Category Archives: Scotland

#SEWES2016 ~ Sept 25 – Broughty Ferry to Glasgow

#SEWES2016

Sept 25 – Broughty Ferry to Glasgow

Our last full day in Scotland… 🙁 So sad. After we checked out of the hotel and packing our suitcases so we thought they were of reasonably equal weight, and as few packages as possible once we dropped off the rental car, we struck out.

I knew we’d forfeit some diesel but we’d be between a quarter tank and empty if we took the most direct route. With our experiences with rental cars on this trip, I didn’t want to run out and be stuck waiting for roadside assistance to come with a jerry can to give us a drop.

I remember seeing this tower on the cliff on my first trip to Scotland in 1993 when I took the bus from Glasgow to Aberdeen. Back then I was petrified to drive so close to a big city on my own.

Sept 25
Kinnoull Tower on the cliff (centre of the photo)

I stopped at many laybys (parking areas) along the A90 between Dundee and Perth where we switched onto the A9 after a brief stint on the M90.

We were both to the point where we needed toilets so when we saw the signs for Dunblane (which were clearly posted WC – aka water closet) along with the Historic Scotland signage for Dunblane Cathedral, we decided to make that our ‘port of call’.

Following the signs for the “WC” we drove into the village. Said signs became more and more obscure. A public car park was located off a narrow street near the cathedral – still used as a working church. No matter how bad I need the loo, I couldn’t pass up this photo op.

Sept 25
Dunblane Cathedral

We walked back to where the signs for the public toilets pointed. The council office which was closed on Sundays. ACK! I spotted an older woman across the street so approached her and asked where the public bathrooms were. “There are no public toilets in Dunblane anymore,” she replied.

Panic! We both needed a toilet badly.

“But, go up the street to the cathedral and off to the left. Use the toilets there.”

If I didn’t have to go so bad, I would have hugged and kissed her. We strode up to the hall but chose the wrong entrance so had to navigate through the church crowd who had gathered after Sunday service. We didn’t make the same error when we left.

Sept 25
Dunblane Cathedral
Sept 25
Dunblane Cathedral

We dropped Monty off at the convenient Europcar rental return (across the road from the hotel) with his proper paperwork. A bit more complicated than on previous car rental returns but we got through and sent on our way. The collision damage waiver (CDW) and roadside assistance looked after our woes from earlier.

We arrived back at the airport hotel before the 2:00 pm check-in time but our room was ready and off we went. 8th floor and a view of the planes landing on one side and the M8 motorway on the other.

Sept 25
Glasgow Airport from our hotel room
Sept 25
Plane landing in the approaching storm
Sept 25
Rainbow
Sept 25
Clearing up a bit?
Sept 25
Airport activity

Before we both crashed and burned, we went for a walk around the airport complex past the Holiday Inn Express, the Europcar rental return (no sign of Monty) and back to the hotel.

We had a meal in the bar at the hotel where we’ve had excellent service in the past. This time not so much but the food was good.

After returning to our room, I took advantage of the twilight and got some more photos.

Sept 25
The M8 motorway from our hotel room
Sept 25
Plane landing at dusk

Leaving tomorrow would be hard. Since leaving Broughty Ferry I tried to come up with every excuse I could think of to stay.

We double-checked the weight of our bags so come morning when we had to put our last night/morning things away we knew,  what suitcase to put them in.

Breakfast tomorrow at Beardmore (hopefully, still in business) then people and plane watch while we wait to board.

 

#SEWES2016 ~ Sept 21 – Temple Sowerby to Kelso

#SEWES2016

Sept 21 – Temple Sowerby to Kelso

We decided that when we left Temple Sowerby this morning, we would attempt to visit  The Devils Porridge Museum in Eastriggs one more time. We weren’t far away and had plenty of time before we needed to arrive at Duncan House in Kelso.

My computer scared me bad. I mean scared me real BAD. When I shut down my laptop this morning, Windows 10 decided it needed to download and install updates. You can prevent it from happening, but I didn’t know how at the time. I chose install and restart. Except it didn’t restart. It went through the motions and it looked like the days of DOS or a Linux system starting up. We’re talking command line code happening… until it froze.

I froze in panic! The computer had to be turned off at some point for travelling, so pressed the power button until it shut down. I turned it back on and the same thing happened all over again. Visions of taking it in to the store I bought it from when I got home flashed through my mind. No computer until then? Whatever would I do? Sure I had my iPad and hubby had his laptop but still, you develop a relationship with your own computer. You know its quirks and idiosyncrasies (at least I thought I did).

