Title: Noble and Blessed
Author: Laura Strickland
Genre: Scottish Historical Romance
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Captured by Gaels in a vicious raid, Caledonian shaman Tally is taken by force to the western kingdom of Dal Riada, where he falls into the hands of the Celtic chief's daughter, Alanna. Having lost every freedom, and fearing he may also lose his faith, he makes the goddess a sacred promise. If she sustains him, he will live for her and one day make it back home.
Alanna, daughter of one of the three most powerful men in the area, has refused every influential match her father has proposed. She lives an independent life training ponies for war chariots and makes her own choices. But when she sees the young Caledonian slave with magic in his eyes, she knows herself lost.
Alanna will do anything to keep Tally with her, but Tally is willing to die rather than remain a slave. Can the love growing between them survive?
Alanna inspected the train of clearly spent figures that straggled—and struggled—behind Caennan. A hard journey across the wild breadth of Alba, and no mistake. Most of the warriors carried wounds, showing they’d battled valiantly. So, she saw, did many of the slaves.
Despite their injuries they had made the hard journey on foot and now looked so exhausted they could barely stand. Four males and five females she counted, and felt as much sympathy for them as for the ponies. She detested the practice of seizing slaves, though it endured, widespread in their world. How must it feel, being taken from one’s home by force? To have every choice stolen, for the balance of one’s existence.
Yet the returning warriors almost always brought slaves. She inspected this batch even as her father and brother began speaking, Atholl very much in the vein of the great chief welcoming his warriors. Several of the female captives, lacking the strength to stand, sank down where they were. All of them drooped with what looked like defeat.
All but one.
He stood foremost in their train—by chance or by choice as their leader?—and held himself with a measure of grim dignity. A livid weal marked his face from one temple to the opposite cheek, barely missing his eye. Despite that, and in spite of the dirt that covered him from head to foot, she could see that he was…
Odd, perhaps, to apply such a word to a man, and an eastern savage at that, but it fit. Alanna, an honest woman if nothing else, had to profess an attraction to these eastern men. Something about the way they were put together, their coloring, and the tattoos that covered their skin appealed to her.
Indeed, was her current lover, Nenian, not a slave? She’d become acquainted with him back when he’d worked for a time at the pony sheds, and they’d been meeting in secret for over a year. No one save Fenna knew of it—or so Alanna hoped.
This man outshone Nenian the way the moon outshines a rush light. Tall for one of his kind, and unusually slender, he had dark auburn hair that tumbled down his back, a prow of a nose—marked now by that livid welt—pleasingly slanted cheekbones, and lean cheeks, also marked, just above the beard, by tattoos.
He had to be as spent as the others, yet his shoulders remained level, his chin high. If the blue men, or Caledonii, as Nenian claimed they called themselves, had royalty, then surely such this man must be.
Indeed, Alanna must have stared too intently, for he stirred and turned his head as if he felt her attention on him. Their gazes met across the intervening distance, connected, and held.
He saw her. The knowledge started a thrill that passed through Alanna like a spear of lightning. This man—this slave—noticed her, and that one truth became the most important thing in her world.
I’m one of the authors participating in the Be Mine Bookish Giveaway and you can win a beautiful Pictish pendant necklace (US only).
Runs February 1 - 28 and is open internationally.
Winner will be drawn March 1, 2019.
Award-winning author Laura Strickland delights in time traveling to the past and searching out settings for her books, be they Historical Romance, Steampunk or something in between. Born and raised in Western New York, she's pursued lifelong interests in lore, legend, magic and music, all reflected in her writing. Although she enjoys travel, she's usually happiest at home not far from Lake Ontario, with her husband and her "fur" child, a rescue dog. Author of numerous Historical and Contemporary Romances, she is the creator of the Buffalo Steampunk Adventure series set in her native city. Noble and Blessed is the third book in her new historical Hearts of Caledonia series.
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Author Amazon Page http://www.amazon.com/Laura-Strickland/e/B001KHSACW/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1