Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: TO MARRY A TEXAS OUTLAW by Linda Broday

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TO MARRY A TEXAS OUTLAW (Men of Legend, Book 3) by Linda Broday

Publication Date: November 7, 2017

Genre: Historical Western Romance

Synopsis

5048D2B0-F399-455B-A45F-0B941561ADFEThree Brothers. One Oath.

No Compromises.

The MEN of LEGEND

The Outlaw

Outlaw Luke Weston survives by his wits. On the run for a murder he didn’t commit, the last thing he needs is to go looking for more trouble. But when Luke stumbles across a fiercely beautiful woman struggling against two heavily armed men, it’s obvious that trouble has found him.

After all, he never could resist a damsel in distress.

Josie Morgan’s distressed, all right—and hopping mad. She has no idea why she’s been kidnapped…or who she is…or why her body melts for the mysterious gunslinger who saved her life. But as the lost memories come tumbling back together, Josie is faced with the stark reality of why she and Luke can never be…even as her heart is telling her she will always be his.

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Excerpt

Lawmen surrounded the wagon and forced them to stop.

“Morning, gentlemen,” Luke drawled. “Mind getting out of our way?”

“We’re looking for a woman.” The old sheriff had a crooked nose that must’ve been broken countless times.

“The only one I’ve seen is—”

“Me. His wife,” Rose interrupted and gazed with what she hoped was adoration up at Luke. “Don’t be shy saying it, sweetheart. But it’s still sort of new, I reckon.” She cupped his jaw and turned to the riders. “You see, we were married two weeks ago and we’re on our honeymoon. My darling sugarplum promised to take me to Fort Worth.”

She pressed her lips to his in a long, searing kiss. He didn’t respond for a moment, then shock and thrilling tingles rippled over her as he kissed her back. When she parted her mouth, he slipped his tongue inside as bold as you please. His hand curled just under her breast and sent waves of aching hunger through her.

“Ahem,” one of lawmen said. “We need a word if you don’t mind.”

“Oh, dear sir, but we do mind,” she murmured against Luke’s mouth. “Very strenuously.”

“Damn, woman,” Luke whispered. “Aren’t you overdoing it?”

“Me?” she argued low. “What was the tongue for?”

“Added effect.” His eyes held a devilish gleam.

“Sorry, ma’am,” another of the posse tried. “Give us a quick word and we’ll be on our way.”

Luke raised his head. “My wife Rose is very…passionate. Why are you looking for this other woman?”

“She murdered her husband last night, mister.”

Rose gasped. “My heavens, how horrible. Did she shoot him?”

“Oh no, ma’am, nothing that tame,” said the lawman with the mole. “She gutted him.”

“Where did this take place?” Luke asked, nuzzling Rose’s neck.

“Doan’s Crossing.”

Rose stiffened in panic.

“Careful,” Luke whispered. “Just a little longer.”

“Do you know her name by chance?” Rose asked quietly.

“Josie. Josie Morgan,” the man answered. “From the description, she’s the spitting image of you, ma’am.”

She shivered even as Luke’s arm tightened around her. Could she have done something like that? Was she a murderess?

“If we happen to spot her, we’ll report it to the first lawman,” Luke promised. “Now, if you don’t mind, we have somewhere to be and my wife, bless her sweet soul, is a very impatient woman.” He winked at the posse. “You fellows remember what it was like to be newly married, don’t you?”

A murmur of agreement came from the group.

Rose glanced down and her heart pounded to see the duster had slipped, exposing a big portion of her bloody skirt. Slowly, so as not to draw the lawmen’s gaze, she tried to tug the shield back into place.

“Say, don’t I know you, mister?” One of the lawmen in the back, a younger man, moved forward, staring at Luke. “What’s your name?”

Rose held her breath as Luke’s hand inched slowly down toward his Colt. Desperate to draw the riders’ attention, she loosened the top buttons of her dress and moved the fabric aside. “My goodness, I’m so hot!” She touched her cheek with a fingertip and drew it painstakingly down the long column of her throat, past her collarbone and into her cleavage. The young lawman swallowed hard.

“Name’s Jones. I’m from Tascosa,” Luke drawled. “The town’s wild and woolly but it’s where I met my beautiful Rose and tied the knot.”

“I never thought I’d ever find such a handsome man to give me a second look.” Rose batted her eyelashes. “Ours is a match made in heaven.”

“I must be mistaken.” The young man turned aside, mumbling to himself.

The hawk-nosed marshal leaned over. “There’s a lot of blood on your dress, ma’am. What happened?”

Panic raced through Rose. “Blood? Oh, good heavens no!” She forced a giggle. “This is nothing but red mud. My mama always complained about the North Texas red dirt and was never able to get it to wash out of anything.”

The marshal’s white brow lifted in apparent skepticism.

Luke quietly added, “My wife likes to make love in the…uh, creek. It’s really embarrassing to talk about.”

She patted his vest. “Sweetheart, these men don’t have time to be gossiping like that! They simply have to find that Morgan woman before she kills again.”

The men shook their heads, chuckling, but one leaned forward for a better view.

“Sorry to have held you up.” The old sheriff touched the brim of his hat and the group galloped off, kicking up a cloud of dust around the wagon.

Luke jiggled the reins and the team began to move. “What the hell was that back there?”

Her spine stiffened. “What do you mean?”

“Attacking me like that.”

“Wait one minute. If I recall, you didn’t appear to object.”

“You enjoyed every second of that,” Luke accused.

“And you didn’t?”

Luke glanced back to check on the lawmen. “Where did that performance come from?”

“I noticed a spark of recognition in that young one’s eyes and I knew I had to save you. He was a step away from arresting you.” She thought he’d at least be grateful for her efforts.

“Don’t ever try to save me again.” Luke’s voice held a sharp edge. “I’ll only get you hurt—or dig you a grave.”

