Monday, August 26, 2019

Excerpt and ARC Giveaway - - The Highlander's Christmas Bride

If you've read Vanessa Kelly's The Highlander's Princess Bride (The Improper Princesses - Book 3) and/or The Highlander Who Protected Me (Clan Kendrick - Book 1), you're probably as excited as I am for the October 29th release of Logan Kendrick's book: The Highlander's Christmas Bride. Well, does Vanessa Kelly have a treat for you! Today, she's sharing an excerpt from Logan and Donella's book and giving a print advance review copy of The Highlander's Christmas Bride to one of you...a full two months before publication!

The Highlander's Christmas Bride
by Vanessa Kelly
Clan Kendrick - Book 2
Publisher: Zebra
Release Date: October 29, 2019

In bestselling author Vanessa Kelly’s irresistible Clan Kendrick series, Christmas in the Highlands means family, celebration—and for one brother, the beginning of a passionate adventure . . .

Being thrown over by the man she expected to marry was humiliating enough. Now that Donella Haddon, grandniece of the Earl of Riddick, has also proven a failure as a nun, she has no choice but to return to her family’s estate. The brawny Highlander sent to escort her is brash, handsome, and the only thing standing between Donella and a gang of would-be kidnappers. But the scandal in her past can’t be so easily outrun . . .

Wealthy widower Logan Kendrick was expecting to meet a plain, pious spinster—not a gorgeous, sharp-tongued lass who can hold her own in any ambush. Though she’s known as the Flower of Clan Graham, Donella is no shrinking violet. In fact, she might be the perfect woman to bring happiness back to his lonely little son’s life, just in time for Christmas.  But first he must protect her from ugly gossip and a mysterious threat—and convince her that their wild, unexpected desire is heaven sent.

Set-up: Donella Haddon has spent the last three years in a convent in a remote corner of Scotland. But the good sisters have decided she’s not suited to life as a nun. Much to her chagrin, Donella has been asked to leave. Logan Kendrick, widower, wealthy businessman, and friend to Donella’s family, agrees to provide her an escort home to Blairgal Castle.

Once on the road, however, masked men try to abduct Donella. Thanks to Logan, the plot fails, but he and Donella are forced to flee. In disguise and with Donella masquerading as Logan’s little brother, they take refuge at a small inn. When the mysterious plotters track them down, they prepare to escape once again.

PS. Some of my readers might recognize Donella from an earlier book, HOW TO MARRY A ROYAL HIGHLANDER (Renegade Royals 4). J


