Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Promo: Cowboy Charming by Dylann Crush

Cowboy Charming
By Dylann Crush
Publication Date 7/30/2019

“Get a crush on Crush! Full of clever humor, heart and heat.” —New York Times bestselling author Lori Wilde

They call him Casanova. But can this charming devil of a cowboy teach a good girl how to change her ways?

Small-town preacher’s daughter Dixie King is used to having a lot on her plate. Keep tabs on her flighty grandmother? No problem. Handle the honky-tonk’s first ever Chili Cook-Off? In the bag. Vamp it up to charm a would-be developer into leaving Holiday, Texas for good?

…now there she might need a helping hand.

Enter Presley Walker: Holiday’s own Cowboy Casanova and the perfect tutor for a good girl looking to go bad. He’s got charm in spades, and he’s always seemed like a terrible idea waiting to happen. But as Presley and Dixie work together to save their beloved hometown, these polar opposites might finally see the good in each other…if they can only learn to trust their hearts enough to fall.

Holiday, Texas Series:
All-American Cowboy (Book 1)
Cowboy Christmas Jubilee (Book 2)
Cowboy Charming (Book 3)

What Readers Are Saying About Dylann Crush:
“Fun, fresh and fantastic... A must read.”—Christie Craig, New York Times bestselling author, for All-American Cowboy
“Charm, humor, a vast array of quirky Texas characters... Another fun, flirty title.”—Kirkus Reviews for Cowboy Christmas Jubilee
“Strong chemistry and fun banter.”—Booklist for Cowboy Christmas Jubilee
“This romance is perfect for Christmas but it will warm your heart no matter what the season.”—Night Owl Reviews for Cowboy Christmas Jubilee

Dylann Crush writes contemporary romance with sizzle and sass. A romantic at heart, she loves her heroines spunky and her heroes super sexy. Although she grew up in Texas, she currently lives with her unflappable husband, three energetic kids, a clumsy Great Dane, a rescue mutt and a very chill cat in a suburb of Minneapolis/St. Paul. Visit her at dylanncrush.com.

Author Website: dylanncrush.com

Purchase Links:


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EXCERPT:

Dixie King hoisted the tray of longnecks onto her shoulder and sashayed through a busier-than-usual Thursday-night crowd. Spring finals week must be coming to a close for the frat boys and pseudo-cowgirls who considered the Rambling Rose their personal stomping ground. Sidestepping a clean-shaven guy in a polo shirt with grabby hands, she delivered the bottles one by one to the impatient patrons.
That right there was why her daddy never wanted her to take this job. As the resident preacher in the tiny town of Holiday, Texas, he feared for her moral safety. Funny thing was, he had absolutely nothing to worry about. Beyond the occasional ass-grabber or drunken proposition, Dixie hadn’t been involved with a man in years.
She made her way back to the bar to snag another load. As she transferred the bottles and mugs onto the tray, a body slid onto the stool at the end of the bar.
Presley Walker.
She’d have known it was him by the hint of intoxicating cologne that drifted off the man in a hormone-inducing wave. If her daddy wanted to pray for someone, Presley should be at the top of the list. Although it may be too late for him. Dixie figured he might not have any morals still intact.
“Hey, Red.” He took one of the bottles off the tray and tilted it in her direction before giving her a wink and lifting it to his lips. Even though something as simple as a smile from Presley Walker could make her thighs quiver for days, she ignored the urge to slip onto a barstool and make believe it was her mouth receiving the attention of his lips and not a mere bottle of beer. Fantasies involving Presley were just that—fantasies. She couldn’t afford to get caught up in wishing anything more would ever happen between them. She’d play off his attention like she always did—with a mixture of disdain and sass. The combination had proven effective over the years at deterring any potential advances from Holiday’s resident Romeo. Not that he’d follow through anyway. The way her daddy had treated her first long-term boyfriend had pretty much guaranteed no other eligible man in Holiday would be willing to subject himself to Pastor King’s scrutiny.
“Red? Gosh, Presley, what wit. I haven’t heard that one before.” She rolled her eyes then grabbed the extra beer the bartender handed her. Her red hair came from her mother’s side of the family, specifically her grandmother. Too bad she hadn’t also inherited the free-spirited, devil-may-care attitude her grandma Eugenia was known for.
“Hell, Dixie, I’m just warmin’ up.” Presley’s gaze drifted over her. The man could summon heat from an ice cube. Her skin burned under his attention. She felt like she was standing in the middle of the crowded honky-tonk in nothing but her birthday suit.
She groaned and whirled around, ready to run the gauntlet through the handsy crowd again. She’d rather face down a room full of cocky frat boys than get stuck face-to-face with Presley Walker. Her reluctance had absolutely nothing to do with the way his blue eyes sparkled or how his mouth tipped up in a crooked grin, making heat pool in places she didn’t want to acknowledge. And everything to do with the string of X-rated dreams she’d been having over the past several months—starring who else but Holiday, Texas’s most notorious bachelor.
Maybe she should do what her daddy had been encouraging her to do ever since she took this job—quit. But the tips were good, and working the late afternoon and evening shifts meant she could help out more at home. Besides, she needed the money if she wanted a place of her own someday. She had her heart set on opening a little artist studio where she could make and sell the handcrafted jewelry she’d been working on for the past few years. There were several other local artists in the area she’d love to feature as well. Another year or two and she’d be able to turn her dream into a reality.
Too bad that meant having regular run-ins with the blue-eyed demon. She shook her mass of red curls, trying to dislodge the memories of last night’s dream from her head. It wasn’t like Presley would stop coming around. Not only was he the local sales rep for the liquor supplier, but his sister, Charlie, and brother-in-law, Beck, owned the Rambling Rose.
Which meant she needed to keep him out of her head…and definitely out of her dreams.