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of To Love a Texas Ranger by Linda Broday!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

Linda Broday_newAt a young age, LINDA BRODAY discovered a love for storytelling, history, and anything pertaining to the Old West. Cowboys fascinate her. There’s something about Stetsons, boots, and tall rugged cowboys that get her fired up. A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Linda has won many awards, including the prestigious National Readers’ Choice Award and the Texas Gold Award. She resides in the Texas Panhandle and is inspired every day.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Release Blitz & Giveaway: ONCE UPON A MAIDEN LANE: A Maiden Lane Novella #12.5 by Elizabeth Hoyt

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ONCE UPON A MAIDEN LANE: A Maiden Lane Novella #12.5 by Elizabeth Hoyt

Publication Date: November 14, 2017

Genre: Historical Romance 

Synopsis
22222438-21D2-4F67-AB97-7812F0C2DA3EA stand-alone novella from New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Hoyt!

Miss Mary Whitsun is far too intelligent to fall for the rakish charms of a handsome aristocrat. But when the gentleman in question approaches her in a bookshop, mistaking her for his fiancée, Lady Johanna Albright, the flirtatious encounter only raises more questions. Could Mary, a servant raised in a St Giles orphanage, actually be Lady Joanna’s long-lost twin sister? If so, Mary has been betrothed since birth—to the rakishly handsome artistocrat himself . . .

Henry Collins, Viscount Blackwell, is far too intrigued by Mary to let her go so easily. He’s drawn to her sharp mind, indomitable spirit, and the fiery way in which she dismisses him—ladies simply don’t dismiss Lord Blackwell. But as Mary makes her first hesitant steps into society, she can’t help but wonder if she truly has a place in Henry’s world—or in his heart.

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Buy Links

$1.99 Kindle | iBooks | B&N | Kobo

Amazon Series Link

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Giveaway

Enter win 1 of 15 ebook copies of Wicked Intentions: https://app.viralsweep.com/view_widget/f7f735-26452

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About the Author

95707554-CB49-49DC-876B-0D4F5A7FDC89Elizabeth Hoyt is the New York Times bestselling author of over seventeen lush historical romances including the Maiden Lane series. Publishers Weekly has called her writing “mesmerizing.” She also pens deliciously fun contemporary romances under the name Julia Harper. Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with three untrained dogs, a garden in constant need of weeding, and the long-suffering Mr. Hoyt.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

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Review: SOMEONE TO WED: A Westcott Novel by Mary Barlogh

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SOMEONE TO WED: A Westcott Novel, Book 3 by Mary Barlogh

Publication Date: November 7, 2017

Genre: Historical Romance

Synopsis

E058670F-61A8-4FBB-8FBA-4CA8FB8D336CA very practical marriage makes Alexander Westcott question his heart in the latest Regency romance from the New York Times bestselling author of Someone to Hold.

When Alexander Westcott becomes the new Earl of Riverdale, he inherits a title he never wanted and a failing country estate he can’t afford. But he fully intends to do everything in his power to undo years of neglect and give the people who depend on him a better life. . . .

A recluse for more than twenty years, Wren Heyden wants one thing out of life: marriage. With her vast fortune, she sets her sights on buying a husband. But when she makes the desperate—and oh-so-dashing—earl a startlingly unexpected proposal, Alex will only agree to a proper courtship, hoping for at least friendship and respect to develop between them. He is totally unprepared for the desire that overwhelms him when Wren finally lifts the veils that hide the secrets of her past. . . .

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Cori 4 Stars

I enjoyed SOMEONE TO WED. It’s a Historical Regency romance that makes a great winter read to snuggle up with and get swept away in for a while. SOMEONE TO WED is the third book in Mary Barlogh’s Westcott Series. I haven’t read the series but the hero is in previous books so I’m planning to go back and read them.  This book grew on and surprised me. I didn’t like the heroine at first and almost set the book aside, but the more I learned about her the more I grew to understand and like her. Alex and Wren had a practical agreement for marriage and there wasn’t much steamy romance in this book. I thought their relationship grew slowly. I enjoy Mary Barlogh’s writing style and she creates characters readers can relate to. I recommend this book for historical romance lovers looking for a good regency romance.

*Review copy provided by Penguin in exchange for an honest review.

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback 

Amazon Series Link

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About the Author

Mary Balogh is the New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Slightly novels: Slightly Married, Slightly Wicked, Slightly Scandalous, Slightly Tempted, Slightly Sinful, and Slightly Dangerous, as well as the romances No Man’s Mistress, More than a Mistress, and One Night for Love. She is also the author of Simply Love, Simply Unforgettable, Simply Magic, and Simply Perfect, her dazzling quartet of novels set at Miss Martin’s School for Girls. A former teacher herself, she grew up in Wales and now lives in Canada.

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Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: NO OTHER DUKE WILL DO by Grace Burrowes

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NO OTHER DUKE WILL DO (Windham Brides, Book 2) NO OTHER DUKE WILL DO by Grace Burrowes

Publication Date: November 7, 2017

Genre: Historical Romance 

Synopsis

079027E6-D265-4EB6-88B5-5650A7EAF27AJulian St. David, Duke of Haverford, is barely keeping his head above water in a sea of inherited debts. Though he has a long-term plan to restore the family finances, his sister has a much faster solution: host a house party for London’s single young ladies and find Julian a wealthy bride.

Elizabeth Windham has no interest in marriage, but a recent scandal has forced her hand. As much as she’d rather be reading Shakespeare than husband-hunting, she has to admit she’s impressed by Julian’s protective instincts, broad shoulders, and, of course, his vast library.

As the two spend more time together, their attraction is overwhelming, unexpected… and absolutely impossible. With meddling siblings, the threat of financial ruin, and gossips lurking behind every potted palm, will they find true love or true disaster?

