Cape Wrath, Scotland, November 1847.
Bruce McGunn, laird of Wrath in the far North of Scotland, is as brutal and unforgiving as his land. Discharged from the army, haunted by the spectres of his fallen comrades and convinced he is going mad, he is running out of time to save his estate from the machinations of Cameron McRae, heir to the McGunn’s ancestral enemies.
When the clipper carrying McRae’s new bride docks at Wrath harbour, McGunn decides to hold the woman to ransom and use her to get more time to repay his debts. However, far from the spoilt heiress he expected, Rose is genuine and funny – a ray of sunshine in the long winter that has become his life. She is also determined to escape.
As Rose runs away to be reunited with her husband, she discovers there is a sinister side to the dazzlingly handsome aristocrat she married after a whirlwind romance. Why was Cameron so desperate to get her father’s military journal? Why did he insist on keeping their wedding a secret? She is even more confused when Bruce catches up with her and she starts to feel irresistibly attracted to him. Soon she risks her marriage to help Bruce find the truth about his past and solve the mystery of the brutal murders committed on his land. Will her love be enough to heal his haunted heart?
I had plans to do more today than spotlight this book today as part of this tour with Brook Cottage Books, really I did. I wanted to read the whole trilogy, and run some reviews, but that was impossible – such is the reading life of a blogger. I wanted to run an interview – but that wasn’t to be either, and I hope author Marie Laval might like to join me in a couple of months, so we can do things properly.
But spotlight it is, and I’m delighted to share an extract from Sword Dance, the third in the Dancing For The Devil trilogy that started with The Dream Catcher and Blue Bonnets.
The trilogy is published by Accent Press, and available from Amazon in the UK and US. (Those are the buying links for Sword Dance – the hyperlinked titles above for the other two books will take you to their Amazon UK pages.)
Shall we sit back and enjoy that extract?
‘What are you doing? Please stop,’ she breathed, as his lips trailed along the curve of her throat.
If only he could… He looked up and the seductive power of her sultry, heavily made-up eyes gleaming in the moonlight hit him like a bolt of lightning. Every fibre of his body reacted to the feel of her soft body against his, the warm fragrance of her skin. She was right, though. What the hell was he doing? Once again he reminded himself that he had no right to feel that way, no right to want her, but damn it, the woman would tempt a saint. And he was no saint.
He swallowed a deep, hard breath, released her and made himself step back. ‘All right. We’ll stay here a while and wait until McRae and his remaining guests have gone to bed. Where’s your horse?’
‘I left it tied to a post behind the hunting lodge.’
‘What about your bag?’
‘It’s still strapped to the saddle. By the time I spoke to the girls and the musicians, we had to get ready to come here.’
‘How did you manage to get into the hunting lodge without being seen by McRae’s men?’
‘It wasn’t easy. I got stuck as I sneaked in through one of the downstairs windows and ripped my – ’
‘You got stuck?’ He would have laughed if he weren’t so angry.
‘The musicians had to pull me in. We had to be quick and very quiet, because Cameron’s men were in the kitchen.’
Damn the woman. Didn’t she care about the danger she put herself in? ‘So, after clambering through a window, you had the brilliant idea to disguise yourself as a dancer and throw yourself into the lion’s den.’
She flinched at the harshness of his tone. ‘I thought I could avoid bumping into Cameron.’
‘You bump into everything and anything you come across, why not McRae?’ he interrupted, taut with temper. ‘He could have recognised you when you were with the others in the music room.’
‘Then I would have confronted him and exposed him for the liar and the debauched rake he is in front of all his guests!’ The baubles on her necklace tinkled like little bells as she shook her head.
‘Weren’t you afraid of all those men ogling you, lusting after you?’ Me included, he remembered, guilt tightening his chest.
‘Well, I… I didn’t think I would have to dance. My plan was to get into the castle and hide until I could speak to Lady Sophia. Unfortunately, Cameron’s manservant was watching us like a hawk and I had no choice but to go into the music room with the others. The girls promised to create a diversion so that I could sneak out unnoticed.’
‘A diversion? That’s a mild way of putting it,’ he sneered. ‘The girls’ dancing was… ahem… striking, to say the least. Ask that poor old man who collapsed.’ He drew in a deep breath. ‘Anyway, where did you learn to dance like that?’
She lowered her eyes, snapped a leaf from a nearby bush and tore it into tiny pieces that spiralled to the ground. ‘Malika taught me, in secret. She always said I was good enough to be one of them.’
She was right, her dancing had been entrancing, mesmerising, but he wasn’t going to tell her. ‘I still can’t believe you took such risks tonight, just to talk to McRae’s fiancée. It was stupid and foolhardy.’ And damned brave, too, even though he would never admit it. Gripped by conflicting urges, he towered above her, his fists clenched and his jaw set.
With thanks to the author and tour hosts Brook Cottage Books, I’m pleased to offer a chance to win a print copy of Book One in the series, The Dream Catcher. Here’s the rafflecopter:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Meet the author
Originally from Lyon in France, Marie Laval has lived in the beautiful Rossendale Valley, Lancashire, England, for the past few years and likes nothing more than dreaming up romance stories and handsome, brooding heroes. She writes historical and contemporary romance. Her contemporary romance A Spell In Provence, as well as her historical romances, Angel Heart, together with the award-winning The Lion’s Embrace, and the Dancing For The Devil Trilogy are all published by Accent Press.
Follow Marie on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads: she also has a very good blog.