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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