Monday, October 10, 2016

First in Series ~Hero in the Highlands by Suzanne Enoch ~ Blog Tour

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“Ye arenae pleasant.” With that she turned on her heel to march up the gravel path between the cottages.

He followed her. “Very well. ‘Pleasant’ is the wrong word. But tell me, Miss Blackstock, have you thought about our kiss? Did you dream about it? I did.”

“If I’d done such a thing, which I didnae, I’d call it a nightmare. Nae a dream.”

“I might believe you,” he returned, not bothering to hide his grin, “if you hadn’t brought me trousers last night.”

“And how is that, precisely?” “Me being unable to dress and leave the bedchamber would have benefited you, according to the nonsense you’ve been spitting in my direction. You did something counter to your own best interest, and in favor of mine.”

“I gave ye the clothes before ye kissed me, if ye’ll recall.”

“I recall every moment. Do you?”

“What do ye—”

“I jumped into the mud to save your life. In return, you sent me into a bog,” Gabriel stated. “And I only came up here in the first place because you threatened murder. I have two other estates with stewards whose letters and accounts seemed perfectly reasonable. I let them be.”

She glanced over her shoulder at him. “I told ye that ye’d have yer figures.”

Most of the women of his acquaintance were camp followers— the occasional officer’s wife, but mainly washerwomen, seamstresses, and the lightskirts who made a living off frightened young lads away from home and facing death. She was nothing like any of them. Every time he set eyes on her he recalled how she’d looked with her muddy muslin clinging to her curves, and he could taste her mouth again.

“You have me interested in different figures,” he returned. “You’re a conundrum.”

“Because I brought ye trousers and I tried to kill ye in a bog? Ye’re a madman.”

Now that amused him. “I don’t mean to insult you, but people far more skilled than you have attempted to murder me, and in far more lethal ways.”

“Aye? What ways?” This time a twinkle danced in her black eyes.

Almost before his mind could grasp the fact that she’d just jested with him, Gabriel stepped forward, nudging her back against the rough cottage wall directly behind her, and held her there with his forearm across her chest. He took her mouth, warm and soft and tasting of tea. And this time he was certain she kissed him back. “You seem more lethal already,” he murmured, teasing at her lips again, then stepping back before she could shove him away. Strategy.

Copyright © 2016 by Suzanne Enoch and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Paperbacks.




Heroine ~ Fiona Blackstock is a very independent and [tough heroine. I liked that about her. I liked the fact that she was older and not your usual innocent miss.  [spoiler]She'd had relations with the gamekeeper in the past.[/spoiler] I didn't like the fact that she lied and betrayed the hero so often and couldn't see past the fact that he was a Sassenach for the LONGEST time. She definitely had a backbone and wasn't afraid to show it, to the hero. [br]

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Hero ~ Major Gabriel Forrester is the "Beast of Busscaco", a commendable war soldier.  I like the fact that he realized very fast that Fiona was a smart, capable woman.  I didn't like [spoiler]that he continued to kiss her after he heard her kiss the gamekeeper. He should have asked straight up if she was with someone before he pursued her.[/spoiler]  He had a hard time adjusting to civilian life and learning to treat his tenants differently then he would treat his soldiers.

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Gabriel is used to leading his soldiers into the trenches.When he discovers he's inherited a dukedom, his plan is to see to his estates and rejoin his men as fast as possible. It takes him more than 60% of the book to realize that as a duke he could not go on with life as before.

Fiona cares deeply for her fellow clansmen and does whatever she can to protect them. I just felt she started off as a strong character, then developed into a whiny, untrustworthy person, until right at the end.

Their relationship seemed more about lust than love throughout the book. I never got the feeling that there was much love between them until it was blinked into existence at the end of the book.  The storyline was great, I just didn't feel enough for the characters to really stick with the book until over halfway through it. Not one of Ms. Enochs best books.

It was great to read a book that had the heroine be the "highlander" and the hero be the "Sassonach".


Be sure and comment below! TWO winners will be chosen at the end of the week to win your own copy of Hero in the Highlands.




Scotland, 1812:

He’s ferocious and rugged to the bone, an English soldier more at home on the battlefield than in any Society drawing room. And when Major Gabriel Forrester learns that he’s inherited the massive Scottish Highlands title and estate of a distant relation, the last thing he wants to do is give up the intensity of the battlefield for the too-soft indulgences of noble life. But Gabriel Forrester does not shirk his responsibilities, and when he meets striking, raven-eyed lass Fiona Blackstock, his new circumstances abruptly become more intriguing.