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Excerpt

“I still want to kiss you, Elizabeth. Rather a lot.”
​“That sentiment is mutual,” she said, setting off at a brisk pace. “But where is it written that friends can never kiss, or otherwise express their attraction to each other?”
​“It ought to be written somewhere,” Haverford said, “in great bold copperplate. Kissing leads to—”
​“I know where it leads, Your Grace, in the general case. The destination has been sadly unimpressive on past visits. I’d like to explore where kissing leads with you.”
​“You are—”
​“I am lonely too.” And doubtless bound for marriage to some charming, boring viscount with clammy hands.
​“—quite fierce about this friendship business.” His gaze was on the castle, and Elizabeth suspected he was trying not to smile.
​“I’m quite fierce about everything.” And only now coming to admit it.
​“We shall be fierce friends then, for the duration of a house party. One shudders to think what mischief… What the devil is he doing here?”
​A coach and four was rattling up the drive a quarter of a mile away. The horses were all white, exactly matched for gait and height, and pulling a black coach with red wheels. A single trunk was affixed to the back, though no crest adorned the door.
​“It appears you’ve a late arriving guest.” Or a bad fairy calling on the party, based on Haverford’s expression.
​“Not a guest, a problem. A most unwelcome problem.”

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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Giveaway

Ten (10) Mass Market Copies of NO OTHER DUKE WILL DO

https://app.viralsweep.com/view_widget/cdd6e2-26647

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About the Author

705CACAA-28DE-47CA-A77F-DAE11C6F1DC4Grace Burrowes grew up in central Pennsylvania and is the sixth out of seven children. She discovered romance novels when in junior high (back when there was such a thing), and has been reading them voraciously ever since. Grace has a bachelor’s degree in political science, a bachelor of music in music history, (both from Pennsylvania State University); a master’s degree in conflict transformation from Eastern Mennonite University; and a juris doctor from the National Law Center at the George Washington University.

Grace writes Georgian, Regency, Scottish Victorian, and contemporary romances in both novella and novel lengths. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America, and enjoys giving workshops and speaking at writers’ conferences. She also loves to hear from her readers, and can be reached through her website or her social channels.

Author Information:
Author Website: http://bit.ly/2hs2SWI
Facebook: http://bit.ly/2gSqLaW
Twitter: http://bit.ly/2hDevsc
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2hWqoYS

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Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: THIRD SON’S A CHARM by Shana Galen

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THIRD SON’S A CHARM (The Survivors Book 1) by Shana Galen

Publication Date: November 7, 2017

Genre: Historical Romance

Synopsis

E5CD2001-CA5A-4E1C-A2FE-AD08D3184821Ewan Mostyn thinks a job as a duke’s daughter’s bodyguard will be easy—but Lady Lorraine has a few tricks up her sleeve that spark an undeniable passion

Fiercely loyal to his friends and comrades, Ewan Mostyn is the toughest in a group of younger sons of nobility who met as soldiers and are now trying desperately to settle back into peaceful Society. Ewan trusts his brawn more than his brains, but when he’s offered a job watching the Duke of Ridlington’s stubbornly independent daughter, he finds both are challenged.

Lady Lorraine wants none of her father’s high-handed ways, and she’ll do everything in her power to avoid her distressingly attractive bodyguard—until she lands herself in real trouble. Lorraine begins to see Ewan’s protectiveness in a new light, and she can only hope that her stoic guardian will do for her what he’s always done—fight for what he loves.

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Excerpt

Lady Lorraine manages to sneak off to meet Francis, her would-be-lover in the garden. Ewan Mostyn tracks them down and interrupts Lady Lorraine trying to convince Francis to kiss her.

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“Kiss me,” she said, looking up at Francis with adoring eyes the bastard did not deserve in the least. “I could wait forever if you would but kiss me.”
It was perhaps the silliest speech Ewan had ever heard. It was the sort of thing he expected one of Beaumont’s women to say, and yet despite the melodrama of the sentiment, at that moment Ewan hated Francis more than he ever had when his cousin had been his daily tormentor.
His loathing was so strong and so incomprehensible that Ewan regained control of his body and stepped out from behind the topiary.
Francis saw him first, and he stiffened and stepped back, putting a respectable distance between himself and Lady Lorraine. His expression was wary and, to Ewan’s satisfaction, frightened. The lady spun around as well, but her face showed no fear, only annoyance. She gave a long sigh. “Mr. Mostyn, I believe you know your cousin, Mr. Mostyn.”
“Ewan.” Francis looked him up and down. “We seem to keep meeting. Run along now. Lady Lorraine and I were having a private word.”
Ewan held out his hand to Lady Lorraine. “Come.”
“I see your vocabulary remains much the same,” Francis remarked. “As I’m certain you will use your simple grunts and growls to inform His Grace about this meeting, be sure to mention that I did nothing improper.”
“More’s the pity,” Lady Lorraine muttered. “At least the lecture and scolding would have been worth it.”
Ewan had the urge to laugh. Instead, he beckoned her with his outstretched hand. She did not take it. “I am not a dog, Mr. Mostyn. You needn’t crook your finger at me.”
Francis bowed. “I see I am no longer needed. My lady, sleep well tonight. I will see you…soon.” With what Ewan perceived was to be a meaningful look, Francis marched in the direction of Carlton House.
Since the lady seemed to have such an objection to them, Ewan folded his arms across his chest. He waited for her to speak. He felt he should say something, but he was not certain what that something should be. He had supposed Francis to be taking advantage of the lady, while it appeared she was the one intent on ruination. Francis was no paragon of honor and virtue, and Ewan would have liked little more than to beat the man to a pulp. But he could not fault his cousin for the scene he’d witnessed tonight.
“You won’t tell my father, will you?” Lady Lorraine finally broke the silence.
Ewan let out a breath of surprised air—half laugh, half incredulity.
The lady grasped his forearm. “If you do, it will not only doom me, but it will reflect badly on you as well.”
Ewan inclined his head, acknowledging the point. He’d made mistakes before, and he always took his punishment like a man. He was not much of a gentleman, but he had retained enough of his upbringing to know that one did not lie or cheat to avoid trouble. One faced the consequences of his mistakes with head held high. “Then so be it.”
She gaped at him. “You do not even care? You will be dismissed.”
Ewan blew out a breath. He did care. He cared very much, much more than he wanted to admit to.
Her hand on his forearm tightened, and he looked down at her. The damned chit was shivering with cold. Ewan was impervious to all but the coldest temperatures, but she looked almost blue. “Very well. Tell him. Nothing happened anyway.”
“Not for your lack of trying. I should tell your father you don’t need a bodyguard. You need to be locked in a convent.”
Now her eyes narrowed, and she released his arm as though it were filth she could not bear to touch any longer. “So now I am to be censured by you?”
He frowned at her. “Why not me?”
“Are you married?”
The question took him off guard. Conversation with women generally had the effect of unsettling him. He could never predict where their maze-like minds might wander. Conversation with men began at point A and ended at point B. Women often meandered to C then R and back to L before coming to the point.
“It is a simple question, Mr. Mostyn. Are you married?”
He shook his head.
“I didn’t think so. Are you a virgin?”
Ewan gaped at her. The question was so wildly inappropriate that, in his opinion, she had abandoned the points of the alphabet all together.
She waved a hand. “Yes, I know I am not supposed to ask you that, but humor me. I am making a point. Just answer yes or no.”
He shook his head as he did not trust his voice at the moment.
“Of course you are not. And yet no one thinks anything of the fact that you have bedded a woman who is not your wife. If I had to guess, with those eyes and those shoulders and chest”—she looked him up and down, and he actually felt himself heat at her frank perusal—“I imagine you have bedded more than your share of women.”
Ewan’s head was spinning at the rapidity of her speech, but what he did understand was that she had just complimented him. She admired his body, and the thought of her eyes on him caused him to have to take a breath. His chest felt tight and he lifted his hand to loosen the goddamn cravat before he remembered where he was.
“Of course,” she went on, “it is seen as perfectly natural for a man to want to kiss a woman, touch her, undress her, take her to bed, and—”
Ewan cleared his throat, not only because the already inappropriate conversation had descended beyond the pale, but because her description of the intimacies between men and women made him think of doing those things with her. And now the woman had not only fired his blood but stirred his rod. If she continued in this vein, his state of growing arousal would be evident to both of them.
“My point,” she said—and thank God she was finally reaching it—“is that it is considered natural for men to want these things, but when a woman wants them, then we should be locked away.” She gestured wildly with her hand, losing hold of her wrap so it slid to the ground and trailed after her as she paced. “What is so wrong with wanting a man to kiss me?” She gave Ewan a direct look, challenging him to give her an answer.

