I had the privilege of meeting Lucy and her wonderful family this past September at RAW, and can I just say that she is one of the most lovely people I've ever met. She's smart, funny (with a wicked sense of humor) and also incredibly nice. Add to that the fact that she writes the most interesting books and I am totally sold. So, with no further ado, help me welcome Lucy to Love Musings. The prize today is a copy of Moon Craving and a goody bag from Lucy's closet to go along with it :)
If it were up to him, Talorc—laird of the Sinclair clan and leader ofhis werewolf pack— would never marry. But when the king orders that Talorc wed an Englishwoman, the lone wolf is shocked to find his mate in the strong-willed Abigail. And after an intensely climactic wedding night, the two fiercely independent souls sense an unbreakable bond…
Deaf since childhood, Abigail hopes to keep her affliction from Talorc as long as possible. And for his part, he has no intention of telling her about being a werewolf. But when Abigail learns that the husband she’s begun to love has deceived her, it will take all of his warrior’s strength—and his wolf’s cunning—to win his wife back. And Talorc will have to face his biggest challenge yet: the vulnerability of a man in love…
Book dedication: For all of the readers who asked and emailed about this book. Your enthusiasm for this world and desire to read the next story blessed me so much. Hearing from you helped me to keep working on it even when so many other things were vying for my attention. And I thank you! I sincerely hope Talorc and Abigail’s story is worth thewait. It was a very special story for me to write and one that I hope connects with all your hearts!~ Hugs and blessings, Lucy
“Is it war then?” The grizzled old Scott, Osgard, asked his laird.
Barr, second in command to their powerful leader, frowned. “On our own king?”
The temptation to say yes was great. Talorc, Laird of the Sinclairclan and alpha to his Chrechte pack, had to clamp his jaw tight to keep the word from coming out. It would serve David right. Talorc had no doubt that if he ordered them to, his clan would go to war against the king still disputed as ruler over all Scotland by many Highlanders.
In the Highlands, at least, first loyalty still went to clan leader, not the king. Where would that leave the “civilized” king then?But the man raised by Normans in that hellhole to their south, was a friend. Despite the Sassenach influence, Talorc respected King David,when few men earned that honor.
“Was it not enough he sent you one English bride, that he now sends you another?” Osgard asked, his aged voice still strong enough to express his fury.
“He has no plans to send this one,” Barr said.
As if Talorc didn’t already know the details of the damn message. “No,he expects me to travel to England to wed this woman.”
“’Tis an outrage,” Osgard growled.
Barr nodded. “An offense you canna take lightly.”
“According to the messenger, ‘twas both King David and England’s king who took offense you did not marry the first Englishwoman,” Guaire,Talorc’s seneschal, quietly inserted, earning himself a sulfuric glare from Osgard.
The old man who had stood in Talorc’s father’s stead as advisor since his death, deliberately turned so Guaire was no longer in his line ofsight. “Some might care about offense to the Sassenach king, but there are those of us that know better than to trust the English. Especially one who seeks to be wife to our laird.”
“I am concerned about neither king’s displeasure, but merely point out that they were offended first and that might explain our own king’s unpleasant request.” Guaire stood his ground, but it was clear the young soldier was bothered by Osgard’s comment.
Osgard harrumphed and Barr kept his own council, but Talorc nodded.“No doubt. I had no intention of marrying the Englishwoman Emily and‘tis clear my overlord realized that after the fact.”
“You did not go to war when the Balmoral took and kept her,” Barr said.
“A Chrechte does not go to war over the loss of a Sassenach,” Osgard spit out, disgust lacing every word.
Guaire frowned. “The Balmoral would.”
Osgard spun to face the younger warrior and would have knocked him to the ground but another warrior’s hand stayed him. The big, battle scarred Chrechte stared impassively at the old man. As big as Talorc’s second in command, Barr’s twin, Niall, could intimidate without effort. His hard features were made more imposing by the scars that marred the left side of his face.Killing a Chrechte was no easy task, but Niall had almost died in thes ame battle that had claimed his older brother Sean, Talorc’s formerfirst in command and brother-in-law.
