Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Ashe Barker to my website, to talk about her exciting new book, Resurrection, a paranormal/time travel, erotic romance.
The past is only a heartbeat away
First, let’s hear from Ashe about why she wrote this book.
Resurrection is one of my favourite stories so far. It was a dream to write, and tries to present one of the most infamous anti-heroes in English history in a slightly more favourable light. Richard III is a minor character in Resurrection, but his part in the story is memorable. He was given a seriously bad press by the Tudors, not least after the hatchet-job performed by one William Skakespeare. The politics of the day were unsympathetic, and Richard ended up on the losing side in the Wars of the Roses and even though he went down fighting (he was the last English monarch to actually die in battle) he never got the chance to tell his side of the story.
In truth I’m convinced Richard was more misunderstood than evil, though I suppose we’ll never really know.
Right from the start she knew it wasn’t about love.
As the youngest daughter of a wealthy family in medieval England, Lady Jane of Acton has been betrothed to Gerard Twyfford, the son of the Earl of Roseworth, since she was a baby. A dynastic marriage such as theirs is about power and property, not love but even so Jane desperately yearns for her husband’s approval. But Gerard’s rare visits to her bed are for the sole purpose of producing an heir, and she’s even failed at that. How can Jane win Gerard over when she cannot even be the wife he needs her to be?
Would one last chance be enough? Could he make things right, even now?
Ged Twyfford doesn’t know what he’s missing in life. A powerful vampire, he’s lived for close to six hundred years and seen a lot during his time but his past still haunts him. On a whim, he purchases Roseworth castle, the keep he used to rule as lord. Mostly in ruins now, Roseworth is a shell of what it was when he was still a mortal but Ged is determined to make it his home again. Maybe this is what he’s been missing, maybe he needs a place to belong at last.
When a woman emerges from the lake beside his castle, looking and sounding a lot like the wife he lost over five centuries ago, Ged assumes she’s a witch out to dupe him. But what if she is who she claims to be? Ged finally realizes just what he had, and just how precious to him was the wife he betrayed all those hundreds of years ago.
Do they really have a second chance or is it just too late to start over?
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About Ashe Barker
USA Today Bestselling author Ashe Barker writes erotic romance and spanking romance in a variety of genres including contemporary, BDSM, paranormal, historical. ménage, gay romance and time travel. She is a #1 Amazon Bestseller and all her stories feature hot alpha males and sassy submissives, often with a lot to learn. Kink abounds, and there’s enough dirty talk to satisfy the most demanding smut lover. However dark and dirty the setting, love always emerges triumphant, and her stories never fail to deliver a satisfying happy ever after.
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And now for four delicious excerpts, and if these don’t persuade you to buy this book I don’t know what will.
EXCERPT 1 (PG Rated)
“I apologise for keeping you, my lord, but I wondered—is there news? Of the King?” Jane sat upright in her bed, leaning against the pillows as she clutched her coverlet to her chest. Her husband, his monthly duties performed with his usual perfunctory efficiency, hopped about beside her bed, balancing on one leg as he shoved his feet back into his hose ready to depart for what Jane could only assume to be a bed he found more to his liking. Gerard rarely remained with her for more than few minutes after depositing his seed within her infertile body, and this night was no exception. He would dress, offer her a polite bow, and leave her chamber as quickly as he decently might. She rarely saw him during the day, and certainly not in a manner conducive to private conversation, so if she was to press him for news it must be now.
Recently returned from the fighting in the midlands, her husband would even now be commanding his army in defense of King Richard were it not for the injury to his shoulder which had necessitated his temporary presence at home to recuperate. The last news they had received informed them that the King’s forces were to meet those of the usurping Henry Tudor close to Leicester, where the outcome should be decisive.
Jane was quite certain that Richard would prevail. He was, after all, the rightful King of England following his brother’s untimely death some two years previously, and the bizarre disappearance of his nephews. Jane had no doubt the boys had been spirited abroad by their mother who distrusted Richard and was convinced he meant harm to her and her brood. It was a ridiculous notion, but one which Elizabeth Woodville, the widow of the late king, clung to with her customary tenacity. Jane knew that Richard would never harm those close to him, though the Lancastrian rebels would do all in their power to blacken his name.
She knew, too, that her husband’s injury was almost completely healed and that Sir Gerard would soon re-join the King’s forces. If she was to learn of the progress of Richard’s cause she would need to speak to him sooner rather than later.
Gerard paused in his battle with his clothing. He glanced at the small figure hunched in the bed and spared a sympathetic smile for her.
“Ah, yes. I forget how close you are to the King. I regret, though, I have received no word as yet. As soon as there is anything to report Garrick will return, and you have my word that I will share the news with you, my lady.”
Garrick, captain of her husband’s personal guard, had stayed with the King’s troops along with most of the Roseworth men at arms. Whilst his injury prevented his personal presence on the battlefield, much to Gerard’s frustration, her husband had been insistent that his forces would remain at Richard’s disposal. Jane knew it was Gerard’s intention to rejoin the King’s forces within the week, and it was quite possible she would not see him again for months.
