Seriously, this is my favorite book I’ve written…ok so maybe it’s a tie with my upcoming release “To Refuse a Rake” but its still up there. Ioan, the hero, stole my heart from the first time he spoke to Elle, the heroine, in his Scottish brogue. It doesn’t hurt that he’s handsome, charming and fiercely guarding his heart against the one thing he wants but can’t have; Elle.
Elle is strong. Her traitorous heart flutters whenever Ioan is around…yet when he opens his mouth the attraction ceases. How is it possible for someone so captivating to be so incredibly annoying? His sharp retorts and barbs constantly keep her on her toes…but it isn’t enough to stop her growing attraction. Because beyond the barbs and easy demeanor, she sees something more in Ioan, something that both excites her and frightens her. Something she can’t resist.
When the treat to her home becomes more, they’ll find out that love is the only hope they have in “Surviving Scotland.”
Here’s a fun excerpt ( I'm including two, one with more...(ahem) tension ;):
“I tho’ yer uncle said ye weren’t ta wander about?” Ioan’s voice startled me and I spun around. He spoke with an arrogant twist to his lips, as he raised an eyebrow then grinned. Though he smiled, his tone was the same one he would use for a small child. Offended at his superior attitude, I glared back.
“Don’t ye have somethin’ better to be doin’ than ta sneak around followin’ people?” I asked.
I rolled my eyes and turned my back on him, walking away.
“Ye ken I’ll just follow ye.”
I ignored him. There was no way I was going back to the keep just to be forced back to bed. I was almost completely recovered, and there was no reason for them to continue treating me like an invalid.
“I knew ye had ta be feelin’ like a bird in a cage. I’ll take ye somewhere... if ye want.” Ioan’s voice was clear as it echoed against the stone wall.
I stopped and turned slowly. Was he telling the truth? Did I want to go anywhere with him? I studied him for a moment. Attraction warred with irritation. His green eyes were steady as I watched him, so I nodded.
“That’s a good lass, let’s get ye back ta yer room and find ye a—”
“No. I’m not going back there, at least not yet. Do you have any idea what it feels like to be stuck up in one room for so long? I understand! I was sick! But I’m not dead. I need some space, some air.” I released a heavy sigh and closed my eyes then inhaled the fresh air. I glanced back to Ioan and waited for his response.
He studied me for a moment, his green eyes narrowing in concentration. Belatedly, I realized I had lapsed into a more articulated accent rather than a Scottish brogue, but I didn’t care.
“Lass, I understand, but if we’re ta go ridin’ then ye’ll need a bit more clothing.” I glanced down at my dress. It wasn’t indecent, but it did feel a bit light for the weather.
“How do I ken ye willna lock me in my room once I get there?” I narrowed my eyes.
Ioan grinned and took a slow and purposeful step forward. “Ach, lass, if I locked ye in yer room, ye wouldna be wantin’ to leave.” He winked at me and I blushed at his implication. Though I was certainly attracted to Ioan, I was equally annoyed with him.
“Ye’ve lost yer senses, but I knew that already. Are we ta go or what — or are ye goin’ to sit there dreamin’ o’ me all afternoon?” I retorted, arching an eyebrow.
“Ach, lass, my dreams are far better than the likes of ye.” Ioan responded lazily and leaned against the stone fence.
“Then I don’t think ye’ll be lockin’ me in my room, eh?” I grinned.
“I willna lock ye in yer room, for pity’s sake. Where do ye get these ideas in yer head, Elle? Ye need to be more of a lady.”
“You are the one that said—”
“Ach, lass, I implied. You took it from there. I’ll meet ye in the kitchen in about a quarter hour.”
He turned and left, whistling a merry tune as if he hadn’t a care in the world. I fumed, angry at his implication and more so, that he had bested me.
Two can play that game, Ioan.
One more…just because I LOVE kissing or almost kissing scenes…ah, tension. This part takes place after Elle has a bit of her own revenge on Ioan.
