by Paula Quinn
Highland Heirs Book Five
A Stranger's Smile…
Christmas may be coming to Linavar, but Temperance Menzie is far from joyful. Grief-stricken over the death of her father at the hands of the Black Riders, she almost didn't see the wounded stranger in the woods. And now she's determined to give this braw, brooding Highlander the help she couldn't give her father. But there's a secret lurking in the depths of his blue-gray eyes. And Temperance won't rest until she uncovers it…
A Lover's Kiss…
A killer for hire. It's the last thing Cailean Grant ever thought he'd become, but being part of the Black Riders was his only way to survive. Now, his guilt grows day by day, along with his desire for the beautiful, brave lass nursing him back to health. As Christmas, the season of miracles, draws near and the truth of his identity threatens to come out, Cailean must risk the only thing he has left to lose—his heart.
Genre: Historical RomancePurchase link(s): Amazon ARe BAM iTunes Kobo B&N
Content/Theme(s): Highlanders, Scottish, Holiday, Christmas
Release Date: September 27, 2016
Publisher: Hachette Forever
Excerpt & More
“Where does it hurt?”
It might have been his pride that made him pause before answering. But finally he gave in and confessed in a throaty whisper, “Everywhere.”
“Your body is sore from the heat.” She rubbed the oil into her palms and handed him the jar. “This will soothe you.” She massaged his shoulders and worked her fingers down each arm. Goodness, but he was tightly wound. She liked the feel of him, the strength of him. She had to keep her wits about her. Her future depended on it. “As for words,” she said, trying to keep her head clear, “I don’t trust yours either.”
He straightened his spine. She looked at him to find his face close and his eyes scouring her while he sat on the bed—her bed, with her cat. Sensuality that was slightly menacing and entirely vulnerable oozed from every pore.
“I’ll make certain not to make ye any promises then.” His words cut the air between them and sparked a small ember in her belly, at her core. This man had fire despite the frost encasing him. She liked fire. William didn’t posses any, at least not for her.
She dropped her hands to her sides and kept her voice even and low when she spoke. “Then let me thank you now for saving us the trouble of being cordial until you leave, which shouldn’t be long now according to you. You have my gratitude for that, Mr. Grant.”
He sat there while TamLin purred in his lap, staring at her without saying a word. His eyes were shadowed by his heavy brow and strands of his hair. Despite the haunted radiance of his gaze, he looked like something more wild than docile. “Miss Menzie, ye misunderstand me.”
She needed to remain steady against the power of his regard. He wasn’t about to apologize, as his tender tone suggested. “I see.” She raised a skeptical brow and the edges of her lips rose with it. “So, then, you’re not brooding because I didn’t help you to yer feet?”
He immediately stopped and traded his frown for a cool upward curl of his mouth that was so slight she almost missed it. “Dinna be a fool, lass. I got up just fine withoot yer help.”
“Aye, well, you did manage not to faint.”
“Faint?” Laughter danced across the cool gray surfaces of his eyes, sending a tingle of fire down her back. “Dinna be ridiculous, lass. Grants dinna faint.”
She smiled indulgently. Stubborn arse. “Of course they don’t. Now lie down on your belly so that I can apply this to your back.” She waited while he did as she asked and barely moved when he set his icy gaze on her before his head touched the pillow and he closed his eyes.
She spilled oil down the length of his spine to the low edge of his breeches. His flesh was warm and his muscles twitched while she spread the oil over the hills and valleys of his back.
“Hell, that feels good.”
She was warm, a little light-headed from the feel of him, the deep, raspy sound of him. She wiped her brow with her oily hand and muttered a slight oath.
“What if next time you fall and crack open that pigheaded skull of yours?” she asked, pushing her fingers deep into his muscles. “Do you know how long it takes to clean up blood?”
She was certain she just saw him smile. Half of him, at least. The other was half-buried in feathers.
“Is that all m’ death would mean to ye, cleanin’ up m’ blood?”
She didn’t want him to die. That’s why she’d saved his life. The handsome ogre hadn’t even thanked her. “There’s more,” she admitted, doing her best not to sigh over all his rock-hard angles. “Who wants a bed someone died in?” She felt her mouth tilt into a deeper smile when he feigned surprise at her pretended insult. “Of course I don’t want you to perish.”
“Your death would lead to folks looking for you. Once your kin discovered you were in Menzie care and died, they’d kill us all.”
He propped himself up on one elbow, then gritted his teeth at the pain in his back and sat up again, almost knocking into her. “Ye’re likely correct.”
She wished he wouldn’t look at her…or that he’d never stop. He didn’t look angry. Even the indifferent veneer across his eyes had fallen away like a curtain. But, oh, what was his detachment compared to his scantest smile?
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