Always Cambridge

Always Cambridge
Follow the saga from the beginning... Always Cambridge

Friday, 9 May 2014

Happy Mother's Day - You Found Me - On Sale @MusePublishing 75% Off

Until midnight Sunday my Scottish/British Historical Romance You Found Me is on sale at MuseItUp Publishing.


Regularly $5.95 purchase at the sale price of $1.48

You_Found_Me_51045c61ca988.jpg 

When I was hurt you healed me. 
When no one cared you loved me. 
When I was lost You Found Me...
 
Injured, lost and alone, what more could a girl ask for than to be rescued by a roguish Scottish Laird and a proper English Duke?

Marcus Sunderland, reared in England, groomed from birth to be the Duke of Carlton, is everything a proper English gentleman should be. Unwaveringly loyal to his liege and childhood playmate Queen Elnor, devoted to his people and his country.

Laird Niall Lummisden of Clan Logan in Lomond, Scotland, is everything a roguish Scottish Laird should be. Dedicated to his clan. Friendly, easygoing, born with confident swagger, he is the complete antithesis to his English half-brother Marcus. 

As the brothers travel to a royal engagement they discover a woman left for dead in the road, beaten beyond recognition. It is decreed by his Queen that Marcus must take the stranger back to his estate to recover from her injuries. The unidentified woman not only survives the vicious attack but, as she begins to heal and communicate, struggling to recall her life before they found her, both men are intrigued and attracted to her.

The Duke and the Laird have survived a lifetime of cultural and political differences, but can the brothers survive her? 

Excerpt:
Marcus sought his library for a moment’s peace away from the noise and ongoing wedding preparations. He was brought up short to find Rose curled up on his settee, reading.
 

She looked up at his approach.
 

“I’m sorry, Your Grace. I just needed something to occupy my mind since I am
banned, thankfully, from your celebration.” She rose to exit, her eyes sad, a
contradiction to her brave words.
 

He grasped her arm as she passed. “I’m sorry.” Sorry for so many things. The
word seemed weak compared to the weight of guilt he carried. He was sorry for the way Finnghuala spoke to her, for not coming to her defence when his betrothed cast slurs at her in the church. Sorry he was hurting her. But his biggest regret was that he could not bring himself to trust her, no matter how strongly he felt about her.
 

Her eyes filled. “Marcus, do not do this. Please. Implore your queen. Petition
the court. Pay off the Campbell, do whatever you need to do. Just, please, do not marry her.”
 

“I cannot disobey my queen. Why do you have such a difficult time accepting
that this is the way things are done?”
 

“Then you need to send me away, Marcus. I cannot stand this. It hurts me in
here.”
 

She moved his hand to her heart, his fingers splayed, covering her chest. “I
know you care for me. I can see it in your eyes even though you try to keep
yourself from me. If you ever felt anything for me at all, please send me away.
Marry me to someone far away. Send me to Niall’s. Send me back to Nor. I do not care where I go. But do not sentence me to watch you go on with your life from the outside. It will be torture to see you with her.” She paused, taking his hand from her heart, placing it palm down across her flat stomach. “To watch her swell with child. A child that should be mine.”
 

Marcus’ fingers flexed on her stomach. He could feel her pain. It was the same
as his. If he allowed himself, he could almost picture a child from their union.
As much as it grieved him, Marcus replied, “You have no rightful claim to me
or a child. We do not even know who you are.”
                                                                            

                                                                           * * * *
“I am your prisoner! That’s who I am,” she retorted. “Send me to Nor, then.
Let her do as she will with me, I don’t care anymore, but I will not stay here!” She pushed past him, tears shining on her cheeks. She wiped them away viciously, sick to death of them falling all the time.
 

She stopped short when she saw the dark-trewed, familiarly plaided figure at
the end of the corridor. She turned back, intending to go the other way, but Marcus had followed her out and now blocked her escape. She stared at the white of Marcus’ shirt and then turned back to Niall. His dark eyes bored into hers.
 

“Wha’ no hug, Sweet?” he said huskily. “Doona look at me like tha’. None o’
this is my doin’.” He walked purposefully toward her, not giving her an option, and swallowed her up in his big embrace. She collapsed against him, clutching at him, sobbing.
                                                                          * * * *
Niall’s eyes met his brother’s over her head. Niall’s questioning and accusatory
gaze met Marcus’ tortured one.
 

“Bring her back inside,” Marcus said hoarsely, gesturing toward the library.
 

