Monday, July 13, 2020

#GIVEAWAY Showcase Knight of Runes by Ruth A Casie sponsored by Caffeinated PR

I'm so happy to spotlight Ruth A Casie's book #1 in her Druid Knight time traveling romance series, Knight of Runes. This is a return engagement for Ruth I interviewed her back in February about another of her series. And thanks to Ruth and Caffeinated PR for offering a giveaway. Details below.
So sit back relax find out a bit about Lord Arik and Rebeka Tyler and don't forget to enter for a copy!




ISBN-13:
 978-1945679759
Publisher: Timeless Scribes Publishing

Release Date: 5-27-2020

Length:
 368pp
Druid Knight #1

ADD TO: GOODREADS

Overview:
England, 1605. When Lord Arik, a druid knight, finds Rebeka Tyler wandering his lands without protection, he swears to keep her safe. But Rebeka can take care of herself. When Arik sees her clash with a group of attackers using a strange fighting style, he's intrigued.

Rebeka is no ordinary 17th-century woman - she's travelled back from the year 2011, and she desperately wants to return to her own time. She poses as a scholar sent by the king to find out what's killing Arik's land. But as she works to decode the ancient runes that are the key to solving this mystery and sending her home, she finds herself drawn to the charismatic and powerful Arik.

As Arik and Rebeka fall in love, someone in Arik's household schemes to keep them apart, and a dark druid with a grudge prepares his revenge. Soon Rebeka will have to decide whether to return to the future or trust Arik with the secret of her time travel and her heart.


#Giveaway is for 1 ebook copy
To 2 winners of
Knight of Runes
Open Internationally
Good Luck!

Read an excerpt:

Copyright © 2011 by Ruth Seitelman
Cover created by Angela Waters
All rights reserved.
Except for use in any review, no part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the express written permission of the publisher.
First published by Harlequin Books S.A. in 2011
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.












