Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Get TAKEN BY THE BORDER REBEL--You'll Be Glad You Did!

Hey Crew--welcome Blythe Gifford back on the ship!! She will be doing our Book Review of the week...


Thanks for having me back, pirates!  You were such fun when I came to talk about the first book in The Brunson Clan trilogy.  The Harlequin Historical series launched in November with RETURN OF THE BORDER WARRIOR and continued with the January release of CAPTIVE OF THE BORDER LORD.

Now, I’m back to give you a glimpse of the conclusion, out this month, TAKEN BY THE BORDER REBEL.  And this time, instead of listening to me babble, I’m going to take right to the story itself.  The Brunson Clan trilogy is set on the Scottish Borders during the early Tudor era and centers on a family of Border Reivers.  Now, we finally see Black Rob, strong, silent oldest son, meet his match – the daughter of their most hated enemies.

Here’s the back cover copy:

As leader of his clan, Black Rob Brunson has earned every dark syllable of his name. But, having taken hostage his enemy’s daughter in a fierce act of rebellion, he is tormented by feelings of guilt and torn apart with the growing need to protect her—and seduce her!
Stella Storwick feels Rob’s disdain from the first. Then slowly she starts to see behind his eyes to a man in turmoil. Something he has no words for, something that can only be captured in a heart-wrenching kiss....

In the excerpt below, from Chapter One, Black Rob Brunson has been out inspecting his land, looking for signs that the family’s blood enemies, the Storwicks, may be planning a raid, and pauses at midday in the hills overlooking his valley.

Something shifted.  The wind.  A scent.  A sound.  He stiffened, alert, and turned his head.
Above him and to his left, sat a woman, silent and stiff, eyes fixed on him warily as if he were a Storwick. 
He fashed himself for not looking carefully before leaving his horse.  What if he’d been surprised by the enemy? 
Neither spoke, looking.
Dark hair tumbled across her shoulders, but he would not call her beautiful.  At least, not from this angle.  Eyes and lips fought for control of her face.  Her nose was too strong.  Her chin too sharp.  She looked vaguely familiar, but he had seen every far-flung Brunson at one time or another.  Still, he could not summon which branch of the family was hers.
“You’re far from home,” he began, still trying to place her.  The Tait cousin lived nearest, but he had no daughters.
She drew herself up into a crouch, like a wary animal ready to run.  “Nay so far.”
He raised and lowered his shoulders, sorry he had frightened her.  He motioned his head uphill, toward the border.  “Storwicks are no more than five miles away.”
Not taking her eyes from his, she stood slowly and took a step back, as if nearness to the enemy had just occurred to her.  The blush on her cheek paled.  “Have I crossed the border then?”
“Nay.”  He rose to his feet, uncomfortable that she stood while he stretched on the grass.  What was the strangeness in her accent?  “It’s just over there.”
Her eyes widened.  She turned to look over her shoulder.  Then ran.
That was when he recognized her.

Stella Storwick didn’t look back, praying for her feet to run faster.
But the Brunson kept coming, strong as a charging ram, trampling the grass behind her.  Then he was in front of her, cutting off her escape as if she were no more than an unruly ewe. 
She dodged.  Left.  Right.  Thinking she could confuse him.
He was a broad man.  She could be quicker.  More steps, her skirt and the grass holding her back.  If she crossed the border, she would be safe…
But next she knew, he grabbed her arm, whirled her around, and both of them tumbled to ground.  She on her back, pressed to earth, he straddling her legs.
She lifted a clawed hand to scratch his eyes, but he caught her wrists and held her arms tight against the dirt without effort.  Even when she shut her eyes against him, he surrounded her, warm and smelling of leather.
“You’re Storwick.”  He did not ask a question.
She opened her eyes.  His were brown.  And murderous.
“And you’re Brunson.”  Close now, she knew him, the man she had seen near half a year ago at Truce Day.  Fool she was, not to have recognized him immediately. 
Not just a Brunson.  The Brunson. 
A flash of heat crackled through her body.  Hatred, no doubt.
He was one of the Black Brunsons.  Broad of shoulder and brow, dark of hair and eye.  Yes, he had the brown eyes that marked all his cursed clan.
“You’ll not take me.”  She braced herself, stiff armed and legged, as if that would stop him.  “I won’t let you.”
He froze, then turned to spit in the dirt in contempt.  “Brunsons don’t treat women so.”  Disgust now, in his eyes.  “It’s your kind who do that.”
One villainous kin of hers who had done that.
She knew the truth of the whispers about him, though the man had never dared touch her. 
No one dared that. 
“That’s not what I’ve heard.”  A lie, but one she hoped would keep him off guard.  She tugged against his hold.  An iron manacle would have given way more easily.
He released her hands with a look that warned her to keep them quiet.  “You’ve heard wrong.”
She pushed herself up on her elbows.  “Then let me go if you don’t mean to take me.”
He sat back on his heels and crossed his arms, his very silence ominous. 
She held her breath to stop her speech.  He had not guessed which Storwick she was.  Or that she had come to the hills to spy on his precious tower. 
“How far behind are the others?”  He stood, pulling her to her feet, keeping his hand on her wrist while he gazed toward the English side of the border.
“No others.”  Foolish admission.  She had told no one her plan when she left this morning.  Perhaps that had been unwise. 
He turned back, sweeping her with a glance head to toe.  One that said she might be daft, but he wasn’t.  “You wander the hills alone with no horse?”
She shrugged to hide the shaking.  “Sun doesn’t often come like this.  I wandered too far.”  And had hoped to wander farther.  A horse would draw attention.  “Let me go.  I’m of no use to you.”
“Oh, you’re of use to me.  You’re going to serve as a hostage for the good behavior of the rest of your people.  If they ride to rescue Hobbes Storwick, you’ll be the one to pay.”
She blanched.  Thank God.  At least her father was alive.
They had not even been sure of that.

