Welcome to this weeks First Kiss Friday blog! My guest today is April Holthaus who will be sharing an excerpt from her upcoming novel Heart of the Highlands: The Raven. April is also offering a giveaway so be sure to read all the way through the post in order to be in the running. Happy reading, my lovelies, and good luck with April’s giveaway!
“Why do ye look at me so?” she whispered.
“When ye gaze upon a work of art, do ye no’ stop to admire it?
“I am fair, nothing more.”
“Ye are much more. Ye may keep your head down when you walk, but there is a beauty about you that, no matter what you do, can ever be hidden. A rose can no’ hide its beauty for it will always be a rose.”
Eamon leaned in close to her, expecting her to retreat, but she did not. Her eyes called to him like the sea called to a ship’s captain. Eamon knew it would be best to keep his feelings at bay, but the more he was around her, the more he ached to touch her. Would it be a sin to glide his hand across her cheek, or comb his fingers through the locks of her hair? If he did, would it be enough to satisfy his desire, or would he starve for more?
Eamon wasn’t just a man, and she wasn’t just a lass. Had it been that simple, he would not be questioning the validity of his actions. He had to remind himself that Adelyn was the king’s cousin and a daughter of royal blood. He was a warrior and a son of a traitor. He could never afford to have a wife. For what sort of a man could leave his wife or his children defenseless?
They each held onto the moment, stretching the seconds, like watching the very last grain of sand fall inside a time piece. Had he been a blind man, he may have missed the look of disappointment in her eyes as he began to retreat. Though his heart yearned for her, he had an unbreakable vow to his king. He took a reluctant step back out of her embrace.
“I bid ye good night, Lady Adelyn.”
With a slight bow of his head, Eamon turned toward his chamber. Behind him the door handle to her room jiggled as she turned the knob. He could hear the creak of the door swinging open on its rusty hinges, followed by the light patter of her footsteps as she entered the room. Eamon stopped and stared aimlessly through the blackness of the empty hall.
He couldn’t walk away.
“Damn the consequences!”
He did not know if it was the pull of his heart or the whiskey that gave him a fool’s courage, but he quickly turned on his heel. Rushing forward, he stopped the door from closing with his hand. Grabbing her arm, he swung Adelyn around, and pressed her up against the wall. He cupped his hands along the side of her face and pressed his lips to hers in a hard and passionate kiss.
Her lips were as warm as sweet wine. A soft sigh escaped her as he pressed his body against hers. Lifting her arms around his neck, she grabbed onto a fistful of hair, deepening the kiss. Trailing kisses down her neck, his hands explored the curves of her body. As he touched her, her breaths came in deep, heavy pants.
Desire melted all sense of duty and obligation. Pressing his forehead against hers, they shared the same air as their racing hearts began to calm.
“Tell me ye feel this. Tell me that I am no’ the only one who feels whatever this is,” she breathlessly whispered.
“Ye cannae imagine how badly I want ye. Just being around ye is maddening. Every time I am near ye I feel unhinged. But ye are no’ mine to have,” he openly admitted.
“I dinna want ye to go. I only feel safe when I am around ye.”
“I must go.”
“Promise me I will see ye again.”
Holding her in his arms, he placed a gentle kiss to her forehead.
Heart of the Highlands: The Raven
By April Holthaus
Release Date: August 1, 2021
She’s accused of murder. He’s accused of treason. When faced with those who convict them, will they be able to escape or will they be punished to death?
Forced to wed a ruthless English Lord, Adelyn Scott welcomed death over marriage, but had no idea her wish would come true until she discovered her husband’s body lying dead in his chamber on the night of their wedding.
As commander for the king’s personal guard, Eamon MacLeish’s loyalty has never been questioned. Until the day a mysterious woman arrived seeking an asylum and stole his heart.
As Adelyn and Eamon piece together clues surrounding her husband’s murder, Eamon must choose between his loyalty or his heart. For one path would ultimately lead to her death, and the other path leads to his.
April is an Award-Winning Author for her Scottish Historical Romances. For more than a decade, she has worked full time in the direct marketing and printing business, but developed a passion of historical romances through her love of reading, history and genealogy. When she is not working or writing, April loves to spend time with her son and traveling.
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April is running a giveaway for a signed paperback as well as a digital copy of the 1st book of the series Heart of the Highlands: The Beast. To be in the running, just comment below and April will choose a random comment as the winner over the weekend. Good luck!