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Eva Scott and “Barbarian Bride”

Barbarian Bride

by Eva Scott

I’ve often wondered how I would fare if I were suddenly transported back in time to Ancient Rome.  I like to think of myself as an independent sort of woman, and I’m sure you think of yourself the same way.  But women in Rome were not independent, not in the slightest.  A woman “belonged” to her father even after she married.  The only way a woman could gain her independence was by having children.  Once she’d had four living children she was entitled to a modicum of financial independence.  Of course she had to survive childbirth which was no mean feat!

Interestingly my heroines are not Roman.  They are from other parts of the ancient world – Sarmatia and the great nation of the Hun.  Both these cultures gave women the right to fight alongside their men and to a certain level of equality Roman women did not enjoy.  Not that Sarmatian and Hun women were equal in status to their men, not at all, but they did have more freedom and opportunity than Roman women.  I think I like to see how these independent women tackle patriarchal Rome and I wonder if I’d do the same.

Klara, the heroine in Barbarian Bride, is the daughter of a Hun chief.  Accustomed to riding on the grass plains and wielding a weapon she is unprepared to fall in love with a Roman – even if he is unconventional – and living in a city and being a dutiful Roman-style wife is just not on her agenda.  Nor is fighting for her life in the Coliseum although her upbringing does give her the skills and the desire to win her freedom, or die trying.

If you read The Last Gladiatrix (the first book in the Romancing The Romans series) you may remember Klara.  We meet her briefly when she befriends Xanthe and gives her some valuable advice about surviving the Romans.  Barbarian Bride is Klara’s story; how she came to Rome and how she fares once there.  If you like your heroine’s brave, feisty and funny and your hero bad-boy then this book is for you!

About Barbarian Bride  

On the bloody ground of the Colosseum, she fights to save her life. In the treacherous boxes above, he fights to save their love.

Barbarian Bride smallThough Klara didn’t love the man who was to be her husband, she didn’t want him murdered, and she vows to track down the man who committed the crime. Sickened that she’d been attracted to the mysterious Roman, Klara tracks Lucius Aurelius to the fringes of the Roman Empire, only to find that they’ve both been trapped in a clever plot to overthrow Klara’s father, the Chief of the Huns.

Klara is separated from Lucius, captured by slavers and sold to a gladiator school. She is the only one who can save herself, by fighting for her freedom. Lucius can ensure her battle is easier, but only by sacrificing himself. How much is he willing to give up for the fiery woman he’s come to love?

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Excerpt

Settling back, Klara surveyed the room for the candidate most likely to know Lucius Aurelius.  With so many unwashed, bearded rascals to choose from it was hard to pick.  Finally her gaze alighted on a burly old man whose eyes reminded her of Lucius.  Abandoning the revolting beer she made her way cautiously to where the man sat alone.  He was intent on a dish of stew and didn’t notice her approach.  Klara stood before him, awkward in her uncertainty of what to do next.

She cleared her throat.  The man shovelled another spoonful of stew in his mouth and did not look up.  She tried again, a little louder this time, and still the man ignored her.  Sliding her knife from its sheath Klara slammed the point down into the table where it quivered menacingly.  The spoon stopped half way to the old man’s mouth.  He looked up under busy eyebrows and regarded her for a long moment before the spoon continued its journey.  Chewing slowly he simply sat and looked at her.

Klara put her hands on her hips.  Now she had the man’s attention starting a conversation about Lucius seemed even harder than she thought it would be.  The man lowered his gaze, scooping up another spoonful of stew, and she found herself dismissed.

“Hey!” she slammed both her hand down on the table.  “I want to talk to you.”

“So talk.” The fact he didn’t bother to look up infuriated Klara.  The man has no manners— and they call Hun barbarians.

“I’m looking for a man.”

He looked up then.  “Really?”  Pushing the bowl away he leaned back in his chair, letting his eyes roam over the curves of her body.  “I’d be happy to oblige.”

Klara swept the empty bowl off the table with the back of her hand.  It clattered on the floor and rolled under the table.  Her chest heaved with suppressed anger.

“Might I suggest you would do better with men if you tempered your aggression?  So unattractive in a woman.”

Klara wrenched the knife out of the table and held it towards the man.  “Do you know a man named Lucius Aurelius?” she hissed.

