Each of the stories in The Highlander's Bride series can be read on it's own, whether you have read the previous one or not. But if you want to read it as a series, this three-part blog will tell you how they fit together.
Lost Distinction Blurb:
“It all started with a favor…”
When private investigator Jordan James agreed to search for the missing son of a U.S. Ambassador, she didn’t realize she was walking into a case one hundred years in the making. The deeper she delves into this unusual assignment, the more shocking, and the more dangerous, it becomes. With time running out and lives at stake, Jordan must race to identify the culprit of an elaborate plot while also uncovering a far more personal truth too intimate to ignore...
Also, be sure to check out Jordan's first case in Cold Ambition, available now on Amazon!
Just got it. Sorry for the delay.
“So, when was the last time you saw Arthur?” I asked as the guys cheered when one of Stuart’s sons scored a touchdown with George’s help.
Michelle stared past the men. “I guess the last time I saw him was at Easter. Since Mr. and Mrs. Cross couldn’t make it back from London in time, we went over to Stuart’s house in Falmouth. I was surprised to see him there.”
“Why? Does he usually avoid family holidays?”
She clapped when Rick carried one of the twins over the “goal line” for a touchdown. She looked back at me and shrugged. “To be honest, I haven’t seen Arthur many times in all the years I’ve been married to Eddie. He lives and works in Middletown but just always seems too busy to come around. Eddie never gave me specifics, but I think Arthur tries to stay away from his family for some reason.”
“He didn’t say why?”
“No,” she shook her head. “Can’t say I blame him...”
I found myself more confused every time I learned more about this situation. As I sat there, I considered all the things I knew as fact. First, Arthur Cross was missing and had been missing for several days. Second, his family was concerned enough about his disappearance that they felt it necessary for his parents to fly in from London, but they did not want to involve the police as it might generate unwanted publicity. Third, they were going to a lot of trouble pretending like nothing was wrong.
I looked across the yard and saw the Crosses watching their children and grandchildren with absolute enjoyment. The last thing I knew was by far the most troubling fact of all. As I sat there, it became crystal clear that this family was hiding a secret. What I didn’t know at the time was how great the secret was and how many lives its revelation would affect, including my own.
* * *
Rachel Sharpe is the author of Cold Ambition and Lost Distinction, the first two novels in the Jordan James, PI series. Although born and raised in the South, "Yankee" relatives first led Rachel to historic New England, which she has come to consider her second home and is the setting for the series.
After obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in English, Rachel began dedicating her free time to her childhood passion, writing, and in the fall of 2013, she signed with Soul Mate Publishing. An active member of Sisters In Crime, Rachel currently resides with her husband in the Greater New Orleans area.
BUY LINK For "COLD AMBITION," Book One of Jordan James, PI series: http://www.amzn.com/B00L2OLQPG/
Today I have author Carole Ann Moleti here to talk about her book, The Widow's Walk, and offer a book giveaway!
Hi, Carole! It’s great to have you here today. And welcome to Soul Mate Publishing.
Thanks, Cathy. I'm so happy to be involved with such a dynamic and diverse group of authors. And friendly ones, too. And I'd like to invite both my new and old readers to leave a comment or ask a question. I'll pick a winner at random and send them a copy of The Widow's Walk.
How long have you been writing?
I've been writing bad poetry and political rants for as long as I can recall. During my early academic days, I was so bored with scholarly writing I didn't want to write a shopping list. But I never lost my love of reading—especially romance, fantasy, and science fiction. But I still write op-ed, opinion pieces, personal essays—and I 've written two memoirs, one about my professional life and the other about being a mom.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
In 2005, I had this very odd experience. After watching a film that glorified violence against women, I decided I was going to write a novel to put things right. Got to Chapter 7 before I realized I had no clue what I was doing. So I started taking classes and networking with other authors. I still take writing classes and am continually learning new skills and techniques. I am inspired by everyday life, and no matter how much I swear I'm not going to do it, I find myself writing fiction and non fiction with parallel themes simultaneously. It's a way to cope with the craziness of life.
What draws you to the paranormal romance genre?
