By Promise Made by @FurlongLeigh is a Fall Into These Great Reads pick #historicalromance #giveaway
Title: By Promise Made
Author: Susan Leigh Furlong
Genre: Historical Romance
She wants to take off his head. He wants to win her heart.
Hugh Cullane, accused of murder and sentenced to hang, is forced to deliver a message of betrothal to four-year-old Queen Mary of Scotland. He faces death yet again when, in rejecting the proposal, the queen's guardian orders his severed head sent back to England in a jar.
Trained to protect her queen at all costs, Katherine Payne can show no mercy to the handsome messenger, despite the way his stolen kiss unsettles her single-minded sense of duty. Trapped between the English and Scottish armies, she must escape with Mary. Hugh joins her as they are chased by men determined to murder the young queen in their own quest for power.
After escaping the disastrous Battle of Pinkie Cleugh, Kit, Hugh and young Mary flee north…
In the distance, bobbing heads of the horses of an English patrol headed in their direction.
“Down the cliff is the only way. Ye take Mary,” she said, tugging the straps of Mary’s carrying sack off her shoulders. “The wall of the cliff has a small cave in it about halfway down. We can hide inside. I’ll go down first and lead the way. Ye follow with the babe. I’ll guide ye. Here.” She hefted Mary and the carrying sack onto Hugh’s back. “The straps will rub on yer shoulder and start the bleeding again, but there is no other way.”
“Doesna matter. Are ye set, little one?” he asked Mary.
She kissed him on the cheek. “Aye, the man will take good care of me, Kit”
… “I think I see the cave.” She pointed. “I’ll start that way and call for ye to follow.” Swinging her legs over the side, she quickly started the climb down.
Hugh watched her from the top, trying to memorize where she put her feet and hands. “Mary, ye watch Kit verra carefully so ye can help me put my feet in the right places. Ye can even grab hold of the stones with yer hands to help me. Can ye do it?”
“Aye. Kit and I climbed this cliff more than once. Captain Rand put a rope around her waist, but we didna need it. Kit and I climbed up and down all by ourselves.”
“Are ye ready?”
Hugh adjusted quickly to Mary’s extra weight, and he found it relatively easy to follow Kit’s route down over the jagged rocks.
About halfway down the face, Kit called to him. “I see it. The cave. About thirty feet to yer left. I’ll get there and lead ye to it.”
“Aye,” he said.
That’s when loose rocks started sliding down the cliff, not the pebble or two that fell off when his hand hold wasn’t secure, but bushels of debris falling fast and hard. Looking over his shoulder, he saw Kit fighting to find a foothold. She had a grip on a rock with both hands, but her legs swung uselessly. She grunted and strained, but she didn’t cry out.
“I am coming to ye!” called Hugh.
“Nay!” she called back. “Get to the cave where Mary will be safe. I’ll find a way.”
Her right hand slipped off the stones, followed by her left, and she fell fast and hard. Time slowed down as she flew through the air, bouncing repeatedly against the face of the cliff. Two, three times she slammed into the wall. Her tunic caught on a stone and ripped nearly off. On the fifth time, another jagged edge caught her boot and tore it from her foot and twisted her body until she fell headfirst toward the ground. She landed on her back at the edge of the road below with a sickening thud.
Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):
Universal link: https://books2read.com/u/mg7V17
What’s your favorite thing about autumn:
The window outside my office looks over some woods behind our house. In the fall, the leaves in the shades of yellow and orange, flutter to the ground creating its own autumn rainbow. Lovely to watch.
What inspired you to write this story:
I knew the tragic story of Mary, Queen of Scots, a woman trapped by her throne. When she was an infant, King Henry VIII wanted her betrothed to his young son. When the Scottish government refused, Henry waged war, killing thousands over the rejected engagement. This led me to wondering about Mary’s life as a child and how those around her struggled to keep her safe. Hugh is the orphan from Steadfast Will I Be, now an adult, and I wanted to know how his story turned out.
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Runs September 1 – 30
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Susan Leigh Furlong knew she had a special connection with words since she was a child. At nine years old, she wrote and directed her first play for the neighborhood children.
Susan’s love for history fuels her resilience against the sneezes and coughs that old books give her as she delves into research for unique historical events to inspire her historical fiction romance novels. Susan captures her readers’ imagination with a highly enthralling style, chronological events, and smoothly flowing narratives that keep one’s eyes glued on her novels from the first page to the last.
Susan has written two non-fiction books about her hometown and three novels set in sixteenth century Scotland as well as several short stories published in national magazines. Her upcoming novel is Desperate Hope, a novel set during the American Revolution.
When Susan is not combing through history piecing together her next novel, she writes, directs, and performs with a music and drama group.
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