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Close to Heaven: A Colorado High Country Christmas (Colorado High Country #5) —
Rain and Joe's story is out! Head back to Scarlet Springs for a very snowy Christmas story, complete with a look at the history of Scarlet Springs. There are sexy times, as well as a lot of humor. You can grab your copy here: Kindle Nook iBooks Kobo Smashwords Paperback

About Me

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I grew up in Colorado at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, then lived in Denmark and traveled throughout Europe before coming back to Colorado. I have two adult sons, whom I cherish. I started my writing career as a columnist and investigative reporter and eventually became the first woman editor of two different papers. Along the way, my team and I won numerous state and several national awards, including the National Journalism Award for Public Service. In 2011, I was awarded the Keeper of the Flame Lifetime Achievement Award for Journalism. Now I write historical romance and contemporary romantic suspense.

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Seductive Musings

Sunday, September 18, 2011

DEFIANT update — 2nd excerpt!



A few quick things...

YES, I do have a newsletter. The post below resulted in several inquiries from regular readers of this blog. You can sign up for it by signing the Guestbook on my website. Just click here.

Also, my son still has several copies of each of my out-of-print historicals for anyone who wants a signed copy. This is the last time I know of that Sweet Release or Carnal Gift will be available in print. Click here for links to the books on eBay. (Both are available as “author’s cuts” in ebook format on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and elsewhere, but not in print. There’s more on that in previous posts. Just search by topic.)

And now for news I wish I could change...

Defiant, the third book in the MacKinnon’s Rangers trilogy, won’t be out till next July. As I was trying to move heaven and earth to meet the mid-October deadline, I realized only one thing would be finished by then — me. My body let me know in a very no-nonsense fashion that coffee-fueled all-nighters and deadline stress were no longer permissable. I haven’t had coffee for a week — a real shock to my system — and I still have a long way to go to feel like myself again.

Hoping to survive my own career — and to write a book worth reading — I asked for an extension, and the deadline is now moved back to the end of December. I hope to beat that, which may mean the release date gets bumped forward a bit again.

If I didn’t work at the paper, you’d see a lot more books from me. When I was home recovering from surgery, I was able to write almost a chapter a day because I was so in touch with the story. There was no office drama, no special edition deadlines or other writing projects to distract me. But at this point, I still work at the paper, and working full time takes just enough out of me that every Friday I feel like I have to get reacquainted with my novel again. It’s really a drag.

My two main concerns are: taking care of myself and producing a book that’s worth the money you spend. And if that means you wait a bit longer, I hope you're okay with that. I’d rather have you ask me why this took so long than have you tell me that the book was a letdown.

I won’t be online much, and for that reason I also want to list those release dates again:

Surrender (reissued with new material) — Dec. 6
Untamed (reissued with 25 previously cut pages restored) — Jan. 3, 2012

To help take some of the sting out of this news, I’m here with the second (and final?) excerpt from Defiant. Enjoy!

When Connor met Sarah

From Chapter 2 of Defiant

Connor knew the war party had arrived and that she was with them. A murmur of anticipation passed through the village, excited voices penetrating the log walls of the council house, where Connor and Joseph sat, having just smoked the pipe with the village chief, an old woman called Grannie Clear Water.

Grannie had welcomed Joseph like a son, her manner toward Connor somewhat less cordial. Still, she’d fed them both at her fire, accepting tobacco and wampum as gifts from them. She’d listened patiently while Joseph had explained their reason for coming, then had insisted on the Pipe Ceremony. And yet beneath the acts of friendship, Connor sensed the old woman’s mistrust of him. She’d called him a brave warrior, but the word she’d used often meant “enemy,” as well. There was no doubt in Connor’s mind that she considered him to be the latter.

She had refused to speak a word on the matter of Wentworth’s niece yet. And there was no rushing her. To bring up the subject again would be rude. She would answer them in her own good time, for she had much to consider. If she yielded too easily to Joseph and Connor’s claim, she would anger her people, perhaps even lose headship of the village. Yet she could not ignore the threat of the British or the bonds between her people and Joseph’s.

“They have returned!” a boy called in excited Shawnee.

“Katakwa is back!” shouted another.

Connor willed himself to sit impassively, as did Joseph beside him, betraying no interest in the goings on outside the council house.