Living in New York City is a paranormal or otherworldly experience. I mean, where else can I go that sometimes makes me feel like Mos Isly Cantina from Star Wars? The subway experience has inspired more than one zombie story. I wrote an entire urban fantasy novel about the neighborhood in which I work. One day, driving to the day job, this guy was walking alongside the Cross Bronx Expressway stark naked and at full attention, if you know what I mean. Other than a few honks, no one but the cops stopped.
My grandmother used to give me all the bodice ripper romance novels she'd read. And I was a Catholic schoolgirl so I devoured them. I'm also a scientist, a biologist, so I love the speculative genres. I remember reading The Andromeda Strain and The Arm of the Starfish when I was very young. So, put it all together so you get a lot of medical stuff, mixed in with romance and urban fantasy—and always a political statement in there somewhere. My heroines are feisty. Cross genre on a New York City high.
What was your inspiration for The Widow’s Walk?
As with most of my writing, ideas come to me at the oddest times. I was at our summer cottage in Upstate New York, pulling dustcovers off furniture and vacuuming up mouse poop and dead flies. All of a sudden, I decided to write a story about a woman finding a trunk of old clothes. Those two scenes were the beginning of the Unfinished Business Series. I wrote what was to become Breakwater Beach that Fourth of July weekend. Missed all the parties. My husband was so pissed off, but when you get that kind of inspiration you run with it. It had to be Victorian. I seriously think I lived a previous life back then—always fascinated with the clothing, the customs. I even have my dining room decorated with Victorian era antique furniture.
How did you decide on the setting? Have you been there?
I have been spending summers on Cape Cod all my life, and just love it there. Particularly Brewster, where the series is set. I grew up on the Bronx waterfront, which some people find hard to believe even exists, but it is so beautiful, with the East River framed by the Throggs Neck and Whitestone Bridges. My grandfather, uncles and father took me fishing and taught me how to swim and sail. So writing about beaches, and bridges, and boats and the beauty—and absolute fury --that the water can unleash during a storm is so natural. If you look really deeply into the male characters, you'll see a composite of my Dad, grandfather, and uncles who had such an influence on me and provided so much love, stability, and encouragement in what was a very turbulent time to be growing up female, and as The Bronx burned down around us.
Tell us how you arrived at Soul Mate Publishing.
I met Debby Gilbert at the Connecticut Romance Writers of America Chapter Fiction Fest. She loved the premise of The Widow's Walk and asked me to send it to her. I heard back in about a month that she wanted to publish it. I've been writing this series since that Fourth of July weekend in 2007, so I was thrilled.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
As I mentioned, the first part of the series was a novella called Breakwater Beach, published in Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts. I have novelized it, and hope it will be joining The Widow's Walk on the bookshelves next year. I have also outlined what will be the third book in the series, with a working title of Storm Watch. A hurricane on a scale between Sandy and Katrina is headed for the Cape—and the eye is going to pass right over Brewster and The Barrett Inn.
I've lived thorough many a hurricane and Nor'easter. In fact, I wrote the hospital scene in The Widow's Walk by the light of a battery powered lantern on my Alphasmart Neo after Hurricane Irene knocked our power out for a week back in 2011. I've also been working on an urban fantasy series called Boulevard of Bad Spells and Broken Dreams—about a witch who returns from exile in Puerto Rico to face her past and find the arsonists that murdered her family.
Thank you so much for being here today! It has been a lot of fun getting to know you. Best of luck with your new release!
Thanks for having me, Cathy. And don't forget about the giveaway, folks!
Mike and Liz Keeny are newlyweds, new parents, and the proprietors of the Barrett Inn, an 1875 Victorian on Cape Cod, which just happens to be haunted. By their own ghosts. The Inn had become an annex of Purgatory, putting Mike, Liz, and their infant son in danger. Selling the historic seaside bed and breakfast was the only answer, one that Liz and her own tortured specter refused to consider. Were they doomed to follow the same path that led to disaster in their previous lives? Was getting out, getting away, enough?
