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The Source By Christine Murphy

The Source_Version 4 Flat MedNow available – The Source – from Christine Murphy http://christinemurphybooks.com , the Creator of The Sphinx Warriors and The Midnight Riders. A new romance novel where Nathan and Crystal will defy the rules of a futuristic society to reclaim the freedom to love. The Source. One of the Wild Clan Sagas and part of the KnightFall Collections.

Summary:

After a powerful influenza strain wiped out the population what remained of the World’s Nations met together to stabilize and repopulate the Earth with BioGen as the controlling government.Births were artificially engineered and the females who carried the genes became known as The Sources. When one particular Source, Crystal, begins to question her purpose in life and wants more outside the norms of society BioGen must find a way to keep her happy and willing to do their bidding. The leaders of BioGen have determined the only way to do this is to hire a Companion to keep her occupied.
The first time Nathan sees Crystal he knows there is more to her than others have led him to believe. Her kindness, her innocence, and her desire to learn the world and everything about him, when others have only used him, draws him to her more than anything else could.
Forbidden love grows between them and they must go on the run as BioGen discovers the liaison that can never be. Nathan must make the ultimate decision to save Crystal before she is forever taken away from him.With no one to help them, BioGen hot on their heels to retrieve a Source, and influential Gens determined to have her as their own, Nathan and Crystal will make a run for The Wilds and the last chance to be free to love one another.

Please enjoy the following sneak peak of The Source.

Right before his lips touched hers, the sound of the evening fifteen minute curfew warning went off. Crystal jumped and Nathan instantly pulled back.

“Damn it. I’m sorry, Crystal, I was so caught up in the moment I lost track of time.”

Grasping at his jacket, Crystal cried, “Nathan we have to get back. This is all my fault. If we get caught after curfew, they’ll take you away and maybe punish you. I should have never talked you into this.”

Tears streamed down her face and she swiped at them in fear for Nathan and for her. BioGen would probably punish her as well, and the things they could do terrified her. She choked, her body shaking, and her pulse rate went through the roof. Nathan seemed to try and calm her brushing the tears away but there just wasn’t any time and she fought to get a grip on her runaway emotions.

“Listen. I can get us back in plenty of time but you need to calm down. Do you trust me?” he asked while he pulled her hood back up over her face and followed up with his own to hide his.

Still gripping his jacket and feeling shaky, she nodded and whispered, “I do trust you, Nathan.”

With an encouraging look he reassured her, “Good. Just hold on tight and I’ll get us back to The Inspire. You just be ready with that magic necklace of yours to get us back into the building so no one will suspect we were ever gone. Ready?”

Crystal took a deep breath and nodded. It was the only acknowledgement Nathan appeared to need and after he grasped her hand in a firmer grip than earlier, he led her back out of the circle of bushes. Once on the path, he sped up into a fast jog and she had to push herself into a full out run to keep up with him. He was fast compared to her and she was panting before they even went a few feet but she was determined to get him back to her condo safely. Together they covered quite a bit of distance even making it to the large crack in the blacktop they had passed earlier. Nathan eased them both around the gap and Crystal began to breathe easier.

Just when she was sure they were going to make it in time, Crystal saw two Nul guards approaching with BioGen uniforms on, evidently making their last rounds. Pulling back against Nathan’s forward progression, she urgently whispered, “Nathan, BioGen guards.”

Immediately, Nathan steered both of them off the blacktop and over to one of the large trees bordering along the path. As soon as they were under the large spread of branches he spun her around and pushed her back against the trunk. The bark was rough but Nathan’s body surrounding and pressing against her was rock hard. He felt good and she felt protected but the Nul’s were getting so close and she could see them watching. She started to shake with nerves because she was sure they were going to get caught.

Nathan shifted slightly blocking her completely from the guard’s view. He leaned against his arm which he had positioned above her forming a protective cocoon around her. He leaned down just enough so he could push her hood back with his free hand and put his lips near her ear. Crystal could feel his warm breath brush against her and the sensation made her shiver for a different reason.

“Crystal, I need you to relax. You’re just a Gen with her purchased Companion enjoying an intimate moment together. The Nuls won’t know any different unless we give them a reason to,” Nathan whispered, his voice vibrating through her body as he pressed his body against hers.