But Grannie Clear Water met their gazes, then nodded, clearly not fooled. She got to her feet with the help of one of her daughters. “Let us go see the cause for all this noise.”

Connor followed her outside, Joseph behind him. They walked to the southern edge of the village, where a crowd had gathered, elders, women, and children shouting at someone, while the warriors of the village stood back and watched in amusement. Connor knew they were yelling at Wentworth’s niece, pouring out the rage they felt about the war on her, putting the weight of their grief and hatred upon her shoulders.

It was a common enough custom — this harrying of newcomers and captives. Connor and Joseph had faced it themselves when they’d arrived this afternoon, though not to such an extreme, for they had entered the village as free men and warriors. When their names had been recognized — the name MacKinnon, it seemed, was well known to them — every man, woman, and child had fallen silent. But Wentworth’s niece was a captive, and as such she would bear far worse, no matter that she was young and a woman.

“If this doesna humble her, I cannae say what will.” But even as he made light of her predicament, Connor didn’t like what he saw. He’d been raised to show women gentleness, not to stand idly by while they were treated ill, even if they were haughty and spoiled.

Then the crowd shifted, and he saw her.

So young and fragile she seemed, and yet also defiant. She walked with her head high, neither shrinking from the blows and jabs that were heaped upon her, nor weeping. But he could see she was sore afraid, her eyes wide, her gaze darting here and there, her breathing rapid and shallow. The violence she’d endured was written on her pretty face, a fresh bruise on her cheek, dark circles beneath her eyes, her skin pale. Her honey-colored hair hung in tangled waves almost to her waist, her cloak and gown tattered and dirty.

“So that’s Wentworth’s spoiled princess,” Joseph said.

But Connor didn’t hear him. He forgot the lassie was kin to Wentworth. He forgot he was a guest in this village, bound by custom not to interfere. He forgot everything except the fact that he’d come for her — and she needed his help.

He took a step in her direction, Joseph’s muttered warning calling him back to himself. “If you want to help her, stay where you are and hold your tongue.”

Connor swore under his breath, forcing himself to do nothing but watch while a tall warrior, his face painted in black and red, led her through the throng, his control over her assured by a leather cord he’d bound tightly around her wrists. He gave a tug, jerking her forward as if she were an animal.

Connor wanted to kill him.

Then the warriors of the village began to form two opposing rows, clubs in hand, a sea of onlookers gathering around them.

They were going to make the lass run the gauntlet.

Connor started forward, rage drumming in his chest, only to be stopped by Joseph’s iron grip on his arm.

“You know they will not seriously hurt her.” Joseph’s voice was a whisper. “Do not forget, brother, that we are outnumbered.”

The man who held her bonds — the one they called Katakwa — made her stand at one end of the two opposing rows, then removed the leather cords and left her there alone, dark bruises around her wrists where she’d been bound.

She seemed to realize what they meant to do, her panicked gaze darting among the warriors, taking in the grim looks on their faces and the weapons in their hands, her breathing erratic, her fingers clenched in her skirts.

Be strong, lass.

Apparently impatient, Katakwa gave her a shove, knocking her to her knees between the first two men, who struck her repeatedly on the back with their clubs, hitting her hard enough to cause her pain, but not hard enough to wound her. She struggled to stand, only to be struck by the next two men the moment she reached her feet, their war whoops and the shouts of the crowd all but drowning out her frightened cries.

Connor gritted his teeth. It took every bit of will he possessed to stand there and do nothing. His father had taught him that God had given men strength so that they could protect women and children, not so they could harm them. To watch while grown men beat a defenseless woman…

The bastard sons of whores!

She stumbled forward, holding her arms up to her head to ward off their blows, buffeted back and forth as the men struck her. But it was clear she understood now that her suffering would end once she reached the end of the line. Her gaze fixed on that spot, and she tried to run, struggling to stay on her feet as she was struck again and again, until at last she pitched forward and broke free, landing on her hands and knees in the mud.

It was over.

Connor let out a breath, willing himself to stand rooted where he was.

Breathing hard, her body trembling, she slowly lifted her gaze, looking about as if to see what lay in store for her next, fear, shock, and pain mingled on her face, tears sliding down her cheeks. It was then she saw him, her gaze locking with his. And the plea in her eyes was as clear as is she’d cried the words aloud.

Help me!