Niall shook his head. It was obvious she needed to be away from his brother.
Niall picked up the sobbing woman. She cradled her head into his neck, limp,
defeated. He stalked out of the keep, leaving Marcus behind staring after them.
 

Niall carried her all the way to a clearing of trees by a small stream near the
keep. There he lay down with her under a tree, her head on his chest, and she
sobbed. He tried his best to console her, keeping up a steady stream of nonsense about his travels in the last few weeks in an effort to distract her thoughts from her sorrow, just as he’d done when she was wounded. It seemed her pain was much worse now, deeper. Niall had made a grave mistake by not being here. He realized that now. Especially after what he’d just witnessed between them in the library, the pair of them too focused on each other to notice him at the door. He’d been away too long. By his absence he had let them grow closer to one another. Marcus had been there for her when he could not.
 

Dusk was descending upon them. Niall picked her up and took her back to the
keep. He was intending to take her to her room. When she noticed where they were headed, she spoke, finally.
 

“I am no longer in the Lady’s Chamber, Niall. I am in the green room now.” It
was the first time she had spoken. He changed direction as they passed the hall, and the whispers of the scandalized guests reached his ears. He dismissed them and smiled reassuringly into his Sweet’s tear stained face.
 

Niall booted the door open and settled his burden against him on the bed. He
dared Marcus to come and remove him. Niall was ready for a fight now. How
could the man treat her like this, let things get so out of hand? Could he not see
how he was hurting her?
 

Marcus did not come. Niall waited until she fell asleep before he slipped out in
search of answers.
                                                                             * * * *
Marcus was in his chamber for the night by the time Niall caught up with him.
Niall knocked.
 

“Come.”
 

Niall found Marcus sitting in a chair beside the fire, a brandy in his hand, a
whisky already poured and waiting for his brother.
 

“How fares she?” he asked, staring into the fire.
 

“I doona ken. She ne’er said a word. She sobbed the whole time. I didna realize
the two of ya had gotten so close.” Niall sat, swallowed the dram whole, reaching to pour another.
 

“’Twas a mistake.”
 

“A mistake,” Niall repeated.
 

“T'is not as serious as she is carrying on. She is overreacting. It is not just the
marriage pending, my own or hers, that has her so worked up. She still does not know who she is. Nor is still a looming threat, and she is just in an emotional state.” Marcus tried to downplay the situation to his brother.
 

“Seemed ta me you were both in an emotional state this afternoon in the
library.” Marcus would not meet Niall’s gaze. “If it’s no’ so serious, why are ya in here mournin’ her loss and no’ oot there with yer wife-ta-be. Ya can convince
everaone else and even yerself, but ya canna fool me. Why ‘ave ya no’ put a stop ta this? You could easily inform Nor ya willna go through with this. Wha’ am I
missin’?”
 

Niall raised his open palm to stay Marcus’ response. “No, doona answer me. I
can see Nor’s fingerprints all o’er this.” Niall dragged a hand through his hair andlet out a pent-up breath. “Did ya ken I thought aboot offerin’ for Finnghuala meself, Marcus?”
 

Marcus sat up straight in his chair. “No.” His eyes narrowed on his brother.
 

“Aye, aboot a year ago I decided mayhap I should think aboot settlin’ doon. I
even had a talk wit’ her father. But I’ve been draggin me feet, takin’ me time.”
 

“You never told me any of this.”
 

“No, I was jus’ thinkin’ aboot it. She is a neighbour, good family. But it was
jus’ thinkin’ on my part.”
 

“What stopped you?”
 

Niall looked into his glass. “A wee lass in the road,” he said quietly. “But let
me get back ta me point. This is Nor’s machinations.” Niall walked to the window, looking out at the blackness. “She kens wha’ we are doin’ at any given time. So ya ken she’s been havin’ us watched. She hates me, and she surely heard rumblings tha’ I was inquirin’ aboot Finnghuala. She kens you better than anyone, besides me, and ya doona hide yer feelin’s tha’ well. So I am assumin’ when you and the lass were at court she saw yer…fondness for yer ward, so she would want ta nip tha’ in the bud. And then there is the sweet lass. Who, you and Nor at least, believe may be some big threat ta the crown. Wha’ better way ta hurt us all, Marcus?”
 

Niall turned to face him. “Nor thinkin’ ta marry you ta the lass she thinks I have offered for, tha’ gets at me. Have you marry Finnghuala, tha’ hurts our wee lass. Then, as further insult, demand you pick a husband for the woman ya care aboot. Tha’ gets at you.”
 