After checking out of The Kings Arms Hotel and leaving some of my books’ postcards at the hotel – gal checking me out of the hotel asked if I knew the author – I said yes, it’s me. Well, that prolonged the process because we had to talk about writing and reading and what not. She told me there’s a book club in Temple Sowerby. So maybe one of these days, they’ll read one (and maybe all) of mine.

On to Eastriggs and the museum. We arrived there about 10:15 to a reasonably empty car park. Yay!

Robbie Brodie (I think that’s his name), gave us an overview of the original munitions plant that occupied the land between Eastriggs and Gretna.

Sept 21
map of the HM Factory Gretna
Setpt 21
#s 1-5 from the above map
Sept 21
#s 6-10 from the above map
Sept 21
uniform worn by the munitions girls
Sept 21
one of the nitrating pans

Another event depicted here at the museum is the Quintinshill Rail Disaster.

Sept 21
petition to the King asking for the signalmen charged in the disaster to be pardoned

On the upper level of the museum, they have an area set aside for research, and another for “selfies”. Here, clothing from the era is available to try on and take your picture in – including an army helmet!

Sept 21
Don modelling a helmet
Sept 21
Me wearing a hat

I rather like my chapeau even if I don’t look best pleased in the photo. Note to self… try to find something similar when I get home.

Before leaving the museum, I did namedrop. As in my crime writer friend’s name – Chris Longmuir and her historical novel, Devil’s Porridge, set at the actual munitions factory here.

I wanted to visit Hermitage Castle, one of the many properties under the care of Historic Scotland. It happened to be on our route to Kelso (more or less).

Sept 21
Hermitage Castle
Sept 21
Hermitage Castle
Sept 21
within the walls of Hermitage Castle
Sept 21
The chapel grounds at Hermitage Castle

After leaving the castle, I got my fill once again of narrow roads with passing places – and cattle grids. I really don’t mind these roads although they’re much better when the visibility is better. You don’t want to end up having to back up to a passing place if you don’t have to. I drove and put hubby to work taking pictures out the windscreen.

Sept 21
driving on one of the single track roads…
Sept 21
in a passing place on a single track road
Sept 21
Hope nothing is coming from the other direction…
Sept 21
Waiting in a passing place for the oncoming vehicle

The Waverly Route Heritage Association has preserved a section of track and we spotted this passenger carriage on our right. Despite passing place etiquette not allowing for such things as photo ops, the traffic was so light, I couldn’t resist.

Passenger carriage
Passenger carriage on the Waverly Route
Sept 21
Viaduct on the Waverly Route
Sept 21
Approaching a cattle grid
Sept 21
Tree canopy created by the lorries
Sept 21
Civilization! A road with centre markings
Sept 21
At the intersection of the B6357 and the A68
Sept 21
Approaching Jedburgh Abbey

Once through Jedburgh, it didn’t take long before we found ourselves at Duncan House in Kelso. This is the third time we’ve stayed there and since the first time, have said ‘next time we’ll stay for more than one night’. So far it hasn’t happened.

Call it premonition, but the night before I looked up an email from our host (from the previous year) to check the combination for the lock box.  If I hadn’t, we might not have been able to get in, although I carried printed confirmations of all of our accommodations and other pre-booked events with me.

The first thing I did when I got up to our room (same room we’ve had each time, too) was pull out the laptop and its power supply. Plugged in, I powered up. A huge wave of relief washed over me when the lock screen came up. Not sure what crawled up the computer’s butt in the morning but at least now I could say ,”It’s alive!”

Sept 21
River Tweed and Floors Castle from our room at Duncan House

Knowing the computer survived, we walked down to Kelso Abbey. On the way, a woman outside one of the shops approached us with bags to collect gently used clothes. I had something else in mind for them. After accepting them, we continued on to the abbey, poked around the ruins there and through the cemetery on the other side of the street.

Sept 21
Kelso Abbey

This cute gallery in the shape of a boat stands on Abbey Row across the street from the graveyard.

Sept 21
Huggins Haig Gallery

After a wander around the town, we made our way to The Waggon Inn where we had a delicious meal.

Sept 21
The Waggon Inn

Paused for a selfie on the way back to Duncan House after our meal.

