Monday 29 April 2013

Lachlan's Bride by Kathleen Harrington

Please welcome Kathleen Harrington with her highlander romance, Lachlan's Bride!


He is Lachlan MacRath, laird and pirate. And he intends to be her lover…

Lady Francine Walsingham could not believe this fierce Highland warrior is to be her escort into Scotland. It is whispered that Lachlan MacRath has magical powers…how else do you explain why her countrymen call him the Sorcerer of the Seas? But trust him she must, for a treacherous plot is about to reveal all her secrets…and Francine has no choice but to act as his lover to keep her enemies at bay.

When Lachlan first sees Francine, the English beauty stirs his blood like no woman has ever before. As luck would have it, they must now play the besotted couple so he can protect her ….and Lachlan is determined to use all his seductive prowess to properly woo her into his bed.





May 1496

The Cheviot Hills

The Border between England and Scotland

Stretched flat on the blood-soaked ground, Lachlan MacRath gazed up at the cloudless morning sky and listened to the exhausted moans of the wounded.

The dead and the dying lay scattered across the lush spring grass. Overhead the faint rays of dawn broke above the hilltops, as the buttercups and bluebells dipped and swayed in the soft breeze. The gruesome corpses were sprawled amidst the wildflowers, their vacant eyes staring upward to the heavens, the stumps of their severed arms and legs still oozing blood and gore. Dented helmets, broken swords, axes, and pikes gave mute testimony to the ferocity of the combatants. Here and there, a loyal destrier, trained to war, grazed calmly alongside its fallen master.

Following close upon daylight, the scavengers would come creeping, ready to strip the bodies of anything worth a shilling: armor, dirks, boots, belts. If they were Scotsmen, he'd be in luck. If not, he'd soon be dead. There wasn't a blessed thing he could do but wait. He was pinned beneath his dead horse, and all efforts to free himself during the night had proven fruitless.

In the fierce, running battle of the evening before, the warriors on horseback had left behind all who'd fallen. Galloping across the open, rolling countryside, Scots and English had fought savagely, till it was too dark to tell friend from foe. There was no way of knowing the outcome of the battle, for victory had been determined miles away.

Hell, it was Lachlan's own damn fault. He'd come on the foray into England with King James for a lark. After delivering four new canons to the castle at Roxburgh, along with the Flemish master gunners to fire them, he'd decided not to return to his ship immediately as planned. The uneventful crossing on the Sea Hawk from the Low Countries to Edinburgh, followed by the tedious journey to the fortress, with the big guns pulled by teams of oxen, had left him eager for a bit of adventure.

When he'd learned that the king was leading a small force into Northumberland to retrieve cattle raided by Sassenach outlaws, the temptation to join them had been too great to resist. There was nothing like a hand-to-hand skirmish with his ancient foe to get a man's blood pumping through his veins.

But Lord Dacre, Warden of the Marches, had surprised the Scots with a much larger, well-armed force of his own, and what should have been a carefree rout turned into deadly combat.

A plea for help interrupted Lachlan's brooding thoughts. Not far away, a wounded English soldier, who'd cried out in pain during the night, raised himself up on one elbow.

"Lychester! Over here, sir! It's Will Jeffries!"

Lachlan watched from beneath slit lids as another Sassenach came into view. Attired in the splendid armor of the nobility, the newcomer rode a large, caparisoned black horse. He'd clearly come looking for someone, for he held the reins of a smaller chestnut, its saddle empty and waiting.

"Here I am, Marquess," the young man named Jeffries called weakly. He lifted one hand in a trembling wave as the marquess of Lychester drew near to his countryman. Dismounting, he approached the wounded soldier.

"Thank God," Jeffries said with a hoarse groan. "I've taken a sword blade in my thigh. The cut's been oozing steadily. I was afraid I wouldn't make it through the night."

Lychester didn't say a word. He came to stand behind the injured man, knelt down on one knee, and raised his fallen comrade to a seated position. Grabbing a hank of his yellow hair, the marquess jerked the fair head back and deftly slashed the exposed throat from ear to ear. Then he calmly wiped his blade on the youth's doublet, lifted him up in his arms, and threw the body face down over the chestnut's back.

The English nobleman glanced around, checking, no doubt, to see if there'd been a witness to the cold-blooded execution. Lachlan held his breath and remained motionless, his lids lowered over his eyes. Apparently satisfied, the marquess mounted, grabbed the reins of the second horse and rode away.

Lachlan slowly exhaled.


He knew the English were a bloodthirsty race. But he hadn't thought that included the murder of a helpless patriot on a deserted battlefield.

What kind of bastard did such a traitorous thing?


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Author Info

KATHLEEN HARRINGTON, winner of the Colorado Romance Writers’ Award of Excellence, has touched the hearts of readers across the country with her sparkling tales of high adventure and unending love. Her historical romances have been finalists for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA, The Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Awards, the Virginia Romance Writers’ HOLT Medallion, and the Phoenix Desert Rose Golden Quill. Her fabulous heroes have garnered the KISS (Knight in Shining Silver) Award. She lives in Southern California.




Interview With The Author

Tell us about your story -

What was your inspiration for this story?

