About Deborah Cooke

I write romance novels, including medieval romances as Claire Delacroix, and contemporary and paranormal romances as Deborah Cooke. I also am an avid knitter and sewist.

The Warrior’s Prize in Spanish

The final book in my True Love Brides series of medieval Scottish romances is now available in a Spanish edition!

La doncella era solo otro tesoro por ganar, hasta que ella le robó el corazón y cambió su vida para siempre…

Indignada de que el alma de su amado hermano fuera el diezmo de las hadas para el infierno, Elizabeth sabe que debe salvarlo.  Después de todo ella es la única en su familia que puede ver a las hadas, y ya está maldita por su propio rey.  Malcolm puede haberse ofrecido a reemplazar a su camarada por honor, pero Elizabeth sabe quién merece más vivir, y no es el apuesto pícaro, Rafael, quien se preocupa solo por su propio bienestar.  Debería ser fácil hacer una apuesta con un mercenario, especialmente porque a Elizabeth no le importa el costo para ella misma.  Sin embargo, para su sorpresa, Rafael demuestra ser el hombre que no solo acepta su desafío, sino que destierra la maldición del rey de las Hadas con besos que hacen que su sangre se encienda.  ¿Podría esta guerrero endurecido, que parece no tener corazón, ser el amor destinado que ella ha esperado?

A primera vista, Rafael cree que Elizabeth es un ángel enviado para juzgarlo, y sabe cuál será su veredicto.  Él ha tomado decisiones para sobrevivir y no está orgulloso de ellas.  Pero Elizabeth lo desafía a cambiar, con una audacia que despierta una nobleza de propósito que Rafael había olvidado que poseía.  ¿Podrá esta valiente doncella curar las heridas de su pasado?  ¿Puede Rafael ganarse el derecho de concederle la vida que ella se merece, y hacerlo antes de que el rey de las hadas desencadene su trampa, convirtiendo a Elizabeth en su cautiva para siempre?


Esta es una traducción al español neutral de América Latina.


La recompensa del guerrero está también disponible en inglés como audiolibro.


Llegará en enero.


The Beauty Bride is FREE!

The Beauty Bride, book one of the Jewels of Kinfairlie series of medieval romances, is free for five days starting today. If you haven’t yet come to Kinfairlie and met the siblings, here’s your chance!

The Beauty Bride, #1 of the Jewels of Kinfairlie series of medieval Scottish romances by Claire Delacroix

More cherished than gold are the Jewels of Kinfairlie, and only the worthiest may fight for their love…The Laird of Kinfairlie has unmarried sisters, each a gem in her own right. And he has no choice but to see them all wed in haste.

Lady Madeline’s heart is not for sale…especially not to a notorious outlaw like Rhys FitzHenry. Yet Madeline’s hand has been sold, to none other than this battle-weary warrior with a price on his head. A more dutiful maiden might cede to the Laird’s command and meekly accept her fate, but Madeline has never been obedient. She decides to run away, though she never dreams that Rhys will pursue her.

She does not expect this taciturn man to woo her with fanciful stories, much less that each of his enthralling tales will reveal a scar upon his shielded soul. She never imagines that a man like Rhys could imperil her own heart while revealing so little of his own feelings. When Rhys’ past threatens his future, Madeline takes a leap of faith. She dares to believe him innocent—and risks her own life to pursue a passion more priceless than the rarest gem.


Nominee – 2005 Quill Award
Publishers’ Weekly

A #1 Kindle Bestseller


A lyrical medieval-era romance!

Publishers Weekly

The Beauty Bride is enrolled in Kindle Unlimited so the ebook is available exclusively at Amazon.


Buy The Beauty Bride ebook:


Claire Delacroix is always a winner for me with her tales of chivalry, passion and lush romance—I simply love her books. I found this one to be a great read, and recommend it highly to anyone liking a rousing, medieval-period romance. Five angels!

Fallen Angel Reviews
The Beauty Bride, book #1 of the Jewels of Kinfairlie series of medieval romances by Claire Delacroix
Download The Beauty Bride page to print and colour!

