14 Days: The Maiden’s Kiss by Layla Chase (Contest)
Strong Women Know What They Want
I’m a feminist. I studied feminist theology in college, minored in Women’s Studies (after all, that was during the 1970s) and taught my daughters they have a voice. So when I started writing romance, I created heroines who expect to be listened to, ones who are smart and knowledgeable (sometimes, they had to be sneaky to do this). As much as possible, my heroines don’t make put-my-life-in-danger stupid choices, but they may risk all for a choice of the heart.
A female character such as I’ve described works well in any era. No matter what their economic level, women have always sought knowledge. If what they could learn was herbs, native plants, and how to beautify a cave or a tent, then they did that to the best of their abilities. Museums are filled with examples of their efforts, and I often find myself in awe.
In Cinnamon And Sparks (Wild Wild Women of the West II), I wrote about a pyrotechnist heroine who was working in the family business. A woman forced to live as an outcast because of being an Indian captive went after what she wanted in Her Captured Cowboy (Cowboy Heat).
When I was starting to create the story that became The Maiden’s Kiss, I was engrossed in watching Vikings on The History Channel. I was impressed with the way the women’s roles were depicted—in the first season, Lagertha explored and fought at her husband Ragnar’s side. He asked for her opinion in important matters and weighed her comments. They enjoyed a robust sex life. I modeled my heroine, Jorunn, on that character but at a younger age, when she was still discovering her wishes and wants. After reading about the Althing, a general assembly in Iceland where clan matters were decided, I had my location. My hero, Enar, was a soldier/warrior who was in attendance at his liege’s orders but his attention wanders.
I started with a one-line premise: An Icelandic maiden dares to seek out a handsome warrior for a simple kiss that turns combustible. Then once I got the characters together, everything just exploded—which is really so much fun to write.
A clunk of metal against wood sounded.
Jorunn whirled and stared at the sauna hut ten feet past the steaming pool. Her lips mouthed a prayer. Frigg, watch over me. Mother Goddess, keep me safe. Whoever enjoyed the sauna had more right to be here than she did. Indecision froze her muscles.
“Rahhh.” The hut door opened and out dashed the naked warrior.
Too shocked to make a sound, Jorunn could only gape as the soldier strode across the stones. Her gaze took in the loose-limbed walk accompanied by swinging arms that made his erect shaft bob in counter-action. Dryness attacked her throat and she swallowed hard. His manhood looked very much like excitement…if only the man had the ability to speak in more than single syllables.
The man eased into the pool and then stroked across its length, his sturdy arms chopping through the water. He flipped and turned at the far edge and then surfaced and extended a stiff arm her way. “You.”
Panic invaded her chest and blood roared in her ears. The stranger had spied her. “I will leave you.” She grabbed her sandals and turned toward the forest.
“Are you not trained to serve visitors?”
With great trepidation, she looked over her shoulder.
The warrior stood in the middle of the pool, water lapping at an abdomen knotted with taut muscles. Standing with hands fisted on his hips, his hair kept off his face by a silver circlet and its length streaming over one shoulder, he looked like Thor, god of thunder. A sound she would definitely hear if this guest mentioned her wanton behavior to her brother.
The challenge in his narrowed gaze raised her chin and squared her shoulders. She straightened and turned to face him, judging the distance between them to be enough for her escape if she must. Except her shoes were still clutched in her hands. “I am.” She opened her hand and the sandals dropped with a clump to the stones. Using her most graceful steps, she walked to the edge of the pool and dipped into a short bow, palms touching in front of her chest. Why wasn’t any of her family around to see how well she accomplished these moves? Keeping her chin tucked, she watched him with sideway glances.
“I am in need of a cloth for drying.” His gaze ran up and down the length of her shift dress.
The very shift she had intended to use to dry herself. Oh, why hadn’t this meeting occurred in winter and she could offer her overskirt? She resisted rolling her eyes, remembering Thorunn’s reprimand that the action gave her the appearance of a maiden younger than her twenty years. “All I have is my dress.” Two fingers pinched the cloth at her thigh and she pulled it out, making the fabric cling to the curves of her other side.
“Mmm, I see.” He shifted in the pool and appraised her body with a bold stare. “That will have to suffice.”
Leave me a comment about your favorite type of heroine. One lucky name will be chosen to win a $10 gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
Thanks for stopping by. We’re all getting excited about the October 14th release of Hot Highlanders and Wild Warriors. Hope you are, too!
Layla loves to have readers connect with her.
6 thoughts on “14 Days: The Maiden’s Kiss by Layla Chase (Contest)”
Fun post, Layla! I like smart heroines–they don’t have to be beautiful, and I don’t want them SO independent that they push away help when it’d be right to accept it. I love it when they’re strong enough to be forthright and take responsibility for themselves and their hearts. Looking forward to meeting Jorunn!
I’m glad to see your choices of heroines. You’ll be sure to find plenty of that exact type in this anthology.
Thanks for stopping by.
I love reading about strong heroines who know what they want, intelligent, with sense of humour.
Looking forward to reading more about Jorunn and Enar.
Ah, a sense of humor is very important. I appreciate your comment.
I enjoy reading about heroines who are practical, driven and strong. No simpering, whining nonsense.
I couldn’t agree more. Whining, if present, should be only under duress conditions.
Thanks for posting.
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