by Amy Jarecki
(The King’s Outlaws, #3)
Published by: Oliver Heber Books
Publication date: June 29th 2021
Genres: Adult, Historical Romance
When Sir Arthur Campbell leads an attack claiming Dunstaffnage Castle for Robert the Bruce, he is rewarded with both the keep and surrounding lands. As he assumes the lairdship, he finds a saboteur within his ranks. He sets a trap to ensnare the culprit, only to discover the rebel is none other than Rhona MacDougall—the only woman he has ever loved.
After her clan is devastated by war, Rhona refuses to bend to Arthur’s whims. Aye, he once stole her heart, but that was before he fought against her kin. When in his presence, she plays the demure lady, though behind the scenes, she’s doing everything in her power to subvert his authority. And she thinks she has him fooled…until he beats the lass at her own game.
Prepared to meet his condemnation, Rhona bravely stands before this man whom she has deemed a beast. But Arthur confronts her with a proposition she never dreamed possible—if she proves that she can change. If not, the desire long ago burned onto their souls just might hold them both captive for eternity.
Arthur followed Rhona to the well. “I’d be grateful if ye’d pour a bit of water over my hands.”
Her gaze slid to his chest while her lips parted, emitting the slightest of gasps. By the grace of God, he liked having her eyes upon him and the way her pupils grew larger. She raised the bucket and started a stream.
“Ye’ve had practice,” he said, rubbing his hands clean.
“Aye, everyone kens me to be the bucket-wielding widow.”
He chuckled as she set the pail down, picked up the hem of her apron, and set to drying his hands. Her touch was firm, yet gentle, the linen, soft and soothing. “Ye’ve had a difficult time of it over the years, have ye not?” he asked, his tone gentle.
His hands were dry, yet she continued to rub the cloth over them and up his forearms. “Things haven’t been all that bad. Ivor and I were only married a year, and he’s been gone so long, his memory is fading. I suppose it was difficult at first, but now I have Gran to look after and my patients, of course.”
“And you enjoy your work?”
Rhona’s apron fell away as she gripped his hands. “I do. Being a healer gives me a sense of purpose.”
“Just being yourself is purpose enough for me.”
She took a step nearer and raised her chin. “Ye oughtn’t remove your shirt when visiting a…um…widow.”
Within a heartbeat, she wrapped her arms around him and fused her lips to his in a passionate, burning, demanding kiss, expressing more emotion than she had during the entire day of conversation. Her tongue swirled with his in a bone-melting, fire-igniting dance. A kiss that promised to lead to so much more with frantic caressing. The discarding of clothes. The erotic sensation of flesh brushing flesh, of taut nipples, of heady, steamy, moist—
Dear God, Arthur’s knees nearly buckled as she pressed her body against his. Her breasts molded to his chest, her mons connected with his cock, making him harder and more ravenous than he’d ever been in his life.
“Forgive me,” Rhona sighed, her head dropping back. “I should not have kissed ye.”
“Never say that. Kissing you makes me forget who I am. What I’ve done. When I kiss ye, I am the only man in the world and you the only woman.” Arthur brushed his lips across hers. “I never want to stop.”
“But I’m not the same lass ye fell in love with over that fanciful summer. Nor are ye the same lad. We both have our crosses to bear.”
He moved his palms to her shoulders and took a step back. “What are ye saying?”
“I know not.” Shaking her head, Rhona hid her face in her palms. “Whenever we are together, I am always so confused.”
“Are you muddled because of the rift between Lorn and the Bruce?”
“Aye,” she said, her voice uncertain. “Ye ken I must be faithful to my granduncle and to my clan.”
“Hmm.” He pressed his lips to her forehead and closed his eyes tightly. By the gods, he wanted her more than life’s breath, but she needed to want him with equal fervor and without a rift tearing apart her heart. The lass was too conflicted and until she reconciled her loyalties, she would not love him as much as he loved her. No matter how much he wanted to bend his knee and ask the question to make her his, he mustn’t push her. “I’ve been away from my post for long enough. I must be heading back.”
As he released her, she stepped away. “Now?”
He bowed. “My thanks for an enjoyable afternoon spent in your company, mistress. Mayhap we can sing another round of ‘The Twa Sisters’ again soon.”
With that, he straightened and walked away. It took a will of iron, but Arthur did not look back.
Multi-Award winning and Amazon Bestselling author, Amy Jarecki likes to grab life, latch on and reach for the stars. She’s married to a mountain-biking pharmacist and has put four kids through college. She studies karate, ballet, yoga, and often you’ll find her hiking Utah’s Santa Clara Hills. Reinventing herself a number of times, Amy sang and danced with the Follies, was a ballet dancer, a plant manager, and an accountant for Arnott’s Biscuits in Australia. After earning her MBA from Heroit-Watt University in Scotland, she dove into the world of historical romance and hasn’t returned. Become a part of her world and learn more about Amy’s books on amyjarecki.com, find her on Facebook and Twitter as @amyjarecki.
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