Prologue

England
May, 1605

I should not have stayed away so long.
Unable to shake the ominous feeling of being watched, Lord Arik kept the small group moving quickly. On high alert, his eyes continually swept the underbrush bordering the rain-slicked forest trail. He and his three riders escorted the wagon with the old tinker and the woman quickly through the forest. At length, he slowed the pace, the horses winded as they neared the Stone River.
“The forest is flooded,” he said. “I suspect the Stone will be as well. Willem, ride ahead and let me know what we face at the crossing.”
Willem did his lord’s bidding and quickly returned with his report. “The river ahead runs fast, m’lord. The bridge is in ruins and cannot be crossed.”
Arik raised his hand and brought the group to a halt. “We must make repairs Doward,” he said to the old tinker, “there’s no room for the wagon at the river’s edge. You and the woman stay here and set up camp. Be ready to join us at the bridge when I send word.”
Logan, Arik’s brother, spoke up. “I’ll keep watch here and help Doward and Rebeka.”
Arik nodded and, with the others, continued the half mile to the bridge. “I am not pleased with this new delay.”
“It can’t be helped, m’lord,” Simon said. “We would make better time without the wagon.”
“We cannot leave Doward and the woman in the forest on their own, not with what we’ve heard lately. We’ll have to drive hard to make up the lost time,” Arik said as they came to the crossing.
The frame of the bridge stood solid, but the planks were scattered everywhere, clogging the banks and shallows. Arik leapt from his horse onto the frame to begin the repairs. “Hand me that planking.” Arik pointed to the nearest board.
Simon grabbed the nearest plank and examined it. “Sir, these boards have been deliberately removed.”
Arik reached for the board just as an arrow whooshed out of the trees and slammed into the plank’s edge. Willem pulled his ax from his belt. In a fluid, practiced movement, he spun and sent his ax flying. The archer fell into the river and was swept downstream, Willem’s ax lodged in his forehead.
A dozen or more attackers broke through the stand of trees. Poorly dressed fighters carrying clubs and knives moved toward them. There was only one sword among them, held by the leader—Arik’s target.
Arik tossed the board into the river and readied his sword. “They plan to pin us here at the river’s edge. Come, we’ll attack before they form up.”
Arik and his men surged forward, driving a wedge through the enemy’s ragged line, forcing what little formation they had to scatter and fight, each man for himself.
A man, club in hand, rushed at Arik. Before the attacker could bring his weapon into play, Arik pivoted around him. He raised his sword high and slammed the hilt’s steel pommel squarely on the man’s head and moved on before the man’s lifeless body collapsed to the ground.
Willem and Simon, on either side of Arik, advanced through the melee. Their swift swordplay moved smoothly from one stroke to the next, whipping through the air. They slashed on the down stroke and again on the backswing, sweeping their weapons into position to repeat the killing sequence as Arik and his soldiers steadily advanced, punishing any man who dared to come near them.
“For honor!” Logan’s war cry carried from the small camp to Arik’s ears.
Arik stiffened. Both camps were now under siege. He pulled his blade from an enemy’s chest. The body crumpled to the blood-soaked ground. Arik breathed deeply, the coppery taste of blood in the air.
“For honor!” he bellowed in answer. His men echoed his call, arms thrown wide, muscles quivering, the berserker’s rage overtaking them.
The remaining assailants fled headlong back into the forest.
Motioning to his men to follow, Arik raced toward Logan and the camp. He could hear shouts and cursed himself for not seeing the danger earlier. He crested the hill and came to an abrupt halt.
Logan’s sword ripped through the air as he protected Doward. The tinker drew his short blade and did as much damage as he could. But it was the woman Arik noticed. Her skirt hiked up, she twirled her walking stick like a weapon, with an expertise that left him slack-jawed. She dispatched the enemy, one by one, in a deadly well-practiced dance.
A man rushed toward her, knife in hand. The sneer on his face didn’t match the fear in his eyes.
She stepped out of his line of attack, extended her stick to her side and, holding it with both hands, swept the weapon forward, striking the intruder across the bridge of his nose. Blood exploded from his face in an arc of fine spray as his head snapped back. Droplets dusted her face, creating an illusion of bright red freckles. As he fell, she reversed her swing and caught him hard behind his knees. He went down on his back, spread-eagled. The woman swung her stick over her head and landed a precise blow to his forehead that knocked him unconscious.
As the woman spun to face the next threat, her glance captured Arik’s and held. In the space of an instant, time slowed to a crawl. Her hair slowly loosened from its pins and swirled out around her. His breath caught, and his heart quickened as a rapturous surge raced through his body. Something eternal and familiar, with a sense of longing, unsettled him.
In the next heartbeat, she tore her eyes away, leaving him empty. Time resumed its normal pace. Another fighter lay at her feet.
Arik joined the fight.
* * *
England
2008