Silk rustled as she ran her hands over the dress. The lavender scent deepened as Elisabeth swirled around inside. Her mind went numb as the ghost took control. She slipped out of her clothes and stood naked in front of the mirror. She put up her hair, preening for her husband, before she stepped into the middle of the deep green skirts and pulled them up over her waist, slipped her arms into the sleeves, and twisted them behind her back to fasten the buttons. She used the buttonhook to do up the shoes, then peered out into the hallway.
Liz bundled the sweat suit into her arms, along with the soap and paper goods, and hurried to the attic door. It wasn't until she placed her hand on the banister and started up the steep staircase to the roof that Elisabeth's needling eased. Like an addict in the throes of withdrawal, just the promise of being up there, her spirit communing with the long lost sea captain, offered relief.
* * *
Buy link: myBook.to/TWW
Last week was the official last post for Medieval Monday until after the holidays, but I couldn't resist just one more.
Today I have Laura Strickland and her novel,
Lord of Sherwood: The Guardians of Sherwood Trilogy Book Three
Release date: 8/8/14
Curlew Champion, master archer, has always known his destiny. With his cousin, Heron Scarlet, he will become a guardian of Sherwood Forest and further his people’s fight against Norman Tyranny. But the third member of the triad is still to be revealed, the woman who will complete the magical circle and, perhaps, answer the longing in Curlew’s heart.
Anwyn Montfort has fled disgrace in Shrewsbury and come to Nottingham at her father’s bidding. He wishes her to make a good marriage and settle down. But the wildness that possesses her refuses to quiet. She knows she’s been searching for something all her life, but not until she glimpses Curlew does her spirit begin to hope it has found its home.
Only the magic of Sherwood can bring them together, and only their union can complete the spell woven so long ago …
Aye, Curlew thought ruefully, she could not be ruined more completely than at his hands last night. And if he sent her home with his child in her belly, what then? He realized, with a shock, he did not even know her given name.
A bit brusquely he said, “Gather up your clothing, lass. Cover yourself. You must go home.”
“Do not be daft. Of course you must. Your father will be beside himself.”
Stubborn light flashed in her eyes. “You gave a vow last night that you would never send me away from you.”
Had he? Dismay crashed down upon Curlew like a hurled stone. But he had thought she was the Lady, asking from him a vow of devotion. He did not know he spoke words to a mortal woman.
He got to his feet, heedless of his nakedness, and began collecting her shed garments and thrusting them at her. “To be sure, you will go home.”
“Nottingham is not my home.” She tipped back her head to look at him. “I belong nowhere, except maybe here with you.”
Curlew shook his head violently. He turned from her and took up his own clothing, pulled his sark over his head even as she watched, donned his leather tunic, then slid into his leather leggings.
He turned back to her swiftly. She sat with her chemise clutched to those tantalizing breasts, her eyes wide with inquiry.
“Listen to me, Mistress Montfort. You are not for me, nor I for you.”
“But last night—”
“Despite last night.” In spite of the wonder and magic of it, the undeniable sense of rightness. “For I have a destiny before me, one I cannot escape, and would not if I could. I regret, but you have chosen the wrong man.”
She got to her feet, her clothing still caught against her. The autumn sun, filtering through the leaves, warmed her hair to amber-gold. “I do not believe that.”
“You must. Now dress yourself. I will see you safe to the edge of the forest.”
She did not move. Like a goddess she stood and looked at him with defiance.
Curlew felt an unexpected twinge of sympathy for Montfort. Who could fail to love this lass, or be driven beyond endurance by her? “Please,” he said.
The corners of her mouth twitched. “I regret, my lord, I would do most anything to please you. Anything but that.”
* * *
Buy and media links:
The Wild Rose Press:
Author web page: www.laurastricklandbooks.com
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Laura-Strickland/e/B001KHSACW/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1408276940&sr=1-2-ent
Book Trailer for The Guardians of Sherwood Trilogy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZvJC__mD5s
Today's spotlight is on Meggan Connors and her Highland romance, Highland Deception.
Heat Rating: Sensual
Genre: Historical Romance
Buy Links:http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00J3D2JS6/ Blurb: When Kenneth Mackay, long-banished rogue and thief, returns to the Mackay holding at the request of his brother, he has no idea what he might find. He certainly doesn’t expect to be confronted with his twin’s imminent death, or with the plan his brother has concocted.