Perhaps it was to distract her, or to convince the Nul’s they were enjoying an intimate moment, or just because he wanted to, but Nathan was suddenly kissing the sensitive spot just below her ear. She closed her eyes gasping at the incredible sensation, her body tingling from the point of contact all the way to her core. She fisted her hands in his jacket trying to keep her legs from buckling from the weakness he was causing. He didn’t stop there, oh no, he continued in his exploration with those wonderful tingling kisses until he reached her collarbone where he gently nipped and then kissed her again. She whimpered and her legs would have buckled if not for his strong arm around her waist supporting her.

If you enjoyed a peak at The Source, check out Sphinx Resurrected, book one of The Sphinx Warriors Series at http://christinemurphybooks.com/

Christine Murphy – http://christinemurphybooks.com/

The Source (KnightFall Collections) Available Now – ebook, Print, Kindle, Nook

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Romantic Suspense on Sale

rattled 640x1024Rattled by Kris Bock is on sale for $.99 for the rest of the month:

The lost Victorio Peak treasure is the stuff of legends—a heretic Spanish priest’s gold mine, made richer by the spoils of bandits and an Apache raider.

When Erin, a quiet history professor, uncovers a clue that may pinpoint the lost treasure cave, she prepares for adventure. But when a hit and run driver nearly kills her, she realizes she’s not the only one after the treasure. And is Drew, the handsome helicopter pilot who found her bleeding in a ditch, really a hero, or one of the enemy?

How far will Erin go to find the treasure and discover what she’s really made of?

 

Rattled is a treasure hunting adventure in New Mexico that will appeal to fans of Terry Odell, Mary Stewart, Lillian Stewart Carl, and Barbara Michaels.

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Summer’s Growth – a Host of Spiritual Guides to Help

Summer's GRowth photo TG-FT-SummersGrowth-300x450_zpsa3a6ebbb.jpg

Summer’s Growth – 1st Book in the “Family Tree” series

 

Blurb –

Forced by the family spirits to get a life, Mattie Winston has to train her replacement Amber Harrison to be in charge of all the workings of the Winston estate. Reluctant to make changes in her life, Mattie forms a bond with Amber, when strange accidents start happening which threaten their lives and an unknown ghost makes an appearance.

 

After being rescued by an old flame, Quincy Miller, Mattie faces old wounds of rejection. As the general contractor for Amber’s redecoration project, Mattie is in constant contact with Quincy and realizes she still in love with her childhood sweetheart.

 

Amber, learning her new role in the family, wants to discover the identity of the ghost who keeps appearing. After several appearances, Gwen, Amber’s distance grandmother, shifts the book into more of Amber’s struggle to find out why her grandmother disappeared two hundred years ago without a trace. In a fight to claim her position in the family, Amber searches for clues to solve the mystery.

 

Mattie and Amber are both challenged when the family spirits decides Amber shouldn’t be the keeper. Battling for Amber, Mattie realizes she wants a life with Quincy outside the Winston estate.

 

Amber realized the importance of her new spiritual family, and she works to discover how Gwen died.

 

Can these two women achieve their goals?

 

Read the first chapter at
http://www.tinagayle.net/SGchapter.html

Find at:

www.smashwords.com

www.amazon.com

 

Excerpt:

Standing by the bay window in the front room, Mattie watched the car approach. Her new recruit’s arrival had goose bumps popping out on Mattie’s skin, adding to her anxieties.

She wanted to run, but instead glanced at the kindhearted spirit of Opal, her distant grandmother. Dressed in her best early American gown, the many layers of her petticoat swished with a soft hiss when she moved.

“There’s no reason to be nervous. Once you meet Amber, you’ll see she caps the climax,” Opal voiced in a soothing tone. “Your Aunt Rachel is absolutely thrilled to have a descendant from her branch of the family as keeper.”

Looking beyond her at the rest of the room, Mattie searched for the other members of the family council. They always offered her their support when she faced a big decision. Yet, today they were conspicuously absent.

“Don’t worry. The whole family is behind you. We just thought it better if we didn’t all hover.”

