Torn between duty and desire, a knight and his lady fair must decide if their love is worth the price of treason.
Madeline Campbell has been whisked away from her uncle’s barony to be reunited with her family in the Scottish Highlands. Her happy reunion quickly sours when she realizes her father intends to present as a bride to the winner of the Highland Tournament. With no one to turn to for comfort or guidance, Madeline chooses to do her duty to her clan as well as her father and marry the winner.
An English knight has no place on Scottish soil, but Alexander must complete the mission with which he was tasked. Find Madeline and ensure her safety. When he finds her, he must decide between his honorable duty and his love for Madeline.
No one can deny their attraction and their desire for one another, but when it sparks jealousy in the other clansmen, they have no alternative but to run. Secrets emerge from the shadows of the past and threaten to tear their happiness apart. How can one choose between their duty and their heart?
“I am merely a possession to be bartered and traded.” She sighed. “Evelyn was right. Tis not fair.” She wiggled against him, trying to find a more comfortable seat.
“Madeline,” he groaned. “Do not do that.”
“What?” she asked innocently, glancing at his face. He had drawn his lower lip between his teeth, his eyes had drifted closed. She released his shirt and touched his unshaven cheek. The rough prickle of new beard scratched her palm.
“Cease your torture, lass,” he said, his voice hoarse and breaking.
“Am I hurting you?” she shifted again, bracing her hand on his thigh. His hand tightened, gripping her waist tightly.
“Stop. Moving.” He grounded out the words.
“I do not mean to hurt you,” she said sympathetic. She truly had no idea what she was doing to cause him pain.
“If you would stop your wiggling,” he rasped out.
She pulled away from him in an effort to give him some space. Madeline slipped, nearly tumbling from his arms when he caught her, his palm cradling her breast. She felt the heat of his hand through the fabric of her gown. A knot formed in the pit of her stomach, twisting and pulling, threatening to tear her apart. She gasped, grasping his plaid to steady herself again. As soon as she settled, his hand released her, resuming its grip on her side.
“My apologies, my lady,” he said as their mount climbed the hill toward the keep. Madeline could see Angus and Heather ahead of them, but far enough their words were a whisper on the breeze.
“Twas my fault I nearly fell,” she said, the heat rising in her cheeks.
“I meant for…” He coughed, unable to finish the sentence.
“Oh, that, well,” she stammered, her face enflamed. The darkness hid her embarrassment, but it also emboldened her. “I must admit, I liked it.”
Alexander said nothing, but his fingertips digging into her side belied his reaction. She felt daring in the moonlight.
“Did you like it as well?” she whispered, her gaze fixed on his face. He bit his lip again. A familiar tingle shot down her spine, landing in the pit of her stomach.
“My lady, twas naught but an accident,” he replied stiffly. “It will not happen again.”
She leaned closer to him, curling against his warm body. “Your touch warms me the way strong wine does. Making me feel weak and helpless and happy, all at once. I cannot help but want more.” She reached her hand up to caress his face again. “Would you kiss me again, Alexander?”
She felt his breathing quicken. His heart beat louder beneath her cheek, and his jaw twitched beneath her touch. “You want it as much as I do,” she said, feeling wicked and wanton. She had wanted him for so long, to have him so close now and not take a chance seemed wrong.
“I do,” he whispered so softly she almost missed his confession.
“Then I am yours.” Her breath hitched when he glanced at her, his eyes as dark as the skies above them.
“I cannot,” he replied, regret evident in his tone.
“You can,” she pleaded. Her body ached for his touch, her lips burned for his kiss. For two years she pined for him, forcing herself to be content for the chance of seeing him around the keep. Ever since he kissed her, she knew he wanted her with as much passion as she desired him. Her fingertips journeyed into the soft curls at the nape of his neck, twisting them. “Please, Alexander.”
Please tell us a little bit about your current projects?
Right now I’m working on a trilogy of Victorian novellas set in 1890s England. The plot is centered around three thieves and the unfortunate disappearance of their stolen merchandise. The trio finds themselves butting heads with some very stubborn, independent women. The chemistry is electrifying.
When was the moment that you knew you had to be a writer?
I’ve been writing since I was fourteen, probably before that, but it wasn’t until I was in eighth grade that I realized I wanted to write. And I’ve always been interested in writing love stories. All of my work contained elements of romance. I pursued a bachelors in English in college, but I never focused on writing as more than a fun pastime. In 2012 I pushed outside of my comfort zone and submitted one of my short stories to a publisher. I’ve been writing with a purpose ever since…I have to get my stories out to readers.