The Highlander's Christmas Bride

     Donella stomped her foot down into her boot and straightened. “So, what do we do?”
     “Since we can’t go waltzing out the front door, I’m off to do a little more skulking to see if we can make it out through the back. If not, we’ll have to use the window to make our escape.”
     She regarded his proposed exit with a dubious eye. “Are you sure you’ll fit? You are rather large.”
     “I’m aware of that.” It would appear that large men were not her type, which he found rather irritating.
     She was a nun. She doesn’t have a type.
     “I’ll manage it,” he added, “but I would prefer the back door.”
     “How are we going to get to our horse?”
     “We’re not.”
     Her eyebrows shot up. “We’re walking?”
     “Yes. We’re going up into the hills.”
     “Donella, we can discuss the plan once we get out of here, all right?”
     Her lips thinned, but then she gave a terse nod. “What do you want me to do?”
     “I suggest you take the chance to use the chamber pot, since we’ll be leaving as soon as I return.”
     She winced. “I must say this is turning out to be the most embarrassing episode of my entire life.”
     He flashed a smile as he headed to the door. “Chin up, lass. Just think of it as a grand adventure.”
     “I hate adventures,” she muttered.
     He slipped out into the hall. For a woman who hated adventures, she’d done well, displaying both strength and character. Most girls of her class would have succumbed to hysterics long ago. And though she had a tendency to argue, she’d followed his orders when it counted.
     Logan had the impression from her family that Donella was a biddable, even shy woman who retreated into the background. Yet he’d found her quite the opposite, which probably accounted for her dismissal from the nunnery. Donella might not be the sort of girl to flirt or talk the ears off a man, but biddable or shy? Not a chance.
     He’d only known her for a few days, but there seemed to be more to Donella than her family realized.
     The inn was stirring. Dishes clattered in the taproom and footsteps thumped on the floor above. The entrance hall was empty, but that meant Hamish was likely still out gabbing with the mysterious riders. If those men had a particle of brains, they would soon deduce that something was off about Mr. MacDonald and his strange little brother.
     Logan risked a careful look out the window. A stable boy washed down the cobblestones, but otherwise the yard appeared deserted. But that did them no good since they needed to head up into the hills, not back on the road.
     Retreating, he paused to leave some coin on the desk, then quickly made his way back down the hall to the door at the end of the wing. He’d just cracked it open when he heard a shout from the direction of the stables. Feet pounded across the cobblestones, followed by more shouting and a call to search the inn.
     Dammit to hell.
     Under normal circumstances, he’d have no qualms about confronting the blighters but wouldn’t take any chances with Donella’s safety. He had to get her out of harm’s way as quickly as possible.
     Moments later, he was back in the room. Donella was fully dressed and folding up a small bundle into a makeshift sack.
     “I thought we might be able to use the blanket and extra candles,” she explained.
     “Good thinking.” He shot the bolt across the door.
     “I see it’s the window.”
     Donella followed him to the window. Logan slung his kit over his shoulder and yanked back the shutter, then pushed the latticed window open. 
     “I hope you made use of the chamber pot,” he said as he hoisted her onto the sill.
     She swung her legs over. “If you mention that one more time, I will clobber you.”
     The drop to the ground was a little high for his liking. “Careful, now. We don’t want you—”
     Donella kicked off the sill, landing in a neat crouch before looking up at him. “You were saying, sir?”
     He snorted and dropped his kit and her bundle to the ground. When he started to climb through the opening, he discovered it was quite a tight fight.
     “Don’t get stuck,” she warned.
     As if he’d let that happen.
     Logan pulled back and stripped off his greatcoat, tossing it down to her. Then he grabbed the top of the window frame and pulled himself up, then swung through in one go. He managed to tear a sleeve on the way down, but otherwise was unscathed.
     Donella blinked at him. “That was quite impressive.”
     “I might say the same about you, lass.”
     Her smile was shy. “Thank you. I was rather athletic as a young girl.” The smile faded. “For a while, anyway.”
     There was a story there, and he found himself wanting to hear it. For now, he had other things to worry about, like getting their arses out of harm’s way.
     He shrugged back into his greatcoat. “Athletic is good right now.”
     Donella had already slung her bundle over her shoulder, so he grabbed his kit and guided her toward a farmer’s field behind the inn. They dodged through a kitchen garden, having to crouch at one point below a low hedge when they heard some more shouting, but they were able to skulk away without incident.
     A few hedgerows and a field of oats later, they were safely away. Repeated glances over his shoulder told Logan that no one had yet thought to check behind the inn.
     Miracle of miracles, they’d pulled it off. Now, all they had was a stiff day’s climb up to a crofter’s cottage. There he hoped they would find shelter and a hopefully not-too-long and not-too-cold wait for rescue. He trusted that Davey and Foster had gotten through with his message to Lord Riddick. If not, he would have to devise another plan to get Donella home.
     They splashed through a little creek that separated the field from the first set of foothills. Logan glanced at Donella, who seemed unperturbed by their narrow escape.
     “Ready for a climb, lass?”
     She shot him a wry glance. ”’I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills.’”  
     Then she set off briskly up the narrow track, leaving him to follow in her footsteps.


Have you read Vanessa Kelly? Do you have a favorite book or series?

I love a good unsuitable nun story. Do you have any favorites?

One randomly chosen person who comments before 11:00 PM, August 27, will receive a print ARC (advance review copy) of The Highlander's Christmas Bride. (U.S. addresses only)


  1. I've read almost all her stories for quite some time. Love her highlanders. What a great tease the excerpt is. :) Loved it.
    Carol Luciano

  2. I enjoy her stories but I can never pick a favorite lol.

    1. Catslady, I can't pick out my favorite one either, lol.

  3. I love her books but I could never choose a favorite! They are all so good!

  4. This sounds like such a fun read!

  5. I'm new to her work, and I'm enjoying her series of books but I don't have a favorite yet

  6. I love her books and this series is wonderful

  7. The only nun story I know is: the sound of music

    1. My book is party based on that. Maria was my inspiration for Donella.

  8. Lover her books and am loving this series..thank you

  9. I. Am. So. Excited! I love this series! I've been waiting so long for this one!

  10. I've loved every story. They are all favorites!

  11. I've loved every story. They are favorites!

  12. I've read her stories before. They are always a pleasure.

  13. I've always enjoyed Vanessa's Highlander swoon-worthy books. I really can't think of any suitable or unsuitable "Nun" books. Thank you for the chance to win.