* * *

Her back and arms still stinging from the sharp blows, Sarah stared up at the man, her gaze taking in the sight of him all at once. Though his skin was brown from the sun, his features were clearly European. His eyes were a deep shade of blue, his hair long and dark, braids at each temple. Unlike the Indian men who had no beards, his jaw was dark with stubble. He wore leather leggings and moccasins like an Indian, but his shirt was of blue-checked homespun, the cloth of it all but concealed beneath a shaggy bearskin coat.

Was he French? He must be. Who else would live among Indians hostile to the Crown?

She met his gaze, saw an emotion in his eyes she could not read. “Aidez-moi, monsieur! S’il vous plaît aidez-moi!” Help me, sir! Please help me!

Whether he’d understood her, she couldn’t tell, for in that moment her view of him was blocked by beaded skirts and leggings. Gentle hands drew her to her feet, and two gray-haired women guided her away from the crowd, one at each arm, speaking to her softly, like a mother speaking to a frightened child, their words foreign.

When Sarah looked over her shoulder, the man was gone.

As the women led her though the village, it seemed to Sarah that she had passed into another world. Small, round lodges clustered together looking much like a village of large gray beehives. Men and women went about their work, the men dressed much like Katakwa, the women wearing shirts with leggings and beaded skirts, their hair braided. A butchered deer hung from a wooden frame, its head sitting on a bed of dried reeds. Children ran through the maze of lodges, shouting and laughing, dogs nosing for scraps in the mud.

But, although people stared at her as she passed, there were no more shouts, and no one hit her, pinched her, or pulled her hair. Had the beating she’d just endured been some kind of initiation rite? If so, perhaps the worst of it was over.

She prayed with all her heart it was.

They came to a small lodge, its walls made like the others — great mats of tree bark held in place by twined ropes and rocks. The women pushed aside a door cover of woven grasses and went inside, motioning for Sarah to follow. She ducked down and entered, the door falling into place behind her.

The lodge was dimly lit but warm, a fire burning it its center, smoke curling out through a small flap in the roof that was propped open by a long stick. Mats of woven grasses covered the earthen floor and adorned the walls like tapestries, designs painted on them in shades of red, yellow and blue. Dried herbs, antlers, feathers, and what looked like a the talons of a large bird of prey hung from the poles that made up the lodge’s frame, empty wooden bowls stacked along the wall beside woven baskets filled with acorns, seeds, strips of dried meat. Raised platforms stood against the other walls. Covered with furs and blankets, they must have been beds.

Two other women sat inside tending a kettle on the fire. Both were older than Sarah, one heavy with child, her big belly protruding above her skirt, her breasts bare. And though Sarah knew she should avert her gaze, she’d never before seen the bare belly of a woman who was increasing, nor had she ever seen another woman’s naked breasts. She could not help but notice how full and dark the woman’s nipples were compared to her own.

The women who’d brought her here sat on mats and motioned for her to do the same. Feeling sorely unnerved to be near a woman who was all but naked, she settled her skirts around her and was made to listen, while each of them took turns speaking to her with foreign words, smiles on their faces. Unable to understand them, and keen to avoid seeing things she should not see, she focused instead on their faces.

Like Katakwa, they had lines and dots etched into their skin, but none of them were pierced through the nose. Strings of beads and polished shell were tied around their braids and hung through loops in their earlobes, bands of purple and white shell at their throats. One reached out, tenderly touching the bruise on Sarah’s cheek, another stroking her hair, as if they regretted her suffering.

And her hope rekindled.

Parlez-vous français?” Sarah asked, eager to understand them—and to make herself understood. Perhaps they might be persuaded to let her go. “Do you speak English? Loquerisne linguam latinam?”

But they looked at her with blank faces, clearly not comprehending what she’d said.

They stood as one and drew her to her feet. Then the one who was with child took up a small knife Sarah had not noticed before and moved toward her.

Sarah’s heart gave a hard thud. She jumped to her feet and backed away. “N-no! Don’t!”

But the other women rose to their feet and held her.

“No! Please!” She squeezed her eyes shut as the blade arced through the air toward her chest, the strength all but leaving her legs as she whispered what she thought would be her last words. “Lord have mercy upon—”

Then she felt a tug and heard a tearing sound.

She opened her eyes to find her clothes being cut from her body, the knife slicing cleanly through her gown, her silk stays, her chemise. Fear became rage, and she fought to free herself. “Stop! Why are you doing this?”

