An Excerpt From:
MAIDEN AND THE MONSTER
Copyright © MICHELLE M. PILLOW, 2006.
All Rights Reserved
Note from the Author
In 878, King Guthrum and his vast nation of pagan
Vikings (Also known as Norsemen or Danes) had rule over half of Briton.
Though initially they came to the shores to raid and pillage, they were now
settling in their newly conquered land. A powerful race, the Vikings were
said to be nigh unstoppable. And before the Christian King Alfred of Wessex,
known as Alfred the Great, they had gone relatively unopposed.
During this time, the Danish king was at war with King
Alfred, which culminated at Whitshire, in what is known as the Battle
of Edington. This was the last significant battle between the two kingdoms
and Alfred won. Now the tides of power were turning. Guthrum and his Vikings
were on the losing side.
After experiencing decisive losses, the Danish king
signed the Treaty of Wedmore. The Treaty allowed Guthrum to leave with the
provision that he never returned. Furthermore, the land was divided in two
parts—Wessex and what later became known as the Danelaw (Northumbria, East
Anglia and Essex).
In accordance with the treaty’s demands, King Guthrum
had to leave several men from his army in Wessex. There the soldiers resided
as political hostages—an insurance of peace between the two kingdoms. If
Guthrum broke his promise never to return, the hostages would be killed. As
part of the treaty, the pagan men were also made to convert to Christianity.
Often noblemen and knights held as prisoners were
given leave to move freely, held only by their word of honor. It is in this
rocky political climate that our hero finds himself. A prisoner of a foreign
king, surrounded by the very people he’d been at war against.
Though the events surrounding the story are fact,
the characters, places and story itself are a work of fiction.
EXCERPT FROM BOOK:
“Nay, don’t ask for your freedom again.
It’s a useless plea. I won’t release you.” He watched her lips as she flicked
her tongue over the edge. The scent of lilies came to him from her hair as she
moved her head to the side. He wondered if Haldana had purposefully used the
scent. It had been one of his favorites long ago. He breathed in the enticing
perfume of her. For a moment, he was lost in her spell. “Tomorrow you’ll be
given new quarters.”
“The tower? You wish to put me in a real
prison? Or mayhap even the dungeon? I have sworn to you I won’t leave. At least
give me a chance to prove my honor afore you doubt it. If I prove my honor
false, then you shall imprison me with my blessing, for I won’t deny that then
I’ll be most deserving of it.”
“Nay, m’lady, not the tower and most
definitely not the dungeon,” he answered softly, the sound a vast contrast to
his usual hard tone. He wanted to laugh, for he didn’t have a tower save for the
chamber she was already in. “Prove your honor.”
“Then, you’re to make me your…?” Again
she tried to pull from his arms. “I’m to be put in your chamber, m’lord? With
you? Won’t your duchess be upset?”
“There is no Duchess of Lakeshire.”
Vladamir couldn’t draw his gaze from her delightfully full lips as they quivered
enchantingly under his watchful eyes. He thought of chaining her to his bed,
forcing her to be his bed slave until he took his fill of her. “M’lady’s prison
shall be of gilded bars. You’ll be afforded full use of the castle. You’ll be
fed. The servants will treat you with the respect due your station, unless you
prove you deserve otherwise.”
“But,” he warned, squeezing her shoulders
once more and causing her to wince. “You won’t be permitted outside the bailey
walls. I don’t care if the castle is burning to the ground. If you don’t have my
permission, you shall stay and burn with it. If I find you trying to leave, I’ll
lock you in the dungeon for all your days and I’ll besiege your father’s keep
until all those who live within starve. I’ll burn his crops, slaughter his
peasants and his cattle and leave them to rot where they fall. And you, m’lady,
will know the full meaning of hell afore you die.”
“I understand,” she said softly. “I won’t
try to escape. My only wish is that you’ll reconsider and let me go.”
“I won’t do that,” he answered, his voice
harsh. His chest heaved with rapid breaths, but his growling tone turned soft.
“M’lady will do well to wish for other things for I’ll never let you go.”
“Then I’ll stay here true to my word and
I’ll only leave with your permission.” Eden conceded, taking a deep breath. “I
will swear it on mine own blood, but only if I may have one demand. Methinks it
Vladamir nodded his head and then
realized she couldn’t see him well enough through the darkness to make the
gesture out. “What?”
“Don’t harm my father’s people. They
don’t deserve your wrath. I don’t know what plans you may have, but keep your
quarrel with my father only. If it is he who has spurred your anger, then he
shall have to face it.” She pulled away from him and he let her go. Her chin
lifted proudly before him, even in her fear of him. “If you don’t harm them,
I’ll stay here. But, if I find out that you hurt them in any way that wasn’t
self-defense, I’ll break my vow and will do whatever is in my power to escape
you. I’ll spend the rest of my days if needs be bringing you to justice and I
won’t stop until ‘tis done. Do we have a deal?”