Shifting from foot to foot, she wrung her hands together. A simple process of a changing of the guard for them, Amber’s arrival marked the end of the life Mattie loved.

The beautiful spirits around her didn’t understand how cruel humans could be to each other. What if she screwed up and the girl left? Or the girl hated living with a house full of spirits?

Unease pricked at Mattie’s mind. She had no experience in dealing with strangers. All her business associates understood her likes and didn’t force her to attend any social events.

A quick glance out the window, and a car rounded the fountain. She wasn’t prepared to entertain Amber. How could she be? She never invited guests to the estate.

“Now, Pumpkin, there’s no need to worry. It’s time another branch of the family realize what a pain it is to be keeper.” Opal smiled, offering her special form of reassurance. “We’re all here to help with the transition.”

The high notes of Beethoven’s Fifth sprang from the piano. Mattie jumped in surprise at the sudden noise. She whipped around to see Uncle Samuel, the artist of the family, standing next to the piano.

“The game is afoot.” He arched his eyebrows and grinned, then disappeared.

“I’d better leave.” Her aunt patted Mattie’s shoulder. “Just remember, the girl is uneasy too.”

Opal disappeared.

With a deep breath, Mattie turned and gripped the cold metal knob in her hand.

Soon her home would belong to a stranger, and then what would she do?

Read First Chapter of “Summer’s Growth”

 

Purchase ebook at:

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Make sure to leave a comment for a chance to win one of my ebooks…I’m giving away three from my list of books.

Tina

You Got Game?

billiardcover200x300

Billiard Buddies Blurb: An avid pool table player, Gina has yet to meet her match among her billiard pals. Pete O’Reily, one of the guys she plays against at a local bar, finds someone he thinks will finally give her a challenging game.

     Gina was thrilled she could finally compete with someone who sharpened her skills, but Sean Savage became much more to her after a few games. She started falling in love with Sean who remained loyal to his career-focused girlfriend, Cindy. Gina, having been hurt by a cheating ex-boyfriend, is determined not to cause the same pain to any woman. Because of this, she keeps her feelings for Sean a secret from everyone except her flamboyant cousin Gene and a girlfriend on the other side of the city.

   Without realization, Sean stretches her ability to do this whenever he visits her like she’s one of the guys. Conflict occurs on many fronts: Gina avoids her ex, Hank, who wants to get back together; Sean longs to marry Cindy who spends more time at work than with him; and Gina has a falling out with Sean when he tries to set her up with a friend of his.

Will true love prevail?

Add to Goodreads.

Website: http://cassandraulrich.com/

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Winner

Congratulations to Gladys. Winner of ecopy of book of choice.

Thank you for attending the TRS party on 23 October.

Lacey Roberts

TRS Party Winner

Congratulations to Melissa Crisp. Winner of ecopy of book of choice.

Thank you for attending the TRS party on 23 October.

Susan Horsnell

FIERY POSSESSION – STEAMY HISTORICAL ROMANCE – MARGARET TANNER

An old fashion bodice ripper.  Published by Books We Love.  Leave a comment for a chance to win an e-copy of one of my novels.

American wild west versus Australian frontier

In colonial Australia, a feisty American beauty challenges a rugged frontier man.

Only a fine line divides love and hate, and when the hero and heroine step over it they create a firestorm of passion and betrayal.

http://amzn.com/B00C2JOK6M

EXCERPT:

1860’s North Eastern Victoria, Australia.

“Bloody fool.” Luke Campton stepped forward as the driver hauled in on the reins to pull up the Melbourne stagecoach. The horses’ sides heaved, sweat glistened on their coats and flecks of foam clung to the harnesses. They had been driven hard under the whip. No need for such cruelty. If any Campton employee had showed such little regard for an animal, he would be dismissed.

With any luck the English letter he had been waiting months for would be amongst the mail. He flicked a cursory glance at the young female passenger as she alighted, but when she stepped away from the coach and he could see her full on, he couldn’t take his eyes off her.

What a beauty. A swathe of flame-colored hair had escaped from the confines of her green bonnet and drifted across one milky white cheek. As he gazed into her fiery emerald eyes, his heartbeat escalated. He surveyed her now, making no attempt to disguise his admiration. She had undone the top two buttons on her gown, giving him a tantalizing glimpse of smooth creamy flesh. What he saw he liked.

