Spotlight & Excerpt: Twelfth Knight’s Bride + Giveaway

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Twelfth Knight’s Bride
by E. Elizabeth Watson

Series
n/a; standalone

Genre
Adult
Historical Romance

Publisher
Entangled Scandalous

Publication Date
November 16, 2020

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Lady Aileana Grant just wants to help her starving clan at Christmastide. So she pilfers some vegetables from the bastard Laird James MacDonald–the Devil, they call him. When the Devil shows up and demands marriage as recompense for the thievery, Aileana can’t believe it when her brother agrees. Even if she’s able to negotiate a severance on Twelfth Night, that’s still two weeks to put up with the laird in enemy territory. She’s counting down the days, even if James isn’t quite the disgusting cretin she’d imagined.

James needs to marry an enemy bride in order to inherit his fortune. Cursed restrictions. He’d been unable to look away from Aileana’s untamed beauty ever since she squared off with him. He might as well handfast with the infernal lass. He’d get his money and perhaps some peace among the clans. He has a fortnight to win the heart of the lady with the voice of an angel despite her sharp tongue.

Twelfth Night is merry and bright as Aileana and James realize a true connection between them. But when Aileana discovers the reason the Devil forced her into marriage, how can she ever believe he truly wants her?

Twelfth Knight's Bride

Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

Urquhart Castle; Scottish Highlands; 24th of December, 1545

“A little farther, man,” Aileana encouraged her brother’s horse as she rode hard through the snowy glen.

The beastly stallion panted, leaping over drifts with fringed hooves. She leaned over his neck, which lunged and retracted with each bound while his mane blew wildly in her face, her hands close to the bit. Her bundle, wedged between her belly and the saddle pommel, threatened to jostle loose. She pressed her stomach into it to keep the stolen goods in place and glanced over her shoulder, fearful of her pursuer.

“Mayhap we’ve lost the cretin.”

The snow was falling in thick gusts by the time she thundered across the bridge to Urquhart Castle’s gatehouse, blazing beneath the portcullis. Her brother’s head guardsman came out of the gatehouse to investigate.

“’Tis only me, Sir Donegal!” she called, sweating, and pulled the reins back to stop the horse short.

“Lady Aileana? Why arrive in such haste? And dressed in trews?” Sir Donegal asked as soldiers craned their necks through the merlons atop the curtain wall to see if danger lurked in the hills beyond.

Aye, she wore pants, a tunic, a cloak, and boots. With her hair pulled back tightly and hidden in the neckline of her cloak, she likely looked like a skinny lad.

“No reason,” she replied. “I thought to give the horse a good romp considering he’s been cooped up due to our fine weather.” A lie, but Aileana flashed a confident smile as she gestured to the falling snow as dusk darkened the already-gray sky looming over the fabled Loch Ness. Fine weather indeed.

She shrugged nonchalantly for good measure and draped a hand over her bundle of thieved vegetables, holding it steady while she flung her cloak over her shoulder and dismounted, though her heart pumped from the exertion. Fear at being caught trickled through her blood like spring snowmelt down a mountain and was just as icy. This food, pilfered from that bastard Laird James Moidartach MacDonald—the once-outlawed Earl of Ross—would feed Urquhart’s inhabitants for one night, and a thin broth it would make at that. But her people were desperate, thanks to the Devil MacDonald’s aggression toward them, and scant nourishment was better than none.

These vegetables are the least the ruthless MacDonald can do for us.

Life had been lean since the MacDonalds’ last raid two years ago, which had seen her people evicted. Laird MacDonald had occupied Urquhart, and it had been thanks to the Earl of Huntly himself for demanding the laird relinquish the stronghold back to her brother, Laird Grant. But not before he and his ruffians had depleted their buttery, packed away their livestock, and devastated their seed stock for planting, meaning the last two harvests had been paltry at best, in spite of the meager grains her brother had bartered from the Frasers. And to add insult to injury, this last growing season had been unseasonably wet. They’d reaped an even worse harvest than before. Their petition for a recompense from the MacDonalds still sat before the Crown, and if it wasn’t awarded soon, they would surely starve this winter.

“Are ye sure ye’re being honest, Lady Aileana?” Donegal persisted as she passed off the reins to their lone stable groom, the seneschal’s son.

