The Laird’s Right August 1, 2018
Available at Amazon.
To save his clan…
Laird Alec Cameron wars against Clan MacKintosh and its sept, Clan Chattan over a swathe of land. When he learns MacKintosh schemes to wed his English sister-in-law to the chieftain of the Chattan, he knows the risks threatening the clan. Her riches and blood ties could overpower the Camerons. For the upper hand, he kidnaps her.
To save her life…
Widow Lady Portia de Mowbray hides in the rugged Highlands far from the clutches of a deadly baron desiring her riches but not her hand. She has lost the man she loved and nearly her life at his hands and she must save herself. Snagged in a deadly power play between two feuding clans, she is caught in the clutches of Laird Cameron. He may be the man who can save her.
Danger stalks them even as love grows and only together do they have a chance at surviving. They must survive the threats for their own happily ever after.
Lady Portia de Mowbray bowed her head in prayer. She pressed her hands harder against her forehead. At one point in her life, she prayed for the silliest things—for the rain to disappear, or the mark on her chin to vanish, for her flat hair to hold a curl, for the priest not to find her dice. This day, she prayed to live.
And another to die.
The new Baron de Mowbray, to be exact.
The man she once called brother, now the new baron, wished for her hand in marriage. The rotten flavor of hatred scorched her mouth, which was a good thing since she hadn’t possessed an appetite since that horrific time. Even now, here in Scotland, she needed to flee further away from England. She had fled Edinburgh Castle and the English who had seen her. She should have remained at MacKintosh Castle away from prying English eyes that would bring tales back to her homeland. Arthur would find her and kill her. Slowly.
Somehow, she had survived his attention. Thankful for her elder sister, she knew Matilda would help her as she had throughout the years. She couldn’t endanger her sister and her clan. The people had been kind to her even when busy at their hard chores. The truth was Portia’s sluggish heart had dropped whenever a messenger arrived at the keep. She had stopped hiding whenever one arrived.
If only she was free from the nightmares visiting her each night, to have a plan—one to save her life. Her nerves jumped and her skin still felt raw. Her nails had paid for her fear, as well as her stomach.
Her life had not meant to be this way. She had been Baroness to a brave, honorable knight of the realm and a chatelaine to Fenwick Castle. She had been happy once, loved and safe. Her husband had loved her, sharing his plans and inquiring about her ideas and opinions. Sometime between hoping for children and talk of rebellion, the daily life she knew became a nightmare. Her life ripped away like a sliced tapestry. She foolishly wished for her husband to return from the dead but deep within her, she yearned for that one impossible thing, the one that would save her life. She was lost and worse, alone. A widow with monies faced a dangerous road.
Let him die.
She pressed her bowed head against her white-knuckled hands as she squeezed tighter from the screaming need within her. Tears plummeted from her eyes and landed on her blue côte, absorbed by the luxurious fibers.
The Marriage Alliance
Her hand in marriage could secure peace.
Lady Ailsa Cameron has slept through a few masses. She isn’t the most patient of souls. However, the gentle lass never did anything wicked enough for her father, Laird Cameron to demand she wed Black Duncan, the Laird of Clan MacLean.
The leader of the Spartans of the North, Duncan MacLean inspires many gruesome tales in the majestic highlands and beyond. Duncan accepts Laird Cameron’s offer of his daughter’s hand in marriage to war against their shared enemy, Clan MacKinnon. Wed to the ravishing woman, he aches to possess her even as he vows never to lower his defenses, again.
Can past enemies become lovers?
Read an Excerpt:
Scottish Highlands, 1256
Surely, Ailsa Cameron never managed anything in her score of a lifetime so wicked to deserve this cruel punishment. She never took the life of another. Admittedly, she dozed through a few masses in her lifetime. Others were guilty of such sin and never punished so harshly. Maybe, it was the many times she took the Lord’s name in vain. That vile curse hadn’t passed her lips for some time, not since her last penance forbade her from speaking for a sennight. She had remained silent until the noon meal but her guilt still lingered. Even that did not warrant her wedding the dreaded Duncan MacLean.
