Sunday, July 17, 2016

BLOG TOUR: Run For Freedom by Angela Kay Austin

Run For Freedom

By Angela Kay Austin


The choice was to run for freedom or die never having been valued as a human -- as a woman. The penalty was the same -- death!

Freedom and her brother, Triumph, would fight for their lives and the lives of the ones whom they loved no matter the cost. Escaping bondage meant they must RUN! Run to Moses. Run to the Promised Land.

Watson Brown knew all too well the struggle to survive. The fight to live. He had been given a second chance to do what he had failed to do in life -- as a human. What he and his father could not do before the Harpers Ferry Raid.

The runaway slave and her brother were a distraction.

He could afford no interferences with his mission. He nor his family could risk exposure.

Available for purchase at 



They had been discovered. It did not matter how, but someone
noticed the Negro servant and the white man. They did not know she was a woman
dressed as a man, nor that the man with her was her brother. But, they knew
something was wrong. Why would a white man walk into the woods with a Negro?

They should have planned better. Anger filled her as she scolded
herself for her oversight. She and Triumph ran faster as more gunshots rang
out. He was bigger and stronger, but slower. She demanded her legs run faster.
“Faster, brother. Faster.” Her neck ached as she peered over her shoulder.

Men with dogs were quickly catching up to them.

A bullet whipped through the air, next to her ear, and buried
itself deep into the trunk of a great old tree. She glanced toward the heavens,
and then at the trees. The branches pointed to the path they must take, and the
wind at her back pushed her. She knew that she and her brother were running in
the right direction.

They ran faster.

Branches popped and snapped as they ripped at the sleeves of her
jacket. As her brother tossed his jacket, she tossed hers and her hat. The dogs
might be confused for a moment. Her brother touched her shoulder, and she knew
what he was about to do. He ran ahead of her and cut through low bushes away
from her. He veered his path away from hers, not because he was leaving her,
but because it would split the pack of dogs chasing them.

She kept running.

Running to the hidden river.

The woods thickened, the sun began to disappear, and the sky above
her darkened. They had not read the signs incorrectly. She stopped to take a
long deep inhale. The scent was stronger. Moist earth. Water. She ran, harder.
There had to be water somewhere, but as her legs tired, and her breaths
shortened, she began to doubt her instincts.

Before her eyes saw the water, her nose told her it was there.
Without thinking, she ran toward the smell of fresh wet earth. She stepped into
the low water, and stopped. Glancing up and down the hidden creek, her eyes
ached from the strain of searching through the trees for her brother.

Her chest tightened at the distant sound of dogs barking. Did
their loud growls and snarls mean they had captured Triumph? Were they
celebrating their kill? Instead of swimming to the other side, she turned to
run back to the spot she had last seen her twin.

Her brother burst through the thicket…

About the Author

Angela Kay Austin has always loved expressing herself creatively.  An infatuation with music led to years playing several instruments, some better than others.   A love for acting put her in front of a camera or two for her thirty seconds of fame before giving way to a degree and career in communications.  After completing a second degree in marketing, Angela found herself combining her love for all things creative and worked in promotions and events for many years. 

Today, Angela lives in her hometown in Tennessee with her really really really old dog, Midnight.

You can find Angela at 



Presented By

Saturday, July 2, 2016

BLOG TOUR: A Second Harvest by Eli Easton SPOTLIGHT

A Second Harvest 

(Men of Lancaster County #1)

by Eli Easton


David Fisher has lived by the rules all his life. Born to a Mennonite family, he obeyed his father and took over the family farm, married, and had two children. Now with both his kids in college and his wife deceased, he runs his farm alone and without joy, counting off the days of a life half-lived.

Christie Landon, graphic designer, Manhattanite, and fierce gay party boy, needs a change. Now thirty, he figures it’s time to grow up and think about his future. When his best friend overdoses, Christie resolves to take a break from the city. He heads to a small house in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to rest, recoup, and reflect.

