Sunday, February 14, 2016

Valentine's Day, Romance Cheerleaders, and Weekly Winners


Happy Valentine's Day!  My husband and youngest son spent the night aboard the USS New Jersey, giving me a day to myself.  That's love!

Kimberly Rocha from Book Obsessed Chicks (BOC) featured me as a romance cheerleader - check out my interview at this link.  Let's share the love - I'll giveaway a book choice from my convention stash to one randomly selected commenter.  I'll post the winner next week here at SOS Aloha. Thanks to Kimberly for the nomination - she's the team captain of romance cheerleaders!

We have winners here at SOS Aloha ...

Celebrate Romance Every Day - RWA, Joy of Writing, and RomVets
- Karen T. wins a book choice from my convention stash.


Aloha to Laura Trentham and A BRAZEN BARGAIN (Spies and Lovers Book 2) - Book Review
- Denise L. wins a book choice from my convention stash.

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Aloha to Willa Blair and SWEETIE PIE - Book Review
- Di wins a book choice from my convention stash.  

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From my travel blog, Aloha On My Mind (link),
- Sharlene wins a book choice from my convention stash.


Winners, please contact me at sos.aloha@yahoo.com with your mailing address.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Love is .... a malasada from Leonard's Bakery!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Celebrate Romance Every Day - Romance Reader Rendezvous


Today is the Romance Reader Rendezvous in Hawaii.  From its website (link),

This FREE event on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for Oahu's military community celebrates romance novels and the women who love them. This is your chance to mingle with published romance authors, win great prizes, get signed books, and watch a special film all about the wonderful world of romance—the bestselling branch of the book publishing industry. What better way to kick-start Cupid's favorite weekend?

I commend Rachel Skinner - author, editor, and military spouse - for coordinating this event.  I also thank HelenKay Dimon, Eliza Gayle, C.K. Green, Sharon Hamilton, Lynn Raye Harris, Elle James, Cat Johnson, Chris Keniston, and Kallypso Masters for supporting this event!

USS New Jersey
Battleship New Jersey
Public Domain (link)

In a romantic twist, my husband and youngest son are spending the night aboard the USS New Jersey - an Iowa class battleship during WWII - with the scout troop.  When we lived in Hawaii, I spent the night on the USS Missouri - another Iowa class battleship from WWII - with the scouts at this link.  Check out more pictures of the Mighty Mo herehere, and here,   The Mighty Mo was the star of the movie BATTLESHIP - here.


WWII's iconic couple in front of the Mighty Mo

I know from personal experience that the USS Missouri does not provide room service.  But Room Service is a comedy routine from Hawaii's own Rap Reiplinger - check it out at this link.   My favorite line is:

Our first special is pickled pig's feet served with Spanish rice on mashed potatoes with your choice of dressing on your fruit cup with bread or toast.

Hawaiians never met a carb they didn't love. I
 also know romance readers never met a military hero/heroine they didn't love.  That's why I celebrate romance every day.

I am giving away a book choice from my convention stash to one randomly selected commenter - comments are open forum. Comments are open through Saturday, February 20, 10 pm in Baltimore.  i'll post the winner on Sunday, February 21.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City


USS Missouri stands guard over the USS Arizona Memorial

Friday, February 12, 2016

Aloha to Willa Blair and SWEETIE PIE - Book Reivew

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Makenna Stewart flees Scotland for the Big Island of Hawaii intent on making real a cherished dream—-a bakery of her own. Hard work and long hours leave Makenna craving some fun in her life. Her best customer, Greek-god sexy surfer Tom may be just what she needs, but she suspects there’'s more to him than board shorts and a devastating smile.

Retired professional surfer and real-estate multi-millionaire Tom Bensford is there when she opens every morning, but he’'s not craving her magical Morning Glory muffins. Fascinated by the dark-haired, blue-eyed wahine with the creamy Celtic skin and devastating Scottish accent, he’'s never met a woman like her. Too bad he’'s about to destroy her dreams.


To him, it’'s just business. To her, it’'s the kind of betrayal she fled Scotland to escape. Can the island magic in Makenna's heritage save her dream and their romance, or will his secret tear them apart?



Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park
"Place of Refuge"

He kehau ho`oma`ema`e ke aloha.
Love is like a cleansing dew.
- Hawaiian proverb

Willa Blair is known for her Scottish historical paranormal romance.  She changes genres with a modern Scottish lass who escapes to the Big Island of Hawaii.  After a painful break up and regretable job loss in Scotland, Makenna Stewart arrives in Kona to start her life anew among her mother's family.   She opens a bakery, Sweetie Pie, to infuse Scottish recipes with island flavors.  As she builds her business, Makenna finds herself flirting every morning with her first customer of the day.  Tom Bensford seems like a slacker surfer, but he is a real estate mogul and community philanthropist.  He is attracted to Makenna for her Gaelic accent, work ethic, and optimism. Tom holds back from disclosing his real estate business, including owning the building which houses Sweetie Pie, to ensure Makenna likes appreciates his personality, not his bank account.

SWEETIE PIE is a delicious pupu - Hawaiian word for appetizer. Blair delivers a sweet novella that captures the Aloha spirit of the island. I enjoyed following Tom's wooing of Makenna - surf lessons, sunset dinners, up country bar-b-que.  I commend Blair for incorporating Hawaiian culture into the plot.  The creme de la creme was Makenna's Auntie, who suggested baking ginger into her sweet treats to capture Tom's heart.  As Makenna noted, match making is all same in the Highlands or in the Pacific.

SWEETIE PIE was an entertaining escape to the Big Island of Hawaii.  My only complaint is it was over just as I became comfortable with the characters.  I would like to read more about Makenna, Tom, their families and their friends in future books.

I received a digital copy from the author for an honest review.

Learn more about Willa and her books at willablair.com.


Punalu'u Black Sand Beach

I am giving away Hawaiian swag to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway.

1.  Do you have a favorite bakery?  Favorite sweet treat?   I enjoy a chocolate croissant from Bonaparte Breads in Savage Mill (link).

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, February 13, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, February 14.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Aloha to Laura Trentham and A BRAZEN BARGAIN (Spies and Lovers Book 2) - Book Review

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Love soothes the deepest of scars. 

Minerva Bellingham is at her wits' end. Her younger brother, Simon, will have them penniless and on the streets if his extravagant gambling habit isn't curtailed. An enormous debt to Lord Rafe Drummond is the final indignity. Signing over her dowry is their only choice. Until Lord Drummond suggests something much more scandalous. She can keep her dowry-in exchange for the Bellinghams working three months as a housemaid and stable boy. 

Scarred from his service to the Crown, Rafe recognizes the young Simon Bellingham has the makings of a good duke. Minerva is a different story. Her pure, delicate beauty only underscores Rafe's tarnished, bleak soul. Yet he delights in cracking Minerva's icy reserve to reveal a fiery, stubborn woman. And Minerva discovers the gruff master of Wintermarsh has the heart of a poet. But before they can find a future safe in each other's arms, a menace from Simon's licentious past slithers back into their lives, forcing Rafe to plan the most important rescue mission of his life.

Warning: Contains a paragon of the beau monde who gets the hang of polishing silver, and a master of the house who'd like her to make his bed-preferably with him in it. Also passion unleashed with the mere touch of a finger. Readers are encouraged to swoon.

Saltram House
National Trust (link)

The bargain that yields mutual satisfaction is the only one that is apt to be repeated. - B. C. Forbes

I dove into A BRAZEN BARGAIN after reading a contemporary novel of an Army veteran's struggle with PTSD. It put me in the mindset to recognize that veterans of the past, including those from the Napoleonic Wars, also suffered from PTSD.  But it was something not discussed by polite society. Enter Lord Rafe Drummond, the hero in A BRAZEN BARGAIN.  He stands on the edge of society, knowing the ton would turn away from his gruesome scar.  Rafe retreats to his family's estate, Wintermarsh, where he seeks solace.  By day, he works the land alongside the tenants.  At night, he slips into alcoholic haze to chase away the nightmares from combat. Rafe was a secondary character in AN INDECENT INVITATION, Book 1 in the Spies and Lovers series. He watched his sister fall in love with his fellow soldier, Gray Masterson, as the couple solved the mystery of his missing father.


Now it's time for Rafe find what is missing in his life - love. From the shadows of London, he spies the drunken Simon Bellingham, a young man coming into his title as a Duke, on the verge of loosing his inheritance at a gaming hell.  Rafe joins the game, outmaneuvers those seeking to manipulate Simon, and wins a voucher from the young Duke. The following morning, Rafe prepares to release Simon from the debut until his older sister, Minerva, appears on his behalf.  It is clear she has managed Simon's life (and their family's estate) since the untimely passing of their parents.  Known as the Ice Princess among the ton, Minerva strikes a nerve with Rafe.  In turn, he proposes a brazen bargain - both Minerva and Simon will work off the debt for the next three months on his estate.

