A great big thank you to all those who have e-mailed me in the past few weeks to say how much they enjoyed the first two books in The Bruce Trilogy and ask when the third and final book will be available. I have a few more chapters to write and then edits and proofing to do, but I do hope to have it out sometime this summer. It's entitled The Honor Due a King and again follows Robert the Bruce, James Douglas and Edward III from 1314 to 1330. I love hearing from readers, so don't hesitate to contact me ( imgnr "at" imgnr "dot" com).
Also, graphic designer Lance Ganey is putting the finishing touches on the full cover for Worth Dying For. The paperback will be available by early March. I'll post here when it shows up on Amazon.
I'll be doing my first appearance and book signing ever on Sunday March 6th from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Enon Historical Society in Enon, Ohio. So come on by!
Last but not least, here's this week's installment for #SampleSunday, from Ch. 3 of Worth Dying For. Still pursued by the English, the remnants of Robert the Bruce's army are holed up in a cave near Loch Lomond whil they tend to their wounded. James Douglas has gone out to fish with another man and fallen asleep. He has a rude awakening.
“Look ‘ere,” a gruff voice said. “A Scottish dog, good as dead.”
The dull fog of sleep lifted suddenly like a blanket thrown off. It was not Wallace’s voice, nor Robert’s. Neither was it Torquil’s.
Through barely parted lashes, I glimpsed a man with a bulging paunch standing over me. He grinned and flicked his tongue over lips pocked with sores. Drooping jowls rough with black stubble melted into a thick neck. The man had not suffered for lack of food, or from the guilt of gluttony. He reached beneath his oversized leather jerkin and scratched at this crotch. Then he lifted a nicked and rusty sword. Its point pricked the soft of my belly.
My heart thumped in a wild cadence. I curled my fingers around empty air. My blade lay tangled in the grass, only a few feet away. If I reached for it, I was dead. If I didn’t―I was dead then, too.
His mouth spread into a macabre smile of jagged yellow teeth and irregular gaps. A guttural laugh shook his flabby gut and gurgled out of his throat, making him sound like a braying donkey. “Scared, are you? Don’t worry, I’ll keep you alive long enough to get some sport out of you.”
I opened my eyes fully, gauging his quickness against mine. No contest. I would have skewered him in a heartbeat in an honest fight. Gutted him like the fat pig he was. That was when he pressed the point deeper into my belly, reminding me who had the advantage.
“Will, over ‘ere!” he bellowed. “Look what I found me!”
With every shallow breath I drew, the sword point bit harder, almost burning. I held my breath. Fear, or fate, whatever it was, held me entranced to observe the slow approach of my own death.
God’s teeth, I had always thought I would die in a furious blaze of glory, not like this. Not in such a pathetic, helpless way.
Behind him, twigs cracked. Footsteps plodded, then stopped.
He chuckled, this time scratching at his buttocks. “What do you say we should do with him, Will? Chop off his fingers, one knuckle bone at a time? Gouge out his eyeballs, maybe? I like that one, I do. Won’t be pretty no more, then, will ‘e?” He guffawed, amused by his own cleverness.
“Let him go.”
The pig-bellied Englishman stopped laughing. He cocked his head sideways, not daring to take his eyes off me. “What did you―?”
A thwack cut off his words. He stumbled forward, as if someone had shoved him from behind. But there was no one there. A line―wet, burning―trickled warm across my abdomen to pool in my navel. The sword had pricked my flesh. It slipped from his grasp and thudded to the ground.
His tongue popped from his mouth, red foam bubbling around it. He lowered his eyes to gawp at his chest, where the tip of a wooden spear point protruded. Bright blood clotted in the Englishman’s stubbly beard, spurted from the hole in his breast. Empty-eyed, he stared at me, making little croaking sounds―and fell.