“Lady Emily, time for your tea.” Ninety-year-old Lady Emily Parson sat in Fayne Manor’s old solar, now a grand and comfortable drawing room. Resting in the wingback chair that faced the large window she removed her glasses and looked up. Lord Arik’s Journal Chronicled by Doward lay open in her lap.
Helen, Lady Emily’s housekeeper and companion, brought in the steaming Earl Grey tea along with warm scones and clotted cream. The sweet fresh-baked fragrance of the cakes filled the room. Helen set the tea service on the table.
“Tea already?” Emily closed the journal and set the book on the table. Her hand lingered. She stroked the old leather binding, her finger tracing the strange embossed letters on the cover. “He must have been a driven man.”
Straightening herself in the chair, she accepted the offered cup, took a deep breath, and enjoyed the mild orange aroma.
“Who, m’lady?”
“Lord Arik. From everything I’ve read, someone was out to ruin him.” Emily stirred her tea with a shaky hand and let out a heavy sigh. “If only we knew where to find his sister Leticia’s diary, I’m certain we would have the complete story.”
“You’ve been working too hard these last few months. First, organizing your family papers, and now finding this.” Helen gestured toward the book by Emily’s side. “Perhaps Mr. George can take your mind off things. He arrived a few minutes ago.”
“Are those Helen’s scones I smell?” George Hughes entered the room, his bold strides making fast work of the distance from the door to Emily’s chair.
Emily watched as he took a deep breath, inhaling the buttery aroma.
“Ah, there they are. Emily, you’re not keeping those scones all for yourself. What need I do to get one?” He took her hand, kissed it, winking at Helen as she left the room.
“You, young man, can have one just for asking,” Emily said as she poured his tea.
He sat across from her, politely spooning cream onto the small cake.
Emily smiled, remembering a younger George sitting in the same chair scooping all the cream out of the saucer and onto his scone, leaving the dish empty, his resulting mustache the only sign there had been any cream at all.
She looked now at a fine young man in his late thirties, tall with a muscular build and dark, loosely waved rich brown hair with a slight touch of gray at the temples.
There was mischief in his blue eyes as he wiped the last of the crumbs from his mouth with the large damask napkin. “I’ve brought you a birthday present.”
“A birthday present? Is it my birthday already?” Emily teased him innocently.
He put the napkin down, went to her and took her hand. “Come. Let me give you your present before dinner.” He helped her up from the chair, tucked her arm in the crook of his and led her downstairs.
“What’ve you been up to?”
“You’ll see.” He opened the door to the library. An easel holding a large wrapped frame stood next to the fireplace, flanked by Helen and Charles, the butler. Charles stood at attention, holding a tray of glasses filled with Emily’s favorite champagne.
“What is this? I stopped celebrating my birthday years ago.” She was girlishly excited that her closest confidants had not let the day go by unnoticed.
“I think you’ll be pleased. I took the old painting you found in the attic and had it cleaned and repaired. The restoration proved challenging for the art historian. He couldn’t identify the picture’s subject. It was mucked up so badly.”
He gently sat her in a chair. With a brisk step, he walked to the easel. Standing in front of the painting, he removed the wrapping and stepped to the side for Emily to see the full picture all at once.
She gasped and brought her trembling hand to her throat. “George, the picture is exactly as described in the journal.”
“Yes. Here we thought all the family portraits were hanging upstairs in the Grand Gallery. I’ve no idea why some were tossed in the attic. The historian dated this portrait to the late 1500s or early 1600s, making the time correct. Your research appears to substantiate that this portrait is Lord Arik with his brother and two nieces.”
Emily sat without moving for some time, mesmerized by the picture. No, by Lord Arik. “For months I’ve been studying him, trying to imagine what he looked like. This is a wonderful gift. Thank you so much.”
“I’m glad you like it.” George took two glasses of champagne and handed one to Emily. He turned to Helen and Charles. “Please join us.” He faced the painting and lifted his glass in salute. “Lord Arik has returned!” He gave a respectful nod and lifted his glass higher. “M’lord.”
Emily sat in silence, drinking in the painting.
“If there is nothing else, Lady Emily, Helen and I will see to dinner.”
“Thank you, Charles.” Finishing her champagne, she turned to George. “Did you bring the papers? I’d like to sign them before dinner.”
“Yes, I have them here.”
“You have everything documented. There will be no doubt. You will find her, George.” She sat forward. Concern fixed on her face. “Promise me you will find her.”
He took her hand and patted it gently. “Everything is as we discussed. There will be no doubt. Locating her won’t be easy and may take some time. We’ve so little to go on. But yes, I promise I’ll find her and personally see to your wishes.” He placed her hand on the arm of the chair and took the papers out of his briefcase that stood nearby.
Emily noticed how easily he slipped into his business persona. He would do his father proud. Relaxing, she reviewed her will with her solicitor for the next hour. They completed their business just as Charles knocked and opened the library door.
“Lady Emily, dinner is served.”
“Very good. Come, George. I can’t wait to see what Helen has planned for my birthday.” She turned to her butler. “Charles, in the morning please have Lord Arik’s portrait hung in the Grand Gallery.”
Emily looked at the picture. Was his lordship looking directly at her, his blue-green eyes twinkling? With a gracious nod and heartfelt smile, she addressed the picture in a quiet tone. “Good eve, m’lord. ’Tis good to have you home.”