Nay, she journeyed along the stone-littered tract to the MacLean fortress because of men and one in particular, her father—Laird Cameron. His fierce desire to merge with the Spartans of the North appointed Ailsa the maiden sacrifice to appease the ferocious dragon. Who was the dragon—her father or her husband-to-be?
Either way, Saint Peter would throw open the pearly gates for her since she behaved as the dutiful daughter, pledging the rest of her days to Laird MacLean.
Not that she had many days to live.
MacLeans would rather kill a Cameron than share the air…of course, after they cut out her tongue.
Especially since bloodthirsty MacLeans enjoyed a savory meal of human flesh.
Would her tongue be roasted before consumed or eaten raw?
No doubt raw.
That meal probably accounted for the clan’s immense proportions. Few men towered over Highland men yet most Highlanders struggled to stand shoulder to shoulder with MacLean men. Muscular forms of others appeared scrawny beside the mighty MacLeans. And the women were no smaller, just about the height of an average Highlander, convenient since both sexes lugged around basketfuls of enemies’ fingers. Ailsa strained to reach her brother’s wide shoulders. She’ll never fit in.
She wanted to escape to the mountains rising in the distance behind her. If she veered her mare around, she could gallop away to freedom in the harsh environment, where she could starve to death or, if luck were on her side, be eaten by wild animals.
Maybe, it wasn’t too late to be a bride of Christ. She could live in a convent and not starve or have her flesh ripped from her bones by the sharp fangs of wolves. Then again, the nunnery might not be the best place. Even though Ailsa perfected the serene visage, her talents rested elsewhere. Besides, she had slumbered through quite a few more masses than she admitted. Another sin she added to her mental count. Taking the veil would be a disaster for her and the nuns.
So, Ailsa rode onward, up the cresting hill. The impressive fortified castle soared on the rocky outcrop overlooking the loch at the path’s end. A towering curtain wall hugged the craggy contours as the loch’s water lapped gently against the rocks. Harsh Highland elements weathered the structure’s limestone to a mixture of grays, browns, and whites cloaking the structure with a dismal aura Ailsa believed her life would become once behind its walls.
Even her gentle mare, dismayed by the sight ahead, stumbled on a stone-strewn on the trail meandering to the gatehouse and her doom.
“We shall be well, Joy.” Her mare tossed back her head and neighed, not believing her.
Patting her lean crest, she peeked through the veil of her hair to her father. He wore a pleased looked on his face that bode ill for others. She glanced at her elder brother. Alec sent her tentative smile then turned his gaze. He was as happy about this marriage as she was. As the heir, Alec tried to persuade their father from his determined course but to no avail. Father had a plan, and his children must submit to his commands.
“Come along,” Laird Cameron demanded, placing himself between the two siblings. She sucked in a lungful of crisp highland air, slowly exhaling until the straining muscles in her face eased. Unlike the countless other times, her calming technique failed so she decided to ignore him.
Glancing upward to the lofty battlements, she spotted two heads. Oh God’s eyes, she forgot that gruesome tale! She gawked and swallowed her squeak.
MacLeans decorated their parapets with their enemies’ heads on spikes as a warning to those foolish enough to attack. For the rest of her short days, she’d have to see ghastly heads…until she was propped next to them.
“By marrying the brute, my influence will extend to these lands, and I can get what is mine. Girl, you’ve been an annoyance since your first breath,” Laird Cameron snarled the exact words he had grumbled since her first breath.
Ailsa craned her neck, scanning the ramparts for more spiked heads when her father jerked Joy to a halt, whipping her head forward.
“Finally, you serve some good.” He grunted at her relieved sigh, believing she listened to him. But it rushed out when the heads moved, thanks to the very alive bodies attached. Rubbing her aching neck, Ailsa gave scant attention to her father calling out to the gatehouse.
“Laird Cameron, only you, your daughter and one of your men are allowed entrance,” a commanding voice shouted from the ramparts.