Tanner-FieryPossession200x300

Jo Saunders returned the tall stranger’s intense gaze. What a splendid specimen of arrogant, proud manhood. His snug fitting brown moleskin trousers accentuated his long legs and strong masculine thighs.

His charcoal grey eyes were bold, assessing. Full, sensuous lips parting into a smile softened his ruthless features. He wasn’t classically handsome. His character-filled face, like the front cover of a well-read book, appeared worn and jaded.

How would it feel to have those hot lips pressed against her own, to taste their fiery passion? Was she mad? The sun must have addled her brain. She shook her head to clear it. Well brought up young women did not think of men in such a wanton fashion. Her genteel mother would have had a fit of the vapors. As for her father, he might have been a military man, but this kind of boldness from his only daughter would be abhorrent to him.

Of course, her nerves were shredded. She had just survived a stagecoach hold up hadn’t she? The driver had driven like a man possessed then dumped her in the middle of nowhere. No wonder she had these wicked fantasies.

“No need to have driven those horses so hard,” the tall man said curtly.

His voice sounded surprisingly well educated, and she nodded her approval. Strong men who cared for the well-being of animals had always appealed to her. And this man made her heart flutter like a bird in a gilded cage.

“Any mail for Luke…”

“I know who yer are.” The driver scowled. “Bloody bushrangers held the coach up near Riley’s Crossing. Damn lucky they didn’t get yer mail.” He pulled a bundle of letters from inside his waistcoat and flicked through them with grubby fingers.

“They stole my money, too,” Jo fumed.

 

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The Eyes Die Last by Teri Riggs

TheEyesDieLast-200x300The Eyes Die Last by Teri Riggs

Buy it today!

The Las Vegas Mayoral race is heating up, and the incumbent doesn’t have a prayer. Wealthy real estate speculator Nick Campenelli, who wants to legalize prostitution in Clark County, and former pastor Louis St. Louis, running on a ‘clean-up-Vegas-by-getting-rid-of-the-whores’ platform, are the front runners.

They’re also front runners on the suspect list for a string of murders. Kennedy O’Brien, four-year detective with cop blood running in her veins, and her partner Wilder “Wild Thing” James, a veteran, are determined to find the man who’s murdering prostitutes who work the wrong side of the street, and they don’t care how important or politically active he is.

The killer is a man with a mission. He stalks the women before he kills them, leaving a “BEFORE” photo on their bodies, and sending an “AFTER” shot to the local news hound. Ed Hershey, an aging newscaster with just the right amount of grey in his hair, is determined to turn this story into a network gig, and his interference, along with the LVTVS legal team, are making Kennedy and Wilder look bad. Campenelli’s good looks and charm, and St. Louis’ vitriolic hatred of prostitutes are muddying the waters too, and now the killer seems to have taken a liking to Kennedy.

“Ms. Riggs did a good job of peppering the setting in the prose for a nice taste of the local flavor.”
–Black Sun Reviews

“A fast paced mystery.”
–Amazon Reader Review

“Kept my interest all the way to the end.”
–Amazon Reader Review

“Would read this author again in a heartbeat.”
–Amazon Reader Reviews

Read the first chapter

Red Hawk’s Woman by Karen Kay

red-hawks-womanRed Hawk’s Woman by Karen Kay

Buy it today!

Their passion is thunder and lightning. Their fate could be a flood of sorrow.

The Lost Clan, Book 3

Red Hawk’s most precious childhood memory is of a single morning with a girl whose beauty seemed lit from within with magic. Now, years later, she could very well hold the key to a centuries-old curse—but when his visions lead him to her again, no recognition lights her eyes.

At age twenty-five, Effie Rutledge has missed her chance for marriage, but the daughter of a renowned archaeologist would rather get her hands dirty on a dig than cleaning up after some man.

She is determined to finish her father’s quest to recover four precious artifacts that could free a lost clan from a half life in the mists, but with her expedition reported as jinxed, there are no guides to be had. Except one tall, enigmatic native who draws her as naturally as water flows to the sea.

