Kilts, Cravats and Chivalry

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30 Days of Summer – Kirsten S. Blacketer

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BOOK INFORMATION

Title – A Shadow’s Kiss
Series – Shadow Guardian Series
Author – Kirsten S. Blacketer
Word/Page count – 59,000 words
Buy link – Amazon

Other Books By Kristen S. Blacketer – Amazon Author Page

 

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BOOK SYNOPSIS

Madeline Campbell has been whisked away from her uncle’s barony to be reunited with her family in the Scottish Highlands. Her happy reunion quickly sours when she realizes her father intends to present as a bride to the winner of the Highland Tournament. With no one to turn to for comfort or guidance, Madeline chooses to do her duty to her clan as well as her father and marry the winner.

An English knight has no place on Scottish soil, but Alexander must complete the mission with which he was tasked. Find Madeline and ensure her safety. When he finds her, he must decide between his honorable duty and his love for Madeline.

No one can deny their attraction and their desire for one another, but when it sparks jealousy in the other clansmen, they have no alternative but to run. Secrets emerge from the shadows of the past and threaten to tear their happiness apart. How can one choose between their duty and their heart?

 

EXCERPT

With a soft curse, Madeline picked up a bow and a single arrow. She glanced around and saw no one.

She was alone.

The wood slid against her skin, comforting and familiar. Nocking the arrow, she pulled the bow up and slowly drew it back. Her arms trembled at the pull of tension. Aiming at the target, she exhaled and released the arrow. With a solid thwack, her arrow sang true, striking just below the center of the target. Her heart raced as she picked up a second arrow. She aimed and sent it to join the first, but it hit too low again. Furrowing her brow, she reached for a third.

“Aim just above where you want to hit when shooting from this distance.” A deep, familiar voice rumbled behind her. Madeline spun around, the bow dropping to her side. Alexander stood with his arms crossed, his expression unreadable. “Here,” he said, stepping toward her. “Let me show you.”

Madeline stepped back as he approached. “I thought you left,” she stammered, her heart fluttering at the sight of him. His broad shoulders filled out the linen shirt, and his body wrapped in layers of plaid. She licked her lips. He appeared more dangerous now than he did when clad in chain mail and a coat of plates.

“Your brother, Angus, made a very convincing argument for why I should stay.”

Her mouth hung open. Before she could ask him what Angus said, he put his hands on her shoulders and turned her around. Facing the target, she took a breath to steady her hands.

“What are you doing?” she asked as he stepped up behind her. His heat melted into her back, she wanted to sway into him, lean her weight against his body. But she forced herself to stand straight. He tipped the bow up.

“Nock your arrow,” he said, as he guided her fingers to position it. “Aye, like that.”
His breath caressed the side of her face as he leaned beside her. His left hand covered hers on the bow, while the light caress of his right hand guided hers as she drew the string back. Her heart raced, thundering as a storm of desire raged inside of her. His scent of leather and horse mingled with the highland air. She forgot to breathe.

“Now aim just above where you want the arrow to strike,” he whispered. Her eyes drifted closed.

“Release.”

She let the arrow fly. It struck the target dead center. He stepped away. A small groan of disappointment left her lips as the moment ended. She turned to face him, not caring about the damned target anymore.

Alexander watched her, his lips curved into a hint of a smile. “With some practice, you could become proficient with a bow.”

Madeline put the bow back with the others. “Why are you still here, Alexander?” She sighed. Her heart ached at the sweet torture of him standing so close. She had resigned herself to her fate. She would marry the winner of the tournament out of duty and respect for her family name. Taking a deep breath, she faced him again. “Have you nothing better to do than torture me with your presence?”

“You wish me to leave then?” His eyes betrayed nothing, but his voice held a hint of regret.

“Aye.” She turned away from him. Why must he do this to her? What pleasure did he get from seeing her torn with indecision and sadness? For two months, she prayed he would take notice of her shy glances, her flirtatious smiles. Now she was promised to another, he spoke to her. How cruel could fate be? “Leave.”

 

AUTHOR BIO

 

Stick her in the middle of a chaotic home with two children, a hyperactive dog, and a camouflage wearing husband, and she can cook and clean with the best of them. But when the sun goes down and the children are nestled in bed fast asleep, she tucks away her pots and broom and like Cinderella she transforms.