“Fine,” Laird Cameron barked as he waved his men back. Alec remained. His face was a mask but for the small twitch of his jaw. The white-knuckled grip on his reins betrayed his hidden anger. When the men ventured a fair distance from the curtain wall, the portcullis crept open, the ropes squeaking with every tiny measure of the rising structure.
With a tap to her mare’s sides, Joy lurched forward into the shadowy tunnel and the inner sanctuary of Castle MacLean. The bustling courtyard came to a swift standstill. Ailsa fancied she viewed a tapestry of castle life frozen in time. The smithy drifted forward, his hammer in his hand. Carts and wagons rolled to a stop on the rutted earth damp from last night’s storm. The butcher cupped his chin, smearing blood over his face. At least, Ailsa hoped he was the butcher and all they killed were animals. MacLeans stilled in mid-step, monitoring their entry with rapt attention. A woman drawing water from the well stared, holding onto the rope. The other women drifted from the well line for a better view. Small fowl scatted away from the clopping horses’ hooves, the only sign of life within the walls.
Her fingers felt as if they had forgotten to function. Her scalp began to prickle. She knew, her rapid heartbeat roared through the expansive space. She rode into the heart of the courtyard. She kept her gaze trained on the laborers standing transfixed on the wooden scaffold, never setting down the heavy stones for the half-constructed wall extending toward the western horizon.
“Ailsa,” her father snapped. He wrenched the reins from her hands and jerked Joy to an abrupt halt. He swung his portly frame from the saddle and tore her from hers. Alec cupped her elbow, steadied her, and stayed at her side. A stable boy about ten and two snatched the dangling reins. Ailsa presented him with a tentative smile. He spun around and led Joy to her new home.
She brushed off the dust on her blue and yellow plaid. “Thank you, Father,” she mumbled as she folded her hands in front of her and bowed her head.
Southeasterly winds blew warm air and clear skies and the sun blazed overhead, but Ailsa felt chilled as though cold-whipping winds sliced through her.
Three men stood at the top of the stone stairs, looming large, and even at this distance cast a shadow over Ailsa. “Laird MacLean is the one in the middle.”
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Claiming the Highlander Available Now at Amazon
First came marriage…will love come next?
As children, stoic Caelan MacKenzie married feisty Brenna Grant for a parcel of land and an Earldom. Then the child bride and groom went their separation ways.
Years later, Caelan is the feared Viking Highlander, a great warrior. His father lies on his deathbed and now Caelan must return home to take his place as the Chief of Clan MacKenzie. Time has come for him to face his past and the secret he has carried. Some believe him unworthy to lead.
All but his wife—Brenna knows the true man that he is from the letters they had been exchanging since childhood. Now at Castle MacKenzie anticipates her husband’s return. Brenna must use her influence to protect the Grant clan or have her life destroy. And that she refuses to happen.
From the Scottish Highland shores to the rugged glens, the alpha male and his brave heroine must battle against outside forces to save their wedded life even as they succumb to their sensual desire.
Can they save all they hold dear including their growing love? Or will they be defeat and betrayed?
Brenna shut her chamber door. The smoke from the wall torches filled the turret stairs and stung her eyes. She waved away the cloud as she descended from the top floor. That chamber had been her own since she was seven, when the laird and lairdess first fostered her. Brenna loved the space, since Caelan once rested his head there. Being in the chamber was the closest she came to sharing a bed with her husband.
Learning her role as the future Lairdess of Clan MacKenzie, her life consisted of watching, waiting and being a help or a hindrance. Lately, she had been a help. Only that mattered to Brenna, especially after she intruded upon the Lairdess weeping in the garden. That was her place of refuge. Brenna had moved forward and then stepped back, leaving her to her sadness. What did one say when death hovered near? The truth was, Brenna wished she could make the laird survive. Brenna took pride in her healing skills and knowledge of herbs, but in this instance, those skills were meaningless, so she strived to lessen the Lairdess’ burden. This day, the duties had been split between her and Rowen.
Rowen would see to the household, the meals, the cleaning of it, and other duties. Whereas Brenna was to assist the clan and handle any issues the clan-folk faced this day. Today, she would take her place as the Lairdess of Clan MacKenzie. Last night, she hadn’t gotten much sleep. Though, she had been trained in her duties, that knowledge did nothing to stop her from fretting. If only Caelan were here with her…with him beside her the day would be easier. He should return home soon. Perhaps this day or the next.
