I’m so pleased to welcome my pal Kris Kennedy to the Jaunty Quills. Kris writes amazing books – I mean, amazing. In fact, she’s one of my favorite historical romance writers. Her stories are sweeping, adventurous, and grounded in extraordinary historical events. If you love smart and sexy historical romance, these are the books for you.
Take it away, Kris!
Going Bigger, Hotter, Historical-er
Many thanks to my buddy Vanessa Kelly for asking me over to help spread the news about my newest book, CLAIMING HER.
I haven’t had an historical release for a few years, not since DECEPTION, which won RT’s K.I.S.S. Award for Best Historical Romance Hero of the Year in 2013. (And will be re-releasing next year.) But I think my NY publishing house had a hard time selling medievals, and I had a hard time making zero dollars, so I took a detour into contemporaries.
But I kept getting drawn back to historicals. They’re my first love, my heartbreak, my siren song. So, I came back.
My latest release, CLAIMING HER is set in Ireland, during the Elizabethan era, with an Irish warlord hero, and it’s really hot. Like, really hot.
I’ve been on the hunt for big, meaty, super-hot historicals. And I want medievals, or medieval-ish. I love Victorians & Regencies, but I want me some knights and warriors, too. I don’t necessarily want an erotic historical romance (well, wait, sure, sometimes I do…) But what I really want are stories of historical adventure, sweeping stories, immersive stories, steeped in history and character, but with the kind of no-holds-barred sensual heat you find in many contemporaries coming out today.
Ergo, my new collection, RENEGADES & OUTLAWS.
These are super-hot historicals with big bad alpha heroes and smart, capable heroines. Not erotic romance, but the sensual relationship is absolutely central to the characters’ arc, and the stories may push a few boundaries here and there (although I may have done that before (:eyes The Irish Warrior:))
The first in this collection is my novella THE KING’S OUTLAW, currently part of the USA Today® bestselling Captured by a Celtic Warrior anthology.
Which brings us to CLAIMING HER. It’s set in Ireland, 1589, with a dangerously handsome and ambitious Irish warrior hero, come home to claim the barony the Queen of England would not give him.
The heroine, he will discover, is not of a mind to be conquered.
Want a little excerpt??
Aodh Mac Con (pronounced like you would the beginning of “Aidan’) has just taken over the lady’s castle, and they’re, um, discussing it.
…“I am Rardove, sir,” she said boldly, quietly, and foolishly. “And I hold for England.”
He tipped closer. “That has just become a matter for negotiation, my lady. From here on, let us say England shall have to earn Rardove’s loyalty.”
She stepped back, her lips parting. He’d shocked her. The realization caused a small, strange tinge of disappointment in him, that a woman who’d held an English castle beyond the Pale with only ten men would be shocked by such a thing. It seemed somehow…diminishing. But then, Aodh had a taste for rebellion today, and nothing but more of the same would serve.
A movement at the far end of the hall caught his attention. One of his captains, Cormac, poked his head through a door, caught his eye and nodded, then ducked back out. Good. They’d made it to the north side, which meant they’d secured the entire castle. Rardove was his.
And so where was the hot satisfaction of conquest? The rush of triumph? Where was…everything?
Lying at the bottom of the same cold pit that had marked his life for too many years to count, no doubt. Intrigues, battle, courtly maneuvers, it was all the same: naught.
Apparently even coups of castles did not rise to the level of interest anymore.
He turned his attention back to Katarina. “My lady, if you will—”
All he saw was a blur of green silk, then her small, bunched fist smashed into his face.
The impact, hard and square, landed directly on his jaw.
Caught utterly unaware—as he’d never been before, never, not even when his father had had his head cut off—Aodh reeled sideways. The retreat gave enough room for her to launch herself forward and slam her shoulder directly into his ribs so hard and fast, he grunted and stumbled backward and hit the ground, her on top, twisting like a hellcat.
She jammed a knee into his bollocks, and he doubled over protectively, at which point she grabbed one of his fingers and twisted it back almost to breaking, while her other hand—so sinuous and slender it was all but ungrippable—snaked between their writhing bodies and tugged his accursed dagger out of its sheath.
With a roar, he lunged up off the ground, lifting her with him, and backed her to the wall. Predictably—dimly, he noted he was already predicting things about her—she wrestled like a firebrand. Whirling hair, arms, legs. Kicking, biting, punching, swiping with the knife.
First things first.
He caught hold of the feminine fist snaked around the hilt of his blade and slammed it to the wall above her head, gripping her wrist so hard she cried out, but she did not, of note, stop fighting. He finally had to pin her to the wall with his entire body, her toes dangling half a foot in the air, their faces pressed together, cheek to cheek, until he stilled everything that was writhing and flailing and kicking on her curving, rampant, berserker body.
Fire burned in his veins, urging him to smash and destroy. He reached over with his other hand and wrenched the blade out of her grip, then tossed it onto the ground behind him.
He inhaled slowly, forcing himself to calm. They stood like this for a moment, her body pinned between Aodh and the wall. He supposed she could still kick his shins, but she’d impact against his greaves, and it would hurt her far more than him.
She seemed to agree. At least, she didn’t move.
He pulled back a few inches, let her feet drop to the ground, and peered down at her. Breathing fast, she flung her head, spraying hair across her face. It was pale and beautiful, with slim, dark brows arcing over what appeared to be intelligent brown eyes. A shocking discovery.
“If you were a man, I would kill you right now,” he said in a low voice.
He waited for her response—everything now was a test, every moment a potential tipping point. Would she recoil? Be wise and retreat, apologize, surrender, run scared?
Would she be like everyone else?
She shifted the only thing he didn’t have restrained, her left hand, and laid what turned out to be the cold edge of a blade against the side of his throat.
“If I were a man, sir,” she whispered back, “you would already be dead.”
So, come on, ladies, give me some recommendations: what was the last big, sexy historical you read and loved?? One commentor wins a copy of the Captured by a Celtic Warrior anthology, which includes my story, THE KING’S OUTLAW!
And if you like big, sexy historicals like I do, sign up for my newsletter to be alerted whenever there’s a new release!