Ms. Delacroix creates an atmosphere so real that you’ll feel the wind in your hair as you race across the land with the protagonists. This writer is a genius at stirring the emotions of her readers and letting them share the excitement of the characters.

Rendezvous

Once again, Claire Delacroix comes through with an historical romance that does not disappoint…There are few medieval writers who can sweep me away as Claire Delacroix can. I cannot wait for the following books of this trilogy.

Romance Reader at Heart

Ms. Delacroix has painted a tale of love and romance fit to be framed…I quite literally devoured this book in a single day of reading. It was so entertaining and well written that I could not bring myself to put it down. I even forgot to eat because I was so wrapped up in this wonderful tale and, gasp, there was chocolate in the house!

Coffee Time Romance

Visit the Pinterest Page for The Beauty Bride


Foreign Editions
(Click on the cover to learn more.)

Die schon Braut, The Beauty Bride book one of the Jewels of Kinfairlie series of medieval romances by Claire Delacroix in its German edition
Deutsch
The Beauty Bride, book one of the Jewels of Kinfairlie series of medieval romances by Claire Delacroix, Portuguese edition
Português
Un amore da Favola, the Italian translation of The Beauty Bride, a medieval romance by Claire Delacroix
Italiano
The Beauty Bride, book one of the Jewels of Kinfairlie series of medieval romances by Claire Delacroix, Spanish edition
Español

After reading this magnificent book, it’s easy to see why Ms. Delacroix is considered one of the best medieval romance authors around. With careful attention to detail and a beautiful writing style, she whisks you to the Middle Ages for a grand romantic adventure…The Beauty Bride is a fabulous read!

The Romance Studio

An exciting action tale fully packed packed with an assortment of well-defined forceful characters, both old and new…This is a prime example of the highly imaginative and entertaining novels Delacroix is celebrated for, in a stellar start to what looks to be a sensation new medieval series that is heading straight for my ‘keeper shelf’!

Historical Romance Writers

Ms. Delacroix has a wonderful way of pulling you into the story…you will not be able to put the book down until you are finished.

The Romance Readers Connection

Buy Trade Paperback:


The Beauty Bride is a book that captures you from the first page…a magical and inspiring story. Four hearts!

Pink Heart Reviews

The Beauty Bride is a gripping read—a passionate, compelling treasure of a book.”

Julianne Maclean, bestselling author

The Beauty Bride, #1 of the Jewels of Kinfairlie series of medieval Scottish romances by Claire Delacroix is also available in audio

Buy Audio Book


Continue to The Rose Red Bride


An excerpt from The Beauty Bride:

The lady Madeline was perfect.

She was the proper age to be the surviving child of Rhys’ cousin Madeline Arundel. She shared her mother’s coloring and her mother’s name. Her supposed family were so anxious to be rid of her without a dowry that they resorted to this vulgar practice of an auction, something no man would do to his blood sister.

And Rhys had to admit that he liked the fire in this Madeline’s eyes. She was tall and slender, though not without womanly curves. Her hair was as dark as ebony and hung unbound over her shoulders, her eyes flashed with fury. Rhys had seen many women, but he had never glimpsed one as beguiling as this angry beauty.

A single glimpse of her had been all it had taken to persuade Rhys that buying Madeline’s hand was the most effective solution to his woes.

After all, with Caerwyn beneath his authority, he would have need of a bride to have an heir. And wedding this woman, if she indeed proved to be Madeline’s daughter and the sole competing heir for Caerwyn, would ensure that no one could challenge his claim to the holding. He did not fool himself that he had sufficient charm to win the hand of such a bride any other way. Rhys had no qualms about wedding his cousin’s daughter, if Madeline proved to be that woman. In Wales, it was not uncommon for cousins to wed, so he barely spared the prospect of their common blood a thought.

Indeed, she would be compelled to wed some man this night, and Rhys doubted that any would grant her the even-handed wager that he was prepared to offer to his bride. Rhys had to believe that he could grant a woman a better life than that offered by her family or this irksome boy, Reginald.

Marriage was a perfect solution for both of them.

And so he bid.

And so the chamber fell silent.

It was as simple as that. Madeline would be his.

Rhys strode forward to pay his due, well content with what he had wrought.