***
Excerpted from Cowboy Charming by Dylann Crush. © 2019 by Dylann Crush. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.




Promo: Nothing But This by Natasha Anders

Guest Post: A Marriage Destroyed with Natasha Anders
Natasha Anders

Hi there, my name is Natasha Anders and I’m excited to talk to you about the second book in my Broken Pieces series, Nothing But This.

My long-time readers will know that I’m a fan of second chance romances and absolutely love a good marriage in trouble trope. The story of Greyson and Libby falls firmly within the latter category.

It’s not easy to write a marriage in crisis novel. By the time we’re introduced to the characters, they already have a relationship history behind them that readers have yet to discover. We enter this particular story at the lowest point of their relationship. The birth of a child should be a happy occasion but something is clearly wrong here; Libby’s husband isn’t there and she believes he hates her and her baby. And when Greyson eventually makes his way onto the page, her belief is confirmed.

No marriage can survive the things Greyson says at the beginning of this book and finding a way back from that low point is nearly impossible. I know that my readers are going to loathe him at the start. My heroine despises him and his own family is angry with him. I have to find a way to redeem him that will make everybody happy. And, harder still, I have to find a way to make the readers forgive him and, ideally, start to root for him.

It’s a challenge that I absolutely adore. I love hearing from readers who have that “wait a second, when did I stop hating him?” moment. I want his redemption arc to be so seamless that readers can’t pinpoint exactly when they started forgiving him. This is easier said than done and Greyson needs to do a lot of groveling and apologizing to even get a foot in the door. I like to look at what he’s doing and saying and put myself in the heroine’s and the reader’s position. Is this enoughHave I forgiven him yet? Even if the answer is yes, I try to push it just a little further because “enough” is never good enough and there will always be someone out there who wants him to suffer just that tiny bit more. It sounds sadistic, but I do like to put my characters (male and female) through the wringer. They need to earn that happy ending.

But the story needs to be balanced and while my hero is terribly flawed and at times insecure and vulnerable, his heroine needs to show a similar amount of character growth and self-recognition. She needs to find an inner strength and confidence that she lacks at the start of the novel. Striking the exact right balance and making their journey toward redemption and a satisfactory and well-earned happily ever after is what makes writing a second chance romance so hard.

