Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Lord Griffin's Prize by Katalina Leon (Guest Post)

Please give a warm welcome to paranormal romance author, Katalina Leon, joining us with Lord Griffin's Prize!

Thank you, for having me as your guest today! I love visiting. Today I’m sharing my latest book “Lord Griffin’s Prize” This book has time travel, enchanted Irish castles, fated love and hunky Irish war chiefs turned griffin-shifters who will do anything to protect their mate. This book was so much fun to write. Lord Griffin’s Prize is part of a new multi-author paranormal book series from Ellora’s Cave called “Emerald Isle Fantasies”. I’m very proud of all the authors and books in this series.
The Emerald Isle Fantasies collaboration with the other authors was easy and came naturally. I’ve made a lot of good friends in the group. The project was started almost eighteen months ago. We were all Ellora’s Cave authors who were reassigned to a new editor based in Ireland. Our editor’s husband worked in the hospitality industry at a real Irish castle turned hotel. Pictures of his workplace were posted and the “Oohing and Ahhing” started immediately. Brainstorming to create our own fictitious castle filled with paranormal Irish high jinx and lots of unsuspecting guests was the next logical step.

Here’s the Emerald Isle Fantasies Blurb:
When guests check into the historic Castle Tullamore Hotel they expect bucolic scenery and luxurious service. What they don't anticipate is along with the 5 star accommodations they'll also get drawn into lots of otherworldly Irish mischief and erotic enchantment.

At Castle Tullamore there are ghostly lovers, griffin-shifters, vampires, selkies, witches and werewolves waiting to lure the lonely and the adventurous into forbidden realms. The castle grounds are riddled with time portals where the unwitting can experience vivid adventures in other timelines. For the most part the hotel appears to be just a lovely Irish castle until things get wild and reality drops from underfoot like a swinging trapdoor.

My contribution to the Emerald Isle Fantasies is “Lord Griffin’s Prize” and of course includes a sexy griffin-shifter who hasn’t been a man since 1332 AD…

18165610Lord Griffin’s Prize
Katalina Leon
Part of the Emerald Isles Fantasies series
Tullamore Castle Ireland is an enchanted place where the unexpected happens. Phantom lovers materialize in haunted beds and a lonely griffin patrols the ramparts waiting to reclaim its mate. And that’s just the beginning.
For the adventure of a lifetime Maeve de’Burgo visits Tullamore to study genealogy. Through a magical act and time travel she becomes embroiled in a dangerous medieval romance and the unfinished life of her ancestor. Maeve gets thrown back in time to be captured, ravished and cherished as a war chief’s prize.
Ronan O’Griofa is a griffin-shifter, the most loyal of creatures. He’s been trapped in limbo as the avenging guardian of Tullamore since 1332 AD and longs to be free. When the soul of his wife returns to the castle he’s granted the privilege of becoming a man for one day to be her lover, win her heart and remind Maeve of a bond strong enough to last an eternity. 

I chose to write a story about a griffin-shifter because griffins have always had a special place in my heart. According to 9th century Irish author Stephen Scotus, griffins mate for life and are “highly monogamous.” If a mate dies the other will never re-mate, and that formed the basis of my story. Griffins rule both air and land with justice and loyalty. So you see its hard to not love a griffin! 

A few years ago, as an anniversary gift, my husband gave me a beautiful bronze casting of a griffin to place next to my writing desk. The Griffin is there as a symbol of eternal love and loyalty. My husband’s a griffin at heart; he’s protective, loyal and he never turns his back on his responsibilities. I brought as much of that sentiment as I possibly could to “Lord Griffin’s Prize.”

I loved writing my heroine Maeve dé Burgo. She’s basically a strong woman who’s recovering from a humiliating divorce. She’s a little fragile when she first arrives at Tullamore, but no fool. She’s determined to avoid attractive men and dreads having to endure another heartbreak. While researching a distant ancestor she was named for, Maeve is confronted by the spirit of her long lost soul mate—a medieval Irish war chief named Ronan. Maeve’s never meet a man like this in the modern world and she’s swept away by him. The adventure demands she be brave and take a whopping big leap of faith, and a few leaps through time as well.