The young Laird of Kinfairlie responsible for this foolery spoke finally with vigor. “I protest your bid. You were not invited to this auction and I will not surrender my sister to your hand.”

Before Rhys could argue, Tynan granted the younger man a poisonous glance. “Did I not warn you that matters might not proceed as you had schemed, Alexander?”

Alexander flushed. “But still…”

“The matter has passed from your grasp,” Tynan said with finality. Rhys knew that Tynan would indeed have cast him out if Rosamunde had not vouched for his character. The lady Madeline had some souls concerned for her future, at least.

“You cannot claim her!” Alexander cried. “I will not permit it.”

Rhys smiled a chilly smile and let his gaze drift over the younger man. “You cannot stop me. And you cannot afford to exceed my bid.”

The young laird flushed crimson and stepped back with a murmured apology to his sister, which Rhys thought long overdue.

Rhys then turned to the huffing Reginald Neville. “Have you no more coin?”

Reginald’s face turned red and he threw his gloves onto the floor. “You cannot have that much coin!”

Rhys arched a brow. “Because you do not?”

Anger flashed in the boy’s eyes. “Show your coin before we continue. I insist upon it!” Reginald flung out his hands and turned to the assembly. “Can we trust a man of such poor repute to honor his debts?”

A murmur passed through the company and Rhys shrugged. He sauntered to the high table, removing a chamois sack from within his leather jerkin. The lady caught her breath when he paused beside her and Rhys studied her for a heartbeat. Her eyes were wide, a glorious simmering blue, and though he sensed her uncertainty of him, she held her ground.

It was not all bad that she was as aware of him as this. He liked the glitter of intelligence in her eyes, as well as the fact that she had tried to halt this folly. He was accustomed to women who spoke their minds and a bride who did as much would suit him well.

He smiled slightly at her, hoping to reassure her, and she swallowed visibly. His gaze lingered upon the ruddy fullness of her lips and he thought of tasting her, knowing then how he would seal their agreement.

But first, the agreement had to be confirmed.

“You need not fear, sir,” Rhys said coolly. “I will owe no debt for the lady’s hand.” There were more than enough gold coins in his sack, but Rhys was not anxious to flaunt his wealth. He cautiously removed only the amount necessary, and stacked the coins upon the board with care. Tynan bent and bit each one of them to test their quality, then nodded approval.

“Then, have her!” Reginald spat in the rushes with poor grace and stormed from the room. His gallantry, in Rhys’ opinion, was somewhat lacking.

There was utter silence in the chamber as Rhys reached out and laid claim to Madeline’s hand, such silence that he heard her catch her breath. His hand was much larger than hers and her fingers trembled within his grasp.

But she did not pull her hand from his and she held his gaze steadily. Again, he admired that she was stalwart in standing by the terms of agreement. He bent and brushed his lips across her knuckles, feeling her shiver slightly.

Alexander placed a hand upon Rhys’ arm. “I do not care for convention or broken agreements. You cannot wed my sister—you are charged with treason!”

Rhys spoke softly, not relinquishing the lady’s hand. “Do not tell me that the Laird of Kinfairlie is not a man of his word?”

Alexander flushed scarlet. His gaze fell upon the stack of coins and Rhys knew that he had desperate need of those funds.

He leaned closer to the boy, the lady’s hand yet firmly clasped in his own, and dared the new heir of Kinfairlie. He would show the lady, at least, what manner of man her brother was. “I will grant you a chance to rescind your offer, though it is more than you deserve. Reject my coin, but solely upon the condition that the lady shall not be sold to any man.”

It was clear that the younger man struggled with this decision. He appealed to his sister with a glance. “Madeline, you must know that I would not do this without cause.”

And he reached for the coin.

“Cur!” she cried, her scorn matching Rhys’ own. Rhys turned to her, his breath catching at the fury that lit her expression. “Take it then, Alexander! Take it, for whatever debts you have, and reject whatsoever loyalty Papa might have thought you owed to your siblings.”

Alexander’s hand shook slightly as he claimed the coins. “Madeline, you do not understand. I must think of the others…”

“I understand as much as I need to understand,” she said, her words as cold as ice. “God save my sisters if you think of them as you have thought of me.”