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

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Giveaway

Shana Galen Prize Pack with Wine Charm

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

imageShana Galen is the national bestselling author of fast-paced adventurous Regency historicals, including the RT Reviewers’ Choice The Making of a Gentleman. Her books have been sold in Brazil, Russia, and the Netherlands and featured in the Rhapsody and Doubleday Book Clubs. A former English teacher in Houston’s inner city, Shana now writes full time. She is a happily married wife and mother of a daughter and a spoiled cat and lives in Houston, Texas.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Release Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway: THE SCOT’S BRIDE (Highland Heirs) by Paula Quinn

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THE SCOT’S BRIDE (Highland Heirs) by Paula Quinn

Publication Date: October 31, 2017

Genre: Historical Romance

Synopsis

2A2215F7-F49D-406D-9E42-3C327240B8B4AN IRRESISTIBLE SCOUNDREL

Highlander Patrick MacGregor likes his life just the way it is. Fighting for his coin, enjoying a woman’s charms, and bearing no responsibility at all? Aye, that’s the life for him. That is, until Patrick sees her-a raven-haired beauty with eyes as dark as midnight. Patrick swore never to fall in love. Not even with a lass as wild as he…especially when she’s from a rival clan.

AN UNDENIABLE DESIRE

Charlotte Cunningham knows Patrick is trouble the moment she sets eyes on him. Her only goal is to escape the possibility of marriage. Any marriage. But as the summer days turn into sultry nights, enticing her beyond reason, Charlie is forced to choose between the freedom she craves and the reckless rogue she can’t forget.

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D8471193-3FF1-4487-A6C8-48D75D015B1E Continue reading

Spotlight, Guest Post & Giveaway: HIGHLAND PROMISE by Alyson McLayne

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HIGHLAND PROMISE (The Sons of Gregor MacLeod Book 1) by Alyson McLayne

Publication Date: October 3, 2017

Genre: Historical Romance

Synopsis

9210840E-B4E2-4221-90E3-3E024B36C7B5Five boys destined to become Highland lairds are fostered together as brothers. Darach, Lachlan, Callum, Gavin and Kerr fight for their clans, for each other, and for their own true loves.

When forced to choose between duty and honor…
Darach MacKenzie vowed never again to let a woman near his heart after his betrothed betrayed him. It sparked an intense feud between his clan and the Frasers. With all-out war on the wind, Darach can’t be distracted—not even by a sweet and charming lass who desperately needs his help.

This Highland Laird will find a way to have both
When Darach rescued Caitlin MacInnes from the clutches of vile Laird Fraser, she vowed to never let men or misery rule her life again. With Darach and the MacKenzie clan, Caitlin finally feels safe. But when Laird Fraser shows up to claim what’s rightfully his, or go to war, Darach will have to use all his brawn and brains to protect Caitlin—even if it means losing his heart.

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Buy Links

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

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Author Guest Post

Letter to the Reader

Hello Lovely Readers!!

My name is Alyson McLayne, and I can’t tell you how excited I am to introduce you to my book, HIGHLAND PROMISE, a Scottish Highlander Romantic Adventure!

It’s the first book in my historical romance series, THE SONS OF GREGOR MACLEOD, starring five Highland Lairds, who were fostered together as lads to become brothers. Darach, Lachlan, Callum, Gavin, and Kerr fight for their clans, for each other, and for their own true love.

These Highland Lairds are a band of brothers, who will defend each other to the death—if they don’t kill each other first with their sharp wit and hilarious banter. They take their oaths seriously, whether it’s to bring peace to the Highlands and defend one another as friends and allies, or to razz each other so hard, only one brother is left standing—and then they’ll take him down too.

