Seduced by a Highlander (44 page)

Tears brought on by the pungent air slipped down her cheeks, falling far below to where her friends… her family lay dead or dying. Dragging her palm across her eyes, she searched the bodies for Edward. He’d returned to her an hour after the fighting had begun and ordered her into the chapel with the sisters. When she’d refused, he’d tossed her over his shoulder like a sack of grain and
brought her there himself. But she did not remain hidden. She couldn’t, so she’d returned to the tower and her bow and sent more than a dozen of her enemies to meet their Maker. But there were too many—or mayhap God didn’t want the rest, for they slew the men she ate with, laughed with, before her eyes.

She had feared this day for so long that it had become a part of her. She thought she had prepared. At least, for her own death. But not for the Abbess’s. Not for Edward’s. How could anyone prepare to lose those they loved?

Despair ravaged her, and for a moment she considered stepping over the wall. If she was dead they would stop. But she had prayed for courage too many times to let God or Edward down now. Reaching into the quiver on her back, she plucked out an arrow, cocked her bow, and closed one eye to aim.

Below her and out of her line of vision, a soldier garbed in military regalia not belonging to England crept along the chapel wall with a torch clutched in one fist and a sword in the other.

Where authors give you the inside scoop!

From the desk of Kate Brady

Dear Reader,

I first met the hero in LAST TO DIE (on sale now) several years ago. His name was Mitch Sheridan, and I got to know him long before his brother, Neil, came around and launched the Sheridan series. Mitch was the hero of my first foray into contemporary stories, and toward the end of that manuscript, I learned he had a brother and a sister. I knew nothing about either one, but became fascinated by all three Sheridans. I went on to write Neil’s story and later to sell it.

That’s when I came full circle back to Mitch. His original story didn’t involve the maniacal murder plot expected in romantic thrillers, but Mitch himself was a character I’d always loved. Gorgeous, famous, sexy, and driven by a deep-seated need to save the world in order to redeem his own failures, Mitch required a heroine who would take the blinders from his eyes and make him face the truth instead of running from it. Someone undaunted by his fortune and fame.

Dani Cole seemed right for the job. A cop with a hard life, Dani emerged in the story as tough as the pit bull she’d once rescued. She was stubborn, independent, resilient. And she made it clear to Mitch when they were just teenagers that she could manage life’s challenges without him. In fact, she preferred it that way.

Eighteen years later, when their story opens, sexual sparks fly, but Dani still refuses to let herself lean on Mitch. Now, here’s where I—as a modern female author—encounter a dichotomy that’s always hard to handle. I’m an educated and progressive woman perfectly capable of taking care of myself. But I’m also a sucker for a man who knows what he wants. And when what he wants is a specific woman—whom he’s wanted for eighteen years—I have to admit I find that pretty darn sexy. I’m not talking about anything brutish, mind you. But watching Mitch charm his way back into Dani’s life, and then seeing him fear she was in danger, reminded me of why I fell in love with him and his brother in the first place. It may not be very liberated of me, but there it is.

Of course, before they come around to bliss, they’ll have to track down a diabolical murderer and unravel a hair-raising plot that’s motivated by far more than money or vengeance.

People continually ask how I come up with such warped psyches. I can only say that somewhere between grading papers and conducting church choirs and doing laundry and running kids around and cooking meals and cleaning up after pets—twisted little thoughts sometimes niggle. It’s great fun to put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) and flesh them out!

I hope you enjoy going along with Mitch and Dani to conquer that evil killer and find true love.

Happy Reading!

From the desk of Paula Quinn

Dear Reader,

When I was given the opportunity to write “The Children of the Mist” series, I was overjoyed. I couldn’t wait to begin and to be reunited with my two favorite characters, Kate and Callum MacGregor, from LAIRD OF THE MIST. How exciting to meet their sons and their daughter, to fill over twenty years of time in my head discovering who my new heroes and heroines were, and who they were to become. You already met the devoted, uncompromisingly stubborn firstborn, Rob MacGregor, in the first book in the series, RAVISHED BY A HIGHLANDER. His brother Tristan, the hero (and I breathe a little sigh as I type that particular word for this particular man) in my brand new book SEDUCED BY A HIGHLANDER, is nothing at all like him. In fact, Tristan is nothing like anyone in his family. Or so everyone, including him, believes. Up until my revisions for this book, even I didn’t know who Tristan truly was.

He had us all fooled.

Like every other woman who meets him, I quickly fell in love with his natural charm and vibrant smiles. But it was a facade, and it took me some time before I realized it. Me, his author. Even after I did, breaking through the barrier he’d built between himself and the rest of the world made him the most challenging and ultimately gratifying hero I’ve ever written.

You see, Tristan had been wounded as a boy. Not physically, but it’s the scars on one’s heart that take the longest to heal… so they say. Being privy to his entire life, I knew the event that had changed him, but I didn’t want to go back and examine how it had. Honestly, it was too painful for me. Thank God my editor is brilliant and told me I needed to go back and see the event through my young hero’s eyes and then write it into the Prologue.

If you’ve read it, then some of you might already hate me for the death of Robert Campbell, beloved Galahad in A HIGHLANDER NEVER SURRENDERS. It’s okay; I hated myself for a while for writing it. But it was in the moment of the earl’s death that I finally saw who Tristan truly was—the man he had wanted to become. My carefree, reckless rogue was really a knight in shin… ok, well, rusty armor. But as the fair, feisty damsel Isobel Fergusson assures him, armor can be polished.

Pick up a copy of SEDUCED BY A HIGHLANDER and follow a knight’s quest for honor as it leads him to the arms of his ladylove… even if she does hate him.


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