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Erin Quinn | Celtic Legends: Blood Lust

Celtic legends often speak of warriors so overcome by bloodlust in battle that they are changed. The fury and killing, the peril of certain death, and the instinct to survive merge into something that overcomes the warrior’s humanity, leaving him a savage beast bent on destroying his enemy. Men who have lived through war recount the moments up to the first strike but often have no memory of what came after until it is all over and they wake, as if from a nightmare, to find themselves blood drenched and exhausted beyond belief.

The Celts had a name for this phenomenon: Riastradh.

Tiarnan, the hero of HAUNTING DESIRE, is no stranger to the frenzy of battle. His entire life has been spent defending his way of life, his family, his lands. If the memories of the bloody battles he’s fought had stayed with him, he would likely go mad. It is not until he meets Shealy O’Leary, HAUNTING DESIRE’s heroine who has traveled through time, that he learns why he is such a formidable warrior. When his enemies take Shealy from him, he will stop at nothing to get her back and that means embracing the beast within him and giving it free reign.

Here is an excerpt of the scene where Tiarnan faces what he’s become:

Wariness canvassed the air between them, reinforced by the suspicious glances they all exchanged.

At last, Jamie said, "Let’s start with the clearing."

"The clearing?" Eamonn demanded. "What clearing?"

Jamie gave him a cold look. "The one with a hundred body parts in it."

That shut Eamonn’s mouth, but Tiarnan didn’t feel any satisfaction from it. For reasons he couldn’t explain, he didn’t want to talk about the clearing. He didn’t want to discuss the bodies.

"What about it?" Eamonn said.

"Tiarnan here killed about twenty men in just under five minutes. Granted he’s not my brother"—and Jamie shot him a look that seemed to contradict that statement—"but I know the man, and I’ve never seen him do anything like that before."

Tiarnan opened his mouth to deny that he’d done anything out of the ordinary, but no words came out. Suddenly a flashing assault of images filled his head. Men, charging him with their weapons drawn. Tiarnan, looking down on them from what seemed a great distance. Blood. Everywhere, blood.

"I always thought he had wee bit of the riastradh in him," Liam said in a very calm tone.

Riastradh. It was said to transform a man into something that wasn’t quite human, something that knew only death and destruction. A creature that would battle until no blood was left to spill. A man-beast that probably resembled the drawing he’d just seen. Tiarnan swallowed hard, feeling Shealy tense against him. Every damning image in that journal seemed to confirm that the prophecy was true, but he knew his own heart. He’d betrayed it once. He would not do so again.

Encircled by his arms, settled between his spread knees, he knew Shealy was remembering the image in the journal as well. Her words echoed silently between them. You were like five men and ten feet tall. . . . He prayed she wouldn’t turn and look at his face, wouldn’t see the horror lurking in his eyes.

"What does that mean, reeastr. . . ?" Reyes asked.

"It’s the frenzy that comes over a man in battle," Eamonn answered in a choked voice.

"It’s more than that," Liam said, giving Eamonn a dirty look. "Tiarnan, you remember the night of our sister’s wedding, when you fought a dozen of Cathán’s men at once?"

"Not only Tiarnan fought," Eamonn said. "I was with him. You weren’t."

"I was a boy," Liam answered coldly. "And forced to stay behind." Liam turned back to Shealy. "My brother Michael told me later. The odds were twelve to three. It was an ugly situation, but in the end, Tiarnan brought down eight men in the time it took Eamonn and Michael to kill five."

A hushed silence followed and Tiarnan felt the curious eyes of all upon him.

"When we came on you, T," Jamie said. "You were . . ."

While he searched for the right words, Reyes blurted, "You were a fucking giant, man. Like eight feet tall, like a killing machine."

Zac nodded and said, "You were ripping them apart with your bare hands. I thought Jamie was dead when you turned on him. I thought you were going to kill him, too."

Tiarnan could feel his face growing hot with disgust. Was it true? Had he become riastradh? A mindless monster? He remembered looking down on his victims. He remembered the red-hot fury, the feeling that they’d threatened him. Threatened those who were his to protect. More than that . . .

"Is that what happened before?" Jamie asked Liam. "When he fought those other men, did he . . . grow?"

Liam looked at Eamonn. "I thought it was my imagination that changed him," Eamonn said. "It was dark and it happened so fast . . . I couldn’t be sure that my eyes hadn’t tricked me. I convinced myself they had and I never mentioned it. Michael never said a word either, but I don’t think he saw—he was too busy trying to stay alive." Eamonn made a small, choked sound. "To him you were always stronger than any other man could be. If he’d seen, it would have only confirmed what he believed."

In the confession there was bitter truthfulness, the admission of jealously, the shame of being the one who harbored it against his own brother.

"Do you remember what happened, T?" Jamie said. "Today, in the clearing?"

"No. Not really. Just bits. Pieces." Blood. Gore. Violence. "If you say it’s true, then I believe you, but do not expect me to explain because I can’t."