Chapter One

April, 2011

Rebeka Tyler, her walking staff firmly in hand, stood at the edge of the meadow and surveyed the landscape and large lone oak at its center. A warm breeze tousled her hair. She savored the familiar heady aroma of the of flora.
The grass, several shades of green, dipped and waved in the breeze as if it danced only for her. The splash of wildflowers—a riot of colors—dotted the landscape and gathered around a stone signpost at the crossroads. The stone’s carving had been etched by time and showed only fragments of words. What remained was obscured by an abundance of climbing vines. When was the last time she’d been here? Years probably.
A frisson of recognition shot through her as a lone, faceless figure emerged from under an oak’s branches. The air around him was unsettled and set the branches swaying. The fallen leaves in front of him scattered, opening a path as he walked with a strong determined stride, his greatcoat billowed around him. The sunlight caught and glistened off the heavy braided silver torque around his neck.
Her smile faded, replaced by the poker face that hid her anxiety. She knew the routine. He’d stop at the signpost and stare at her. Say nothing but wait for something. She still didn’t know what.
After all these years, the seductive call of the meadow still lured her. And she resisted its call every time. Her back ramrod straight, she turned and walked away. But the meadow wasn’t done with her yet. Something brushed against her mind, something warm, comforting.
She kept walking.
A new feeling, a tinge of desperation made her step falter. Rebeka forced herself to keep going, but her feet would not cooperate. It was as if she were mired in molasses. The little advancement made was torture. But she was determined to go on and not look back.
Rebeka knew what was behind her. Nothing. The meadow would be gone, he would be gone, and the vision would be gone. There would be nothing there, only a large swirling dark abyss coaxing her to step in.
She pressed on.
“To hearth and home,” he called to her in a deep resonant voice.
The ancient runes carved on her walking staff flickered, giving off a soft golden glow. Beads of sweat gathered on her lip, and her heart skipped a beat at the familiar phrase her father used to say—a declaration at the end of every journey.
The comforting words echoed in her mind. She tightened her grasp on her walking staff, her free hand fisted at her side, and fought the uncertainty taking hold.
Her resolve weakened. Rebeka started to turn, thinking maybe this time would be different, maybe she should—
“Morning, Dr. Tyler. Mail call.” Steve, one of her graduate students at Kensington University in upstate New York, knocked on the doorjamb and walked in. He dropped the mail in her in-box and was gone.
Startled out of her reverie, the vision collapsed. For a heartbeat, a keen sense of loss washed over her. “To hearth and home,” she murmured, coming out of her daze.
Sweating and breathing heavily, as if she’d been jogging. She glanced at her hand, surprised to find herself gripping an ice-cold water bottle like a vise. Rebeka wiped the bottle across her forehead to cool down, shook her head to get rid of the lingering cobwebs and glanced at her walking staff leaning innocently next to the window. She opened the bottle and took a long drink. Her racing heart finally slowed, and she got back to work.
Rebeka took the contents of her in-box and made quick work of the junk mail and professional magazines. There was a letter from the dean of her department, the final approval for her research project. Dean Marshall and the committee had invited her into their meeting yesterday and given her the good news.
Picking up her cell phone, a quick swipe of her finger opened the photo gallery. The corners of her mouth tipped up into a broad smile at the picture of herself and her colleagues celebrating over last night’s dinner. The next picture was of her singing at a nearby karaoke bar.
She put down her cell phone and removed the takeout menu pinned on the bulletin board next to her desk and replaced it with the official project announcement. Rebeka sat back to admire it.
The last piece of mail caught her eye. The envelope was unusually heavy paper, the handwriting an old style and, if she wasn’t mistaken, written with a fountain pen. Perhaps it was an invitation to one of the medieval or renaissance society events. Beltane was next month, and invitations were getting very clever. Last week, she had received one written on a parchment scroll. Turning the envelope over, she found a red wax seal impressed with a signet of some sort. She opened the letter and read.

