Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Conquered Brides & Knights Vs. Mercenaries with Korey Mae Johnson

I've got Korey with me today and she is talking about something so fun! Knights Vs. Mercenaries! Take it away Korey!
After being a romance-book addict, I've noticed characters that appear and reappear. I think the most common character that romance novelists like to use, in all genres and time periods, are knights. I think it’s because they ride into the rescue when you need them; they’re rough along the edges and they’re powerful (both mentally and physically) enough to fight against any foe. They live by a solid code of ethics that they’d go through endless trouble and danger to abide by. They’re chivalrous, they put women first, they’re kind and helpful to the weak, and they’ll go the extra mile for a friend. They’re loyal, courageous, and they’ll never back down.
Now, you don’t need a medieval to read about knights. They’re everywhere, in all forms of movies, books, genres (in the metaphorical sense, of course). Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice was a “knight”. The Girl Who Played With Fire has a knight, Zorro is a knight, The Princess Bride, .Twilight, and heck—if you don’t need it to be always M/F, then the new Sherlock Holmes series has a lot of white-knighting all over the place.

Another favorite theme—which I tend to like—are mercenaries.

Mercenaries tend to be a man’s man. They don’t follow anyone’s code but their own. They normally serve a cause or a boss, and sometimes that boss is money. They have obligations and they’re just trying to get from A—B, and BOOM. Suddenly a girl falls into their lap and they have to deal with them. And then they tend to fall in love with them, which is even more inconvenient.

Mercenaries aren’t just a bad guy in a historical film or a thriller. Han Solo in Star Wars, Romancing the Stone, How to Lose a Guy in 10 days, Brokeback Mountain. The reason they’re not as numerous is because I think it’s hard to write a book or write a movie on it because an inconvenient romance can be tough to write where you’re still rooting for both characters.

I about 50/50 between mercenaries and knights. I enjoy mercenaries a little more-- I love to write about men who are REALLY rough around the edges… and they don’t want to change. Logan from Pursuit of Glory, Ashcroft from Otherworldly Discipline, Thorton from TheSwarii Bride Series. But then I have my white knights, as well.

In The Conquered Brides boxset, which are five stand-alone (yet also intertwining since they all happen the same time and place) novels by Renee Rose, Ashe Barker, Sue Lyndon, Dinah McLeod and myself, I think we went back into time and give people a huge mix of all sorts of heroes and situations. My own, Commanding the Princess, is a little different than what I normally write, but I couldn’t figure out why until the other day.

It’s different my mercenary becomes a white knight.

Gerhard didn’t expect to fall in love with the princess, and he sure as hell didn’t mean to fall in love with her. He was there to sack her castle and take her back to Vienna, to be held accountable for her army’s crimes. After that, it was about getting what HE wants and getting what HIS EMPEROR wants… which are goals that can’t seem to coincide.

Gerhard rolled his eyes and then set a plate on a nearby table. “Wine, and some food, my lady. Come have some. You have to be famished.”

“I’m not,” she assured, but she closed her book and rose to her feet as gracefully as she could. “Tell me the news from the castle. Are my people being treated well?”

He sighed and pulled the chair Rennio had been sitting in toward the table. “Yes, although your people, especially the women folk, have given me and my captains headaches all day. They probably will all tomorrow as well. Not just the castle matrons, either. Just about every bloody female in that bloody fortress needs a good birching.” He adjusted his sleeves. “Must be something in the water, making the women stubborn and silly as mules. And now I see they take after you. Eat it. You’ve already spent your whole day cold, and I don’t want to see you ill.”

“I wouldn’t mind getting ill,” she replied, though a surge of pride welled up in her. She was actually quite glad that so many were giving Gerhard’s men trouble still, not just sitting down and bending to their enemy’s will. “Hopefully I’ll catch something and be able to give it to the man who’ll lop off my head as my last hoorah.”

He rolled his eyes. “You shouldn’t think the worst. The Emperor is a good man. He’ll give you a fair trial,” he assured flatly.

She raised an eyebrow. “Do you really think that?” She saw him take in a couple of deep, defensive breaths as he readied to verbally joust with her, but she didn’t wait for him to respond. “If you think the emperor can afford to let enemies get away unscathed, than you are woefully naïve.”

He pressed his lips together, but his gaze didn’t linger on her for long. “Your journey doesn’t start for days, in any case. I want you safe until then, and taken care of.”

“I thank you.” And then she just stood there.

“What is my beautiful sweeting going to do from now on when I tell her to do something?” he asked her, squeezing one of her still-pale globes.

After a moment of silence during which she hummed and searched for an answer, he prompted, “Are you going to obey me?”