One of the things I hope readers take away from this book is that a situation isn’t always as cut and dried as it seems on the surface. Greyson comes across as one hundred percent villain at the start of this book. But he’s insecure and incredibly lonely. This story is about a man breaking out of his self-imposed isolation and finding a place, not only in his wife’s heart and life, but also within a welcoming and accepting society. It is also the story of a woman learning to embrace and accept the flaws within herself and others.

I loved writing this book. I started with only one scene constantly playing out in my head; the hospital scene where Greyson unequivocally rejects his wife and his child. That’s all I had at the beginning and building this story around that one moment, was often frustrating but at the same time so incredibly satisfying. I loved discovering Libby and Greyson’s strengths and weaknesses and often found that some of those weaknesses echoed my own. It was a vulnerable space within which to find myself but it was also a rewarding step on my personal journey toward self-realization and recognition.

Thank you so much for taking the time to step into my not always sane mind. I do hope you enjoy reading Nothing But This as much as I loved writing it.

***

Nothing But This Excerpt

“We need to talk.”

“I have absolutely nothing to say to you.”

“Libby, please.”

“Why are you here? How are you here? Who told you how to find me?”

There was a long pause as he continued to grimace in her general direction, his eyes slits to protect himself from the light.

“I have money and resources. I’ve known where you are for months . . .” He hesitated before continuing, “For four months, to be exact.”

“Well, then why are you here?”

“Can we discuss this inside?”

“I don’t want you in my house.”

He compressed his lips in that way he had when he was trying to refrain from speaking his mind. An expression with which she was much too familiar. It used to bother her back when she cared about what he was thinking. He opened his mouth as if to say something, then changed his mind and swallowed back the words.

Oh, wasn’t he just the model of restraint tonight? Well, Libby had no such reservations and felt a sense of complete liberation when she unleashed the torrent of resentment and fury that had been roiling away just beneath the surface for much longer than the four months since she’d left him. A lot of her anger had been tamped down during her pregnancy, when he hadn’t offered a single word or gesture of support. The excuses she had made on his behalf . . . she was disgusted with herself for not speaking up sooner. But now he was here, in the flesh, and she could finally let him have it. With both barrels.

“You’re a vile, disgusting excuse for a man, Greyson. I want nothing more to do with you. I don’t want my baby within a hundred miles of you. And even that seems too close. I don’t want you here, contaminating our lives with your toxic presence. You don’t get to come here and . . . and . . . whatever the hell this is. I don’t know what you want, I don’t want to know what you want. I want you gone.”

“Libby, I understand why you feel that way. But I thought . . .”

Clara’s crying was escalating, and Libby’s rocking increased agitatedly.

“Yes, I know. Thought you were infertile, right? And I’m supposed to—what? Feel sorry for you? Understand your cruelty? Forgive your cruelty? Am I to take it that you’ve had that paternity test done? You know she’s yours, am I right? Is that why you’re here? Because let me tell you, mister, you have no moral right to my child—I will not allow you access to her just because you now believe you’re her father.”

“I haven’t had any paternity tests done.”

That made her pause, but not for long.

“I don’t care,” she decided. “I don’t care. Go away. Back to your diamond-encrusted ivory tower. Leave us alone. We don’t need you.”

“I know you don’t. But . . . maybe I need you?” 

***

About the Book

Title: Nothing But This
Author: Natasha Anders
Release Date: July 30, 2019
Publisher: Montlake Romance

Summary

It’s always been complicated between Libby Lawson and Greyson Chapman—and married life isn’t any simpler. But when Libby gets pregnant, she at last sees a bright future ahead. There’s just one problem: Greyson says he’s sterile.

Furious, Greyson abandons the young family. Equally furious and deeply hurt, Libby cuts all ties with him. After all these years, it seems their relationship has finally expired. But love is resilient and endures even when you don’t want it to. Greyson still longs for Libby, and though Libby’s heartbroken by Greyson’s lack of trust, she holds out hope for a complete, happy family.

