Price reduction and sneak peek on Highland Gladiator!

If you haven’t yet reserved your copy of Highland Gladiator, my first traditionally published novel, then now’s the time to grab it because of a temporary price reduction! Please enjoy this exclusive excerpt so you can have a peek into the world of Lor Careston and his lady-love, Isabail Keith. Such a great couple!

Enjoy!

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Lor continued to follow the lass. She finally came to a stop at a merchant who dealt in hides.  As he hid back in the crowd, watching, he could see the lass holding up the fine pelts she’d brought, negotiating a price with an old man who seemed to be smiling at her too much. At one point, he reached out and pinched her cheek.

She slapped him.

Lor laughed softly.

But the slap had turned the merchant against her and he waved her away, unwilling to buy her pelts now that she’d rejected his affection. Frustrated, and unhappy, the girl backed away from the store with her basket of pelts before finally turning away and slipping into an alleyway between the stalls.

Lor followed.

There were some residences behind the main merchant avenue and several big plots of land where the villagers cultivated their gardens. It smelled of animals and compost back here. Beyond the gardens was a grove of trees, a big one, with paths leading into it because more villagers lived back beyond the trees.

Suspecting that was where she was heading, Lor made his move.

As the woman entered the trees, Lor came up behind her with great stealth and snatched her basket all in one movement.

“Where are ye going, górach?” he said.

The woman gasped in outrage and perhaps even a little fear. As Lor stood there, his eyes glimmering with mirth, the woman  turned on him with considerable agility and balled her fists.

“Give me back my pelts,” she snarled.

Lor couldn’t help the smile on his lips now. It was indeed the lass from the Vale of Demons. She’d grown from a skinny, freckled girl into a lush and beautiful woman. She was quite beautiful, actually. He found himself staring at her pale skin and rosebud mouth, but that was the last thing he remembered before a fist came flying at his face.

Down he went.

The woman reached down and yanked the basket of pelts from his hands as Lor shook off the stars. He put his hand to his nose, noting a small bit of blood as she turned and continued her trek.

He lumbered to his feet.

“Wait,” he said. “I wasn’a trying tae rob ye. Don’t ye remember me?”

She came to a halt, turning to him warily. She looked him up and down. “Should I?”

He felt embarrassed that she didn’t recognize him as he’d recognized her. “It has been several years,” he said. “I was just a lad when we first met in the Vale of Morning. Ye called me górach and tried tae steal my birds’ eggs. Ye know… górach? Do ye remember now?”

She stared at him a moment before her eyes widened. “Górach,” she repeated slowly. “Birds’ eggs, ye say?”

“Aye. Ye tried tae take them from me but we made an agreement instead.”

Her mouth popped open as the memory came clear. “Ye promised tae bring me more!”

He nodded, grinning as he realized that she did, indeed, remember him. “I did.”

“Ye never brought them back.”

“But I dinna say when I’d bring ye the eggs. There’s still time.”

He’d caught her on a technicality. She eyed him with an  appraising expression, as she retraced her steps in his direction.

“’Tis true,” she said reluctantly. “So just when did ye intend tae?”

His smile broadened. “Soon,” he said. “But I’ve been very busy.”

“Doing what? Accosting women and stealing their baskets?”

He laughed softly, flashing big, white teeth. “Ye accosted me, once,” he said. “I was returning the favor.”

It was clear that she was trying very hard not to smile; he was rather witty and charming. “Górach,” she repeated softly when she came to within a foot of him, studying the man who’d grown from the boy she’d once remembered. “So it is yerself. Ye’ve grown up.”

“So have ye.”

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