And the women they love? They have spirit, and tenacity, and they take care of others before they take care of themselves. They’re all different—their backgrounds, their struggles, their interests and talents—but at the core of each woman is a strength, compassion, and a capacity to love that brings their man to his knees.

Totally. Slayed.

Before I tell you about HIGHLAND PROMISE, here’s a little about me. I live on the west coast of Canada with my adorable (aka annoying) 5 year old boy/girl twins; my sweet yet sarcastic husband (who just said he’s not sarcastic at all, he’s ironic!); my counter-surfing puppy, Jasper, who turns one year old the same day HIGHLAND PROMISE debuts (Happy Birthday, baby!!); and my 86 year old dad who gets a look on his face every time it’s mentioned there are—gasp—sex scenes in my books…but then goes on to tell me young people (meaning me) did not invent sex.

Ears…burning…must pour…hot oil…inside…

Speaking of ears, as I’m writing this, I have ear plugs in because my son is beside me in my office (aka my bedroom) building a fort under the covers on the bed, while my Slytherin-declaring daughter waits to knock it down, which results in WW3; Jasper hovers at the edge, barking, until he can’t stand it anymore and jumps onto the bed with the monsters, er, I mean children; my husband comes in and says something “ironic” about the chaos; and I stare fiercely at my computer screen determined to ignore it ALL—and thanking God my dad can turn his hearing aids OFF.

Just grist for the mill…grist for the mill…said all writer-moms everywhere.

Okay. Onto the important part: HIGHLAND PROMISE! I started writing HIGHLAND PROMISE almost 10 years ago after reading ALL of Julie Garwood’s medieval-set historicals, most of which were set in the Highlands. I LOVED them. I don’t read a lot of books over and over, but I did hers. I found them completely captivating.

I think HIGHLAND PROMISE captures that same tone and spirit: Caitlin MacInnes is the archetypal Waif/Free Spirit who turns the archetypal Chieftain, Laird Darach MacKenzie’s life upside down—and then spins it around and dribbles with it for a while. As Lachlan MacKay, Darach’s foster-brother, says of Darach’s and Caitlin’s courtship:

“I doona know when I’ve laughed so much as watching Darach trying to control [Caitlin] over the past few weeks. Her intentions are good, but she’s trouble. It follows her around like a faithful hound.”

Darach is undone by her. His heart, which he swore he’d NEVER give to another woman, is torn from his body and becomes putty in her hands. Of course, he doesn’t know that at first, and even when he finally figures it out, he doesn’t tell her—he’s a warrior, a leader of his people, not a poet. And Caitlin, who is determined to make Darach happy whether he wants her to or not, doesn’t believe there’s any possible way she can stay with him. She needs to leave the Highlands immediately and find her mother’s family in France.

’Cause there’s a whole lotta trouble on her tail (some might call it a shite storm—haha!) heading straight for Darach. But what Caitlin fails to realize is that Darach, along with his brothers and their clans, is strong enough to handle it.

War is coming. Caitlin didn’t start the blood feud between the Frasers and the MacKenzies, nay, Laird Fraser and his sister, Darach’s former betrothed, did that, but she will be the catalyst that ends it—pinning the good men of the Highlands against a monster.

And hopefully winning.

(Well of course they win, and of course Darach and Caitlin live happily ever after—it’s a romance, after all!!)

Now go—before I start rambling and give too much away. Read the words and feel the feels. Fall in love with both Darach and Caitlin…and prepare yourself for Lachlan’s story next.

Smooches,

Alyson McLayne

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Giveaway

5 Copies of HIGHLAND PROMISE

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

473EEA56-C0D2-4DCF-BD66-F43EAB222D55A stay-at-home mom of twins and award-winning writer, Alyson McLayne is a dog lover and cat servant with a serious stash of dark chocolate. After getting her degree in theater at the University of Alberta, she promptly moved to the west coast where she worked in film for several years and met her Prop Master husband.

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Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: LAST GENTLEMAN STANDING by Jane Ashford

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LAST GENTLEMAN STANDING by Jane Ashford

Publication Date: September 5, 2017

Genre: Historical Romance

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last gentleman standing coverA fortune hunter’s dream…

Miss Elisabeth Elham is an unlikely heiress. She never knew the curmudgeonly uncle who died suddenly and left her a fortune. She’s proud, outspoken and independent—a definite challenge for London’s fortune hunting suitors.

As various determined gentlemen vie for her attention at balls, routs, picnics and parties, Elisabeth finds herself embroiled with a charming rake, a mysterious nabob, and an elegant neighbor. This would all be great fun, if only she wasn’t so fascinated by the one man in London who’s not trying to woo her…

Rediscover this classic Regency romance! Originally titled Bluestocking, this classic story has been unavailable for over 25 years and is now returning from the vault!

