Today's Medieval Monday's treat is THE HIGHLANDER'S FRENCH BRIDE by Cathy MacRae. It's the latest in Cathy's delightful Highlander Bride series. Here's an excerpt featuring this month's theme, First Kiss.
“Many where I am from speak Gaelic, though many also speak English, or a form of it,” he said casually, his tone easing some of her concern. “Mo chridhe means my heart. That is what ye are, Melisende. The love of my heart.”
Her thoughts were a whirlwind. “I do not know how to respond other than to say you stole my heart years ago.”
“Then why the hesitation?”
She bit her lip against a smile. “`Twas not because I did not understand your words, though it is true I’d not thought about the differences in our languages.” She took a breath to steel her courage. “`Twas because of the look on your face—in your eyes.”
He tilted his head at her. “What look?”
“As though you wished to kiss me,” she whispered, the very depths of her exposed, for there was no taking the words back. Kinnon rose, pulling her to her feet with him, and gathered her in his arms.
His mouth descended, caressing her lips with gentle pressure that quickly built to an insistence, flaming a hunger in her she’d never known. She leaned against him, her breasts aching as they touched his chest. Her lips parted at his urging as though paired to his, and his tongue mated feverishly with hers.
With the force of a sudden storm, she was no longer plain Melisende. Every fiber of her felt beautiful and desired. Her world was nothing more than the roughened velvet of his lips, the taste of ale on his breath, and the tender confines of his arms.
She was loved.
Heir to a lairdshsip, Kinnon Macrory is driven to prove himself by fighting the English on the battlefields of France. His dreams of heroic valor are destroyed by his inability to come to grips with the atrocities visited on the very people he is sworn to protect, and three years in a French prison for a crime he did not commit leave Kinnon longing for the one thing of beauty in his war-torn life—a young woman of great kindness and wisdom named Melisende.
Melisende de la Roche struggles to stay one step ahead of soldiers who would imprison her for helping an injured Scotsman accused of treason. She finds refuge in her uncle’s shop—until a chance encounter sends her fleeing into the unknown once again, always haunted by the beguiling friendship with the troubled young Scotsman she is certain she will never see again.
Determined to find the woman of his dreams, Kinnon returns to France, only to discover a trail of clues to Melisende’s whereabouts. Their reunion will open the doors to passion, but half-truths and lies from the past could destroy the one thing they both are willing to fight for—each other.