So, what happened in Books 1 and 2, THE DREAM CATCHER and BLUE BONNETS and what can we expect in SWORD DANCE?
The story so far...
When her ship is caught in a terrifying storm off the far north of
and she catches her first
glimpse of Wrath Lodge, Rose believes she has reached the gateway to hell. Her
encounter with Wrath's laird Bruce McGunn does nothing to reassure her. A
reckless officer discharged from the army, McGunn holds a bitter grudge against
her husband's family, the wealthy McRaes, and Rose is soon horrified to find
out that he means to hold her to ransom in order to save his estate from
financial ruin. Scotland
Bruce's health is failing, and he fears he is descending into madness with terrifying hallucinations tormenting him every night. Soon something else is keeping him awake - a growing attraction for his captive, and the gruesome discovery of two women's bodies near the castle. One of them, Malika, is a childhood friend of Rose's she last saw in
the day before her marriage to McRae. How the women died, who killed them and
disposed of their bodies is a mystery Bruce now has to solve. Algiers
Rose manages to escape Wrath, taking with her a posy of pine sprigs she believes was given to her by the Dark Lady, Wrath's resident ghost, and her confused feelings for Wrath's tormented master - the man she calls McGlum.
Here is an excerpt. I hope you enjoy it.
‘What are you doing? Please stop,’ she breathed, as his lips trailed along the curve of her throat.If only he could... He looked up and the seductive power of her sultry, heavily made-up eyes gleaming in the moonlight hit him like a bolt of lightning. Every fibre of his body reacted to the feel of her soft body against his, the warm fragrance of her skin. She was right, though. What the hell was he doing? Once again he reminded himself that he had no right to feel that way, no right to want her, but damn it, the woman would tempt a saint. And he was no saint.
He swallowed a deep, hard breath, released her and made himself step back. ‘All right. We’ll stay here a while and wait until McRae and his remaining guests have gone to bed. Where’s your horse?’
‘I left it tied to a post behind the hunting lodge.’
‘What about your bag?’
‘It’s still strapped to the saddle. By the time I spoke to the girls and the musicians, we had to get ready to come here.’
‘How did you manage to get into the hunting lodge without being seen by McRae’s men?’
‘It wasn’t easy. I got stuck as I sneaked in through one of the downstairs windows and ripped my - ’
‘You got stuck?’ He would have laughed if he weren’t so angry.
‘The musicians had to pull me in. We had to be quick and very quiet, because Cameron’s men were in the kitchen.’
Damn the woman. Didn’t she care about the danger she put herself in? ‘So, after clambering through a window, you had the brilliant idea to disguise yourself as a dancer and throw yourself into the lion’s den.’
She flinched at the harshness of his tone. ‘I thought I could avoid bumping into Cameron.’
‘You bump into everything and anything you come across, why not McRae?’ he interrupted, taut with temper. ‘He could have recognised you when you were with the others in the music room.’
‘Then I would have confronted him and exposed him for the liar and the debauched rake he is in front of all his guests!’ The baubles on her necklace tinkled like little bells as she shook her head.
‘Weren’t you afraid of all those men ogling you, lusting after you?’ Me included, he remembered, guilt tightening his chest.
‘Well, I... I didn’t think I would have to dance. My plan was to get into the castle and hide until I could speak to Lady Sophia. Unfortunately, Cameron’s manservant was watching us like a hawk and I had no choice but to go into the music room with the others. The girls promised to create a diversion so that I could sneak out unnoticed.’
‘A diversion? That’s a mild way of putting it,’ he sneered. ‘The girls’ dancing was... ahem... striking, to say the least. Ask that poor old man who collapsed.’ He drew in a deep breath. ‘Anyway, where did you learn to dance like that?’
She lowered her eyes, snapped a leaf from a nearby bush and tore it into tiny pieces that spiralled to the ground. ‘Malika taught me, in secret. She always said I was good enough to be one of them.’
She was right, her dancing had been entrancing, mesmerising, but he wasn’t going to tell her. ‘I still can’t believe you took such risks tonight, just to talk to McRae’s fiancée. It was stupid and foolhardy.’ And damned brave, too, even though he would never admit it. Gripped by conflicting urges, he towered above her, his fists clenched and his jaw set.
SWORD DANCE is available from Accent Press and from Amazon