Trentham delivers a compelling novel with hints of Gothic romance and Austen wit.  No doubt Minerva is the beauty and Rafe is the beast.  But not all is rosy in the beauty's life.  Aside from her gambling brother, she is a woman before her time in Regency England.  Minerva has become the Ice Princess to protect herself from disappointment.  Her icy demeanor thaws as she interacts with Jenny, a cheery chamber maid from the village.  In fact, she realizes her own privilege as a lady and rethinks how she treats her servants back in London.  Minerva still frets about the harsh work which Simon must face under Rafe's tutelage.  As Simon begins to mature, Minerva recognizes that Rafe's actions are not coldhearted revenge, but the thoughtful effort of an older brother to instill discipline. Rest assured, Rafe does not see Minerva as a sister, but rather a passionate woman who would not be a appreciated by London's dandies.

I appreciate that Trentham allows the characters to be imperfect. She doesn't wave her magic author wand and cure Rafe of his PTSD. Instead, he learns to manage it with the loving support of his family. For me, A BRAZEN BARGAIN was more than a Regency romance novel. It was a reading journey which offered hope and demonstrated acceptance.

I received a print copy from the author for an honest review.

Check out my review of AN INDECENT INVITATION, Book 1 in the series, at this link.

Learn more about Laura and her books at lauratrentham.com.


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I am giving away Regency swag to one randomly selected commenter. To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about a job from your youth.  Like many teens, I babysat in high school.  In college, I was a waitress at a pizza restaurant - it was hard work during the dinner hour. But it was rewarding with tips!

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, February

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, February

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Knole House
National Trust (link)

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Wednesday's Warriors - Aloha to Grace Augustine and RICHARD'S RELICS

 

War and its remnants are cruel. Just ask Richard Dempsey, a Vietnam Vet.

Richard served his turn in Vietnam, but came home a changed man. Plagued with nightmares of the past, Richard and his friends go on a life changing trip back to modern day Saigon. Their hope...to slay the dragons that stole so much of their lives.
Each deals with his own demons. Each has life changing experiences. Each finds out the importance of friendship and family.

Amazon | B&N


Internationally known author, Grace Augustine, was born in Shelby, Montana and grew up in Cut Bank, Montana (dubbed as The Coldest Spot in the Nation). Her work career has taken her from title and abstracting to administrative assistant church work to co-owning a small town weekly newspaper to her current profession as a floral designer.

Grace thinks of herself as a "Jill" of most trades and is not afraid to learn new things. "If you can't learn something new each day, there's something wrong," she says.

Augustine was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in July of 2003. Her thoughts on that "It may slow me down, but if I can at all do it, I will. Sitting and feeling sorry for yourself isn't the answer...living your life with an open, joy-filled heart is."

Website | Facebook | Acorn Hills on Facebook | Twitter | Mailing List | Amazon Author Page

Grace joins us for a cozy chat ...


Kim:  Montana! What is your favorite sight, sound, and smell of the Treasure State? 

Grace:  Oh my gosh...Glacier National park is my favorite smell....and you think I'm weird when I say this, but there is nothing like the fragrance of the sun on the ponderosa pines. Once you get that in your head you never lose it. You cannot compare the beauty of the sky...it really is Big Sky country...it just goes on forever and the blue is crisp and clear. The sounds in the mountains of quiet or of the water rushing over the rocks creating roadside waterfalls....incredible. If you haven't been, I encourage you to do so.

Kim: Thank you for serving your community in so many ways! I appreciate floral designers - what are your favorite flowers and why? 

Grace:  My favorite flower...I love purple iris, dendrobium orchids and white hydrangea. Most people love roses...but I don't. To me they are way too common. Iris is a sign of spring. I remember the dwarf iris in the garden when I was a child. Dendrobium orchids are gorgeous and add a spark of color to vase arrangements and can be used in corsage and boutonniere work...hydrangea...who doesn't love those huge what puff balls? They take floral spray paint well so can be used in a variety of arrangements.

Kim:  Who or what helped you along the path to publishing?

