Synopses & Reviews
Chapter One"Scotland, 1818
"Why don't you just pick one, then?"
Standing waist deep in the chilly waters of Loch Glenshea, Ewan MacLaughlin slicked his wet hair back from his face and stared dumbly at his cousin Jamie. "Pick one what?"
With a sigh and an expression of exasperation, Jamie jerked his head in the direction of the shore. "One of them."
A crowd of girls from the village had gathered to watch the boys swim. Some of the girls were trying to goad the others into joining them, for the day was sunny and hot and they'd all been working since sunrise. None of the girls was actually brazen enough to wade in, however.
Ewan scoffed as the sound of giggling drifted across the water. "What would I want to pick one of them for?"
Jamie scowled, drawing his dark auburn eyebrows together. "Are ye daft as well as stubborn? So the rest of us might actually have a chance of choosing one as well!"
Ewan truly had no idea what his cousin was talking about, and he was certain he was neither stupid nor stubborn, but as he studied the girls on the shore he noticed that most of them were watching him. An uncomfortable realization settled in his chest. He'd never thought of himself as much of a catch before, but as an eligible, landowning young man of twenty-four, he realized that he was definitely seen as a catch.
Wanting to put a stop to this ridiculous conversation, he dove under the surface of the loch, each powerful stroke of his arms taking him farther away from his cousin and his absurdquestions.
Him, a husband? The very thought filled him with horror. While many of the girls of his village were bonny to be sure, there was not one who caught his interest more than the others. Not one that set his heart pounding or made his palms damp. He couldn't imagine spending the rest of his life with a single one of them. What would they have in common? And what would they think of a husband who sometimes stayed up half the night reading or painting? A sensible Scottish lass would think him as daft as Jamie seemed to think him.
Lungs close to bursting, Ewan broke the surface of the lake, only to find Jamie coming up behind him, his long chestnut hair trailing like seaweed behind him. His cousin's fair skin had finally started to tan rather than burn, but he was still several shades lighter than Ewan. Jamie's complexion was the only delicate thing about him. He was pure Scot through and through-as strong as an ox and just as stubborn as one too. He had to be. It was the only way his family had survived The Clearances. They'd been kicked off their land by the wealthy landowners, and Jamie came to his cousin Ewan looking for work to support his family-and work he did. It was Ewan, the lord of the land, who wasn't a true Scot. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't change the fact that English blood also ran in his veins.
"What do you mean you don't want one?" Jamie demanded, treading water beside him. "You'll not find a more bonny lot anywhere-not even in the court of King George himself." The statement wasn't meant to be insulting, of that Ewan was certain, but it stung all the same.
Ewan averted his gaze so his cousin couldn't see the guilt there. He was certain it washis father's blood -- "English blood-that made him want to taste the world beyond his tiny village of Lodi Glenshea, beyond Hadrian!s wall to the southern lands of England. He had no good reason to feel such a pull toward his father's homeland. In fact, he resisted it violently. His father had deserted Ewan and his mother years ago, leaving his mother to waste away and eventually die broken and in much lowered circumstances. Ewan had been very young, but memories of his mother were burned into his mind.
Ewan's one memory of him was of his father leaving after his mother's funeral. It was fuzzy, for he'd been just a wee lad of three. At the time, Ewan was glad to stay in Scotland with people he knew, but as he grew older he wondered why his father hadn't taken him with him, why he had left his son to struggle to keep his home standing and his people prosperous. He also wondered why he still thought about his father after all these years. He deserved none of Ewan's curiosity. He certainly didn't deserve the small bit of his son's heart that still ached at the thought of his father not wanting him.
"I have no desire to take a wife, Jamie: ' he replied softly. He'd seen what marriage had done to his mother. He had no desire to afflict anyone with that kind of suffering -- nor have it put upon him for that matter.
But even as the bitter thoughts ran through his head, they were chased by memories of the kind of marriage his grandparents shared -- one of hard work, love, and laughter. He knew that his mother and father's marriage hasn't been a normal one.
Jamie snorted. "You don't have to marry her, Ewan. Just pay more attention to her than the others so they'll give up hopin' you'llpick one of them and start lookin' at the rest of us...
After a glittering debut last year (the Season of 1818), Anna became engaged to a dashing duke's son. As if that isn't enough, she's an heiress. So why does her heart feel so empty?
The quest for true love begins at an early age, even among girls not quite ready for romance with a capital R. Introducing a brand-new line of books for girls, built upon the success of books for women.
Just as the Avon name means romance for adults, the name Avon True Romance will mean captivating love stories for the younger set. Written by renowned authors of adult romance with younger readers in mind, Avon True Romances have younger characters, innocent kisses, and all the excitement and heart of their adult counterparts. Exclusively historical, all the favorite periods will be covered: Regency, Western, medieval, just to name a few. There's something for every girl ready to be swept off her feet!
Anna: After a glittering debut last year (the Season of 1818), she became engaged to a dashing duke's son. As if that isn't enough, she's an heiress. So why does her heart feel so empty?
The Duke: The reluctant heir of an estranged father, Ewan arrives in London to claim a title he does not want. He doesn't expect to find something he wants, or for her to belong to another.
At the very least, anyone else in Anna Welsley's position would be satisfied. Anna is to inherit a fortune, and after a glittering London debut last Season, she is now engaged to a duke's son. Anna herself does not understand the vague feeling of dissatisfaction. While her mother industriously plans Anna's wedding, Anna herself reads poetry and wonders if what she's in is love or just an arrangement.
As the estranged Scottish son of an English duke who has just died, Ewan MacLaughlin is the reluctant heir to his father's title. Arriving in London, he must face his father's widow, half sister, and half brother, Richard, who was fully expecting to become the duke himself. While acquainting himself with his newfound relations, Ewan finds himself more and more often in the company of Richard's fiancee, the beautiful Anna.
When it becomes clear that Richard is conspiring against Ewan, Anna is compelled to warn Ewan. But what begins in innocence soon becomes betrayal as Anna finds the answer to the question in her heart -- in Ewan.
About the Author
Kathryn Smith began writing at age eight. For the next nine years she continued in her attempts to entertain students and teachers alike with her stories. But not until she was in her mid-twenties did she gather up the courage to follow her dream. She sent one of her books to a publisher. Four months later she was offered a contract.
Kathryn, her husband, Steve, and their cat, Mufasa, now live in Ottawa, Ontario, where Kathryn spends her days in front of her computer making up characters and plots. She loves writing romance and happy endings, but she has a couple of ideas she'd like to pursue someday as well. One is for a gothic-horror series about a vampire hunter.
Kathryn's adult titles include Elusive Passion, A Seductive Offer, and Scandalous Proposal.