Sept 21
After a delicious meal at the Waggon Inn

Tomorrow we head north to Broughty Ferry and back to the same hotel we stayed in last year.

 

#SEWES2016 ~ Sept 12 Bankend to Skipton

#SEWES2016

Sept 12 – Bankend to Skipton

Today we’re headed south into England. Reclaim a bit of land for Scotland, although I’m not sure how threatening our appearance is and will they give up some turf for the Saltire.

At least today we had a car. Good thing since we were driving to Skipton (some 125 miles from Bankend).

Since we didn’t get to visit The Devil’s Porridge Museum yesterday, we opted to stop in on our journey south.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be again – no place to park in their small car park. Not knowing Eastriggs that well, and the location of other places to leave the car, we didn’t stay. Disappointed, especially since my friend, Chris Longmuir recently released her latest historical crime novel Devil’s Porridge set at the large munitions factory located between Eastriggs and Gretna during WWI.

We saw this castle from the main A66 road on last year’s trip and with it’s proximity to the motorway decided we would visit it this year. Remember my earlier post when I mentioned perks to being an Historic Scotland renewal member? Not only do we get into Historic Scotland sites free of charge, but also English Heritage ones. And Brougham Castle is one of their properties.

Sept 12
Brougham Castle

Severe flooding in Cumbria in the latter part of 2015 and early 2016 took out a huge section of the Brougham Old Bridge. Signposted from the main road, when we got to the right turn onto Moor Lane, we had to navigate around the road closed sign. Just before the bridge on the right, is a small parking area.

Sept 12
Brougham Old Bridge

It’s rare I get to feel tall, but I did today. Even I had to ‘mind my head’ to pass through this doorway.

Sept 12
Standing with the palms of my hands flat on the underside of the door frame
Sept 12
The warning sign
Sept 12
River Eamont and area from the top of the castle

No visit to a ‘manned’ property is complete without a trip into the gift shop for a memento or two. I always buy a guidebook of the property so I can look back at it later. Well, I even found this little guy… Isn’t he cute?

Sept 12
“Robbie” Raven

For those of you who have read The Secret of Hillcrest House you’ll know that a crow figures in the storyline. So, I figured being the wacky eccentric author that I am, I needed a crow… raven.

Guidebook, raven, a few other goodies, and a jute bag to put everything in bought and we headed further south to Skipton.

Today was the first chance I had to take a photo of our second rental car.

Sept 12
Our second rental car – “Monty” Mondeo

When we arrived at Highfield, the car park (2 vehicles only) was full. Follow on around the corner to a pay and display one. Of course, we got there too early for overnight parking.

Checked into our room, we walked back for the car having been told the one vehicle would be moved by the time we got back. The white Fiat now parked on the street, Monty had ‘off-street’ parking. You can see his left front wheel and fender in the photo below.

Sept 12
Highfield Guest House (our room has the reflection of the street light in the windows)

I researched a few places where we could eat supper once I connected to the Wi-fi, but in the end, decided on The Devonshire Inn (a Wetherspoon Pub).

Sept 12
Devonshire Inn

After fish and chips with mushy peas, washed down with a couple of pints of 1664, we wandered back to the guest house by way of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

Sept 12
Narrow boats moored along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal

Tomorrow we’re taking the Steam Train from Embsay to Bolton Abbey. Should be fun.

#SEWES2016 ~ Sept 11 – an ‘off’ day

#SEWES2016

Sept 11 – Bankend to Gretna to Glencaple and back to Bankend

Things didn’t quite go to plan today. Because we booked in to Hutton Lodge for two nights, I wanted to use today to visit the Devil’s Porridge Museum in Eastriggs. It didn’t happen.

Driving around on an inflate-a-spare, limited to 50 miles and 50 mph, didn’t allow much leeway. We’d already driven the day before and would be again later to go for supper, although we hoped for a resolution long before then.

We didn’t dare leave the B&B either because that would be the time the tyre fitter would arrive.

The phone calls started again about 10:00 am. Phone the rental company, they say phone roadside assistance. Call roadside assistance, they say call the rental company. Send an email to the girl who rented us the car. Out of office message.

Things continued this way. The last words the recovery guy said the previous day “tyre fitter will be out by noon”. According to their computer system, he made the repair on the side of the road near Shawhead. Nope. Didn’t happen.