Trepidation ate at her. She’d barely escaped MacDonald’s hunting camp, for his men had made chase as she stole away to the glen at the base of Carn Eige, where she’d stashed her horse for her flight home. She glanced over her shoulder again. The hills that loomed over Urquhart were shrouded in fog from the snowflakes falling down onto the frozen banks of the loch—

Her stomach dropped.

A shape emerged from the fog, like a death knell, the thudding of hooves growing louder. Bright, tightly woven red plaid, blond hair—in part flowing free, in part braided—and shoulders shielded in fur, rode out of the hills atop a leathery-black destrier. Damn the man! He’d followed her trail.

“Of course I’m being honest,” she croaked to Sir Donegal, who leveled a glare at her. She lifted her chin, having claimed the lie and knowing she must own it. “I, eh, must depart.”

She hurried away, clutching the vegetables.

“Look lively!” a sentry called while Grant soldiers clattered to positions.

“Drop the portcullis!” shouted another, and the chains ground on the winches, the forces of Earth pulling it down to land with a rattling pound.

“Ready at arms! It’s Devil MacDonald! Inform the laird! Archers! To the walls!”

Aileana jogged through the yard sodden by cart wheels and ducked through the kitchen door. Sakes! Anger at herself nipped at her heels. She’d been so sure she could outsmart the hunting party and get home unscathed! And now she’d brought trouble to their threshold. Her brother, Seamus, didn’t need to fend off the likes of their enemy after all that had passed between their clans.

The kitchens were hot with dinner’s meager preparations. Flatbreads baked in the ovens from what flour grains they had been able to grow and harvest this past autumn, and leftover venison boiled in a pot to make a broth.

“Good day, Lady Aileana.” The head cook curtsied, oblivious to the mounting commotion outside.

“A good day it is.” Aileana dumped the bundle onto the scullery table. Dried carrots, onions, leeks, and beans tumbled across the board. “We have a wee blessing for our supper, but ye must cook it with haste—”

“Goodness!” the cook exclaimed as the other kitchen maids gathered around the bounty in awe. Aileana smiled, but a pinch of sadness sparked in her chest that these basic foods should be so exciting.

“Does God favor us this Christmastide?” the cook continued. “Ye’ve obviously made some fruitful bartering.”

A lie she’d let them believe, for there had certainly been no bartering.

“Quick,” Aileana instructed, ignoring the cook’s remark. “Chop and boil it so we might eat it fast, and say no’ a word that I delivered anything.”

“Whatever for?” the cook replied. “Such a quantity can be divided in two and shared with tomorrow night’s bread—”

“Look no’ a gift horse in the mouth,” Aileana urged, adding a grin in hopes it would put them at ease, but they must eat the evidence. The commotion from outside now echoed within the castle. Seamus’s demands for reinforcements rang through the great hall. She swallowed, then urged, “We—eh—could use a filling meal and, for once, feel satisfied.”

The cook bobbed in another curtsy and began doling out orders, and Aileana shook the snow off her cloak onto the rushes, then dashed through the kitchen, out into the corridor, and up the winding stairs to where her bedchamber was located. She shoved through the door, barred it, and flung her cloak upon a chair, kicked off her boots, stripped the trousers so that she wore only her hose and tunic still damp from her ride, and hastened into a simple brown gown, just as plain as she was.

“Mi lady!” came a masculine call at the door, accompanied by a knock.

Donegal.

That was quick.

“Mi lady! Devil MacDonald storms our gates and demands to see ye for his own eyes! He swears a lad stole away with goods from his traveling party and rode to safety here. We’ve sworn the only person to pass our gates this eve is the youngest sister of Laird Grant, but he’ll nay be deterred until he sees ye. Yer brother tries to placate the nàmhaid, but he threatens to return with more men if we do nay comply…or worse, complain to Huntly!”

She sucked in hard, then exhaled. Her brother would know it was her who had committed this thievery, for it wasn’t as if she was innocent of such a crime.

“One moment, Donegal!”

She raced back to the door, having yet to catch her breath, and knew her cheeks were splotched with sunbursts from her exertion. Opening it, she twirled around to the man, giving him her back without greeting.

“Lace me up. Quickly,” she breathed.