A lucky reader who comments on today’s blog will be randomly selected to win a signed copy of (your choice) RETURN OF THE BORDER WARRIOR, Book 1, CAPTIVE OF THE BORDER LORD, Book 2, or TAKEN BY THE BORDER REBEL, Book 3.  To start the conversation, when you read a trilogy, do read the books as they come out or wait until all three are available?

Blythe Gifford has been known for medieval romances featuring characters born on the wrong side of the royal blanket. Now, she’s launching a trilogy set on the turbulent Scottish Borders of the early Tudor era, starting with RETURN OF THE BORDER WARRIOR, November 2012, Harlequin Historical.  CAPTIVE OF THE BORDER LORD will follow in January 2013, and TAKEN BY THE BORDER REBEL in March 2013.  The Chicago Tribune has called her work "the perfect balance between history and romance."  Visit her at www.blythegifford.com, www.facebook.com/BlytheGifford, or on Twitter @BlytheGifford. 

Author photo by Jennifer Girard.  Excerpt Copyright © 2013 by Wendy B. Gifford.  Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A.  Cover Art Copyright © 2013 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited.  Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A. Cover art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited. All rights reserved. ® and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited or its affiliated companies, used under license.


Maureen said...

If I know it's a trilogy, I'm likely to wait for them to all be out before I buy and read. I do get caught by series when I don't realize they are series. But I can handle that as long as there are no cliffhangers!

Once upon a time, I read series like a duck takes to water. As I age, I like one book at a time...

bn100 said...

I don't really read books in a series in order. I read them based on the blurb.


Marnee Bailey said...

Congrats on the release, Blythe, and welcome back!!

I think my series reading habits depend. I've jumped into a series in the middle and then had to catch up. I prefer reading the first book first. But I've done them out of order before but that isn't my preference. And I'll read what's available, wait for what isn't. I've been known to glom up an entire series in a week. (see: the Hunger Games trilogy). It all depends. I'm an equal opportunity reader. :)

Terri Osburn said...

Welcome back to the ship, Ms. Gifford. We love that you bring your brawny Scotsmen along. :) I'm loving this excerpt.

I've jumped into the middle of a series, but usually unwittingly. LOL! I just don't pay close enough attention. But if I'm excited about a new one, I'll jump in right away and usually read them as they're released.

Nothing wrong with building a little anticipation. Today I'm thinking I could jump right into book 3 on this one.

Blythe Gifford said...

Hi, all! Every trilogy is different and some are more tightly woven than others. These three are tight, but I worked hard not to give away spoilers in the later books. (Except that they have a happy ending!) Best read in order, but if you don't, you can still enjoy the earlier books, I hope.

irisheyes said...

Hi, Blythe!

I usually like to read any series in order, but don't necessarily wait until they're all out to do so. I'm starting to wait if I know it's just a trilogy but with some of these series they can go on into the double digits.

Your excerpt has definitely grabbed my attention. I haven't read a medieval in ages - looks like it's time to mix it up a bit.

MsHellion said...

Hi Blythe, thanks for coming by today and offering us a sneak peek at your newest!! I prefer to read series in order... :) I don't like to feel I'm missing anything. *LOL*

I usually read series as they come out, in order. :) Sometimes I end up starting when there is already a book or two out, but then I just read the new one, then glom the backlist to catch up. :) It happens.

Sabrina Shields (Scapegoat) said...

Welcome Blythe!

I've done both - read book by book and also hold them all til I can read straight through.

I tend to think book by book in a 3 series is easier to do and I don't mind it. BUT, when the series goes on beyond that, there are too many books I read in the meantime to remember all the story details from previous books.

I have that issue with many family books - where there are 5-10 books with different members of the family. I read so much that by the next time a book comes out I'm confused on who is who again!

Blythe Gifford said...

One reason I kept it simple! Two brothers, one sister!

Maureen said...

Scape, maybe I'll need to hand out character cards with my Caribbean Spell series...