Even when memories reconnect, they struggle to trust each other. Worse, their once-in-a-lifetime passion risks the Thunder god’s wrath—and the future of the entire Lost Clan.
This book has been previously published.

Product Warnings

Within the pages of this book is an all-consuming passion, so deep, so sensuous, it might cause you to want to spend the night in a loved one’s arms.

Excerpt:

Copyright © 2014 Karen Kay
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication

Chapter One

An archaeological dig along the Missouri River

Wolf Creek, Montana Territory

Spring, 1850

Eyes wide open, eight-year-old Effie Wendelyn Rutledge quietly flipped over in her makeshift bed, her attention centered on the two adults who were crowded close together. Their voices were hushed as they spoke, quite difficult to hear because of the fire that crackled merrily outside their tent. It caused Effie to concentrate all the harder. Holding her breath, she pulled the covers over her head, remaining as silent as possible. In truth, she feared if she uttered a sound—any sound—she would miss something vital.

On the far side of the tent, Effie’s mother, Alice Rutledge, and her dearest friend, Wilma Owens, reposed in a corner. As Effie peeped out from beneath her covers, she saw that the two women appeared to be dozing, unaware of what was being said.

Beside Effie lay Lesley Owens, a girl four years her senior. Lesley was also asleep, and this fact was odd, since it had been Lesley’s idea to stay up and listen to the adults.

Outside, in the distance, a coyote howled, an owl hooted and the incessant wind wailed through camp, adding more distraction to Effie’s quest in eavesdropping. The wind was another oddity out here, for it never ceased, and the sounds of its gusts reminded her of a person, as though the air itself were alive and conversing in a language all its own.

On that thought, Effie sighed and stared at the darkness beneath the covers. The shadowy vision that met her matched the mood of the night, for the blackness outside their tent lent an atmosphere of foreboding. Perhaps it was because there was no moon.

Though many children might fear the murky aura of evening, not so Effie. This was her family, this her life, and she considered herself as much a student of archaeology as anyone twice her age. Vaguely—if she tried really hard—she could hear her father’s soft voice. She concentrated…

“It happened,” her father, Walter Rutledge, said, “so long ago and is so completely mysterious that no one knows if the legend of the Lost Clan is fact or fable.”

“Yet, you must believe it to be true, Rutledge,” replied John Owens, Effie’s father’s best friend, colleague and Lesley’s father. “Otherwise, we would not be here now.”

“Aye,” agreed Effie’s father. “That I do. As I have already said, a figurine was given to Trent Clark, whom we know was a highly skilled conservator. It was he who restored the piece to its original luster before his untimely death—”

“Only a few years previous, wasn’t it?”

“Aye,” said Rutledge. “That it was.” Walter Rutledge became silent for so long that Effie feared her father might not continue. But in due course, he began again. “Clark not only entrusted the piece to my care, he gave me reason to believe the legend might be true. In particular there was an old Indian whom Clark had interviewed—a man who had lived to see an entire group of people restored to flesh and blood. According to Clark, that old Indian had witnessed a people appear out of a heavy mist.”

“Humph!” said Owens. “Have a care, my friend, where you place your trust, and perhaps your credibility. If you seek my opinion, I believe you are speaking of things too fantastic to be accepted. Legends are good for telling on a dark night such as this, but to put one’s faith in them…”

“That be a bold statement you make. And I am not sure I agree—”

“You must realize,” interrupted Owens, “that as archaeologists, we are interested only in facts, and the Indians embrace all sorts of bizarre ideas, all of them attributable to a supernatural consciousness. Yet what proof do we have that such notions exist?”

Rutledge sighed. “And what proof have we that they do not?”

Owens paused. “Touché,” he offered up at last, but there was a smile in his voice.

After a time, Rutledge must have come to terms with whatever notions Owens was trying to impart, for Effie’s father laughed, then said, “I would ask that you pay me little mind. Perhaps there is a bit of witchcraft in the air this night, and it is this that makes me speak so. For in truth, your arguments against such a thing are sound. Scientifically sound. And yet I cannot help but notice that, though you caution me, you are here with me now.”

