Sunday, 2 June 2013

Hostage of the Heart by Linda Acaster

Hostage of the Heart is a Mediaeval sweet romantic suspense set on the English/Welsh borders in 1066AD. It was always destined to be a sweet romantic suspense, but it started life as a Dark Age post-apocalyptic adventure. Such is the way of the publishing world.

It won an award, was seen by an editor, and the offer was made - with strings attached. Mediaeval or Regency. Er... pardon?

Perhaps it was just me, but I couldn't see how the two eras could be interchangeable. For a start, the mores of society dictated... 
The editor couldn't understand my reticence. 
'If you don't want to...' So it became a Mediaeval. In fact it became a new book. 

Orphaned and unwed, Dena is whisked from the rolling farmland of her birth to the mountainous wilds of the Welsh borderlands by Edwulf, her uncle and his young wife, in an attempt to have Dena marry well and so secure patronage for him in the court of the new English King Harold. Yet powers in Norway and in Nomandy seek to unseat the new king. With Edwulf intent on gaining glory with the militia, closer, older, enemies strike at his fortified hall and Dena is taken prisoner. From being the pawn of a kinsman, she becomes the pawn of the hated Welsh, and their intentions seem anything but chivalrous.


Dena heard the younger man snort his derision, and realised that her gaze had fallen guiltily to the stone floor. Try as she might, she couldn’t bring herself to raise it again.
   ‘We’ve dallied here enough,’ growled Rhodri reaching for his sword-belt. ‘Let’s be gone. We don’t want to be scrambling about in the forest in the dark.’
   Gwylan lifted his face and gauged the light filtering through the high window. He muttered something and then looked about him at the furnishings of the hall.
   ‘That is what Wybert wants us to do. He’s a wily old animal. He thinks like a wolf, just as Edwulf does. Even encumbered as he is, he could lead us a dance through those forest trails. He’s not one to let the cloak of darkness pass without some benefit, and I have no desire to lose men to an arrow in the back. We shall leave a first light.’
   ‘And this one?’ Rhodri murmured.
   Dena’s eyes were drawn to Gwylan’s, but her blood ran cold when she saw the calculating manner in which he regarded her.
   ‘I’m not convinced about you,’ he announced. ‘But if what you say is true, I may well be able to use your captivity to good advantage.’
   ‘Who shall you use as guard?’ Rhodri asked.
   He almost choked.
   ‘I don’t want a repetition of what happened at the tun,’ Gwylan warned. ‘She is to be your responsibility.’
   Rhodri seemed ready to burst with anger. He looked from Dena to Gwylan and launched a vicious tirade at his lord in the Welsh tongue. Gwylan responded in like manner, and the young man was stilled. Dena knew who was victor, but was dubious of the outcome. It was Gwylan who spoke to her, in that pleasant, kindly tone which now seemed to fit him so ill.
   ‘Have no fear of my men, Lady Dena. Rhodri will protect you with his life.’
   Dena saw him glance at Rhodri, a smile of amusement playing across his lips, then he turned to leave the hall, calling orders to his men.
   As she looked uncertainly towards the younger nobleman, his attention was fixed not on her but on the figure of Gwylan disappearing through the doorway. With his lord gone, Rhodri turned his brooding eyes on her, and with a flowing movement which made his tunic of mail ripple, he closed on Dena with all the malevolence of a viper intent on its prey.
   She backed towards the wall without thought of resistance. Fear ran wild through her mind. Dear God! Who will protect me from Rhodri?

Hostage of the Heart is available as an ebook and as an mp3 download:
Kindle USA ¦ UK ¦ Nook, Kobo, Sony ¦ Apple  

Linda Acaster is currently working on the second in the Torc of Moonlight trilogy of paranormal romantic suspense novels. Her writers' resource Reading A Writer's Mind: Exploring Short Fiction - First Thought to Finished Story has recently launched in paperback and is available as a Goodreads Giveaway until the end of June. Connect via her Website ¦ Facebook ¦ Twitter.

1 comment:

Lindsay Townsend said...

Medieval or Regency? What was that editor smoking?!

As a medieval it's a great story, Linda.

To update to a Regency it would need to be a different story.