing to defy his family, Kingsley must find Anna Maria and hopefully convince her he’ll do whatever it takes until she says yes.

Available at Amazon

Stories Behind the Stories

First and foremost, while my most recent book, Until She Says Yes,  is completely fictional, it is inspired by true stories.

Until She Says Yes print

You only need to read the first few pages to learn about Kingsley Goddard proposing to Consuelo Vanderbilt. While it is NOT true that Consuelo Vanderbilt ever received a marriage proposal from Kingsley Goddard, since the man is completely fictional, it is true that she received a marriage proposal that her mother, Alva Vanderbilt forced her to refuse. Alva wanted her daughter to marry an English nobleman and eventually forced Consuelo to marry the Duke of Marlborough in 1895. According to Consuelo’s memoir, The Glitter and the Gold, it was a sad failure.  Based on this factual piece of history, I created a scene for my fictional hero, Kingsley.

And although Kingsley Goddard and his family are built from my imagination, there is a story told by Elizabeth Wharton Drexel Lehr in her memoir, King Lehr and the Gilded Age, on which my book is based. Apparently, Elizabeth witnessed Edith Gould dismiss her Italian governess, Anna Maria Lucci because Mrs. Gould had learned that her son was interested in the young woman. Signorina Lucci insisted that Mr. Kingdom did in fact love her, but she was sent away.

After reading Ms. Lehr’s memoir, I was inspired to write the story behind the story to find out what might have happened to those upstairs/downstairs lovers. I hope you’re inspired to find out too.

Until She Says Yes is available at Amazon.

 

Update to Glitches Happen.

I’m happy to report it only took ten days and some helpful instructions from the good folks at Amazon to get my stellar screw-up fixed. Thank you, publishing gods!!  If you look back to my blog  post on March 20, you’ll see the original error.

Now see how it should look:

Screenshot-2018-3-30 Until She Says Yes a Jules Vanderzeit novel - Kindle edition by Tricia Linden

Much better.

Good things come to those who wait, and play nice with Amazon. If you haven’t already gotten your copy while the glitch was still in place, no problem. Click this link: Until She Says Yes to get your copy today. This is the same great book it was when it was known as the book with two names. Enjoy it now, enjoy it always.

Happy reading.