“Yes,” she murmured submissively.

“Do you know why?” he asked her.

She shook her head.

“Because I would never order you to do something without it being important to your safety, my love. Never. You are my best treasure; I wouldn’t break you. I like you stubborn and wild as you are.” He found himself grinning for a moment, but then he remembered that the reason they were in this position was because she had been almost eaten by wolves. Recalling that was beyond sobering.

“But when I tell you to do something,” he began to lecture, bringing the leather up above her bottom and then bringing it down with a loud, deafening crack. Her whole body flinched. “Then you—” he struck again, “will,” and again and again, “obey me!”
I hope everyone comes and reads this book for a good knight-fill, BUT keep in mind what you like more—knights or mercenaries—because you can usually tell what you’re in for on the blurb, and it might help you choose your next one! So I’m going to pose this to the audience:

Knights or mercenaries? Can you think of any examples or enjoy one or the other? Comment below!

And thanks so much for hosting my on your blog, Summer! Thanks for letting me muse and ramble!

 The Conquered Brides Summary:

When the castle they called home is besieged and ultimately falls, five women are captured and carried off as wives by their foes. Will they be treated as no more than the spoils of war, or can their new lords prove themselves worthy of the love and submission of their conquered brides?

The Conquered Brides is a five-book collection featuring brand-new titles from five top erotic romance authors. This collection includes:

Commanding the Princess, by Korey Mae Johnson

As the ruler of Hohenzollern Castle in name only, Susanna has watched helplessly for years as her power-hungry uncle made one enemy after another for her. One enemy stands out, and the moment she catches sight of him, Princess Susanna is certain that it will be Gerhard of Bavaria who brings her world down around her. As his army smashes through her gates, Susanna makes the only choice she has left. She surrenders herself to Gerhard, hoping to win mercy for her people, though she fears it will come at the cost of her life. But she soon learns that Gerhard has other plans for her, plans which may end with her surrendering much more than just her castle to him. 

Read a Longer Sample of Commanding the Princess by Korey Mae Johnson
The Knight’s Seduction, by Renee Rose

Avowed to never again yield to a man’s ill-treatment, Lady Daisy stands ready to fight to the death when her castle is sacked. The imposing knight Sir Barrett has other ideas, however, and to her dismay, Daisy soon finds herself not only disarmed, but soundly spanked as well. Sir Barrett takes her as his captive bride, but when she shows real terror at the prospect of consummating their marriage, he offers her a bargain. She will offer her body to him and accept the pleasurable torments he inflicts, but he will not claim her fully until she aches for it so badly she begs him. Certain she will do no such thing, Daisy agrees, but can she resist the knight's seduction? 

The Widow Is Mine, by Ashe Barker

Since her husband’s untimely passing, Lady Natalia has resigned herself to a quiet life as a young widow and perhaps one day as a nun. But when her adopted home is conquered by the enemy, her world is turned upside down. After he rescues her from the chaos of Hohenzollern’s fall, Duke Stefan of Richtenholst cannot imagine allowing Natalia to languish behind the walls of a convent. The duke takes Natalia home as his wife, and he quickly proves himself ready to compel her obedience when it is necessary, but can he ever truly make her his own? 

Conquering Lady Claire, by Sue Lyndon

As Hohenzollern Castle falls, mayhem unfolds around Lady Claire, and her only aim is to lead as many women and children of the castle to safety as possible. In an odd turn of fortune, her courageous efforts ultimately lead to her capture by none other than Lord Galien of Minrova, the very man that her brother, a powerful duke, recently commanded to find her and claim her as his wife. Claire’s defiance is quickly overcome by means of a firm hand applied to her bare bottom, but Galien is not content merely going through the motions of a political marriage. His skilled lovemaking soon leaves his new bride begging for more, but can he conquer her heart as well? 

Read a Long Sample of Conquering Lady Claire by Sue Lyndon

Kidnapped and Claimed, by Dinah McLeod

When her husband’s repeated infidelities and drunken insults become too much to bear, Lady Cecily flees to her childhood home at Hohenzollern, but things quickly go from bad to worse and she is kidnapped from the castle stables only moments after her arrival. Cecily ignores her abductor’s warnings of ruin about to befall Hohenzollern and his claim that he took her from the castle only to keep her safe. She resists him every step of the way, until at last he spanks her long and hard. Despite his firm chastisement, it soon becomes clear to Cecily that her captor cares for her in a way her husband never did. But can she forgive him for stealing her from her home?
Publisher’s Note: The Conquered Brides contains spankings, sexual scenes, and more. If such material offends you, please don’t buy this book.

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