“God have mercy, lass,” the guardsman muttered with exasperation, but thankfully he was used to her unorthodox mannerisms, for he’d been her dear friend since childhood, her first kiss, and her father’s finest squire. “’Twas ye, was it nay? That bundle on yer saddle? Ye’ve invited trouble of the worst kind—for MacDonald will bring another raiding party if he suspects he was abused.”

She snorted. “Oh, him—abused, the misunderstood violet.” Bitterness tainted her tone. “He stole everything from us, and yet we’re no’ entitled to a menial amount of food? We shall die without any, Donegal.”

“And yer brother made war on James MacDonald four years ago, aye.”

“Because he reaved on us six years ago,” she snapped.

“And yer faither the same to his faither before that.”

And so on. The feud between their people had existed since the Grants had established themselves in the Highlands at the request of Huntly. Before the Grants, it had been Huntly himself who had endured raids. Before that, the Crown had fended off renegade MacDonald parties, shoring up the rampart defenses to deflect the lairds of the isles. Urquhart was a strategic stronghold and would consolidate power over the entire region should the Devil acquire it.

“The history matters none,” Donegal said, jerking the laces tight, drawing her clammy tunic tightly against her body. “He’ll retaliate.”

“Ye’re nay to say another word to my brother until I’ve spoken with him,” she replied.

“That matters none, either. The laird kens ye must have done it but has demanded ye come to the gates so MacDonald can see for himself that ye cannae possibly be a lad.”

The guard braced his knee against her rear and cinched the strings, causing her to lurch.

“I’ll nay ask”—she gasped as the dress was put into place—“how ye became so deft with a lady’s garments, my friend,” she teased.

He leaned around her face as he now tied the laces, a grin softening his jaw and brow.

“Ah, well, I’ve been known to make the lasses swoon. Ye being the first, eh?”

She batted his face away, and he chuckled. “Indeed I was young and misguided, aye? My faither’s boot to yer rear and a sennight of hard labor taught ye never to take such liberties, I recall.”

The chuckle rumbling in his throat intensified. “Nay, lass, on the contrary. It taught me never to get caught.”

“Ye’re insufferable!” she jested, smirking and scurrying away to grab her shawl.

She fixed the tunic, which protruded from her dress sleeves, for she hadn’t had time to don a proper chemise. With her proud Grant tartan cast about her torso, she looked the picture of plain and proper.

“Ah, but now ye’ve done it, mi lady, aye?”

“I fear I have,” she mumbled under her breath, exhaling. “I’m sorry, Donegal. It’s just…we’re desperate.”

“I ken that,” he replied soberly. “Let down yer auburn hair, mi lady. It’s one of yer beauties and the most un-lad-like thing about ye.”

She blushed—of all the ridiculous reactions—at his compliment for he meant it purely in the spirit of friendship these days. But her hair, in truth, was her one vanity, for compared to her older sister, she’d always felt plain.

Her gown in place, she slipped her feet into a pair of ankle boots made of soft lambskin but, like all her things, were worn through. A hole had abraded the outside toe on one, and they needed resoling desperately. Still, all in the castle had made concessions, and she wouldn’t complain. It wasn’t her brother’s fault that this sorry poverty had been thrust upon them due to the MacDonald bastard’s relentless greed.

She let down her wavy curls from the utilitarian bun she’d concealed within her cloak and tried to run a comb through the ends. No use. The prongs snagged in the hopeless tangles, and there was no time to wet it and make it manageable. Instead, she fluffed it down her back, where it tumbled to her waist, and hastened to tie it back in a plain ribbon as she accompanied Donegal downstairs, through the hall, and out into the bailey.

Servants scrambled across the slush, pushing carts to safety in a shed, and took shelter in case the enemy laird had returned for a rematch, while guardsmen lined the curtain wall to assess the threat, arrows trained upon their guest.

“There’s my sister now,” she heard Seamus say.

She stalled in her tracks, her throat constricting, and a leaden anchor sank in her stomach. Although they’d never been introduced, she knew it was the Devil MacDonald himself perched in the saddle on the opposite side of the portcullis grate.

“Ye were just out riding, were ye no’, Aileana?” Seamus demanded as his wife, Elizabeth, and their sister, Peigi, flanked him demurely, watching her, ever the beautiful ladies that she had never been and would never be.