Jamie nodded calmly. "Not looking for an explanation, my friend. Just want you to be aware that it happened. You saved all of our asses and so we’ll just tell you thanks, and be done with it. But the next time you feel that power coming on, you need to recognize it, you understand? I’ve served with some of the baddest motherfuckers to take a breath and I know there’s a fine line between being the best fighter and the most dangerous one. You just remember who your friends are." Jamie paused. "And we’ll do the same. We got your back."

The lecture might have sat irritably on his shoulders if he hadn’t sensed the sincerity and the honest compassion in Jamie’s tone. They weren’t afraid of him, though he thought that Reyes was right and he might have easily murdered Jamie when they’d come upon him.

Moved by that pledge of friendship, Tiarnan nodded. In his arms, Shealy sat less stiffly. Ellie was looking at him over Shealy’s shoulder. The thumb was still in her mouth and her eyes were solemn. He brushed a finger over the soft petal of her cheek and she sighed, the small sound anchoring him to this moment, stripping him of any defense he might have once possessed. These two females were his ballast, and if being riastradh enabled him to protect them, then he would embrace it.

"I will not forget who fights with me," Tiarnan said softly. "I will not forget who I fight for. And I will not forget my friends."

Fascinating, don't you think? Let me know your favorite Celtic legends and one commenter will get their choice Erin's previous books in the Mists of Ireland series: HAUNTING WARRIOR or HANUNTING BEAUTY




53 comments posted.

Re: Erin Quinn | Celtic Legends: Blood Lust

Great excerpt and who doesn't love the cover...wow!!!
(Dawn Staniszeski 10:25am April 6, 2011)

Yes, definitely an exciting excerpt! The book sounds great!
(May Pau 10:38am April 6, 2011)

You always have the yummiest covers! Good luck and happy writing!
(Tracie Travis 10:40am April 6, 2011)

Oh my! I don't think I would like to his enemy!!!!! Great excerpt....Can't wait to read it!
(Pat Gamberi 10:59am April 6, 2011)

Time travel has always been a favorite concept for me. The old movie "The Time Machine" with Rod Taylor is one of my favorites.
(Sandy Fielder 11:36am April 6, 2011)

I love Celtic legend and myth! One of my favorite is about Tuatha de Danaan and their battle with Formori.. Then I always want to know about Fionn mac Cumhaill, one of the warrior in Irish legend :)
(Renanda P 11:57am April 6, 2011)

I love legends, histroy, magic, faith, loyalty, and love. They make the best reads from any book. This book sounds to be and looks to be a great read. I can't wait to read it.
(Anthonia Sharp 12:17pm April 6, 2011)

I can't wait to read this book!
(Minna Puustinen 12:27pm April 6, 2011)

My favorite legend is that of Boadecia. I love stories about
warrior women, especially if they are based on truth.
(Tanja Haack 12:30pm April 6, 2011)

My mind is blank! But do love Celtic warriors.
(Marjorie Carmony 12:48pm April 6, 2011)

Great excerpt, love the cover! Can't wait to read this book.
(Jean Patton 12:55pm April 6, 2011)

Time travel and a brawny warrior, that covers my basic reading requirements.
(Heather Pearson 1:15pm April 6, 2011)

I have read alot about Irish Myths and Legends, but sadly my mind is a blank... enjoyed the excerpt, have not had the pleasure of reading your books yet, but I am looking forward to changing that!
(Colleen Conklin 1:29pm April 6, 2011)

I've always enjoyed time travel and romance together!
(Diane Sadler 1:29pm April 6, 2011)

I have been waiting to read this series for a long time next week I am going to start it. I can not think of any legends but I too like a great Celtic warrior.
(Annetta Stolpmann 1:40pm April 6, 2011)

Mine involve the Tuatha Dé Danann. The cover is absolutely wonderful.
(Maude Allen 1:55pm April 6, 2011)

I really enjoyed the excerpt, but when I got here, I didn't expect to get that type of question. I've never read any Celtic books before. It's a new genre for me, unfortunately. I hope you don't hold that against me. If we were to talk by e-mail, you would wonder how I could pick up a book to read at all. I love to read, but my personal life is full with obligations which leave little time to read, so I have my list, including this one on it. I hope to still be considered for the contest.
(Peggy Roberson 2:02pm April 6, 2011)

I can't wait to read the story of Shealy and Tiarnan. I loved Haunting Warrior and Haunting Beauty so I know Haunting Desire will be equally compelling. Thanks for the great series.
(Robin McKay 2:29pm April 6, 2011)

I really don't know any Celtic legends. Hope I can still enter. Never really thought about it before. Anyways, it sounds like an awesome book. I love historical books.
(Vicki Hancock 2:35pm April 6, 2011)

The Scandinavian equivalent of "Riastradh" is the "Berserker," one who goes mad in the heat of battle.

My favourite Celtic legends? Selkies, the lore of the Highlands and Islands, the Tuatha Dé Danann, and the like.