Her characters creep forth from the dark recesses of her mind taking their places in the castles and forests built from her words. No simpering heroines linger there with forlorn gazes turned to the horizon, waiting for their Prince Charming. They straighten their spine, arming themselves with blade and bow, prepared to do their part in defense of their honor and destiny. She breathes life into the women she believes our ancestors to be, showing how they lived and loved with passion and grace.

Never bored by the tales still left to tell, she battles the ever sarcastic muse in her quest for romance.

 

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Blog Tour – Ravensdale by Lucinda Elliot

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About The Book

TITLE – Ravensdale
SERIES – That Scoundrel Émile Duois
AUTHOR – Lucinda Elliot
GENRE – Historical Romantic Comedy
PUBLICATION DATE – 19 April 2014
LENGTH – Approx 85,000 words
PUBLISHER – Elliot
COVER ARTIST – Streetlight Graphics

Ravensdale - Book Cover

 

BOOK SYNOPSIS

When the group of highwaymen headed by the disgraced Earl of Little Dean, Reynaud Ravensdale holds up the hoydenish Isabella Murray’s coach, she knocks one of them down and lectures them all on following Robin Hood’s example.

The rascally Reynaud Ravensdale – otherwise known as the dashing highwayman Mr Fox – is fascinated at her spirit.

He escaped abroad three years back following his supposedly shooting a friend dead after a quarrel. Rumour has it that his far more respectable cousin was involved. Now, having come back during his father’s last illness, the young Earl is seeking to clear his name of murder, even if he is living as an outlaw meanwhile.

Isabella’s ambitious parents are eager to marry her off to Reynaud Ravensdale’s cousin, the next in line to his title. The totally unromantic Isabella is even ready to elope with her outlaw admirer to escape this fate – on condition that he teaches her how to be a highwaywoman herself.

This hilarious spoof uses vivid characters and lively comedy to bring new life to a theme traditionally favoured by historical novelists – that of the wild young Earl, who, falsely accused of murder by the machinations of a conniving cousin and prejudged by his reputation, lives as an outlaw whilst seeking to clear his name.

‘Ravensdale’ is a fast paced, funny and romantic read from the writer of ‘That Scoundrel Émile Dubois’, following the adventures of that character’s equally roguish cousin and set in 1792, just prior to the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars and two years before the story of ‘That Scoundrel Émile Dubois’ .

 

BUY & TBR LINKS

AMAZON KINDLE US / AMAZON KINDLE UK / AMAZON PAPERBACK / GOODREADS

 

 

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Book Excerpt

Jumping the ditch, he vanished amongst the shrubs and bushes.
Longface, following more cautiously, nearly twisted his ankle.

Suddenly, Mr Fox sprang behind a bush. Longface leapt behind a lilac tree. The strapping wench who’d floored Filthy Fred came round the side of the house, holding a pair of pistols, and made for a target fixed to one of the shrubs.

She wore a pale lemon dress with matching floppy bonnet contrasting with her dark mane of carelessly piled up waving black hair. Longface supposed that she looked quite pretty. The sight of her had an astounding effect on his companion, who reeled on his feet and ogled like a madman.

She went over to a bench, and began to load the pistols. Longface shuddered. She got into difficulty with loading the wadding in the first, and after struggling for a while, shocking Longface with her language, threw it on the bench and marched about the adjoining rose garden in her rage.

Here Mr Fox showed the full extent of his madness. He stole up to the bench, and using a stone, hammered the wadding securely into place, darting back as the girl turned.

Longface awaited detection. On seeing that the pistol had been loaded, the girl merely raised her eyebrows, smiled, and moved towards the target. Longface, behind a bush nearby, threw himself to the ground, covering his head with his arms. The shot rang out. Looking up, he saw that she had shot through the centre of the target and was smiling happily.

Longface, startled at how charming her smile was, dreaded its affect on the deranged Mr Fox, who quivered and seemed about to have a fit.

The next hour was both dull and nerve racking. The besotted outlaw dodged from bush to shrub, yearning eyes fixed on the hoyden, while she practiced her shooting, singing happily as she loaded the pistol, swearing savagely when she bungled her aim.

Longface dreaded that she must see one of them, but Mr Fox was good at concealing himself. Once he sprang behind a bush at the back of which Longface had already rolled. One of his booted feet came down on Longface’s favourite neck cloth. Longface felt at his last gasp when his tormentor finally moved, tearing it and leaving Longface panting.