But life in the country is boring despite glimpses of the hunky silver fox next door. When Christie’s creativity latches on to cooking, he decides to approach his widower neighbor with a plan to share meals and grocery expenses. David agrees, and soon the odd couple finds they really enjoy spending time together.

Christie challenges the boundaries of David’s closed world and brings out feelings he buried long ago. If he can break free of the past, he might find a second chance at happiness.


Available in Paperback


About The Author

Having been, at various times and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a fan fiction writer, an organic farmer and a profound sleeper, Eli is happily embarking on yet another incarnation as a m/m romance author.

As an avid reader of such, she is tinkled pink when an author manages to combine literary merit, vast stores of humor, melting hotness and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story.  She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time.  She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, three bulldogs, three cows and six chickens.  All of them (except for the husband) are female, hence explaining the naked men that have taken up residence in her latest fiction writing.

You can find Eli at 



Presented By

BLOG TOUR: Fated and Forbidden - An Otherworldly Boxset

Fated and Forbidden Box Set
Danielle Annett, Dina Given, E.J. Whitmer, Siana Wineland, Tom Shutt, Amy Stearman, M.S. Dobing, A.L. Kessler, Frances Pauli, Rebecca N Caudill


Ten heroes and heroines are up against unknown forces of darkness—good thing they all have supernatural skills and abilities—it's just too bad that not all of them are sure what to do with them yet. Powerful allies are hard to come by and lines are blurred when it becomes difficult to tell friend from foe. Delve in to ten unique worlds full of vampires, witches, mages, dream-stalkers, fallen deities, monsters and even super heroes! Supernatural skills may be enough to save them... but only if they can figure out how to wield them in time.

All stories are first in a series! 
  1. Cursed by Fire by Danielle Annett: Vampires and shifters vie for control of Spokane, Washington, and Aria Naveed is right in the middle of the fire. 
  2. Message Bearer by M.S. Dobing: Seb is a fledging mage, able to manipulate reality, and he alone carries the message that could change the course of the conflict forever 
  3. Unhidden by Dina Given: It’s not always easy to differentiate between the good guys and the bad guys, especially when your heroine is a trained killer and she may be falling in love with her evil hunter… 
  4. No More Black Magic by A.L. Kessler: Explosions, bodies and black magic are just part of a typical day at this agency. 
  5. Power Surge by E.J. Whitmer: From ordinary to extraordinary in just one week. It's a good thing she looks great in spandex. 
  6. Brooding City by Tom Shutt: A police detective is confronted with his own past crimes as a dream-stalker even as he takes on a greater evil. 
  7. Altered by Amy Steaman: A pretty law student's life is changed forever by a mysterious stranger when desire, possession, and treachery lead Sadie down a crooked path to redemption 
  8. Emergence by Siana Wineland: Valkyries invade the Pacific NW, in a contagion. What's a girl to do when she finds she's been infected and sprouting wings happens to be a side affect. 
  9. A Time Apart by Rebecca N. Caudill: A vampire and a woman who couldn't be more different, realize that destiny has brought them full circle. 
  10. Familiar by Frances Pauli: A beautiful small-town witch teams up with a sexy cop to take on a demon. 

Available to purchase at


by Fire by Danielle Annett
All I saw was blood. Blood soaked
my hands and coated the walls. It stained the concrete flooring of the
abandoned warehouse and dripped from fixtures that hung from the ceiling,
trickling like a slow rain. My vision blurred as anguish filled me. How could
this have happened? How could I have been too late?
I stared down at the lifeless body
of a child. A boy. Kneeling in a pool of congealing blood, I ran my fingers
through his chestnut hair, ignoring the now-cool moisture seeping into the
denim of my pants. His face was unrecognizable. Gone was the child with the
dimpled cheek and brilliant blue eyes. Left behind was a mass of flesh and bone
ruined body drained of its life force at such a young age.
Reality snapped like an elastic
band, bringing me back to the present as I sat at my desk in Sanborn Place.
Ripped from the haunted memories of finding Daniel’s body.
The world was a cruel place. It
was a fact of life and even though I knew it was true, I still had a hard time
coming to terms with the atrocities people committed. The cruelties that for
some god-forsaken reason, people thought were okay. Staring down at the
wallet-sized photo now crumpled in my hands, I was greeted by a crown of
chestnut hair, bright blue eyes, a heart-shaped face, and a brilliant smile; a
single dimple on his left cheek. The face of an innocent seven-year-old boy,
cut down like he was little more than a calf brought to slaughter. I found
myself struggling to link the image of this smiling boy to that of the ruined
body I’d found less than forty-eight hours ago.