(Lynn Rettig 2:57pm April 6, 2011)

Sounds very interesting! Can't wait to read it! I have always loved stories about legends and myths, so this will be a good one!
(Beth Foster 3:45pm April 6, 2011)

just the cover alone makes me want to pick it up and read it..
(Leisa Prater 4:08pm April 6, 2011)

I enjoy time travel, legends/myths. This would be a good
series for me to read!
(Leanna Morris 4:13pm April 6, 2011)

Sounds great! I can never read enough!
(Trasina McGahey 4:21pm April 6, 2011)

I don't remember any Celtic legends but the one from England of Merlin. The book sounds great.
(Lena Lee 4:53pm April 6, 2011)

I haven't read any books like these and I'm thinking I need to go get books 1&2 to go with #3 which I bought yesterday.
(Christina Harrison 4:57pm April 6, 2011)

I'm anxious to get a copy of Haunting Beauty; I love everything Celtic.
(Susan Shapley 5:03pm April 6, 2011)

I always loved the myths of the Irish Giants. The stories were told by family relatives for as long as I can remember.
The computer tales were even better. The Celtic Legends that are in this book sound great.
(Rosemary Simm 5:31pm April 6, 2011)

Sounds really interesting. Look forward to sharing this book
with our library patrons.
(Renee Howell 5:38pm April 6, 2011)

Book sounds interesting.
(Deb Pelletier 6:00pm April 6, 2011)

Hi, Erin! The cover looks wonderful! I love stories about time travel, history, and legends. If all 3 books are like that, I need to read them. Thanks for blogging with us today.
(Cathy Phillips 6:05pm April 6, 2011)

Great cover wow!!!, really sounds interesting. Can't wait to read.
(Diane Castiglione 6:56pm April 6, 2011)

can't wait to read!!!
(Jennifer Beck 7:13pm April 6, 2011)

Thanks so much for the giveaway. My favorite Celtic legend is the Banshee. I just love that word. I think it sounds so much better than fairy.
(Beth Melito 7:31pm April 6, 2011)

So many of the legends are sad stories--I've always loved Dierdre of the Sorrows, but there are some women who win--the Morrigan, for example. Too bad she often wins at the expense of a dead hero.
(Janet Martin 7:54pm April 6, 2011)

Sounds like another good read! Have always been intrigued by Celtic tales.
(Diane Sallans 7:55pm April 6, 2011)

Lately, I can't get enough Fae. I think the history is so interesting.
(Jennifer Beyer 8:27pm April 6, 2011)

I can't say I know any Celtic legends, but I love the movie The Quiet Man!
(Renee Pajda 8:55pm April 6, 2011)

As far as Celtic legends, Avalon I believe is one and one of my favorite. I love the Celtic Goddess the Morrigan which is a complication within herself. And there is a tale that still goes strong about Glastonbury, from the tree to the healing waters.
(Carla Carlson 9:22pm April 6, 2011)

I just love the Celts. I like the legend of the fish women who come on land to mate with men and then go back to the sea after the child is born, leaving the men with the babies.
(MaryAnne Banks 10:26pm April 6, 2011)

I would say legends of the Morrigan
(Robin Daily 11:57pm April 6, 2011)

I honestly don't have a favorite Celtic legend but the books sounds very exciting.
(G. Bisbjerg 1:32am April 7, 2011)

Story sounds great,and the covers wonderful. Thanks for giving me a chance to win it.
(Linda Hall 1:37am April 7, 2011)

I wish I knew some Celtic Legends to be able to choose a favorite. The book looks amazing.
(Mary Preston 4:39am April 7, 2011)

I really love celtic legends. They are a window to the past. It is so interesting to see how they would use these legends to explain what they didn't understand.
I would love to read your book.
(Debbie Penny 5:51am April 7, 2011)

Always with legends comes truth and lessons in life that wil shape and change one's life, characters, and mind. In many ways it shapes your soul in and out.
(Anthonia Sharp 10:43am April 7, 2011)

Haunting Desire definately sounds like what I call a "Week-end Book". I qualify this as a book that you're going to want to set aside all entire weekend to read (or a very long day and night).

From the excerpt I can't imagine even taking the time to make dinner - order out for pizza and be sure to have it delivered because I know I won't be able to tear myself away.

Love your stories!
(Jeanne Miro 10:51am April 7, 2011)

Looks like a amazing spell binding read.
My fave legend is Camulos and his invincible sword.
Also, the fairies are faves too.
(Dayle Butler 11:44am April 7, 2011)

I loved reading all of your comments! Thank you so much for stopping by!
(Erin Quinn 4:09pm April 7, 2011)

would love to read the book for you and blog the title and the cover is great
(Desiree Reilly 4:22pm April 7, 2011)

I can't wait to read this book. thank's
(Lynn Lanzon 8:37pm April 7, 2011)

Your books sound great
(June A, Manning 1:54pm April 8, 2011)

Yep, that cover has miles of gazing ahead.
(Alyson Widen 11:20am April 25, 2011)

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