BOUND TO THE HIGHLANDER, the award-winning debut novel by Kate Robbins, is out and available for purchase through Amazon.com. Buy it, read it, love it, and write a review so other lovers of Scottish historicals will know what a wonderful book my friend Kate has written.
Kate's blog tour, which starts today at Heart of Fiction, will stop here on October 21, so be sure to come back to read my interview with this talented new author.
Kate, the pen name of Debbie Robbins of St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada, writes historical romance novels out of pure escapism
and a love for all things Scottish, not to mention a life-long
enjoyment of reading romance. Her journey into storytelling began with a
short screenplay she wrote, directed, and produced which was screened
at the 2003 Nickel Film Festival in St. John’s, Newfoundland. She has
also written and directed several stage plays for youth.
Kate loves the research process and delving into
secondary sources in order to give readers the most authentic
historical romance possible. She has traveled to Scotland and has
visited the sites described in her Highland Chiefs series.
BOUND TO THE HIGHLANDER will be the first of three books
set during the early fifteenth century during the reign of James
Stewart, first of his name.
Teasers from the book follow:
Aileana Chattan suffers a devastating loss, then discovers she is to
wed neighboring chief and baron, James MacIntosh--a man she despises
and whose loyalty deprived her of the father she loved. Despite him and
his traitorous clan, Aileana will do her duty, but she doesn't have to
like it--or him. But when the MacIntosh awakens something inside her so
absolute and consuming, she is forced to question everything.
MacIntosh is a nobleman torn between tradition and progress. He must
make a sacrifice if he is to help Scotland move forward as a unified
country. Forced to sign a marriage contract years earlier binding Lady
Aileana to him, James must find a way to break it, or risk losing all --
including his heart.
From the wild and rugged Highlands near
Inverness to the dungeons of Edinburgh Castle, James and Aileana’s
preconceptions of honor, duty and love are challenged at every
Near Inverness, Scotland, April 1430
horse’s scream pierced the air sending a chill down her spine. Brèagha.
Aileana Chattan quit pacing and dashed to the window. Thank God, they
were home at last.
She strained toward the eerie quiet below just
as the procession crested the hill beyond the gatehouse. She was right,
it was her uncle’s horse Brèagha, but the poor beast hobbled as three
men grasped his leather reins and struggled to keep the distressed
animal in check. Bile rose in her throat when she spied the body face
down across its back.
She tore through the hallway, down the
winding stairs and raced out into the courtyard. Cold mud soaked her
feet and her heart pummeled as the somber hunters approached. She looked
to Andrews, her steward, to confirm her fear.
“I’m sorry, lass.” He shifted his weight, but did not look up.
gaze returned to the body. Fiery red hair hung in tangles and pale,
limp hands were red streaked. Shivers coursed through her as she beheld
his unmoving form.
Her uncle, their chief, was dead.
soundless ‘No’ faltered on her lips. Men and horses spun around her,
threatening her balance. She reached out to cling to something.
Anything. Air slipped through her fingers as she stumbled forward.
Andrews caught her the moment her knees buckled.
“I’ve got you, Lady Aileana. Come, we must get him inside.”
He placed one strong arm around her shoulder and kept her moving forward, her feet skimming the ground.
one spoke as they entered the large stone and wooden stable. The
huntsmen pulled her uncle’s body from the horse’s back and laid him at
her feet. She dropped to the ground beside him. The foul stench of
manure filled her nostrils and she fought the urge to retch.
“Why did you bring him in here?” The stable was no place for their chief.
“He ordered us. We had no other way to get the laird’s body home and he wanted us to save Brèagha for you,” Andrews said.
gaze shifted between her uncle’s body and the horse’s wild eyes. She
swallowed the thick knot which had lodged in her throat.
were tracking deer when something spooked him.” Andrews’s voice was low
and grim. “Your uncle’s sword was drawn. They were both injured when
The horse snorted and bobbed his head up and down.
Aileana stood to view his injuries better. A deep gash oozed jagged
crimson lines down his flank, pooling at his hoof. She moved to
Brèagha’s side and buried her fingers in his mane. His coat was covered
with a sheen of sweat.
“Dear God, you won’t see week’s end.” She must save him. “Andrews?”
“Get Argyle’s surgeon,” Andrews said. The stable hand took off to do his bidding.
wasn’t much she could do for the faithful beast, but she had to try.
Uncle Iain had wanted it. Aileana returned to kneel by her uncle’s side
and brushed a lock of red, matted hair from his brow. She gathered his
limp hand into hers and searched for any remaining hint of life, but
there was none. Aileana closed her eyes, spilling tears onto her cheeks.
pictured the two of them walking through the glen with the heather
splashed mountains all around. She had loved his tales of legends and
victories and could feel warm air caressing her skin and fluttering her
skirts. He smiled, giving her all the comfort she needed.
grunt brought her back to the present and her eyes flew open. In this
story, there was no victory. Her velvet gown was no protection from the
cold, uncaring earth beneath her, and the image of Uncle Iain and the
colorful mountains faded to gray.
The men, her men, encircled
her. They waited for her signal to move the body to his room for
cleansing. Blood pounded in her ears as she struggled to do what she
must, though she hated to release his hands. She cried out when she
tried to fold them across his breast, but they slipped to the ground.
me help, m’lady.” Andrews’ strong, weathered fingers covered hers and
together they laid her uncle’s hands across his chest. Andrews pulled
her up and held her close. His strong arms tightened around her,
reassuring her as she tried to contain her grief.
“Move him,” Andrews said. “Now.”
Thank God for Andrews. He didn’t want his chief laying in filth any more than she did. The men nodded and encircled him.
“What’s this?” The familiar voice boomed from the doorway. “What’s happened?”
Chattan scanned the stable until his gaze landed on the body. His tall,
thin frame was a silhouette against the gray sky and his expression was
masked, even as he lifted his eyes to meet hers.
“The laird is dead,” Andrews said.
His words pierced her. This was really happening.