Owens hesitated. “Yes, that I am. But after all, I cannot be letting you have this dig all to yourself, now can I?” Once more, there was amusement in Owens’s tone. “I may not believe the legend, but I’d like to, and if there’s any adventure to be had in a dig, you know I will be there with you.” Owens paused a beat. “Do you have the piece with you?”

“No,” said Rutledge. “I have placed it in a sealed box, safely stored away, for it is made not only of quartz, but of solid gold. To be sure, there may be other natural elements occurring in the piece, but if there are, they are not to be seen by the naked eye, and are certainly not in the majority.”

“Who do you suppose made the thing? The Indians?”

“Perhaps. But in my experience, the Plains Indians do not value gold like those people who are to be found way to the south of us, in Mexico.”

“Hmm… Strange.”

“Aye, that it is. I do have a theory, however. Consider this,” said Rutledge. “If the myth is to be believed, then according to legend, it was the Creator who made the images.”

“The Creator? More legend?” Owens let out his breath, as though in disbelief. “My friend—”

“More legend to be sure,” Rutledge continued. “For the Thunderer had four children who were killed. Now, Clark told me on his deathbed that he believed the Creator would not let the children die, but rather placed the spirit of each child into the gold of these rocks, there to await a time when a hero would come forth to gather them up and to place them all together again. There were four in all, and it is said that when the four have come together as a set and when they are given back to the Clan, the Clan will be freed.”

Owens hissed, the sound reminding Effie of a snake. Who was he, thought Effie, to be so rude?

“It’s not really so odd,” continued Rutledge. “The images, after all, look as though they could be the Thunderer’s children. Half bird, half human. And they are intricately made.”

A lengthy silence ensued. After a time, Owens asked, “I think I would like to hear the legend once more, if you would humor me.”

At those words, Effie grinned. This was what she had been waiting to hear. This was why she was still awake, even when her friend was not.

Not daring to move lest she be discovered, Effie settled in to listen. At last she was rewarded, for her father began, “In a time so long ago it has been forgotten, a clan killed the children of the Thunder god. It is said that this act was done because of the Clan’s greed for more food and more power than it would need to simply survive.

“Now, the Thunderer in Native American mythology, you must remember, is an angry god. He is a god of revenge, of sudden death, of lightning and thunder. But he is also a god of bodily lust. And so in retaliation for the Clan’s deed, the Thunderer stole some women from the people, three or four, then began to wage war on the entire tribe. He might have killed all within the Clan too, but for the Creator, who intervened on the people’s behalf.

“‘Nay, they shall not die,’ the Creator had said.” Walter Rutledge’s voice was dramatic and lent the story a believable air. “But though the Creator spared their lives, the Clan was to pay for their murderous crime. And pay they did, with their very existence…their eternity. Thus began the tribe’s plight, for the Creator banished the people to live in a mist, or a very heavy fog. It was an unearthly world, not real or substantial, and the Clan was trapped there, may still be trapped there, neither dead nor alive. But the Creator is nothing if not a god of justice, and he bestowed upon the people a chance to end the curse.”

“Oh? And what is that chance?” asked Owens skeptically.

“It is said that within each generation—about once every fifty years or so—the tribe emerges from the mist that binds them, but only for a single day. However, on that day, a boy is chosen from each band in the tribe. This boy is charged with the duty to go out into the world, to grow up within another tribe so he might learn of the world that is now in existence, so he might have his chance to try to undo the curse.”

“And you believe this? That the Creator,” Owens jeered, “would be putting such a responsibility onto a young lad? It would be quite an undertaking for a youngster, no doubt.”

“Indeed,” said Rutledge, “you are right, especially since the only clue given to each of the boys is that he must show kindness to an enemy, offer help to a foe. Now, many have tried to undo the curse…” Rutledge lowered his voice dramatically, “…but according to the legend, most have died in obscurity, shamed at their defeat.”

Silence ensued after this statement, broken only by the fire’s crackle and sputter. It was some time before Owens spoke up. “How is it so that these few have died in shame?”

“Apparently the chosen boy has only until his thirtieth birthday to reverse the curse. If he has failed in his quest by then, he will live out his life, still flesh and blood, but forever carry the knowledge that he failed his people. Most of those chosen—so goes the story—have died trying.”

Utter quiet followed in the wake of this explanation, and then Owens asked, “Is it so hard to show an enemy mercy?”