But they were stronger than they seemed, their hold on her like iron.

Someone patted her on the arm, the women speaking in soothing tones as the blade cut through her petticoats and drawers, and her clothes fell to the floor, leaving her completely naked. The garments were tossed aside, and the women moved around in front of her, their gazes passing over her body as if they were examining a mare.

Sarah covered herself and looked away, her face burning. No one had seen her naked since she was a very little girl, not even her mother. To be exposed like this…

Then hands guided her nearer to the fire and the women sat on their heels, motioning once more for her to do the same. One arm across her breasts, the other covering her most private flesh, she sat, unable to meet the women’s gazes. She heard water being ladled from the kettle, heard something splash, and then felt the press of a warm wet cloth against tender bruises on her back as they began to bathe her.

Was this their intent? Did they simply mean to bathe her? What did they mean for her to wear afterward? Did they hope to dress her as they dressed?

Sarah had so many questions, but no one to answer them.

Gently, they washed her back, her face, her neck and throat, her shoulders and her arms, spreading some kind of soap across her skin, then rinsing it away, the warm water and the fine leather cloth soothing her sore muscles and bruised flesh. Wherever they washed her, they also applied a honey-scented oil, kneading it into her skin. And as they cared for her, their hands gentle, their voices calming, Sarah felt herself begin to quieten, some of her fear edging away.

Being attended in this manner was not altogether unfamiliar to her, though her lady’s maids never bathed her, nor did they see her naked. They brushed her hair and…

Jane.

Sarah felt a stab of pain behind her breastbone, tears blurring her vision. Only yesterday morning Jane had helped her with her toilette, brushing and styling her hair, helping her with her petticoats and stays. And now sweet Jane was—

One of the Indian women began to wash Sarah’s breasts, the startling sensation drawing her back to the moment, making her gasp.

“No, please don’t!” She tried to push the woman’s hands away, but the other women restrained her, speaking soothingly to her. She was given no choice but to endure it — the rasp of the cloth across her nipples, the slickness of the soap, the heat of the water, the silky warmth of the oil. It felt so strange and unsettling, her face hot with shame.

If Mother could see this… If Mother should learn of this…

And Sarah feared she might be sick.

They washed and oiled her breasts, her belly, her hips, her legs and her feet, which they gave extra care, clucking and frowning over the blisters as if truly distressed to see that she’d been hurt. When this was done, they bent her over a deep bowl of heated water and washed her hair, then brushed away the tangles with a bundle of stiff grasses, smiling and speaking in approving tones about her hair. And as they brushed her hair with gentle strokes, the sensation familiar and pleasing, Sarah began to feel unbearably sleepy, exhaustion taking hold at last.

Then the one who was with child draped a fur around Sarah’s shoulders and motioned her toward the bed. Thinking they wanted her to sleep, she gratefully crossed the lodge and lay down, but when she made to draw up the blankets, they stopped her, one of the women approaching the foot of the bed with what looked like small clamshells in her hands.

With no warning, three of the women pinned Sarah to the bed, spreading her legs far apart and holding them there, pinning her with their weight.

“What are you doing? No! Stop!” She tried to twist away, but the three of them together were far stronger than she alone.

Then the one with the clamshells settled herself between Sarah’s thighs and, using the edge of the shells, began to pluck away the hair that covered Sarah in that place.

“Oh!” It was terrible and indecent, and it hurt more than Sarah expected.

But far worse than the physical pain — or the deep humiliation of knowing that they were looking at that most secret part of her — was the shock that came when she realized why they were doing this. They hadn’t simply bathed her so that she could feel clean again. They were preparing her body for a man’s use.

Sarah squeezed her eyes shut, turned her face away, and prayed.

(c) Copyright Pamela Clare 2011
Thursday, September 15, 2011

Newsletter contest winner


Congratulations to

Maude Allen!

She is the winner of the signed copy of Breaking Point!

Thanks to all of you on my newsletter list who took the time to write back. There was no way I could answer all of your emails, but I did read each and everyone.

Thanks so much! Please stay in touch and watch for news here on my blog.
Sunday, September 11, 2011

An Interview with Christy Reece by Ronlyn Howe





This week, I turn things over to Ronlyn Howe for an interview with the talented and wonderful Christy Reece. Ronlyn, take it away...

