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
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?”
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.
More info and additional excerpts: https://www.vanessakellyauthor.com/books/the-highlanders-christmas-bride/
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)