Finally, the ‘ace in the hole’ was played. American Express says no resolution – no payment. That got things moving. They were sending someone out with a new car.

About 4:30, I heard the rumble of a diesel lorry outside the B&B. Sure enough it was the ‘real’ recovery vehicle. He shook his head over the entire situation, but loaded Iain Insignia onto the rollback ready to drive us to Glasgow Airport to get us a replacement vehicle.

While all this happened, a phone call came in from an associate with the rental company branch in Carlisle. He was bringing us a new car and would an automatic be all right.

Recovery driver took the call and the two agreed that rather than float the car all the way back to the airport, we’d rendezvous at the Gretna Gateway Outlet Village.

Resolution closer but not there yet. When we rendezvoused, guy from Carlisle wanted a credit card# to pay for the full tank of fuel in the replacement vehicle. Nope. We paid for a full tank on the first car and only drove it 130 miles. He, too, shook his head over replacing the car over a flat tyre.

Once all the paperwork was completed, and I signed on the dotted line(s), we took possession of a black Ford Mondeo, which in North America is a Ford Fusion. I drove the exact same car to my book launch for A Shadow in the Past in Kansas back in 2012, but that’s another story.

Iain Insignia – starting mileage 3490 miles (almost brand spanking new!)
Iain Insignia – ending mileage 3620 miles

The Ford Mondeo – starting mileage 51403 miles (been around the block a few times)

It was late and we were hungry, so we drove straight to the Nith Hotel for supper. Rather than risk setting off another car alarm, we drove in the same direction the car faced and drove past Caerlaverock Castle and through the hamlet of Shearington on our way back to Hutton Lodge.

The day wasn’t a total waste. I had haggis (award winning no less) with my bacon and eggs at breakfast, got some blog work completed, and some manuscript formatting done, but it wasn’t the way I wanted to spend the second day in Scotland.

#SEWES2016 ~ Sept 10 – Glasgow to Bankend

#SEWES2016

Sept 10 – Glasgow to Bankend

The wait to clear customs hasn’t changed. It still takes forever. And that’s because of the queue to talk to a person. Through there and on to the car rental desk. Another long wait but that was the paperwork. Pre-pay for the tank of fuel because it’s cheaper, roadside assistance, etc. Our little car wasn’t quite so little. We took possession of a Vauxhall Insignia, 6-speed turbo diesel. We headed off to the ASDA store in The Phoenix Retail Park for at least one bottle of distilled/demineralized water for hubby’s CPAP machine.

When in the UK and driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road, whilst sitting on the ‘wrong’ side of the car, and shifting gears with the ‘wrong’ hand, I am the designated driver. So no drinkies for me if we have to drive to a place for a meal. Besides, my husband hates driving over there. Did it once and that was enough.

I had brought my unlocked Samsung phone with me so I picked up a pay as you go SIM card. Figured, I could use it if we needed a second phone (purchased a plan through Rogers for hubby’s BlackBerry before we left home). After last year’s paying £10 for a SIM card that wouldn’t work, I wasn’t going to spend that much again. So this time I opted for ASDA’s own SIM card which only set me back 50p.

When we were over in 2000 we had seen Dunure Castle from the main A77 road. I had pretty much forgotten about it until seeing one of the BBC Scotland photo galleries in the weeks leading up to the trip. So, we put the location into Satnav Sally and off we went.

Dunure Castle is free but you have to pay to park in their car park because it’s all part of a larger complex with playing fields, playground equipment and public toilets. It cost us £2.50 to be able to wander in the remains of the castle and use the toilets before moving on.

Here’s our pretty blue car, that I named Iain. He’s the same size as a Buick Regal, which is bigger than my Chevy Cobalt that I drive every day.

Sept 10
Our first rental car “Iain Insignia”
Sept 10
Dunure Castle and doocot (dovecote)
Sept 10
Dunure Castle
Sept 10
Firth of Clyde with Ailsa Craig in the background
Dunure Castle
Dunure Castle
Sept 10
Doocot (dovecote)

Despite the beautiful blue sky, the wind blowing in off the water made it cool. Not quite jacket weather but I had a long-sleeved, black (soak in the sun’s rays) top on and even with that, I felt the chill a few times.

Not quite the way we drove from Dunure Castle but you get the idea. We went across the A719, the B7023, B741, A713, A712 to meet up with the A75 near Crocketford. Got my fix of narrow roads with passing places the first day. Add some cattle grids and narrow gates and it made for quite the adventure.