Dear Dr. Tyler,
I am writing to inform you that, according to research conducted by our firm you are the only surviving relative of the late Lady Emily Parson. Please contact my office         at your earliest convenience to discuss Lady Parson’s estate.
Sincerely,
George Hughes, Esq.

Is this some sort of scam?
Rebeka put the letter down and reached for her computer while she took another sip of water. Let’s see if there really is a Mr. George Hughes, Esquire. It didn’t take long. The firm’s official website popped right up. She followed links to legal briefs and articles quoting Mr. Hughes on large cases.”
Well, well, there actually is a Hughes, Swift and Lacey.” Her curiosity piqued. The letter might be real.
Now for Lady Emily Parson. There was one entry in The Guardian, dated November 14, 2010. “…a fine woman of 92, Lady Emily Parson died of natural causes. Her ladyship will be interred in the family mausoleum at Fayne Manor in Wiltshire.”
No. This must be some sort of mistake. Rebeka called her friend Frank Alexander, a colleague who taught at the university’s law school.
“Hi, Frank, it’s Rebeka.”
“Hey, I hear congratulations are in order. Well done.”
“Well done?” How did he know about her research project?
“Yeah, the news is all over campus how you found those two students on a search and rescue in the woods.”
Rebeka drummed her fingers on her desk. She’d been relieved when she found the two boys but was eager to get off this topic. “It wasn’t a big deal. Tim Ryan, the park ranger, had everything under control. The boys got themselves disoriented in the storm. Those microbursts came out of nowhere. Anyway, I simply put myself in their place and imagined what they’d do.”
“Right and it was simply luck that you got them out before the water was released from the dam. You’re the best search-and-rescue expert in the area. Is there anything you can’t do? And do well?”
Grace makes a better apple pie than I do.” An awkward laugh escaped her lips as she fidgeted at her desk.
“Grace makes a better apple pie than anybody.”
The pride in his voice made her smile. “Yes, she does. Listen, Frank, I need your help.” Rebeka leaned forward in her chair and picked up the letter. “I got a letter from a London attorney, George Hughes.” Her fingers ran over the paper, feeling the fine quality of the parchment.
“Not the George Hughes of Hughes, Swift and Lacey?”
“Why, yes.” Rebeka straightened, putting the letter down and hooking her hair behind her ear. “Do you know him?”
“I met him in London about two years ago. You remember when I took Grace with me on a research trip and you watched the dog for us? Hughes was one of my resources for the article I wrote for the law review. I requested an interview with him because his family has been the solicitors for prominent British families, including the royal family, dating back hundreds of years.”
“Yes, you did tell me about his practice. Small world.” When he and Grace returned, he described the meeting as the height of his stay in London.
“Well, what did he say?”
“He says I’m the only surviving heir to an inheritance. I was concerned it might be a scam and wanted your opinion.”
“Rebeka, believe me, you can trust George Hughes. The royal family certainly does. If he says you’re the only surviving relative, you can be sure you’re the only surviving relative.” Frank paused. “You know, you may need to go to London to settle the estate.”
“Not too difficult. The committee approved my research project yesterday. I’ll be in England for the next eighteen months. I’m surprised you didn’t hear us celebrating.”
“Was that you at the karaoke bar? I thought I heard you singing.”
“Yeah, we had a great time. I haven’t had that much fun in a long time. Anyway, you think this letter is on the up-and-up?” With the phone cradled on her shoulder, she toyed with the envelope, standing it on its end and spinning it.
“I do. You can bring it over if you want, but, really, if the letter is from George, you can trust it.”
“Thanks for the help, Frank.”
“No problem. When you speak to him, send my regards. And let me know what your long-lost relative left you. If you think you might need my assistance, call.”
“Sure. Thanks again for the help and send my regards to Grace.”
The call ended. The overwhelming news took a back seat to her unease. Dad never mentioned any family, his or Mother’s. Rebeka bit her lower lip and picked up the new edition of The Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, flipping through the magazine without seeing a word. Perhaps the relationship is through Mother’s family, and he didn’t know. Surely, he would’ve told me if he knew.