by Dina Given
Cold marble pressed
against my face, numbing my cheek. My stomach roiled from the spinning of the
room, threatening to release my dinner. I took a deep, ragged breath and tried
to keep the dizziness under control. A voice in my head screamed at me to get
up and defend myself, but my body wouldn’t obey. With a herculean effort, I
pulled my legs under me in an effort to rise.
I felt the vibration
in the floor before I heard the heavy thud of footsteps. The bastard was back
for more. It must be my lucky day. A
vice clamped around my ankles, and I slid along the smooth stone floors of the
mansion. Crystal chandeliers and Renaissance paintings streaked across my
vision as I was pulled through an open doorway.
I twisted and
flailed, scrabbling to clutch the doorframe to stop my relentless slide into
the darkened room. I tried to make it a rule to never be forced into a room
when I didn’t know what lay within.
I managed a weak
handhold on the doorframe, but with a sharp tug, my captor caused me to easily
lose my grip. He—because only a man could own hands that large and
strong—“accidentally” slammed me into a coffee table before coming to a stop
without releasing me.
The concussive
grenade that was triggered when I had been finishing my sweep of the last room
in the mansion had left my temples throbbing, preventing me from lifting my
head to get a good look at my captor. I needed to pull myself together if I was
going to fight my way out of here.
Swallowing hard, I
took a silent inventory of my injuries: a few bruises, no broken bones, no
bleeding. Sweet. This was going to be easier than I’d thought. 

Surge by E.J. Whitmer:
Blake sighed and pushed his empty plate away from him. “You called
me last night at about 1: 30am. The only words I could make out were ‘jaeger’
‘nipples’ and ‘spandex’. I hopped in my car and headed over here to find you
standing in your kitchen wearing only your underwear and trying to stuff your
entire face in a pint of ice cream. Apparently you were out of spoons.”

That explained why I had sticky eyebrows.

I held my head in my hands and groaned as he continued. “I told
you to get some pajamas on. You wanted my shirt. You took it. Thankfully you
turned around while you were putting it on. I made you drink a glass of water
and tucked you into bed. I wasn’t sure how much you’d had to drink, so I
checked in on you every couple of hours. I provided you with early morning eye
candy. I made you delicious cheesy eggs. I think that’s about it.”

I opened one eye to look at him. “Did you see my boobs?”

His face split into a panty melting grin. “No. I was a gentleman.
I only gawked at your ass.”

by Siana Wineland:
barefoot in the darkness, Jessica hid and watched the recovery team flip lights
on in her house. Panic tried to set icy claws in her gut, but she pushed it
away ruthlessly. The arrival of the recovery team confirmed her worst fear: she
must have started the change.
She’d done her best to deny this possibility. But reality now
walked through her home, leaving her in the cold and dark.
She took a deep breath. Fear of what was to come had to take a
A large, lean man with shoulder-length blond hair entered her
bedroom. He moved with the grace of a predator, her eyes widened when he
turned, allowing her to see the suede of his wings fall gracefully down his
back like a dark cloak.
They’ve sent a Hunter! Her mind froze in panic. Why is there a
Hunter here? Recovery teams only have unchanged people in them.
The Valkyrie stopped and sniffed the air, scenting her, before
walking over to the window and examining it. He spread his wings, the large fan
covering the glass to block the light from behind him. Fascinated, she stared,
transfixed at the way the light shone through the membrane of his wings.
She felt her mind slowing again. Fruitlessly, she fought the
lethargy that was her body’s natural response to the changes taking place
within it.
It wasn’t long before the Hunter’s eyes found hers, their intensity
boring into her, and he smiled a slow feral smile.