I ran as fast as my legs could carry me, but it was no use. Ioan caught up with me and reached his hand around my waist and pulled me backward through the air, and I landed on top of him in a heap. Instinctively I rolled off of him, twisting his arm back enough to free myself. Ioan was up in an instant, watching me curiously. We circled each other, evaluating the other’s movements. I matched Ioan’s steps and counteracted his small attempts at throwing me off. After a moment, he lunged at me, but I spun and sidestepped, so that he would miss me. Ioan’s face registered confusion and respect before it split into a wide grin.
“Ach, so we’re to play like that, are we?”
Ioan came at me again, but from the side, and I ducked and rolled, escaping him once again. His grin grew wider and he picked up a stick and tossed it to me. I caught it mid-air and automatically took a defensive position. I didn’t have time to question how I knew how to do all this, because as soon as I had taken that position, Ioan advanced with his own stick and began to attack. He slapped my stick-sword and I fought back, strike for strike. After a moment, I began to take an offensive position rather than defensive, Ioan’s smile began to fade, and in its place was a look of concentration. We lunged, parried, and spun, each unable to best the other, ‘til Ioan took me by surprise. With a lightning-fast maneuver, my stick-sword flew through the air, and Ioan caught it with his other hand. He gave me a cocky grin and took a bow.
“I suppose ye want me ta clap for ye?” I was breathing heavily, but laughing. This was the most fun I could ever remember, though that didn’t mean much in my current situation.
Ioan bowed again, only this time he glanced at me expectantly. I shook my head but clapped anyway.
“Thank ye!” Ioan’s clothes dripped onto the already saturated earth. He wiped his brow with his hand and shook his head spraying me with water.
“What are ye doin’!” I shouted, putting my hands up to shield myself from the water.
“Givin’ ye less than ye deserve. In fact...” Ioan’s green eyes sparkled with a mischievous glint and I took a step back. He took a step forward and I took another one back only to find myself against a tree. Ioan chuckled and advanced faster. His arms reached around and pulled me into a tight hug, soaking my clothes.
“Aaaahhh!” I squealed against his freezing body. “Shh, lass, yer warm. Donna move.”
“Get away from me! Ye are like a wet dog!”
“Eww! Ye are getting me soaked to the skin!”
“That’s the idea.”
I shoved hard and Ioan backed away but only far enough to see my face.
“I told ye it wouldna turn out well for ye.” Though Ioan’s voice was teasing, his eyes smoldered, and my belly flipped in response. Lost in his emerald gaze, I couldn’t have glanced away if I’d wanted to. He held me captive. The heat that began to radiate from his body, as he was pressed up against mine, made my skin prickle with awareness. I clenched my fist to resist the urge to caress his jaw. His dark hair appeared black, since it was wet, and it made the color of his eyes burn with a deeper intensity.
Ioan’s gaze searched my own, and his eyes traced the lines of my face as if memorizing them. His eyes locked onto my lips and his expression was tormented. He leaned forward slightly. Was he going to kiss me? I wanted him to. With a desperation I didn’t know existed, I wanted to feel his lips caressing my own and be lost in his warm embrace. I held my breath and waited, watching the inner conflict in Ioan’s eyes, wondering which side would win.
His lips hovered just over mine, and his warm breath tickled my skin. I swallowed compulsively, and I gently exhaled the breath I was holding. Ioan’s eyes drifted closed, but he didn’t move closer; he stood frozen just a breath away from kissing me. All I needed to do was lean slightly forward to meet his lips. But if I were to experience my first kiss, at least the first kiss I remembered, then I wanted it to be given, not taken. For what seemed like an eternity, I waited, but then Ioan stepped back. His eyes watched me intently, searching for answers to questions I didn’t know.
“Ioan...” I whispered, my voice hoarse from the tension of the past few moments.
His eyes darkened with desire but he blinked quickly and turned away. He stared into the trees for a moment before turning back toward me. His handsome face turned up into a familiar grin and he tipped his chin up as he spoke.
“I’ll race ye to the castle. I promise to go slow.”
He raised his eyebrows in challenge and I grinned back, though part of me was even more confused at his change in demeanor. I shook my head at him, and then took off, knowing whatever distance I was able to achieve wouldn’t be enough. Ioan passed me, turned and ran backward for a moment, winked, then rushed ahead taking a piece of my heart with him.
AP ( my publisher's) site This one will give you any format you can think of, will work with kindle, nook, even a just download it as a PDF.