"He who dares not grasp the thorn should never crave the rose." – Anne Bronte
The blooming of the rare and mysterious blue rose heralds great change, for when the buds open to full blossom enemies become lovers. Some fear this omen, some desire it. All respect it. Follow the journey of these brand new historical romance tales from USA Today and Bestselling authors and discover the power--and the promise--of the blue rose for yourself.
Highland Knight of Dreams by Amy Jarecki
Hello! I’m thrilled to visit Buried Under Romance today, and super excited about ROGUES TO LOVERS, a collection of seven brand new novellas by seven bestselling authors all taking the legend of the damask rose and spinning tales around it!
My book in the anthology is HIGHLAND KNIGHT OF DREAMS and will become a part of the Highland Dynasty series:
Two generations after the massacre of Dunoon, will the power of a single damask rose be enough to break the hatred of a clan feud that has gone too far? When Alice Lamont crosses paths with the notorious Quinn Campbell, she readies for battle. But as tensions rise, so does passion…until the enemies must choose—love or war.
Exclusively for Buried Under Romance below is an excerpt from the first scene in Chapter One:
The Highlands of Scotland, 1670
“Did you see her?” Quinn’s gaze darted through the forest, honing like a falcon as he searched for the beauty. With a dig of his spurs, he cantered ahead, leaving his companions in his wake.
“Her? Are ye seeing selkies now, brother?” hollered Eachan, his horse losing speed behind.
Glenn MacGregor’s grandiose laugh resounded like cannon fire, the warrior’s mount nearly able to keep pace. “He most likely saw a rabbit. No matter, I’m hungry and up for the chase.”
Certain his eyes hadn’t deceived him, Quinn lurched over his horse’s withers, demanding a gallop. “Haste, ye wee beasty!” He scanned the foliage for any flicker of movement, for a glimpse of a blue gown. No, he hadn’t seen a vision. He’d seen a goddess.
To where had she disappeared? As plain as the nose on his face he’d spied her standing in a clearing. The sun’s rays illuminated wisps of her waist-length hair as it shone like gold. The wind set her skirts to sail, and they billowed in a surreal whirlwind of color.
For the briefest of moments she’d stood like a doe, her eyes wide, her stance majestic, yet sensing impending danger. When the nymph spotted him, she’d turned and fled as if she thought Quinn the devil incarnate.
With a slight twist of his reins, he steered his horse inland. Through the trees a ruined castle loomed over an outcropping.
Is that where you’re hiding, beauty?
Giving another tap of his heels, horse and rider ascended the hill. At the summit, he hopped down and ran up a set of unsteady barbican steps, taking two at a time. Nearly toppling to his death as old mortar crumbled beneath his feet, he caught himself on a merlon. A stone dropped from the side of the wall, thundering as it tumbled down the sheer slope overlooking the Firth of Clyde. Without a flinch, Quinn scanned the grounds and turned full circle.
“Lost her, did ye?” shouted Eachan, who hadn’t yet dismounted.
MacGregor joined Quinn atop the unstable masonry—the henchman was rather nimble for a beast. “Must have been a selkie, sent from the waters to drive you mad.”
At six-feet, Quinn was formidable in any man’s eyes though he had to crane his neck to meet Glenn’s gaze. “She wasn’t a bloody creature. I ken what I saw.”
His friend gave a shrug. “I’m only disappointed it wasn’t a rabbit. I’m weary of dried mutton and oatcakes.”
“Stop your bellyaching,” Quinn said as he continued to watch for movement. “We’ve only been riding for a day.”
“Doesn’t matter.” MacGregor slapped his belly. “I’d welcome a rabbit or three cooked over an open fire.”
“Aye? Mayhap you’ll find one whilst we make camp.”
“Here?” asked Eachan, still sitting his mount.
“Why not?” After taking one last scan of the forest, Quinn climbed back down to what must have been the courtyard of a medieval fortress.
“These are the ruins of Toward Castle, that’s why,” said his brother, ever the wary one.
MacGregor grunted behind. “Lamont lands.”
“Campbell lands now,” said Quinn. “The Lamonts are long gone, and the crumbling keep beneath our feet is owned by our father.”
Eachan peered over his shoulder as if he expected to be set upon at any moment. “Do not say that too loudly.”
“Why? The selkies will hear us?” Quinn thrust his finger up the barbican wall. “I was just up there with a view that rivals Stirling Castle’s wall-walk and there’s nary a soul for miles.”
“Aside from the beauty you thought you sighted,” said MacGregor.
“Wheesht.” Quinn gave his friend’s arm a thwack. “I ken what I saw.”
Eachan finally dismounted. “Are you certain it was a woman? Last time you chased after a lass she ended up having a beard.”
“Aye, and you’re full of vinegar.” Perhaps he’d imagined the woman—God knew he hadn’t enjoyed company of the feminine variety in ages, something he hoped to rectify come the fête at Rothesay Castle. Regardless, the lovely was long gone and he’d never see her again.
Quinn set to removing his mount’s saddle and hobbling the horse’s front legs. “MacGregor, since you have a taste for rabbits, why not go fetch us a few? Eachan and I will tend to making camp for the night.”
“I am at your command, Your Lordship.” God’s blood, the man liked to poke fun.
Just because Quinn was the firstborn son of an earl, didn’t mean he was one to shirk common duties. Being a laggard nobleman might work in England, but idleness had no place in the Highlands. “Would you rather I hunt?”
