First of all, thanks to everyone who came out for the booksigning yesterday. Shayla and I had a great time meeting all of you :)
Today's guest, Mary Wine, is kind of a Renaissance woman-- she can do just about everything. Not only is she a talented writer, but she is the MOST amazing costume designer I have ever been lucky enough to meet. Seriously, her period costumes are absolutely incredible. Anyway, she's here today to talk about her newest book, In the Warrior's Bed-- and isn't that a fabulous cover???? Make sure to comment-- she's giving away two copies to two lucky winners!
In this irresistible follow-up to her captivating debut, In Bed With a Stranger, Mary Wine revisits the McJames clan–their loves, their battles, their conquests…
Cullen McJames will not have his honor sullied, certainly not by his clan’s nemesis Laird Erik McQuade. So when McQuade tells the Court of Scotland that Cullen has stolen his daughter’s virtue, Cullen steals the daughter instead.Since his brother wed a fetching lass, Cullen’s been thinking he too needs a wife. A marriage could end the constant war between the clans. And looking on Bronwyn McQuade but once has put her in his dreams for a week…
But Bronwyn won’t go quietly. She won’t be punished for what she did not do. Nor is she eager to live among the resentful veterans of McQuade wars. And however brave and beautiful a man Cullen may be, he has much to learn about a woman’s fighting spirit. But as Bronwyn will discover, he has much to teach her as well.
He was, too. It stunned her, such caring from a man her father called enemy. There was honest sincerity in his eyes and it made him far more attractive than she’d already decided he was. It was so tempting to sink into that feeling and allow it to wrap around her. But how did she trust this man who had hauled her away from her family? She was his prize, nothing more.
“I won’t marry ye.” It was the only threat she held.
His eyes narrowed when her words hit him.“Then ye’ll watch our first child be baptized a bastard.”
Bronwyn gasped. She reached out before her stunned mind started working again, her hand delivering a sharp slap to his arrogant face. The sound was startling in the quiet room, but Cullen grinned at her, sending her temper into a full blaze again.“That is a mean-hearted thing to say to a woman. It’s the mother that is called slut when a babe is born out of marriage.”
“Is that so?” His expression was guarded.
“And yet I am the one saying that we should marry now, afore our child is conceived.” He paused, running his eyes down her length to pause on her flat belly. “If ye refuse me, ye’ll have no one save yerself to blame when the gossips call ye a scarlet woman.”
Her eyes narrowed. The man was far too cunning, but she refused to be trapped by his scheme. “I am no planning on having yer child. Why do ye think I refused to tell ye my name? I am no interested in ye. Not a bit.”
She propped her hands on her hips, making a stand that she couldn’t truly back up. If the man was of the mind to force himself on her, there was little she might do to stop him. A twinge of something that felt like disappointment pierced her heart. She didn’t want to think of Cullen as a man who would rape her. Which was ridiculous. The man had kidnapped her. She had no reason to think highly of him. Better to expect the worst; it would hurt less that way.
“No a bit?” His lips twitched, rising into another grin that annoyed her. “Well now, it seems to me that ye were blushing back on that hillside. Just like ye are now.”
She covered her cheeks with her hands and they were hot. “It is nae more than my temper.”
“’Tis much more.”
He reached out in a motion so fast she stumbled trying to avoid his hand. She straightened up against the wall, any further retreat impossible, and his arms plenty long enough to span the distance between their bodies. His hand pushed her loose, flowing chemise flush against her body. But he did it with absolute control. There was no bite of his superior strength, only perfectly applied pressure. He cupped one breast, his thumb gliding across the hard point of her nipple.
“If ye are nae interested, why is yer nipple hard?” His opposite hand pressed flat against the wall behind her, caging her between his arms.
The knowledge that he could handle her more roughly held her in place to preserve the small distance he granted her. She stiffened as his thumb rubbed her nipple. Never once had she believed that so small a touch, so tiny a contact between two people, might spark such a torrent of sensation. It flooded her, shaking her with its intensity.
“I am cold, ye daft man. Ye stole me in my chemise.” And she was a liar, god forgive her.
“I’ve noticed that, fair Bronwyn. ‘Tis the truth that I’ve enjoyed the sight of ye.” His lips formed a sensuous expression that was sinfully carnal. “It kept me alert all night long knowing how bare ye were beneath that McJames kilt.”
“Exactly the sort of thing a blackard would say. Have ye no decency?” She sounded too desperate for her taste but she was running short on reasons to deny him. Her life at Red Stone was nothing so wonderful. A ragged breath shook her, warm delight flowing through her. It was for sure that no man wearing her father’s colors had ever made her blush
.“I’m not the one refusing to wed. I believe most would say that I’m behaving correctly by insisting that we go to church and marry. Before temptation gets the better of us both.”
He chuckled, leaning closer. She felt the brush of his breath against her lips now and her mouth went dry. His lower lip quivered in anticipation, her gaze lowering to his mouth as she wondered what his kiss would be like.“It will be my pleasure to help ye warm up.”
His voice was husky and dark with promise. His thumb moved once more across the top of her nipple. The hand on the wall moved, capturing the back of her head, his fingers threading through the strands of her unbound hair. Her hands sprang up between them, pushing against the hard wall of his chest. He took her mouth, sealing her gasp inside. He tasted her lower lip with the tip of his tongue before invading her mouth. The hand on the back of her head held her in place while he tilted his to the side so that their lips met.
She jerked in his embrace, out of sheer surprise. There were too many signals rushing through her, too many sensations to understand. When her back left the wall, his hand slid smoothly around her body. Her skin hummed with enjoyment, everywhere he held her. Beneath her hands, she felt the steady beat of his heart. Her fingertips joined her lips in discovering a bounty of pleasurable sensations that she’d never experienced before.
His lips pressed hers open, demanding a deeper intimacy while he pulled her up against his body. Heat flared through her. She twisted, attempting to understand why she liked his kiss so much. Her body urged her to return it, move her mouth in unison, to taste him.A soft moan got past their joined lips.She was leaning back against the wall again a moment later. Cullen’s hands pressed flat on either side of her head, imprisoning her without touching her.
A dangerous look flickered in his eyes, one that reminded her of a predator that needed only one move from her to trigger the instinct to pounce.But he was breathing as hard as she was. She placed a hand on his chest before thinking about it, acting on the impulse. Her fingertips pressing against his warm skin and feeling the hard beat of his heart.His blue eyes captured her gaze, locking and searching her eyes for a long time. Her heart slowed down from its frantic pace, but not all the way to normal.
Excitement still pulsed through her, triggered by the scent of his skin.She liked it…the way he smelled. Shocking, mysterious, and slightly overwhelming, but there was no denying that she found it attractive. The flare of hunger in his gaze mesmerized her. Her pride enjoyed knowing that she aroused him.
“Will ye marry me, Bronwyn McQuade?”His voice was husky and rough. It tempted her with that edginess because the part of her that had lamented never having a husband, wanted to say yes.
But she refused to be another blow in a feud. It would be nothing but a way to strike at her sire, and her father would use it as an excuse to shed blood. Possibly Cullen’s blood. Pain nipped at her heart. The frustration of her entire life ripping and tearing at her conscience. There were no good choices, only ones that would hurt others.
“Ye have stolen me, and that is no way to begin a marriage.” He snarled softly at her, his fingers curling. But she refused to take back her words.
Wow! Pretty hot, hmm? Makes me want to head back to the bookstore yet again ... Question of the Day: Mary's book took me back to the first romance novel I ever read, Highland Velvet by Jude Deveraux, whose main character was also named Bronwyn. So tell me, what was the first romance novel you can remember reading?