Grace:  I remember visiting Writerspace one night when author Ginny Baird was the guest. Ginny and I struck up a conversation and have been friends since. She was instrumental in schooling me in the pitfalls of publishing. I've chosen to do self-publishing because the larger houses are inundated with manuscripts that sometimes sit for years with no response. I've been very happy with the process through Createspace and Draft2Digital. Their companies and employees are more than willing to help and very knowledgeable.

Kim:  What inspired RICHARD'S RELICS, namely, a Vietnam veteran returning to modern Vietnam?

Grace:  The Acorn Hills series is about a close group of friends who grew up in the late 60's on. It seemed only right that one of those characters serve in Vietnam. This was the most difficult book of the series to write, and I feel it is the best as well. I researched for days and happened on an article about Vietnam vets moving to Vietnam and setting up businesses to help other veterans come to terms with what happened over there. It was fascinating. Growing up in this time, it wasn't taught in school because it wasn't history, so to know anything you had to watch the news, and in my house...we didn't watch the news. It was a whole new world for me to explore and I enjoyed the research very much.

Kim:  What's next for Grace Augustine?

Grace:  I live my life on the edge...lol...each day is a blessing of new adventures to move forward through. Personally, I continue to find ways to manage MS and be an advocate for others who endure the effects. I feel my personal reason for being here is to make a positive affect on as many people as I can..so i will continue doing that and continue learning and seeking positive and peace in my life so I can pass it on to others. I have a couple local book signings...Romance Rendezvous II in Cedar Falls, Iowa in April and another local one in Marion, Iowa this summer. I hope to be traveling back to Montana for a visit in the fall as well as to a workshop in Washington state, and if it all works out, will attend Emerald City Romance Writers conference in October.

In the literary world...I will finish and publish the final book in the Acorn Hills series, Special Occasions. I have ideas for several short stories and stand alones...and I am starting a new series set in Lindenport...it is a spin-off from the Acorn Hills series. Lindenport will be a 5 book collection.

Thank you so much for allowing me to visit with you and your readers today.


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Grace offers an excerpt from RICHARD'S RELICS ...

“Johnny! Goddamn it! Get down!” Richard yelled from his belly, the brush barely hiding him and the other four men on this clusterfuck of a mission. Just as the sound of gunfire erupted, Johnny hit the ground, not even a twitch from his body as bullets whizzed by like a thousand angry, deadly bees. 

Richard kept his stomach French-kissing the ground as he crawled over to the young man who was in his charge. Blood covered Johnny’s chest and head.

“Sonofabitch! Johnny, don’t you dare die on me! Do you hear me? Johnny!”

Richard sprang to a sitting position and looked at the clock. The red digital numbers 3:00 am stared angrily back at him. 

He ran a shaky hand through the small stubble of hair on his head. Like so many other mornings he woke up drenched in sweat from undying memories: memories of gunfire, yelling, children crying. Memories of clear unblinking eyes and permanent looks of fear frozen into faces as still as marble. The stench of death. Vietnam.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Aloha to Lizbeth Selvig and THE BRIDE WORE STARLIGHT (Seven Brides for Seven Cowboys, Book 3)

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Once comfortable on stage in front of thousands, Joely Crockett is now mortified at the thought of walking—or rolling—down the aisle at her sisters’ wedding. Scarred and wheelchair-bound, the former beauty queen has lost more than the ability to walk—she’s lost her fire. But when one handsome, arrogant guest accuses her of milking her injuries and ignites her ire, Joely finally starts to feel truly alive again, and soon it’s impossible for her to resist her heart’s desire.

Alec Morrissey knows a little something about loss. A famous rodeo cowboy before he was injured in Iraq, he’s managed to create something of a normal life, even if it’s not the one he always imagined. Encountering stunning but damaged Joely, he sees a kindred spirit who can learn from his mistakes.

As these two healing souls begin to fall in love under the Wyoming stars, they must discover if they are willing to give in to the tragedies of life or fight for a future together.

Barnes & Noble / Amazon / iBooks / GooglePlay


Lizbeth Selvig lives in Minnesota with her best friend (aka her husband), and a gray Arabian gelding. After working as a newspaper journalist and magazine editor, and raising an equine veterinarian daughter and a talented musician son, she won RWA’s prestigious Golden Heart® Contest in 2010 with her contemporary romance The Rancher and the Rock Star. In her spare time, she loves to hike, quilt, read, horseback ride, and spend time with her new granddaughter. She also has four-legged grandchildren—more than twenty—including a wallaby, two alpacas, a donkey, a pig, a sugar glider, and many dogs, cats, and horses (pics of all appear on her website www.lizbethselvig.com). She loves connecting with readers—contact her any time!