“Yea, m’lady.” He smiled at her courage.
It puzzled him that she showed no concern for her father’s safety, yet cared so
openly for the lives of peasants. “I won’t harm your father’s people.”
“Good.” She held out her hand, her
fingers shaking, but she didn’t back down. “Hand me your dagger, m’lord, so that
I may keep my word and pledge my honor with my blood. Let us seal the bargain so
it shall be done.”
“I won’t demand your blood just yet,” he
said softly, denying her his dagger. Instead, Vladamir clasped her outstretched
hand and pulled it to his chest over the beating of his heart. Not stopping to
think of the consequences of his actions, he swung her into his arms. Shifting
her off balance so she fell to the side, he encased her within his embrace. She
was so small and fragile to him as she trembled in surprise. His body lurched,
wanting this. He bent down and pressed his mouth against her parted lips, unable
to resist her temptation a moment more. He needed to feel her heat, her soft
The duke ran the fingers of his free hand
into her hair and pressed her to him. The sweet petals of her mouth parted as
she sought her breath. She moaned lightly. His tongue daringly traced the line
of her lips and her slender body molded into his as if it had been carved for
him to hold.
Vladamir had been a long time without the
comforts of a woman’s embrace and was a man long used to taking what he wanted.
Eden clutched his tunic as he held her to his chest, feeling her intimate heat
along his thigh, burning him. He pushed his leg against her, eliciting a soft
moan. Innocently, she backed her hips away from his searching. Unable to resist,
he grew bolder, forcing his thigh between hers.
© copyright November
2005 - 2012, Michelle M. Pillow
This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and places are of the
author’s imagination and not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living
persons or events is merely coincidence.
"5 Angels! Maiden and the Monster
is one of the best medieval romances I have ever read."- FAR
2007 RT Reviewer Choice
"4 1/2 STARS! This is a perfect blend of
history, emotion, tension, hot sex and fascinating and sympathetic characters,
and the writing is superb. Pillow chooses magical details to set the scene,
and they add to both the history and the emotion."
Page Traynor, RT Bookclub
April 2006 Issue
"4 1/2 Stars! Michelle M. Pillow did not re-write the story of Beauty and
the Beast. This is the story of two people thrown together by others for
their own purposes. No one expected them to find love. This story has
action, adventure, and plot twists galore. The sex scenes are artfully woven
into the story. Vladamir and Eden overcome great odds to find true love.
This book is a classic love story. It is the kind of story a reader enjoys
getting lost in." Candy, Ecataromance Reviews, April 2006
"4 1/2 Hearts! This
in the days of the Saxons, is extremely well done. The characters and
setting are so well described that I had no problem picturing them. The love
scenes are very hot and made, rather than detracted from the story. The
tortured hero and his innocent maiden are very real characters, each one
with human failings and misunderstandings... I did not expect the plot
twists that the author devised and couldn't wait to find out what would
happen next, leaving me to stay up very late to finish this tale. This one
is a definite keeper." Reviewer: Maura
Frankman, January 30, 2006
"4 1/2 Angels! Michelle
Pillow takes her readers on a journey back to Saxon times and delivers You can just close your eyes
and see everything before you. Maiden and the Monster is one
of the best medieval stories that this reviewer has ever read." Danny Fallen
Angels, April 2006
"4 Stars! I loved it!" Jeep
Diva Reviews, Feb 2013
STARS! Ms. Pillow has developed a touching novel with deeply intricate characters...
Those readers who enjoy a bit of historical charm in their romance will find Maiden and the Monster a wonderful book to read.”
Francesca Hayne, Just Erotic Romance
Reviews, December 2005
was so entranced by Maiden and the Monster I couldn’t put it down. It’s
intense, and full of emotion... powerful and moving, ...Maiden and the
Monster is a keeper!" Nannette, Joyfully Reviewed, December 2005
"Maiden and the Monster
is one of the best medieval romances I have ever read. It really showcases
the author’s talent for historicals. The background history is deftly
intertwined with the love story. Add to that some very hot encounters
between our protagonists, and you’ve got a masterpiece! There’s a perfect
balance of sex and story. And, Lord what a story!
Vladamir is one of those sexy alpha heroes with a few scars on the outside,
but even more on the inside. He just makes you want to soothe away his
hurts. Eden is a strong heroine who understands her lot in life and is
determined to make the best of it. Ms. Pillow lets the reader in on
the internal struggle both Vladamir and Eden go through to come to terms
with their feelings for each other.
Michelle Pillow is a wonderful author with no genre boundaries. I've
enjoyed all her paranormals, and I'm thrilled that she has not given up
historicals! Maiden and the Monster is a keeper for me, and I predict
it will be for many, many other readers as well."
Reviewed by: Shelley. Fallen Angel Reviews, December 2005
Winner of the 2006 RT
Reviewer's Choice Award!
Best Erotic Romance
Honorable Mention, Coverart
2005 Preditors and Editors
Poll #22 Novel - Romance