“Nay.” Heading for his horse, MacGregor pulled his musket from its scabbard. “With all these trees about, it will be easy enough to find a warren—or a deer. I’ll return in the hour.”
“Good,” said Eachan. “All this talk about food is making my stomach growl.”
“When isn’t it?” Quinn set to work, tossing boulders aside to clear a place to sleep. “Go on and start a fire. Mayhap it will keep your selkies at bay whilst we sleep.”
“They’re not my bloody selkies. You’re the one who’s seeing things.”
Quinn straightened and thumped his chest. “Women, mind you. I can spot a bonny lass from miles away.”
“And you’re full of shite.”
“Possibly, but if so, you’ll be eating it for the rest of your days.”
“Brothers. Why God saw to make me the second son, I’ll never understand,” Eachan mumbled as he wandered toward the trees. He stooped and picked up a stick of wood. “You ken this place is haunted.”
“Now do not tell me you’re afraid of a wee ghost.” Quinn chuckled. He switched tack and began stacking the boulders in a circular fire pit. The stones had fallen from the castle walls—a fortress he was well aware had been razed by his grandfather, the Earl of Argyll, a bloodthirsty zealot. It was oft difficult to admit he had descended from that man’s loins. Grandad had nearly ruined the Campbell legacy, so much so, the tyrant had been beheaded as a traitor in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket Square—a humiliation the family desperately wanted to forget.
I hope you love all the books in ROGUES TO LOVERS! You can’t beat the price at 99¢
What is your favorite historical romance era and what do you like about it?
I’ll give away a $20 VISA collectors gift card with a picture of Dunrobin Castle and a signed copy of THE HIGHLAND CHIEFTAIN.
A Rose Among Thistles by B. J. Scott
When his father is killed in an unprovoked attack on his clan’s stronghold, Logan MacAllen must assume the role as laird. Determined to seek revenge, he plans on taking the one thing that means more to his enemy than anything else—his daughter. Can Logan harden his heart to the beguiling lass or will he lose it to the rose he finds amongst the thistles?
Logan rose and brushed the leaves and dirt from his trews before responding. “Stopping was the right thing to do, and you know it.” By the time they reached the edge of his father’s land, it was nearly midnight, the horses were spent, and he believed it was safer to travel the rocky terrain in the daylight. He wiggled a brow as he shot Brodie a mischievous grin. “I know Jenna’s bed has been cold for nearly a fortnight, but just think how happy she will be when you do get back. Hell, I will be lucky if I see you again for a sennight.”
He never missed an opportunity to tease his cousin. Brodie was not only his best friend, but he was like the brother he never had. An only lad with seven sisters, Logan was pleased when his cousin came to live with them at the castle.
“You should be so fortunate,” Brodie snorted.
He was truly happy for Brodie, but being tied down to one woman was not what Logan considered appealing. “You and Jenna have been planning your wedding since you were bairns. Do you ever wonder what it would be like with another woman?”
“You are jealous because you dinna have a lass waiting for you, Logan,” Brodie snapped. “If you ask me, it is about time you settled down, took a wife, and started to think about giving your da an heir. That is if you plan to someday be chief of Clan MacAllen.”
Logan kicked some dirt on the smoldering embers of the fire. “I dinna ask for your advice, and I am aware of my obligations to the clan.”
Being the son of Laird and Lady MacAllen came with a price. Logan would someday replace his father as clan chieftain, be expected to marry, and hopefully produce a male heir. It was an obligation his mother reminded him of daily. But his father was still a young, healthy man, so he felt there was no rush to tie himself down to one lass. Besides, he had not yet met a woman who suited his fancy. “Unlike you, I prefer to sample many lassies before I decide to put on the yolk.”
“I’ve no need or desire for another. I knew from the beginning that she and I were meant to be together. When we return, I plan to ask your da to set the date, so Jenna and I can wed,” Brodie said.
Logan was not sure he believed a man could know upon meeting a woman that she was meant for him like Brodie did. “I’m certain it will make Jenna happy and my mam will be thrilled to have a wedding in the castle. Hopefully it will get her to stop nagging me for a while. I—”
“Lord Logan!” an approaching rider shouted.
Logan cupped a hand over his eyes and squinted to get a better look. “It is Callum, and the lad is riding like the devil himself is hot on his heels,” he said, then took off running toward his father’s squire. Upon reaching the edge of the encampment at the same moment as Callum, Logan grasped the reins of the lad’s horse while he dismounted.
“What is all the palaver about? Why are you here at this hour of the morn and na at the castle? Is it mother, or has something happened to Da?” A huge knot of trepidation twisted Logan’s stomach and the lad’s silence was making it worse. Tired of waiting for answers, he grabbed Callum by the shoulders and gave him a rough shake. “Speak up. I asked you a question.”
Brodie—who always kept a cool head and was usually the voice of reason in a crisis—rested his hand on Logan’s shoulder. “Can you na see the lad needs a minute to gather himself?” He caught Callum’s gaze. “Catch your breath, then tell us why you are here.”
Callum doubled over at the waste, resting his hands on his knees, then peered up at Logan. “The MacRyans,” the lad sputtered, then sucked in another gulp of air.
“What about them?” Logan asked.
“They attacked the castle before dawn, when everyone was still asleep,” Callum blurted. “Someone let them in and they crept through the village, killing and plundering until the alarm was finally sounded and all hell broke loose.”
What is your favorite historical romance era and what do you like about it?
I am giving away a copy of any of my e-books Winner’s choice.