    1. Hi, Diane! Think Maria from The Sound of Music, and you've partly got Donella.

  14. Can't wait to read it. I really enjoyed her Improper Princesses series!

  15. I love Vanessa's books. I've had this book in my Amazon shopping list forever. I collect and read ARCs. Would LOVE to win.

    1. It does seem like forever, doesn't it?? I always feel that way, too. Can't wait for my readers to get this book!

  16. No,because how can you just pick one.
    I'm not picky about tropes. If it's a good story... that's all that matters!📖👓❤️

  17. My favorite book is usually the one I'm reading.

  18. I really enjoyed Vanessa's Renegade Royals books, but haven't read one for a while.

  19. I've not read any Vanessa Kelly books but I love a good highlander romance. And the unsuitable nun premise sounds intriguing.

  20. I haven't read any of her books yet, but I would love to read this one. Thanks for the giveaway!

  21. I have quite a few of Ms Kelly's books and I have even more on my Kindle right now. I am a fan because she provides likable characters. I am not about to spend time with people I do not like. And even better, she makes me laugh. This excerpt shows that I will enjoy this book. Thanks so much for the excerpt and the information.

  22. Longtime Vanessa Kelly fan--love her voice as a storyteller! Some favorites from Vanessa: "Clan Kendrick"; "The Renegade Royals"; and "The Stanton Family". The most "unsuitable nun" story that I know of is the 1970 film "Two Mules for Sister Sara" starring Clint Eastwood and Shirley MacLaine. Highly Unsuitable. Highly Entertaining. Highly...

    1. Thank you, Virginia! And I loved Two Mules for Sister Sara. What a great movie!

  23. Thanks for the opportunity to win an ARC of another one of your fabulous books. I love all the books of yours I have read and can't wait to read this one as well.

  24. Loved the snippet. Has a bit of a Von Trapp family ring to it--from the book and the movie, too.

    I have read a few of Vanessa's books.


  25. Look forward to reading this one, enjoying the family series

  26. I LOVE her books! I've had each one starting with her Renegade Royals on preorder for my kindle app as soon as it has been available! (Let's talk about mental trauma - When the next Clan Kendrick book is supposed to be on your Kindle and it hasn't shown up because you forgot your card was comprimised after you'd preordered it. Easy solution, but still. . . ;-) ) Even if I am lucky enough to win the ARC, I'll be eagerly looking forward to the release of The Highlander's Christmas Bride!

  27. Yes, I like her books and this one sounds good!

  28. I love Vanessa's books and I'm not sure I can pick just one favorite.

  29. I went to a Catholic grade school. Mind were most of the teachers. I never knew what a bobble head was but there was a nun who would shake the evil out of you. This was 1967.

  30. I love Vanessa’s books. My youngest went to Catholic school grades 7-12. Only child in 55 years who was excused from any musical participation EVER. They tried her in band, orchestra, choir, and bells. The nuns gave up after only 2 weeks and for the sanity of the entire school got special dispensation from the archdiocese to eliminate her mandatory 2 year musical training. She was told to concentrate on her studies & athletics. She graduated with a 3.8gpa and 11 Varsity letters and 2 state championships. Guess they made the correct decision.

  31. Love Vanessa Kelly books!
    My opinion, any book she puts out is well worth you taking time and reading!
    Lived the exerpt!!

  32. How fun!! I'm not sure I've read any unsuitable nun stories--but the Sound of Music and Sister Act are fun ones to watch ;)

  33. Looking forward to reading Vanessa's books. Thank you

  34. I have read Vanessa Kelly's books but not got a favorite. I have been fond of unsuitable nuns story since watching The Sound of Music when I was a child.