And so they embark on the journey back to each other, wary of all the obstacles between them. It’s been a long road already—one strewed with fear, doubt, and misunderstandings. Will they keep looking to the past, or will they look to each other and walk hand in hand toward a broad new horizon?

Author Biography

Natasha Anders was born in Cape Town, South Africa. She spent the last nine years working as an assistant English teacher in Niigata, Japan, where she became a legendary karaoke diva. Natasha is currently living in Cape Town with her temperamental and opinionated budgie, Sir Oliver Spencer, who has kindly deigned to share his apartment with her. Please feel free to contact her (or Oliver) on Twitter @satyne1.

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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Promo & Book Giveaway: A Highlander Walks into a Bar by Laura Trentham

Win a copy of this book by posting a comment.
Open to U.S. mailing addresses only



From A Highlander Walks into a Bar. Copyright © 2019 by Laura Trentham and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Paperbacks.


Chapter One


“I brought home a surprise!” Rose Buchanan threw her arms out wide as if embracing the world. From the sto- ries she told to the way she entered the room, Rose was exuberant and entertaining and enjoyed being the center of attention.
Isabel Buchanan, who was perfectly content on the fringes, pushed her wavy hair off her sticky forehead with hands that trembled from the nightmare drive through At- lanta to the airport to pick up her mom. Her mom’s trip to Scotland had doubled as both research and vacation. The jammed stop-and-go traffic had left Izzy flustered and al- ready dreading their exit from the airport.
Rolling her stiff shoulders, Izzy stepped around the bumper of the car, popping the trunk open on the way. Her mom had a beautiful plaid scarf of greens and browns and blues tossed over her shoulder and what appeared to be new earrings. Either purchase might inspire her mother to gush, and she would expect reciprocal gushing from Izzy. Making an educated guess, Izzy asked, “Are those ear-
rings your surprise?”
Without waiting for an answer, she hauled one of her mom’s giant wheeled suitcases closer and prepared to

2 laura trentham
heave it into the back. The sooner they got out of Atlanta, the sooner she could get back to work planning the High- land festival. Or she might pour an extra-large glass of wine and escape into a book. A guilty pleasure, consider- ing how much she still had to get in order in three scant weeks.
“Allow me, please.” A bearded man who had been roll- ing cases to the curb stepped forward with a grin and an accent Izzy couldn’t place.
She checked her pockets and winced. No cash to tip the man, and no hope her mom had thought of something so inconsequential.
“Do you like them? They’re hammered silver.” Her mom flipped her bobbed matching silver hair to the side and displayed one earring with her fingers. “And as a matter of fact, I did buy them from a lovely shop in Edin- burgh, but I brought something bigger home. Something more exciting.”
“Your scarf? It’s lovely.” Izzy gave her mom limited attention while she watched the man load suitcase after suitcase into her trunk, fitting them together like a puzzle. More luggage than her mom had left with. She waved to catch the man’s attention. “Hang on. That’s not all my mom’s stuff.”
For the first time, Izzy really looked at the man. He was close to her mom in age, and good-looking in a bear- like way with a gleaming white smile highlighted by a salt-and-pepper beard. His full head of hair was a shade darker, but graying heavily at the temples. The expres- sion on the man’s face when he looked in her mom’s direction—a mix of adoration and amusement—cleared the fog of confusion.
Lord have mercy, her mother had brought back a six- foot, two-hundred-pound-plus souvenir from Scotland.

Synopsis:

The timeless romance, soaring passion—and gorgeous men—of Scotland comes to modern-day America. And the rules of love will never be the same…

Isabel Buchanan is fiery, funny, and never at a loss for words. But she is struck speechless when her mother returns from a trip to Scotland with a six-foot-tall, very handsome souvenir. Izzy’s mother is so infatuated by the fellow that Izzy has to plan their annual Highland Games all by herself. Well, not completely by herself. The Highlander’s strapping young nephew has come looking for his uncle…


Alasdair Blackmoor has never seen a place as friendly as this small Georgia town—or a girl as brilliant and beguiling as Izzy. Instead of saving his uncle, who seems to be having a lovely time, Alasdair decides he’d rather help Izzy with the Highland Games. Show her how to dance like a Highlander. Drink like a Highlander. And maybe, just maybe, fall in love with a Highlander. But when the games are over, where do they go from here?


