Today’s Excerpt is by author Sandi Layne for Eire’s Captive Moon
Having been a voracious reader all her life, Sandi never expected to want to write until the idea was presented in a backhanded manner. Once the notion occurred to her, though, she had to dive in the deep end (as is her wont) and began by writing historical fiction. She has since written more than twenty novels—most of which will never see the light of day.
Sandi has degrees in English and Ministry, has studied theology, spent years as an educator, has worked in escrow and sundry other careers, but research is her passion. She won an award for Celtic Fiction in 2003, but as well as history, she is also fascinated with contemporary research and has self-published several novels in the Inspirational Romance genre.
She has been married for twenty years to a man tolerant enough to let her go giddy when she discovers new words in Old Norse. Her two sons find her amusing and have enjoyed listening to her read aloud—especially when she uses funny voices. A woman of deep faith, she still finds a great deal to laugh at in the small moments of the everyday and hopes that she can help others find these moments, too.
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Author Webpage: http://sandyquill.com/
Author Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sandi-Layne-Author/115692828503745
Author Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2264252.Sandi_Layne
Éire’s Captive Moon, the first book of Sandi Layne’s Éire’s Viking Trilogy, brings you to the unsettled era of the early Viking raids along the coast of Éire – today’s Ireland.
A wounded refugee from the violent Viking raids on Éire’s coast is healed so well by Charis of Ragor that Agnarr captures the moon-pale woman for his own and takes her home to Nordweg to be his slave.
Also captured is Cowan, a warrior gifted with languages. He is drawn to the healer of Ragor and finds himself helpless before her. In more ways than one!
Through the winter, Charis plans a fitting vengenance upon her captor for the men he killed. She also prepares to return to Éire and the children she left behind.
But will her changing feelings interfere with these plans? When two men vie for her heart, will she give way before either – or both?
Her men. More tears burned her eyes as she probed the wound, so she stopped for a moment to clear her vision. My men.
Revenge burned inside her and for a moment—just a moment—she considered killing the patient before her and then using the same spear in the young man to pierce her captor.
But no, her men would expect more from her. Charis remembered that, sealed it in clay, and put it deep in her heart. Later. Revenge would come, she promised herself. Later.
“My things!” she called loudly, finally turning to Cowan. Impatience held nausea at bay. “I need them! If I can’t go to my home, the—the Northman can bid farewell to his man.” The prince nodded, and turned to the Northman. He didn’t speak their captor’s language, but he did manage to make himself understood, Charis observed. Good for him. I will never learn that tongue. Never!
Four thick-muscled men surrounded her and one pulled her to her feet once more. Charis steadied her guts and clenched her fists for the walk to her home. It was harder than almost anything she could remember doing.
Moans of the wounded as they died. The grunts and cries of rape. Smoke burned her eyes, smoke from burning mounds of hay and thatched roofs. Blood smeared on faces, arms, bodies, and the discarded garments of the dead and dying. The smells! Stirred earth, spilled innards, and the sharp scent of terror swirled like invisible smoke around her. But Charis tried to bury that. Her home was in front of her and she resolved she was not going to cry again in front of the invaders. Maybe, if she did as they asked, they would let her stay and help—
Help the children. I hope they’re staying hidden! Stay! She tried to push the words in their direction, hoping beyond reason they would know what to do. She kept her gaze from the distant little fire of the old blacksmith’s hut. Stay hidden!
“Charis! Healer, help!”
Muscled arms prevented her from leaving the Northmen and she seethed, hatred for them roiling inside her like old, stewed tea heated anew. Bitter. Strong. She swallowed it down. She had to.
Her home was before her. Sweet, precious memories seemed to flow from the broken door to greet her, taunting her with the love of two men who would never hold her again. Never tease her, pretend to fight over her, or try to coax her from her herbs in the summertime. Never again.
The pain was overwhelming. Swooning, Charis made a concentrated effort and remained upright, blinking back tears. Into her home she went, followed by the four invaders.
“What happened in here?” Charis bit out, her jaws clenched against the choking sorrow.
No response beyond being shoved roughly toward the scattered hearth.
She wanted to spit.
All about her, the tables were overturned, small boxes and packs dumped
clumsily on the floor. Her dishes had been broken, for they’d been of clay and wood and had no value to the despoilers of her rath and home. But there on the shelf, her medicines had been left alone.
She didn’t wonder why, but thought it might have something to do with the linked iron circles her husbands had had made for her, years past. As a wedding gift. She had brought the home to their marriage, so they had made things for the home they would have together, to demonstrate their fidelity. It was the way of the marriage of the first degree, between equals of status or wealth. The most honorable, in her opinion.
She had planned on handing down the circles to her children, but her womb had never quickened.
The children! For the space of a heartbeat, her fingers stilled as they ordered her herbs and surgery elements. Needle. Thread for the wound. Mandragora. Chamomile for once she’d stitched him up. Yarrow—leaves picked fresh yesterday—to fight swelling and fever. The children! She had to protect them. She had brought about Devin’s death by her intemperate behavior; she could not allow that again. Don’t look in their direction! she warned herself as she blankly tucked her medicines into a satchel. Keep their attention on you, not the children. They have to be safe!