“You will send regular reports, my lord? Do you promise?”
“I have said so, have I not? Do you doubt my word, Jane?”
His tone had hardened, taking on a note of impatience which had become more frequent of late. Jane sensed her husband’s attitude toward her shifting from indulgent indifference to frustrated resentment, though he did nothing to overtly suggest that he was displeased with her. It was just a feeling, a suspicion she could not shake off. Gerard was a lord dissatisfied with his lady. She, Jane, was an unwanted and barren wife.
“Of course I do not, my lord. I am merely anxious, is all.”
Gerard fastened his shirt then sat back down on the edge of the bed to pull on his shoes. “You concern yourself overmuch with matters of state, my lady. This latest rising will amount to nought. The Tudor bastard is an adventurer, a man with more ambition than sense. He will not succeed in overthrowing Richard.”
Jane nodded and watched in silence as her husband strode across the room to the door. He paused to offer her a courteous bow, then exited. His footsteps echoed along the stone flags of the corridor outside, until there was just silence left.
EXCERPT 2 (18+)
“My lord? Is there a problem?” She could surmise from his stormy countenance as he glared at her across the room that all was not well.
“You attended Norfolk’s bath. Against my express instructions.” His normally bland tone had taken on a cold edge. Jane did not care for it.
“My lord, I but—”
“Do you seek to deny it?” He did not raise his voice, but Jane found herself in no doubt as to the depth of his displeasure even so,
“No, but I—”
Her husband strolled across the room to glance out of the window then turned his head to regard her over his shoulder. “I informed you, did I not, soon after your arrival in this keep, that I did not expect my wife to perform such services. Have my wishes in this matter slipped your mind completely, my lady?”
“Of course not, my lord, and I thank you for your consideration. But I am lady here, and the Duke is an exalted guest in our house. It is expected that I should attend to his ablutions personally. It… it is my duty and my right as Lady of Roseworth.”
He turned to face her fully now, leaning back against the window sill in a posture deceptively casual. He folded his arms across his wide chest and regarded her under lowered brows. His azure eyes glittered, reminding her of icy flints. Not for the first time Jane observed him to be a most handsome man, and utterly intimidating.
Despite her trepidation Jane stood before her husband, her spine stiff and her shoulders back. Gerard might neglect her all he would, but she would not readily permit him to deprive her of her sole remaining purpose in life. She took pride in the quality of her housekeeping, and her responsibilities as lady of the hall included assisting important guests in bathing. It was not a duty she much cared for, and the knowledge that her husband would not insist upon it had been welcome enough. His rank alone was the reason she had made this exception for the Duke of Norfolk.
Her husband narrowed his eyes. Jane stepped back, her brief flash of temper dissipating. Whilst not scared of him exactly, she harboured a healthy respect for Gerard and knew him to have a temper though rarely was it directed at her. He set high store by obedience though, and it was distinctly possible that she had overstepped the mark in her defiance.
“Your right, madam? Your duty? May I remind you that your duty is to obey me. My instructions were clear and you chose to do otherwise.”
Jane’s heart sank. “But—”
“Norfolk is a lecher, as more than one hapless lady is able to testify. I would not have you alone with him, or with any man in such a situation. It is not safe.”
“He would never behave inappropriately. Not here, not in my own home.”
In truth, she had found the entire episode distasteful and Jane had no reason to doubt the accuracy of her husband’s assessment of the man. Norfolk had leered at her as he undressed, sauntering around the bedchamber with his huge, thick cock bobbing before her eyes. He was clearly aroused by her presence in his chamber and insisted upon making sure she was aware of it. Given the slightest hint of encouragement, he might well have pressed his luck further as her husband clearly suspected. She had seen no point in allowing the vile nobleman to know that despite five years of marriage to a man no one would describe as other than virile, Jane was in fact a virgin. This was the first time she had found herself in close proximity to a naked male and she struggled to conceal her revulsion. Jane did what needed to be done and made her excuses as hastily as she decently could.
The duke had seemed to her to be well enough pleased at the courtesy shown him. Jane rather resented this interference now from a husband who really ought to be more appreciative of her efforts on his behalf.
“You put yourself in danger, and I will not have it, Jane. It is my responsibility to protect you, to keep you safe.”
“I do not consider that I was in danger, my lord.”
“I do. What is more, I see in your face that you know I am right in this. Even if Norfolk were the most perfect of gentlemen, he is still a man and you are very young. Inexperienced. God’s bones, madam, you are still a virgin and men’s bathing chambers are no place for you.”
“If I am still a virgin, sir, whose fault is that?”
The moment the words were out Jane regretted them, wished she could gather up her reckless remarks and swallow them again whole. The accusation, the complaint, the implied slur hovered in the air between them as her husband’s features hardened into a stern but incredulous mask.
“I see we have much to resolve, Jane. We shall start with the matter of your wilful and dangerous flouting of my instructions.” He pushed himself away from the wall and strolled past her to sit on the side of her bed. “You will come here, Jane, and lay face down across my lap. You may keep your shift on if you wish, but you will raise it above your waist.”
