#DFRAT Excerpt & Giveaway: Hawk Enslaved by Venetia Green.

Posted July 9, 2013 by Rowena in Features | 7 Comments

ahawkenslaved_msrPlease welcome Venetia Green to Book Binge. She’s sharing an excerpt and giving away a copy of Hawk Enslaved.

Here’s the blurb:

Blush sensuality level: This is a suggestive romance (love scenes are not graphic).

A beautiful hawk tamer enslaved by Vikings.

Ragnar Ulfsson must find his king a concubine. His solution is Isolde, captured while climbing the sea cliffs for falcons. Enslaved in his own way, Ragnar has few qualms about binding another to his lord for the greater good. After all, it is an honor to share the bed of a king.

Isolde does not view slavery so complacently. Like a hawk caged, she is frantic to escape. The king’s hall is a bubbling stew of political intrigue and Isolde is an essential ingredient in the mix. Her only hope is Ragnar, who captured her but also promises to free her—eventually. But there is something strange about this dark Viking, oddly withdrawn and controlled, and their growing bond will lead her into greater danger still.

For Ragnar doesn’t touch women. For good reason.

A Blush® historical romance from Ellora’s Cave

Excerpt from the First Chapter of A Hawk Enslaved

She thought it was the falcon at first. The whisper of feathers, a soft thunk on rock—an angry parent come to drive her off. But she couldn’t afford to shift her grip to check. Ignore the bird, it will not hurt you.

But then another. This time it flickered at the far edge of sight, and she knew it was no bird. Even the mad peregrine does not fly into the cliff-face itself. An arrow bounced off granite an arm’s length from her head. It spiraled down to drown to the surf below.

Isolde froze, spreadeagled on the bluff. Her hands convulsed on stone. Falcons she could take, even the odd sea-eagle, but arrows? And here she was, the perfect target—flattened against the crag and unable to move.

She risked a glance over her shoulder, out to sea, and her stomach clenched. There below her—a ship. Its sail was furled, oars spread out like millipede legs to ward it off hungry rocks. No Scottish ship this, but she knew its kind full well. A long, narrow vessel riding the swell, graceful prow sweeping up into a gaping dragon’s mouth. As if in some evil dream, she glimpsed a bearded warrior aboard nock an arrow to his string. With horrible clarity she saw him steady himself against the gunwale, taking aim.

Frantically Isolde scanned the rockface but the headland bulged out over the sea, devoid of shelter. No cave, nor even an indent in its bleak surface. Only an untidy nest wedged in the cleft below and its single ugly occupant. She could only hope the bastards would not hit the fledgling by mistake. Crouch low, little ogre! As for herself, the only option was up.

An arrow bit into flaking rock just inches from her hand. Isolde snatched her fingers away. For a moment she was off balance, hanging by one arm, propped up by legs feeling unaccountably weak. Ah, another handhold. Now she must climb—and quickly.

She seized a sturdy outcrop just above, hauled herself up. Her fingers dug into cracks, bare feet scrabbled on a jutting vein of quartz. She was moving back up the precipice but so very, very slowly. Peered up again, squinting against the light. There, an overhang just out of reach. Stretched upward, pushed feet on tiptoe…
When it came it was like the stab of a knife. It drove through her breeches into the meat of her calf. Her tiptoed foot collapsed. One hand snatched wildly at the overhang—and missed. An arrow, it must be an arrow. Pain like a white-hot poker pierced her leg. The limb was crumpling. Her grip on the remaining handhold was slipping, fingernails grating over rock.

Isolde sighed, glanced down briefly, and shoved off with her good leg.

Pray there are no rocks directly below. Pray the Vikings do not dare approach so close to the cliff. Pray I can swim with an arrow sticking out of my calf.
She hit the water. The world turned green and gray as the swell sucked her down.

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