To begin with, we have to go back to ENCHANTED BY YOU, the final book in my Dreamkeepers Series. The story, set in 1886 in the Scottish Highlands, led me to research the clans and their tartans. My heroine had the gift of Second Sight, so along with other superstitions, I also delved into the belief in faeries and faery folklore. (I know, I know. Some people to this day believe in the veracity of Second Sight, but let's label it a "superstition" for the sake of brevity.)
I became so intrigued with the history of Scotland, I decided to set my next series in what is known by scholars as the Golden Age of Scotland. And so the concept for the Highland Lairds Trilogy took form. The series begins in 1496, with THE MAC LEAN GROOM.
At that time, piracy on the high seas took a bitter toll on Scottish shipping. In my research, I came across true accounts of three Scottish brothers, who sailed their own ships, carrying letters of marque and reprisal signed by their sovereign, James IV. These brothers captured and brought back to Edinburgh prizes of war sailing under English, Flemish, and Dutch flags. As you can imagine, the king of England put a price on their heads.
LACHLAN'S BRIDE, the second book, begins in 1503, right where the first story leaves off. The journey of Princess Margaret Tudor from England to Scotland to be married to James IV proved to be the historical inspiration for this book.
Lachlan MacRath, known to the English sailors as the Sorcerer of the Seas, is sent by the Scottish monarch to accompany the princess' retinue to Edinburgh. But plans can change suddenly. Especially when it comes to the will of a king. Henry VII assigns Lachlan to guard Lady Walsingham and her party on the journey north. Lachlan soon learns that the beautiful countess is rumored to be the English king's mistress.

Do you see yourself in any of your characters?

Yes and no. My heroine, Lady Francine Walsingham, has the courage I emulate and would like to have. In LACHLAN'S BRIDE, she's faced with the dilemma of how best to protect her daughter. Francine is willing to sacrifice her own happiness to keep Angelica safe. Even when it means rejecting the courtship and love of the handsome Scottish laird.
Lachlan MacRath exudes courage and strength. I always try to show my readers that my warrior hero has what it takes to accept the responsibilities of being a husband and father. There's no doubt that Lachlan would sacrifice his life to keep the ones he loves safe.

What made you choose this time period?

As I mentioned before, I'm a history buff. Frequently, a true event will spark my imagination. I particularly like this time period because there are so many romantic elements to play with. It's a time of belief in magic, of faeries and wizards. Historically, the marriage of an young English princess to the King of Scotland was a tremendously important event. The two countries had been enemies for centuries and this wedding ushered in a period of peace. It provides a wonderful background for my love story. When Margaret Tudor left for Edinburgh, she took along many of her ladies-in-waiting. They were expected to marry Scottish noblemen and remain in Scotland with her, to help her adjust to her new life and keep from being lonely. Along the route, a great procession of English nobility moved slowly northward. At every stop, the people put on spectacles to honor their princess. In LACHLAN'S BRIDE, Lady Walsingham helps the Master of the Revels create these marvelous pageants.

Tell us a little bit about you as a writer -

What is your writing environment like?

I'm very fortunate to have a lovely office to work in. It's at the front of the house with two corner windows. From my computer, I can look up and see the children going to and coming from our neighborhood school. I can see my plum and magnolia trees, plus a magnificent plumeria blooming in the summertime, as well as my flowers growing along a low rail fence beside my driveway. In addition, we get approximately 300 days of sunshine in Southern California. I often say I live in Paradise. But everyone knows that's really Hawaii!

If you're ever stuck for an idea, how do you go about finding inspiration?

I try to walk every morning in my little neighborhood park, where there are some huge trees along what used to be a river bed. The water is diverted now for flood control, but those old trees still remain along the now grassy slopes. La Bonita Park is small, but like its name, it's very pretty. My walk is a great time to open myself up to my inner creativity. Gazing at those tall trees, I can understand why our ancient ancestors believed they were inhabited by gods.

Did you always want to be a writer?

Before I became a writer, I was a storyteller. One of my childhood friends reminded me once that I used to entertain them with tales of derring-do set in another time and place. After discovering Georgette Heyer's regency romances, I wrote stories in longhand.

What is the first thing you can remember writing?

During my adolescence, I wrote Regencies, first in longhand, then on an electric typewriter. (Anyone remember using carbon paper?) None were ever published, but I wrote for the pure joy of storytelling.

Tell us a little bit about you as a person-

How do you spend your time when you're not writing?

I love to garden. I don't raise vegetables, but I do grow lots of flowers. Agapanthus, calla lilies, day lilies, Dutch iris, hibiscus, columbine, freesias, and camellias. I'm very proud of my roses, and often post pictures of them on my Facebook page. I also attend yoga classes at my local community center, where I've discovered the importance of physical exercise coupled with meditation. I'm very involved in two writers' groups and am on the board of directors for both. I also take part in a critique group called Writing Something Romantic.

What's the best way for you to unwind if you've had a hard day?

I often write in my pajamas until I'm falling asleep in front of the monitor. Then I climb into bed with an ice cream drumstick and watch a comedy rerun before turning out the light.

What are you currently reading?

I'm usually reading several books at the same time. At the moment I'm reading THE MIDDLE AGES IN THE HIGHLANDS, a non-fiction book published in Inverness, Dr. Wayne Dyer's THE POWER OF INTENTION, and THE FAIRY FAITH IN CELTIC COUNTRIES, first published in 1911. (Did I mention I'm a history buff?)

What was the last thing you watched?

I'm currently enthralled with the HBO series, GAME OF THRONES. Wouldn't that be a scary, but fantastic, place to go?

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go, and why?

I've been fortunate to have traveled a bit. I've taken cruises to the Greek Isles including the ports of Athens and Istanbul, also the Caribbean, and Alaska. I've traveled by car through England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. Also, Bavaria in Germany, Switzerland, and northern Italy, including Venice. In the future, I'd like to travel more in Germany and most definitely, France. And I hope, one day, to see Rome and Florence.
And finally, where can my readers find you?
First, let me thank you for inviting me to share my thoughts with your readers. I can be found at the following places:

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