opportunity to make the man understand the true price of a missing child. But as Duncan begins to know Cat, guilt over his actions wars with his irrepressible desire for her.
When Cat discovers the truth of her identity, she decides she can teach the outlawed clan chief a lesson, but in love, there’s more than one way to win.
Duncan lifted the woman’s upper body into his left arm, cradling her head so that he blocked the rain. He probed near her wound gingerly with his right hand, and she frowned and weakly tried to turn away.
His wariness deepened. There was something about her, a familiarity that echoed inside his head but refused to take shape.
“Where am I?” she whispered, her accent English. “What happened?”
An English lady in the Highlands? He chose to answer the second question rather than the first. “Ye’ve a nasty wound to your head, mistress. Did ye fall?”
She blinked as if she might lose consciousness. “Where am I? What happened?”
Now it was his turn to blink, but he remembered that wounds of the head could cause confusion. He knew he had to stop the blood loss.
“Mistress, can ye stand?”
She opened those eyes again, large and golden, in a delicate face. Her dark hair streamed back from her forehead, her hairline coming to a peak.
He recognized her, a flash of memory from Stirling several years ago, when he’d glared his hatred at the Earl of Aberfoyle, a haughty old man on horseback, forcing aside a poor lass heavy with child to make way for him. The earl’s family was seldom in Scotland, so their arrival in the Highlands had caused a stir. Duncan had seen this woman riding just behind, wearing the fine gown and jaunty hat that marked her a noble lady. At least she’d looked distressed at her father’s actions.
Catriona Duff was the daughter of Aberfoyle, the chief of the Clan Duff and Duncan’s bitter enemy. Aberfoyle was one of the main reasons that Duncan was an outlaw who had to protect and feed his people while on the run.
He lifted his head and looked about, as if the earl and his entire retinue were somewhere nearby, waiting to attack him. “Where are your men?” he demanded.
“What happened?” she asked weakly.
“Ye’ve hit your head. Where are your men?”
Her hand fluttered toward her forehead, but he didn’t allow her to touch the wound.
A spasm of pain narrowed her eyes. “I found them . . . dead,” she whispered. “What happened to me?”
“I don’t know.” Six weeks after almost being captured, he was still wary of anything unusual in his part of the Highlands. Dead men would prove her story true, but he couldn’t deal with them now.
“I—I can’t remember—I can’t remember anything!” Though her cry was feeble, it was full of helplessness and fear.
“Ye don’t remember the accident?”
“Not . . . the accident, not even . . . my name.”
He frowned down at her, wondering at what intrigue she was playing—or what her father had set in motion. He wouldn’t put it past the bastard.
She clutched his plaid. “What happened to me?” she cried in despair.
“I do not ken. I must clean that wound. Can ye stand? I can pull ye up on my horse.”
He rose, lifting her up with him until she could clutch the saddle for support. After mounting, he reached down for her. He would have preferred she ride astride behind him, but she seemed so weak that he ended up cradling her across his thighs. She leaned into him, her head lolling onto his chest, her blood staining his black, red, and yellow plaid.
It didn’t take long to reach the rocky overhang he’d used for shelter several other times. Once out of the rain, he searched his saddle pack but found nothing that would do for a clean bandage. He ended up cutting several strips from the end of his shirt with his dirk. The wound seemed clean enough after all the rain, so he wrapped the improvised bandages around her head and hoped they stopped the bleeding.
She looked at him helplessly the whole time, and he felt like she was memorizing his features. He studied her, too. Her high cheekbones emphasized the hollows beneath, and her full lips hinted at an expressive mouth. Her pale face was as remote and beautiful as a statue, making her appeal to him on a primitive level that he would never acknowledge.
Why was she in the remote Highlands? According to gossip he’d heard long ago, she rarely visited her father’s castles. Was she the advance of a larger party headed right for Duncan’s unsuspecting people? She was so close to his hidden encampment. If he let her go, she could bring men to hunt the area, risking his people—risking the good he was trying to do. He couldn’t release her until he knew all the facts.
If you had to title your own life what would it be and why?
“Lucky in Love.” I met my husband a year before we started dating, but once we dated, we married within six months. And I knew that first month that I was in love with him. So any time someone uses love at first sight in a romance novel, I think it could be true, because it happened to me. And we’ve been married 35 years, so it can work!
What is your favorite place to visit?
It may sound cliché for a historical romance author, but I love England. I’ve visited three times now, and every time I see a different part of the country, I fall in love all over again. Last time, I visited my daughter who was studying for her semester abroad in London. The two of us rented a car and drove north—on the left side of the road!—all the way to Yorkshire. The countryside changes so much, from thatched roofs and abundant gardens, to bleak moors that roll to the horizon. Incredible!
Favorite writing place.
Even though I’ve written most of my books from a small office on the lower level of my house, my favorite place to write is on my patio. I spent all last summer working outside 4-6 hours every day. My yard is mostly trees, but I have an umbrella to sit beneath when the sun is overhead. I planted begonias and impatiens, which do well in the shade. I put up my feet up, my laptop on a lap desk, and I write, listening to the sound of the bees, the birds, and distant lawn mowers. My neighbor has several bird feeders that spill seeds onto the ground, so sometimes birds, squirrels, bunnies, and chipmunks are all cavorting in the grass together, like my own private show. It’s so peaceful!
What are 5 things you must have with you when you write?
Ooh, interesting question. I don’t think I’m superstitious about anything in particular, but there are some constants when I’m writing a book. A laptop is number one—a desktop computer can’t easily be moved, so I’ve used a laptop for years so I can set it aside to research, spread out my index cards, etc. And I want to be able to take it with me, too! Next, I always have ice water in a big insulated mug. I have index cards, because that’s how I keep track of all my scenes. I use a purple pen to write on them. And lastly, markers, because I highlight a corner of each index card to keep track of all my plotlines when I lay the cards out: purple for the heroine’s emotional growth, blue for the hero, pink for the romance plot, then green/orange/red for the various plotlines in the book. Yes, I love to organize and plot things out.
Can you tell us a little about your book?
I was so excited to write LOVE WITH A SCOTTISH OUTLAW, mainly because I finally found a story to fit a plot I’d always wanted to write: amnesia. I opened the book with the heroine, Catriona, waking up in the Scottish Highlands, her head bleeding, not knowing who she is. It was such fun to write! The hero Duncan is the chief of an outlawed clan—and he knows exactly who she is, the daughter of his enemy. While Catriona thinks he is being kind enough to house her while she discovers who she is, Duncan is really holding her captive. And of course, the sparks fly!
her dog Uma and her husband, Jim the Romance Hero. She also writes contemporary romances as Emma Cane. Discover more at her website.