Time Apart by Rebecca Norinne Caudill:
As Olivia moved out of William’s
arms, he didn’t fight her but his hands lingered as she slid away, as if he was
trying to hold onto something significant, and for the first time, Olivia could
see quite clearly he was no ordinary man.
“What are you?” she asked, her
voice barely audible above the logs crackling in the fire.
“You know me then,” was his
anguished response.
How could she respond? Prior
to the extensive research she’d conducted the night before, she would have
sworn she had never seen him a day in her life. But that wasn’t entirely
true, for she knew now that she had seen him while she dreamed. She
had seen him lying beside her, touching the most private parts of her
body. And just last night she’d fantasized about making mad, passionate
love to him outside, under the stars. And now she realized it had all happened
before, perhaps hundreds of times. She knew this man intimately … but not the
nightmare version of him, the man who had killed her.
But more importantly, she
realized, Olivia didn’t know herself – that woman from a time long forgotten.
“Who ... what ... am I then?” Fear and trepidation laced her voice.
“Unfortunately, I don’t know much
about who you are today.” His voice broke with emotion. “I only know who you were and when you were. In the year 1658, you were Ceara, my fierce
beauty. You were my wife and I loved you more than you can know.” 
William paused, waiting for her to
interrupt with more questions, but when she remained mute, he continued
speaking. “If asked when I was still the man you remember, I would have said
I’d give anything – my life, even – for you. Instead, I took it.” 
As his memories drifted back
hundreds of years, his face became a mask of loathing. He remembered, in
starkly vivid detail, the exact moment he had chased his beloved Ceara down,
broke her neck, and then sucked her body dry.
While Olivia watched him struggle
through his recollections, she wondered how he could have turned on her. What
had she done to deserve that fate? And who – what – was he that he could force these terrible memories to the
“If I was … am … Ceara, who are
you?” she asked, not quite sure she was ready to hear his answer.
“My name is William Macauley and,
as you might have guessed, I’m a vampire.”

by Frances Pauli:
stared at the graffiti and centered, took a deep breath and imagined her roots
reaching down, down into the earth. Her head spun a little. She reached for the
door with her free hand and pressed her palm against fresh red paint.
Running through dark woods. A
round moon overhead that set fear in her steps instead of awe. Why was she
running again? Midnight, dogs barking behind her and the man. Her heart seized
and she tripped over her own feet, sprawled forward toward hard roots and cold
dirt. The man chasing her wanted blood tonight.
blinked and saw blood, red dribbles against white.
Wallace, are you alright?"
She lifted her hand and stared at it. Red paint on her skin. A voice called
from behind her, but it was light out. There was no moon, no danger. She turned
around and found cops on her steps. The short one, she knew. Officer Peg Stone
had taken her call that morning, in fact, but Deirdre had never expected to
actually see the woman. Still, there was the patrol car parked below, and
behind Stone stood a policeman with dark eyes.
Deirdre's porch rippled like water. Her hand reached again,
splatted against the nasty word but held her upright while the dizziness
swirled around and around.

More Black Magic by A.L. Kessler:
I’d never met the Alpha, but I knew this was him. His black hair
was cut short and his brown gaze cut into me. He stood tall and demanded
attention. Like Simon, he was dressed in older clothes, and I assumed it meant
they wouldn’t care if they got ruined. The muscles of his arms were solid and
his chest strained against the tight muscle shirt that he wore. Yeah, I
wouldn’t stand a chance in a fight against this guy, even if he was human.
Simon bowed his head. “Alpha.”
“Simon, so this is her?” His eyes ran over my body and I raised a
brow. I had dressed in my normal black clothes with boots. I had, as requested,
left the gun in the car, but my blade was sheathed across my back, hidden by my
Simon put a hand on my back and urged me to step forward.
“I’m Abigail.” I offered my hand, but Greg grabbed my wrist and
jerked me forward. I caught myself with a hand against his chest.
“You are a threat to my people, you offer me the back of your neck
in submission.” He growled. “Do you understand that?”
I gritted my teeth and pulled my braid away from the back of my
neck and bowed low enough that I offered it
to him. My verbal answer wouldn’t have been good enough. He was trying to show
off his strength, his power, and I was willing to bet other members of the pack
were watching from the windows of the cabin. Arguing with him wouldn’t have
done me any good.

