I’m delighted to welcome Deanie Roman, author of Charming the Chieftain, here today. Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win in Deanie’s giveaway!
On-line dating, clubbing, church, your great Aunt Ida, or the local watering hole are all modern day methods of meeting a mate—easy-peasy, right? However, what if you were a woman in the middle ages? What might your options have been? If you were high-born more than likely an arranged marriage was in the offing. Of course that didn’t always mean you were in for a felicitous union, but your chances of becoming an old maid were slim—and no one wanted to be labeled a spinster. Being a member of the lessor classes meant you had more freedom to follow your heart except social morays made it almost impossible for a woman to initiate first contact. Even so, there were ways around this conundrum to make certain the man in question chose the woman who wanted him, by employing superstitious rituals.
One popular method was to place the breast-bone of a chicken above the door and the first man who walked through was that woman’s future spouse. Unfortunately, this wasn’t always fool proof especially if male relatives lived in the house or nearby. Of course, that didn’t stop some women from marrying their cousins. Another superstition called for a plate of flour left in the shrubbery overnight with the hopes a snail might come along and fashion an initial of the man a woman wanted to marry. Legend has it one small village had enough flour left out to bake a cake, which one clever (read desperate) woman took upon herself and managed to catch a mate who was fond of sweets.
On May 5th (May Day) women would come in from the fields and houses they served to line up at the town well with the hopes of peering in and seeing the face of the man they meant to marry. Sounds benign, but this activity was fraught with some danger since the maiden in question had an equal chance of spying a coffin—the reason why is not really clear. Still, for those faint of heart a maid might whip up a love potion instead. All she needs do was pulverize a dozen hemlock leaves mix the powder into a warm drink and give it to her unsuspecting target. Likewise, a woman who scraped the skin from a corpse buried for twelve days yielded the same results. Personally, I’m not certain what they hoped to attract with this macabre concoction, although, zombies and dust mites come to mind.
Since most superstitious practices were rooted in Paganism those preaching the new idea of Christianity set about eliminating or replacing many of the old beliefs. Even so, people were emerging from barbarism and their superstitious rituals remained deeply rooted in everyday life. Now, before you scoff at these people think of our own modern day superstitions. Many people will choose a color or particular item of clothing to boost their confidence before a first date. Kissing at midnight on New Year’s Eve is supposed to ensure continued affections from those we kiss. Just like dancing on New Year’s Eve brings love and prosperity, a squirrel in your path on Valentine’s Day means a miser is in your future, while a bat flying into your hair means you will marry a baseball player. Whether it’s worth leaving one’s future happiness to colors, flying rodents, holidays, leaves, well-water, scrapings, or a chicken bone is a question every single woman who is looking for love must decide for herself.
Charming the Chieftain
Blurb: Lady Elisande Cadby seeks sanctuary in Chieftain Aeden Maxwell’s arms against accusations of witchery, and it’s not long before their uncontained desire forces a union. Yet, not everyone at Caeverlark Castle rejoices over Elisande and Aeden’s wedding. Certainly not Baron Warford the Brutal, Elisande’s rightful betrothed, or, Addis, Aeden’s usurped older brother, who claims Elisande is his by right of consolation. Amidst a climate of deceit and cruelty, Elisande must earn the clan’s trust before revealing a disturbing family secret best left buried. What she uncovers will either ensnare a vicious killer or, destroy the man she loves.
Amusement flickered in the eyes that challenged hers. “I will no’ apologize for keeping you from screamin’ out, lass.”
God, she was so tired of arrogant men. In an effort to gain the upper hand she ordered him out right. “Do not call me lass. As you are in service to my aunt, I expect to be addressed by my proper title.”
Swift as a dervish, his hand snaked out to re-capture her wrist. She shriveled a bit at his superior strength, and when he moved in near enough for her to count the whiskers on his chin she blanched. In stature, she usually stood the equal of men. However, this one loomed a few inches above her.