The old man’s bushy eyebrows shot up and disappeared into his hairline.  “Lucius?  How on earth do you know Lucius?”  He narrowed his blue eyes and leaned forward, his hand shot out grabbing her wrist.  “Who are you?”

She tried to reclaim her hand but the man was too strong.  Cleverly he’d grabbed her hand holding the knife so there was very little point struggling.  She raised her chin and said, “I am Klara…”

Eva%20Scott%20Web“The Hun,” the man finished softly.  He let her go and settled back.  “I’ve heard about you.  Sit down.  You’re in luck.”

About the Author

Eva lives on the Sunshine Coast, in Queensland Australia in the town which brought the world the Bee Gees. When she’s not writing romance you can find her out on the water kayaking, fishing or swimming. When on dry land it’s all about the shoes and the coffee (and old Bee Gees records).

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Romancing the Romans

Click here to see Eva’s previous post on this blog.

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Téa Cooper and “Matilda’s Freedom” + GIVEAWAY!

Téa is giving away a digital copy of her other historical, Lily’s Leap, to one randomly-chosen commenter. Be sure to (1) answer the blog question, and (2) leave your email address in your comment. Good luck!

Hi Susana, Thanks for inviting me to your blog once more!

We’re back in Wollombi again for my second Australian historical romance and this time I thought I’d tell you a little about Wollombi’s Aboriginal history. (It used to be pronounced ‘Wu-lum-bee’, though today it is pronounced Wo, as in wok – lum, as in thumb and bi, as in buy).

Wollombi is an aboriginal word meaning meeting place or meeting place of the waters. Three brooks converge in Wollombi—Congewai Creek, Wollombi Creek and Yango Creek—and for thousands of years, the Awabakal, Darkinjung and Wanaruah people used the area as a ceremonial meeting place. The place is seeped in a history that goes far back far beyond European settlement.

Mt. Yengo

Mt. Yengo

Mount Yengo stands guard over the village. It is said to be the spot where Baiame, the Creator God and Sky Father jumped back up to the spirit world after he created all the rivers, mountains, and forests which is why it has a flat top.

The sandstone hills surrounding are littered with caves worn by the rising waters of the creeks and the winds that whistle through the valley. Many of them are on private property (mine included) and have the most wonderful aboriginal art.

There’s a rock that is said to be Tiddalik the frog and I couldn’t help but include it in Matilda’s Freedom.

Jem is an aboriginal stockman and he tells Matilda and Kit’s sisters the story of Tiddalik the Frog but there isn’t— to the best of my knowledge—a cave below him; that was little bit of poetic license, but nevertheless the story is well-known and told to children throughout Australia.

Here’s an excerpt from Matilda’s Freedom. Jem is quite a character and appears in Lily’s Leap as well. I hope you reading about him as much as I enjoyed writing him.

Tiddalik

Tiddalik

Matilda settled back to listen as Jem’s deep, dark voice filled the cave. ‘Tiddalik was a giant frog who lived in the Wollombi Valley back in the Dreaming. One day, he woke up and he was very, very thirsty.’ Jem’s eyes bulged as he licked his lips and clutched his parched throat.

Beth giggled and copied him.

‘He was so thirsty he began to drink from the brook, but instead of drinking only what he needed, he continued to gulp the water, not caring about anybody else. In the end, he took so much his tummy nearly burst.’ Cheeks protruding and eyes wide, Jem rolled from side-to-side. ‘He was so full he could hardly move away from the empty creek. All the other animals got really worried. With no water, they’d die. They knew they had to get Tiddalik to give some of the water back up. They got together and made a plan—if they could make Tiddalik laugh, he would bring all the water back up and everyone could share. In the end, the eel made him laugh, and all the animals could survive and enjoy life.’

Matilda glanced at the girls, waiting for their appreciation of the happy-ever-after ending. Jem, however, had more to tell. He lifted his index finger to the roof of the cave and raised his bushy eyebrows. ‘Tiddalik, though, he was punished for his greed. He turned into stone and sits just up there,’ he inclined his head to the roof of the cave, ‘punished for being greedy and not thinking about others.’

‘And so we call this Tiddalik’s cave,’ said Beth, breaking the ominous silence. ‘It’s not really, because he wouldn’t fit in here. Would he, Jem?’