Author Bio:

Laura Trentham is an award-winning author of contemporary and historical romance, including Then He Kissed Me and The Military Wife. She is a member of RWA, and has been a finalist multiple times in the Golden Heart competition. A chemical engineer by training and a lover of books by nature, she lives in South Carolina.

Promo: Resist by K. Bromberg

K. Bromberg
Guest Post: A Pretty Woman With Power by K. Bromberg

Ryker Lockhart: Powerful. Unrelenting. Stubborn. 
Vaughn Sanders: Defiant. Strong. Unyielding.

With those two sets of characteristics, Ryker and Vaughn are definitely oil and water one moment and then an ember met with gasoline the next. That dynamic is what made writing them and their story so much fun in my latest book, Resist. Their tale was a delicate dance though because the push and pull of the chase better be worth the reward for readers.
I often enjoy taking characters and painting them with broad strokes (i.e. Vaughn’s profession) so that readers initially question them. Then over the next 100,000 words, I love to smash their preconceived notions so that they root for the heroine. So that they are right beside her cheering her on and falling in love with the hero just like she is.

It’s not often an easy task to write a heroine, because women are often harsher on female characters than they are males. Heroes can be over the top alphas who are dominant and say all the wrong things, but once they show vulnerability, we somehow forgive them. 
Heroines on the other hand, are judged more fiercely. She’s too weak. She’s too strong. She’s too wishy- washy. She’s being a b*tch for pushing him away. Making a reader like a strong-willed female character isn’t always an easy task. So when you put two characters together who embody all of these things, it’s a delicate balance to have enough push and pull. Enough sexual tension. Enough redeemable qualities so you can love them despite their faults.

This challenge is one of the reasons I loved writing Resist (and its sequel Reveal). I don’t quite remember where the storyline came from, but I recall the furious scribbling on paper as Ryker and Vaughn’s story came to life in my imagination. Take a strong-willed woman with a risqué job and give her a real reason to need that job. Take a domineering divorce attorney who deals with love gone wrong day-in and day-out, and force him to see that there can be more than just sex between a man and a woman. That love is, in fact, possible.
Challenge accepted.

Is Resist a subtle nod to the Pretty Woman trope? I never really thought of it that way, but I can see the similarities being drawn. Vaughn (my character) and Vivian (movie character) have names that both start with the letter V. They both wear a red dress in a scene. The both work in fields that deal with selling sex for profit . . . but that’s where the comparisons stop.

Vaughn Sanders is a force to be reckoned with. Sure, she’s a madam, but once you get beneath the moniker, readers find a strong-willed woman taking measures into her own hands for the benefit of someone else. Readers will find a woman with a strong backbone and a take no prisoners attitude. A woman they can’t wait to see succeed. Sure, we throw in our hero--Ryker, a senator you know is dirty somehow, an adorable niece, and whole cast of other characters and situations and we’re left trying to figure out how it’s all going to play out . . . but the one thing we know for sure, is that we want Ryker and Vaughn to end up together.

Because hopefully when you finish Resist, like Ryker and Vaughn, you start to believe true love does in fact exist. 
***
Resist Excerpt