Meet Christy Reece, the creator of Last Chance Rescue, a highly trained group of mercenaries with one priority and purpose, to rescue victims. With worldwide connections and a phenomenal success rate, LCR operatives find and rescue victims when all other avenues have been tried and failed. They do whatever it takes, no matter the risk, to rescue the innocent. (description of LCR taken from Christy’s website www.christyreece.com ) I was lucky enough to get to know Christy shortly after the first LCR book (RESCUE ME) hit the stands and I instantly wanted more. Lucky for me and all her other fans, she’s delivered one book after another of the LCR gang and their exciting rescues. And, I was also lucky enough to be able to interview Christy on her newest release as well as try to weasel some details of her next book out of her.


SWEET JUSTICE is the seventh installment of the LAST CHANCE RESUCE series. Did you ever imagine it would come to nine books?

No, I never anticipated when I was writing RESCUE ME that this would be a nine book series. However, each time I wrote a book, I'd become interested in a secondary character, so I'm very grateful I had the opportunity to write eight more books about characters that I fell in love with in previous LCR books.

Since we're on Pamela's blog, the home of MTM, did you have any specific men (celebrities or civilians) in mind for the physical characteristics of any of your characters as you were writing them?

I rarely have celebrities in mind when I'm writing. My book characters are real to me, so putting a famous face on any of them just wouldn't work. There was a commercial a couple of years ago with a tall, extremely handsome man with smoky blue eyes that could have been Cole Mathison, but I haven't seen him in anything else. And when I was writing NO CHANCE, I saw a model in a magazine that to me was Skylar James, but that's as famous as I usually get in imagining my characters.


However, I often have Gerard Butler's face in my mind because...well, you know. (:


SWEET JUSTICE is a reunion romance between Honor Stone (who we first met in SECOND CHANCE) and Seth Cavanaugh, the man who broke her heart. Was it difficult to have the past baggage of their previous relationship and work in the forgiveness aspect?


I knew how much they loved each other from the beginning, so bringing them back together and having them deal with their pain just added another dimension to the story. And with them needing to focus on the case but battling their feelings created even more conflict.


Speaking of the case, we meet your most vile villain to date (IMO) in SWEET JUSTICE, and that's saying something because you have had some really nasty bad guys in your previous books. Dare I ask how you're so good at creating these monsters? ;-)


LOL Alden Pike is awful, isn't he.


One thing I like to do is make the mission of bringing down the villain personal to my hero and heroine. And that means, having some sort of connection to them. In all my LCR books, the villain has some sort of relationship to either the hero or heroine or in the case of RESCUE ME, my heroine just wants to keep young girls from experiencing what she went through. Using that criteria--which ups the stakes considerably--I also want to match him/her up with my hero and heroine. The villain must be a worthy opponent in strength or intelligence or both. Then I build my villain. Each time the reader sees the villain, I want something new about him/her revealed and I want the reader to be a little bit more determined to continue to read in hopes of seeing the creep get his just deserts. (:


Can you tell us an "inside scoop" on the next book, SWEET REVENGE, which is coming out on October 6th?

(Editor's note: These are some hot covers! Love the colors, too!)


SWEET REVENGE is the story of LCR operative Dylan Savage and Jamie Kendrick. The book begins with Dylan rescuing Jamie from Stanford Reddington's house. She was actually rescued near the end of LAST CHANCE, but the reader only saw what happened outside the house. This time, we get to see what happened inside, in Dylan's perspective.


When it's clear that Reddington isn't going to be prosecuted and that he's involved with even more heinous things than what he did to her, Jamie devises a way to get to him and asks LCR to train her. Dylan trains her but his intent is to gain her trust so she'll tell him how she plans to get to Reddington.


In the midst of their training, they fall in love. Then, everything comes to a head and Jamie storms out the door. A couple of months later, they both get a shock. (:


Jamie is probably the most tenacious heroine I've ever written. She just would not stop or back down. Dylan might have surprised me even more than Jamie. So totally hot and heroic but with a SWEETness that made me smile.

What type of surprises have you run into while writing the LCR gang?

And oh wow, that's the hardest question for me to answer. There's not an LCR book that hasn't surprised me numerous times. Since I write only by a loose outline, I rarely know what's going to happen until it appears on my computer screen. I guess the best surprise was that Eden St. Claire worked for an organization called Last Chance Rescue. I was in the middle of writing RESCUE ME when I learned she worked for a rescue organization. From there, it developed and the LCR series was launched.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer all my questions! Is there any other little tid bits or gems that you'd like to share with us?