Abandoning the magazine, she stood, walked to the window, and stared at nothing in particular. Maybe it’s a remote line he knew nothing about. Riddled with guilt, she had no memory of her mother. But he would’ve known. Stiffening at the thought, she ran her fingers through her hair, rubbing the back of her neck, trying to relax. Why didn’t he ever tell me? What was he hiding?
Without thinking, she picked up her walking staff, closed her eyes and took a deep breath, letting it out in a long slow stream. Little by little, the anxiety faded, her mind quieted, and the rushing thoughts settled into place.
Rebeka opened her eyes and stared at the familiar campus. A deep sigh escaped her lips as she turned, leaned against the wide window ledge, and glimpsed at the phone on her desk. There was nothing to lose and everything to gain. She laid the staff on the desk and picked up the water bottle, draining it as if it were liquid courage. With more resolve than she felt, she picked up the phone and dialed the London offices of Hughes, Swift and Lacey.
The secretary put her right through.
“Ah, Dr. Tyler, thank you for calling so quickly.”
“Hello, Mr. Hughes. I received your letter today. I have to tell you I don’t know any Emily Parson. I think you may have the wrong person.” She was certain he would agree.
“Indeed, but I can assure you we are very thorough in our research, and you are in fact the only surviving relative. Locating you took our firm some time, and I didn’t expect you would know Lady Emily directly.” His voice was deep and reassuring, his accent decidedly British.
“We’ve been the Parson’s family solicitors for, well, for many, many years. Lady Emily left you a comfortable estate that includes the family holding, Fayne Manor. The inheritance tax will be paid out of the proceeds of the estate once the will has been filed and executed. I would be happy to forward the documents to your solicitor for review. You will, however, have to come to London to sign the papers and take possession of your inheritance.”
She sat down hard on her chair. The wind knocked out of her. “This is all very overwhelming, Mr. Hughes.”
“Yes, I dare say it is. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. In a separate matter, I understand you’re an expert in medieval and renaissance studies. Your inheritance gives you access to some documents I imagine very few people, if any, have ever seen.”
She refocused her attention, glad for the distraction, and dug deep in her memory. There was an awkward silence as she quickly reviewed her mental inventory of libraries. She didn’t know of any library associated with Fayne Manor. As a matter of fact, she’d never heard of Fayne Manor.
“Dr. Tyler, have I lost you?”
“Oh, sorry, Mr. Hughes, but you caught me off guard. What types of documents are involved?”
“I wish I could be more precise. I know there are many accounts about the family, some of them conflicting. Lady Emily worked with the National Trust trying to sort out the true family history. It appears there are several documents dating back to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that tell the same family saga, but with very different results.
“It was through her research she found your family line. Isn’t it curious? With your expertise in history, the National Trust hoped you might want to pick up the family torch, so to speak, where Lady Emily left off. I do hope you will consider the challenge. You can kill the proverbial two birds with one stone if you come to London. If you don’t want to take on the Trust work, nothing changes with your inheritance, I assure you.”
“Yes, it is very curious, but I…” Her research project required her to go to England. Settling this question about her ancestors was… She didn’t know what it was. Fidgeting, she picked up her staff, her hand firm on the familiar subtle leather grip. What did she have to lose?
“I’ll come to London,” she said, surprising herself at her quick decision. “I’ll let you know when to expect me.”




Look for more books in the series by checking out Ruth's website

About the author:
RUTH A. CASIE is a USA Today bestselling author of historical swashbuckling action-adventures and contemporary romance with enough action to keep you turning pages. Her stories feature strong women and the men who deserve them, endearing flaws and all. She lives in New Jersey with her hero, three empty bedrooms and a growing number of incomplete counted cross-stitch projects. Before she found her voice, she was a speech therapist (pun intended), client liaison for a corrugated manufacturer, and vice president at an international bank where she was a product/ marketing manager, but her favorite job is the one she’s doing now—writing romance.
She hopes her stories become your favorite adventures.
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