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My feature is the first in the Highland Defender Series,
THE FEARLESS HIGHLANDER!
THE FEARLESS HIGHLANDER is the first in a deliciously passionate new series! Join Amy Jarecki as she takes you on an adventure fraught with danger only found in the Scottish Highlands during the time of the first Jacobite uprising.
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Back Cover Copy:
Heir to the most notorious clan in the Highlands, Hugh MacIain hides his identity while imprisoned in the bowels of Fort William’s hell. Aye, this braw warrior has endured horrors that should have seen him dead, though now it appears it’s the bloody flux that will send him to Satan’s fire.
Optimistic, competent, and captivating, Charlotte Hill takes pity on the fevered prisoner sprawled atop a cot in the fort’s surgery. When finally the Highlander opens his eyes, he seizes her heart with a pained stare. Truly, this is no commoner—but in 1692, a warrior loyal to the Jacobite cause and the daughter of a government colonel may as well be worlds apart.
After his escape, Hugh snatches his chance to woo the lass, until disaster strikes. While war and lust for vengeance force Charlotte further from Hugh’s arms, the couple’s romance seems aimlessly adrift on the open sea. Before they sail too far apart, can the tender love of an English lady coax a determined Highlander from his path of revenge?
Remembering his purpose, Hugh slipped a hand into his sporran and pulled out the fork. “I believe this lock picker is yours, miss.”
Charlotte’s lovely mouth dropped open with her sharp gasp. Then she snatched the implement from his grasp. “You mean to tell me you used my fork to…” She glanced up and down the passageway. “Pick your locks?” she whispered.
Having managed to disarm her, Hugh smiled broadly. “Aye, and I’ll be forever in your debt.”
“Oh my heavens, if my father should discover I unknowingly gave you a tool that you in turn used to…to…escape.”
“But you helped me slip out of the fort.”
She held her finger to her lips. “Sh. You must never, ever mention that to anyone.”
Hugh could keep his hands idle no longer. Simply the pale white of her skin filled his chest with longing. He cupped her blushing cheek in his palm. “When I knocked at death’s door, you gave me a new chance at life. Your kindness alone saved me, and for that I will always be in your service, m’lady.”
Her mouth opened and formed an O before she spoke. “I-I…you were so ill and so…um…I don’t know what to say to such a declaration of chivalry.”
Hugh stared into her eyes for a moment, the torch on the far wall casting just enough light for him to appreciate the rich lavender he’d remembered from the surgery. “Not a day has passed that I haven’t thought about you, your compassion, your loveliness.”
“Oh please, Mr. MacIain. You cannot possibly expect me to believe you’ve thought of me that often. It has been nine months.”
Hugh’s heart skipped a beat as he leaned toward her and rubbed his thumb over her silken cheek. “Did you ever think of me?” God, he hoped so—the intensity that always connected their gazes could not have been felt merely by him, could it?
Charlotte shuttered her lovely eyes as she looked down. “Yes,” she whispered. “I’ve thought of you.”
His finger twirled around one of her curls. “It warms my heart to hear you say so.”
“But you’re a Jacobite.” Charlotte had become soft spoken again, the color in her cheeks deepening.
Hugh couldn’t again lie to her, though he’d never wanted to jump ship so much in his life. “Aye. I’ve fought for the Stuart king. Is that reason enough to allay our friendship?”
“It should be.”
“But do you want it to be?”
She kept her gaze downcast while she shook her head. “No.” The word was spoken so softly, Hugh barely heard. Then she placed a dainty hand on his arm, the warmth of her touch melting what little control remained. “We must move along before someone happens past.”
Hugh stepped in nearer and slipped his hand to her corseted waist. “I’ve one more thing I need to do.” God save him, Charlotte was just far too tempting to allow this opportunity to slip past. As he moved even closer, she backed until stopping flush against the wall. Her heavy-lidded gaze fell to his mouth and her tongue slipped out, moistening her bottom lip. Did she have any idea how enticing she looked? Hugh stood so near, her breath wound its way through the laces of his shirt while her bosoms rose and fell with every inhale.
“Sir?” She met his gaze, stunning violet eyes wide.
Hugh grinned as he slowly dipped his head. “I need to kiss you, lass,” he growled right before he closed the gap and captured her mouth. Sliding his hand around to her back, he trapped her against the wall. Charlotte made no attempt to flee, but clearly by her stiffness, she’d never been properly kissed—oh no, a fleeting peck whilst fleeing didn’t count. Aye, she needed a wee bit of coaxing. He kneaded his fingers up her spine whilst he brushed her satiny lips with his tongue.
Ever so slowly, she yielded to him until she opened enough for him to slip inside and taste her. Oh, blessed be the ambrosia of the gods, this woman was as pliable as unfired clay. With a winsome sigh, she succumbed to Hugh’s encouraging hands and melted into his chest. All the silver in Edinburgh would not be enough to pull him from this moment. With her soft breasts titillating his chest, she did something totally unexpected. Her hands slipped around his waist. Lithe fingers kneaded the muscles in his back.
As his breathing sped, Hugh deepened his kiss. Lord Almighty, if only he could coax her to the next room, and show her exactly how much he’d been thinking of her—what he dreamed of doing with her—how much he wanted her to—
A footstep sounded.