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Posts Tagged ‘enemies to lovers’

I recently discovered that my roots go back to Scotland, to Clan MacGregor. That venerable clan has a reliable claim to be the most ancient of them all, having sprung from the Pictish blood of Alpin, Scotland’s first king. Fascinating!

In spite of its honorable birth, for almost 200 years the MacGregor family was almost obliterated…not their lives, but their name and reputation. Och, ’tis a long story, but the near abolishment of their name can be laid directly at the hands—and brains—of another clan, the Campbells.

In addition—during a period from the 1740s to the 1780s—no clan was allowed to bear arms, wear a tartan, even blow into a bagpipe. These and other acts were England’s attempt to stifle the Jacobite rebellion and the Catholic (non-Protestant) sentiments of the time.

Into this period of repression, in the year 1772, I drop a few protagonists, and I try to tell a bright love story…

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Grier Black, whose true name is Gregory MacGregor, is a moody and angry man—a Highlander who cannot claim his name, who is not allowed to don a kilt, who cannot carry any weapon larger than a small non-metal knife. To make matters worse, his father has been killed  by—whom? King’s men? Enemy Campbells? His life is one of lawless rebellion and perpetual resentment.

Iain Stewart is Grier’s uncle. He’s twenty years older, several years’ worth  of university training more “civilized,” but just as deadly in his own way. From the time his brother was killed and his wife abducted, he has sworn to right old wrongs and to reinstate his clan’s honor. As a practicing solicitor, he operates above and below the law in Edinburgh.

David Campbell is a Quaker-trained young man whose father runs a successful print shop in Philadelphia. But his quiet life is turned upside down when he’s forced to escape the mindless cruelty of a group of Redcoat soldiers and ends up in the hands of a Dutch ship’s captain and a lecherous opportunist. He finally finds himself surrounded by strangers on a verra strange shore…the country of bonnie auld Scotland.

Here’s an excerpt from the novel…the chapter after Grier has just met a foreigner named David. From that moment on, all former bets are off…

>>>Chapter Eight<<<
Interlude

David was in turn mystified, charmed, saddened, and choked with desperate desire. Long he lay in the pallet, tossing on the hard bed redolent of unseen mountains, cupping himself, wondering at the way his small world had become a universe of possibilities.

I want him to desire me…in a different way from Archer…the way I have sometimes dreamed. In the way of David and Jonathan…the same way I want him.

Once, with his far away associate Alan, he had thrilled to the light touch of another man. That was an infinity ago, in a time and place forever lost, and it had lasted mere moments. This new excitement would not leave his flesh, or his fantasies.

He is to be my trainer, hardly my lover. He comes to this place to find women. He lives and thinks at cross-purposes to my own beliefs. Be careful, David.

But he could not expunge from his mind the thought of touching and kissing Grier Black. Yes, a black fox. He thought about the words he had read in Shakespeare…Lean and hungry.

Finally, testicles swollen, throbbing with the pain of holding back, he stroked himself until his hands were wet with spilled longing, and then he slept.

~o~

Grier could not sleep. He had unrolled his saddle blanket near Corbie, where his stallion stood in a half-doze. The large animal would lie down later, when deep sleep pulled him to the fragrant new grass.

He lay on his back gazing at the same stars and the same moon he and David had seen half an hour ago. Then, the sky had shimmered with the kind of light he had rarely seen. It had been a canopy of unknown and unknowable mystery, in a singular moment of peace.

He tried to forget the image of the flaxen-haired young man bent like a crescent moon over a reflecting pool…his comely buttocks flexing in mute acceptance of his own renegade eyes…

Stop, Gregory MacGregor. The lad is an innocent in a world of corrupt men.

Never, in all the years he had desired other men, never before had he made love with his tone of voice and the inflections of his speech, with the silent language of his body. He was too restless, too much in a hurry to find the next moor and drink from the burn that lay just over the next hill. He was always trying to escape…something. Some wayward phantom that had never revealed itself.

Och, he had never showed himself so openly…not until tonight. Now, turning once more onto his stomach, he cursed himself—again—for his obvious show of lust to a boy who had already suffered the worst of vile humanity.

Let it go. Let sleep come…

You can find Unkilted at one of these fine ebook vendors…

Amazon https://amzn.to/2BVJ5rj
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Och, it took months of research and some dedicated writing. But my love affair with Scotland’s Highlands and its tall dark city called Edinburgh has reached another level.

The work is titled Unkilted. I wrote it as “Book I: The Renegade and the Runaway,” a two-novel adventure. But it may go beyond those bounds. We’ll see.

The novel traces what might have happened to three men in 1772, the eve of America’s war with King George III and the aftermath of Scotland’s costly Battle of Culloden in 1746. After that final clash of Redcoats and Jacobites, Highlanders lost their kilts, their weapons, and their way of life.

I hope readers will find an engaging story, with interesting protagonists, shifting POVs, some humor, history, authentic language, flawed heroes…. You know. The usual suspects.

It’s an enemies-to-lovers tale, a slow-burn love story. Here’s the proposed introduction:

Gregory MacGregor is a Highlander, a moody, angry outlaw who calls himself Grier Black. The British crown has taken his clan name, his tartan, his dagger, and his very honor. His mission in life is one of lawless rebellion.

Iain Stewart is Grier’s uncle, a man who has lost both his brother and his beloved wife. He lives apart from his family in the tall dark city of Edinburgh, where he follows his wits and instincts to help the survival of his clan.

On the eve of a revolution, David Campbell, son of a Colonial American printer, falls afoul of occupying Redcoats. He runs straight into the hands of a ship’s captain and a lecherous opportunist. Weeks later, he finds himself in a place of peril far from home, surrounded by strangers named MacGregor who despise all Campbells.

…And all hell breaks loose before heaven can intervene.

Look for Unkilted soon after the new year.

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