Happy Monday to all! Thanks for stopping in for a taste of historical romance! Today I'm switching it up a bit and sharing some Highland Historical Romance featuring author Allie Mackay aka USA Today Bestselling author Sue-Ellen Welfonder.
I've recently picked up a Kindle copy of Haunted Warrior and loved it so much that I couldn't resist sharing an extended excerpt with you here. I hope you enjoy it and check it out after your reading. I think you'll find it will quickly grab your attention as it did for me.
Today's snippet starts out with the heroine, Kendra Chase, in Balmedie Beach, Northeast Scotland on a chilly autumn afternoon, present day where she meets up with something or someone out of the ordinary.
Published: Jan. 2012
Back of the Book:
Kendra Chase is exhausted from her work as a ghost whisperer, so she's been looking forward to her vacation in Edinburgh. But work awaits her as the tiny fishing village is being excavated, and supernatural uprisings have been reported.Graeme MacGrath knows the source of the psychic trouble. The excavation is disrupting the protective veil between this world and darker, more ancient ones. He hates to admit it but he will need the fetching Kendra and her paranormal abilities to save the town he loves from unspeakable evil.
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EXTENDED SNIPPET READING:
Don’t do it, Chase,her inner self protested, her natural defenses buzzing on high alert. But the more her heart raced, the slower she walked. Her palms were dampening and she could hear the roar of her blood in her ears. There was no choice, really. She had to know who—or what—was on the strand with her, affecting her so strongly.
“Oh, man…” She puffed her bangs off her forehead and tried to brace herself for anything.
Then she turned.
She saw the man at once. And everything about him made her breath catch. She blinked in surprise and astonishment, and a thread of alarm rose in her throat.
For a peace-shattering interloper, the man was magnificent.
No other word could describe him.
He stood on the high dunes a good way behind her, his gaze focused on the sea. Even now, he didn’t glance in her direction. Yet his presence was powerful, claiming the strand as if by right.
Tall, imposing, and well built, he was kilted and appeared to be wearing a cloak that blew in the wind. Even at a distance, Kendra could tell that he had dark good looks. And—she swallowed—there was an air of ancient pride and power about him. So much so that she could easily imagine a long sword at his side.
He looked like the sword-carrying type of man.
Limned as he was against the setting sun, he might have been cast of shadows. But there could be no doubt that he was solid and real.
He was a true, flesh-and-blood man, no specter.
Kendra’s pulse quickened, her attention riveted by his magnetism. She pressed a hand to her breast, her eyes wide as she stared at him. The same wind that tore at his cloak also tossed his hair. A dark, shoulder-length mane that gleamed in the lowering sun and that he wore unbound, giving him a wickedly sexy look. His stance was pure alpha male. Bold, fearless, and uncompromisingly masculine. He could’ve been an avenging angel or some kind of sentry.
Whoever he was, he seemed more interested in the sea than a work-weary, couldn’t-stop-staring American female.
And that was probably just as well, because even if she’d hoped to enjoy her one night in Aberdeen, she wasn’t in Scotland as a tourist.
She was working and couldn’t risk involvement.
Not that such a hunky Scotsman would give her the time of day if he did notice her.
She had on her old, comfortable, but terribly worn walking shoes. Her waxed jacket had also seen better days, however warm it kept her. And the wind had made a rat’s nest of her hair, blowing the strands every which way until she was sure she looked frightful.
It was then that she noticed the man on the dune waslooking at her.
His gaze was deep, knowing, and intense, meeting hers in a way that made her heart pound. The air between them seemed to crackle, his stare almost a physical touch. Her nerves rippled and swirled; fluttery warmth spread through the lowest part of her belly. Decidedly pleasurable, the sensation reminded her how long it’d been since she’d slept with a man.
Embarrassed, she hoped he couldn’t tell.
She didn’t do one-night stands.
But she felt the man’s perusal in such an intimate way—how his gaze slid over her, lingering in places that stirred a reaction. He made herwant, his slow-roaming assessment sluicing her with desire.
She tried to glance aside, pretending she hadn’t stopped walking to stare at him. But she couldn’t look away. Her eyes were beginning to burn because she wasn’t even blinking.
Retreat wasn’t an option.
Her legs refused to stir. Some strange, invisible connection sizzled between them, then wound around her like a lover’s arms, shocking and sensuous. The sensation dried her mouth and weakened her knees, making it impossible for her to move as he took in everything about her, from her tangled hair to her scuffed-toed shoes. His gaze returned to her chest, hovering there as if he knew her bulky, all-weather jacket hid breasts she considered her best asset.
Kendra stood perfectly still, her heart knocking against her ribs.
He was scrutinizing her, she knew. Perhaps he was trying to seduce her with a stare. He had the looks and sex appeal to tempt any woman, if that was his plan. Before she could decide how to react to him, the wind picked up, the chill gusts buffeting her roughly and whipping her hair across her eyes.
“Agh.” She swiped the strands from her face, blinking against the sting of windblown sand.
When the wind settled and her vision cleared, the man was gone.
The high dunes were empty.
And—somehow this didn’t surprise her—the afternoon’s odd clarity also had vanished.
Sure, the strand still stretched as endless as before, the red-gold sand almost garnet-colored where the surf rushed in, dampening the beach. The sea looked as angry as ever, the tossing gray waves white-crested and huge. Their roar filled the air, loud and thunderous. And the western sky still blazed scarlet, as vivid as before. But the sense of seeing through cut glass had faded.
“Good grief.” Kendra shivered. Setting a hand to her brow, she scanned the long line of grass-covered dunes. Then she turned in a circle, eyeing the strand. The beach was just as deserted as it’d been since she’d started her walk. Nothing broke the emptiness except the scattered World War II bunkers half buried in the sand up ahead of her. Built, she’d heard, so men could watch for German U-boats. Now they were part of the strand’s attraction.
