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SNEAK PEEK: The Highlander Who Loved Me by Adrienne Basso

highlanderA Highlander Is Always Worth Waiting For

Scottish Highlands, 1329. Sir James McKenna, second son of the powerful McKenna Chief, knows he has found his destiny when he falls in love with sweet Lady Davina Armstrong, niece of the Armstrong Chief. Orphaned in childhood, Davina has always felt like an outsider, and with James finally feels that she belongs. But their plans for a happy future are shattered after a brutal attack by a band of rogues. Horrified, Davina’s overprotective family quickly shelters her from everyone—including James…

Five years later, James is a changed man. His fighting skills sharpened to perfection, he is hardened by the war and destruction he’s endured as a Scottish knight—and by the loss of Davina. Weary, he returns home—and is shocked to find Davina there. Is it too late for them to start anew, or will the past dare to lay claim to their future once more?…

Praise for Adrienne Basso’s Bride of a Scottish Warrior

“Well-developed characters and a strong sense of time and place are just a few of the pluses readers will encounter in Basso’s latest smartly written medieval romance.” —Booklist

“An impossible-to-put-down read!” —RT Book Reviews

EXCERPT:

Davina caught sight of a tall figure silhouetted in the glare of torch light at the end of the great hall. He was garbed in a shirt of black mail, a broad sword at his side and two lethal- looking kirks thrust into the leather belt on his hips.

His sudden, daunting appearance startling startled the musicians so completely they ceased playing. The distinct sound of swords being drawn permeated the air, yet the man’s hands remained rigidly by his side. Davina assumed this defenseless stance was the only reason he had not been challenged by one of the McKenna soldiers.

Well, that, and the fact that he looked prepared to cut down the first man who dared to move against him.

The man’s face was cast in the shadows, hiding it from view, but when he reached the center of the hall, the blazing wall torches illuminated his features.

Jolted by the sight, Davina froze. She felt her blood run ice cold, then fiery hot. She stared at the stranger for what felt like an eternity before her mind accepted the impossibility of what her eyes were seeing.

James!

Davina’s hand flew up to cover her mouth and stifle the startled cry that rose to her lips.

There was no mistaking that lean, square jaw and wide, sensual mouth. Davina lost her fragile grip on her goblet. It landed on the table with a dull thud, the deep red contents spilling across and then down the sides. The steady drip of the liquid on the stone floor broke through the stillness, shattering the unnatural silence.

“James!” Lady Aileen’s scream of joy cascaded throughout the great hall. She dashed from her chair and weaved her way through the maze of tables, fairly leaping into her son’s arms when she reached him.

Their mutual laughter could be heard throughout the great hall. It broke any lingering tension among the clan and the celebratory mood once again returned. The lively music and merriment resumed, yet it moved around Davina, for all she could feel was the breath that had become trapped in her lungs.

The image of the young man she had loved so completely had never faded from her mind, or her heart. Yet the man who stood so arrogantly holding Lady Aileen close to his chest was barely recognizable. He was much taller than she remembered, his shoulders broader, his muscles larger and more defined. There was an angry scar slashed through his left eyebrow and another, smaller one on his square jaw.

But it was his eyes that had changed the most. No longer teasing and kind, they were raw and unnerving, giving him the wild, primitive, dangerous look of a man who did whatever he wanted and damn the consequences.

A stab of regret pierced Davina’s heart at the memory of the honorable young knight she had known and loved.

She steeled her expression as James drew near the dais, certain her heart was beating so fast and loud it could be heard clear on the opposite side of the chamber. A pain shot through her jaw and she realized it was because she was gritting her teeth so tightly.

His expression grew puzzled, then turned to one of stern disapproval as his gaze traveled critically over her. Davina felt her heart beating even faster now, but somehow she found the strength to lift her chin and stare straight at him.

For a brief moment they stared at each other without voice or movement, then James blinked several times and shook his head, as though confirming in his mind what his eyes were seeing.

“Davina?”

His voice was harsh with surprised anger. It cut through her shock with swift pain. She fought the strong urge to flee, ignoring an inner voice that commanded she turn and run, for truth be told, there was nowhere to hide.

He moved closer and she felt the heat of his smoldering eyes scorch her. The wine she had drunk earlier swirled through her head and she began to panic, knowing she had no control over this situation.

Another step forward sent the blood rushing from Davina’s head and she suffered an all-consuming wave of light-headedness. She closed her eyes, struggling for calm. It did not come.

Instead, a numbness trickling trickled down into her limbs and a loud buzzing sounded in her ears. From a great distance she heard young Lileas’s cry of alarm and then suddenly, blissfully, all went dark as Davina fell over into a dead faint.

YOU CAN PURCHASE THE HIGHLANDER WHO LOVED ME AT:
BN.com
Amazon.com
Kensingtonbooks.com

About the Author:
basso“Historical fiction has always sparked my imagination. The desire to live in a time and place so far removed from my experience compelled me to do the only thing that could truly bring history to life—write about it.”

Between stints as a corporate financial analyst, marketing consultant, public librarian, wife and mother, Adrienne Basso has parlayed her vivid imagination and desire to tell romantic stories into a writing career. Regency England is her favorite time period and thus far she has set all her historical novels during that elegant time. She enjoys the challenge of creating stories that emphasize the everlasting strength and power of love and is truly delighted that her characters always achieve the fantasy of living happily ever after. Looking to expand her horizons beyond the realm of history, she has recently sold her first contemporary novel, which will be published in November 1999.

Adrienne and her husband, both native New Yorkers, now make their home in North Plainfield, New Jersey, along with their two sons. In her spare time she likes to pretend that she is an organized, efficient, dynamic super-woman. It doesn’t always work.
Find out more about Adrienne and her novels at:
Website

 

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