I mentioned earlier our ‘first’ rental car… well, there was a reason for that. Whilst driving across the aforementioned series of roads, we had a flat tyre. Meeting a car on a narrower road and getting over to make room for both of us to pass, some mud  sucked me off the edge and into a cleverly disguised pothole. And pothole is being kind. It was a bloody crater! It made for a bump but didn’t give it much thought at the time.

A bit further along the road, the tyre pressure indicator light came on. I pulled off the road but we couldn’t see anything amiss. At least now we were on the main A75. I limped into a lay-by, thanking our lucky stars that we decided to add the roadside assistance package (fix your car or bring you a new one) to our rental package.

I made the first of many phone calls at 3:00 pm. We were still stuck on the side of the road waiting at 6:00 pm! Eventually, the guy came and put the spare tyre on. They wouldn’t authorize us to do that (my husband is a recently retired mechanic) because we could jack the car up in the wrong place, damage the car, it could fall off the jack… yadda, yadda, yadda. They farted around long enough that the tyre company the rental and roadside assistance people use had closed for the day.

Two of the many phone calls were to the B&B where we were staying. The first call, I left a message on the answering machine explaining the situation. Then when 6:00 came and we were still sat there, I called back and spoke to them. At least we had one less worry… our room would be waiting for us no matter the hour we arrived.

See Shawhead on the map above? That’s how close to Dumfries we were. We sat there for 3 hours while the guy sent out to find us and get us mobile again looked for us on the other side of Dumfries!

He assured us that a tyre fitter would be at our B&B before noon to finish the job. He took down the address of where we were staying, and sent us off on our not-so-merry way.

After checking in at Hutton Lodge, getting the same room as we had last year, and our membership material from Historic Scotland waiting for us, we drove over to the Nith Hotel in Glencaple for a late supper. By then, I could have used a stiff drink but since I was driving (and limping around with a wounded car), I couldn’t.

After leaving the restaurant, while turning the car around on one of the narrow streets, I set off someone’s car alarm. I didn’t touch the car but there wasn’t any more than an inch of space on either side of the wing mirrors between the cars parked on both sides of this wee lane.

Not the nicest way to start a trip but with any luck, everything will get fixed in the morning.

 

#SEWES2016 ~ The adventure begins

#SEWES2016 ~ Scotland, England, Wales, England, and Scotland

September 9, 2016

Like my hashtag for the trip? #SEWES2016? We’re SEW-ing – and looking forward to our time in these countries.

Things right from the beginning have been weird. I renewed our membership in Historic Scotland back in early May to ensure I remained a ‘renewal’ member. There are more perks to that status. Well, the cards didn’t come. I contacted them in June as they sent out replacements cards. They didn’t come. I get the magazines quarterly so our mailing address is correct. Emailed them again, this time we decided to have them mailed to our first destination. They arrived there but only a few days before us.

Originally, the flight was supposed to be non-stop from Glasgow to Toronto but a stop over in Montreal was added after we booked.

As is the norm when we travel anywhere, I don’t pack until the day we’re leaving. Why do it sooner? It only gives you the opportunity to unpack, repack and do it all over again many times. And if your forget to pack something, there are stores in other countries. We have to buy distilled/demineralized water for hubby’s CPAP machine. Since water is heavy, we don’t want to cart a bottle of it in our checked bags anyway. Not to mention, if the plastic bottle broke in the suitcase, everything would be a soggy mess.

We booked a park and stay at the Quality Inn and Suites on Ambler Drive in Mississauga so we could leave the car there and take advantage of their shuttle bus to get us to and from the airport.

Here we are ready to embark on our adventure. Do we look happy? Excited? Nervous? Any or all of the above?

#SEWES2016
front seat selfie

It’s rare when we’re on vacation that we get photos of both of us together. Usually, it’s just one or the other. But, with my BlackBerry Z10 having front and rear cameras (so does my unlocked Samsung Galaxy Prime), it makes it easy to get pictures of us both together.

#SEWES2016
hotel lobby selfie

I don’t wear headbands a lot but decided to give them a go for this trip. I tie my hair in a ponytail for taking photos but there are always a few wisps of the mop that are too short to stay in (or even reach the elastic). And I can be guaranteed that the wind will blow these bits of hair in front of the camera lens. So it will be ponytail plus headband and we’ll see how that works. If it doesn’t then the tried and true method is to have hubby hold the blowing stragglers in place.

