- N. N. Light
By Promise Made by Susan Leigh Furlong is a Stress Busting Festival pick #romance #giveaway
Title: By Promise Made
Author: Susan Leigh Furlong
Genre: Historical Adventure/Romance
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 (Kit) 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.
Countryside Players – A traveling acting troupe – three men and two women.
“Do with me what ye will, but dinna hurt the lass,” said Hugh. “She’s innocent.”
“Ye think we would harm a child?” said Jolene. “We are no’ like ye! We wouldna steal a child and hold her for ransom.”
“She can tell ye who I am. Mary! Mary!”
As Mary ran toward them, Damon scooped her up. “Now, lass, ye dinna have to be afraid anymore. Ye’re safe with us. The bad man winna hurt ye anymore.”
Mary kicked her feet into Damon’s stomach and pulled on his hair. “The man winna hurt me! Put me down!”
“If ye ken him to be a good man, tell me his name.”
“ ’Tis the man! The man!”
“If he is a good man, ye would ken his name.”
“His name is Hugh Cullane,” said Kit from the door of the wagon.
All eyes turned. With great effort, Kit stepped down the short ladder from the door to the ground. “Mary calls him ‘the man,’ but she kens him well.”
Kit’s next wobbly steps brought her to her knees and Beatrice to her side. “Sit here, lass,” said the older woman, helping her to her feet and leading her to a stump a few steps away.
“Let him up,” said Kit. “He has helped keep Mary safe since the battle at Pinkie Cleugh. He willna hurt ye, but if ye dinna let him up, Mary might. He is her man.”
Damon set Mary on the ground. She ran to Hugh and tried to push Gus off him. “Let my man go!”
As soon as Hugh was set on his feet again, she hugged his leg and then dashed over to Kit who put up her hands before the child could reach her. “Careful. I’m hurt.” Mary fell to her knees at Kit’s feet and gently stroked Kit’s leg.
“I saw ye fall. I screamed,” said the girl, “but the man said we had to wait until morning to go get ye. When we got down, ye were gone.” Big tears slid down her cheeks. “We didna ken where ye were. Beatrice gave me a tart.”
Kit rubbed her bandaged hand carefully over Mary’s cheek. “These people saw me on the road and picked me up. They’ve been taking care of me.” She held up her hands. “See how Beatrice took care of my hands. She’s as good as a physician.”
Hugh said, “We thank ye for taking care of Kit and for the kindness ye showed her, but we need to be going. If we stay here, ’twill only bring ye more trouble than ye can handle. Ye canna take down armed soldiers as easily as ye did me.”
“Ye willna be going anywhere until I tend to that wound on yer shoulder,” said Beatrice as she marched toward Hugh, took him firmly by the arm, and led him to her tent.
“Soldiers searched us twice, once on the road and again after we camped,” said the big man. “’Tis no’ new to us. We get stopped often. Somehow a traveling troupe of players always look suspicious to soldiers. They said they were looking for a man and lass and that the woman was dead. It didna take long for us to figure out who ye were.”
“We dinna want to bring trouble to ye,” said Kit, “so if ye can give us some food and a blanket, we’ll be leaving.”
“Nay, ye willna,” said Gus. “There’s no better place to hide ye than with us. Sit here and I’ll bring ye a bowl of soup. ’Tis no’ much, but ’twill warm ye up.”
Kit, grasping the wooden bowl as best she could with her bandaged hands, sipped out of it. “I’m grateful for ye taking me in.” The soup burned her lip. “Tastes delicious.”
“Nay, it doesna,” said Gus, “but it pleases Beatrice to hear ye say it. Let me introduce us. Damon is the big man, Peter, the tall one, and I am Gus. Ye met Beatrice, Damon’s wife, and here is my wife, Jolene.”
Kit nodded to each one in turn before draining her bowl of soup. A few minutes later, Hugh came out of the tent with a fresh bandage on his shoulder and wearing a clean shirt three sizes too big.
“ ’Tis one of Damon’s,” Hugh said, tugging on the sleeves. “Seems I have some growing to do.”
“There’s no infection, so all he needs is a good night’s sleep, and he’ll be as good as new,” said Beatrice.
“We are the Countryside Players,” Gus went on with a sweeping bow, “a proud and esteemed performing troupe of the theater! We travel across the land bringing news to astound and inform and stories to amaze and entertain.”
Peter stepped in front of Gus and continued with a flourish of his hands and exaggerated facial expressions. “Our most recent tale has been of a fire in a castle and of the daring escape of Queen Mary of Scotland. We tell how she escaped from a traitorous spy, and how she led the army into battle where the Highlanders won the day. Our tale always ends with her living happily forever in a glorious land where she drives out the Sassenach invaders and heals all of Scotland’s wounds. ’Tis quite a story we tell.”
Hugh looked up from his own bowl of soup. “No’ much of it is true.”
“Nary a soul cares if ’tis true, only that it entertains and gives people hope for better times to come.”
“At any time does this tale include three runaways hiding with a desperate band of players,” Hugh asked, “where they could easily be turned in for a reward?”
Damon stood up and put his hands on his ample hips. His voice rumbled with indignation. “Are ye asking if we would turn ye in for a chest full of coin?”
They all burst out laughing!
Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):
(For universal buy link, with mouse on the link, press control and then click to reach the links.)
Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/Promise-Made-Susan-Leigh-Furlong-ebook/dp/B08DYZM2D6/ref=sr_1_6?dchild=1&keywords=Susan+Leigh+Furlong&qid=1598989549&s=digital-text&sr=1-6
Amazon CA https://amzn.to/42DJMjU
Barnes and Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/by-promise-made-susan-leigh-furlong/1137427006?ean=9781509232284
Kobo (This link with be available for By Promise Made after 9/23.) https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/steadfast-will-i-be
Books also available from www.SusanLFurlong.com
What’s your favorite way to combat stress?
Music energizes and relaxes me at the same time. Upbeat music changes my mood from dreary to enthusiastic while mellow music softens the rough edges of stress.
Why is your featured book a stress busting read?
Do you want to escape to another world and get lost in the adventures of a handsome rogue and a strong-minded woman? Young Mary is a delightful sprite, and when she meets the Countryside Players the fun really begins.
One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon US or Canada gift card
Open internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon CA account to win.
Runs May 1 – 31, 2023.
Drawing will be held on June 1, 2023.
Susan Leigh Furlong knew she had a special connection with words since she was a child. When she was 9 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 and three novels set in sixteenth century Scotland, and her most recent book is set during the American Revolution. When Susan is not researching and creating her stories, she writes, directs, and performs with a music and drama group.
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