BOOK BLURB: Lottie Livingstone bears the weight of an island on her shoulders. Under threat of losing their home, she and her clan take to the seas to sell a shipload of illegal whiskey. When an attack leaves them vulnerable, she transforms from a maiden daughter to a clever warrior. For survival, she orchestrates the siege of a rival’s ship and now holds the devilish Scottish captain Aulay Mackenzie under her command.
Tied, captive and forced to watch a stunning siren commandeer the Mackenzie ship, Aulay burns with the desire to seize control—of the ship and Lottie. He has resigned himself to a life of solitude on the open seas, but her beauty tantalizes him like nothing has before. As authorities and enemies close in, he is torn between surrendering her to justice and defending her from assailants. He’ll lose her forever, unless he’s willing to sacrifice the unimaginable…
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She sank onto a chair, suddenly aware of the heaviness that pervaded every limb, exhaustion settling in. She crossed her arms on the table, lay her head down on them and closed her eyes…but visions of the day plagued her mind’s eye.
It was a catastrophe—there could be no other word that would adequately describe it. It had really begun a fortnight ago, in the early evening of Sankt Hans, the annual celebration of midsummer. The Livingstone clan had been preparing for a play, one written and produced by Duff. Duff fancied himself quite the actor, and he’d rallied a few members of the clan to join his theatrical troupe. There were six of them set to perform when they heard the warning horn from Old Donnie. He lived on the tip of the island just across the loch from Port Appin, and it was his job to sound the horn if anything or anyone should come to the island.
Everyone had frantically begun to gather up incriminating whisky jugs. “What of the play?” Duff had wailed unhappily.
It just so happened that Lottie’s horse, Stjerne, was still saddled from her participation in the pony races, and when she saw Norval and Bear Livingstone leap to their horses, she joined them. It was the way of things on Lismore—she was always in the thick of things.
She’d not been the least surprised to find Laird Campbell, his periwig tightly curled and overly powdered, skulking among the rabbits. It wasn’t his first attempt to find the stills. Naturally, Mr. Edwin MacColl, the chief of the clan who inhabited what the Livingstones considered to be the good side of their island, would accompany him.
Lottie had always liked Mr. MacCollas long as he stayed on his end of the island. He was a widower, his children grown and married with children of their own. He was older than Lottie’s father, but still had a broad chest and thick, snowy brows that slid up when he smiled wistfully at Lottie as he was wont to do.
But his visits to the north end had become all too frequent of late, and quite recently, he’d suggested to Bernt that Lottie might make him a good wife. “I’ve a nice house for her to keep, plenty of food for the table,” he’d suggested, apparently considering these two facts to be his better points of persuasion.
Lottie had not been surprised by the offer. Frankly, on an island where unmarried lassies were not plentiful, every man seemed to believe himself her perfect match, just as her mother had predicted, God rest her soul.
Her mother had warned Lottie of her allure to males. “You’re a beauty, lass, and men are drawn to beauty to their own detriment like moths to light, aye? You must no’ allow them to turn your head with bonny words and empty promises. You must be diligent in seeking the man who honors you for your heart and no’ your face, then, do you understand me? And beware your own father, lass—aye, he loves you, more than life, he does, but he’s easily persuaded by the promises of others.”
Julia is the recipient of the RT Bookclub Award for Best Historical Romance and a six-time finalist for the prestigious RITA award for excellence in romantic fiction. To keep up with all the Julia London news, please visit her on her social media sites.