by Anna Campbell
It is with great pleasure that I introduce four temperamental but undoubtedly sexy heroes who will launch Harlequin's new e-book line UNDONE! These are sexy shorts, 10,000 to 15,000 words long, and they sound like just the perfect romantic pick-me-up!
As long as the heroes stop fighting each other long enough to find their heroines! The strong scent of testosterone is in the air as each of our dashing protagonists draws his weapon (ahem!) to claim his particular lady!
Also if we're lucky, we'll also meet the women behind the heroes. Michelle Willingham who has created the brawny, axe-wielding Tharand Hardrata from THE VIKING'S FORBIDDEN LOVE SLAVE. Bronwyn Scott who has created the clever, suave Julian Burke from LIBERTINE LORD, PICKPOCKET MISS. Amanda McCabe who has created the dashing, swashbuckling Carlos de Alameda from SHIPWRECKED AND SEDUCED. Nicola Cornick who has created the passionate, debonair Lord Alexander Beaumont from THE UNMASKING OF LADY LOVELACE.
Here are some photos of these OTHER women in our heroes' lives. From the top, it's Michelle, Bronwyn, Amanda and Nicola! And Nicola, it's no use trying to hide beneath that huge hat! We still recognize you and Melicent has been informed that you play an inappropriately significant role in Lord Alexander's life, you hussy! She's offering Tharand money to a hired axe! And you won't get away with looking like butter won't melt in your mouth, Bronwyn and Amanda. Or with that winsome smile, Michelle! Our heroes may be moody and magnificent, but our heroines are just as scary when they're staking their claim on their men!
So I hope you enjoy THE BATTLE OF THE HEROES. Pay attention, there will be a test afterwards and one lucky visitor to our blog today will win all FOUR UNDONE! shorts. So they can get to know our heroes in intimate detail!
Don't forget you can buy all the UNDONE! ebooks through eharlequin on http://eharlequin.com/
Tharand Hardrata reached for his bronze battle-axe, staring at the other men before him. The black runes tattooed onto his forearms gleamed in the moonlight. If any of these other men dared to threaten Aisling, he'd sever their heads from their bodies.
"Why are you here?" he demanded. The others wore clothing he'd never seen before, and it made him wonder if they were evil spirits.
Carlos de Alameda drew his fine Spanish rapier, his dark eyes alight. “I have come to discover the truth about the Contessa Isabella! Where have you hidden her? From the appearance of your rough clothing, you are no nobleman. If you have harmed the lady, I will challenge you to a duel—which you are sure to lose, as I have bested the finest swordsmen in Santo Domingo.”
"I have seen no such lady." Tharand clasped the handle of his battle-axe, a faint smile spreading over his lips. "But I would be happy to meet your challenge." He swung the axe lightly, waiting for the first strike.
Steel met bronze, and Tharand grunted at the impact. Carlos stepped lightly back, smiling as he brandished his rapier. Until they were interrupted by a new arrival who, with one smooth movement interposed himself between the two duellists, beating apart their weapons with his own sword. Carlos noted that the weapon, whilst similar to his, was a longer rapier than his own. English, he guessed. He had some skill and knowledge in these things. The man who held it was very tall and moved with a nonchalant grace. Even his voice was smooth.
“Gentlemen,” he murmured, “let us not be too hasty. Perhaps we may resolve this dispute with diplomacy rather than force. I am Lord Alexander Beaumont and I seek a lady too, my wife the Lady Melicent-” He broke off as Carlos brought his rapier up to his throat.
For one long moment Tharand and Carlos exchanged a look, briefly united in their mistrust of this dark stranger who spoke peace but held his sword like an expert pugilist. Once again Tharand swung his axe, that faint smile on his lips, and then Alex stepped back, bringing his sword up to parry the thrust of Carlos’s rapier and turning immediately to meet the crushing blow of the bronze battle-axe.
How the fight might have ended was anyone’s guess, but then a fourth man stepped forward from the shadows. He thought if he had to choose between the thin blade of the rapier and the broad stroke of the axe, he’d favour the axe in this fight. But with luck, he wouldn’t have to choose at all.
Julian Burke, self-styled agent for the crown, moved through the shadows he favoured. He held no weapon although he was proficient with a wide variety. But he was not without resources. In fact, he carried his weapon of choice; his wits, which he liked to think were as sharp as any rapier here and arguments able to deliver a cutting blow on par to any battle axe. That was his hope anyway.
These men looked quite formidable, men he recognized as kindred souls with himself even though he’d known them for only a handful of minutes. “Gentlemen, cease!” Julian moved fully into the light, ready to let his presence be revealed. “Can’t you see we all want the same thing?”
The three men stared, the startling statement drawing their attention momentarily. Julian made a placating gesture with his hands. The peace would not last if he did not move quickly.
“We all want Aisling?” Tharand asked, somewhat confused, then angered. “I knew it! Aisling is mine!” He raised his axe in belligerent intent.
“No!” Julian raised his voice to meet the challenge of the hovering blade, unwilling to flinch in the wake of imminent danger. “We all want love, whatever its guise or form.”
Alex Beaumont stepped up next to Julian, a smile acknowledging his recognition. He’d seen the line of logic Julian meant to take. “Precisely so. Well said, my countryman. Whether its name is Melicent….”
“Or Isabella,” Carlos joined them, sheathing his Spanish blade.
“Or Sophie,” Julian added, unable to stop the grin that spread across his face at the mere mention of his wife’s name.
Understanding dawned on Tharand’s face. He lowered the axe and gave a loud laugh. “I’ve been fighting for so long sometimes that is all I can see.” He laid down his axe.
The three other men chuckled and exchanged knowing looks. "Well, love has been known to be blind,” Carlos said congenially, slapping Tharand on the back. It was easier to be friendly now that weapons had been set aside.
Tharand thrust his fist out, the others joined their fists to his in a circle of comradeship. “To love,” Tharand shouted. The others grinned. “The only thing worth fighting for!"
Hear, hear, heroes! You may be formidable dudes, but you've got your priorities worked out!
One lucky commenter can win a download of all FOUR of the UNDONE! ebooks featured today, thanks to Nicola, Bronwyn, Michelle and Amanda.
So if you had to pick between a lusty Viking, a lethal Spanish pirate, an urbane Regency gentleman or a cunning Regency spy, who would you pick? What do you think makes a hero? Is there a difference between heroes from different times and places? Let's talk favorite heroes! Let the battle begin! And may the best man/woman/commenter win!