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The Coffee Pot Book Club Presents "Skull’s Vengeance" by Linnea Tanner

Please welcome back to the Tavern the fabulous Linnea Tanner! We're celebrating her new book release, Skull's Vengeance. I'm looking forward to another intriguing story by this talented author. Grab a cup of mead and let's take a peek into Linnea's story...

A Celtic warrior queen must do the impossible—defeat her sorcerer half-brother and claim the throne. But to do so, she must learn how to strike vengeance from her father’s skull.

AS FORETOLD BY HER FATHER in a vision, Catrin has become a battle-hardened warrior after her trials in the Roman legion and gladiatorial games. She must return to Britannia and pull the cursed dagger out of the serpent's stone to fulfill her destiny. Only then can she unleash the vengeance from the ancient druids to destroy her evil half-brother, the powerful sorcerer, King Marrock. Always two steps ahead and seemingly unstoppable, Marrock can summon destructive natural forces to crush any rival trying to stop him and has charged his deadliest assassin to bring back Catrin's head.

To have the slightest chance of beating Marrock, Catrin must forge alliances with former enemies, but she needs someone she can trust. Her only option is to seek military aid from Marcellus—her secret Roman husband. They rekindle their burning passion, but he is playing a deadly game in the political firestorm of the Julio-Claudian dynasty to support Catrin's cause.

Ultimately, in order to defeat Marrock, Catrin must align herself with a dark druidess and learn how to summon forces from skulls to exact vengeance. But can she and Marcellus outmaneuver political enemies from Rome and Britannia in their quest to vanquish Marrock?

Trigger warnings:

Sex, Slave trafficking and abuse, Violence, Childbirth

Acclaim for other books in the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series:

"[An] epic tale of love, betrayal and political intrigue." —InD'tale Magazine

"The requisite fantasy elements of magic and mystery abound...Tanner also does an admirable job weaving in the politics and mythology of a bygone people." —Kirkus

"Part fantasy, part historical fiction, Linnea Tanner has woven together a wonderful tale of romance, intrigue, mystery, and legend to create an entertaining and complex story." —The International Review of Books

"[A] captivating tale of triangles; love, lust and espionage; friend, foe, and spies; barbarians, civilized Rome and spiritual-supernatural beings." —2019 Pencraft Book of the Year Award

Universal Buy Link HERE!


Sneak preview from Skull's Vengeance

Chapter 12 Red Chariot Inn

Rome, 16 March, 28 AD

A sudden nudge of a hand on his back made Marcellus jump. Glancing back, he beheld a one-eyed man with wild, auburn hair flung over an eyelid that appeared to melt into his cheekbone. Marcellus recoiled at the tattooed bolts of lightning flashing down the man’s muscular chest.

“My name is Cynwrig. Follow me,” the one-eyed man grunted, opening the palm of his hand to reveal the Apollo amulet Marcellus had given Catrin.

Taken unawares, Marcellus stared at the amulet for a moment, his mind scrambling to remember if he had previously met this warrior in Gaul. Finally, he recalled Falco mentioning that Catrin had a disfigured Briton accompanying her.

“Are you with Catrin?” Marcellus asked, taking the amulet from the scar-faced man.

“Yes. Catrin,” Cynwrig said with a thick, Celtic accent.

Marcellus followed Cynwrig through some boisterous patrons to the back of the room, where there was a rickety staircase. The steps creaked as Marcellus climbed the splintered wooden stairs behind Cynwrig. On the second floor, they passed six closed doors to sleeping quarters and halted at the seventh one.

Cynwrig knocked three times and said something in the Celtic tongue. He then inserted a key into the lock until it clicked, opening the door for Marcellus to enter.

Inside the room, Marcellus found Catrin gazing out an open window; the sunlight filtered onto her face. A breath caught in his throat as Marcellus beheld her. She appeared lost in a dream. A single braid of gold-blonde hair hung over her shoulder. She was simply dressed in a loose-fitting, gray tunica that hid her curvature. When Cynwrig closed the door, she turned toward Marcellus, and her eyes brightened.

With emotions rising in his chest like a tidal wave, Marcellus could hardly say the words to greet her. “Salve, Catrin.”

Catrin bit her lower lip and inhaled sharply. “Salve, Marcellus.”

Marcellus studied her eyes for any glint of hatred. In the candlelit room, he couldn’t discern whether she still harbored resentment toward him. He swallowed the lump forming in his throat, searching for the right words to tell her how much he had missed her. Instead, he decided to move more slowly before expressing his feelings.

“How was your journey?” he inquired.

“It was a difficult journey, but my guard”—Catrin gestured toward Cynwrig—“protected me.”

Marcellus shifted his gaze to the one-eyed warrior. “Do you want to introduce him to me?”

“Of course. This is Cynwrig, a warrior who was in my father’s inner circle.”

Marcellus nodded. “Gratia for escorting Catrin to Rome.”

With his one eye fixed on Marcellus, Cynwrig grunted something in Celtic. The jagged scar below the warrior’s missing eye sent a shudder down Marcellus’s spine.

“He prefers not to speak the Roman tongue but understands what you say well enough,” Catrin interjected.

“Have we met before?” Marcellus asked Cynwrig directly, sensing some deep-rooted resentment.

Cynwrig nodded. “Axe.”

“You competed with him in a battle-axe contest at one of our festivals,” Catrin clarified.

Marcellus jerked his head back. “I did?”

Catrin gave a slight chuckle. “Yes, you were drunk.”

Becoming uneasy with the one-eyed warrior’s piercing stare, Marcellus looked at Catrin. “Could we speak privately?”

Catrin nodded and motioned for Cynwrig to leave, saying something in Celtic. He seemed reluctant to go, fingering the hilt of a sheathed dagger at this side. The tone of her voice sharpened as they continued speaking in Celtic. The one-eyed warrior finally stepped back with a slight bow and turned to depart. After Cynwrig clicked the door shut, Marcellus could hear the warrior’s heavy footsteps pacing back and forth in the corridor.

“Cynwrig will stay outside to guard as we speak,” Catrin informed him.

Marcellus creased his brow. “He looked as though he wanted to disembowel me with his weapon.”

“Romans killed his wife,” Catrin explained.

Marcellus suddenly felt awkward, not sure what to say. He nervously raked his hair as she slowly walked over to him. Her brilliant turquoise eyes searched his. At that moment, he felt the weight lift off his chest, replaced with the hope they could salvage their relationship.

“Have your wounds healed?” he asked, softly touching her hand. She lowered her gaze toward his hand but didn’t pull away from his touch.

“They have healed, but I feel lost…empty.”

“Do you still blame me for what happened?” Marcellus asked tentatively.

Catrin took a deep breath. “No. But it’s hard to forget all I’ve suffered.”

Marcellus’s heart ached from the possibility he could lose her a second time. “Catrin, I regret what happened to you. I live with constant guilt that I should have done more to protect you.”

Tears welled in Catrin’s eyes as she brought Marcellus’s hand to her breast. “No matter how hard I try to hate you, forsake you…I can’t. You are my husband, and you will always be a part of me. But how can I still be a part of your life if you marry that Roman girl?”

Marcellus hesitated. “I don’t know…if I can marry her.”

Catrin lifted her eyes to meet his. “Has something changed?”

“You are here now,” Marcellus said softly, like a whisper in a breeze. “I never thought I would see you again . . . that you could love me again.”



Meet the Author

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