“Madeline!”

But the lady turned her back upon her sibling, her bearing as regal as that of a queen, her gaze locking with Rhys’ own. He saw the hurt that she fought to hide and felt a kinship with her, for he too had been betrayed by those he had believed held him in regard.

“I believe there is a meal laid to celebrate our pending nuptials, sir,” she said, her words carrying clearly over the hall.

Aye, this bride would suit him well. Rhys lifted her hand in his grip and bent to brush his lips across her knuckles in salute. She shivered and he smiled, knowing their nuptial night would be a lusty one.

“Well done, my lady,” he murmured, liking that she was not readily daunted. “Perhaps our agreement should be sealed in a more fitting way.”

A beguiling flush launched over the lady’s face and her lips parted as if in invitation. Rhys gave her hand a minute tug as the company hooted, and she took a pace closer. He could fairly feel the heat of her breath upon his cheek and her own cheeks flushed. Still she did not look away, though her breath came quickly in her uncertainty.

Rhys entwined their fingers, then lifted his other hand to her face. He moved slowly, so as not to alarm her, well aware of her uncertainty. She would be a maiden, without doubt. It would not do to make her fearful of his touch. Rhys tipped Madeline’s chin upward with his fingertip. Her flesh was soft beyond belief, her valor admirable. He smiled slightly, saw a spark in her eyes that reassured him as little else might have done. This was no fragile maiden who would fear her own shadow.

Rhys bent and captured Madeline’s sweet lips beneath his own. To his satisfaction, the lady did not flinch, nor did she pull away.

Aye, this was a wife who would suit him well.

Excerpt from The Beauty Bride Copyright ©2005, 2011 Claire Delacroix, Inc.

The Hunter and the Heiress Publication Date

If you’ve pre-ordered The Hunter & the Heiress, you’ve likely received a notification from your portal of choice that the publication date has been changed. I moved it out a couple of weeks to February 15. This is the end of the halo from writing those two Regency novellas and I had feeling it might be necessary, which was why I didn’t schedule anything else in February. This just gives everyone involved a little bit more time to do their part. I am loving this story and am sure you’ll enjoy it too. Amaury and Elizabeth have so much in common, yet so much to teach each other. These two are earning their HEA!

If you haven’t reserved your copy of The Hunter & the Heiress yet, this is a great time to do so!


The Hunter & the Heiress, book two of the Blood Brothers series of medieval Scottish romances by Claire Delacroix

Nothing could be further from Amaury de Vries’ expectations than being compelled to join a company of mercenaries in the wilds of Scotland, much less one led by his notorious half-brother. He chafes to return to his former life of privilege and knows a wealthy bride will allow him to regain his stolen legacy. Elizabeth is a prize unexpected—beautiful and an heiress—and when she is abducted by barbarians, Amaury’s path is clear. He may not be the sole contender for the lady’s hand, but he knows himself to be the best one—and he will use whatever means necessary to seal his triumphant claim.

All Elizabeth D’Acron desires is to wed for love, but her inheritance has made her both a pawn and a prize. Caught between warring chieftains, her defiance blossoms—she chooses instead to flee with Amaury and make a marriage of convenience, hoping her trust in the gallant knight is not misplaced. She does not expect the beguiling fire awakened by Amaury’s touch, much less his unexpected conquest of her heart, and she dares to hope that true love has found a way.

But Elizabeth’s legacy is not so readily claimed—when Amaury’s plan is revealed, she is shattered to learn that her chivalrous husband is no different from other men. Recognizing that the true prize is his lady wife, Amaury rejoins the company of mercenaries and leads the battl to ensure Elizabeth’s freedom, whatever the cost to himself. Can these two lovers overcome the wounds of the past to build a future together? Or will the secret behind Elizabeth’s inheritance destroy any such hope forever?

Coming in February 2022!


The Hunter & the Heiress will ba availble in wide distribution for one week after publication, then it will be exclusive to Amazon and enrolled in Kindle Unlimited.