I completely fell in love with Ronan. He’s all heart and self-sacrifice. He epitomizes all that’s good about griffins. In the end his loyalty to a good cause earns him a little justice. He’s been trapped in the form of a griffin for seven hundred years, but when Maeve’s soul returns to Tullamore he’s allowed one day, from sun up to sun down to take the form of man and win her heart. I absolutely loved writing these two characters and giving them a happily ever after.

Here’s an exclusive excerpt from “Lord Griffin’s Prize” Chapter Three: 

(In scenes before this excerpt Maeve has had a hard night at Castle Tullamore. She’s jetlagged and fallen in lust with a medieval portrait of Lord O’Griofa. She’s traveled back in time to a medieval castle under siege, and had a phantom named Ronan appear in her bed and make love to her. A real griffin has been scuffling around in her hotel suite. She needs coffee and moment of sanity and goes downstairs to one of the castle’s dining rooms but more strangeness awaits her. A contemporary ancestor of Lord O’Griofa, a Professor O’Griofa, wants to give her a tour of the castle and the resemblance to the original Lord O’Griofa is uncanny.)

…Maeve gulped an anxious breath and gazed at the professor, now realizing that his resemblance to the portrait was beyond striking—it was eerie. She’d allowed a modern haircut and clothing to distract her from the facts. Where was the kindly old silver-tinged professor with dim hearing and a moth- nibbled sweater she’d been expecting? This guy appeared to be just a few years older than her, with a powerful build as sleek as a tiger’s. “You’re Professor O’Griofa?”
“Yes I am.” He beamed as he stepped closer. “I’m delighted to meet a dé Burgo under such pleasant circumstances. The castle’s not aflame and no one’s been stabbed in the gut. I hope matters will remain civil between us.” He flashed another brilliant smile that brought a twinkle to his eyes. “Please join me for breakfast. I’d like to know what you’re interested in learning about Tullamore.”
She stood and approached him on shaky legs. As she drew closer she saw there was a faint scar on his chin, just like in the portrait. She suspected that a detail like that couldn’t be coincidence and wondered if she had been drawn into an elaborate hoax. The professor was just too attractive to not be a danger to her bruised heart. She didn’t trust him or herself. “I want to be up front with you. I had a modest financial arrangement with Professor Burke. I’m told you are the foremost expert on Castle Tullamore. I’m not wealthy and I’m not sure I can afford to properly compensate you for your time. Also I’m not—”
He raised his palm in anticipation. “I don’t mean to sound brusque but I am wealthy and I don’t require compensation. I’ve spent my life studying the long history and intricacies of Castle Tullamore. This castle is my soul’s home. I’d be happy to share what I know with you, so long as you’re not bored by me. Besides, I’d be here anyway on personal business. I’m writing a book. What sort of information interests you?”
“Genealogy. As you already know, I’m a dé Burgo and I have a particular ancestor I want to focus on.”
“You want to know more about dé Burgo history to plot a family tree?”
Her face heated. “Actually I plan to write a book too.”
He laughed. “Oh dear, the dé Burgo and the O’Griofa competition is back in force. Please tell me you’re not planning to pen a witty yet fully comprehensive tome on medieval battle craft, because that’s my forte.”
“No.” She shook her head. “There’s been an idea in the back of my mind for quite some time. You might think it’s fluff. It’s a medieval romance, with an emphasis on romance, so hardly anyone will get bludgeoned or impaled on a pike.”
“Then it’s not a very accurate book.” His brow shot upward as he picked up the silver pot and poured steaming coffee into her white porcelain cup. “Life was horrible back then, completely wretched. Everyone’s life hung by a thread. Death pounced on victims and slaughtered them with abscessed teeth as easily as it claimed souls on the battlefield with a sword. Bleak times indeed. Everyone walked around groaning in misery with frowns on their faces. Hardly the stuff of romance.”
She drew a tense breath. “Yet those same conditions give birth to all western ideals of nobility and courtly manners. Even in the worst of times people sought God, love and tried to see the beauty in life. That’s an achievement that counts for something.”