Just want to thank everyone who buys and reads my books. Being a published author is a dream come true for me but wouldn't mean near as much if there weren't readers who enjoy my books!

Once again, many thanks to Christy Reece for taking the time to answer my questions. If I know Christy, she’ll be popping in to say hi here as well, so if you have questions please don’t hesitate to ask away.

Monday, September 05, 2011

DEFIANT — The first-ever excerpt



I won’t be around much between now and the end of October because I’m working as hard as I can to finish Defiant by a dropdead deadline of mid-October. I’ve never written as much in this short a period of time in my life, and I’m trying new writing techniques to make it work. But one thing is for certain — I can’t hang out online.

You can watch the little graphic above to see how I’m doing. I’ll update it every Monday. And feel free to send good vibes, positive writing energy and any spare muses you have stuck in your pockets.

In the meantime, I thought I’d leave you with something to tide you over.

Defiant, the third book in the MacKinnon’s Ranger series, will hopefully be out in March. It tells the story of Connor MacKinnon, the youngest MacKinnon brother, and Lady Sarah Woodville, who is Lord William Wentworth’s niece. Taken captive while on her way to visit with Lord William, Sarah disappears into the wilderness, and Connor and Joseph, Connor’s Mahican brother, are sent alone to find her. When they do, they learn that she is to be made the unwilling wife of one of an Indian warrior whose wife was killed by British soldiers. The only way Connor can win her freedom is to risk his life in a battle to the death — and claim her as his own.

And now, without further ado, an excerpt from Defiant.

From Chapter 6

Sarah was still lying down, facing away from the door, when she heard him enter. She lay there unmoving, childishly feigning sleep, as if refusing to open her eyes would somehow keep the world at bay.

Major MacKinnon called to her softly. “My lady?”

Do not behave like a witless girl, Sarah. Where is your courage?

She wiped the tears off her cheeks, then slowly sat up, the dread in her heart seeming to weigh her down. “Major MacKinnon.”

“’Tis sorry I am to disturb your sleep, but I must speak wi’ you.”

She stood, turned to face him, whatever she’d been about to say momentarily forgotten as she took in the sight of him. His jaw was clean-shaven, his face startlingly handsome. His chest and belly were smooth now, the dark curls she’d seen before gone, his skin oiled to a fine sheen, the cut she’d stitched and the other smaller cuts he’d gotten during the fight giving him a dangerous air. His hair was damp, a striped brown feather tied at the end of one of his braids. His leather breeches rode low on his hips, a knife sheathed at his side.

But what she noticed most was the anguish in his eyes. It was a match for the anguish she’d heard in his voice when he’d spoke to Joseph outside.

“Please… Please sit, major.” She sat, reaching down out of habit to shift her skirts before she sat, only to feel doeskin against her hands. “I wish to apologize for my fit of temper earlier. You have risked much for me. It was wrong of me to—”

“Shhh, lady.” He pressed a finger to her lips and sat facing her. “You’re far beyond the world you ken, aye? ’Tis natural for you to be feelin’ afraid and angry about what has befallen you, but you must trust me if we’re to reach Albany alive.”

He looked away for a moment, his face growing more troubled as he seemed to consider what to say next, his brow furrowed. “I fear I have failed you, for it is on that same troublin’ matter that we must speak.”

She watched him struggle to find the words to tell her what he’d just told Joseph, something inside her touched by his obvious turmoil. “I… I overheard you speaking with Joseph just now.”

His head came up, surprise written on his face, his gaze meeting hers, seeming to study her face. “That’s why you’ve been weepin’. I see the tearstains on your cheeks.”

She raised her palms to her face to wipe the telltale sign of weakness away.

“You understand the choice that lies before you, aye?”

She nodded, folding her hands in her lap. “I must decide whether to chance escape, knowing that you and Joseph will die terribly should we fail, or whether to marry you after the Indian fashion and spend tonight as … as your wife.”

“Aye, that’s the way of it. ’Tis a hard choice you’re bein’ asked to make, but life is no’ always fair.”

Sarah knew that only too well.

Major MacKinnon went on. “Is there augh’ you would ask me afore you decide? There is little time, I fear.”