Who gave you the one piece of writing advice that sticks with you to this day?
I honestly can’t remember who specifically gave me this advice, but the best writing advice I ever got was: (1) Write every day. (2) You can’t edit a blank page, so write, even if it’s total crap. You can fix it later.
Describe the “perfect” hero. What about the “perfect” hero for you?
My idea of the “perfect” hero is the man who is imperfect. I love flawed characters. It makes them more human. When it comes to the men in my stories, each of them have secrets, scars, and agendas that never seem to include the heroines. The more complex he is the more interesting he becomes as a hero. I prefer my men to be alphas, but strength in a beta can be just as sexy. Anti-heroes are by far my hero of choice as a reader.
What are some of your favorite pastimes? Do you have any hobbies or collections?
I have both. My husband prefers the hobbies to the collections as they seem to clutter the house, and we move quite frequently, being a military family. I enjoy horseback riding, photography, dancing, reading (of course), and volunteering with the community theatre. As for the collections, I have a passion for books, especially antique ones. I have one whole shelf of books dating back to the early 1900s and late 1800s. I also collect antique trunks and teacup sets.
What has been your biggest adventure to date?
Just being a military spouse has been my greatest adventure, right next to being a mom, but if you’re looking for something a bit more specific, I would have to say that the last few months have been my grandest adventure to date. I auditioned for my first theatre production and performed the role of Moriarty’s henchwoman, Madge Larabee, in my community theatre’s production of Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure.
It was a wonderful experience, and I’m thrilled to have that memory to carry with me. Plus, I got to play a villain. How cool is that?
If your fairy godmother waved her wand and whisked you away to the location of your choice, which place would you choose, and why?
England. Of all the locations in the world, I write about this country the most. I have an intense fascination with it. I have friends who live there, whom I’ve never met and would like to visit. I would also love an excuse to wander around London in the hopes of running into Tom Hiddleston. *swoon* I’m a huge fan of his.
When it comes to food, are you the adventurous type who will try anything once, or do you prefer to stick to tried and true foods and recipes?
We are an adventurous family when it comes to food. Every meal is something new and exciting. We have our favorites and the tried and true recipes we make on a regular basis, but there are no picky eaters in our house. We all love spice and variety. It makes life interesting. My husband is an avid hunter, so all of our red meat is wild game. I haven’t bought hamburger in two years, one of the joys of living in Wyoming.
What is the one modern convenience that you cannot do without?
Indoor plumbing and feminine hygiene products. Pretty self explainatory, huh? *giggles*
What is this romance writer’s idea of the “ideal romantic evening”?
Netflix marathon with my hubby. We’re quite content with keeping it simple and uncomplicated.
How do you describe yourself? How would your family and friends describe you?
I would describe myself as an introvert who enjoys the simple things. My family would describe me as easily stressed. My friends would describe me as a hopeless romantic with a dirty mind and a soft spot for British actors.
What is your favorite comfort food?
What is your favorite season? What do you love about it?
Autumn and Spring are tied in my book. I love the colors of autumn, but the flowers of spring are breathtaking. Autumn is the perfect time to sit outside by the fire pit and sip a hot beverage. Spring just lets me get a burst of rejuvenation after the cold of winter.
What is the one modern convenience that you cannot do without?
Internet. Most of my friends are online. I move around so frequently, it’s often the only way for me to keep in touch with everyone I meet. I also find it to be a great way to network. I would feel completely lost without the internet.
What project are you working on next?
My Victorian novella, Jewel of Winter will be releasing soon. So I’m working on the second and third in the series, so my readers won’t have to wait too long in between releases.
Any place we can find you in person or on the net this month or next?
I am always online.
Buy Link for A Shadow’s Kiss: http://www.breathlesspress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=22&products_id=756
I won’t be anywhere in person in an author capacity, yet. It’s on my list of things to do next year. *wink*
Biography for Kirsten S. Blacketer
Stick her in the middle of a chaotic home with two children, a hyperactive dog, and a camouflage wearing husband, and she can cook and clean with the best of them. But when the sun goes down and the children are nestled in bed fast asleep, she tucks away her pots and broom and like Cinderella she transforms.
Her characters creep forth from the dark recesses of her mind taking their places in the castles and forests built from her words. No simpering heroines linger there with forlorn gazes turned to the horizon, waiting for their Prince Charming. They straighten their spine, arming themselves with blade and bow, prepared to do their part in defense of their honor and destiny. She breathes life into the women she believes our ancestors to be, showing how they lived and loved with passion and grace.
Never bored by the tales still left to tell, she battles the ever sarcastic muse in her quest for romance.