Ten years before, Malcolm made a tragic mistake, and, to preserve the family name—and his own skin—he allowed Kenneth to take the fall. Now that he is dying without an heir, Malcolm plans to atone for his mistake: by giving Kenneth his life back. All Kenneth has to do is assume his brother’s identity. But complicating matters is the unexpected return of Lady Isobel Mackay, the daughter of an English marquess and the wife Malcolm didn’t want.
Isobel barely knows the husband who abandoned her even before their marriage, and she’d long since given up hope on having a real marriage with him. Yet when she returns to the Mackay holding far earlier than expected, she finds her husband a changed man. Despite the hurt between them, Isobel’s heart responds to this man who cares for his entire clan as if there were family. Who, for the first time, cares about her as if she is, too.
Falling in love with her husband had never been part of Isobel’s plan. But when their future is suddenly in peril, Isobel must find a way to save him—from himself and from the deception threatening to tear them apart. Excerpt
She ignored Grant’s angry protests behind her and ran for her husband’s bedchamber. Slamming open the door, she stumbled inside.
Malcolm lay in the great bed. Alone.
Alone. She tried not to speculate about what meant.
His breathing was shallow, as if he’d been running. As the door bounced back and closed, his sky-bright eyes shot up and met hers.
No, not sky-bright. Darker, the color of the forget-me-nots that bloomed in the gardens in spring. The color of the night sky as it lightened with the first rays of dawn.
“Milord.” She gasped for breath.
Malcolm had never looked at her like he did now. This time, when he studied her, it was as if he didn’t dislike what he saw.
Being honest with herself, Malcolm had never disliked her. After all, the term dislike implied a depth of feeling he almost certainly lacked.
Grant was suddenly at her back. “Sir, I apologize. She’s faster than you’d think.” He laid a hand on her shoulder, as if to steer her from the room.
She shook him off.
“Indeed.” Malcolm smiled, and a charming dent in his cheek appeared.
How had she not noticed that before?
“We will leave at once.” Grant took her by the arm.
She wrenched out of his grasp. “I’m not going anywhere. Not until I have my audience.” She glanced around the room and saw no sign of Malcolm’s mistress.
“Lady Mackay,” Grant began.
Malcolm held up his hand. “‘Tis fine, Grant. I can always make time for my lady wife.”
Isobel barked a hollow laugh, alleviating the ache, just a little.
“Are you certain?” Grant’s eyes shifted from Isobel to Malcolm and back again. A wrinkle formed between his brows, and the muscle in his cheek worked as he ground his teeth together.
He’d only ever done that when he was agitated or anxious.
But there was no reason for that, as Malcolm had never truly cared enough to keep secrets from her in an attempt to spare her feelings. Nor had he ever forced others to do the same.
Malcolm’s eyes met Grant’s, and something passed between the two men. Her husband gave Grant a clipped nod. “If you’ll excuse us, Grant.”
Grant released his breath slowly. His eyes narrowed first at Malcolm, then at Isobel. Scowling, he bowed his head. “Mackay,” he said stiffly. He turned to Isobel. “Lady Mackay.”
Isobel watched him go then waited until the door had closed behind him. “So, where is she?”
Malcolm arched a dark brow. “Where is who?”
“You know. Her.”
He lifted a single shoulder, as if she didn’t have a right to know. “I doona ken.”
The silence that fell between them was deafening, damning.
Finally he said, “Your arrival was unexpected.”
She breathed a mirthless laugh. “I have no doubt.” She expected him to look ashamed, but his expression didn’t hold even the slightest hint of remorse. She swallowed against the betrayal rising in the back of her throat and tried again. “Why are you abed?”
“I’ve been ailing. Naught to fash yourself over.”
She approached his great bed tentatively. “Ailing how? Has your cough worsened?”
He glanced down at his coverlet and then brought his gaze back to her face. “For a time, aye. I believe I’m on the mend now.”
Isobel pressed her hand to his forehead, then his cheek. His skin felt cool beneath her palm, if a little damp.
His breath hitched, then he cleared his throat. “Satisfied? As you can see, I am on the mend.”
“Perhaps,” she whispered. She ran her hand around to the back of his neck, then descended to his back.