#SEWES2016
departure gate selfie

After flying Club Class with Air Transat in 2014 when we went to Paris, we decided never again to fly economy.  I mean if you’re going to be stuck in that cigar tube for 7+ hours, you might as well be comfortable. Wider seats, fewer passengers to have to share the loo with, blanket, neck pillow, slippers, and earbuds – this year all packaged up in a reusable cloth bag. And the other part of the comfort kit (designed to look like blue jeans) had a toothbrush and toothpaste, earplugs, lotion and lip balm, sleep mask and socks.

And did I mention champagne? Plus you get real glasses, real cutlery and real plates!

I did take a ‘champagne on the plane’ selfie but by then the excitement had got the better of me and I couldn’t hold the phone steady. It certainly wouldn’t have had anything to do with the three glasses of red wine I drank before boarding… 😉

Go figure, google maps can’t calculate the driving directions from Toronto to Glasgow…

Come back again tomorrow for the next installment of our #SEWES2016 adventure.

 

 

Happy Bagpipe Appreciation Day!

Hail that quintessential Scottish instrument

The Bagpipes

bagpipe appreciation

There’s nothing like the skirl of the bagpipes to make a person a bit weepy. For me, I love the sound – others don’t share my feelings. Go figure. Some liken the sound to a cat having its tail rocked on.

When at war, the pipers went ahead of the troops. Were they trying to take advantage of their enemies whilst they were incapacitated by the music coming from the bagpipes? Who wouldn’t be intimidated by the sight of an army marching towards them playing songs to motivate their troops?

Still, watching the massed bands at the Highland Games or the pipe bands in the local parades makes me yearn for Scotland and brings a tear to my eye.

Traditional pipe music? Alternative pipe music? How about the Red Hot Chilli Pipers? Yes, that’s correct. It’s not a typo. Here they are playing We Will Rock You.

 

And how about a little Smoke on the Water and Thunderstruck to really get you into the spirit of Bagpipe Appreciation Day. Sorry about the advert at the beginning of this one…

 

Check out this link to McCallum Bagpipes.

Or watch this video on YouTube to see how bagpipes are made.

Bagpipes – love ’em or hate ’em? Leave a comment for or against this musical instrument.

SWORD DANCE by Marie Laval DANCING FOR THE DEVIL TRILOGY BOOK 3 #EXCERPT #GIVEAWAY

sword dance

Sword Dance

by

Marie Laval

sword dance

Genre: Historical Romance (mid nineteenth century)

Release Date: 31st March 2016

Publisher:  Áccent Press

SWORD DANCE (Book 3)

Cape Wrath, Scotland, November 1847.

Bruce McGunn, laird of Wrath in the far North of Scotland, is as brutal and unforgiving as his land. Discharged from the army, haunted by the spectres of his fallen comrades and convinced he is going mad, he is running out of time to save his estate from the machinations of Cameron McRae, heir to the McGunn’s ancestral enemies.

When the clipper carrying McRae’s new bride docks at Wrath harbour, McGunn decides to hold the woman to ransom and use her to get more time to repay his debts. However, far from the spoilt heiress he expected, Rose is genuine and funny – a ray of sunshine in the long winter that has become his life. She is also determined to escape.

As Rose runs away to be reunited with her husband, she discovers there is a sinister side to the dazzlingly handsome aristocrat she married after a whirlwind romance. Why was Cameron so desperate to get her father’s military journal? Why did he insist on keeping their wedding a secret? She is even more confused when Bruce catches up with her and she starts to feel irresistibly attracted to him. Soon she risks her marriage to help Bruce find the truth about his past and solve the mystery of the brutal murders committed on his land. Will her love be enough to heal his haunted heart?

EXCERPT

Excerpt from SWORD DANCE (608 words)

‘What are you doing? Please stop,’ she breathed, as his lips trailed along the curve of her throat.

If only he could… He looked up and the seductive power of her sultry, heavily made-up eyes gleaming in the moonlight hit him like a bolt of lightning. Every fibre of his body reacted to the feel of her soft body against his, the warm fragrance of her skin. She was right, though. What the hell was he doing? Once again he reminded himself that he had no right to feel that way, no right to want her, but damn it, the woman would tempt a saint. And he was no saint.