The lobby is elegant, with its large chandeliers, but they’re kept dim so as to allow each of its patrons some privacy. Almost as if they know I’m trying to hide some from the rest of the room for a bit. Soft classical music flows from the overhead speakers as people mill about in evening wear. There are hugs given among people, and laughs echo off the walls and marble floors.
I stand in the corner, surveying the crowd as nerves I don’t want to admit to run a riotous act within, and my mind tries to grapple for the nth time with what I’m about to do.
You’re keeping your reputation intact.
That’s how I have to look at this. That’s how I have to justify this.
Just like that, my breath catches when Ryker Lockhart waltzes into the lobby. I’m rarely affected by a man—sure, I can say one is handsome or sexy or gorgeous, but rarely does a man really catch my eye.
But there he is . . . standing in the middle of the lobby, surveying everyone around him, making my pulse race.
This is a bad idea.
He’s tall, his shoulders are broad, and there’s an air about him that screams authority while a magnetism about him makes people look his way.
And he hasn’t even spoken a word to anyone yet.
Such a bad idea.
He’s in a well-tailored tuxedo, everything black save for the crisp white dress shirt beneath it. His hair is styled, and an expensive watch glints at his wrist when he holds it up to look at the time.
Of course, that’s my cue that I’m not there exactly on time, but I give him a few more seconds to make him wait.
It’s all about power, even when I’m in a different pair of shoes.
With a deep breath, I walk toward him, shoulders square, head high, and remind myself that I’m not Vee right now. I can’t act like we’re on an equal playing field.
He has hired me. I am his. 

*** 

About the Book

Title: Resist
Author: K. Bromberg
Release Date: July 30, 2019
Publisher: Montlake Romance

Summary

Who says you have to play by the rules to get what you want?

Agreeing to meet Ryker Lockhart is my first mistake. Rich, handsome, and more than intriguing, he thinks blackmail will bend me to his will.

But he’s wrong.

I may have done a few things that weren’t exactly legal, but I have my own reasons for that. The last thing I’m going to do is let some high-powered divorce attorney come into my life, have my body, and rule my heart. Not to mention ruin everything that I have carefully built in just a short amount of time.

But as much as I try to resist him, and against my better judgment, there is something about him that has me agreeing to his proposal.

I’m putting everything on the line for him. I just hope I won’t lose everything when this is all over.

Author Biography

New York Times bestselling author K. Bromberg writes contemporary romance novels that are sweet, emotional, a lot sexy, and a little bit real. She likes to write strong heroines and damaged heroes that readers love to hate but can’t help loving.

Since publishing her first book on a whim in 2013, Bromberg has sold over 1.5 million copies of her books across eighteen different countries and has repeatedly landed on the bestseller lists for the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal. Her Driven trilogy (Driven, Fueled, and Crashed) is currently being adapted for film by the streaming platform Passionflix, with Driven available now.

You can find out more about this mom of three on any of her social media accounts. The easiest way to stay up to date is to sign up for her newsletter (http://bit.ly/254MWtI) or text “KBromberg” to 77948 to receive text alerts when a new book is released.

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Monday, July 29, 2019

Promo: The Night We Met by Beth Rinyu



Title: The Night We Met
Author: Beth Rinyu
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: 7-18-19

Fans of Brittney Cherry and Mia Sheridan will love The Night We Met by Beth Rinyu.

PURCHASE LINKS

BLURB

I’ve always been three things: Loving daughter, devoted sister, and cynical romantic. Okay, maybe not always the last one, that didn’t happen until my ex-boyfriend cheated on me, and not with just anyone…my best friend.

One year later, and I’m over relationships, only interested in the occasional one-night stand. I don’t fall in love with them, and I don’t expect them to fall in love with me. I won’t be waiting around for their call or stalking their social media—until I discover that one of my little trysts indirectly holds my family’s fate in his hands. So, with a little convincing from my older and much wiser sister, I break my own rules for the sake of my family.

He’s the exact opposite of me: Serious, detached and arrogant. Did I mention that he looks like he should be on a billboard for a cologne ad in the middle of Times Square, or the sexy way he botches up my name in his German accent? Well, he does…but I refuse to relent, remaining committed to my plan. Strictly business, no emotions involved, and nobody will get hurt…until nobody turns into somebody I find myself needing more than I ever thought possible.

What do you do when a one-night stand turns into so much more than you bargained for? And how do you stop one lie that’s getting bigger each time you’re with him from caving everything in around you? I know in the end someone is going to get hurt, but I’m powerless to stop it. And for him…I think I may be willing to have my heart broken all over again.