Lear more about Liz and her books at 
lizbethselvig.com.

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Lizbeth joins us for a chat ... 

Kim: You have a passion for horses and horseback riding. How did that influence the themes and settings around your books?

LizbethPictures of horses adorned my bedroom walls from the time I was five, when I was a little city girl in Minneapolis. I collected all the stories about horses I could and had my first book boyfriend crush on Alec Ramsay in The Black Stallion series. I got my first horse as a graduation from college present from my husband, and I was hooked for life, even getting my daughter her her first pony when she was six years old so we could ride together. She went on to become an equine veterinarian, and I still help her care for all the horses she’s collected since that first pony! I still have a horse of my own, so you can see I’m obsessed and have a hard time imagining a world without horses in it!

All my books have included horses to some extent. I’m not even stuck on one type of horse, or riding or rider—my first series of books revolved around English riding, dressage and eventing. My current series “Seven Brides for Seven Cowboys” takes place on a Wyoming ranch so I get to spend a lot of time with horses in these books. In my stories, I’ve used horses as therapy animals, as challenges for my characters, and as comforting best friends. I love sharing the beauty and versatility and healing power of horses with my readers.

Kim:  How long have you been writing and who influenced you?

LizbethI started making up stories and telling them to myself at night in bed as far back as when I was four and five years old. Later, when other kids were reading themselves to sleep, I started writing down these stories. I guess it was what would now be called fan fiction—I had lots of fun affairs and adventures with my favorite pop stars from Paul McCartney to Bobby Sherman! Eventually I started writing “real” short stories and then novels. In the 80s and 90s I fell in love with the romances of LaVyrle Spencer. To this day she’s my ideal when it comes to telling a love story and I don’t try to copy her, but I do try to live up to her example.

Kim:  What’s on your bucket list for this year?

LizbethI’m already planning to attend Romance Writers of America’s annual meeting in San Diego as well as the Romantic Times Reader Convention in Las Vegas. My “bucket list” addition is that I want my hubby to come meet me at both of them since I’ve never been to either city. I’d like to see Cirque du Soleil’s “Beatles Love” performance in Vegas, and I want to visit the zoo in San Diego because I love zoos. I’d also love to go back to Alaska and visit my dear friends—those I made when I lived in Anchorage from 2006-2009!

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Monday, February 8, 2016

Aloha to Mary Wine and HIGHLAND SPITFIRE (Highland Weddings, Book 1)



New from Mary Wine, the queen of sizzling, page-turning Scottish Historical romance

Passion flares between enemies

Two hotheaded Highlanders, the offspring of feuding lairds, are tricked by the King’s Regent into a desperate choice: marry or die. Bhaic MacPherson is more disposed to lead his clan into battle than stay married to the daughter of his enemy. But perhaps the intensity of his feelings has more to do with desire than hostility.

And the Highlands ignite

Ailis Robertson wanted a husband, not a savage—but when her family was faced with a deadly ultimatum, she had no choice. The union of a MacPherson and a Robertson could end three generations of hostilities between the two families, but can bitter rivals truly become lovers?

Acclaimed author Mary Wine has written over 30 works of erotic fantasy, romantic suspense, and historical romance. An avid history-buff and historical costumer, she and her family enjoy participating in historical reenactments. Mary lives in California with her husband and two sons.


Amazon
Apple
BAM
B&N
Chapters
Indiebound
Kobo

Mary Wine

Mary Wine has written over twenty novels that take her readers from the pages of history to the far reaches of space. When she’s not abusing a laptop, she spends time with her sewing machines…all of them! Making historical garments is her second passion. From corsets and knickers to court dresses of Elizabeth I, the most expensive clothes she owns are hundreds of years out of date. She’s also an active student of martial arts, having earned the rank of second degree black belt.


Learn more about Mary and her books at marywine.com.


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Sourcebooks offers and excerpt from HIGHLAND SPITFIRE ...

“The Crown and the king will no longer tolerate unrest in the Highlands.” Morton informed them all.

