Bits 'n Bobs Author Blog
This week's Thursday Threads features The Highlander's Accidental Bride by - me!
This also qualifies as a throwback Thursday as it was my first book published by Soul Mate Publishing.
And to make things even better, it is on sale through June 7 on Amazon for only 99 cents!
"Shocked to find herself married to the laird, Mary sees little to recommend her new life as Lady Scott. Until Laird Scott sets out to prove their accidental marriage was no mistake."
Genre: Scottish Historical Romance
Heat level: sensual
Chaos reigns between the Scott and Barde clans in 14th century Scotland. To end the generation’s long feud, King Robert II of Scotland decrees Eaden, Laird Scott, and Lady Miriam Barde wed with all haste. When marriage negotiations break down, King Robert threatens Eaden with the loss of his lands and title. Forced to take matters into his own hands, the laird kidnaps his bride, only to find the young woman he mistakenly drags to his marriage bed is not Laird Barde’s daughter, but her lady companion.
Mary Marsh fights for her freedom from the laird and the unwanted marriage, refusing to accept her new life as Lady Scott. Realizing his error, Laird Scott develops an attachment to the feisty young woman he has accidentally married. Can he win her heart and convince her she is more than just a ‘duty’ to him? Or will the bond forged between the lady’s companion and the laird be destroyed by secrets and a feud that will not be laid to rest?
King Robert frowned fiercely. “What have ye done?” he asked, his voice hard.
“I’d tried speaking to Barde and doing things the traditional way. He was less than enthusiastic and mentioned hell freezing over as the only possible wedding date. His daughter was equally certain she’d no’ marry into the Scott clan.” Eaden shrugged. The feud between their families was generations old. He hadn’t wanted a Barde bride, either. “So I kidnapped her, carried her back to Scott Castle, and we married the same day.”
King Robert sat bolt upright in his chair, shocked surprise clear on his slack-jawed face. “Ye kidnapped her?” He wheezed, unable to inhale a proper breath, and pointed an accusatory finger at Eaden. “Ye actually forced her to marry ye?”
“Nay, Sire. I simply saw ‘twas done in a timely manner and without bloodshed.”
“How certain are ye her father is not, this instant, standing before the walls of Scott Castle, demanding his daughter be returned to him? Are ye trying to promote peace or war?”
Eaden gave an exasperated snort. “He cannae cry foul. I have the papers ye signed. And I have men keeping an eye on Barde.” He shifted in his chair uncomfortably. “The marriage is irrevocable. She is now well and truly my wife.”
King Robert collapsed back into his chair. “Do ye no’ ken the ruinous upheaval yer actions could provoke? ‘Tis true I commanded the marriage. I know how ye dinnae favor the alliance. But kidnapping the lass is a far cry from having the marriage properly planned and executed!”
The king stewed for a moment, as if consumed in vigorous contemplation. At last he shrugged. “Scott.” His voice invoked not Eaden’s friend, but Robert II, King of Scotland. “Inasmuch as ye have followed my orders to the letter, if not their actual intent, I hereby commit yer title and land to ye and to yer descendants.”
He leaned forward and clasped Eaden’s shoulder. “I hope ye dinnae have cause to regret yer hastiness.”
Eaden winced. He already did.
* * *
Buy link: http://www.amzn.com/B00BMFPT12
This week on Thursday Threads I have Meggan Connors and her Highland romance,
Heat Rating: Sensual
Genre: Historical Romance
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.
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.
“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.
Are you a fan of sci-fi romance? Check out Elle Hill's book, The Tithe!
Genre: Science fiction romance
Heat level: Sensuous
“Every seven years, seven persons from each of the ten towns must go into the desert, where they will enter into the realm of Elovah, their God.”
No one knows exactly what happens to these seventy Tithes, but everyone knows who: the “unworkables,” those with differing physical and mental capacities. Joshua Barstow, raised for twenty years among her town’s holy women, is one of these seventy Tithes. She is joined by the effervescent Lynna, the scholarly Avery, and the amoral Blue, a man who has spent most of his life in total solitude.
Each night, an angel swoops down to take one of their numbers. Each night, that is, except the first, when the angel touches Josh… and leaves her. What is so special about Josh? She doesn’t feel special; she feels like a woman trying to survive while finally learning the meanings of friendship, community, and love.
How funny that she had to be sacrificed to find reasons to live.
The lights in the Great Room went out.