He wore a thin linen shirt, unsuitable for the cool nights of the Highlands in late fall. She placed her hands between his shoulder blades. He was thinner than she remembered, but there was no mistaking Malcolm’s unique strength.
“Breathe,” she said, and then reminded herself to do the same.Malcolm.
“I hardly think—”
“If you want me to leave you be, you will appease my curiosity. Breathe.”
Malcolm tilted his head up and studied her.
She fought the desire to look at him for as long as she could before meeting his gaze. Her heart skipped a beat as she saw something in his eyes she hadn’t seen before.
“Breathe, milord.” Heat spread up her neck to her face, and, to keep her free hand from shaking, she clenched a fist. The warmth of his body seeped through his nightshirt, scalding her hand not with fever but with something else.
The corners of his lips tilted upward before he smoothed his features. He paused for a moment too long, then held her gaze as he took an extended, deliberate breath.
She shoved the raging emotions aside and forced herself to view him as a person who needed her help.
She felt no hint of the cough that had been nagging him before she’d left.
Swallowing hard, she slid her hand between the linen and his skin, against his chest.
His heart rate kicked up.
“Breathe.” She struggled to force the word out.
I feel nothing. Nothing. He needs my help.
She closed her eyes and listened to his breathing, feeling the rise and fall of his chest beneath her hands, the steady beating of his heart. His skin scorched hers.
Her mouth dried, her tongue thick and heavy. She removed her hand. “You seem to have mended nicely.” Even to her own ears, her voice sounded strangled.
His gaze searched her face. “Aye.”
Isobel cradled her hand against her chest and stepped back from the bed, nearly tripping over her own feet. “I will leave you now, sir.”
Malcolm gave her a clipped nod. “Very well, my lady wife.”
“I—I will be in my chambers should you require me.”
He didn’t laugh, as he normally would have. “Then I shall find you there if I do. Or I will send for you.”
She backed up a few paces, bumped into a trunk, and immediately turned her attention to her skirt, trying to smooth wrinkles undoubtedly permanent from long days of travel. It was better than looking at Malcolm.
“By your leave.” Her eyes locked on the floor as she dipped into a hasty curtsy and fled.
The moment the door closed behind her, she put her back against the cold, stone wall, cradling the hand that had touched him as if she had injured it.
She’d touched his skin, felt the heat of his body, and the responding heat of hers.
He hadn’t forced her hands away. He hadn’t mocked her.
Instead, for the first time since their marriage, he’d called her wife.
* * *
When Lady Alyse de Courcy is betrothed to Sir Geoffrey Longford, she has no choice but to make the best of a bad bargain. The hulking knight is far from her ideal man, and although he does possess some wit and charm, he is no match for the sinfully sensual man she secretly admires, Thomas, Earl of Braeton, her betrothed’s best friend.
From the first, Sir Geoffrey finds himself smitten by Lady Alyse, and, despite her infatuation with his friend, vows to win her love. When Geoffrey puts his mind to wooing Alyse, he is delighted to find her succumbing to his seduction. But when cruel circumstances separate them, Geoffrey must watch helplessly as Thomas steps in to protect Alyse—and falls in love with her himself.
As the three courtiers accompany Princess Joanna to her wedding in Spain, they run headlong into the Black Plague. With her world plunged into chaos, Alyse struggles with her feelings for both the men she loves. But which love will survive?
“Lady Alyse de Courcy!” King Edward called out again, bringing Alyse’s head up like a startled deer. “Present yourself before the court.”
Alyse shot off her seat. Oh, Lord! She had kept King Edward waiting.
“I beg pardon, sire.” She hurried from behind the table, too aware of all the eyes now on her. As she moved to stand before the king, the low drone of many voices rose around the room.
“I’d not want to be in her place.”
“Do you think the king will…”
Each snatch of conversation made her heart beat faster.
What will he do to me?
Her normal embarrassment at being the center of attention tripled at the thought of this blatant lapse of protocol. She stopped several feet from the dais and the room hushed as though everyone held their breath.