A little bit of history, there for those interested.
The bunkers were also a reason she’d shielded herself before setting foot on the strand. Ever cautious, she’d taken a deep breath and tapped into the protective energy that dwelt at the center of everyone’s soul. Thanks to her inherited sensitivity and her work experience, she knew how to summon such power. White light and a firm word declaring her wish for privacy usually kept spirits at bay. If any long-dead soldiers felt a need to hover around their old guard post, she didn’t want to attract them. She was off duty, after all.
And it was clear that the kiltie from the dune had taken off, as well.
He was nowhere to be seen.
He must’ve headed away from the strand, disappearing across the wide marshland behind the dunes. There’d be a road out there somewhere, a place where he could’ve parked a car. Or maybe he’d gone to a nearby farmhouse where he just happened to live. Something like that could be the only explanation. He definitely hadn’t been a ghost.
Sure of it, Kendra pushed him from her mind and made for the bunkers. She’d eat her packed lunch there—late, but necessary sustenance—and then head back the way she’d come. Until then, a brief rest would do her good.
She did enjoy solitude.
And the bunkers looked like an ideal spot to be alone.
But as she neared the first one, she saw that someone else had the same idea. A tall, ponytailed man leaned against the bunker’s thick gray wall. Dressed in faded jeans and a black leather jacket, he could’ve been a tourist. But Kendra sensed that he was local. Arms folded and ankles crossed, he also looked very comfortable, like he wasn’t planning on going anywhere soon.
Kendra’s heart sank.
She’d so wanted just one day of peace. Her only wish had been a walk along an empty strand, soaking in the tranquillity and recovering from weeks of grueling work counseling ghosts at the sites of lost medieval villages in England.
Her energy was drained. The prospect of quietude had beckoned like a beacon.
Now even a beach reputed to be among Britain’s wildest and least disturbed proved crowded. The man at the bunker might not be a throng, but he had enough presence to fill a football field.
Kendra bit her lip, wondering if she could slip past him unnoticed and walk on to the other bunkers farther down the strand. Before she could make her move, he pushed away from the wall and turned toward her. As he did, she felt the blood drain from her face.
He was the man from the dunes.
And he was coming right up to her, his strides long and easy, his dark gaze locked on hers.
“This is no place for a woman to walk alone.” His voice held all the deep richness of Scotland, proving she’d tipped right that he was local. “Sandstorms have buried these bunkers within a few hours of blowing wind. The seas here are aye heavy, the surf rough and—”
“Who are you?” Kendra frowned, not missing that his dark good looks were even more stunning up close. It didn’t matter that he now wore his hair pulled back with a leather tie. The blue-black strands still shone with the same gleam that had caught her eye earlier. “Didn’t I just see you on the dunes? Back there”—she glanced over her shoulder at the long line of dunes running the length of the strand—“no more than ten minutes ago?”
“I’m often on the dunes.” A corner of his mouth lifted as he avoided her question. “And you’re an American.” His sexy Scottish burr deepened, as if he knew the rich, buttery tones would make her pulse leap. “A tourist come to visit bonnie Scotland, what?”
“Yes.” Kendra’s chin came up. Hunky or not, he didn’t need to know her business here.
No one did.
Shewasinterested in his business. Only Superman could change clothes so quickly.
“Weren’t you in a kilt just a while ago?” She kept her chin raised, making sure he saw that she wasn’t afraid and wouldn’t back down.
“A kilt?” His smile spread, a dimple flashing in his cheek. Then he held out his leather-clad arms, glanced down at his jeans. “I do have one, aye. But as you see, I’m no’ wearing it now.”
Kendra saw how he was dressed. She also noted that his jacket hugged his shoulders, emphasizing their width. How his shirt made no secret that his chest was rock hard and muscled. Her gaze slipped lower—she couldn’t help it—and then even the tips of her ears heated. Because, of course, his well-fitting jeans revealed that a certain manly part of him was also superbly endowed.
She took a deep breath, hoping he hadn’t seen that she’d noticed.
“You did have one on.” If she didn’t know better, she’d swear he was trying to spell her. Use his hot good looks to fuzz her mind. “A kilt, I mean.”
“You’re mistaken, lass.” He lowered his arms, fixing her with the same intent gaze as he’d done from the dunes. “I’ve been here at the bunkers awhile, listening to the wind and keeping my peace.”
Kendra felt her brow knit. “I know I saw you.”
He stepped closer, his smile gone. “You could’ve seen anyone. And that’s why I’ll tell you again, this is no fine place for a woman alone. Youths from the city come here this time of the evening.” He flicked a glance at the bunker’s narrow, eerily black window slits. “They dare each other to crawl inside and stay there till the moon rises. Such lads drink their courage. They turn bold and reckless. If a bonnie lassie then happened along—”
“I’m not a lassie.” Kendra wished he wasn’t standing so close. His broad shoulders blocked out the strand and the bunker, narrowing her world to him. His scent was fatal. Heady and addictive, it invaded her senses, filling her mind with images that weren’t good for her.
There was something terribly intoxicating about the blend of leather, brisk, cold air, and man.
Any moment she was going to blush like a flame.
She could feel the heat gearing up to burst onto her cheeks. A problem that escalated each time her gaze lit on his hands. They were large, long-fingered, and beautifully made. She couldn’t help but wonder how they’d feel gliding over her naked skin.
She wasn’t about to look at his mouth. One glance at his wickedly sensuous lips had been enough. It’d been so long since she’d been properly kissed.
This man would kiss like the devil, she knew.
Thank you for stopping in and spending some of your Monday with me.
When did you start reading historical romance? Any favorite author you'd like to share?