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Elisabeth had recrossed a stile and was traversing an open field when she heard hoofbeats behind her. Turning, she was just in time to see the rider urge his magnificent chestnut up and over the fence she had just climbed. The form of both was flawless, and she forgot herself in her admiration of the jump, watching unself-consciously, as the horseman approached her.
The chestnut had white feet and was one of the most beautiful and spirited animals she’d ever seen. He moved with the ease and power of a true thoroughbred and might have made almost any rider appear insignificant, but the man on his back matched his quality. He looked to be tall, and his figure was well-molded and athletic. His buckskin breeches fitted him to perfection, and his coat fairly cried out its fashionable origin in the workrooms of a Weston or a Stultz. Elisabeth had seen a few gentlemen of the haut ton in Bath, and she knew enough to recognize that the deceptive simplicity of the folds of his cravat and the carefully casual arrangement of his hair were the signs of a veritable tulip, a top-of-the-trees corinthian. At that moment, she met his slightly mocking gaze and looked down in confusion, recalling herself with annoyance. She had been gaping like a schoolgirl, she thought.
The rider pulled up before her. “I almost feel I’ve been in a competition,” he said. His voice was deep and resonant. “I hope you gave me full points for that jump.”
Elisabeth looked up. His eyes were pale blue, she noted, in spite of his black hair and rather dark complexion. “I was staring quite rudely, I know,” she replied. “I beg your pardon. But I was transfixed by the way your horse took that fence.”
The man patted the chestnut’s neck, “He’s wonderful, is Tristram.”
“Tristram?” repeated Elisabeth, smiling. “That’s an uncommon name for a horse. Do you take it from Tristram Shandy?”
The rider looked at her with much more interest than he’d first shown. “Yes, I’m fond of Sterne.”
“Oh, it is my favorite of all books. I thought hardly anyone read it now.”
He smiled back at her somewhat quizzically. “And I should hardly have thought it fit reading for young ladies.” He surveyed her. He was the despair of his mother and several aunts, who had all at one time or another introduced to him dazzling debutantes calculated to urge him into marriage. But though he’d treated them politely, he’d been extremely bored in their company and really had very little notion of what to say to conventional young women. Seeing that Elisabeth was a bit uncomfortable under his gaze, he continued, “But then I rarely find young ladies wandering about my land unattended. So I can’t quite make you out. Are you someone’s governess, perhaps? Do you teach your pupils from Sterne?” His amused smile faded as he went on before she could answer. “No, that doesn’t seem right.”
Looking down at her drab garments, Elisabeth laughed. “I’m sure I don’t know why you say so. I do look very like a governess. In fact, until a few weeks ago, I was a teacher at a seminary for young ladies. Now that my uncle has obligingly left me his fortune, I shall have to change my style of dress.”
“Uncle?” he asked. His eyes narrowed. “You can’t mean old Anthony Elham? I heard of his death.”
“Yes. I am Elisabeth Elham. Though it is not at all the thing to go about introducing oneself to strange men,” she told herself reflectively.
The rider laughed. “I hope I’m not strange. But I beg pardon. I should have made myself known to you immediately. I am your neighbor, Derek Wincannon. Do you mean to say that old Elham has left you Willowmere?”
Elisabeth shrugged. “It is part of the estate. And a very ramshackle part, I must say. I have never seen so neglected a house.”
“It’s the scandal of the neighborhood,” said Mr. Wincannon. “Your uncle was a shocking landlord and a worse neighbor.”
“From what I heard of him,” answered Elisabeth, “he was uniformly shocking. I’m rather sorry I never met him.” The man laughed again. “But in any case, you may inform the neighborhood that I shall be putting the place to rights as soon as I may.”
“That’s good news. Will you be settling there?”
“No. At least, not immediately. I shall live in London for a time, at Elham House.”
“For the season, I assume.”
“Yes, I’ll be bringing out my cousin.”
You are bringing out someone? I’d have thought it would be the other way about.”
“Oh, no,” Elisabeth smiled. “I’m beyond that sort of thing. Quite on the shelf, in fact,” she added lightly.
“I see it now,” he responded dryly, “a veritable antique. How can I have mistaken you for girl in her twenties?”
She laughed. “Well, I daresay I shall attend a few parties also, if I’m asked.”
He smiled. “There can be little doubt of that, I should think. You’ll wish to sample the gaities of the season and attend the assemblies at Almack’s.”
“Almack’s? Oh, no, I shouldn’t think so.”
He raised his eyebrows.
“My father used to tell me stories about London, and he was most severe on Almack’s. He called it the Marriage Mart and painted such a vivid picture of the trials young girls undergo as they are catalogued and labeled according to their faces and fortunes that he gave me quite a horror of the place. I don’t at all wish to go there now.”
Mr. Wincannon’s interest was definitely caught. “Now?”
“Well, of course I might have done so some years ago had I been offered the opportunity,” Elisabeth explained obligingly. “When one is thrown penniless upon the world at the age of nineteen, one is willing to try any shift to come about again. I was very willing then to marry to make my fortune. But I wasn’t given the chance, and how fortunate that was, really. For now, you see, there is no need.”
Derek Wincannon laughed. “You are a most unusual girl,” he said.
“Because I prefer to order my own life now that I have the means to do so?” asked Elisabeth. “I’m persuaded you can’t really think so. Would you give up your independence without need? No indeed. When I was desperate and might have married, no one dared offer for me. I certainly won’t encourage anyone to do so now that I have an income.”
“Much good that will do you, I should say.”

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After enjoying this classic romance, dive into Jane Ashford’s current series, The Dukes Sons! Enter to win a copy of Heir to the Duke by Jane Ashford

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JANE ASHFORD, a beloved author of historical romances, has been published in Sweden, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, and Spain, as well as the United States. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

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Release Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway: A GENTLEMAN NEVER SURRENDERS by Lauren Smith

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A GENTLEMAN NEVER SURRENDERS (Sins and Scandals Book 2) by Lauren Smith

Publication Date: September 12, 2017

Genre: Historical Romance

Synopsis

Smith_AGentlemanNeverSurrenders_ebookLove is worth a little scandal.

Owen Hadley needs a wife. Preferably a wealthy one. Alas, there aren’t a great number of heiresses willing to marry a rogue of no particular fortune—luckily, if there is ever a gentleman capable of melting a lady’s chilly heart, it’s Owen.

Milly has had enough of the marriage mart. If matrimony means giving up her freedom for a foppish husband, then society can take their idea of marital bliss and toss it. But when the ton’s most notorious rogue mistakenly makes his way into her bedchambers, Milly finds herself unexpectedly and unwillingly at the altar . . .

Yet the more time she spends with her new husband, the more Milly starts to wonder if the marriage she never wanted may be the best thing that’s ever happened to her. Now it’s up to Owen to convince Milly that what started as a mistake is anything but—and that every night with him will be more wonderfully scandalous than the last.