“What do you require of me, Majesty?” Her mouth so dry she could taste sand, Alyse fought to speak in a normal tone. With a sigh of relief, she dropped into a deep curtsy, hiding her face in the folds of her skirt. If only she could remain bowed thus before His Majesty for the remainder of the evening.
King Edward laughed. “Obedience, Lady Alyse, as I require of all my subjects. As your father requires of his daughter.”
Her heart thumped wildly in her breast. That could mean but one thing.
“Rise, my lady.”
She did so on unsteady feet. “I am ready, as always, Your Majesty, to obey my father as I would you.”
Holy Mary, let it be Lord Braeton.
King Edward lifted an eyebrow toward Alyse. “A very pretty answer, my lady. And are you ready to accept your father’s decree for your betrothal? His messenger has today reached me with the contract, as I am to stand in his stead in this matter.”
Alyse took a deep breath and hoped her voice did not tremble. “Yea, Majesty, I will obey my father.”
King Edward nodded and leaned over to whisper something to Queen Phillipa, who sat beside him, heavy with their twelfth child.
Mere seconds before she learned her fate. She could scarce affect an indifferent pose before the court when inside every inch of her quivered with anticipation of the name. His name, pray God, on the king’s lips.
In her mind, she heard the word.
The king straightened, glanced at her then at the man by her side.
“What say you then, Sir Geoffrey? Does the lady not speak fair? I vow she will make you a proper wife and a dutiful one as well.”
Alyse turned, until that moment unaware that Geoffrey Longford stood beside her. Chills coursed down her body as the king’s words echoed in her mind. The sensation of falling backward assailed her, as though she rushed away from the tall man at her side even as his figure loomed larger and larger in her sight.
Not Lord Braeton.
Her numbed brain repeated the phrase, trying to comprehend that instead he would be her husband. Geoffrey Longford.
God have mercy on me, for by the look of him, this man will not.
* * *
Time Enough to Love (print) Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Time-Enough-Love-Jenna-Jaxon/dp/1500867926/ref=sr_1_cc_2?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1410173549&sr=1-2-catcorr&keywords=Time+enough+to+love
Betrothal, Betrayal, Beleaguered : Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_nr_p_n_feature_browse-b_mrr_0?rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3ATime+enough+to+love%2Cp_n_feature_browse-bin%3A618073011&keywords=Time+enough+to+love&ie=UTF8&qid=1410226747&rnid=618072011
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/JEnna-jaxon?store=allproducts&keyword=JEnna+jaxon
* * *
Jenna Jaxon is a multi-published author of historical and contemporary romance. She has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager. A romantic herself, she has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise. She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories. She lives in Virginia with her family and a small menagerie of pets. When not reading or writing, she indulges her passion for the theatre, working with local theatres as a director. She often feels she is directing her characters on their own private stage.
Jenna is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America as well as a member of Chesapeake Romance Writers. Her debut novel, Only Scandal Will Do, is the first in her House of Pleasure series, set in Georgian London. Her medieval novel, Time Enough to Love, is a Romeo & Juliet-esque tale, set at the time of the Black Death.
Find Jenna online at:
She has equated her writing to an addiction to chocolate because once she starts she just can’t stop.
Today’s treat is an interview with Gilda Macrory, the heroine in The Highlander’s Tempestuous Bride. I caught her out picking berries, but she has agreed to chat for a bit.
CMR: Thank you for letting me interrupt your berry-picking, Gilda! What a lovely name!
Gilda: (smiles) I thank ye. It means ‘gift of God’.
CMR: Oh, that is very nice. Can you tell me a bit about your life at Scaurness Castle?
Gilda: (shrugs) Och, `tis not so much unlike another lass anywhere else. I have chores and two younger brothers to look after, though they plague me sore. And sometimes I care for my wee baby sister.
CMR: But a castle is scarcely a crofter’s hut, right?
Gilda: I see yer point, though there are many more people who work and live in a castle. It can be difficult to have a bit of privacy, even in such a large place.
CMR: I suppose you need privacy from your brothers?
Gilda: (fists a hand on one hip) Aye! They are a pair of wee louns! Always pulling pranks on me since our brother Niall left to foster. I am too old for such nonsense. Punishment doesnae work with them for long.
CMR: What happens when they get caught?