“It does seem incredible, does it not? I can only suppose there must be more to the undoing of the curse than simply this, for of course it would appear to be such an easy thing to do. But there is more.”

“More?”

“Aye,” said Rutledge. “I have said nothing about this last, not even to my dear Alice, for I fear that I find it too incredible to be believed.”

“Too incredible for you?”

“It is so.” Again, Rutledge hesitated, and Effie held her breath. Her father, still not knowing of his young audience, went on to say, “My dear friend, Trent Clark, mentioned that the tribe reappears in the flesh for one day about every fifty years—once a generation.”

“So you have said.”

“And if his calculations were correct,” continued Rutledge, “it would be about now that the tribe might reappear.”

“Reappear?”

“Aye, the people would become real again—for only a day. And if that be so, and if we can but see them, talk to them, it would be the first time in history that someone in our world has seen these people. Imagine…the present day coming into personal contact with the living past. Imagine what we might learn.”

Owens let out his breath in a loud slur, which sliced through the air, magnified because of the silence of the night.

Though the action might have been meant to put Rutledge off, it did not have that effect, for Effie’s father continued. “We are here at the right time and in the right place. It could happen.”

Effie caught her breath then placed her hand over her mouth in an ineffective attempt to block out the noise of her gasp. The sputtering of the fire must have hidden her mistake, for the two adults seemed oblivious to anything but their own conversation.

It could happen. The idea was mysterious, and even eight-year-old Effie could envision the outcome, the honor, the excitement of such a thing.

It was a long time before Rutledge spoke again. “Can you imagine what a find it would be to discover those people?”

“Aye,” agreed Owens, “that it would be. But who would believe us…you, might I ask? If the Clan only surfaces once a generation, and then disappears just as quickly?”

“Humph!” replied Rutledge. “Is it so important to be believed? Think for a moment of the opportunity if it were true, think of the questions we might ask those people, the knowledge we might acquire.”

“Yes, it would, indeed, be an unusual find. But we are not here to locate a live people. We are here to determine the past of this place and to find those artifacts. If it is a truth that the Lost Clan comes to light in this location, we will find evidence of it.”

“But, don’t you see? They would be of the past…and of the present.”

Owens snickered.

Effie’s father seemed unaware of his colleague’s displeasure. “Come, and let us go away to our beds. I believe our wives and our children are already fast asleep, and we must be up at the first light. Not only is there the history of a people to uncover, there is a chance we might discover them in the flesh.”

Owens laughed, but it was not one of pleasure. “I cannot say you have convinced me, but I am willing to believe in you, and since you judge that this is so, who am I to refute you?”

“Indeed!”

Effie heard the two men laugh. She could even imagine that they shook hands. Excitement twisted through her young body, making sleep all but impossible.

Turning over, she gazed at Lesley. Too bad the elder girl had missed the story. But Effie felt certain that on the morrow Lesley would taunt her until the entire thing was told.

Maybe she wouldn’t relate it.

The thought made Effie smile, since it was exactly what Lesley would do were their positions reversed. Effie yawned and, with the resilience of youth, soon drifted off to a dream filled with adventure.

To Tame a Highland Earl by Tarah Scott

tscottA man torn between two worlds. Both need him…neither wants him.

Groomed for a life amongst the English aristocracy, Lord Erroll Rushton is unexpectedly thrust back into his father’s Scottish world when the Englishwoman he compromises refuses to marry him.

No gentleman breaks into a lady’s bedchamber…but then, no lady sleeps with a pistol under her pillow.

Miss Eve Crenshaw will marry for love or won’t marry at all. When London’s most notorious rakehell breaks into her bedchamber in the dead of night and compromises her beyond repair, Eve plans a daring escape that shocks even the Earl.

Excerpt—

Eve’s heart leapt into a furious rhythm. The hidey-hole was wide enough to accommodate Lord Rushton’s broad shoulders, and long enough for them to squeeze in together. Nothing more. Eve inhaled a breath, then stopped at his hiss of breath.

“Miss Crenshaw, I will ask you not to move,” he whispered.

Her pulse skipped a bit. “I-I do not hear anything. Maybe they did not come into the room.” Please, God, she prayed. But the moment the prayer passed from her lips, a woman squealed on the other side of the panel.