City by Tom Shutt:
“So what exactly would I do as a Sleeper? I’ve heard only bad
things, and that was when I still thought you were just a bedtime story. If
even half of it is true—”
“We do what is necessary to protect this city,” Benjamin said
tightly. “There are forces that are simply too powerful and mysterious to be
handled by the police. We are the self-appointed protectors of the people.”
“That’s a great pitch, but I meant day-to-day, what will I be
Old Ben contemplated this question for a long moment before
answering. “There is no right or wrong in this world, Jeremy. You must
understand that in order to bring balance to others, we must first find balance
within ourselves. This will not be an easy life, nor one filled with thanks from
those you help—they will never even know you were there. You will make hard
choices, decisions that will leave others bereft of their autonomy. But with my
guiding hand, you will accomplish great deeds and protect countless innocents
during your service.”
“That still doesn’t answer—”
“You will kill. You will maim. You will steal, lie, and deceive.
Nobody will know who you are, or what you do, or when or where you will strike
next. The people will never acknowledge your sacrifices, and they will continue
to fear and despise the myth that you represent.”
There was a pregnant pause before Benjamin spoke again.
“Do you have what it takes?” he asked.

by Amy Steaman:
The first snowflakes
of the year rode their fat bodies lazily down to the empty sidewalk Sadie Pratt
trudged along. If she looked up, the old fashioned streetlights would
illuminate their glittery brethren. But she didn’t look up. A cold winter wind
was demanding attention she didn’t care to give as she shifted her eyes
toward her destination at the end of the street. As if irritated with her
neglect, a particularly breathy gust reached out and freed her auburn waves
from a loose bun. In response, she tucked her chin deeper into the plaid scarf
wrapped around her neck and quickened her footfalls.
Sadie’s mood was as
dark as the cloud-heavy sky hanging above her. Her boss, Harvey McDonnell, of
McDonnell and Loeb Law Office had rung her out of a study-induced trance thirty
minutes before.
“Sadie, I need you in
the office in thirty,” like it was a common request. Like it wasn’t 9:30 on a
Thursday night. Like she wasn’t drowning in the middle of finals!
She reached the
pristine brick façade that stood with pride in the little college town of
Weston’s historic business district and flung the door wide. The gratuitous
cowbell hanging on the handle let out its hollow ring. Harvey was already
there, so instead of turning on the lights and starting a pot of coffee as per
her usual routine, Sadie dumped her heavy bag without ceremony at the receptionist’s
desk and marched back to his office.
Harvey’s watery grey
eyes rose over the edge of his half-rimmed glasses to meet her steely glare
then traveled down her slim frame covered in an overly long flannel, black
leggings and combat boots. He chuffed. “You look nice.”
“I’ll wear proper business attire during proper
business hours,” she shot back, fists coming to rest on hips.

Message Bearer by M.S. Dobing:
It didn’t so much as walk out of the dark - it oozed. Its
form coalesced from the gloom, a slight shimmering in the air, a shifting of
shadows, before condensing into something resembling a human that now stood,
unmoving, just at the periphery of the streetlight.
Yet this was no human.
Unnaturally tall, easily touching seven feet, the thing wore a dark
suit that hung loosely off a pencil-thin frame. Its head was dipped, its face
hidden beneath a black fedora with a single silver band. As he watched, the
creature’s head rose. Black eyes met his. Something cold trickled down his
It began to move forwards, its movement jerky, as if it were
animated by invisible string. Its mouth opened into a wide grin, jaw distending
to almost impossible proportions, displaying a set of dagger-like incisors.
‘You see it, don’t you?’
He’d forgotten she was even there. He looked back at the woman,
managing the barest of nods. She reached out to him, her hand shaking.
‘Come with me.’