Pre-order available at some portals:


Quick links to blog posts about my research for The Hunter & the Heiress:

The Siege of Caerlaverock

Beaupoint and Hadrian’s Wall

Fourteenth Century Armor

Tournaments and Jousts


The Hunter & the Heiress, book two of the Blood Brothers series of medieval romances by Claire Delacroix, audio edition

The Hunter & the Heiress will also be available in an audio edition, narrated by Tim Campbell.

German Edition of The Rose Red Bride is in KU

I’m enrolled the German edition of The Rose Red Bride in Kindle Unlimited again, as it was doing better there than in wide distribution. If you’re a KU subscriber, you can read it – as well as the first two books in the Champions of St. Euphemia series in German – FREE! You can also read all of my medieval romances in English free in KU.


The Rose Red Bride, book two of the Jewels of Kinfairlie series of medieval romances by Claire Delacroix, German edition

Höhergeschätzt als Gold sind die Juwelen von Kinfairlie und nur die Würdigsten dürfen um ihre Liebe kämpfen … Der Laird von Kinfairlie hat unverheiratete Schwestern – jede für sich ein Kleinod. Und er hat keine andere Wahl, als sie in aller Eile zu verheiraten.

Wie eine Heldin in einer alten Erzählung wartet Vivienne im höchsten Turmzimmer von Kinfairlie auf den Liebhaber, den ihr das Los bestimmt hat. Er kommt in der Dunkelheit zu ihr, mit Umhang und Kapuze, sodass sie sein Gesicht nicht sehen kann. Er liebt sie süß und hingebungsvoll … und Vivienne weiß, sie ist ihrem Schicksal begegnet.

Doch im Morgenlicht zerbricht ihr Traum. Erik Sinclair von Blackleith ist kein romantischer Held, sondern ein enterbter Krieger, der ihre Entführung geplant hat, um sein Erbe zurückzugewinnen. Empört über Eriks Behauptung, sie nur für die Zeugung eines Sohnes zu benötigen, und doch verführt von der Leidenschaft, die er in ihr erweckt, wird Vivienne klar, dass ihr schweigsamer Ehegatte mehr Vorzüge hat, als er selbst zugeben würde. Erik betrachtet ihr wachsendes Vertrauen in seine Ehre und ihren Wunsch, sein gestohlenes Geburtsrecht zurückzuerlangen, mit Skepsis …

Er ahnt nicht, dass seine Braut, dieses seltene Juwel, beabsichtigt, auch sein verschlossenes Herz zu gewinnen.


Die rosenrote Braut ist auch als Hörbuch in englischer Sprache erhältlich.


Die rosenrote Braut, E-book:



Die rosenrote Braut, Taschenbuch:

Fourteenth Century Armor

Today’s research post is about 14th century armor. In 1300, armor was mostly chain mail: by 1400, it had evolved to be mostly plate armor. How and when various warriors changed the style of their armor would depend upon where they lived and how affluent they were. My Blood Brothers series is set in 1375 so the armor worn by the knights and mercenaries in the story will be mixed.

We can look at the tomb of the Black Prince, which was made ca. 1386 for an idea of what was typical in that era. Edward the Woodstock, or the Black Prince, was the heir to the throne as son of Edward III – he died slightly before his father, though, in 1375 and was never king. (Edward III died in 1376.) An effigy of the Black Prince was cast of him arrayed for war – which had been his own request – and it remains at Canterbury cathedral, along with his gauntlets, shield and jupon. He was considered to be an admirable knight and a flower of chivalry. Although the effigy was created about ten years after his death, it is a precise replica of his armor – to the point that recently, it’s been concluded that an armorer was part of the team who created the effigy. (Here’s an article at the Smithsonian’s site about that.)

Most of the images I found online were copyrighted, so I’ll point you to this article at Atlas Obscura which has some good pictures. Hurry back. 🙂

You can see that Edward is wearing a mail collar (called an aventail) to protect his neck and shoulders, and there’s a glimpse of his mail hauberk beneath his surcoat from the side view. There would be a padded aketon beneath it. He wears a basinet of plate armor – his helm would go over this – and his gloves are reinforced with plate metal that covers the hands and wrists. These are called hour-glass latten gauntlets. Then there are more metal pieces to protect the fingers. (In the actual gloves, you can see the leather base where it survives.) His surcoat is embroidered with his insignia, quartered with the fleur-de-lis of the French crown and the three lions rampant of the Plantagenets. He wears plate armor greaves on his legs, sabatons on his feet and defences on his arms – and he has a moustache. 🙂 So, his armor is mostly plate, worn over the chain mail hauberk and with the addition of a mail aventail. The surcoat, which in the previous century fell to the knees and was called a tabard, is also shorter, falling just to the hip, and more fitted.

