My latest release, HIGHLAND DEFENDER, is finally here!!
Release days are some of the best days for me. Months of work that finally sees the light of day and happy, happy readers. It’s a birthday and Christmas all rolled into one!
This is my second release with Sourcebooks Casablanca, and if you head on down to your local Barnes and Noble store (or even Target), you’ll find this one on the shelf. I don’t normally plug my paperbacks, but this one is all over the place in paperback, so if you happen to pick one up, I would LOVE it!! Something about the feel of a paperback in your hand, eh? Old school reading at its finest!
Now, on to Highland Defender and the h/h, Bane Morgan and Lucia Symington.
Boy, do they have a rough start.
This book has several LOL moments in it, which I love. If you’ve been following me, then you know I’ve written a lot of books. Over 100 now and counting. Each book is different – in some of them, we cry, in some, we laugh. It just depends on the storyline and the characters. This is one of those mixed books – you’re going to laugh sometimes and cry at others, but you’re going to come away from it with the warm and fuzzies. To me, that’s always the best take-away.
Here’s a little excerpt to wet your whistle:
“Bane?” she called, realizing she’d ruined her chance for another glimpse of naked buttocks. “May I come in?”
The panel flew open and Tynan was standing there, his eyes wide. “Bane needs a razor!” he said, bolting past her. “I’ll find him one!”
Lucia watched the boy dart across the stable yard. “Has he been in here since I left ye?” she asked.
Bane came to stand next to her, watching the child run off. “The entire time,” he said. “He likes tae talk.”
Lucia smiled faintly, knowing that to be true. “He’s a good lad,” she said. “He is a hard worker.”
“He’s a bit young for such hard work. His hands tell the tale.”
Lucia turned to reply to him, but the words caught in her throat. Bane was dressed in the smithy’s tunic and breeches, in clean clothes for the first time since they met. The breeches were a little snug, and the tunic a little roomy, but he looked clean and handsome.
She nodded her head in approval.
“It would seem that a bath and clean clothes have done wonders for ye,” she said.
Bane folded his big arms across his chest and leaned against the doorjamb. “More than ye know,” he said, rubbing the hair on his face. “I havena shaved in a very long time. It’s quite possible that my beard has become a nest for rodents.”
Lucia laughed softly, flashing straight and white teeth. “How cruel ye are tae destroy their home.”
“It was yer idea that I should bathe.”
“Are ye complaining?”
His eyes lingered on her, glittering. “Nay.”
As he looked at her, Lucia felt something she’d never felt before—a charge, like a bolt of lightning coursing through her body. The longer she looked at the man, the stronger the feeling became.
“Now ye might be able tae secure a position somewhere,” she said, trying to ignore that trembling feeling. “Ye said ye could shoe horses or build something. Now that ye dunna smell like piss, someone might give ye a job.”
He looked out into the yard. “What about here?”
“What do ye mean?”
“I’m good for many things,” he said. “Surely there’s something I can do around here?”
She looked at him in surprise because that idea had never crossed her mind. “Ye want tae stay here?”
“Why not? Ye’re here.”
There was something in his tone as he said it. Coupled with that glimmer in his dark eyes, Lucia was feeling quite…giddy. Men didn’t flirt with her; she was strong and independent, and perhaps never gave them the chance.
Therefore, this was quite new to her.
Truth be told, she didn’t know how to flirt. She was terrible when it came to the games that men and women played. She so wanted to respond in a way that would suggest she found him a wee bit attractive, too.
But she had no idea where to begin.
“I…I’m not here by choice,” she finally said. “I’m here because I must be here.”
“Is it such a terrible place, then?”
She shook her head. “Nay,” she said honestly. “Laird Currie is a good man. He’s very old and hard of hearing, and mayhap a bit mad because he keeps a family of pet rats, but he’s very kind. And Lady Currie…”
“That is the lady ye serve, is it?”
“Aye,” she said. “Lady Currie is young and pretty and full of life.”
He cocked his head curiously. “Laird Currie is very old and his wife is very young?”
Lucia nodded, thinking of the sad marriage of Laird and Lady Currie. “She is his second wife,” she said. “He wants a son very badly, enough that he married a young English woman after his wife died. But if she bears a son, it will not be his.”
“Why would you say that?”
Lucia leaned back against the wall. Perhaps she was about to say things that she shouldn’t, but Bane seemed easy to talk to. God knew she didn’t have many people to talk to in this prison of a place. Standing in close proximity to a man who made her feel strange and wonderful things had her tongue loosening.
“Because Lady Currie wants nothing tae do with her husband,” she said quietly. “Can ye imagine marrying someone and not even being friendly with him?”
Bane shook his head. “Nay,” he said honestly. “My parents were affectionate tae one another. That was the example set for me. I always hoped I would know the same, someday.”
“Ye’ve never been married?”
He shook his head. “Nay,” he said. “Ye?”
She grinned. “Do ye think I’d bring a stranger back tae my home if I was?”
He smiled because she was. “Nay,” he said. Then he sighed heavily, looking out over the rainy yard. “But I’m glad ye did. God knows, ye took a man ye dinna know and helped him. Mayhap it was just a bath, and just a basket with some bread and cheese, but ye dinna have tae do it. It is a kindness I can never repay ye.”
She looked at him seriously. “Ye said ye’ve been in Edinburgh for months,” she said. “Did ye ever have a position or a way tae make money? Or have ye been living in the alleys all this time?”
He looked at her, the glimmer in his eye dull. “I never had a position,” he said quietly. “I never even tried. I came tae Edinburgh… That’s not right. I dinna come. I ran. I ran tae Edinburgh.”
“Why did ye run?”
“What were ye escaping?”
He exhaled softly. “Myself.”
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