Blurb: New York Times bestselling author Hannah Howell brings back the daring Murray family in a brand-new tale of dangerous love rekindled. . .
Lady Annys MacQueen has no other choice. The deception that enabled her to keep her lands safe is on the verge of being revealed by a cruel kinsman. To shield her young son from the sword and her people from devastation, she must turn to the one man she could never forget. . .
He lives for duty and honor. So the only way Sir Harcourt Murray could repay the laird who saved his life was to agree to father a child with Sir MacQueen's wife. . .Lady Annys. Now the passion he still feels for the lovely strong-willed widow is as all-consuming and perilous as securing her lands. But to convince her that his love is forever real means confronting her most wrenching fears--and putting everything they treasure most at stake.
“So what is this danger ye fear is stalking Glencullaich, m’lady?”
Harcourt relaxed in his seat, his belly pleasantly full of good food, and sipped at the strong wine he had been served. He could see that his abrupt question had startled her, but only for a moment. She recovered her composure with an admirable quickness. There was now a look in her eyes that told him she was very carefully considering her reply as she signaled a young page to take Benet from the hall. He wondered what she wanted to hide. Or why she would bother to hide anything. She had sent for him after all.
“Did Ian nay tell you?” she asked and clasped her hands together in her lap in what she prayed appeared to be a stance of complete calm.
“Not in much detail, nay. Ye have someone troubling you with petty intrusions, thefts, and some threats. Since such things could be seen to weel enough by the men ye have here, I am thinking ye fear the trouble will soon grow far more severe.”
Out of the corner of her eye she saw Joan wave away the women who had slipped back inside the hall and was pleased to see them go. Her people were increasingly uneasy. The things she had to discuss with Sir Harcourt would only make them more so.
“Our trouble has a name,” Annys said. “Sir Adam MacQueen, cousin to my late husband and a man who would have been the heir to Glencullaich if David had had no son.”
“But David did have a son.” Harcourt was not surprised at how difficult it was to calmly name David as Benet’s father.
“Adam doesnae accept Benet as David’s son. He doesnae believe a woman should be acting as laird here, either. It is his loudly stated opinion that the lad needs a mon to tend to his inheritance. That is, if the lad actually has one. Adam believes he should tend Benet even as he tries to prove Benet is nay the heir yet doesnae see why that is ridiculous. I am nay sure his opinion on who should be acting as the laird here would change e’en if he finally has to accept that Benet is David’s heir and naught will change that. Naught will change his mind that it is wrong for a lass to act as a laird either.”
Harcourt shrugged. “A complaint we have heard before,” he said and his men nodded. “’T’will get the mon nowhere. Did David nay name some mon to stand for ye then?”
“He named Nicolas Brys as his second several years ago,” she replied and nodded to the man seated on her right. “Then, when David began to grow so ill, an illness he couldnae shake free of, he named Nicolas as the mon he wished to oversee the protection of Glencullaich as weel as Benet. He also stated the wish that it be Nicolas who trained Benet in all a laird must ken to be strong enough to protect his lands and people.”
“And Sir Adam disagrees with that as weel?”
Annys nodded. “Quite vehemently. At first he attempted to have Nicolas removed but that did not work. It is verra difficult to get the courts to ignore the stated and witnessed last words of a laird. E’en those in power who leaned to Sir Adam’s side didnae want to do that for they wouldnae want anyone to think it could be done to their wishes after they are gone. After that failed, he made the claim that Benet wasnae David’s true son. He hasnae succeeded with that, either.” Although she hated to reveal Sir Adam’s latest game, Annys knew she had to tell Harcourt everything. “He now spreads the tale that I killed David.”
The way the men all grew still and stared at her made Annys both angry and embarrassed. It was hurtful enough that not everyone Adam voiced his accusation to had shrugged it aside as nonsense. She did not like to think that these men, ones who had come to help her, might now be suspicious of her. It embarrassed her to repeat Adam’s false accusations. It angered her that anyone would even briefly consider that such accusations might be true, and that anger grew stronger every day. Unfortunately, so did her fear that Adam may have finally found a way to be rid of her and take Glencullaich, perhaps even be rid of her son for, as a convicted murderer, she would not live long.
Available for purchase at: Amazon
About the Author: Hannah D. Howell is a highly regarded and prolific romance writer. Since Amber Flame, her first historical romance, was released in February 1988, she has published 25 novels and short stories, with more on the way. Her writing has been repeatedly recognized for its excellence and has "made Waldenbooks Romance Bestseller list a time or two" as well as was nominated twice by Romantic Times for Best Medieval Romance (Promised Passion and Elfking's Lady). She has also won Romantic Times' Best British Isles Historical Romance for Beauty and the Beast; and, in 1991-92 she received Romantic Times' Career Achievement Award for Historical Storyteller of the Year.
Hannah was born and raised in Massachusetts (the maternal side of her family has been there since the 1630's). She has been married to her husband Stephen for 28 years, who she met in England while visiting relatives, and decided to import him. They have two sons Samuel, 27, and Keir, 24. She is addicted to crocheting, reads and plays piano, attempts to garden, and collects things like dolls, faerie and cat figurines, and music boxes. She also seems to collect cats, as she now has four of them, Clousseau, Banshee, Spooky, and Oliver Cromwell.
Be sure to visit Hannah at: Website