This is the fourth book in a twelve book series: Twelve Dancing Princesses.
Title: Highland Sunrise
Author: Christine Young
Genre: Women's Fiction
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 4
Buy at: Rogue Phoenix Press;
He Made Her An Offer...
Life has thrown Christel McClellan some experiences that could have devastated a less determined woman. Beautiful, self-assured and fiercely independent, she is trying to forget the loss of her stillborn child. But is the child alive?
She Couldn’t Deny...
Life is carefree for Ryder MacLaren who loves to see what is on the other side of the sunrise. Laird of Clan MacLaren, he is wealthy, handsome and happily unencumbered...until stunning Christel McClellan enters his life. When he hears her story, he believes the child she thought dead has been sold to a wealthy buyer.
But Christel pushed away from him and pointing, "There, do you see her. She is sitting on the wall."
Ryder strained to see the apparition Christel pointed toward but he saw nothing. "No, but I think I hear her."
"Yes, she is crying, not weeping as usual. Do you know anything about her story?" Christel turned to him, hope shining in her soft blue eyes.
"I've heard her lover died. But that was a long time ago."
Ryder pulled her back into his embrace, not ever wanting her to leave. He would hold fast to her for as long as she would allow him. "At war... I don't recall which one. The clans seem to have always been at war with someone, especially the English."
He felt the nod of her head against his chest. "Does anyone know the legend? I would seek them out."
Her breathing was slow and she seemed relaxed. But Ryder feared for her. If she started asking questions, would this ghost come to harm her? He didn't know anything about apparitions. But he also knew he would have to give her a chance to discover the truth. "Only if you let me go with you. I would be honored. There is a woman, older than time. She wanders the castle grounds. Most see her in the late evening and early morning."
"Old as time, no older?"
A shimmering silver light hung over the castle and floated above the turrets. Ryder pointed toward the light. "Is that her?"
"She's a bit reclusive." Christel turned in Ryder's arms. "Yes, that's her."
"One might say that about her." His hands rested at the small of Christel's back. He wanted to kiss her but didn't want to frighten her again. Maybe a lazy gentle kiss would be accepted. The thought made him grin.
He traced her neck with the tip of his finger, hoping she would find his attentions acceptable then bent close to her. "I want to kiss you. Will you let me?" She shivered in his arms but turned her face up to him.
"Yes." She breathed softly. Her words gentle yet hesitant.
Her reticence bothered him. What had happened in her past? His thoughts shot to Lord Rathen and her hasty departure from London. Every part of him tightened with disgust. He would discover the truth and make the despicable rake pay for any injustice committed against Christel.
Watching her eyes for signs of fear, Ryder lowered his mouth to hers. He touched her gently, molded his lips against her, thrilled to hear the sigh of pleasure emanate from her. He ran one hand up her back, pulling her closer, reveling in the feel of her softness against his hard planes. Her breasts pushed against him. The need to feel every inch of her pulsed through him but he didn't dare.
He moved back and once again looking into her eyes. She lowered her lashes then returned his gaze.
"Don't think, little one, just feel and know that I would never hurt you. I want more but I won't rush you."
She touched his cheek with one slender fingertip. "Kiss me again."