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In e-book November 1st
First book in the Brunson Clan Trilogy
WORD IN THE ROYAL COURT HAS SPREAD THAT THE WILD SCOTTISH BORDERS ARE TOO UNRULY. UPON THE KING'S COMMAND, JOHN BRUNSON MUST RETURN HOME...
Once part of a powerful border clan, John has not set sight on the Brunson stone tower in years. With failure never an option, he must persuade his family to honour the King’s call for peace.
To succeed, John knows winning over the daughter of an allied family, Cate Gilnock, holds the key. But this intriguing beauty is beyond the powers of flattery and seduction. Instead, the painful vulnerability hidden behind her spirited eyes calls out to John as he is inexorably drawn back into the warrior Brunson clan…
|READ AN EXCERPT|
Here’s a scene from Chapter One, in which John comes across Cate, practicing her swordsmanship with a shadow:
Quietly, he unsheathed his dagger and crept around the edge of the yard. It was no match for her sword, but confronted with a weapon in a man’s hand, she’d no doubt gasp and blush and step aside.
She heard him before he got within a sword’s length, and whirled to meet him. He lifted his weapon and crossed it with hers.
“Surrender?” He said, with a smile.
Instead, she knocked his dagger aside. “Never.”
Then, lips set, eyes narrowed, she pointed the sword at his chest, as if to make a touch.
Or something even more deadly.
He tightened his grip on the dagger and took a step back, wishing he still wore his armor. On his guard, he countered her, exhilaration warring with annoyance as they circled each other. He had learned to fight in this very yard, learned because it was a matter of life and death, but his style had been polished beside the king, who had picked up an adult sword at thirteen.
Partnering with King James, guided by the same master, he had developed swift elegance that allowed his opponent increase his skills without either fighter being hurt.
Even disadvantaged by his weapon, he should be able to toy with this woman until she lowered her blade.
Yet she knew none of those rules. She swung her sword with the bluntness of a warrior astride a hobbler pony, fending off an enemy brandishing a pike. Her sword’s thrust carried urgency, even passion, that somehow stirred his blood.
Even his loins.
He jumped just in time to escape a touch. Now was not the time for distractions. He had expected a playful joust. Instead, he faced a warrior.
He swung high, but she held up her sword, turned sideways, to block his stroke. A clever move, but lifting the two-handed sword had strained her strength and when she lowered it, her arms shook.
Seizing on her weakness, he attacked and they crossed blades again. Prepared now, he leveraged his strength against her sword. Though she kept her grip, he pushed the blade away, coming close enough to feel her chest rise and fall, nearly touching his.
Close enough that his mind wandered, careless of the blades, thinking that under her tunic and vest, she had breasts. Now he could see her face, the angles of it, sharp and cleanly sculpted as her sword. Yet thick lashes edged her brown eyes, disguising some of the hatred there.
Panting, she shook her head. Yet her lips parted, tempting him to take them. She was, after all, a woman. A kiss would be mightier than a sword.
He pushed her sword arm down, pulled her to him, and took her lips.
She yielded for a breath, no more.
But it was long enough for him to lose his thoughts, to forget she held a sword and remember only that she was a woman, breasts soft against his chest, smelling of heather…
In a flash, she turned stiff as a sword and leaned away, though her lips did not leave his, so he thought she only teased.
When he felt the point of a dirk at his throat, he knew she did not.
“Let me go,” she said, her lips still close that they moved over his. “Or you’ll be bleeding and I’ll leave you to it, I swear.”
He eased his arms from her back and she pushed him away, wiped her mouth, and spat into the dirt.
He touched the scratch she’d left on his neck, grateful she had not drawn blood.
Her eyes, which he had thought to turn soft with pleasure, narrowed, hard with fury.
“It’s a Brunson you’re facing,” he said, trying a smile. “Not a Storwick.”
She raised both sword and dirk, the larger wobbling in her grip. “It’s a man I’m facing who thinks what I want is of no consequence if it interferes with his privileges and pleasures.”
Had he imagined the echo of the bedchamber in her voice? No more.
He raised his eyebrows, opened his arms and made a slight bow. “A thousand pardons.” Words as insincere as the feelings behind them.
She frowned. “You are a stranger here, so you know no better. And because you are a Brunson, I’ll let you keep your head, but I’ll warn you just once. You will not do that again. Ever.”
She lowered her sword, slowly.
You are a stranger. She was the Brunson, besting him with a sword, displacing him at the family table. His temper rose. “And what if I do?”
The blade rose, this time, not pointed at his throat, but between his legs. “If you do, you won’t have to worry about bedding a woman ever again.”
He swallowed, gingerly, his body on fire. Only because she had challenged him. Nothing more. No man could desire such a woman.
“Then have no worries on that score, Catie Gilnock,” he said, flush with anger. “When next I bed a woman, it most certainly will not be you.”Excerpt from RETURN OF THE BORDER WARRIOR
Copyright © 2012 by Wendy Blythe Gifford
Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A...
Copyright 2003-11, W. Blythe Gifford
Cover copyright 2010, Harlequin Enterprises
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