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The Highlander’s Unexpected Proposal

on September 30, 2020

A lady’s shoe sat on top of the leaf litter below a thick, branched tree. Adam nudged it with his boot and glanced upward, spying the match balanced on a limb high above. The lass’s other foot was bare, her toes curled to hold her in place. Blue skirts were rucked upward, twisted around her legs. Adam moved side to side to see past the leaves. Dark lashes framed wide eyes set in a heart-shaped face. Reddish hair hung to one side in a thick braid.

“Her father says he will not take her home, so she has to wed tonight.” A man’s voice broke the stillness of the wood. “She has no choice but to wed me.”

“Perhaps we could share her,” the other man said with a bark of laughter, hitting the other man’s arm.

“She could say no to us both.”

“Roylin was half in the bag last night with whisky and said he’d sell her off tomorrow if she did not wed. With four other girls and no dowries, Lark must marry at this festival. Tonight.”

The two men stepped into the shade of the forest. “Oh Lark,” one called, extending the name like a song. “Where are ye, lass? Fergus and I have something to ask ye.”

Adam bent to retrieve the lost slipper, sliding it into the drape of his plaid and stepping away from the tree. “Ho there,” he called, making the men stop, their hands moving to their short swords. “Finding a bit of shade,” Adam said with what he hoped was a smile. He didn’t smile often, so it felt tight.
One fellow frowned but the other raised a hand in greeting. “Have ye seen a lass with wavy red hair come through here?”
Adam looked off in another direction. “Nay, but I heard someone up that way. Twigs snapping, that sort of noise.”
They hiked off in the direction Adam had indicated. After a long minute, he leaned back against the tree. “Would ye like assistance?” he asked without looking up.

“Go away,” she said, her words in a forceful whisper.

Adam pushed away from the tree. He would not press upon a reluctant lass. His brother, Beck, would find a bride elsewhere.

“Blast,” the woman whispered. Perhaps she was too stubborn to ask for help. Stubborn determination was something Adam knew well. It was what kept people alive, kept them moving forward when all seemed lost.

The leaves shook as the woman moved in the boughs of the tree. Adam walked under the branch where bare toes reached down, flexing and pointing, as she felt around blindly. Her toes were tiny appendages, the nails neat and without dirt. The lass’s skirts billowed out as she squatted. “God’s teeth,” she murmured.

Dodging the wildly circling kick, he reached up. “I will guide your foot to the branch,” he said. Her toes flexed. Glancing up, he saw a pale face with large blue eyes tipped down toward him. A thick braid hung over one shoulder, and her lips looked soft and lush. A sprinkling of freckles sat along her high cheekbones and the bridge of her nose.

She blinked at him, her mouth closing into a tight line. “I need no help.”

“Your cursing makes me think ye lie.” Her toes dangled in the air an inch above the branch that she could not see due to the petticoats. She gasped as he caught her foot, tugging until the ball of it touched the branch, her perfectly formed, little toes curling around to help her balance.

“Move back, and I can jump down,” she said, narrowing her eyes.

She had the longest eyelashes, and some red curls had escaped her braid to slide forward along her smooth cheeks. “A leap from that high could break your ankle.” He reached for her waist.

Shuffling sideways she said, “I do not need any man to—” Her denial cut off as she lost her balance, falling forward, her hands grasping at the weak twigs with leaves, making the tree shudder. Adam caught her, his hands wrapping around her cinched waist to pull her toward him.

Her skirts caught on the branch, lifting them high as she descended. “Bloody hell.” She slapped her petticoat off the fingerlike branches that seemed intent on exposing the secrets she kept beneath.

Her lush form slid down his, and he inhaled at the contact, as if the pressure of her plucked along every muscle in his body. She smelled of some type of flower and spice, making him suck in another breath as he held her form against him. She felt as soft as he was hard. For several heartbeats they stared at one another, her face mere inches from his. What does she taste like?

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Highland Conquest

on April 8, 2020

Release Date: 28 April 2020 Cain Sinclair has a plan. In order to finally bring peace to his clan, he will wed the young female chief of their greatest enemy. Only problem: capturing her and forcing her back to Sinclair castle doesn’t exactly make her want to say yes. Ella Sutherland may be clever, passionate, and… Read More

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Welcome to the Castle!

on April 7, 2020

Congratulations to Lori R. for winning the Historical Romance Holiday Cookie Hop grand prize $150 gift card! And to Carole for winning my individual prize!   I hope you all had fun, found some delicious recipes, learned some festive tidbits about the past, and found some new-to-you historical romance authors.   Be on the lookout… Read More

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on November 19, 2019

Alana. Her name even drew him. She had changed out of the trousers he’d seen her in earlier. A shame, for the skirts covered much of her form, although the stays lifted her ample breasts high, their soft roundness sitting above the lace edge of her smock.

“But unless you suddenly start producing milk,” she said, “you cannot take care of the babe. She needs constant warmth and feeding to survive, and a rough Highland warrior is not equipped to do so on his own. Your men will have to help you. Keep the milk fresh and warm. You can make more pap or a mix of mashed grain with broth, which is called panada, but you need to find a true bottle. The glove will become tainted and could make her ill if you cannot keep it clean.”

Alana released his arm while continuing to rattle off directions. She spoke quickly, her instructions unclear, as if she spoke in a language he only halfway understood. The boulder of worry reformed in his gut. Bloody hell. He was a warrior, not a nursemaid. He had no experience or knowledge in the ways of bairns. He’d only ever held animal newborns before, never a human one. And this one must live.
He glanced between the little face, so intent on sucking from the pricked hole, and the woman as she held the makeshift bottle. “Ye will help me,” he said, making her pause in her list of required provisions.

“I… I will help you find a bottle, although I have not seen anyone bring their babes to the festival, only older children. And if they did bring their babes, the mother would be nursing them, so there would be no need for a bottle.” She huffed, blowing a loose strand of her hair upward. It looked soft, like her skin, silky, and he itched to slide his finger down it. With a silent sigh, the worry in his gut turned into remorse.

“Maybe we could find a hollowed drinking horn,” she said. “My grandmother had one she fed to babes who lost their mothers in the birthing. Or a leather flask, which you will have to wash every day. I can write down the ingredients to make her meals. You can read?”
“Aye,” he said, watching her carefully. The woman could write. She was beautiful and intelligent.

“I will cut up a blanket for you to use for her breech cloths. You must change the cloths whenever you can tell she has fouled them.” The woman was talking without pause. “Just wash the dirty ones out in the streams you come across and hang them overnight to dry.” He picked up a hint of worry in the quickness of her words. Aye, the lass was intelligent enough to grasp her jeopardy in standing alone with a warrior who she realized required her help in keeping the bairn alive. Alone and without anyone knowing her current whereabouts. Not even her giant dog named after a French explorer.

He met her gaze over the bairn’s slack face, its lips relaxing in sleep, letting the nipple release, a drop of milk left on its lip. “Ye, Alana Campbell, will help me keep this very important bairn alive.”

Alana’s mouth dropped open, and she backed away. “I will do what I can here in the camp.”

He shook his head slowly, stalking forward, holding her gaze. “Ye will journey with me to keep her safe.”

Alana shook her head, pulling the sgian dubh she’d replaced in the holster on her boot and dropped the nearly empty glove. He wouldn’t risk the bairn, grabbing Alana, but then again, he didn’t have to. Without a sound, Logan stepped into the tent, followed by Alistair and Rabbie.

“My apologies, lass,” Shaw said, and she whirled around to confront the Sinclair warriors. “But right now, ye are this bairn’s best chance to survive the journey.”

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