Here’s a snippet from my next book, The Bride Takes a Groom — in which my hero, Captain Hugo Penhallow, is introduced. It takes place in April 1811, somewhere near the Canadian border. Please enjoy. :)
It had been a perfectly good day, tramping along the St. Lawrence River and leading his men in a jolly little reconnaissance through the woods, until all at once there was a crack and a slight whistling noise.
Then there was a sharp pain six inches down and to the right of his heart.
“Damn it to hell,” said Hugo Penhallow, whipping around and in a single rapid motion bringing up his own musket, sighting the French sharpshooter two hundred paces away, and targeting him rather more effectively. He watched with grim satisfaction as the other man crumpled like a puppet released from its string, then sat himself down hard on the ground. His hand, pressed against the front of his red jacket, came away red also, but unfortunately with his own blood.
If he was lucky, the bullet that was now resident inside him hadn’t struck anything of particular importance. It occurred to him now that he was very fond of his internal organs, as they’d functioned beautifully all his life, and he’d love for them to keep on doing exactly that.
Carefully, Hugo allowed himself to slide down into a prone position. Everything was getting all hazy and woolly, and just before he closed his eyes he saw the concerned faces of his men hovering over him. A nice bunch of chaps. He was fortunate to have a group like this under his command. Too bad for them they’d have to convey him all the way back to camp, but that, after all, was one of the hazards of military life, and he was sure they’d do a decent job of it.
The pain, he noticed, was getting worse. Well, this certainly was an annoyance. How he loathed those pesky Frenchmen, and wished they’d stay in their own country where they belonged, kowtowing to that blasted little egomaniac Bonaparte and also making brandy which was, admittedly, of excellent quality. In fact, he wouldn’t object to a long swallow of that right now. But, he suspected, he was soon to be losing consciousness, so all things considered, the brandy might well have been a waste.
His last sentient thought was gratitude for the fact that the reconnaissance had been a useful one. His men would be able to confirm that yes, of a surety, there were active enemies in the area, and here was their bloodied and insensate captain to prove it.
Releasing next April, The Bride Takes a Groom is the third book in my Penhallow Dynasty series, and was recently named by Publishers Weekly in its spring 2018 announcements as one of the “big titles of spring.” Would you like to preorder? Click here. To save it on Goodreads, click here.
Here’s your chance to win a signed, print copy of You May Kiss the Bride, the first book in my Penhallow Dynasty series, and named a top pick of the year by Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Barnes & Noble! It’s also a Sarah Maclean Recommended Romance. Click here to enter.
To learn more about You May Kiss the Bride, click here.
I’ve just finished looking over the galleys for my next book, The Bride Takes a Groom, and at the risk of sounding braggy, I must say they look beautiful! The design folks at Avon Books have done a great job and I couldn’t be happier with its elegant appearance.
To learn more about The Bride Takes a Groom, the third book in my Penhallow Dynasty series, and to preorder, click here.
Really enjoyed the recent BookPage interview with the wonderful Mary Balogh. One of my favorite questions has to do with the marriage of convenience trope, as it’s something I’ve explored, in differing permutations, in my own books. Interviewer Savanna Walker asks Mary why she thinks it’s such an enduring one.
“I think it is at least partly because the couple has to cope almost from the start with the intimacies of marriage, even if they hold off on the sex, while gradually building a friendship and, of course, falling in love,” answers Mary. “Everything is happening at once and the story is likely to be full of emotion and passion with a new couple in close contact with each other all the time. And it is always lovely to see a relationship that seems so unpromising at the start blossom into an enduring love story.”
Mary’s got a new book out, Someone to Wed, which I can’t wait to read. Check out the gorgeous cover!
So, hey, at the moment there are two different ways to score a free copy of You May Kiss the Bride. One is through a Goodreads giveaway that’s running until November 9th; click here to enter.
The other is through a great big delicious sweepstakes from Bookstr:
Don’t miss out on our biggest book sweepstakes yet! We’ve partnered with Bookperk to bring you bundles of e-books and with four ways to win you might just get lucky! Enter to win romance novels, young adult books, or biographies, or win big and win them all! Never be without a good book again, and all you’ve got to do is enter to win!
Click here to enter.
And good luck!
For more about You May Kiss the Bride, including ordering info, a special gift with purchase, and access to Chapter 1, click here.
Thrilled to share the news that You May Kiss the Bride has been named by Publishers Weekly as one of the best 100 books of 2017! Here’s what they said:
Click here to read the full Publishers Weekly article.
If you haven’t already, would you like to order your own copy of You May Kiss the Bride? Click here.
An excellent word!
I used it in a scene in Chapter 3 of The Laird Takes a Bride, not long after my hero, Alasdair Penhallow, has met the four candidates for his favor in a Bachelor-esque scenario — one of whom he must choose as his bride, or suffer dire consequences.
Later, much later that evening, Alasdair lay with his head resting on interlaced fingers and his elbows akimbo. He was a big man, but even so his own self took up but little space within the great laird’s bed. Four massive oaken posts, carved long ago, upheld a canopy and looped hangings of rich cream-colored linen, upon which had been skillfully embroidered figures of falcons, hawks, eagles, does and stags, foxes and wildcats. At this canopy Alasdair gazed unseeingly, for he was thinking about the four women.
About Wynda of the extraordinary bosom, so generously displayed, he could only wonder what exactly was the jewel on her pendant necklace, it having disappeared like a climber descending between two close-set boulders. He supposed she had talked to him in the drawing-room, but for better or for worse he retained nothing, as he had primarily exerted himself not to stare at her deeply fascinating balconniere.
Little Mairi had told him, in considerable detail, about her dog: where he slept (on his very own pillow, right next to hers), what he ate, when he evacuated his bowels, his fear of squirrels, his hatred of baths, his love for a nice marrow-bone.
Green eyes sparkling, Janet was full of enthusiasm for the morrow’s outing. “An ancient monastery!” she’d cried, clapping her hands. “What fun! I simply adore old ruins, the more ramshackle the better! Oh, I do hope there are ghosts. Or a hermit at the very least!”
He had been obliged to inform her that the keep was entirely free of hermits, and as for ghosts, he had yet to encounter one there.
Janet had been only temporarily daunted, and smilingly said: “Still, it sounds wonderfully romantic! So Gothic! How I look forward to exploring every inch of it! Now! I want to hear all about you, laird!”
Now that was the right sort of lass, positive and friendly, excited about visiting a local landmark, a good conversationalist, and all soft and plump and round, like a ripe hothouse peach.
As opposed to the prickly, sharp-tongued, aloof Miss Fiona Douglass. Her eyes, when they spoke, had been suddenly, strikingly blue against the drabber blue of her gown — and practically crackling with fiery intelligence.
She was not uninteresting.
But God’s blood, she’d be a handful for a man. Some other man. Not him.
He liked his private life to be easy, predictable, as smooth as silk. And nothing about Fiona Douglass suggested smooth, easy predictability.
Besides, she’d made it clear she didn’t want him, either.
He wondered again why she was still unmarried. Was there, perhaps, a swain anxiously waiting for her back in Wick Bay?
Oh well, it wasn’t his problem.
So now there was one lass crossed off his list. Still, there was no point in saying anything to her about it. No use in sending her home early, under a cloud of humiliation.
He thought again about Janet, and Mairi, and Wynda. Good God — Wynda. He spent a few moments imagining himself spending the rest of his life, the rest of his nights, with his face buried between those prodigious, those delicious, yielding breasts.
His last thought, before sleep claimed him, was of Fiona Douglass, and the recollection that her breasts weren’t prodigious at all.