TEASERS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ever since I can remember, I have always enjoyed Creative Writing. There was always something about being able to travel to a different place or become a different person with just the stroke of a pen - or in today's world a touch of the keyboard. I love creating deep characters who you will love or love to hate.

My life is not as interesting as my books or the characters in them, but then again whose life is? My happy place is a seat by the ocean with my feet in the sand or on the busy streets of New York City. You will more than likely find one of these places as the setting for most of my books.

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Promo: Highland Captive by Alyson McLayne

Highland Captive
By Alyson McLayne
Publication Date 7/30/2019

“Expertly crafted… [a] page-turner.”—Publishers Weekly for Highland Conquest

She’d saved his son.
Could she save him as well?

Laird Gavin MacKinnon is a changed man—and not for the better. Ever since his young son, Ewan, disappeared two years ago, Gavin has grown callous and bitter. Scouring the countryside, his search leads him to a mysterious woman who maintains the boy is hers. He decides to take them both and ask questions later.

Deirdre MacIntyre will go with the brooding laird if it will keep her son safe. Gavin has to admit that the beautiful lass has a bond with Ewan, and things aren’t adding up. When Deirdre’s clan comes to claim her under threat of war, Gavin has a choice to make: fight for her or let her go.

The Sons of Gregor MacLeod:
Highland Promise (Book 1)
Highland Conquest (Book 2)
Highland Betrayal (Book 3)
Highland Captive (Book 4)

More Praise for Alyson McLayne’s Songs of Gregor MacLeod Series:
“Not to be missed. Alyson McLayne's writing is simply fabulous!”—Night Owl Reviews Top Pick, 5 Stars, for Highland Betrayal
“You’ll be captivated by the humor, passion and adventure… Entertaining from beginning to end.”—RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars, for Highland Conquest
“Suffused with witty banter, adventure and passion!”—ELIZA KNIGHT, USA Today bestselling author of the MacDougall Legacy series, for Highland Promise
“Raises the bar of Scottish-set historical romances.”—BookPage for Highland Promise
“Adventure, passion, and hot Scots.”—Booklist for Highland Promise

Alyson McLayne is a mom of twins and an award-winning writer of contemporary, historical and paranormal romance. She has been nominated for several Romance Writers of America contests, including The Golden Heart, The Golden Pen, The Orange Rose, Great Expectations, The Molly’s and The Winter Rose.  She lives in Vancouver, Canada. Visit her at www.alysonmclayne.com, www.facebook.com/AlysonMcLayne on Facebook or @AlysonMcLayne on Twitter.

Author Website: www.alysonmclayne.com

Purchase Links:
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2XMyHLO
B&N: http://bit.ly/2Bgu7wv
Apple: https://apple.co/2S2Vi8D
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2LbzWSr
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EXCERPT:

