Masked in a Gypsy guise, Broderick MacDougal hides his vampiric identity while seeking to destroy the man who slaughtered his family. When an old Clan rival ensnares Broderick in a trap using an enticing widow, he is compelled to discover if she is bait or an accomplice, and the cinnamon-haired beauty is his next conquest.
Widow of an abusive husband, Davina Stewart-Russell clings to the only image that gave her strength during those dark times—the Gypsy rogue who stole her heart as a youth. After nine years, she is finally face-to-face with him again, but reality clashes with fantasy as she is confronted with Broderick’s passionate pursuit.
When Davina’s past returns to haunt her, Broderick is forced to reveal a dark secret worse than anything Davina thought possible. The challenge before them has fatal risks and neither of them is prepared for the sacrifices expected for the sake of eternal love.
Cailin MacDougal has lived a dangerous life being the adopted daughter of vampire Broderick "Rick" MacDougal, so she had no choice but to learn to fight in order to protect herself. However, such behavior is hardly desirable in a dutiful wife who's supposed to embroider and run a household. This aggressive side of her behavior should be easy enough to hide from her betrothed...shouldn't it?
After being away at fencing school for seven years, James Knightly has returned as a master swordsman, ready to captain his own ship and finally wed his childhood sweetheart, Cailin MacDougal. What he finds waiting for him is a dagger-toting hellion for a bride, an immortal father-in-law, and an enemy bent on extracting revenge by threatening the family James holds most dear--the MacDougals.
Broderick MacDougal is lured away from his family with the promise of-at last-learning a way to protect those he loves from his clan enemy, Angus Campbell. Broderick knows he's headed for a trap, but the bait is too tempting to resist...and he unravels the beginning of a prophecy that will lead to redemption for all vampires. The cost of such redemption, though, may be the very soul of the woman he would die for...his wife, Davina.
Arial will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes & Noble Gift Card (winner's choice) to a randomly drawn commenter during this tour and her NBtM Tour. Also, at every stop a randomly drawn commenter will be awarded a 5-Star Short Story eBook, Romance Trading Card set & signed Bonded By Blood series post card. Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found HERE
Please welcome to the blog today Arial Burnz, I asked her to share with us her research about gypsies.
YUM! Baked Hedgehog!!
A special thank you to Carin for having me as a guest today. *Does the Snoopy dance*
Yep! You read that right…baked hedgehog! What is that, you may ask? That unusual little dish is the most interesting tidbit of information I learned during my research into the Gypsies.
I chose to add Gypsies to Midnight Conquest, Book 1 of my Bonded By Blood Vampire Chronicles , partly because the Gypsies are so accepting of the supernatural and traditionally connected to vampires, werewolves and the paranormal in general. But I also chose them because they’re a part of my family heritage. I was told by my paternal grandmother that her side of the family was descended from Romany Gypsies (she called them “Romanian Gypsies”) who eventually joined the circus. Apparently, my great-great grandmother stood on the back of two horses, riding them around the ring and performed for King George V and Queen Mary. And when she wasn’t riding horses on her bare feet, she was telling fortunes by reading cards.
During my research, though, I delved into the cuisine of the Gypsies to bring a taste of authenticity to the historical setting. Turns out hedgehog, being a fairly common rodent in the UK and Europe, was a delicacy for the traveling Romany tribes. The animal is trapped and then encased in a ball of clay (dead, of course), then set directly onto a campfire where it is baked. When the clay ball is broken open, the meat is extracted and the tiny sharp needles on its back are embedded in the clay, so there’s no worries of eating the porcupine-like spines.
Here’s a small excerpt of Midnight Conquest where my heroine, Davina, is walking through the Gypsy camp with her mother, Lilias, and experiences this unique dish:
As Davina and Lilias continued through the maze of activity, a man kicked a melon-sized ball of clay out of the fire beside his caravan, which rolled into their path, startling them. He approached with apologies and picked up the hot ball with a cloth, bringing it back to his seat. Davina veered toward him as he broke the clay ball open with a rock. Taking his knife from the ground beside him, he cut into the ball, revealing a steamy, white center. Davina stepped further toward him, peering at his ministrations. “What do you have there, sir?” she inquired.
“Baked hedgehog,” he replied, offering a piece of meat at the end of his dagger. “Would you like to try some, milady?”
Lilias wrinkled her nose. “Oh nay, Davina!” She grabbed Davina’s outstretched hand and gawked at the Gypsy as if he were mad. “Thank you, but nay!”
Davina laughed at her mother’s reluctance. “Come, M’ma. Be bold!” Davina took the offered meat and blew on the flesh to ease the heat. She sniffed and her mouth watered. “Oh, this smells divine!” Placing the morsel in her mouth, she explored the new taste with slow and deliberate chewing, savoring the succulent flavor. “Almost like rabbit.”
Her mother still shook her head and even clamped her lips tight to get her message across. She pulled Davina away as Davina thanked the man for the sample.
If you’re cringing like Lilias, you’re not alone! The tradition of eating baked hedgehog is still upheld by the Romany Gypsies and an article in a British publication – The Independent – shows how this practice is most definitely frowned upon!
If you’re interested, here are a couple of links to baked hedgehog recipes:
• Gypsy Roast Hedgehog (actually made with lamb)
• What Are Famous Gypsy Foods? Hedgehog
Thanks again for having me as a guest!! I’m available if anyone has questions.
Throwing his cloak back over his shoulders, he revealed a broad chest that rippled under the thin material of his black shirt as he reached across his hip for his sword.
Cailin blanched. Not many men carried swords on their person in the port city of Leith—daggers were the weapon of choice and easier to conceal—and those that did rarely matched the craftsmanship of this blade. This was not a cheap, decorative sword. Out of one mess and into another. She swallowed her fear and stood her ground.
“I suggest a wager.” He winked.
“I am not a gambling woman.”
Tilting his head back, he laughed and Cailin clenched her jaw, her cheeks blooming with heat again. Amusement twinkling in his eyes, he ignored her comment. “A challenge. If you win, I shall let you walk free.”
“And if you win?”
The amusement in his eyes transformed into smoldering desire. “I shall have to take you in hand and see you submit…” His eyes raked her body. “To the proper authority.” He folded his arms in front of him, the blade of his sword sweeping up and standing erect from his fist.
Cailin’s breath left her in a rush and fire surged through her body—from the fluttering in her stomach to the tingling in her toes. She did not miss his twofold meaning, and drew a deep, steadying breath, biting her tongue; though keeping her tongue proved more difficult to manage. “We shall see about this, sir.”
Arial Burnz has been an avid reader of both paranormal and fantasy fiction for over thirty years. With bedtime stories filled with unicorns, hobbits, dragons and elves, she had no choice but to craft her own tales, penning to life the many magical creatures roaming her mind and dreams. And with a romantic husband who's taught her the meaning of true love, she's helpless to weave romance into her tales. Now she shares them with the world. Arial Burnz lives in Rancho Cucamonga, California, with her husband (a.k.a. her romance novel hero)—who is also a descendent of Clan MacDougal—along with their dog and two cats.
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