At last, a maid came out to speak to the girl. In frozen horror, Longface heard the words, ‘Mr Ravensdale’. Could this be the cousin whom the rumour went had been involved in the then Viscount’s disgrace? Miss Isabella agreed to be led in, the maid fussing about her heavy dark hair tumbling down, one piece having snaked as far as her waist.

On her way into the house, Mr Fox’s goddess dropped a lace edged handkerchief. Of course, as soon as she had gone in, he darted to snatch it up, sniffing it ecstatically and fondling it as if it were the girls’ own flesh.

Then he staggered over to a tree, and beating his head on it, muttered of ‘Outlaw’ ‘Cozened, by Hell and the Devil!’ ‘Brigandage’ and ‘Disgrace’. Longface’s embarrassment at this display was swept away in fear that the Young Hothead might do himself an injury. He also wondered vaguely if he was Disgraced himself. The emotional effect was the same, but as after his father’s ruin his goods amounted to half a donkey and a pound in silver, the practical effects weren’t. Meggie was lucky to have had any solvent man offer for her after it, even if her husband was a misery.

He started forward to stop Fox just as the outcast pulled away from the tree. Then he stole round the side of the house. Here great windows opened on to a long terrace. With bleeding forehead and wild eyes, he hid behind one of the rhododendrons, staring across at the windows, one being that of a drawing room. Longface feared even more for his
sanity, wondering if they would ever leave.

After a while, the Disgraced Earl’s patience was rewarded. Several family members came into the room, including the hoyden, now dressed for dinner in ivory silk, her hair up again. She did look well, and the outcast groaned aloud. Longface’s fears were confirmed with the appearance of an upright, tall, vigorous young man who could almost have been the outlaw’s twin.

A woman’s voice came stridently over the lawn, repeating, ‘Mr Ravensdale’ as if she could never say it often enough. After a time, this other Ravensdale came up to the piano near the window and Miss Isabella sat down to accompany him while he sang in a fine baritone:

‘Where’er you walk, cool glades shall fan the glade;
Trees, where you sit, shall crowd into a shade;
Where’er you tread, the blushing flowers shall rise,
And all things flourish, where you turn your eyes…’

Mr Fox writhed. Longface felt his pain. Miss Isabella laughed with his cousin as they finished the song, and so the outlaw’s torment wore on. Then Edmund Ravensdale came out onto the terrace to take a turn in the air alone.

Now the outlaw’s hand crept to this pistol, and he took aim. The only thing that stopped Longface from throwing himself on him was a strange sense, he knew not from where – that something of the sort had happened before with Reynaud Ravensdale and turned out badly. He stared frozen instead.

Then his chief put his hand on the rumpskuttle’s handkerchief and thrust his pistol back into his belt. His cousin went back in. The robber turned away hunched. On his way back towards his horse, he murmured once:

‘Ye Gods, and is there no relief from Love?…
On me love’s fiercer flames forever prey,
By night he scorches, as he burns by day.’

Longface, dolefully chewing on a piece of grass, muttered, ‘He’s gone fairly off his chump.”

After a few more steps, Mr Fox stopped. So did Longface, but the other, without troubling to turn round, called him.

Sheepishly, Longface approached. He was astounded that his chief had seen him when he had been hiding so skillfully. Still, Mr Fox had sharp eyes, so needed in their trade.

Fox was too distracted even to be angry. He swallowed. “Now you know.”

Longface met his eyes, and turned away. “I’m sorry,” he offered. He had once known the torments of love himself.

On their long, silent ride back to the inn, Longface tried to think of some comforting words to say, but found none. Perhaps, ‘There must be other strapping wenches with gipsyish looks and a liking for fisticuffs and shooting,’ wasn’t tactful. To suggest Kate’s cure might spark off a fit of rage. So, he kept a discreet silence, fingering his torn neck cloth.

As they drew into the inn yard, Longface’s chief spoke. “We’ve got our prize; Jack is to Town. Now is your chance to retire into respectability, Longface, as I’m going for a respectable occupation myself.” To Longface’s amazement, he grinned.

Late that night, when all was still in The Huntsman, Reynaud Ravensdale appeared downstairs, light in hand, looking for something. He searched first in the bar, then in the kitchen. At last his eyes fell on the brown bottle of the pedlar’s cure, also known as The Famed and Marvellous Elixir, which stood next to the teapot. Finding a spoon, he poured himself a generous helping, swallowing it in one gulp. Then he stood, eagerly waiting for the result.