She scanned the crowd, not seeing her target. He couldn’t just blend in—he was possibly the biggest man she’d ever seen. It was an unusually warm day, and he’d rolled up his linen sleeves, the tie at his neck undone. The material had hung open, revealing muscles that rippled and bulged in his arms and chest.
Developed wielding the huge broad sword that hung down his spine, no doubt.
The muscles weren’t what frightened her the most—nor the sword. It was the grim intensity in his face and eyes that promised retribution…eyes that were the exact same color as her son’s.
That scared the life out of her.
“Where are you?” she whispered, hearing the desperation in her voice, the fear that howled like a wounded animal through her body.
“I’m right behind you, lass, and wondering why the wife of Lewis MacIntyre, son and heir of the ruthless Laird MacIntyre, almost ran me down in the middle of the market and has been unable to keep her gaze off me since. You’re a lovely lass, for sure, but you doona stare at me with lust in your eyes. ’Tis not a swiving you’re after.”
Deirdre’s stomach clenched, and she would have run—like a mouse, never the lion she wanted to be—but his hand landed on the swell of her hip. The pressure of his palm silently ordered her to turn around.
She did. And when she stumbled, his fingers tightened on her body and steadied her. He watched her with narrowed eyes, his gaze landing on the pulse that she could feel beating wildly in her neck and on her trembling lips. She knew that luminous stare—the bright, dazzling blue that verged on crystalline sea-green. But the eyes she’d been staring into for the past two years looked back at her lovingly, adoringly. Not with suspicion and barely hidden enmity.
For him, she stiffened her spine. For the sake of her son.
“Let go of me. I doona need your help.”
The man’s gaze flicked to hers, and she saw a growing interest. Speculation. He withdrew his hand and took a step back. She stared up at him, this time trying to look past those familiar eyes and see what other similarities she could find in his frightening countenance.
The same long, thick lashes fringed his piercing gaze; the same shallow dent marked his chin. His hair formed a downward peak in the middle of his forehead, the same as her son’s. Except Ewan’s hair was longer and lighter, almost a white-blond. This man had hacked his blond hair short, so it looked darker and stood up in ragged bristles.
Her eyes drifted down to his mouth. He had lips like her son’s too, but while Ewan’s were soft and childlike, his had firmed with age while still keeping their full shape.
That’s where the similarities ended. Her son’s welcoming smile was nowhere to be seen. Nay, this man looked grim and possibly cruel. It was there in the twist of his lips, the harshness of his countenance, the quickness with which he was ready to condemn her.
He expected betrayal, and she suspected he’d even welcome it, because then he could punish whoever had crossed him.
Aye. A cruel man, indeed.
“Is your husband here, Lady MacIntyre?”
“He’s here…somewhere.” Just where, she had no idea. Truth be told, she didn’t expect to see him for days yet, if not weeks. Which made his insistence that she accompany him to the festival even more surprising. “You know a great deal about me, but I am at a disadvantage. Who are you?” she blurted out.
“I’m Gavin MacKinnon, Laird of Clan MacKinnon. Did you come here looking for me, lass? Is there something you want to tell me? Some information you want to share?”
The last words sounded almost hopeful, eager, and that disturbed her as much as the color of his eyes. Hope implied faith and dreams. Cruel men did not dream—and she wanted him to be cruel. Aye, if he was a blackheart, she could turn away and never look back.
“Nay,” she said abruptly, her panic rising again. What information was he looking for? “And you’re mistaken. I wasn’t looking at you. I was just…looking.”
The eagerness faded from his eyes, replaced by disappointment and frustration, even bitterness. It caused an unexpected pang in her heart. She didn’t like that she’d somehow hurt him and put that bleakness back into his gaze.
“Aye, you stared at me for a long while. Did you like what you saw? I’m a big man. Some women mistake that to mean the same as rough. Is that what you were hoping for, lass? A hard tupping? Did I misunderstand your interest?”
His tone was harsh, the words callous.
Shock flooded her senses. Especially as she could see he didn’t mean what he said. He was deliberately trying to hurt her. To diminish her. And it worked. As much as she tried to fight it, shame and fear invaded her body. As quick as that, she was back to being five or ten or thirteen and at the mercy of her mother and siblings.
No one but her family had ever tried to wound her deliberately. Marrying Lewis and coming to the MacIntyres, despite her young age, had turned into a blessing. Her husband was distant but not unkind, and his clan was respectful. They’d even become friendly since she’d been given Ewan. Her son’s laughter and love had opened everyone’s hearts.
“I doona wish that from you, sir. I doona wish anything from you other than to be left alone.”
“Everyone wants something, Lady MacIntyre. And eventually I’ll discover what you want too.”
He nodded once—a curt dip of his head—then moved past her into the gathering. She held her breath and closed her eyes, making herself stay still, no matter how much she wanted to turn around and watch him leave. Her throat tightened, and she felt the pressure of tears building behind her eyelids.
She would not let them fall. She’d promised herself she’d never cry again over the hurtful words of cruel men—and women too. Aye, her mother and siblings had been experts at saying hurtful things.
But this was different. This was about Ewan.
God almighty, Lewis. What have you done?

***
Excerpted from Highland Captive by Alyson McLayne. © 2019 by Alyson McLayne. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.