Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 3
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Scotland November 1512:
A heavy frost sat on the frozen earth, and a full moon shone clearly between the heavy clouds dotting the sky. Lady Callie Whitcomb looked over her shoulder as she raced through the deepening gloom toward the lighted tavern ahead. Every shadow, every mournful sigh of the wind sweeping through the trees, every chilling animal sound filled her with terror. Fear for her life drove her to put all thoughts of danger aside. He would follow her, find her, and drag her home.
"Don't think of that now," she reminded herself fiercely, even while tears stung in the back of her throat and fear made her limbs tremble. "Don't you dare think of home. It no longer exists." Nothing and no one could coax her back or make her believe there was naught but terror in the home where she'd been born.
"I will never marry Lord Huntington. Never!" she whispered fiercely, the chill night air solemnly echoing her words.
Her stepbrother, Archibald Covington III, made sure she could never return.
"There ye be, lass! I've been waiting for you."
The voice rose from nowhere and surprised her. Her heart froze, lurched, then began an erratic beat, while raw nerves snapped, sending a myriad of sensations racing down her spine.
"Archibald--" she whispered, panic sweeping through her. "He's found me." All she could hear was the pounding of blood in her ears.
Before she could reach her destination, before she could find safe refuge from him, his men had found her. No! Not now. Not when she thought she had eluded them all.
A wave of fear sweeping through her reminded her, that if caught, she would be taken back to Archibald and forced to marry Lord Huntington.
"I'll help you down, lass."
Before she could react and spur her horse forward, callous, rough hands centered on her waist then pulled her from her mount.
"No!" She cried out to no avail. Regaining her wits, she beat fiercely upon the man's broad chest, tearing at his face and his thick beard with her fingers.
"Ach, lass! Hold still! I mean ye no harm. Stop this--" His voice was gruff and impatient.
Fear for her life had spurred her haste. Terror she might see Huntington or Archibald with each turn of the road haunted every hour of her journey. Archibald had retainers everywhere. Messages would have been sent. A highlander could be bought.
"Ruffian! Unhand me! You barbarous Scotsman."
If Archibald had guessed what path she followed...
"Verra well, ne'er let it be said that I dinna do a lass' bidding." Just as suddenly as he'd grabbed her, his hold upon her vanished. She stumbled backward.
Instantly, she found herself sitting on the frozen earth. The man towering above her watched her with concerned dark eyes. Despite the scar stretching from forehead to chin, his mouth quirked upward in a humorous slant.
"Ye be a handful, lass."
Mary of A Romance Review says, "Overall I liked the story and can recommend it as a worthwhile read. The author has a lot of talent and the plot and tension of the story are well handled."