He swallowed a deep, hard breath, released her and made himself step back. ‘All right. We’ll stay here a while and wait until McRae and his remaining guests have gone to bed. Where’s your horse?’

‘I left it tied to a post behind the hunting lodge.’

‘What about your bag?’

‘It’s still strapped to the saddle. By the time I spoke to the girls and the musicians, we had to get ready to come here.’

‘How did you manage to get into the hunting lodge without being seen by McRae’s men?’

‘It wasn’t easy. I got stuck as I sneaked in through one of the downstairs windows and ripped my – ’

‘You got stuck?’ He would have laughed if he weren’t so angry.

‘The musicians had to pull me in. We had to be quick and very quiet, because Cameron’s men were in the kitchen.’

Damn the woman. Didn’t she care about the danger she put herself in?    ‘So, after clambering through a window, you had the brilliant idea to disguise yourself as a dancer and throw yourself into the lion’s den.’

She flinched at the harshness of his tone. ‘I thought I could avoid bumping into Cameron.’

‘You bump into everything and anything you come across, why not McRae?’ he interrupted, taut with temper. ‘He could have recognised you when you were with the others in the music room.’

‘Then I would have confronted him and exposed him for the liar and the debauched rake he is in front of all his guests!’ The baubles on her necklace tinkled like little bells as she shook her head.

‘Weren’t you afraid of all those men ogling you, lusting after you?’ Me included, he remembered, guilt tightening his chest.

‘Well, I… I didn’t think I would have to dance. My plan was to get into the castle and hide until I could speak to Lady Sophia. Unfortunately, Cameron’s manservant was watching us like a hawk and I had no choice but to go into the music room with the others. The girls promised to create a diversion so that I could sneak out unnoticed.’

‘A diversion? That’s a mild way of putting it,’ he sneered. ‘The girls’ dancing was… ahem… striking, to say the least. Ask that poor old man who collapsed.’ He drew in a deep breath. ‘Anyway, where did you learn to dance like that?’

She lowered her eyes, snapped a leaf from a nearby bush and tore it into tiny pieces that spiralled to the ground. ‘Malika taught me, in secret. She always said I was good enough to be one of them.’

She was right, her dancing had been entrancing, mesmerising, but he wasn’t going to tell her. ‘I still can’t believe you took such risks tonight, just to talk to McRae’s fiancée. It was stupid and foolhardy.’ And damned brave, too, even though he would never admit it. Gripped by conflicting urges, he towered above her, his fists clenched and his jaw set.

BUY LINKS

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US

ABOUT MARIE LAVAL

sword dance

Originally from Lyon in France, Marie has lived in the beautiful Rossendale Valley, Lancashire, England, for the past few years and likes nothing more than dreaming up romance stories and handsome, brooding heroes. She writes historical and contemporary romance. Her contemporary romance A SPELL IN PROVENCE, as well as her historical romances, ANGEL HEART, together with the award-winning THE LION’S EMBRACE, and the DANCING FOR THE DEVIL Trilogy (which includes THE DREAM CATCHER, BLUE BONNETS and SWORD DANCE) are all published by Áccent Press.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marielavalauthor/?ref=ts&fref=ts

Twitter:  Marie Laval @MarieLaval1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6538479.Marie_Laval

Website: http://marielaval.blogspot.co.uk/

GIVEAWAY

Book 1 in the series

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BLUE BONNETS by Marie Laval DANCING FOR THE DEVIL TRILOGY BOOK 2 #Excerpt

blue bonnets

Blue Bonnets

by

Marie Laval

 

blue bonnets

Genre: Historical Romance (mid nineteenth century)

Release Date: 28th Jan 2016

Publisher:  Áccent Press

BLUE BONNETS – Book 2

Cape Wrath, Scotland, November 1847.
When her ship is caught in a terrifying storm off the far north of Scotland and she catches her first glimpse of Wrath Lodge, Rose believes she has reached the gateway to hell. Her encounter with Wrath’s laird Bruce McGunn does nothing to reassure her. A reckless officer discharged from the army, McGunn holds a bitter grudge against her husband’s family, the wealthy McRaes, and Rose is soon horrified to find out that he means to hold her to ransom in order to save his estate from financial ruin.