Gilda: They must first apologize, then they usually must clean my horse’s stall for a fortnight. At least it works off a wee bit of their energy for a few days.
CMR: Let’s talk about you as a young child. What do you remember about your da, the laird, when he first came to Scaurness?
Gilda: He isnae my true da, though he adopted me when he wed my ma. I was four summers at the time. The first time we met, I had disobeyed my Auntie Tavia and waded into the water at the beach looking for sea shells. The tide was coming in and I found myself stranded on a rock, the waves crashing about me.
CMR: Oh, my! What happened?
Gilda: Like a braw hero, he strode through the water to me and picked me up. I had also lost my shoes, and he tweaked my toes and called me a mermaid.
CMR: Thank goodness he saw you. Were you friends after that?
Gilda: I was four. He was kind and dinnae scold me. I think I loved him more than ma did at that point.
CMR: Why is that?
Gilda: Och, she had been told by the king to marry Ranald, but she had known him as a lad and dinnae like him then. But Auntie Tavia says they soon fell in love. They always act as though they like each other.
CMR: Do you think you will marry for love?
Gilda: (bites her lip) As the laird’s daughter, I shall marry to benefit the clan. I dinnae believe my da would ask me to marry a man I couldnae respect. Love him? I am not entirely certain what that means.
CMR: Is there a lad at the castle you like? Or a laird’s son you have an eye for?
Gilda: Nae, the lads at the castle are all boys playing at being men. However . . . (she stares off into the distance)
Gilda: Och, I am sure it is nothing. Just a lad I met when picking berries yesterday. But, he flustered me.
Gilda: He was afeared for me because he saw me cut a wolf loose from a trap and spoke a bit sharpish. Then he was kind when a storm blew up—I have been afeard of storms since I was a bairn. But he vexes me.
CMR: (hides a smile) I am sure you will work it out. Do you know who he is?
Gilda: Nae, though I was trespassing on Macraig land, so I suppose he is a Macraig. (Frowns)
CMR: Oh, is that a problem?
Gilda: Aye. The Macraigs and the Macrorys havenae been allied in many years. Though I dinnae know exactly the why of it.
CMR: It is getting late. I will let you get back to your chores. Thank you for taking a moment to talk with me. I hope you are able to follow your heart.
Gilda: I thank ye. I am duty-bound, but wish with all my heart to fall in love with the man I marry. (waves as she picks up her basket of berries)
* * *
CMR: To discover who Gilda marries and if she falls in love, pick up your copy of The Highlander’s Tempestuous Bride! Available for pre-order now at Amazon for the introductory price of $2.99 http://www.amzn.com/B00P89UHME Release date: 11/11/14
Leave a comment for a chance to win one of three ebooks (kindle) of The Highlander’s Tempestuous Bride. Winners announced here 11/12/14.
Confederado do Norte by Linda Bennett Pennell
Genre: women’s fiction with romantic elements
Heat level: mild
Set during the aftermath of the American Civil War, Confederado do Norte tells the story of Mary Catherine MacDonald Dias Oliveira Atwell, a child torn from her war devastated home in Georgia and thrust into the primitive Brazilian interior where the young woman she becomes must learn to recreate herself in order to survive.
Mary Catherine is devastated when her family emigrates from Georgia to Brazil because her father and maternal uncle refuse to accept the terms of Reconstruction following the Confederacy’s defeat. Shortly after arrival in their new country, she is orphaned, leaving her in Uncle Nathan’s care. He hates Mary Catherine, blaming her for his sister’s death. She despises him because she believes Nathan murdered her father.
When Mary Catherine discovers Nathan’s plan to be rid of her as well, she flees into the mountain wilderness filled with jaguars and equally dangerous men. Finding refuge among kind peasants, she grows into a beauty, ultimately marrying the scion of a wealthy Portuguese family.
Happiness and security seem assured until civil unrest brings armed marauders who have an inexplicable connection to Mary Catherine. Recreating herself has protected Mary Catherine in the past, but this new crisis will demand all of the courage, intelligence, and creativity she possesses simply to survive.
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Buy link for Confederado do Norte: http://amzn.com/B00LMN5OMI