Eve gasped. Lord Rushton clamped a hand over her mouth. He bent slightly and she felt warm breath wash over her temple as he whispered,

“Careful.”

She nodded—as much in a fervent plea for him to quit touching her as to indicate her understanding. His hand dropped away. A male voice murmured something in the room and Eve wanted to cry. Someone had chosen this room for an illicit interlude. How long would they stay? If she and Lord Rushton were caught, her father would personally escort them to Gretna Green for a quick marriage. But almost worse than that, the heat that radiated off Lord Rushton threatened to melt her on the spot.

The tension in her back was working its way up her shoulders. She shifted. He seized her hips. She jerked and banged her elbow against the wall. He cursed softly. Her heart hammered harder. What was wrong with her? She wasn’t an untried maiden. What she and Blane had done was far worse than being squeezed into a hiding place the size of a rabbit hole. So why did being wedged in with Lord Rushton have her ready to jump out of her skin? The man’s muffled voice was followed by a woman’s moan.

Eve became suddenly aware of the steely bulge pressing against her belly. Her legs weakened and she felt her knees give way. Lord Rushton jammed an arm behind her and caught her by her buttocks.

Eve squeaked and batted at his shoulder. He gave her a shake. She understood the rebuke and buried her face in his chest. The thump of his powerful heart against her chest made her head spin all the faster and she seriously feared she would swoon.

His free arm slid around her shoulders and he stroked her back. Her heartbeat slowed. Despite the pressure of his fingers gripping her buttocks, her panic lowered to a simmer. Then she became aware of his chin resting on her head. The hand beneath her derriere slid upward over the curve of her buttocks in what she almost swore was a caress. A shiver ran up her back. Eve drew in a stuttered breath, and released it when his embrace relaxed. The woman moaned louder and Lord Rushton’s arms tensed. Another moan followed. The man said something indistinguishable.

“More,” came the woman’s hoarse plea.

Eve swallowed against a dry throat. The bulge digging into her stomach seemed to thicken. Was that possible? A grunt sounded from the room.

The man? Eve fisted Lord Rushton’s lapel. Her stomach tightened and an ache began to thrum between her legs. The woman grunted—or had it been the man? Eve’s breath quickened, but it seemed Lord Rushton had become a statue. Then he shifted. Eve instinctually lifted her head. Her head brushed his jaw.

Soft female cries filtered into the hidey hole. Lord Rushton moved and Eve realized he was looking down at her. She became aware of a tiny displacement of air near her face, then his lips nuzzled her temple. A languid shiver slid down her spine. He pressed his warm lips against her cheek and she realized he was going to kiss her. As the thought formed, his mouth covered hers.

Eve’s head swam. She was vaguely aware of the woman’s murmured pleas. Lord Rushton touched his tongue to her lips. Eve gave a small gasp of surprise and his tongue slid inside. His hand skimmed down the curve of her buttocks, then his long fingers cupped her bottom again as he flicked his tongue against her tongue. The rhythm was strange…erotic, and she was startled by the thought of his hips thrusting against hers in tandem with his tongue.

He moved his mouth on hers and she couldn’t repress a tentative thrust of her tongue against his. His fingers squeezed her buttocks and she jerked, digging his member deeper into her flesh. He groaned, the sound deep and masculine. Heat coiled in Eve’s stomach and radiated downward. Lord Rushton’s grasp on her derrière tightened as he undulated his hips and rubbed his rod against her.

It hadn’t been like this with Blane. He had made her feel cared for, feminine, but he hadn’t lit a fire that centered—Eve pushed at Lord Rushton’s chest. His mouth froze on hers. Her heart thrummed in unison with the beat that had taken up residence at the intimate point between her thighs. She had to stop, had to think…

Lord Rushton drew back. Eve collapsed against his chest, and he once again rested his chin on her head. They stood, unmoving, until his heartbeat slowed and Eve became aware of the silence in the room beyond. Had the couple departed? She leaned away from the earl and he straightened. She lifted on tiptoes and pressed her lips to his jaw. He shuddered and she froze. Holy God, she couldn’t reach his ear.

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