Like any good Highlander, Fiona despises the English—and the new Duke of Lattimer is no exception. Firstly, he is far too attractive for Fiona’s peace of mind. Secondly, his right to “her” castle is a travesty, since it’s been clan Maxwell property for ages. As the two enter a heated battle of wills, an unexpected passion blazes into a love as fierce as the Highlands themselves. Is Fiona strong enough to resist her enemy’s advances—or is Gabriel actually her hero in disguise?


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Excerpt from Chapter 2 - The meetup

     For a moment she considered going back into the storage room and pulling some more of the strings, after all. Something was bound to frighten him. She’d like nothing better than to see him fleeing shirtless into the night— and only because shirtless meant he’d panicked. Not because he looked fi t and muscular and she hadn’t minded at all taking a gander at him, scars and all. No, that would be ridiculous. Her, thinking carnal thoughts about a Sassenach simply because he thought them about her.


     As she’d said, they needed to make certain that this duke would leave of his own accord and, just as importantly, never wish to return. His arrival had set the household— and the countryside—on its ear, and yes, that seemed to be her fault. She’d decided not to let a nose- in- the- air solicitor order her about, and apparently that had consequences. She should have known better, but no one had bothered to be concerned about Lattimer until the old duke’s death had revealed that his own solicitors hadn’t done their jobs. Her lack of cooperation, though, meant that no one had felt it necessary to inform her either that a new duke had been found, or that he was heading north for a visit.


     First thing in the morning she needed to go speak with Oscar Ritchie. The head groom at least knew of Major Forrester, which was more than she or anyone else she’d encountered could claim. The more information she had, the easier it would be to form a strategy to be rid of the new duke before he could make things worse than they already were. Before he could kiss her again and she forgot how much she was supposed to dislike him.


Finally she shut herself inside her own bedchamber and sank into the chair set before the fi replace. The room sat only four doors down from Lattimer’s, and while she would have preferred to be farther away, this room had been hers since her second birthday— which had coincided with old Lattimer’s exit. Aside from that, she wanted to be close enough to hear if any trouble should raise its head.


     Her mind centered on how to best be rid of this large, troublesome Englishman, and her drifting thoughts swirled about a fresh bullet scar on a muscular arm, an assessing pair of light gray eyes, and a mouth that seemed almost cruel until he grinned. And when he kissed her . . . Now she didn’t know whether to fall asleep and dream about him, or stay awake to think about him all night. Blast it all.


     Gabriel pushed aside the heavy curtains, then stilled with his hands gripping the green, linen- lined silk. “Good God,” he breathed, his bare feet, the chill in the air, the rumbling hunger in his stomach, all forgotten.


     Before him, stretching out over perhaps half a hundred miles, lay the Scottish Highlands. The land directly beyond Lattimer’s formal gardens sloped off gently to the shore of a vast blue lake that curved to the east out of sight beyond a cluster of tumbled ruins on the rocky bank. Trees edged down to the western shore and up the hill beyond, with patches of purple heather and thistle carpeting open meadows. Beyond the lake, rough, rock- tumbled hills lifted into craggy white mountains which stood starkly silhouetted by the rising sun.


    Of all the places he’d been in the world, of all the things he’d seen, this . . . humbled him. Belatedly two things occurred to him: he didn’t know the name of the lake, and most of what he could see belonged to him.


     He’d known since he’d first donned a uniform that he was made for war. The idea of people trying to kill him, the violence, the cold and the heat, the long days of battle and the longer nights of waiting for the battle to come—he relished the things that broke other men. He was accustomed to responsibility and command, but owning land, being responsible for people who carried rakes and hoes rather than muskets and rifles, fell so far out of his realm of expertise he couldn’t even sight it over the horizon.


     Gabriel took a slow breath. He knew battle. And Lattimer had just become his battleground. If he looked at it that way, the castle was his command tent. The Highlands was his battlefield, and the Highlanders were either his troops, or the enemy’s. In the next few days he would have to decide which, and then act based on that fact. As he turned to finish dressing, he caught sight of a lone figure strolling through the garden in the direction of the stables. Even with a heavy coat and a sturdy hat jammed low on her dusky hair, he recognized Fiona Blackstock. From that attire she was either dressed to go riding, or to rob a mail coach. Though the latter would certainly be an interesting twist, he had to assume she meant to trot off somewhere out of his reach.


     Every good victory came with a prize, and she would be his. That didn’t mean, however, that he was going to let her make more trouble while she was here. If she thought riding out early would keep her clear of him or give her the opportunity to gather reinforcements, she didn’t know him at all. In addition, somewhere between the mudhole and the drawing room she’d learned his name, and before he’d given it to her. Someone here knew him, and he needed to figure out who that was. Not because he had anything to hide, but because this campaign looked to be about strategy and leverage. He needed to know who stood on the field of battle.


Copyright © 2016 by Suzanne Enoch and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Paperbacks.

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