Her gaze flitted from her sister-in-law to Peigi, then to Seamus once more, so regal in his deep-blue plaid draped over his shoulder, his heavy belts, and—she noted—his claymore sheathed across his back. Dagger hilts protruded from his waist, and his sgian dubh was lodged strategically in his boot. He’d prepared himself to greet James MacDonald as a proud, stoic warrior and their parents’ only son to survive infancy.

But as her eyes returned to the laird atop his glossy stallion, she didn’t see the disgusting cretin she’d expected. She saw striking blue eyes, dark-blond hair waving wildly around his face and neck with those ever-present braids which she could see, now that she was close to him, were knotted with wooden beads—not bones, as he’d been rumored to don—and he was obviously disheveled from his chase. His jaw was scruffy in dark whiskers, those of a young man filling into his prime. His cheekbones were cut high; his nose, long, but firm and proud. Around his shoulders hung a heavy pelt of deerskin over his doublet coat, and a bright red tartan draped across his chest, held in place at the shoulder by a bejeweled badge denoting the clan’s symbol.

His thighs, partly visible due to his kilt splaying about him, were powerful and bulged with bands of long muscle, and his boots, deerskin insulated in fleece tufting out of the tops, were fine quality—and certainly not wearing through the toes or soles like hers were.

She nearly scoffed at the thought and instinctively wiggled her little toe rubbing through her lambskin as a chill shivered through her. She should have changed into a fresh chemise.

He was magnificent, not the beast she’d always conjured to mind when reliving the horrible day they had last been besieged, even if his face was filled with fury now. Her stomach twisted nervously as he managed the reins of his cavorting destrier puffing steam into the air. Blast it, but she hadn’t expected handsome. Nor had she expected his gaze to hold hers as if she’d surprised him, too.

Memories swirled to life of clenching sweet Peigi’s hand and ferrying her to safety as Urquhart was attacked by men whose faces were muddied and painted in blue woad. She lifted her chin to push away the unwanted thought. Rolled back her shoulders. This MacDonald bastard, no matter how handsome, was a nàmhaid—an enemy—if there ever was one. She wouldn’t allow him the pleasure of watching her shrink from his hard gaze. Instead, she walked up close to the portcullis as if to taunt him, folding her arms and examining his features for herself. His piercing blue stare followed her, evoking shivers across her skin.

She could feel her brother’s glare upon her, too, though she ignored it. She might feel guilty about bringing trouble, but she wouldn’t apologize for stealing a wee bit of food. She was a noble-born Grant. It was as much her duty as Seamus’s to look after the folk who supported this home with their labors, and they could no longer afford to await word from the Crown as to whether or not their recompense would be awarded.

Seamus leaned into her ear as she felt Laird McDonald’s gaze still scrutinizing her, perusing her figure with his devilish eyes. His moniker was proving to be true. Devil indeed.

snowy twelfth knight's bride

Tour Wide Giveaway

To celebrate the release of TWELFTH KNIGHT’S BRIDE by E. Elizabeth Watson, we’re giving away a paperback copy of An Earl for the Archeress!

GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a paperback copy of An Earl for an Archeress by E. Elizabeth Watson. This giveaway is administered by BookMojo on behalf of Entangled Scandalous. Giveaway ends 12/31/2020 @ 11:59pm EST. a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

E. ELIZABETH WATSON writes historical romance and lives in West Virginia with her sons, husband, and various pets. With degrees in Archaeology and Anthropology, Elizabeth instead began pursuing a career in fiction writing after earning an Honorable Mention in the 2013 Texas Observer short story completion, and making it to the quarter-finals in the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. Elizabeth is a member of RWA and Maryland Romance Writers.

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Spotlight & Excerpt: Lachlann’s Legacy + Giveaway

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Lachlann’s Legacy
The Order of the Scottish Thistle, # 1
by Ashley York
Historical Romance

 

Hidden secrets could tear them apart as fast as their passion drove them together

On the Moray coast in Scotland…

Ethne’s genuine and caring nature makes her invaluable to her brother as his son’s caretaker, but he and his wife treat her as little more than their servant. When she learns their tribal leader would use her chaste status for his own purposes, Ethne plans to escape and reluctantly accepts the help of Lachlann—a handsome pilgrim she only just met at the local faire.

Despite her independent spirit, Ethne feels drawn to Lachlann. Her instincts say his intentions are honorable, but can she trust him with her heart?