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Excerpt

Milly climbed onto the bed and pulled the bedclothes up around her chest and sighed. The bed was so large, and rather lonely. Usually she didn’t let such a melancholy thought bother her, but tonight for some reason, it did. There was a dull ache in her chest and she rubbed the spot with her hand. Somewhere tonight, Mr. Hadley was likely climbing into bed, dreaming of all the young ladies’ hearts he would steal and break. A treacherous little flutter in her chest made Milly wince. She ought not to think of Hadley, certainly not while she was in bed…yet thinking of him, as frustrating and maddeningly irritating as he was, flushed her with a welcome heat in the chilly room.
The oil lamp beside her bed was the only light left in the room and it burned steadily. Often she read late into the night and forgot to turn it off, but tonight she was too tired to read. She reached over and gently twisted the brass knob to kill the little flame. Darkness absorbed the dying light and Milly flipped onto her back. The cold of the sheets almost stung her bare toes and legs when her nightdress rode up to her knees. A cold bed, an empty bed. It shouldn’t have upset her, but after Mr. Hadley’s talk of heat and summer, she was off balance and bothered.
The mere thought of him and the way his eyes had darkened and seemed to shimmer with inner flames brought on another rush of warmth. His eyes, like honeyed fire, and his lips, the way he’d smiled sardonically, almost mockingly, in a way she rather liked, irritated her, yet fascinated her. There was no reason to like a man’s mouth or to imagine what it might be like to have that mouth pressed to hers in a kiss that caused the heat he was so fond of discussing. She knew his kiss would be hot, because when she thought of it, her body blossomed with a swelling of heat in her belly. His mouth is wicked…sinful…and I hate that I wish to know how he tastes. It was a forbidden thought, but one she couldn’t deny. She rolled over onto her stomach, fluffed her pillow, and squeezed her eyes shut, attempting to will herself to sleep. It was going to be a long night.

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Buy Links

Kindle $1.99 http://amzn.to/2gVSNQ4
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Giveaway

Enter to win 1 of 15 free ebook downloads of A Gentleman Never Surrenders!

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About the Author

LAUREN SMITH, winner of the 2014 Historical International Digital Award, attended Oklahoma State University, where she earned a B.A. in both history and political science. Drawn to paintings and museums, Lauren is obsessed with antiques and satisfies her fascination with history by writing and exploring exotic, ancient lands. She is currently an attorney in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: HIGHLAND DRAGON WARRIOR by Isabel Cooper

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HIGHLAND DRAGON WARRIOR (Dawn of the Highland Dragon, Book 1) by Isabel Cooper

Publication Date: September 5, 2017

Genre: Historical Paranormal Romance

Synopsis

9781492632030-PRLegend claims when Scotland fell to English rule the Highland dragons took a vow:
Freedom at any price.

The war may be over, but so long as English magic controls the Highlands, not even a dragon laird can keep his clan safe. What Cathal MacAlasdair needs is a warrior fierce enough to risk everything, yet gifted enough to outwit an enemy more monster than man.

What he needs is Sophia.

Alchemist Sophia Metzger traveled to Loch Arach in search of knowledge. She never dreamed she’d learn to do battle, ride through the stars on the back of a dragon, or catch the eye of a Highland laird. But as her quest turns to sizzling chemistry and inescapable danger, she’ll soon discover the thrill of being caught in a dragon’s claws..