Osgard flinched, even though no threat had been spoken from the massive warrior. Talorc had to bite back amusement. Little intimidated the old Scot,but Niall did it without effort. In fact, besides himself, the only other member of the Sinclair clan that did not tremble in Niall’s presence was his twin, Barr.
Opening and closing his mouth like a fish, Guaire stared with wideeyes at Niall and Osgard.
“I see you decided to join us,” Barr said to his twin.
“I heard a messenger from the king had arrived.”
“You heard correctly,” Talorc replied.
“What did he want this time?” Niall asked, as if demands from Scotland’s monarch came frequently.
“You can release my arm,” Osgard groused.
“You will not hit the boy.”
“He insulted our laird,” Osgard said.
“I am not a boy,” Guaire said at the same time and then when he realized what Osgard had said, he puffed up with offense.
“I did no such thing.”
Niall released Osgard’s arm, but stepped between the old man and the young red-headed warrior. “Our Guaire would no more insult our laird than betray him.”
“He said our leader was not as strong as the Balmoral.”
“I didn’t!” Guaire’s face flushed with his own fury. Niall looked inquiringly at Talorc. “Were you offended, laird?”
“There. See?” Guaire crossed his arms, edging away from Niall toward Barr.
The lines around Niall’s mouth tightened, but he said nothing at the telling action.
Guaire said, “I merely referred to the fact that the Balmoral had found benefit in his English wife and our laird could as well. After all, she is Emily’s sister.”
Aye, the Balmoral had found a mate to his wolf in the English human.She had recently given birth to their first child. A daughter. Talorc actually felt pleasure for them, though he could not imagine why. The Balmoral was a pain in the ass. But a strong Chrechte warrior all the same.
“Our laird will not be stepping foot onto English soil to be wed,”Osgard said with pure conviction.
“Nay, I won’t.” Talorc turned to Guaire. “You will write a message to the king for me.”
“Tell him I will wed the Sassenach as requested, but will do so on the soil of our homeland. I will travel south through MacDonald land, they are our allies.”
“Yes, laird. Anything else?”
“I will accept the land bordering the Donegal clan that has been in dispute these years past and the other dowry items he offered to provide, but will require an additional twenty drums of mead and twenty shields, twenty helmets, ten swords and ten poleaxes in payment for taking the English bride.”
“What need have we of shields and helmets?” Osgard asked, though it was clear he approved Talorc requiring a bigger dowry of his king to marry the Sassenach.
“Not all our warriors are Chrechte,” Talorc reminded his aged advisor. Some, indeed the majority of their clan, were human. They did not have the power of the wolf to protect them in battle, or the ability to change into the beast. Only the Chrechte had those abilities and their dual nature was a closely guarded secret. Though they made no secret of the truth they saw themselves as superior warriors.
Human treachery could undermine Chrechte strength though. MacAlpin’sbetrayal of the Chrechte people was still fresh in most of theirminds, though it had taken place in the last century. Other wounds were more fresh, like the treachery of Talorc’s stepmother, the human Tamara. She had betrayed his father and the entire Sinclair clan. Her machinations had resulted in many deaths, both human and Chrechtealike, Talorc’s father and brother among them.
The fact that she had brought about her own death as well did not assuage Talorc’s fury or his grief. ‘Twas not a thing Talorc was likely to forget. Ever. He could almost pity the human Englishwoman chosen as his bride because of it.
Ooh, I love me some shapeshifters. Actually, I love pretty much all paranormals in general. So for the Question of the Day, tell me this: What's your favorite kind of paranormal? Witches, shifters, vampires, fairies, or something else? I write dragons and my first Young Adult, Rip Tide, is a mermaid book, so I'm really partial to shifters. But I love witches too ... Comment for a chance to win a copy of Moon Craving.