Raised by his godfather with few clues to his family’s past, Lachlann values his freedom and the brotherhood of his highlander kin. Disguised as a pilgrim on a mission for the priory, he encounters Ethne, a warm, intelligent maiden whose courage in the face of a loveless marriage awakens an intense need to protect her.

Unfortunately, Ethne is one of the very people he must deceive to explore the cave system containing clues to the lost treasure he seeks. But he cannot abandon her to an uncertain fate—or deny the simmering tension between them.

With religious prejudice running high and both of them facing tests of loyalty, Lachlann and Ethne may realize the only way to fight for their futures is to surrender… to each other.

Lachlann stopped reading to watch her. Her eyes remained bright and her voice low, bringing him in closer as the story caught his imagination.

“This man writes that he was once called Oengus, a hired killer. Pillaging and raping for whoever would pay him the most: Celt, Pict, Anglo-Saxon. And all the spoils were his to take or use as he chose. He recalls one particularly savage battle; his arm was all but severed from his body. He was left for dead, discarded like he never mattered, while his life’s blood seeped into the hard, cold ground. The blowing leaves covered him as they fell, because he hadn’t the strength to clear them away. Hours and days went by while he waited for his death. That is when Columba found him.

“Columba gave him cool, refreshing water and spoke reassuring words of God’s love and mercy. Oengus’s body raged with fever. In his brokenness, he called Columba a liar, crying out that God could never forgive him for the atrocities he’d inflicted on the innocent. But Columba continued to care for Oengus’s many wounds, insisting God would forgive a repentant heart.

“When the fever finally broke, Oengus awoke in the priory surrounded by monks praying over him. It was several weeks before he fully recovered, but he finally felt well enough to ask for Columba. The man had shown him great love and care, and Oengus wished to be baptized by the man. The monks told him Columba had been dead for hundreds of years.”

 

 
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Norman Conquest Book 1
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Award-winning author Ashley York writes historical romance full of passion and intrigue set in 11th and 12th century Ireland, Scotland, and England where life was wild and survival was never guaranteed.

Whether it’s in the mysterious ring forts of Ireland, the romantic Scottish Highlands, or the battle fields of Hastings, her characters fight hard and play hard. Good or evil, primary or secondary, they’ll yank at your emotions and make it hard to put her books down.

Passionate about history and research, York may tweak some historical facts (like the location of the Baron’s Rebellion) but the flavor of the time is undeniable. With heroes and heroines you’ll want to read about again and again, her stories are fresh and unpredictable but still finish with a satisfying HEA.

 
 
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Spotlight & Excerpt: Wish Upon a Duke + Giveaway

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Wish Upon a Duke
Love & Devotion Book 1
by J R Salisbury
Genre: Historical Romance

 

The duke’s bargain never included falling in love…

When Savannah Dawson married the second son of an English earl, she never dreamed she’d have to leave her beloved America, let alone enter the aristocracy at her son’s side. Yet when the earl dies and her husband disappears at sea, Savannah’s life is upended. Bringing her young son to England to meet her shrewish mother-in-law is only the beginning of her trials. The dowager countess has asked a duke to assist in the new earl’s education—a man whose power and position could define the course of Savannah’s life. Proud and stubborn, Savannah refuses to be intimidated. And yet neither can she resist the attraction that catches fire between them.

Reformed rakehell Gabriel Armstrong, Duke of Clevedon, has no room in his life for a woman. Especially an American commoner, the widow of his childhood friend. Beautiful and bold, Savannah nevertheless captivates his imagination. Unlike her English counterparts, she speaks her mind and demands to be heard. Something that does not endear her to the dowager countess, yet which Gabriel finds fascinating. Troubles follow her from America, however. Her husband’s business was in debt, his money invested in illicit trade, and his ship was not the first to be lost at sea.

Rumors abound that Savannah’s husband is still alive. Forces are at work to deny her son his title. And when an interloper arrives demanding repayment or revenge, the life of Savannah’s young son is in jeopardy. Savannah and Gabriel must work together to escape the shadows that could blot out the light of their future.