About The Authors

Danielle Annett is a reader, writer, photographer, and the blogger behind Coffee and Characters. You can learn more about Danielle on her website at or follow her on facebook at  and on twitter @Danielle_Annett

M.S. Dobing lives in Preston, UK with his wife and twin daughters. His first novel, Message Bearer, is the first in his urban fantasy series, The Auran Chronicles, the sequel to which is due out in the first half of 2016. Follow him at 

Dina Given has been an avid fan of fantasy in all of its permutations since childhood. She is convinced that magic lives on in this world, and she is doing her part to bring a piece of it to readers. Follow her at 

A.L. Kessler is a paranormal romance author residing in beautiful Colorado Springs, Co. Since she was a teenager she has loved spinning tales. She can easily be won over with gifts of coffee or chocolate. You can follow her at 

Tom Shutt writes paranormal suspense with generous helpings of humor and a sprig of mystery thrown in for good measure. Sometimes he dabbles in fantasy, but in all cases, he strives to push the boundaries of modern fiction in search of good answers to hard questions. 

E. J. Whitmer is the author of the Anna Jennings Super Novels, an avid reader, amateur karaoke rockstar and professional awkward turtle. Follow her on facebook at 

Amy Stearman is an avid reader and writer of stories, hailing from the Midwest. She lives in the liberal mecca of Kansas with her husband, young son, and ornery Sheltie. Find her on facebook at 

Siana Wineland lives in the beautiful, but soggy, Olympic Peninsula of Washington state. She spends much of her time shepherding her young children, or the goats and sheep she raises. Sometimes it's hard to tell them apart on the farm, unless you hold out a vegetable. For updates on her writing please visit her website at 

Rebecca N. Caudill writes contemporary & paranormal romance featuring smart, kickass females & the men who adore them. Learn more about her and her books at or follow her on twitter @rebecca_caudill 

Frances Pauli writes speculative fiction, usually with touches of humor or romance, which means, of course, that she has trouble choosing sides. She's always been a fan of things outside the box, odd, weird or unusual, and that trend follows through to her tales which feature aliens, fairies, and even, on occasion, an assortment of humans. More information on her work and upcoming releases can be found on her website: 


Winner’s Choice Amazon Kindle Fire OR Amazon Echo Note

Presented By

Friday, July 1, 2016

BLOG TOUR: Her Highland Rogue by Violetta Rand

Her Highland Rogue
Violetta Rand

Genre: Historical romance, Highlander
Publisher: Random House/Loveswept
Date of Publication: June 21, 2016
Number of pages: 170
Word Count: 52,000
Cover Artist: Random House

Book Description:

Errol MacRae’s days of gallivanting across the Highlands are nearing an end. His father’s health has taken a turn for the worse, and rumors are swirling that the crown intends to transfer ancient lands into the hands of the MacKenzies, the clan the MacRaes are sworn to defend. Errol expects to lead his men into battle soon. So he isn’t pleased when his father instead sends him to retrieve a beautiful flame-haired lass who has fled into the mountains.

Orphaned as a young girl, Aileana vividly remembers how the MacRaes rescued her and welcomed her into their clan. For ten years, she has served them loyally—until the night she’s nearly despoiled by one of the laird’s captains. Aileana risks her life and her reputation to seek refuge in the snowcapped peaks of the Five Sisters, the one place that has always felt like home. But after the strong-armed, strong-willed Errol tracks her down in a blizzard, she finds herself tempted to risk something even more dangerous: her heart.