“You cannot possibly believe that convoluted nonsense, do you?”
 

“Aye, I do.” Niall said with conviction. “You‘ve ne’er seen Nor for wha’ she
really is, Marcus. She is no’ the good and just person ya ’ave made her oot ta be.
She is conniving and manipulative, especially when it comes ta you. But ya blindly follow her direction, ne’er questioning her motives. But brother, hear me now. Put a stop ta this or I fear ya will ’ave a verra long and unhappy existence.”
 

Marcus did not comment.
 

Niall drank another shot of whiskey. A smile crossed his expressive face as he
swallowed the burning spirit.
 

“I’m goin’ ta bed. But I want ya ta consider somethin’. I would like ya to
choose me as the lass’ match…”
 

He did not get to finish as Marcus jumped out of his chair bellowing his denial,
which he attempted to soften by saying, “Nor would never allow it.”
 

“Nor willna, or you willna, brother?”
 

They stared at each other, a stalemate.
 

Niall turned to leave.
 

“You will find a bed of your own this night, Niall. I will not have you sleeping
in the lass’ room and making it impossible for me to find her a decent match.”
 

Niall’s look was challenging, his cocky, wicked grin inviting. “Try and stop
me!”
 

Niall knew Marcus would not make a scene in front of his future in-laws.
 

Niall went back to the green room, pulled his intended close, and slept.
                                                                           * * * *
The day before the wedding dawned bright and clear. Marcus was pacing in his
suite when he heard a soft tap on his door.
 

“Come.” He expected to see Niall. It was Rose, so painfully beautiful it brought tears to his eyes. She seemed a little more in control of herself than the last time he had seen her. Niall’s presence, as always, was having a calming effect on her, he thought sourly.
 

“You should not be in here.”
 

“I am aware of that, but I need to speak to you.”
 

He shook his head wearily. “Please, I do not wish to have this conversation
again. We have said all there is to say.”
 

She put her hand up to stop him. “I am not here to re-hash what you have
chosen. I am here to ask…” She paused.
 

“Just say it.” He had no patience.
 

“I would like to take Niall as my husband.”
 

Marcus’ anger snapped. “Niall must have made quite an impression in your
bed last eve.” She blanched. “So you are done writhing on the floor with me.” He gestured to the place where they shared their first encounter. “You’ve moved on quickly.”
 

“You know it is not that way,” she said, hurt rippling through her words.
 

“You spout undying love for me one day, then ask for my brother the next?”
 

“I never spouted undying love for you. Just as you never uttered those words to
me.” She threw the words back at him, staring at him, daring him to say the words.
 

He pulled her roughly against his body, crushing her, hurting her. “I could have you right now. You come apart in my hands from a mere touch, a few kisses. Your body loves me. Craves me. Perhaps I will take you as my mistress after I am wed,” he threatened.
 

Niall cleared his throat loudly from the door. “Ya might want ta tone it doon
before the whole household is at the door. T'is a very compelling scene.”
Marcus let go of her. She was shaking. So was he.
 

“Niall, could we have just a moment,” she asked, her voice jagged.
 

“No,” he denied her.
 

Was Niall the only one who did not do her bidding? Marcus wondered.
 

She raked her teeth over her bottom lip. “Marcus, Your Grace. Would you
please consider my request?”
 

“No, I will not.”
 

“You have no intention of finding me a match, do you?” she accused him.
 

“You intend to keep me locked up here, under the guise of ‘royal prisoner’ with
you as my captor. Forcing me watch you go on with your life as I stagnate.” She
shook her head, her eyes filled. “I wish you had left me in the road,” she said
quietly. “It would have been kinder.” She swatted at her tears and approached
Marcus. “I will never become your mistress, Marcus.” Her lip curled with anger. “I do not share.” She stared at him, then spun on her heel, leaving him fuming.


Marcus stormed after her. Niall stopped him, and for a moment the brothers
struggled in the doorway. “Niall, let me go,” he yelled.
 

“I am more than ready to beat the livin’ hell oota ya, Brothermine,” Niall
growled at him, sticking his chin out in invitation for Marcus to take the first
swing. They eyed each other menacingly.
 

Marcus pushed Niall away viciously. “Just leave me alone!”
 

He threw himself into the chair behind his desk, staring out the window. God,
she could quite possibly drive him insane. She pulled him in every direction at
once. He wanted to strangle her. He wanted to kiss her. He wanted her out of his house. He wanted to keep her forever.



Happy Mother's Day!

No comments:

Post a Comment