No flickers, no dimming, no sizzling sounds—nothing. Just darkness where light used to be.
A man cried out and several people gasped.
“It’s all right, everyone,” Marcus called. Really, he was beginning to annoy Josh, too. He didn’t know that. No one did. “I’m sure this has—”
A whooshing sound, like air displaced, sliced through the room. For a tiny, tense moment, no one spoke.
“Is it an angel?” a child’s voice asked.
Several voices broke out then, some in shouts, some in startled cries, one or two in terror.
Just like the night before, the fold and crack of feathered wings in motion breathed through the room. Weak light from the multiple hallways leaked through the perimeters. Now that her eyes had adjusted to the sudden darkness, Josh found she could identify vague outlines.
Someone a few seats down leapt to her feet and hurled herself toward Josh, perhaps seeking the sterile safety of the kitchen. She stumbled over Josh’s outstretched legs and hurtled to the ground. Josh gasped in pain.
And still, the snap and sigh of wings overhead.
Josh wanted to stand up, to defend herself. She wanted to shrink into the upholstery, to make herself as small as possible. In the end, she sat still, trembling in indecision.
“The angels!” someone cried in something like terror, or perhaps ecstasy.
“Keep them away from me!” Someone—she thought it might be Len—shrieked.
Several people jumped to their feet and pushed their way through the room, seeking some kind of safety. The woman who’d tripped over Josh lay whimpering on the ground.
Whump, whump . . .
A warm arm encircled Josh’s shoulder. She shrieked before realizing it belonged to Blue. The baggy sleeves of his black tunic partially covered her head. She turned to him, and he pressed her closer.
I don’t think I want to court you, she remembered him saying, and almost sprayed laughter. Who knew they’d practically snuggle later that day?
The thump of wings grew closer. An outline of a human-sized object hurtled through the air and the darkness toward her. What had to be its wings spread around it, moving and tilting. Some stray ray of light gleamed whitely off the area where eyes should be. They seemed fixed directly on her.
* * *
Book buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Tithe-Elle-Hill-ebook/dp/B00MVCPJFG
This week Thursday Threads spotlights Char Chaffin and her romantic suspense, Unsafe Haven. Enjoy!
By Char Chaffin
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Heat Level: Sensual
Blurb: For Kendall Martin, a small, remote village in Southwest Alaska seems like a good place to start over. On the run from an abusive relationship, she leaves everything familiar behind and begins a new life as owner of a small souvenir and sportsman trading post in picturesque Staamat.
Denn Nulo knows everyone in town: he’s the Chief of Police in Staamat. He’s lived there all his life, except for his college years, spent in Anchorage. Originally planning on practicing criminal law and living in Anchorage permanently, Denn is forced to change his plans when he receives word that his widowed mother has passed away, leaving his young sister, Luna, alone. Denn comes back to Staamat to care for Luna.
When Kendall meets Denn, she begins to believe there are truly good men in the world. Denn is everything she wants: strong, loving, dedicated to family, protective . . . and patient. There is instant attraction between them, but Kendall is leery of men, and Denn craves a serious relationship that includes marriage and children. Their courtship is a conflicting mix of hesitancy and passion, with Luna, desperately needing a mother figure in her life, cheering them on.
As Kendall learns how to trust again and her romance with Denn grows more intense, a local woman who’s had her eye on Denn for years releases a torrent of damaging jealousy . . . and the nightmare from Kendall’s past discovers where she’s hidden herself.
“Ah, Christ. You’re killing me.” He fumbled for the nearest wall, propped her against it, and took her mouth hungrily. She fisted her hands in his hair, nipping his full bottom lip. The kiss went deeper, and she could have sobbed from the glory of it.
They broke apart, both panting. Kendall slowly unwound her legs and Denn loosened his hold, letting her slide down his body until her feet touched the floor. She felt every hard muscle along the way.
“Hell.” He sucked in a shaky breath. “I don’t want to leave you here.”
“I’ll be all right,” Kendall lied. She wanted him to stay, wanted him in her bed, all night, and then she wanted to awaken in the morning, safe in his arms. They’d known each other less than two months, and she wanted forever.
I must be crazed with lust. That’s the only explanation.
“You know, you don’t have to stay here alone.” He caressed her cheek as he gazed at her, still pressed intimately against her. “You could come home with me.”
“Eventually I have to live here, Denn. By myself. I have to get used to it,” she pointed out.
