We are so excited to share with you an exclusive excerpt from Heather McCollum’s new novel, The Highland Outlaw, out now!
About The Highland Outlaw:
Shaw Sinclair, chief of the outcast clan of Sinclairs of Caithness in northern Scotland, has made a deal with the devil. Despite his strength and lethal skills, he needs help—specifically from a woman—to accomplish his mission to bring a bairn to safety to the coast. When he meets the brave and beautiful Alana Campbell at a Samhain Festival, he decides she’s the one. Alana Campbell is ready to show the world she’s just as skillful with a sgian dubh as any man. Attracting the attention of the brawny chief who coerces her to join him on his journey to the coast of Scotland gives her that very opportunity. Sparks flash between them as they’re forced to act as husband and wife to accomplish the deadly mission. However, when secrets threaten to tear them apart, they have to decide if their differences outweigh the reality of their feelings…
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A man dressed in bright colors and a pointed hat ran about, reminding Shaw of Mungo’s jester act. The man held a pole with a string off the end, dangling a ball of mistletoe and berries. He leaped toward them, and Shaw picked up the pace, nearly dragging Alana and Rose along.
“You are going to draw attention to us,” she said out of the side of her mouth, a tightness in her smile.
“Kiss the lass,” the jester called, his voice loud. Shaw glanced up and saw him holding the kissing ball over Alana’s head. Mo chreach. “’Tis tradition at weddings. Go ahead.”
Gazes were beginning to turn toward them. If he didn’t kiss her, they would surely cause even more of a spectacle.
“A lush one for yer lush wife,” the jester demanded. “For giving ye a wee bairn.”
“Aye, on the lips,” another man said, lifting his mug of ale in a gesture of good health. “Sláinte!”
He looked at Alana and saw a gentle blush stained her cheeks. “Kiss me,” she whispered.
Och, she was lovely, the sun glinting off her fresh hair and smooth skin as she looked up at him. With the bairn nestled snuggly on his arm, he pulled her close. She pressed her body up against him and tipped her face up to his, her lips slightly parted. Her long lashes lowered to close, her whole countenance open and wanting his kiss, even if it was a complete farce. His hand came up to cup her cool cheek, and he lowered down to meet her lips, kissing her.
A heat roared up within him, making his muscles tighten, his fingers itching to thread through the silky waves of her hair. In those few seconds, oaths melted away under the taste of her, sweetness and gingerbread spice and something more, something completely Alana. Convictions and truths, right and wrong, strategies and intricate plans dissolved away with the feel of her cheek in his palm and the gentle press of her lips on his.
A smattering of applause brought him back, and the kiss ended. Alana remained close, and their foreheads leaned into one another. “Shaw,” Alana whispered. He held his breath, waiting for her next words.
A hard bump jarred his arm, and Shaw jerked his head up to see Alistair smiling at him, though his eyes were narrowed. “Pardon me,” he said loudly. “Did not see ye.” He held a tankard of ale and pulled Alana’s mare behind him. What the hell was he doing out in the open? Even though he wore a felt hat down over his tattooed forehead, he still had a memorable swagger and caustic tongue.
“Why?” was all Shaw had to say, his voice low. The man, despite his apparent infatuation for Alana, wouldn’t ignore Shaw’s order to stay out of town without a reason.
Alistair made a small flourish with his tankard and bowed his head to Alana. “Pardon, milady.” With his face turned toward the ground, he continued in a whisper, “English soldiers, eight of them with muskets, on the outskirts of town. I didn’t get a good look at them.”
Damn. Was Major Dixon leading them?
About the Author:
Heather McCollum is an award-winning, historical romance writer. She currently has twenty published novels and is an Amazon Best Selling author. She is a 2015 Readers’ Choice winner and a member of Heart of Carolina Romance Writers.
The ancient magic and lush beauty of Great Britain entranced Ms. McCollum’s heart and imagination when she visited there years ago. The country’s history and landscape have been a backdrop for her writing ever since.
When she is not creating vivid characters and settings, she spends her time educating women on the symptoms of Ovarian Cancer. She has recently slayed the cancer beast and resides with her very own Highland hero and three spirited children in the wilds of suburbia on the mid-Atlantic coast.