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Highland Dragon Warrior

Excerpt

Carrying a passenger was a new experience for Cathal, made doubly tense by the urgency of their errand and triply so because it was Sophia astride his back. He climbed above the clouds as smoothly as he could, and as quickly, since hesitation wouldn’t be useful. When he leveled out and felt Sophia’s weight still securely in place, with her breathing steady next to him, relief ran through him like strong drink.
Navigating by the stars, he flew slowly toward the south and Valerius’s lands, avoiding when he could any winds that would make him rise or fall too steeply or angle too sharply. It was not the most exciting bit of flying he’d ever done, but he wasn’t eager for it to end. Having Sophia close, even when he wasn’t in human shape, with the stars arcing overhead and the whole wide sky spread out before him… He could have stayed for far longer.
In time, reluctantly and more gently than he’d ascended, he dove back under the clouds to look for landmarks. He noted the small flecks of light from manors and stayed as far away as he could. Cottages were only lumps in the darkness, far harder to avoid, but they mattered less. Any peasant could claim to have seen a dragon, but it would take far longer for the story to reach anyone who knew its significance, and by that time, God willing, they’d be gone and Valerius dead.
For a while he could hear owls and bats, the few among his fellow creatures of the air who went abroad at night. Like most animals, they stayed well away from him, but he knew their cries as part of a familiar chorus.
As they approached Valerius’s lands, that chorus faded. They didn’t travel in silence as they’d done above the clouds, but the night birds’ calls were few, and many sounded weaker. Odd: he’d have expected more bats and owls near the sorcerer’s domain. Most said they were creatures of the devil.
Granted, most said that about dragons too.
Near the same time, the air changed. Cathal didn’t think anyone human would have noticed the faint staleness to it, or the slight suggestion of rot, but both were there, and got stronger the closer he flew. The colors of the land below him were muted too, even for early spring, and about them there was a hint of grayish-red, like a wound gone bad.
The land is poisoned, Lady Bellecote had said.
No wonder the birds sounded unhealthy; no wonder the crops never did very well. Even the edge of Valerius’s domain was wrong, though wrong in a way few humans could have pinpointed or even spoken about. Cathal didn’t think he needed to view the place through magical sight. For certes, he desired no such thing.
With everything in him, he wished to turn back. The thought of setting foot on the corrupted land was repugnant, and the idea of sending Sophia alone into it was worse. He felt his lips pull back into a snarl, exposing his teeth as if he could threaten Valerius from this distance—or rip his throat out—and he knew both impulses to be futile.
Only one course of action stood a chance of helping.
Near the border was a small stand of trees, far enough from any cottages that Cathal doubted anyone would come here until high summer, if that. He circled slowly down to a landing, wincing at the first contact with the earth.
It didn’t hurt, precisely. But it felt more yielding and more clinging than snowmelt or rain would explain, and he thought of how Sophia had described the earth in her dreams.
He could have no doubts about whose land they’d found.
Holding still, he felt Sophia extracting herself from the harness, then watched as she slid to the ground. Their surroundings didn’t seem to disgust her. She smiled brilliantly up at him. “That was wonderful. Amazing. I-I would write a book, would anyone believe me, and did it not expose you and yours too greatly. I… Well, I thank you.”
On the last, she ducked her head, her dark lashes long against her cheeks, and then began to undo the harness until Cathal shook his head at her.
“Oh? Very well,” she said and stepped back.
He changed. The world became bigger and higher; as always, it took a moment or two before he felt as though he moved right. He was standing in the middle of the harness, within a loop quite large enough for his body. Sophia comprehended, and laughed quietly.
“I believe I can get it back on when I return,” she said. “I hope, at least.”
“It won’t matter so much then. We’ll likely not have to hide on our way out, so I’ll not need to go so high so fast.”
“Oh,” Sophia said, and smiled again, equally brilliantly. “It’s almost a disappointment, truly. But then, if it’s in the day, it might be just as interesting to see the world from on high—and I suppose I shouldn’t be anticipating anything just yet,” she added, the smile dying.
Cathal wished he had the words to bring her smile back, or that it would be just to do so. All he could do was nod. “Seven days?”
“I should think that time enough, or as much time as we can afford. It’s not a large place.” They’d planned all this at the castle. Now they confirmed it, as much because a plan was reassuring as to keep the details fresh in their minds. “Should I need to stay longer, I’ll do my best to come back here and give you that message. And if I’m not back in seven days, you will go back to the castle.”
It was not a request, nor even a recommendation. “You’ve been speaking with Douglas.”
“He told me nothing I couldn’t have reasoned out for myself. If I… If the worst happens,” she said, and smoothed her hands over her skirt, “you’ll need to get word back, and it’ll do no good to have you come in breathing fire from above, most likely. If you go back then, you and your family can perhaps send men in, or come yourselves, or…or try the sorts of magic you know.”
There was no gap in her reasoning, no hole that Cathal could find to justify any argument. He would’ve given years of his life for one, but there was nobody to take him up on that offer, and so he could only nod. Where Sophia was going, he’d be more hindrance than help. Again he had to wait, and hope, and know himself to be useless.
Just so, it came to him, how the women in the camps must have felt before battles. His mother too, mayhap. Real war had been more distant in Cathal’s youth; his mother had been a sorceress who could aid her husband from a distance; and even in age, Artair was harder to kill than the rocks around them, but there were always threats.
If they endured, so could he. It was no new thing, sending one’s—
Before Cathal’s mind could supply the word and shock him further, Sophia spoke again. “I believe I’m well supplied enough for the journey. If you think you’ll need food, waiting, I can leave some.”
Cathal shook his head. “I’ll hunt. Should I get desperate, I’ll take a sheep and leave the coin for it later. And I’ve gone a fair few days without food before.”
“If you’re in danger,” she said, “if we were wrong and he can track your presence even here, if you have to leave, you should. Leave me a sign if you can, but if I return and you’re not here, I’ll wait a night, then try to make my way back to your lands.”
“My father’s.”
Sophia waved a hand, not understanding why the distinction was important. In truth, Cathal wasn’t sure why he’d felt the need to make it just then, but it had been irresistible. “I’m only human, and there’s nothing exceptional about me. And I have coin and skills. I’ll be all right.”
“Don’t,” he said. It was almost a growl, but she didn’t flinch.
“Very well. I have as good a chance as anyone of being all right. Better than many people would have. It…” He saw the whites of her wide eyes, the swell of her breasts as she gulped air, and the swift motion with which she pushed back a stray lock of hair, as if she could tuck away fear as quickly and completely. “It shall suffice, yes?”
“It must,” said Cathal.
He wanted to tell her again that she didn’t need to do this. She could turn away from the path before her and the blighted place to which it led. She’d done enough. But that would be insulting, he knew, and besides, it was no longer the truth. The journey into Valerius’s domain was the best hope that any of them had. Sophia was the best person to make it now.
And so there was nothing more he could do.
“We will come for you,” he said. “If you’re captured. I’ll pluck Agnes out of her tower if I need to and get her to weave spells for us, or I’ll drag my father home from his treaties. Or I’ll manage what’s needed myself. I can, given time.”
Unexpectedly, she smiled again, and in her smile was an echo of those hours flying beneath the stars, with only the two of them and no need for words. Even Cathal didn’t see her move when she stepped forward. She flowed toward him, reached up, and cupped the side of his face in one hand. “I would never doubt it,” Sophia said.
“You’re wrong,” he said thickly, and clasped her shoulders in his hands. She looked up at him, startled, about to argue the point. “Not about rescue. Earlier.”
“Wha—”
Everything about you is exceptional,” he said, and kissed her before she could reply.
Rather, she didn’t reply in words. Her response was as desperate as his embrace. Sophia didn’t melt into his arms so much as throw hers around him, grasping him with the urgent strength he remembered from the flight, now colored and transformed by sensuality. As her mouth opened before his, her hands roamed his back, short nails almost scoring his skin even through his clothing.
He kissed her as if by sheer force he could make them both forget what waited, as though with his lips and tongue and his hands on her breasts he could himself cast a spell to banish Valerius to whatever hell would claim him in the end. He drank Sophia’s little gasps of desire like the strongest wine and wanted nothing more than to hear those sounds, to feel her fingers twined in his hair, to think of nothing else, to think nothing at all.

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Buy Links

Kindle: http://amzn.to/2iHf1cR
iBooks: http://apple.co/2xLmIBc
B&N: http://bit.ly/2x3Q7Hj
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2wHAQP9

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Giveaway

3 Copies of HIGHLAND DRAGON WARRIOR

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

During the day, ISABEL COOPER maintains her guise as a mild-mannered project manager in legal publishing. In her spare time, she enjoys video games, ballroom dancing, various geeky hobbies, and figuring out what wine goes best with leftover egg rolls. Cooper lives with two thriving houseplants in Boston, Massachusetts.