Connie Brockway sweeps readers back to the rough beauty of Regency-era Scotland and into the scintillating, passionate, and surprising love story of a mysterious Highlander and the woman he is pledged to protect.
Desperate to keep her two sisters and herself from the poorhouse, Kate Nash Blackburn embarks upon a journey to northern Scotland, where she hopes to gain the gratitude and patronage of a wealthy marquis. When fate maroons her at a tavern full of ruffians, a brawny Highland soldier comes to her rescue. It's Kit MacNeill, the man whose pledge to her family has haunted her for years. When he offers to escort Kate through the treacherous Highlands to Castle Parnell, she accepts even though her instincts warn her against trusting this rough and dangerous man. But soon Kate is startled by the Highlander's cultured speech and courtly manners. Who is this man of contradictions, shaped by a shadowy past, who fiercely wards off an attempt on her life, whose broad shoulders beckon her touch, and in whose arms she comes fully alive?
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April 29, 2004
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Excerpt from My Seduction by Connie Brockway
Charlotte Elizabeth Nash, reading in the window alcove, shrank back against the wall when she heard people entering the cavernous, sparsely furnished drawing room. She did not want company. She was sick of people, the whisperers and sympathizers who couldn't ever quite keep their eyes from straying to the empty places on the walls where pictures had once hung.
She dropped her book into her lap and pulled the curtain partially covering the niche farther closed. But male voices, rare in what had become an all female household since Kate had "let go" the butler, piqued her interest.
At sixteen and not yet having made her bow, she knew that making her presence known would only invite dismissal. Charlotte did not want to be dismissed. She was as saddened as anyone by their father's death and equally affected by the ramifications, but she had the resilience of youth -- and its attendant callousness -- and over the long months of mourning had grown a little...well, bored. Besides, visitors might distract Kate from her constant litany about economy and Helena from donning her mask of forced optimism. And a little male attention might even bring a pink of pleasure to their mother's wan cheeks.
Charlotte inserted a finger between curtain and wall and peeked out. Her mother had taken possession of the lone settee left in the room and was reading a sheet of paper. Charlotte's two older sisters sat flanking her: Helena, pale as winter sunlight, and Katherine, heated and dark as a moonless summer night. They sat with their hands clasped lightly in their laps, their postures straight, their polite gazes numbed to the presence of the trio of young men standing before them.
Charlotte could not see them clearly, but she didn't dare risk pulling the curtain farther open. Instead, she dropped noiselessly to the immaculate floorboards and lifted the curtain hem. Ah. Better.
From this unseen vantage she studied the young men as they introduced themselves: they were decidedly not of the Nashes' class. Of what class they were remained to be seen.
She couldn't say exactly why she had come to this conclusion. True, their clothing, though scrupulously clean, was shabby -- cuffs frayed at the edges and fabric pulling across shoulders and backs -- but since the war with France had begun, many people had been forced to eschew fashion as money grew tighter. Nor was it their bearing that revealed them as something other than gentlemen in reduced circumstances. Indeed, they comported themselves in the most correct and circumspect fashion.