Hello, Sunshines, I have the huge pleasure to be apart of today’s blog tour for; His Castilian hawk by Anna Belfrage. I am super excited to be sharing an exclusive excerpt with you all. This book looks amazing, I can’t wait to share it with you all, Firstly thank you to Amy at HFVBT for the invite to this tour. Now let’s have a look at the book…
HIS CASTILIAN HAWK BY ANNA BELFRAGE
Publication Date: September 28, 2020
Publisher: Troubador Publishing
Genre: Historical Fiction
For bastard-born Robert FitzStephan, being given Eleanor d’Outremer in marriage is an honour. For Eleanor, this forced wedding is anything but a fairy tale.
Robert FitzStephan has served Edward Longshanks loyally since the age of twelve. Now he is riding with his king to once and for all bring Wales under English control.
Eleanor d’Outremer—Noor to family—lost her Castilian mother as a child and is left entirely alone when her father and brother are killed. When ordered to wed the unknown Robert FitzStephan, she has no choice but to comply.
Two strangers in a marriage bed is not easy. Things are further complicated by Noor’s blood-ties to the Welsh princes and by covetous Edith who has warmed Robert’s bed for years.
Robert’s new wife may be young and innocent, but he is soon to discover that not only is she spirited and proud, she is also brave. Because when Wales lies gasping and Edward I exacts terrible justice on the last prince and his children, Noor is determined to save at least one member of the House of Aberffraw from the English king.
Will years of ingrained service have Robert standing with his king or will he follow his heart and protect his wife, his beautiful and fierce Castilian hawk?
Robert woke to the sound of a cock crowing. He had a crick in his neck, and his arm was numb. He peered down at Edith, fast asleep within the crook of his arm. His head hurt, and his mouth tasted of ashes. He needed a drink. He sat up, and the bedclothes spilled to the floor.
“Mmm,” Edith said, wrapping her arms around him. “Don’t go. Not yet.”
From somewhere came an odd, strangled sound. He squinted in its direction, only to see Eleanor on the stairs leading from the solar. Her eyes widened. He shoved Edith to the side.
“Eleanor,” he began, falling silent as he realised he was surrounded by spectators, tousled heads lifting from pillows to register the new lord of the manor had not slept with his wife. Colour drained from Eleanor’s cheeks. Without a word, she whirled and fled.
“Eleanor!” he repeated, rushing for the door before recalling he was as naked as the day he was born. “Damnation!” Robert scrubbed a hand over his bristling cheeks, his gaze on his wife. Her dark braid was visible beneath her veil, and she was running, no, flying towards the postern gate, with that large dog of hers padding alongside.
“What have you done, you fool?” John asked, appearing beside him. “Tell me you did not spend your wedding night with her.” He pointed at Edith. “Why is she even here?”
“I can assure you I did not invite her. You heard me telling her to stay away.” He could still see Eleanor, still make out the blue of her skirts as she ran and ran up the sloping meadows, placing as much distance as she could between them.
“Is that what you told her last night?” John asked.
“No.” Robert sighed. “I came down for a drink. She—Eleanor—asked me not to bed her, and so…” He shrugged.
“You decided she deserved to have you bed another.”
“No! It wasn’t like that! And you know I care for Edith.”
“She’s not your wife,” John said. “If you care so much about her, why didn’t you wed her?”
“With what?” Robert asked. “Until this”—he gestured at the bailey, the surrounding buildings—“what did I have to offer a wife?” And why would he wed Edith? She was not the kind of woman a man left behind to care for his home and his children while he left for other places. She was far too restless and needy for that. Edith lived off admiration, of the loud whistles that had her swaying seductively as she made her way down an encampment full of brawny men-at-arms.
John made a disgusted sound. “And how have you treated the wife who brought you all this?” He scowled at Edith, even more when she joined them and made as if to embrace Robert.
“Not now,” Robert said, moving out of the way.
“Best tell your trollop to leave,” John said.
“Watch your mouth. She’s not a trollop.” But he stepped out of reach when Edith yet again tried to slip her arms round him, far too aware of all the disapproving eyes on them.
“She is now. You’re married elsewhere, and surely you cannot expect your wife to tolerate her presence in her home?”
“My home is with Robert,” Edith said. “The little hen will have to come to terms with that.”
“Truly?” John took a step backwards. “Is that how you imagine your future life?” He spat to the side. “A wife in the solar and Edith in the pigsty?”
Edith swung at him. John caught her fist and squeezed, hard enough for Edith to whimper.
“Let her go,” Robert warned.
“Gladly.” John shoved, and Edith ended up sprawled on the floor of the hall.
“Where are you going?” Robert asked when John stalked off.
“Me? I hope to offer some comfort to your humiliated wife.”
“That’s not for you to do.” Robert had hold of him. “I—” He broke off. “What’s this?” He gestured at a group of men presently being pushed through the gate. Welsh, to judge from their appearance. He found his shirt and pulled it on before stepping outside.
“Hang them?” he said some minutes later. “Me? Here?”
“At the crossroads,” the guard explained. “Our liege wishes their rotting carcasses to send a lesson to anyone who dares to breach his peace.”
“His peace?” one of the Welshmen said, spitting to the side. “We follow our own prince.”
The Welsh prisoners were anything but cooperative. Not to wonder at, given that they had nothing left to lose. Condemned to hang for the single sin of being Welsh—it sat badly with Robert, but it offered distraction from his marital mess, albeit he couldn’t stop himself from looking for her, his wife, whenever a moment arose. Now and then he saw her, mostly with that big hound by her side. At some point during the day, he stopped what he was doing at the sound of laughter. His wife, playing with some of the younger children, and her face was lit from within as she swung a little one in wide, wide arcs. She sparkled with life, but the moment she caught him watching, it was as if someone had quenched a fire, leaving nothing but wet and sooty ashes. He sighed. This was not how he’d intended things between them to be.
About the Author
Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a time-traveller. As this was impossible, she became a financial professional with two absorbing interests: history and writing. Anna has authored the acclaimed time travelling series The Graham Saga, set in 17th century Scotland and Maryland, as well as the equally acclaimed medieval series The King’s Greatest Enemy which is set in 14th century England.
More recently, Anna has published The Wanderer, a fast-paced contemporary romantic suspense trilogy with paranormal and time-slip ingredients. While she loved stepping out of her comfort zone (and will likely do so again ) she is delighted to be back in medieval times in her September 2020 release, His Castilian Hawk. Set against the complications of Edward I’s invasion of Wales, His Castilian Hawk is a story of loyalty, integrity—and love.
Blog Tour Schedule
Saturday, October 24:Review at Pursuing Stacie
Monday, October 26: Excerpt at Coffee and Ink
Tuesday, October 27: Review at Rajiv’s Reviews
Wednesday, October 28: Guest Post at Novels Alive
Friday, October 30: Excerpt at Historical Fiction with Spirit
Sunday, November 1: Interview at Reader_ceygo
Tuesday, November 3: Review at YA, It’s Lit
Wednesday, November 4:Excerpt at What Is That Book About
Friday, November 6:Review at Passages to the Past
Monday, November 9: Excerpt at I’m Into Books
Tuesday, November 10: Review at A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, November 12: Excerpt at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals
Tuesday, November 17: Review at Books and Zebras
Wednesday, November 18: Review at Novels Alive
Thursday, November 19:Review at Books, Cooks, Looks
During the Blog Tour, we are giving away two paperback copies of His Castilian Hawk! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.
The giveaway is open internationally and ends on November 20th. You must be 18 or older to enter.