Rounding out Monday with a guy who can rock a skirt!
Highland Isles series
by Heather McCollum
Publication Date: May 15, 2017
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Scandalous, Historical Romance
Cullen Duffie, a Highland warrior and charming rogue, is the new chief of Clan MacDonald. Determined to prove he’s not his father, Cullen works to secure his clan against the English. When a woman washes onto Islay’s shores, Cullen protects her from his uncles’ schemes.
Waking up not knowing who she is or where she comes from, Madeleine is at the mercy of the man who found her. Unable to speak from the swelling around her throat from a rope tether, she learns as much as she can about the new world around her and the powerful, sword-wielding Highlander who has sworn to protect her.
Through dreams and flashes of her past, Madeleine begins to rebuild her memories. But the more she recalls about the horror she escaped, the more she realizes the jeopardy she is bringing to Islay, Clan MacDonald and the Highlander who has captured her heart.
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Taylor held out his hand to Rose, and she touched her fingertips to his palm. “Have we met, Mistress Maclean? Perhaps on Mull?”
Rose shook her head.
“Speak up now,” Captain Thompson said next to Taylor.
“She cannot speak,” Cullen answered for her. “And no, she is visiting from a northern branch of the Maclean clan.”
“Cannot speak?” Captain Thompson said. “How so?”
“An injury,” Cullen said and felt very much like he was digging a bigger hole with each utterance. But there was no going back. He only hoped his explanations came across as genuine.
Captain Thompson stepped closer, his gaze narrowing in on Rose’s neck where the shawl slipped to reveal the scabs. “God’s teeth, Duffie, what have you done to the girl?”
Rose’s hand went immediately to the shawl, tucking it higher around her throat.
Beatrice stood completely still beside Errol. He and Broc both wore frowns and rested their hands on the hilts of their swords.
“Mistress?” Captain Taylor said, his hand tugging on her shawl until it slipped away, showing the dark ring around her neck. “You were being hung?”
Broc made a noise through his teeth. “Of course not. We don’t hang Scots visitors.” He left the rest of the boast, about hanging English visitors, unsaid.
“An accident,” Errol said.
During the exchange Rose kept a calm expression, her head held high, as she rearranged the shawl around her abused neck. Was she really as brave as she looked or could he add actor to his uncles’ lists of Rose’s possible sins?
Captain Thompson looked between Errol and Rose. “What type of accident leaves that sort of mark about a woman’s neck?”
The whole exchange was twisting out of control. He needed to cut the conversation and guide the captains out of the garden. “’Tis of a personal nature,” Cullen said.
“Now, if you would like that tour, we can start in the kitchens.” He held out his arm to indicate the pathway.
Captain Taylor refused to take his scrutiny from Rose. Even though she cast her eyes to the bricks, she stood firm, transforming to stone like a maiden in Medusa’s garden.
“I am not leaving this spot until you or Mistress Maclean tells me how she came by the rope burn around her neck,” Captain Taylor said.
“Aye, what is this personal injury?” Captain Thompson asked, thick lips jutted out.
Cullen exhaled and glanced at Rose. “Forgive me.” She did not move. Did she think he’d give her away, throw her to the English captains? The thought made his fists clench. He looked to Captain Taylor, who’d finally pulled his gaze from her to Cullen, demanding the truth with his stare. “The rope burn was obtained in my bedchamber,” Cullen said.
Broc choked and began to cough into his fist. Beatrice held her fingers pressed to her lips while Errol’s eyes went wide.
“Aye. We were but playing, and the rope caught around her neck,” Cullen finished.
“Playing?” Captain Thompson said, the idiot not catching on. Did he require a sketch drawn?
“In a carnal fashion,” Cullen explained for his benefit.
“He likes to tie the lasses up,” Broc added. “It’s something we don’t tell his mother.”
Heather McCollum is an award winning, historical and YA paranormal romance writer. She earned her B.A. in Biology, much to her English professor’s dismay, and was a 2009 Golden Heart Finalist.
When she is not picking her teen’s brain for authentic attitude for her YA books and finding time to write, she is usually found educating women on ovarian cancer symptoms. Ms. McCollum has recently slayed the cancer beast and resides with her very own hero and 3 kids in the wilds of suburbia on the mid-Atlantic coast.
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