“But not tonight, okay? Come home with me, Kendall. Stay with me, tonight.”
“We’ll end up in bed together.” It was a question and a statement.
He slowly nodded. “Yeah.”
She whispered into his shirt, “We’ll end up making love.”
“I can just about guarantee it.”
Fascinated by the strong, steady pulse at the side of his neck, she shuddered to think of what lay ahead, if she said ‘yes.’ Most of the shudders were from excitement.
He waited patiently in her dimly lit store while she battled inner demons he might never understand or be able to accept.
“Kendall . . .” His voice held a rough plea.
She took a deep breath and raised her eyes to his. “I should pack a few things.” She hesitated, and took the final plunge. “I’ll need my contact lens case, too.”
His smile, wide and happy, blinded her. “I can wait.”
Book Trailer for Unsafe Haven:
My website: http://char.chaffin.com
Soul Mate Publishing: http://www.soulmatepublishing.com/char-chaffin/
This week's Thursday Threads spotlights Neva Brown's (mostly) sweet contemporary romance, A Pretty Penny.
Buy Link: Amazon
Clayton Brandt knows the cost of a woman but he never knew the value of a woman until Penny, quiet, efficient, and determined, invades his workplace then his life.
Penny, inadvertently, sets off a chain of events that threatens her life and the happy-ever-after that she hoped for with Clayton.
How they navigate through government agents’ plans, vindictive women's plans, and their vastly different upbringing to find common ground to nurture a love that clings through all the troubles and trials takes the reader on a compelling vicarious journey.
Awestruck and wondering how a rodeo producer managed to have such a grandiose personal jet, Penny jumped in surprise at the clipped, commanding voice behind her. She turned and focused on the imposing man who extended a lean, hard hand for her to shake as he towered over her.
“I presume you’re Wilma’s little friend.”
His emphasis on “little” implied so much more than the fact that she was only five foot two, one hundred five pounds. She stiffened.
“I’m Penelope Ann Jones. And, yes, Wilma and I are friends.”
“I’m Clayton Brandt, your boss.” His icy stare chilled her from head to toe.
“Are you another of her projects, or can you do a day’s work for a day’s pay?”
Her haughtiness probably added to his irritation, but she wasn’t about to cower before this arrogant tyrant.
Stretching her neatly clad body and raising her eyes from his chest to his cold, gray eyes, she answered with an indifferent tone.
“I can do the work Wilma said would be expected of me, sir.”
She bit her tongue to keep from adding that she had a master’s degree in finance, held a CPA license, and had worked as a secretary all the way through college. Just because she had been following the rodeo did not make her incapable, just besotted with love.
He curtly dismissed her. “Get buckled up. The pilot is ready to take off.”
His woodsy scent and the feel of his hand still lingered in her memory. From her luxurious lounger, she continued to watch. He frowned at Wilma. His words became clear enough for Penny to hear.
“I thought we got through your ‘mother hen’ phase a few years back. Where did you find this one?”
Wilma’s longsuffering look made Penny strain to hear the reply.
“The ‘mother hen’ periods as you call them passed a long time ago. Penny is different. She was Jason’s wife, but none of our family even knew they were married. They’d been married almost a year when that bull killed him.”
“Then she’s a rich young widow. Why does she need to work?”
“Things aren’t quite what they seem. Jason never got around to changing his will and never had her sign a signature card to draw on his account at the bank. Being his usual distracted self, he just gave her cash. She had money but no permanent financial security.”
“So I guess you’re paying her bills. No wonder you want to put her to work.”
“Clayton, she was my baby brother’s wife and was ‘holed up’ in that fifth wheel at a trailer park with nothing but crackers and peanut butter. She’s smart and willing to work. You know I wouldn’t ask you to hire her if I didn’t believe she could do the job.”
He scowled at Wilma as she added, “I’d bet six month’s wages she’ll do a good job.”
“You may not have six month’s wages if she messes up. I don’t suffer fools and lazy people, as you well know. Right now, she looks like both to me,” he growled.
Penny let her eyelids shut completely at the hostile sound of his voice. A surge of adrenaline made her ears ring and her muscles twitch. Her anger churned, and her thoughts raced. Just who does this aging Adonis with a Neanderthal attitude think he is? Wilma thinks he hung the moon, and he acts like she is just some inconsequential employee when, in reality, she shields him from all kinds of thorny situations every day. She’s always telling me about the mountain of work she does to smooth the way for him. What an insufferable man!
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