A sarcastic grin curled his lip as he poured himself a cup of coffee. “There was nothing close to what you’d consider courtly manners in medieval Ireland. Trust me on that. ‘Courtly’ and ‘manners’ are two words that shouldn’t even be applied to the thirteenth-century Norman dé Burgo clan. I’m just warning you now, so you won’t be disillusioned later. The dé Burgos were a rough, rude, churlish lot.” He glanced sideways at her. “With a few outstanding exceptions.”
She picked up a porcelain pitcher and poured a generous amount of cream into her coffee. “There must have been something worthwhile about those times, because you’ve devoted your life to studying them and they’re certainly burned deep into the collective psyche of the western world. Who doesn’t love a tale of knights, ladies and fated love?”
“You’re right.” He picked up a strawberry straight from the bowl with his fingers instead of using the dainty silver tongs Áine had provided. The juicy berry was consumed with blissful relish. “My God, that was tasty. I could go for another.” He licked the tips of his fingers one by one, locked his languorous gaze onto hers and allowed it to blaze lusty hot.
She gasped that he would make his thoughts so obvious. She started asking silent and tortured questions about why a man like him would be interested in her. Maybe he could smell the scent of rebound on her, the way sharks sniffed blood in the water? He was gorgeous, intellectual and wealthy—if he had told the truth. She was freckled, chubby and average, coupled with a little more average. It would take an act of utter enchantment for them to make sense as a pair. Even casually it made no sense.
He leaned over the table and offered his hand in greeting. “I haven’t introduced myself. My name is—”
With a rush, she knew with certainty what he would say. The tiny hairs stood on the back of her neck. “Ronan?”
“Yes.” He smiled. “Did Áine tell you?”
She reached forward and grasped his hand. It was warm, calloused and comforting. She thought it odd that it felt perfectly safe to take his hand and even hold on to it for a lingering moment. “My name is Maeve.”
“You look like a Maeve. You know the name Maeve means ‘intoxicating’, don’t you?” He reached for her free hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. The pad of his thumb traced a lazy circle against her palm. “Does anyone call you Maeveen?”
He looked at her with possessive interest as if she were some choice item to attain.
Her heart went crazy, shouting “hooray” for flattery from a handsome man, but it also screamed vague warnings to practice caution at the same time. She got so flustered by the emotional push and pull that she almost snatched her hands back and leaped away from the table. Ronan made her as nervous as hell. Her gaze dipped to the floor as she considered sharing the dreadful news that she was fresh out of a divorce and not up for flirting or anything fun, but decided to keep her mouth shut on that dismal subject. “No one has ever called me Maeveen.”
“Maeveen.” Ronan brought her fingers to his lips, kissed them and released her hand. “Would you spend the day with me? I would love your company and you can tell me how dull I am when I go on and on about this musty old castle.”
She laughed. “If I were you, I wouldn’t let Áine hear you say Tullamore is a musty old castle. She’s quite proud, and rightly so.”
“Áine and I are old friends and she knows how much this castle means to me.” Ronan’s gaze sharpened. “So let me share some of its history with you.”

(They go off together to tour the castle grounds but Tullamore is filled with enchanted time-portals and magical places. Ronan is intent on stalking his claim on Maeve. Beyond this point poor Maeve gets more than she bargained for.)

Bio: Katalina Leon
I’m an artist, an author, mother and wife. I write for Ellora’s Cave, Loose Id Publishing and a couple new publishers to be announced soon. I try to bring a touch of the mystical and a big sense of adventure to everything I write because I believe there’s a bold, kick-ass heroine inside all of us who wants to take a wild ride with a strong worthy hero. 
I’m easy to find: 
website: katalinaleon.com 
Ellora’s Cave: https://www.ellorascave.com/index.php/authors/index/author/slug/katalina-leon/
Loose Id: http://www.loose-id.com/authors/a-f/amber-skyze-katalina-leon.html
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00BIXI8BQ
All Romance eBooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/storeSearch.html
Night Owl Reviews Author Page: http://erotica.nightowlreviews.com/V5/Authors/Katalina-Leon
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/katalinaleon/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/katalina.leon.142?ref=tn_tnmn

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