“What are ye planning on doing?” her father demanded. “Killing us all?” He chuckled ominously. “Ye’ll nae be the first nobleman who fails at that task.”

The Abbey was full of amusement, the sound bouncing between the dark stone walls.

“Come here, Mistress,” the earl demanded.

Ailis wanted to refuse, but that felt cowardly. Bhaic was standing up to the man, so she would as well.

“Stay where ye are, Daughter,” her father ordered.

She stood, earning another round of laughter from the MacPhersons.

“Seems ye are as good at teaching yer children respect as ye are at fighting, Robertsons!”

Ailis turned around, her skirts flying up to reveal her ankles. She glared at Bhaic MacPherson.

“I am no more afraid of this lowlander than ye are.” She said in a tone that would have pleased even her stern tutor. Her voice was even and her chin steady without a hint of sharpness, just clear determination.

The grin on his face faded and for just a moment, his expression became one of approval. But she turned and walked toward the earl. She had to fend off the impulse to perform a reverence because it was such an ingrained courtesy. But he would not receive such politeness from her—even if he was a nobleman. There were plenty who would warn her against such prideful ways, but she had been raised in the highlands. Respect was earned. And the Earl had abandoned polite behavior, so she would as well.

“I’ll not be lowering meself before a man who ordered a blade put to me throat.” She spoke evenly once more.

His lips twitched in response. For a moment, he studied her, running his gaze up and down her length. When his eyes locked with hers again, there was a pleased look flickering in them. He was different than the other noblemen she’d met. There was a rough edge to him that struck a warning bell inside her. He was ruthless and unashamed of it. This man had not been raised with servants trailing his heels. He’d dirtied his hands more than once. She was certain of it.

That made him very dangerous.

“Look through those windows, Mistress, and tell me what you see.”

A knot was tightening in her belly, pulling tighter as she turned and looked where he pointed. Beyond the sides of the Abbey, there were more of the earl’s men, set apart by their britches. They held a line of horses steady beneath thick tree branches; more men stood ready with nooses above the animals.

She felt like her throat was closing shut.

“Have you lost your courage lady?” the earl inquired.

“I have nae,” she countered, but her voice cracked, betraying her horror.

“Enough. Let the lass be.” Bhaic stood back up. “If ye want a fight, man, I’ll be happy to give it to ye, since ye’ve gone to so much trouble to get us all here.”

“Like hell!” her father argued. “She’s me daughter and I’ll be the one doing the fighting, since me sons are nae here.”

Ailis gulped down a breath and fought to find her strength before her father lunged across the pews at Bhaic.

And unleashed a blood bath.

“There are a row of horses with nooses dangling above the empty saddles,” Ailis forced out. “Every detail set for an execution.”

The Abbey went silent as her words reached every last man. All hints of teasing dissipated, and more than one man looked at the gunners and began to judge his chances. Better to die trying to live than wait for someone to slap the flank of a horse while you felt the bite of the noose around your neck.

“This feud ends here,” the earl informed them. “None of ye recall the reason it began.”

“I do too.” her father insisted. “It was a MacPherson who murdered me grandfather.”

“Only after he tried to steal the bride of me own grandfather!” Shamus MacPherson argued, pointing at Liam Robertson. “But it was the money he was trying to steal the most.”

“Me kin are nae thieves.” her father roared. “She found yer grandfather’s bed cold and that’s a fact!”

Suddenly the men in the pews didn’t care about the guns trained on them. They were ready to tear each other limb from limb. Over three hundred Highlanders began to surge to their feet, but a blast from one of the rifles sobered them. The scent of the black powder was thick, mixing with the beeswax.

“You will end this feud,” the earl demanded. “Scotland needs unity. England’s virgin queen is earning the wrath of most of the continent with her Protestant ways. If we do not want to find ourselves invaded, we will present a united front to the rest of the world. There will be peace between the MacPhersons and the Robertsons so that we might all be Scots.”

“I suppose if ye hang us all, there might be.” It was Bhaic who spoke up, his voice strong and steady.

“I find meself agreeing with a MacPherson,” her father groused. “May me father forgive me and no rise from his grave to torment me.”

The earl was looking at her. She felt the weight of his gaze, the knot in her belly becoming unbearable.

“Your father’s fate is in your hands, Mistress. I leave the choice to you, since they are still intent on fighting even with the odds clearly against them.”


How about a picnic in the Highlands?