She shook her head. “No, sir.”

She’d made up her mind before he’d entered the lodge.

She met his gaze, tried to keep the fear from her voice. “I cannot ask you to chance being burnt at the stake, major. You’ve already risked your life once for my sake. As highly as I value my virtue, it is not worth two men’s lives.”

What an irony that her father’s decision to send her away had led her to this — her true undoing. No doubt there were many in London who believed she had no virtue, yet she had left London as a virgin. She would not return as one.

He watched her through dark eyes. “Are you certain, my lady? For I willna take you by force. You must come to me as willingly as I come to you — each of us for the sake of the other.”

She hadn’t thought about it in quite that way, but when he spoke the words, some of the dread lifted from her heart. “Aye, major, I am certain. But…”

“You’re afraid.” He closed one big hand over both of hers, his thumb stroking her knuckles. “I promise I shall treat you this night wi’ the same care and devotion I would if you truly were my bride.”

Then to her astonishment, he cupped her cheek, lowered his lips to hers — and kissed her.

Softly, so softly he kissed her, brushing her lips with his again and again, the mere whisper of a touch making her shiver. She might have objected had the sensation not been so… enthralling. Slowly, his touch became more insistent, his lips caressing hers, nibbling them, her lips tingling, going pliant, yielding to his exploration, her eyes drifting shut. Then his tongue traced the outline of her lower lip.

Startled, she gasped, and her eyes flew open.

He was watching her, his blue eyes dark, his voice a whisper. “My lady.”

And she thought it was over.

But then one big hand slid into her hair to cradle her head, and he drew her against his bare chest, his mouth closing over hers. There were almost too many new sensations to take in all at once, her girlish notions of what it would feel like to be kissed by a man vanishing in a heartbeat. The iron-hard feel of his body surrounding her. The warm scent of his oiled skin. The firm pressure of his lips against hers as he tasted her, his tongue teasing its way inside her mouth with silken strokes.

Then his tongue touched hers, his lungs stealing her surprised intake of breath as he sealed her mouth with his. Her body seemed to melt, and she sank boneless against him, her hands sliding up the smooth skin of his chest, her lips parting to accommodate him, her tongue meeting his. She felt something pound against her palm, and realized that his heart was beating every bit as hard as hers.

Slowly, his kiss stilled, his lips brushing her cheek, her temple. “My lady.”

Breathless and amazed, she looked up into his eyes.

He drew back slightly, his arm still encircling her. “Now you ken the taste of my kiss. Think on that, and dinnae be afraid of what is to come, aye?”

(c) copyright 2011 Pamela Clare
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I hope you enjoyed that. Connor and Sarah have a big adventure ahead of them, that’s for certain. And finishing this book is going to be an adventure for me.

In the meantime, here’s a look at the schedule for my historicals for those of you who are interested.

Sweet Release (Kenleigh-Blakewell Family Saga, Book I) — available now as an ebook on Amazon.com, B&N, iTunes and Smashwords

Carnal Gift (Kenleigh-Blakewell Family Saga, Book II) — full-length author’s cut available now as an ebook on Amazon.com, B&N, iTunes and Smashwords. This is the first time this has been available. More than 100 manuscript pages were cut from the story as it was first published. This is the book as I intended it to be. The book contains a pronunciation guide for those Gaelic names.

Surrender (MacKinnon’s Rangers, Book I) — To be reissued on Dec. 6 with new material and a new cover. Iain and Annie got a facelift and about 20 manuscript pages of new material.

Untamed (MacKinnon’s Rangers, Book II) — To be reissued on Jan. 3, 2012, with a gorgeous new cover and 25 previously deleted pages restored. This is the book as I wrote it.

Enjoy!

I’ll see you in about two months...

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Favorite Writing Quotes


"I am an artist. I am here to live out loud."
—Emile Zola

"I am tomorrow, or some future day, what I establish today. I am today what I established yesterday or some previous day."
—James Joyce

"Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery."
—Jane Austen

"Writers are those for whom writing is more difficult that it is for others."
—Ernest Hemingway

"When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth."
—Kurt Vonnegut

"The ability of writers to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar is the test of their power."
—Toni Morrison

"No tears in the author, no tears in the reader."
—Robert Frost.

"I'm a writer. I give the truth scope."
—the character of Chaucer in
A Knight's Tale