Here is an excerpt from the book Lords of Love and Legends by Allie Mackay, Brenda Jernigan and Sue-Ellen Welfonder.
Some Like It Kilted
by Allie Mackay
A legendary Highland chieftain and a modern American woman aren’t prepared for the passion that flares between them, or the ancient secrets that would tear them apart.
(Set-up to mini-excerpt: This one is easy – a quick glimpse at how crazy the American heroine is about her hot Highlander hero)
Mad for Plaid…
“I’ve been mad with missing you.” She clung to him, rubbing her face against his plaid. Its wool was rough against her skin and she’d never felt anything more wonderful. Her entire body was shaking, inside and out, but she didn’t care. He smelled of woodsmoke and the cold, frosty night.
She wanted to drink him in.
He looked ready to toss her over his shoulder and carry her off to his turret.
She wished he would!
The Wicked Lady
By Brenda Jernigan
She hadn’t meant to shoot the man!
Kristen Johnstone fled down the narrow, cobblestone streets of London, trying to lose her pursuers. She glanced up at the eaves of the buildings she hurried passed; gargoyles laughing down at her.
Kristen knew she was doomed.
But the gargoyles didn’t scare her half as much as the eyes of the man she’d just shot. The vivid blue still lingered in her mind: first the amused expression, followed by the irritated frown as he’d grabbed her in the act of picking his pocket, then the look of surprise when her gun went off.
She had to move faster!
She could go to jail for a very long time for what she’d done. Then who would take care of Hagan? Her five-year-old brother would have no one.
She had to hurry.
Stay close to the shadows of the buildings, she warned herself.
A tear slipped down her cheek as she rounded the next corner. What was the matter with her? She didn’t cry. She never cried. She hadn’t wept once since her mother died some two years past, and now was no time to start.
She hadn’t meant to hurt the man.
But what if she’d killed him?
Of course, it hadn’t been entirely her fault. True, her hand had been in his pocket, but he’d grabbed her. That was when she’d smelled the liquor. All the horrible beatings she’d suffered from her stepfather came rushing back to torment her. Kristen had vowed then to die before she ever let anyone hit her again. So, she had simply reacted.
Turning to look over her shoulder, Kristen gasped.
The three men were gaining on her. Why couldn’t she shake them? She knew the streets — every nook and cranny where one could hide — better than anyone. Two more turns, then down a small alley and she’d be free.
Her lungs burned and her parched throat was dry and raw. She couldn’t go much farther. Her heart pounded, and the lack of food made her weaker than normal. Not paying attention, she crashed into a trash heap, sending debris tumbling down the street as she fought to keep her footing.
“If ye’d just let me out of this one, Father,” Kristen whispered as she glanced toward heaven. “I promise tae repent.”
Just then she tripped on a brick and went flying head first, landing in a heap on the cold cobblestones.
“Get up girl,” one of her pursuers said as he yanked her to her feet.
“I–I can’t breathe,” she managed to gasp.
“You’re just winded.” A big, burly man patted her on the back. “‘Course, if ya hadn’t run us to death this wouldn’t have happened.”
Kristen took a huge gasp of air. “I dinna mean tae kill him. ‘Twas an accident.” Wide-eyed, she looked up at the bloke. This one was a giant with bulging muscles. “Ye don’t really mean tae turn me over now, do ye?” Kristen made sure she didn’t break eye contact as she slipped his knife out of his pocket. The big ones were as dumb as the rest, she thought.
The other man found his voice, “My God, Robbie, she’s a Scot. Ya know how Claremont hates all Scots.”
“Yeah, I know.” The one called Robbie nodded his head as if he just might be thinking of letting her go. “The boss has been in a surly mood lately. She’s only going to make it worse.”
“And what might be wrong with a Scot? And who is this Claremont?” Kristen demanded.
“Come on girl.” Robbie grabbed her arm. “Claremont is the man you just shot. You’ll meet him in good time.” Robbie tugged, but she pulled back. “You’ve given us enough trouble for one day.” This time he jerked her hard, and she fell against his chest. “I can see we’re going to have to do this the hard way,” he said and simply tossed her over his shoulder like a sack. “I’m not going to turn you over to the authorities, girl. I’m taking you to Claremont.”
“Put me down!” Kristen beat on his back. “I’ll scream,” she threatened when nothing else seemed to work.
Robbie swore. “Go ahead,” he muttered. Then he chuckled.
Of course, Kristen didn’t utter a sound. She knew no one could help her now, and she especially didn’t want to attract a Bow Street officer. She was doomed at eighteen. And, worse than that, who would take care of Hagan? He was too young to survive the streets alone.
Kristen could smell the salt water and hear the rude comments of the dock workers, letting her know they were nearing the river. All the blood had rushed to her head from hanging upside down and her temples pounded. She looked up to see her brother starting for them, and Kristen frantically waved him away.
“Let go of my sister.” The sandy-haired child ran over and kicked the man following them.
“Run, Hagan! Run!”
“Now, what do we have here?” Robbie picked the child up by the collar “A little scamp?”
“Leave my sister alone!” Hagan swung at Robbie, barely missing his nose.
“This gets more interesting all the time.” Robbie tucked Hagan under his arm and started up the gangplank.
“No!” Kristen managed to scream in her upside down position. “I–I can’t swim.” She started thrashing around, beating her hands on his back.
“Then I suggest you quit struggling,” came a deep voice from someone she couldn’t see, but was certain she’d not heard before. A voice that sent shivers down her spine.