Amazon     BN      Kobo

            Aileana opened her eyes, confused by her surroundings. She’d fled the MacRae stronghold after Broc cornered her in the kitchen, long after the other women had gone abovestairs to sleep. She’d stupidly volunteered to keep watch over the remaining men in the hall in case they required more bread and meat—or in Broc’s case, more ale. Once she’d refilled his cup, even leaving a full pitcher behind for the great beast to finish off, he stumbled after her, smelling of sweat and spirits, and drooling on her neck.
She’d known him nearly all her life—at least for the time she remembered being alive. Before her tenth year, she held no clear memories. The occasional flash of a face or spoken word, but nothing that could connect her to a family or place. So she wandered through life nameless, though the MacRae laird had offered to recognize her as part of his clan. But whenever she considered it, something inside her warned not to do it. For once ye denied your name, whether you knew it or not, your fate might change. And she didn’t want to lose her only chance at true happiness. Deep down, Aileana knew there was more to her existence than being a bastard.
That’s what half the women within the MacRae keep called her. Behind her back mostly, but sometimes directly if she was blamed for burning the bread or spilling wine.
She kicked off the fur covering her from neck-to-foot, cold air sending a chill down her body. A fire burned at the opening of the rock enclosure, and she padded over to it, desperate for warmth. She stared beyond the flames, the world outside covered in white. Winter had come early to Kintail. And only by God’s grace had she met a woman last night in the hills. How could she turn down an offer of hot stew and a pallet to sleep on? So she’d walked quietly with the stranger to her cave.
As soon as she finished eating and drained her cup of wine, sleep overwhelmed her. That’s all she remembered. And now she woke up alone. But there was a loaf of bread and a cup of milk on the table by her pallet, hopefully meant for her to eat. Her stomach growled with hunger.
“Good morning,” Aileana heard as she reached for the cup.
She turned and met the woman’s smile. “Thank ye for allowing me to stay here last night. I’m afraid I have nothing to offer you, no money or goods to trade.”
The woman joined her, picked up the loaf of bread, then tore it in half. “I don’t remember asking for payment, child.”
“But your generosity must be rewarded in some way.”
“Aye,” she agreed. “Your company will do nicely.”
Aileana took a bite and it melted in her mouth, as tasty as what she cooked every morning in the MacRae kitchens. “Whatever you wish,” she said. “I prefer staying here. I wasn’t prepared for the snow. If ye hadn’t found me, I’m afraid I would have perished in the cold.” Though she had a fur cloak and thick-soled boots, she hadn’t had time to gather anything else before she ran away.
The woman sat down. “My name is Sgùrr.”
The woman studied her in silence, her dark gaze wandering more than once to her hair. “Who is your father?”
Aileana took another sip of milk, then put the cup down on the table. The idea of admitting to a stranger that she had no family was as humiliating as what Broc had done to her. “I don’t know.”
“And why were you roaming the hills alone? Surely someone will miss ye?”
“Laird MacRae is my guardian.”
“Your mother has passed?”
“I’m afraid I know nothing about my birth.” She walked the couple feet to her pallet and picked up her cloak. “Eight years ago a MacRae guard found me in the forest, cold and hungry, close to death I’ve been told. He bundled me in a blanket and took me home with him. I’ve lived there ever since.”
“Has the laird been kind and generous?”
“Laird MacRae is not only kind, but treats me as his own daughter. A day never passes without him greeting me. Sometimes I wonder what would have become of me if the MacDonalds or MacLeods found me instead.”
The older woman nodded. “Don’t put much stock in the affairs of men. Clan feuds are the last thing a lass needs to worry about. ’Tis your heart and charitable acts that define your character.”


Raised in Corpus Christi, Texas, Violetta Rand spent her childhood reading, writing, and playing soccer. After meeting her husband in New England, they moved to Alaska where she studied environmental science and policy before attending graduate school. Violetta then spent nearly a decade working as a scientist, specializing in soil and water contamination and environmental assessments.

Violetta still lives in Alaska and spends her days writing romance. When she's not reading, writing, or editing, she enjoys time with her husband, pets, and friends. In her free time, she loves to hike, fish, and ride motorcycles and 4-wheelers.