Monday, December 5, 2022

Only 2 more weeks 'til RELEASE DAY!


She wanted a new beginning. Just not with a man executed three hundred years in the past.

Twenty-first century tour guide Mila Carthson and her godson Robbie are excited to launch their first tour of the season in their brand new minibus. They made it through a horrific year of him being bullied and three deaths in the family. Now it’s spring and time for new beginnings. Things can only get better.

But after hours on the road with tourists who act worse than spoiled toddlers, Mila begins to wonder. Surely, a sack lunch surrounded by Glencoe’s beauty will improve the day. She gets the group settled, then she and Robbie climb to higher ground for some badly needed peace.

While they’re eating, the strangest storm blows in and makes her and Robbie so ill, all they can do is hug it out while the wind and rain batters them. When the weather lifts, everything is different. Not just different, but changed beyond belief. And someone is coming. On horseback. At a thundering, breakneck speed.

The last thing eighteenth century Chieftain Teague MacDonald needs is an unforeseen interruption in his interception of the Campbell clan’s favorite whisky. But his greatest weakness is taking in strays. Especially comely wenches. And this one is that. Fiery as a freshly lit torch, too. So, even though persecuting the bloody Campbells, smuggling, and quietly strengthening the Jacobite cause keeps him busy, this lovely lass is too tempting to ignore. And the longer he is around her, the more he wants her and wishes she would let him save her from whatever terrible secret set her and the lad on the run in the first place. One way or another, he will win her trust. And with any luck, he will win even more.

Mila has been many things. Tour guide. Substitute mother. Grieving friend. But the eighteenth century transforms her into something she never expected: a woman in love like never before. Except she knows Teague is going to be executed soon. She read about it while researching his castle’s remains back in the twenty-first century.

Somehow, she has to keep him alive. But can the history books and destiny be rewritten?


As they stepped outside, she glanced back, noting he had closed the hallway door leading into the library. “How will they know where to find ye when yer food is ready? I dinna wish either yerself or yer people to have their meal delayed while I enjoy the fresh air.”
He kept his gaze aimed straight ahead, revealing a strong, handsome profile worthy of immortalization on a coin of pure gold. “Have ye forgotten Master Robbie knows where to find us?”
There was that. “I have not forgotten. Well—not now, anyway.” She blew out a despondent huff. 
“What is it, m’lady?”
A deep breath of the cool, rain-washed air helped fight back her nervousness. “I have never done well at small talk or idle chitchat. And it has been a very eventful day.” The slow stroll across the garden helped calm her, too. The winding patches of cobblestone led them toward an ivy enclosure. With the sun setting, she expected its interior to be dark, but instead, a light flickered out from the arched opening and the walls of thick green leaves. “Are there torches inside?”
“Aye.” He halted them a yard or so from it. A somber, faraway looked filled his face. “Torches are kept lit there. Tended by my cousin, Willie MacDonald, and his family. In memory of those lost at Glencoe. A spring feeds the pool at its center, symbolizing our determination to thrive and seek justice.”
She bit her lip, remembering the overgrown rubble of the place in the twenty-first century. The shelter of ivy carefully trained here on trellises would someday become invasive vines overtaking everything. “It is verra lovely. A wonderful tribute.” Such a bloody shame that wars, the clearances, and politics had prevented the descendants from preserving it. 
“Would ye like to step inside and see it closer?” The quiet reverence in his tone touched her heart.
“I would be honored,” she said, finding herself speaking just as reverently. The need to cry burned her eyes as she entered the lovingly tended area that time would eventually erase. A tear escaped before she could stop it. 
Teague caught it on his finger and pressed it to his lips. “’Tis a precious thing for a woman to weep for tortured souls she never met.”
She couldn’t speak. To do so would betray the overwhelming emotions that would crack her voice. So, she managed a shy smile, tucked her chin, and turned away. There was no way to explain all she felt. To read about history was one thing. For it to come alive and embrace you was quite another.
“Ye are beguiling me, Lady Mila,” he said in a voice soft as a breath.
This man tempted her. Not just physically, but in a much more dangerous manner. He tempted her to invite him into the sanctity of her inner circle, become one of the few she allowed to know her best. “Ye just met me,” she argued rather than confess the beguiling went both ways. 
“Nay, m’lady.” He moved closer, stepping around to peer deeply into her eyes. “This may be our first meeting in this life, but I feel certain we knew each other well in another.” He gently tipped up her chin and stroked her cheek with his thumb. “Do ye not feel the draw? Like the pull of the tides? Or the river’s current?”
“Everything happens for a reason,” she whispered. That had been her mother’s, grandmother’s, and great-grandmother’s mantra.
“And everything is connected.” His coaxing smile made her heart sigh. He eased closer, his gaze focused on her mouth, and hers on his.
She wet her lips, hungry for the taste of him even though she knew it would be a mistake.
“Teague MacDonald!”
His nostrils flared like he was a bull about to charge. Turning his head with a jerk, he let his hand drop away from her and stepped back. “What is it, Lizzie?” he said through clenched teeth.
“Supper awaits ye. All are hungry and ready to eat.” 
Mila offered the curvy blonde a smile. “Thank ye for fetching us. Lizzie, is it?”
“Aye,” the young woman said without a hint of friendliness. “Lizzie Jamison. I know well enough who ye are.” She spun about and flounced away.
“It appears I have made an enemy.” Mila increased the space between them, both thankful and mildly disappointed about snarly Lizzie’s interruption. It was for the best. As she had always been taught, everything happened for a reason.