‘You’re right, Beth. He wouldn’t fit; he’s way too big. But it’s a safe place to be when the water comes.’

Isn’t it fun to hear about folk tales like this? Tell us about one from your neck of the woods!

About Matilda’s Freedom

An unconventional woman clashes with colonial society in this spicy and sweet Australian-set historical romance.

Matilda'sFreedom 300 copyHis carefree bachelor days over, Christopher Matcham returns to Sydney to take responsibility for his mother, two stepsisters, and the family property. Fortune smiles on him when he is introduced to Matilda Sweet, a woman in need of work. Though unusual, Christopher senses that her fresh ideals and positive outlook can only benefit his sisters, so he hires her as a companion.

By the time they arrive at Christopher’s family home, the two are fast friends. But Matilda’s unorthodox ways and her convict heritage make her a second class citizen to the family. Christopher has responsibilities, and they include an advantageous match. A breeches-wearing, fish-pond-swimming, plain-talking convict’s daughter will never fit in. After all, romance is a luxury the upper classes cannot afford…

Digital Edition: AU$4.99 | ISBN: 9780857990600| Length: 59,000 words

Publication Date: July 1, 2013 | PDF – MOBI – EPUB | Historical Romance

 Harlequin Escape

Excerpt

Sydney, Autumn 1856

‘Paris is a city of contradictions—rich and poor, the glamorous and the debauched—and I loved every moment of it.’

Christopher Matcham turned his head as the girl’s breath caught, although he was uncertain whether the sound was from shock or delight. In another situation, he might have interpreted it as a sign of pleasure. Rocking back in his chair, he stared across the table at the delectable Miss Matilda Sweet.

Matilda radiated vitality and vivacity. In the flickering candlelight, her skin had an almost amber hue, highlighting her honeyed hair. Her wide eyes beckoned to him, and a tiny pulse flickered along her elegant neck. She might be a currency lass and of convict stock, but her looks were far from disappointing. She was so different from the women of Sydney society—and that of Paris.

‘Kit, I think you’re getting worse with age instead of better. Remember, there are ladies present.’

The delighted grin on Emily Bainbridge’s face belied her husband’s words. ‘Richard, don’t be such a stuffed shirt. I would love to hear about Paris. We get so little news from elsewhere, and I’m sure Matilda doesn’t mind.’

The girl smiled and lowered her eyes behind lashes that would have done a courtesan proud. Her hand fluttered to the column of her throat.

‘I am totally fascinated. I cannot imagine what Paris must be like. They say half the world visited the city for the Exhibition Universelle.’

Matilda’s low contralto rippled across his skin like a warm brandy, and the temptation to lean across the table and inhale her scent was almost overpowering. Clearing his throat, Christopher dragged his eyes away from her generous mouth and made an effort to pay due attention to his host and hostess.

‘Paris is certainly a fascinating city, full of intriguing layers. The upper classes cling to the skirts of the Emperor and Empress while on the seamier side, the commoners flex their muscles and enjoy life. The cafés are open day and night, and the entertainment is outrageous. La chahut dancers have claimed the streets as their own. Their acrobatic skills are phenomenal. The dancers kick their legs so high they can remove a man’s hat and then, of course, display delightful glimpses of their under—’

About the Author

Author Photo_TéaCooper_smallTéa writes contemporary and historical romantic fiction featuring strong-minded women and sexy Australian men. Love and life Down Under isn’t always easy. Her heroes and heroines have to fight long and hard for what they believe in before they reach their happy ever after.

Matilda’s Freedom is Téa’s second Australian historical romance. Her first Lily’s Leap is available now and she is currently working on her third Face of an Angel set on a schooner somewhere between Hobart and Sydney.

Her three contemporary romances Tree Change, The Protea Boys and Passionfruit & Poetry are available on Amazon.

To keep up with all of Téa’s news, visit her website www.teacooperauthor.com where you will find links to her blog and social media pages.

Previous posts by Téa Cooper on Susana’s Morning Room

Tree Change, a contemporary Australian romance

The Protea Boysa contemporary Australian romance

Lily’s Leapa historical set in Australia

Passionfruit & Poetry, a contemporary Australian romance

Images Wikipaedia Commons and JohnLCoombesPhotography