There is a British artist named Graham Turner who has doen many illustrations for books about armor. That link takes you to the website for his gallery, but you can also search for images by his name. There are many which show all of the elements of clothing and armor for a specific era.

The Medieval Knight by Christopher Gavett

Here’s one of a Knight and equipment c. 1350 (this site licenses images to users but I’ll just point you to it). It’s included in a wonderful little book called The Medieval Knight by Christopher Gravett. (That’s an Amazon link.) The book has a lot of illustrations done by Graham Turner and they’re wonderful. You can see the developments in 40 years by comparing that image to this one, Knight and equipment c. 1390 – actually, the original prints of both of these images were available at the gallery and are still displayed on that site, along with Knight and equipment c. 1310. That page is right here. Click on the image to see it larger.

This knight (1390) wears a padded jupon over his armor with his insignia on it. You can see all the little ties and buckles which necessitated the services of a squire to fasten all around the back. The aketon and mail hauberk would still be worn underneath. The leg armor is now four pieces: the cuisse on the thigh, the poleyn over the knee, the greave on the shin and the sabaton on the foot. The belt with the scabbard for the sword and dagger is also worn much lower, around the hips. Around this time, armor starts to be modified for jousting, but we’ll talk about those developments next time.

My thinking that in the Silver Wolf’s company, only Amaury would have anything close to this full 1390 kit. He would keep it after leaving Château de Vries – of course! – but wouldn’t wear it all of the time. He’s trying to blend in with the company of mercenaries—at least until he escorts Elizabeth to her wedding and insists that they must “arrive in splendor” as a show of strength. As you might guess, Elizabeth will be a little dazzled by the man she’s previously seen as a huntsman when he appears in his full glory.

Next time, we’ll talk about Amaury’s (former) passion – jousting and tournaments.


The Hunter & the Heiress, book two of the Blood Brothers series of medieval Scottish romances by Claire Delacroix

Nothing could be further from Amaury de Vries’ expectations than being compelled to join a company of mercenaries in the wilds of Scotland, much less one led by his notorious half-brother. He chafes to return to his former life of privilege and knows a wealthy bride will allow him to regain his stolen legacy. Elizabeth is a prize unexpected—beautiful and an heiress—and when she is abducted by barbarians, Amaury’s path is clear. He may not be the sole contender for the lady’s hand, but he knows himself to be the best one—and he will use whatever means necessary to seal his triumphant claim.

All Elizabeth D’Acron desires is to wed for love, but her inheritance has made her both a pawn and a prize. Caught between warring chieftains, her defiance blossoms—she chooses instead to flee with Amaury and make a marriage of convenience, hoping her trust in the gallant knight is not misplaced. She does not expect the beguiling fire awakened by Amaury’s touch, much less his unexpected conquest of her heart, and she dares to hope that true love has found a way.

But Elizabeth’s legacy is not so readily claimed—when Amaury’s plan is revealed, she is shattered to learn that her chivalrous husband is no different from other men. Recognizing that the true prize is his lady wife, Amaury rejoins the company of mercenaries and leads the battl to ensure Elizabeth’s freedom, whatever the cost to himself. Can these two lovers overcome the wounds of the past to build a future together? Or will the secret behind Elizabeth’s inheritance destroy any such hope forever?

Coming in January 2022!


The Hunter & the Heiress will ba availble in wide distribution for one week after publication, then it will be exclusive to Amazon and enrolled in Kindle Unlimited.


Pre-order available at some portals:


The Hunter & the Heiress, book two of the Blood Brothers series of medieval romances by Claire Delacroix, audio edition

The Hunter & the Heiress will also be available in an audio edition, narrated by Tim Campbell.