Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: BLACKWOOD CROSSING by MK McClintock

Charles’s gaze drifted over Rhona’s white dressing gown and heavy plaid robes. He smiled at the short boots pulled over stockinged feet. “Are you coming or going?”
“I honestly don’t know.” Rhona’s hand remained on the door handle. Charles hoped she would let go. She said, “It would be far too improper for us to be seen . . . that is, if Emsley wakes and finds . . .”

Excerpt from Blackwood Crossing
From Chapter 1

Davidson Estate, Northern Highlands, Scotland—January 1892

Rhona looked into the hardened face of Calum Davidson and pushed him away, almost falling over from her effort. He returned the favor with a slap across her face, and the weight of his strength sent her toppling to the carpet. She lifted a hand to the cheek that burned and looked in disbelief at her father. He had treated her with indifference throughout the years, but he had never struck her. He lowered himself until he could speak in a whisper.
     “Ye’ll marry Laird Crawford.”
“No.” She raised herself to her knees. Rhona knew she should call out for someone, but doing so would only force Graham or Wallace into a confrontation. “Crawford killed my mother. I’ll never go to him. I will leave by week’s end.”
“Ye dinna hear me.”
“I did, and I don’t care if you ruin me. I’ll leave this place. I’ll leave Scotland forever if I must.” Rhona spoke the words, even though it bruised her spirit to say them. She rose to her feet, her determination now fierce. “I love my brothers, and I love this land. I’ve stayed for them, but I will leave this soil for all my days if I must. I will not marry a man who you, yourself, told me was responsible for my mother’s death.”
He reached for her once more, though this time she skirted away and managed to ring the bell pull before he caught her. “You will never see me again, I swear to you.”
“I dinna care, but ye will marry Crawford. I’ve promised ye to him, and if I have to force yer cooperation, I will.”
“You’re my father, and I’ve always honored you, but did you truly believe I’d do this?” Her one last desperate hope for him to understand the cruel enormity of what he was doing had failed.
“I never wanted ye. A daughter is of no use to me.”
Rhona choked back the tears threatening to fall and jumped at the sound of a gentle knock at the parlor door. “Come in.”
“Miss Davidson, I . . .” Graham watched her, and she wondered if her damp eyes or red face had caught his attention first.
Her father glanced at the butler then back at her. “This land, and everything on it, including ye, belongs to me.”
“And when the week is over, you will never again see my shadow cast upon your home.” Rhona remained behind her chair, grasping at any barrier to keep between her and her father. She found the strength to walk toward the door.
“Ye’ll have the week to pack, and then ye’ll go to Crawford.” Calum closed the distance between them and leaned over the chair. Rhona held up a hand to prevent Graham from interfering, and then looked directly into her father’s eyes while he spoke. “The world is dangerous for a woman alone. Ye dinna want to live in fear.”
“Why do you insist on this marriage? I’m of no consequence to you, and I am no burden. I live in this house, but we both know that you have never supported me.”
“Yer mother was a fool to leave ye with such a fortune.”
“A fortune you could not touch. Is that what angers you?”
“There’s more at stake than money. Will ye defy me and risk yer brother’s life?” 
“What do you mean?”
“Ye love yer brother.”
Rhona endeavored to remain calm. “You would threaten Wallace? I matter nothing to you, but he’s your son!”
“I will do what I must.”
The weight of her father’s veiled message became painfully clear. Do his bidding and marry Crawford, or live in fear every day. Rhona did not fear for herself, but she would not risk her brother.

End of Excerpt

"Ms. McClintock weaves a thick tapestry of mystery and romance in her historical setting . . . Multiple twists and unexpected alliances hook the reader into her complex tale . . . Bravo Ms. McClintock!"  
—InD'Tale Magazine

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Blackwood Crossing excerpt ©MK McClintock

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