Welcome to another First Kiss Friday! Today’s guest is my dear friend Cathy MacRae who has a new release entitled The Highlander’s Pirate Bride. You’ll find it in the box set Merry Mayhem that releases November 1st. Read on and we hope you enjoy this excerpt and first kiss scene!
“Mayhap marriage to ye would be preferable to the hangman’s noose,” she allowed, fighting the beginnings of a smile.
“Spoken like a woman who knows her own mind,” Pedr declared. “Pragmatic and insightful. Shall we seal the bargain with a kiss?”
Her smile vanished. Entering into a contract with Pedr was one thing. Allowing intimacies was another. Yet, there was no separating the two. Marriages formed alliances. Alliances grew dynasties. Children were required to inherit those dynasties.
She reined in her thoughts before they became full panic. He asked for a kiss, not a tupping on her da’s desk. Inhaling a slow breath, she composed herself and gave a nod.
“Preparing for battle, eh?” Pedr shook his head. “I’ll nae storm yer decks, cutlass in hand. I’ll nae be that sort of husband. Ye have my word. I’ve a different sort of wooing in mind.”
An exhilaration not unlike facing a storm at the bow of a ship rushed over her. She swallowed, throat suddenly dry. “This isnae going to be a peck on the cheek, then?”
His grin was pure seduction. “Nae, lass. I dinnae have pecks in mind.” He reached a hand toward her. “The first step is yers.”
“Och, thank God. For I dinnae know what the second step is.”
She took his hand and did not resist as he drew her before him. The room, boasting little more than a sullen glow of peat on the hearth, was suddenly much too warm, the walls much too close, her gown—albeit one she’d outgrown months earlier—much too tight.
Pedr closed the final distance, his cheek nesting against the top of her head. “Promise ye’ll always fight for those less fortunate than ye,” he murmured, his breath stirring her hair. “Promise ye will always tell me what ye think.”
A strangled chuckle escaped her. “Ye have naught to fear. I dinnae dissemble well. And, my heart will always be with those in need.”
“Yer sympathies, aye.” He pressed his lips to her hair, the corner of her eye, the ridge of her cheek. “Yer heart, my fair pirate, belongs to me.”
Rona swayed but held firm. It would do no good to hold him responsible for her predicament—though he didn’t have to look so pleased. She’d given her best endeavors to her duties as the Black MacNeill, she would not quail at giving like attention to her responsibilities as Pedr MacLean’s wife.
She would allow one kiss.
She awaited the rough plunder she’d witnessed from sailors and the women who met them at the ports. Pedr did not oblige.
His hands skimmed her shoulders in a languid fashion, setting up tingles that buzzed through her veins like the first swallow of a sparkling mead. His lips drifted lower to linger on the corner of her mouth. At his touch her face turned.
His lips brushed hers, soft, warm, inviting. A breath of anticipation separated them, hot, tantalizing, seductive. The tip of his tongue outlined her lips. A faint gasp fled Rona’s throat. Pedr deepened the kiss, then, when her world tilted firmly beyond her control, drew back. Her lips followed, pulling her up on her toes, hands splayed on his chest, fingers fouling the cloth of his tunic.
His arms swept about her and pulled her tight, his body rock-hard against hers. She pressed closer. A moment later, he lifted his head.
Pedr cupped her face in his palms. “Open the door, my pirate lass, and I’ll pen the appropriate words for our betrothal.”
The Highlander’s Pirate Bride
By Cathy & DD MacRAe
As the pirate The Black MacNeill, Rona MacNeill has stolen more than one English ship to keep her clan from starving. With Yule only days away, will the theft of the wrong ship land her in a hangman’s noose? Or the arms of a Highlander?
Rona MacNeill has done everything she can to help her small, impoverished clan—except marry for money. Her luck seems to lie in stealing ships, not attracting suitors. Only days before Yule, she seeks one last ship with stores to keep her people fed over the long, harsh winter. Too bad her luck has run out.
Pedr MacLean is happy to be the younger (by three minutes) son of Baron MacLean. His days are filled with running the family’s shipping business and sailing the world. His heart belongs to the sea—or so he thinks, until one of his ships is stolen, and the woman responsible turns his world upside down.
Drawn to Rona’s strength and love of the sea, Pedr will agree to her father’s demand—information on the whereabouts of his ship in exchange for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Will Rona find herself caught between a marriage of convenience and a hangman’s noose? Or will she discover something far more compelling?
The Highlander’s Pirate Bride is the swash-buckling seventh addition to the Hardy Heroines series. If you like pirates, rags-to-riches, and swoon-worthy Highlanders, you’ll love Cathy & DD MacRae’s newest high-seas romance.
Available in the Merry Mayhem anthology which releases November 1! https://www.amzn.com/dp/B08F5D5F8Y
Author bio & social links:
Cathy MacRae is the award-winning, best-selling author of Scottish historical romance novels. Her books are regular RONE award nominees and winners, and are known for their strong heroines and deeply researched story lines.
Writing with long-time partner DD MacRae, their Hardy Heroines series has fascinated readers and earned glowing critical reviews. A series linked by their strong women set against pivotal times in Scotland’s history, it features self-sufficient heroines, rich historical detail, and exciting plot twists.
Cathy and her husband currently live behind the cheese curtain where they read, write, and tend the garden—with the help of their dogs, of course. You can find her at art fairs, Scottish festivals, and playing with the grandkids.
Join Cathy on Facebook at cathy macrae author, and visit her website for up-to-date news about her books and blog at https://www.cathymacraeauthor.com. There’s a link to sign up for her newsletter there, as well.