Release day for Highland Promise is here!! I’m so excited, and can’t wait to see what readers have to say about the book. Below is an excerpt from Highland Promise. I hope you enjoy it and run out to buy the book right away!
“Do you think a lass like you with a horse like Cloud will even make it to Inverness without being accosted? You have no coin, no sword, no one to show you the way.
’Tis a fool’s journey. For the love of God, stay here.”
“Why e’er not?”
The familiar panic that she tried so hard to tamp down pushed up from her belly and threatened to close her throat. “My uncle and Fraser—they’ll find me. I willna go back! I’ll be free of them in France.”
“Nay, Caitlin, you’ll be abused or raped or dead in France—if you even get there. You’ll only be safe if you stay with the MacKenzies. ’Tis all right to be afraid, lass. You survived a horrendous ordeal. But you must think clearly. You canna go to France.”
“Am I your prisoner, then?”
He reared back from her. “Nay, of course not.”
“So if I wanted to ride Cloud through the gates tonight, I could?”
“You would die.”
“But would you let me pass, if ’twas what I truly wanted?”
His eye twitched steadily, along with a muscle in his jaw. Finally he said, “I took an oath to keep you safe, lass, but aye, you could leave. You can leave. But not alone. I will send men with you who know the way and will keep the brigands at bay.”
So he wouldnae control her, lock her away as her uncle had done.
The pressure inside her eased, and on a half sob, half laugh, she threw her arms around his shoulders, impulsively pressing her lips to his. They were as soft as she’d imagined. He stiffened for an instant, then wrapped her in his embrace, one hand sinking into her hair, the other sliding downward to anchor their hips together. A rumble sounded in his chest, and he angled his head, licking the seam of her lips. When she gasped in surprise, he slipped his tongue inside her mouth to rub against hers. Heat scorched her skin at the contact, and her breasts tightened—hard and aching. If he hadn’t been holding her, she would have collapsed to the floor like a rag doll.
The brush fell from her fingers and crashed to the floor. He yanked his head back, lids heavy, breath harsh and quick. Her own breath rasped in her throat.
“You shouldnae have done that, Caitlin.” His voice grated like he’d swallowed a handful of gravel.
A wave of remorse washed over her. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to. I was just so happy. It willna happen again, I promise. Please, doona send me back.”
He groaned and pulled her close, tucking her head beneath his chin. “I willna send you anywhere, sweetling. No matter what you do. ’Tis just…you are such an innocent. I doona think you understand…”
Caitlin waited for him to finish. His hand stroked her hair, and she melted into him. She wanted him to keep caressing down her spine to her bottom. “Understand what?”
He sighed. “My point exactly. Most women wouldnae have to ask. ’Tis troublesome.”
“I’m sorry,” she said again, wavering between self-pity and annoyance. “I did not know my gratitude was so unwelcome.”
“That was not gratitude.” Now he sounded annoyed. He tilted her chin up with his finger so she looked at him. “Have you ne’er been kissed before?”
Heat flooded her cheeks. She tried to turn away, but he held her tight. “’Tis not your business. I willna tell you.”
“Aye, you will.”
She stepped on his foot, so he’d release her, but instead he wrapped his leg around hers. Trapped and off balance, she clung to him.
“Caitlin,” he prompted.
Her lips pressed together. It was mortifying that, at almost twenty, she’d only been kissed once—by an ogre who’d just told her not to do it again. The ogre tipped her back farther.
“Hundreds of times,” she said.
“I doona think so. I think your father kept a good eye on you, and then your uncle locked you up. You know naught of kissing or anything else.”
“Fine. I have ne’er been kissed properly, but two did try. The first my father caught before the lad could do more than hold my hand. He was flung from the barn onto his backside. The second I kneed in his privates, a trick my father taught me after the first lad’s failed attempt. In return for my actions, I received this.” Caitlin pointed to her bruised temple.
“Fraser,” Darach ground out, then yanked her into a hug so tight she could scarcely breathe.
For someone who did not want her touch, he held her very close. What was the difference between a hug and a kiss? Surely they were just as intimate. So much so that if her father had seen them, he’d have done much more than throw Darach out onto his backside.
“Did you get him good?” he asked.
“Aye. He fell to his knees, then onto his side and curled up like a bairn. When he could finally stand, he hit my face and then my belly while his men held me. I fainted shortly after. I think maybe he kicked me too, for I have a large bruise on my hip and one on my thigh.”
“I will kill him.” He grasped her waist and gently moved her back to look down at her torso, as if to see the damage.
She moaned again, but this time from fear. “I doona want you hurt. Any of you.”
“He dared lay hands upon you, Caitlin. For that alone, I will gut him. None hurt what is mine to protect.”
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