Jane gaped at him, aghast. “I will not!”
“Jane, if I have to come and get you, it shall be a switch you feel across your bare arse, not merely my hand. Do not make this worse.”
“I.. I… you cannot beat me.”
“You are my wife, mine to discipline as I see fit. I will not beat you, but you have earned a thorough spanking and you shall have it, my lady. You may submit to this punishment, or not, that is your choice. It will happen anyway.”
EXCERPT 3 (18+)
“Over my knee, Janey.”
His tone had softened, and the intimate use of her name gave her pause. Her husband rarely even spoke to her outside of formal settings, let alone would he utter any endearment. His expression did not suggest mockery, though she could not name the unfamiliar expression which lurked in his sapphire eyes. With a dejected sob Jane prostrated herself across his lap. Her waist-length plait trailed on the rug beside the bed and she grasped at her husband’s leather boot for support, convinced she would overbalance and tumble to the flagged floor.
“Your shift, Jane.”
“I, I cannot reach. Could you not just—”
“Spanking requires a bare bottom, Janey. You can reach, and I wish you to bare your buttocks for me now.”
There was no alternative, no avoiding this. Jane stretched her hand behind her to grab the hem of her garment and pulled it up. She was oddly grateful that her husband steadied her with his arm to prevent any danger of her falling as she did the same with the other side.
“Is that high enough, my lord?”
“Almost. Pull it right above your waist. I wish to see all of your sweet derrière for this as I intend to turn the whole of it a glorious shade of crimson.”
Jane sobbed as she complied, uncertain whether her tears were due to fear of what was about to happen to her or humiliation at this treatment. Her husband might be cold and neglectful, but he had always treated her with the utmost courtesy. Until now.
At this moment she longed for him to neglect her.
“Good. You may scream and shriek all you like, but you will not kick or struggle or otherwise seek to avoid your punishment. I will tell you when we are finished here and you may get up, but until then you will remain exactly where you are with your bottom nice and high. Do you understand?”
“I cannot. You will hurt me…”
“I will. I intend to hurt you because I am about to teach you a lesson you will not easily forget. I hope such occurrences will be rare between us, my lady, but be under no illusion. I will make my point and disobedience will earn you a bared and spanked bottom. So, you will be still, yes?”
“I will try, my lord.” Jane did not think for one moment she would succeed.
“You will do as I say, or we will continue here until you do. You have a gorgeous arse, my sweet little wife, and I already intend you not to wish to sit on it for several days. I recommend you make every effort not to provoke me further.”
EXCERPT 4 (18+)
Ged decided to play for time. “We can talk later. For now, you need to get out of those wet clothes and wrap yourself in this. Can you manage or do you need me to help?”
She gnawed on her lower lip, a mannerism he remembered had always irked him. It had made it appear as though she feared him, and never failed to leave him feeling like a clod.
Christ, but this fucking witch was good.
“Might you summon a maidservant, if you please?”
Ged let out an exasperated sigh. “No, I might not. There are no maidservants here, just you and me.” His response was perhaps less sympathetic than the occasion called for. Despite his irritation at her presence here he regretted his sharp tone the instant it was out, especially as the wench drew away from him, her brow furrowing.
“I see. Then if you could just—”
“Oh, for fuck’s sake…” Ged reached for her and with two deft tugs untied the loops securing her flimsy robe. He slid the fabric over her shoulders and the woman made no attempt to resist his efforts as he removed it from her. He grasped the hem of her linen shift and pulled that up. “Lift up your arms, Jane,” he instructed.
She did so, obedient as a lamb. As he pulled the garment from her chilled body Ged realised he had used her name without thinking, and that she had answered to it. Then he caught sight of her naked body, and he forgot to breathe.
Jesus! Fucking holy hell! A bolt of pure lust shot straight to his cock. He was hard in seconds, but that was not the worst of it. With advancing age, Ged had mastered many of the skills required by a vampire who preferred to hide in plain sight. He usually managed to control his fangs with no bother at all, but not in unguarded moments such as this. His upper lip curled back as his razor-like canines shot from his jaw, and it was all he could manage not to snarl.
The diminutive female on his couch watched in horror as his features altered. She opened her mouth, he supposed to scream though no sound emerged. Instead, she collapsed into a dead faint.
Shit. Ged’s reflexes were as sharp as the next vampire so he managed to catch her before she rolled onto the floor. He arranged her safely on the sofa and pulled the duvet over her, tucking in the edges with care. At least now she was safely covered and he could concentrate on getting his own physical responses back under control.
For long moments Ged stood over the still from. The little witch’s breathing was steady, her colour better and improving with every minute that passed and she was out of the cold. There was a reasonable chance he might not require that ambulance after all. He was relieved, and not just out of concern for the unknown female’s health. His instincts told him he should keep this woman’s presence here a secret, at least until it was clear who and what she was and exactly what he might be dealing with.