 

**Only .99 cents until Dec. 17!**

 

He rode at a quick pace, with the stable boy following to the Dawson estate.
Slowly after he arrived, he felt his heart in his throat as he caught a glimpse of Savannah. She wore a dark green riding outfit, which made her light blonde hair sparkle. Her deep blue eyes reminded him of two sapphires. He wanted nothing more than to kiss her, but now wasn’t the time. Not only did he want their next kiss to be private, he didn’t want to chance the dowager countess witnessing it, whether she hid in the shadows or not.
It had been a long time since he’d wanted to kiss a woman like he did Savannah. He’d thought he’d loved Marie, but what he felt when he held Savannah in his arms far surpassed any passion he’d known before.
“Good afternoon, Your Grace,” Savannah said as she got closer. The lilt of her voice soothed him.
“Mrs. Dawson, you look radiant.”
“Thank you.”
“Are you ready? I picked out a mare specifically for you. I think you’ll like her.” Gabriel motioned for the stable boy to bring the mare around to the mounting block. She patted the mare on the neck before mounting. She gave him an odd look.
“What? Did I do something wrong?” he inquired.
“I don’t require a side-saddle. I’m a good enough rider I can ride astride. These are dangerous, you know.” She smiled.
He swung his leg over the back of the gelding. “I’ll make sure my staff remembers that in the future. If you’d like I can have the mare resaddled. It would only take a few minutes.”
“Thank you, Your Grace. I would appreciate that.”
Not twenty minutes later, they rode quietly, side by side until they were out of sight of the house. Gabriel gathered his reins.
“I thought we’d ride out to the tower.”
“Wonderful. Can we go up to the roof?”
He nodded. “Yes, it’s been cleaned since our last visit.”
She shortened the mare’s reins and, in an instant, urged the horse into a gallop, leaving Gabriel in a cloud of dust. He galloped behind her, content to let her enjoy herself. She was an accomplished horsewoman, better than most women he knew. So many barely rode, preferring to be seen in a carriage. He couldn’t recall ever riding like this with a woman besides his sister, Frannie. Henrietta had always been prim and proper, preferring painting and needlework to galloping across a field on horseback.
Finally, he caught up with her, and they slowed down. Coming upon a fork in the path, Gabriel led her down to the left. In a few more minutes, they’d be able to see the top of the tower. The tower had always been a fascinating place. The real reason for its construction was lost to history, given there were so many stories. One tale was it had been built to serve as a sort of prison of a home for a long-gone duke’s mistress. Another was that the tower was built as a lookout for trespassers. The third was it was where his great-great-grandfather kept his wife, the duchess, who turned mad after a fever.
Gabriel liked to believe the second story. The idea of this structure being used for anything dark didn’t sit well with him.
“You’re being rather quiet,” Savannah said, joining him as they slowed their horses to a walk.
“I was trying to recall the stories I was told about the tower growing up.” He shared the three tales with her. She was amused as he went into detail.
“I think more than likely, the tower was built as a lookout. Unless, of course, you have well-founded evidence of one of the others.”
“If there is, it’s hidden in one of the books in the library. Dusty and forgotten.”
She gazed ahead to where the top of the tower now appeared before them. “It would be nice to know, wouldn’t it?”
“I suppose. I never gave it much thought.”
“Has it just sat there empty?”
He nodded and stopped the gelding. “As far as I can remember, though I think my father did come here to be alone to think.”
“I imagine the view would be a perfect deterrent from any troubles one might have.”
He arched a brow. “You’re about to find out.”
She smiled back at him. “You’re a strange man at times, Your Grace.”
He sighed and shrugged. “I’ve been told worse.”
Gabriel helped her down and found a tree to tie the horses. Opening the door, he followed her inside. Coming to the staircase leading to the roof, Gabriel continued to follow Savannah, watching the gentle sway of her hips as she took each stair. Something stirred within him, and he thought about the first time his father had brought him to the tower, how exciting it was to climb these exact same stairs for the very first time as a young boy. Now, all these years later, he was sharing the view with someone new.
“It’s beautiful,” Savannah exclaimed as they came through the door at the top of the stairs. She was right, the view was splendid, but he always loved to see the expression on another’s face when they looked out and saw the land, which seemed to go on forever.
“It is, isn’t it?” Gabriel replied, not knowing if he were asking her or simply making a statement.
She walked around to another side, the one facing south. The scenery was slightly different, lush green everywhere. The top of the castle was visible from this vantage point. “I can see why your ancestors built the tower here. You can see anyone approaching the castle.”