This came speedily. His eyes widened, his face drained of colour, his breathing quickened and he swallowed and looked very ill for the next five minutes. Finally, recovering enough to speak, he swore heartily, poured the bottle down the sink, and trudged back to bed.

 

About the Author

Lucinda Elliot was born in Buckinghamshire England, and brought up in various parts of the UK, as her parents earned a living renovating isolated, old country houses before it became fashionable. Some of these would have made an ideal setting for the Gothic novels she loves to write.

Having lived and worked in London for many years she now lives with her family in North Wales and writes. She has many interests, including improving her languages and weight training, and loves a laugh above anything. She’s also an environmental and a classic English novel geek with combined first class honours.

 

AUTHOR FOLLOW LINKS:

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3 eCopy sets of “That Scoundrel Emile Dubois” and “Ravensdale”

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EDIT ME — I have a long name and I’m sick of typing it

Great post for authors. Everyone should know this

Hardworking Heroes

quote mark

I once wrote a book (no longer in circulation) with a character by the name of Wynnemarie. Not that fun to type, especially when you’re in the middle of a sex scene and Wynnemarie’s limbs are flying and she’s bucking and moaning and yeah, you get the point.

Do you have a long or annoying name to type? Here’s a tip on making your Word program automatically fill it in.

1. In word find the FILE tab and open it

2. scroll down to OPTIONS

3. PROOFING

4. AUTOCORRECT OPTIONS button click

5. another smaller box opens. find AUTOCORRECT again

6. in this box you’ll see a space that says REPLACE and WITH

7. type your word into WITH and something short in the REPLACE. Example: Wynnemarie goes into WITH. Wynn goes into REPLACE.

You’re welcome. 😀

Em~

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Blog Tour – To Dream of A Highlander by Samantha Holt

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Title – To Dream of a Highlander
Series – Highland Fae Chornicles #2
Author – Samantha Holt
Genre – Historical Romance
Publication Date – 11th April 2014
Length – 65000 words
Cover Artist – Kim Killion

 

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TOUR-BOOKSYNOPSIS

Sent on a rescue mission, Finn Mac Chaluim is prepared to do his duty, hand over the lass and return home.

But fate has other ideas.

In the midst of a Norse invasion, Catriona barely escapes with her life. Masquerading as her sister, she finds herself in the hands of Finn who intends to hand her over to her sister’s betrothed, Laird Gillean. In the interests of bringing peace to her home, Catriona is determined to continue the ruse—even if it means going along with the marriage and denying her growing attraction to a man who keeps his hurts hidden behind a quick grin.

If the green faery, Tèile, has anything to do with it, Catriona and Finn will come together—but only at the right time. Thanks to her last attempt at matchmaking, many paths were changed and now it’s up to her to put it right. Can she help Finn— who learned the hard way that sharing your life with someone only leads to heartache—get past his doubts? And will the battle-scarred Catriona even accept him into her heart? When Laird Gillean’s attentions toward Catriona become dangerous, both Finn and Tèile will find they have an uphill battle on their hands.

Character Bios

Finn mac Chalium

Following the death of his young wife and child, Finn has steered clear of women and his responsibility to them. He lost his mother to illness to while his father died a warrior’s death. Finn knows how easily attachments can be broken. Now the only things he takes pleasure in are drinking, fighting and bedding the occasional woman. And he does so with a ready smile and a quick wit—the easiest way of hiding the hurts he has suffered. But all that may change soon enough…

Lady Katelyn of Bute

Born on the beautiful Isle of Bute, Katelyn takes her duties to protect it seriously. So seriously that she intends to do all she can to defend it—even lie about her identity. Neglected by her father and hated by her sister, she’s used to looking after herself, even if she longs for someone to care for her. Her sheltered life is soon turned upside down when the Vikings invade their peaceful island.

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TOUR-EXCERPT

Like many a night, he found himself gazing up at her window. Warmth radiated from it. She would be in a chemise, the thin material moulding to her breasts. Unbound hair likely spiralled over her shoulders. Mayhap she had washed and her skin remained dewy and ebony curls clung to her face. A shudder swept through him and his blood boiled. He gripped the pommel of his sword. Lord, give me strength.