She reached the last step and halted. The smoke must have conjured images. Caelan stood at the end of the corridor. She blinked, believing the vision would vanish into nothingness. The arched doorway framed his muscular form, which was draped in plaid. His head hung down. His long locks draped around his face and blocked him from her view. Light flickered over his Viking blond hair. She blinked a few times, waiting for him to notice her standing here. She must have moved because his head flew up.
He faced her. A smile spread across her face and her cheeks hurt from it. She wanted to throw herself in his arms. Instead, she buried the urge. She even squeezed out a couple of tears.
Her feet skipped over the floor as she raced to him. She threw her arms around him and squeezed him tightly. She lacked the strength to hold him as she wished. Caelan was all hard muscle. He smelled of the outdoors—greenery, and of the fresh wind that whirled about him and caught in the weave of his plaid, along with a manly scent that was his own. She stroked her cheek against his plaid. The scratchy wool scraped her skin. An itchy tingle spread through her cheek.
She ran her hands over his thick arms. He had come for her. She linked her fingers with his. She leaned her head to the side to look at the shut chamber door. Last night had been a difficult one. The healers and servants had been going in and out through the night. Their muffled voices floated to her chamber along with the groans of pains coming from the laird—aye, the laird would be leaving this earth soon. Her smile dimmed along with the heady delight within her. “You have finally returned.”
Caelan arched a brow, revealing his blue eyes. She loved his pure, blue hue that shined bright with shards of white, unlike her plain, brown ones. He pulled his hand away. She tucked her empty hand within the pleats of her dress. This was not the reunion she had imagined since she learned he was returning home. Caelan was supposed to grab her in his arms and swing her about. After her holding her close for a drawn-out moment, he was supposed to slide her down his body, and then kiss her. After he ravished her mouth, he was to stare deep into her eyes.
Highland Scandal Coming Soon
They call her banshee. The taunt has pursued Rowen MacKenzie through the glorious highlands. One man sees beyond the superstition—Lachlan Gordon. He is the man she loves but duty requires her to wed another.
Lachlan Gordon has loved Rowen MacKenzie since his first glimpse of the ethereal beauty. As a bastard, he can never claim her. When his father, Laird Gordon, is murdered, Lachlan becomes the Clan Chief…too late, to be with the woman he loves.
Rowen, now a widow and mother, jeopardize her life and heart to protect her son. Lachlan is the only one who can help her. He must risk all, his clan, his life and his love to win her even as secrets threaten their happiness and very lives. Will Rowen and Lachlan have their own happily ever after?
The Chieftain’s Secret Coming Soon
On the Isle of Mull, many objects wash up on shore. Niall MacLean never expected a wife to be included in that. Niall of Lochbuie handfasted with Ermina Bruce to save her from a horrible marriage and one night of passion has led to forever after.
Ermina Bruce has traveled from Scotland’s lowlands hoping Niall can save her life again. She knows she will die in childbirth and believes Niall will save her once again. If he fails, she will at least have spent the last of her days with the man she has loved since childhood.
Will love have a chance to come alive?
His Lady Charlie Coming Soon
In glittering world of Regency England, Lady Charlotte Hammersley, Charlie as she is known, is more than a wallflower, she is the wall supporting the flower. Her father has pronounced this is her fourth and final season. The last chance for her to marry the man she loves. When she overhears the Earl of Harrington place a wager to turn any lady into the toast of the ton, Charlie presented herself.
The Earl of Harrington must win the wager to save his brother from destruction and the minx vows she is the perfect lady for him. He finds he cannot deny her as she intrigues him, as he has never been before. Navigating the London Season, they face scandal, jealously and the possibility their wager may be discovered and ruin their lives.
Will they win the biggest gamble of all—for their love?
Stories: Confessional magazines
True Love October 2009 “A Sister’s Sorrow”
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True Romance January 2011 “Let It Snow”