He nodded, amazed by her grasp of the situation. Most woman wouldn’t figure it out. “Yes, especially anyone approaching from London. You can see from all vantage points, but London would always have been where most came from, whether invited or not.”
“It just sits unused now? Pity.”
“I believe my parents and possibly grandparents used the tower. My mother and father used to take a meal up here in the summer, and my mother would sometimes come and read.”
“I can see her attraction to the place. Has anyone ever lived here?”
“Yes, there have been what I suppose you’d call keepers. There’s a small sitting area and kitchen with a separate place to sleep.”
She smoothed her already smooth skirts and gazed at him through the sunlight. “Thank you for showing it to me.”
He neared. “You’re welcome. It’s one of my favorite spots on the entire estate.”
“I can see why,” she replied breathlessly.
He closed the gap between them. He inhaled her scent of oranges and vanilla. At that moment, he thought it was the most intoxicating smell. She was so close, he could see the vein on her long, fine neck pulsing. Was she nervous? She didn’t appear to be, but he knew she could keep her feelings bottled up inside for no one to see. He tucked his hand under her chin and bent his head.
And then he kissed her.
To his relief, she didn’t pull back in shock. Instead, she stood there quietly, allowing him to take the lead. Her lips tasted of honey and tea as he ran his tongue along them. The urge for more consumed him as he parted her lips with his tongue. She opened to him, their kiss becoming more passionate and needy. Her arms wrapped around his neck, her fingers running through his hair.
Reluctantly, he broke the kiss, his breathing ragged. His cock was hard with need. The one thing he swore he’d never do was happening, and he didn’t want it to end. He stared down at her, her lips swollen from his kiss. How long had it been since she’d kissed a man? Was he the first since her husband died?
Cupping her chin with his hand, he kissed her again. Again, she opened and responded to him. What started out as a simple kiss was now greedy and passionate. He wanted her like no other. Certainly, he’d kissed many a woman, but none of them aroused him the way Savannah did. He wanted to make love to her and claim her for his own.
“We must stop,” he growled as he tore himself away.
“You brought me here to take advantage of me, Your Grace?”
“No, not at all. I’ve dreamt of kissing you. I merely got caught up in the moment. Forgive me.”
She nodded, one hand absentmindedly touching her hair. “There is nothing to forgive. It was as much my fault as it was yours, Your Grace.”
“Gabriel. I asked you to call me Gabriel.”
“Very well, Gabriel.” She smiled. “What do we do now?”
“What do you want to do? We can either pretend that kiss never happened, or we can pursue our feelings.”
The color rose in her cheeks. He wondered if they would flush when he finally bedded her. There was no doubt in his mind he was going to bed her and make her his, but then what?
“There is no way we can undo that kiss. I wouldn’t want to, but there are others we have to think of.”
“Vincent, yes. I understand.” He smiled. “As far as Lady Dorset, I don’t care what she thinks.”
“She’s still my mother-in-law.”
“True, but she surely can’t expect you to live out your days alone and unloved.”
“I have Vincent,” she whispered.
“Yes, and he always will love you. You must face the fact his life will be changing in the next few years. He will go off to school. Eventually university. He’ll marry, have children of his own.”
“But he’ll always love me.”
He ran his fingers along her cheek. “Is that enough? Are you willing to forsake a life of your own?”
“I would do anything for my son. Anything.”
“I know.”
He leaned over and kissed her once again. Savannah sighed as he did. “If we’re going to do this, we must be discreet and go slowly. Can you do that for me?”
He arched a brow and nipped her lower lip with his teeth. “For you, I can do anything. I would move heaven and earth if it meant having you by my side.”

 
 

I’ve always been a creative individual. Writing is just a facet of that creativity…

My careers in public relations in and around the entertainment industry, photography, editing,  artist management, modeling and special event planning all elevated my passion for writing, not to mention gave me a treasure trove for story lines.

I write women’s fiction; contemporary romance (as Jamie Salisbury) and historical romance (as JR Salisbury) which is ever evolving. I am fortunate enough that writing (and marketing of said product(s)) is my full-time job, although I always have one or two other projects going at the same time.

I now live in a suburb of Atlanta. Some of my other interests include photography, equestrianism, reading, and of course, travel.

I sincerely hope my writing will entertain, enlighten, and inspire others to pick up the pen and pursue their own dreams. I love to be contacted by readers, writers, and history buffs.

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