A movement sent his heart into his throat. His jaw dropped as Katelyn leaned out of the window. Sure enough, white cotton hugged her arms and her hair hung loose. Candlelight surrounded her in a fuzzy halo like an angel. She gazed out into the night, entrancing him. How he longed to know what she was thinking.

Did she think of him?

Her gaze snapped down, locking onto him. He peered around, realising the torchlight on the walls revealed him. Breath imprisoned in his throat, he met her challenge. Stance strong, chin lifted, he stared her out, waiting for her to crumble and retreat. The air around him became cloying and thick while his pulse pounded sickeningly. His arousal grew painful.

Abruptly, she turned away, broke the connection and left him panting and weak. He dropped his shoulders. Damnation. A moment to relieve himself was called for. Should he return to his chambers or just suffer it, like some kind of penance for a desire he should not have?

Swivelling, he stomped down the steps into the courtyard. He paused and gritted his teeth. Time alone would not cure him of her. And wine held no appeal any longer. He was lost.
The hall doors opened and a figure came barrelling out. He nearly cursed aloud when he realised it was Katelyn. Her chemise flowed around her legs, barely covered by a thin robe. He noted her bare feet and cursed properly this time. What was the lass doing outside in such a state?

Before he managed to ask her as much, she flung her arms around him and flattened a desperate kiss to his lips. He caught on quickly. With a growl, he bundled her to him, shaking hands splayed over her back and in her hair.

“Hell fire, Katie,” he murmured as he took another kiss from her. Breaking away, he glanced around and shook his head. “What are ye doing? Anyone could see. Gillean could see.”
“I care not,” she whispered.

When she leaned up for a kiss, he released her, snatched an arm and dragged her over to the stables. One more frantic glance around and he shoved her into the doorway and pressed her against the wall. No candlelight greeted them here, only the glow from the torches outside permeated the building, slipping through the gaps between the wood. It was enough. He saw all he needed. Once more he speared his fingers under her hair, unable to resist those glossy lips, slick from his kisses. Katelyn whimpered when he captured her mouth and curled her fingernails into his back.

“Ye play a dangerous game, lass,” he muttered against her mouth.

She tugged against the hold he had on her hair and eyed him. “I am no’ afeared of Gillean.”

“Ye are, ye cannae lie to me. But I mean with me. Ye play with fire here.”

“I need ye, Finn. I am no’ afeared of ye either. I’m willing to risk getting burned.”

“Ach, we shall both be burned. No good shall come of this.” His chest heaved at the enormity of it all, at what she said. He’d always known he was secretly weak. His bold endeavours and brash behaviour covered his fears. When others saw a warrior, Katelyn saw him for who he was. Weak for her.

 

TOUR-MEETAUTHOR

Samantha Holt Author Pic

Samantha lives in a small village in England with her gorgeous twin girls and husband who is a trained bodyguard and ex-soldier. She traditionally writes historical romances involving chivalrous knights and hot highlanders, but occasionally dabbles in contemporary romance.

 

TOUR-FOLLOWLINKS

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Factual Friday – Samantha Holt

On Fridays we are planning to have a blog about history. As fans of Historical Romance, we all like to know a little more about the eras we love. Today Samantha Holt, Author of the Highland Fae Chronicles series talking about…

The Invasion of Bute

The end of the Vikings?

My newly released novel To Dream of a Highlander takes place on the Isle of Bute, one of the western islands of Scotland in 1230—mid-siege.

The siege is not often written about. The tension between the powerful Norway—who held most of the western islands at the time—had only just started and culminated much later on in the infamous Battle of Largs. In history, this invasion could be considered a mere blip.

But for Walter Steward, the man who built the castle walls and took the island from the Norse originally as a steward of the king, this battle ended dreadfully for him. In defending the castle, he was struck by an arrow and killed.

What is now known as Rothesay castle replaced a wooden castle on the island. In around 1200, William the Lion seized the island from the Norse and Walter began erecting the castle. Alas his defences would prove inadequate when the time came.

King Hakon IV of Norway wanted to assert his rule in the isles and, accompanied by Uspak from the house of Somerled and Olaf of Man, set about hunting down those who were unfaithful for Hakon and the men of the king of Scots who sought power in the isles—such as Walter.

While this fleet spent time seeking out and killing these men, the climax of the expedition did not occur until a year later, in 1230,
when they stormed the castle at Bute. It is said that the defenders poured boiling pitch (a substance obtained from tar) and molten led on the attackers but they used shields to protect themselves and cut down the walls. Walter was killed by an arrow and the castle was taken.