Bruce’s health is failing fast, and he fears he is descending into madness with terrifying hallucinations tormenting him every night. Soon something else is keeping him awake – a growing attraction for his feisty and exotic captive, and the gruesome discovery of two women’s bodies washed ashore near the castle. One of them, Malika, is a childhood friend of Rose’s she last saw in Algiers the day before her marriage to McRae. How the women died, who killed them and disposed of their bodies is a mystery Bruce now has to solve.

Determined not to miss the ball where her darling Cameron promised to announce their wedding he has until now kept a secret, Rose manages to escape dark, gloomy Wrath. She takes with her a posy of pine sprigs she believes was given to her by the Dark Lady, Wrath’s resident ghost, and confused feelings for Wrath’s brutal and tormented master – the man she calls McGlum

Blue Bonnets (BOOK 2) Excerpt

‘Why did you lie to me?’

‘I didn’t.’ She didn’t even look at him but carried on stacking the dirty tumblers up. She then snapped shut the lid of the jam jar and brushed the crumbs off the table top into the palm of her hand. When she threw the crumbs into the fire, the flames hissed and flared.

Like his temper.

He strode towards her, stopping only a couple of paces from her.

‘You did lie. You heard the McKenzies…The question is why.’

The rush of heat to her cheeks didn’t escape his attention, and neither did the trembling of her hands as she caught the sides of the plaid slipping off her shoulders. So she wasn’t that cool and composed after all. He narrowed his eyes, hardened his voice.

‘I want answers, and I want them now. Who are you? McRae’s mistress? A whore he picked up in the docks in Algiers?’

She gasped, the plaid dropped down from her shoulders onto the floor but this time she didn’t seem to notice. The fire behind her outlined the contours of her body, the curve of her waist and the swell of her hips. Her blonde hair fell in tight curls and ringlets down to the small of her back, her lips parted, her breasts stretched the thin fabric of the nightdress with every breath she took. She looked as innocent as an angel, as tempting as sin.

He clenched his jaw and stepped closer. Some angel she was. She would damn well explain herself even if he had to pull the truth out of her the hard way.

BUY LINKS

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US

ABOUT MARIE LAVAL

blue bonnets

Originally from Lyon in France, Marie has lived in the beautiful Rossendale Valley, Lancashire, England, for the past few years and likes nothing more than dreaming up romance stories and handsome, brooding heroes. She writes historical and contemporary romance. Her contemporary romance A SPELL IN PROVENCE, as well as her historical romances, ANGEL HEART, together with the award-winning THE LION’S EMBRACE, and the DANCING FOR THE DEVIL Trilogy (which includes THE DREAM CATCHER, BLUE BONNETS and SWORD DANCE) are all published by Áccent Press.

GIVEAWAY

Book 1 in the series

a Rafflecopter giveaway

#CoverReveal ~ Logan’s Time by Dayna Leigh Cheser

#CoverReveal

for Logan’s Time by Dayna Leigh Cheser

#coverreveal

Blurb: 

Set in the wilds of the Scottish Highlands, this 19th century historical romance looks at the life and loves of Logan, the Duke of Muileach, beginning when he’s seven years old. Grandson of the old Duke, Logan hides in his mother’s room to witness his brother’s birth. Confused, he watches as his mother, Annella, abandons the newborn, flees to the South Tower, then locks herself and her entourage inside.

After eight self-sequestered years in the South Tower, Annella disappears, leaving a family with too many questions.  Later, Logan and Daniel lose their beloved grandfather, followed too soon by their grandmother.

Logan travels to England to attend school, where he meets Richard Grayson—the youngest son of an English duke. After graduation, a celebratory trip to Paris results in tragedy. Minuet, the love of Logan’s life, may be dead, while his best friend, Richard, leaves Paris without notice.

Peadair, Logan’s father, then the duke, renounces his title and leaves Muileach, to face an uncertain future in southern France with his long-missing wife who hates him. Logan, at age twenty-five, becomes the Duke of Muileach.

Believing Richard had betrayed him with Minuet, Logan needs to square things with his former friend. He learns Richard now lives in America. Setting sail to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, he arrives just in time to crash Richard and Janelle’s wedding. That same day, he meets, and marries Rachel.

Too long absent from Muileach, Logan returns to Muileach with his family to discover Seanna, a childhood friend, and sometimes lover, has birthed his first-born son. Later, Seanna reveals her plans to make sure her son is the next duke.

And now for the moment we’ve all been waiting for…

#coverreveal

Free Chapter: http://bit.ly/DLC-LT-Free