Monday, August 23, 2021

The Highlander's Pirate Lass by Heather McCollum - New Release and Giveaway

The Highlander's Pirate Lass
by Heather McCollum
Series: The Brothers of Wolf Isle, #2
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: August 23, 2021

Eliza Wentworth is no lady. After the notorious pirate Jandeau murdered her family, she vowed to spend the rest of her life at sea, saving others. She’d rather be firing cannons than embroidering pillows—or worse, bowing to the demands of a husband. But when she’s stranded on an island off the coast of Scotland, now she is the one in need of help. And, annoyingly, that help comes not only from a man, but a man she struggles to resist.

Highlander Beck Macquarie has never met a woman like Eliza. He hasn’t met many women, period, thanks to the blasted curse set upon Wolf Isle decades ago. To save the clan, he needs a wife and bairns, and rough-around-the edges Eliza is anything but wife material. She has no intention of staying once she’s able to set sail again. He should let her go. But the desire between them is impossible to ignore.

When she asks Beck to teach her the ways of the bedroom while she bides her time on his island, he can’t say no. As they learn more about each other, though, past trauma and secrets resurface. Now, Eliza must choose between the freedom and comfort of the only life she’s ever known and sacrificing it all to save the people she loves…including Beck.

Beck pivoted on his boot in time to see… Eliza?

The woman wore sailor’s clothing. No petticoats, but the breeches that she’d worn under her skirts. Tall boots hugged her shapely legs up past her knees. She wore a longish coat of wool and leather with an intricate braid trim, a white tunic, and a floppy hat over her hair. A crossbow swung by her side. She charged across the deck, Alice, who was also dressed in trousers, hurrying behind her with a lantern.

“Holy Lord,” Rabbie said next to him.

“Beck,” Drostan yelled, pointing at Eliza. As if he hadn’t seen her. Half his men had stopped to stare at the lass as she leaped up onto the forecastle at the bow of the ship.

“Eliza,” he called. He caught up to her and Alice where Eliza climbed onto the rail, wrapping one of her legs in the line to steady herself. “What are ye doing?”

Alice pulled a long dagger from her skirt, holding it before Beck so he couldn’t advance on Eliza. Eliza swung around, pointing her nocked arrow directly at his chest. “Taking over your bloody ship, Macquarie, so I can save it.”

Mo chreach! He had a crew of twenty armed men, and she thought she could just take over his ship? “First of all, I rescued ye from starving on that isle.”

“And I am showing my appreciation,” she said, “by preventing your certain death. Now give me space to do it, Macquarie.” She met his gaze with a hard one of her own. In it, he saw fury and fear. What had she been through at Jandeau’s hands?

“I will shoot you if I must,” she said.

“Beck,” Drostan yelled, pointing to the pirate ship skimming along the water with the wind. Jandeau’s ship was gliding close enough that he could see the bastard standing along the rail, his beard regrown from when he’d shaved it as part of his disguise two years ago.

Men, young and old, stood ready along the rails, each with a blade or a gun. Two cages were suspended over them, one with a skeleton tied upright inside, bits of sinew dried to the poor bastard’s bones. The other cage held a more intact corpse, his body slumped over. The tangy whiff of death tinged the breeze as Jandeau maneuvered the Borreau into a position of attack, aiming his cannons along his gunwale at the Calypso.

Beck leaped past Alice to stand next to Eliza. The rail pressed against his shins to keep him from falling into the narrowing space between the ships. “Ye plan to take on the Borreau with one crossbow?” Beck asked.

“One lit with fire,” Alice said, raising the lantern.

“It will do little damage on its own,” he said, trying to remain calm. The woman thought she could take over his ship! The ship he’d spent a full year building. The ship he loved more than everything other than his family.

“’Tis a warning shot,” Eliza said. Granite-hard determination in the set of her mouth showed no room for negotiation. “I plan to frighten him away.”

Beck stared into her intense blue-gray eyes. “First off, Jandeau is not a coward.” Especially when faced with twenty less guns. “Second, I want to capture him, not frighten him away.” Beck reached toward her and felt the sting of a blade along the back of his hand. He looked down to see that she’d slid a dagger across it. Not deep, but blood swelled from it. Her warning shot to him.

Crossbow along her side, she held the bloodied dagger pointed at his throat. “We are on the leeward side,” she said, “going against the wind in an attack. Whatever that ship is out there will not get here before Jandeau’s heathens board to steal your ship, kill all the men, and take my children to sell or rape.

Those swinging ropes along his side…” Beck knew they were there. “They are for sending at least half his fifty crewmen over here as soon as he’s close enough. The swine will overrun us within minutes.”

Her eyes snapped with fury. Teeth clenched, she leaned slightly closer to him. “I will not let that happen. You will have to kill me to get me down from here, because I would rather die than end up in the hands of that crew.”

He could grab her and lock her in his cabin, although he’d likely suffer more bloodletting. Dammit. She was right about Jandeau stealing the children if he won against the Calypso. As much as Beck wanted to capture the French pirate, he wouldn’t sacrifice children in the attempt.

Beck inhaled through his nose. “What is your plan?”

Heather McCollum is an award-winning, historical romance writer. With over twenty books published, she is an Amazon Best Seller and a Readers' Choice winner.

The rugged beauty and rich history of Great Britain captivates Ms. McCollum each time she visits. The country's history and landscape have been a backdrop for her stories since her very first book.

When she is not dreaming up adventures and conflict for brawny Highlanders and feisty heroines, she spends her time educating women on the symptoms of Ovarian Cancer. She is a survivor and resides with her very own Highland hero and three spirited children in the wilds of suburbia on the mid-Atlantic coast.

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