Dariel's Book Talk Wednesday: Tarah Scott and Cree Walker

How does a woman tell her betrothed that she murdered her first husband?

Shipwrecked in the Scottish Highlands, American heiress Elise Kingston quietly plans revenge for the deaths of her daughter and the brother who sacrificed his life to save her.

When Marcus MacGregor, Marquess of Ashlund, returns to his Highland home to discover a stunning American woman has been taken in by his clan, his attraction is instant and he resolves to make her his--no matter what secret she's keeping.

Elise is shocked by her need for Marcus and, too late, discovers that her feelings make him a target of her enemy--a man powerful enough to destroy even a Scottish nobleman.

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"Will you come to the great hall?" Elise asked Michael when they passed through the castle gates.
"Aye," he replied shortly.
"Michael," she began, but he pulled his horse to a halt beside her and dismounted.
He came around to her and helped her from the saddle. "Go on." She hesitated, and his eyes softened. "I'll be along after I have seen to the animals."
She pressed a kiss to his cheek. "You're a good man, Michael MacGregor."
He shook his head, but she could see that he was pleased. He limped off leading the horses, and Elise headed for the great hall. At the postern door, she entered and saw Marcus standing near the hearth. He broke off his conversation with the two men who stood with him and glanced over his shoulder. The drawn look on his face snapped into a dark scowl. He started forward. Elise faltered when she saw he meant to intercept her. His companions disappeared up the nearest staircase and a hum of apprehension began deep in her stomach.
Marcus rounded the table and reached the midway point when she blurted, "Good afternoon, Marcus. How are you?"
"Where have you been?" he demanded.
"I—" She fell back an unsteady step when it seemed he would ram into her. He halted three feet from her. "I have just returned from visiting Michael."
"So I was told," he replied curtly. "Winnie's warning did nothing to deter you?"
"Winnie's warnin—" Elise recalled her encounter with Winnie that morning. Good Lord, Winnie had told him she saw her leave.
Marcus's eyes narrowed. "Aye, you remember. Fortunately for you, I only just discovered your absence. Unmanageable wench," he added in a dark voice.
"You have your answers," she shot back. "Why bother asking?"
"Because I couldn't believe you were traipsing about the countryside."
"I was not traipsing about the country. Not that it's your business."
"It is my business—and I will see to it you no' do it again."
She ignored the warning bell the definite hardening of his brogue set off inside her head. and said, "You're insane if you think I'll be ordered about."
"Ye will do as you're told," he said in a quiet voice that was perversely more unsettling than a shout.
"I come and go as I please, just as everyone else at Brahan Seer."
A keen light shone in his eyes. "If you will note, the women are staying close to home." His expression hardened. "At the express command of their men."
Elise gasped, then glanced past him, gauging the distance between him and the freedom the kitchen offered. He stepped closer and her temper flared. She raised her hands to shield herself from his advance and her palms met the unexpected warmth of his chest. She gaped at her fingers splayed across tanned skin where his shirt lay open, and her senses reeled at the raw power in the heavy rise and fall of his chest.
"Lord," she whispered, and yanked her hands away.
The vague realization that strong fingers had gripped her wrists was overshadowed by the jolt she felt when Marcus forced her hands back to his chest. Her mind screamed to break free, but the sight of her palms gliding over his dark skin—the need to touch every contour, to know intimately his powerful body—held her rooted to the spot. She tore her gaze from his chest and looked into his eyes. The fire blazing there drew her—commanded her—and she leaned into him.
"There ye are, lad. I was just look—"
Elise twisted as Cameron reached the bottom of the nearest staircase. He lifted a bushy brow. She looked back at Marcus. His hold loosened and she snatched her hands away. She retreated, stumbling over her own feet. Marcus reached for her, but she dodged his hand with another unsure step backward.
"I-I must go," she stammered, and fled the room.
"Elise—bloody hell!"
Marcus's voice echoed off the stone walls as she shoved through the postern door.

Lord Keeper
Can he save the woman he loves...or will history repeat itself?

                What would you do if you were separated from your life mate and you knew it was literally killing you both?
                Would you fight against all odds, possibly to the death, to return to their side?
                Werewolves – like their natural counterpart the wolves – breed for life; and if there is no mate, there is no life. A prolonged separation between mates can kill them more efficiently than any bullet ever could.
                The werewolves are dying. Years of war between the Born werewolves and bitten, along with a lack of healthy bloodlines, has taken its toll on the race and if something isn't done soon, they will all be gone within the next fifty years. They are a strong breed, but have one major weakness that will probably end them all.
                The Council is playing with fire when they use this very weakness against Sugar Lubec, the Born daughter of two bitten parents, to carry the offspring of Alpha Jack Coon. He is the leader of the largest werewolf pack in North America.
                Ending the war between the two groups is the only thing that can save the werewolves and bring Jack and Sugar together. Can they do it before they end up paying the ultimate price for their long separation? Or will that price be the only thing that can end the war?

                Jack rolled over to face me and smiled wickedly. “If I killed you now, you couldn’t get away now could you?” The humor on his face kept me from screaming bloody murder, but a sad look came over his eyes.
                I faced away from him and steadied my breathing to match his until his snoring started. I edged over until the majority of my weight was on my free arm off the side of the bed and swung my leg down. I inched my way higher until I could get a good grip on the metal nail file and nearly bent it in half trying to pry it from between the carpeted floor and the metal foot of the bed frame. He coughed and I swallowed a scream. I jumped anyway and ground my teeth, waiting to see if he had woken up. The snoring continued. I rolled back onto the bed and pulled myself into a sitting position so I could reach my cuffed hand with the other. I knew better than to try and pick the lock - I had no skill in that - but if I used the curved end of the cheap metal nail file and scraped away at the neck of the post where the cuff was until I could crack the end of the knob off…I would be free. Of course, I had to accomplish all of this without waking Sleeping Beauty.
                I went to work, only scraping tiny amounts of wood off when he snored. Hours passed and the gray light of early dawn seeped in through the tiny cracks in the curtains. I was more than halfway through the bedpost and, bleeding blisters or not, I would not quit…that was not in my repertoire. He shifted in the hours of late sleep - his body was waking up. I sucked in a breath and coughed, yanking my cuff and ripping the heavy knob free along with my right arm. I fumbled for the flying knob, but it went sailing out of reach and bounced hard on the shag carpet. I didn’t move except for my eyes and I watched his open, blinking sleepily and looking at me with only minor interest and then his eyes closed again. He rolled away from me, facing the door to the room and started to snore again.
                I stood slowly, my cramped muscles screaming in protest. I couldn't remember ever being this scared, and I had had plenty of opportunities, but I was out of practice it seemed. My heart roared blood through my veins until it was the only thing I could hear. I walked around the front of the bed and he still slept soundly until, of course, I stepped on the broken bed knob, rolled backwards flat onto my back, kicked over the chair, and tore the comforter on the way down, in order to catch my fall. I waited for the pain - broken bones or cracked skull. I was lucky I was holding my breath when I fell, because all the wind would have been knocked out of me. It took less than a second for him to sit up and find me laying there on my back with the t-shirt God knows how high on my legs … at least I hoped it was still that far down.
                “What the fuck?” He asked.
                To my expressed joy he didn’t sound mad … yet. “I fell on my way to the bathroom.”
                “The bathroom is behind you.” Jack narrowed his eyes; sleep all but a distant memory now. “Didn’t I cuff you …?” He looked over his shoulder at the broken headboard. “I’m going to have to pay for that!”
                Okay, now he sounded a little mad.

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                Website/blog http://www.creewalker.wordpress.com 
                Email creewalker@rocketmail.com
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