“You no’ only bit my hand, milady.” His low voice stressed her title.
She regarded him with a cool stare determined never to allow another man to cow her true nature and jabbed a finger into his hard chest for good measure.
“Now see here, I had no indication you were sent by Onora, therefore, I refuse to feel remorse for your injuries, if you are indeed injured.”
In a surprise move, he seized her finger and pulled her in, until the tip of her nose grazed his. A pleasant foil of horse, leather, and cloves teased her nose, and the sudden intimacy of their situation pervaded her awareness. Compared to Warford, this man’s nearness disturbed her decency in an entirely different manner. Right away, she noticed the excessive amount of heat his body produced as it easily penetrated her thin layer of dress. An unwelcome hotness crept into her cheeks as the hand on her stomach shifted upward. How in the world could she even contemplate such things when he all but assaulted her? Well, maybe assault was a bit of an exaggeration. If she took a moment to step outside her reaction, she acknowledged that he hadn’t really harmed her, except to possibly cause premature gray hair to take root. Still, she decided it for the best not to concede anything. The amused arrogance of his tone deserved no such consideration. During her inward reflection, she became conscious the silence had stretched to an intolerable degree. To cover her embarrassment she pretended a sneeze.
“Bless you, my lady,” he drawled.
“Thank you,” she gave him a tight smile. “Now, unhand me, ’tisn’t decent.”
“Neither is biting the hand of the man sent to your aid,” he murmured dryly.
Gradually, a break in the cloud cover afforded her a clear view of his mocking expression well-illuminated by the full moon, and her banked temper flared anew.
“You might explain why you manhandled me, knowing full well, whom it was you manhandled, unless you are used to women dropping into your lap like acorns from an oak tree.”
The accusation came out in an unintelligible garble, but, she elected to care naught. He knew her meaning.
An edge of impatience tinged his voice. “You were on the verge of a scream, and we’re not far from Cadby Hall. Be thankful I only placed my hand over your gob… my lady.”
Taken aback by the threat, she gasped, “As opposed to what, pray tell?”
“As opposed to gagging you, throwing a sack over your head, and tossing you over my shoulder like so much grain.”
Contrary to his threat, he unwound his arm from her waist and put enough space between them to stable a horse. To mask her confusion, she palmed the loose balls of hair hanging in clumps around her shoulders. Aware of her dishevelment, and his unruffled appearance, she sent him a peevish glare and searched for the whale pins buried under the heavy tangle. Not that she worried he supposed her hideous, she thought, and sent him another hostile glare. Annoyed for the reasons behind her sudden vanity, she fashioned the unruly mop into a lopsided plait and secured the inelegant mess in the back of her head. An uncomfortable silence ensued while he examined her handiwork. A flash of humor crossed his face and he pressed his lips tight, barely covering his amusement. Maddened by his ungentleman-like behavior, she folded her arms and adopted a posture that dared him to voice his opinion.
His grin deepened and laughter lurked in his smile. “‘Is no’ much of an improvement if you want my opinion.”
Her hands flew to pat the back of her head. She blinked then narrowed her eyes.
Deanie is giving one lucky commenter an eBook copy of Charming the Chieftain.
What is your favorite dating memory or tradition?
Your Bio: Deanie discovered her weakness for romance novels by way of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Whenever she cared to indulge another genre, a romantic read was never out of reach. As an avid student of the medieval period she combined her love of reading, romance and history. The result—a sweeping historical novel, CHARMING THE CHIEFTAIN.
At one time, Deanie pursued a degree in photojournalism with an eye toward becoming a war correspondent. However, after a stint at Finlandia University, she enlisted in the United States Air Force. While assigned to MacDill AFB in Florida, she met and married her very own Scottish warrior.
Experiencing the emotional troughs that go hand in hand as the wife of a professional military man; Deanie infuses intense emotions, a riveting plot and unexpected twists into her stories. A firm believer in ‘happily ever after’ she is currently at work on her next novel.
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