However, they could not hold the keep. Alan of Galloway responded by assembling a fleet and upon seeing them, the Norse extracted a ransom of three hundred silver marks and left. This was not the end for Bute. In 1263, Hakon travelled from island to island, demanding allegiance following the king of Scots, Alexander III’s raids of the Norse territory.

This culminated in the Battle of Largs. The Norse were pushed off the mainland but the battle was indecisive, with losses on either side and no clear victor. With the approach of Winter, Hakon vowed to seek revenge in the Spring. Fortunately for Alexander, Hakon never lived to see Spring. His son, Magnus, had little interest in continuing the fight and gave up the Herbrides and the Isle of Man to Scotland for four thousand marks in the Treaty of Perth. This was the beginning of the end of the Norse age.

Samantha’s book is available to buy at Amazon 


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Seven Sentence Snippet Saturday

Welcome to our Seven Sentence Snippet Saturday. I’d like to take this opportunity to apologise for not having got this blog off the ground better. I have been rather unwell but now we’re ready to go. I have three great authors this week.

First we have Glynnis Campbell with a snippet from The Outcast – a novella from The Winter Stone collection.

 1013593_10203908988431974_7272280517954185044_n  “Hand over the lass, and we’ll leave ye to your affairs.”
    Lachlan wondered what on earth a wee lass could have done to incur the wrath of this mob.  Two of the villagers had their daggers drawn, four more wielded spades, and all of them had feverish fire in their eyes.  He didn’t care if the woman had butchered their livestock and set their fields on fire.  ‘Twas an unfair fight, and he didn’t like unfair fights.
    “Lass?” he dared them.  “What lass?”

You can buy it from Monday 21st April 2014 from Amazon – http://bit.ly/WinterStoneKindle

 

We also have with us Lily Baldwin and her Scottish historical romance Highland Thunder from her Isle of Mull series.

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As she retreated, cold dread stiffened his limbs, and he again searched for the right words to sway her mind. He considered telling her the truth—she was the breath that fed his body. She existed so that the world held something worthy enough for the sun to shine upon.

He took a deep breath ready to bare his soul, but then she stopped and looked back at him. “Are you coming?” she said.

His heart lay on his tongue. Words he swallowed time and again ached for release.

Highland Thunder is available at Amazon now

If any authors would like their seven sentence snippets posted next Saturday, please send your seven sentences, a buy link along with your name and the name of the book to kiltscravatsandchivalry@gmail.com


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Seven Sentence Snippet Saturday

Welcome to our very first blog post. Kilts, Cravats and Chivalry is a blog which is dedicated to bringing you the best of historical romance books, from early civilisations until the mid 20th Century. If there are any ideas for features you would like to see, we are all ears.

Saturdays will be “Seven Sentence Snippet Saturday.” We will ask authors to give us seven sentences from a book they have published or are about to publish. If it whets your appetite, we’ll give you a buy link to help you find it. Please feel free to leave feedback for our authors today.

First up is Tarah Scott with a snippet from My Highland Love.

download (1)She raised her hands to shield herself from his advance and her palms met the unexpected warmth of his chest. She gaped at her fingers splayed across tanned skin where his shirt lay open, and her senses reeled at the raw power in the heavy rise and fall of his chest.

“Lord,” she whispered, and yanked her hands away.The vague realization that strong fingers had gripped her wrists was overshadowed by the jolt she felt when Marcus forced her hands back to his chest. Her mind screamed to break free, but the sight of her palms gliding over his dark skin—the need to touch every contour, to know intimately his powerful body—held her rooted to the spot. She tore her gaze from his chest and looked into his eyes. The fire blazing there drew her—commanded her—and she leaned into him.

Buy My Highland Love here

Second up is Em Taylor with a snippet from Saved by a Rake.1384362_208280242680185_111637882_n

“I admire you greatly, Rebecca. You have strength and courage and you have not bowed to the gossips of the Ton. You have held your head high with grace and beauty. An innocent bride is only innocent for a very short time after her wedding, then she is just like any other woman.”

“I am scared, my lord—afraid of being intimate with another man.”

“Love between a man and a woman—between us—would be very different from your ordeal. I would never hurt you and if you said no, I would never force my attentions nor my body upon you.”

Buy Saved by a Rake here