Hump Day Hunk Post – The Master of Strathburn by Amy Rose Bennett
Thanks so much J’aimee for letting me drop by the AusRom Today blog to chat about the hero of my latest release, The Master of Strathburn, a Scottish historical romance due out May 15 with Escape Publishing.
As you can probably glean from the title, The Master of Strathburn tells the story of a Highland hero, Robert Grant who is a wanted Jacobite. After a decade of living in exile in France and the Caribbean because of his involvement at the Battle of Culloden, he decides to return home to Lochrose Castle in the Highlands to reconcile with his estranged father, the Earl of Strathburn. But he’s still on the ‘Wanted List’ and his avaricious half-brother, Simon, and his step-mother will do just about anything to stop him from reclaiming his birthright, including having him arrested by the Black Watch or the British dragoons who still occupy the Highlands. But they’ll have to catch him first…
I loved writing about a hot Scot with a noble heart. Robert is very much an alpha-beta hero, which is my favorite kind. Aside from having a warrior’s physique—Robert was a soldier of fortune for some years following Culloden—he’s courageous, a natural born leader, and is just drop-dead gorgeous ( I think so anyway) with brown-black hair, deep blue eyes and a killer smile. And even though he doesn’t wear a kilt that much, given plaid was banned following the failed Forty-five Jacobite Uprising, he does wear tight buckskin breeches. Gotta love a hero in breeches, right?
What I love about Robert the most though, is his sense of humor and the fact he has an honorable, caring side. This certainly comes into play early on in the story when Robert first meets the heroine, a feisty redheaded lass, Jessie Munroe. Jessie—the daughter of Lochrose Castle’s new estate manager—has a mighty big problem with Simon Grant also. She’s actually run away from Lochrose Castle because the very villainous Simon tried to coerce her into becoming his mistress. Unfortunately for Jessie, Robert mistakenly believes she is romantically involved with Simon and that she is not to be trusted…
Robert’s and Jessie’s first-meet is unconventional to say the least so I thought I’d share an exclusive excerpt right here. I hope you enjoy it!
There was blood on her hand and an excruciating pain, like burning, in her left arm. Jessie stared at the bright red smear across her palm and fingers with incomprehension for a moment before rising panic constricted her throat and stole her breath. What on earth?
Her gaze darted to the strange man bending over her. Not Simon, thank God. Deep blue eyes stared straight into hers, but try as she might, she couldn’t make out what the man was saying. She felt muddled, light-headed, like her head was full of stuffing. This must be what it’s like to be in shock…
Another man with a mess of red hair suddenly appeared in her line of vision. He passed a flask to the blue-eyed man. ‘Here ye are, milord.’
Jessie swallowed. Tried to drag in enough air to speak. ‘Wha’ happened?’ Her voice, when it emerged, sounded hoarse, foreign to her own ears.
The blue-eyed man spoke again and this time she understood. ‘You’ve been the unfortunate victim of a hunting accident,’ he said gently with only the barest trace of a Scottish burr. ‘Your left arm is injured, but not too badly.’
At his words, memory flooded back. There’d been a deer. And a loud crack. A gunshot. Jessie attempted to sit up again and gasped as a hot bolt of pain seared through her arm making the simple action almost impossible. The movement also reminded her that her ankle was sprained, although at this particular moment, the throb of that injury was far less.
The man seemed to notice her struggle also. He grasped her gently behind the shoulders and helped to ease her into a sitting position. When she was upright, he dropped his hands but didn’t move away.
‘You shot me.’ Her voice emerged as a ragged whisper. As Jessie’s gaze skittered over the stranger again, she noticed he wore a plain brown coat and tight-fitting buckskin breeches. A musket hung from his shoulder. Perhaps he was a hunter. Or a poacher…
The man drew in a deep breath and wiped a hand down his face, looking more than a little contrite. ‘Aye,’ he admitted, meeting her gaze. ‘I’m so incredibly sorry. My companion and I, we were deer stalking. The deer I was after was in the copse with you, and in this mist … Well, you were neatly camouflaged I’m afraid.’ His wide mouth suddenly tilted into a rueful half smile. ‘I’m obviously not as good a marksman as I used to be if I’m missing deer and shooting young ladies instead.’
Even though he’d shot her and she had no real reason to trust this man or his redheaded companion, Jessie felt that she could at least take him at his word about what had occurred. For one thing, his explanation seemed to make sense. She remembered the deer. And she’d deliberately worn colours that would hide her amongst the autumn-hued landscape. He probably wouldn’t have noticed her in amongst the deer grass and the crimson leaves of the rowan tree.
But what if her fragile trust was misplaced? He may have shot her by accident, but ownership of firearms was illegal for most Highlanders. So what on earth was this man doing up here, stalking deer on Lord Strathburn’s lands in the first place? Who was he?
Despite his assurance that she would be all right, unease fluttered wildly in her belly. She was all alone and injured. Vulnerable in the extreme. She tried to reassure herself that not everyone was like Simon—a cold, lascivious predator. Nevertheless, common sense dictated she should at the very least be wary of this man and his hunting companion.
She glanced at the hunter’s face again. He was kneeling very close to her, his deep blue eyes steadily watching her, obviously gauging her reaction to what he’d just told her. A strange frisson passed over her skin like a shiver of wind passing through the deer grass as it suddenly occurred to her that he was handsome despite his rough appearance. His dark brown, almost black hair was tied back off his face revealing a strong angular jaw line shadowed with the beginnings of a dark beard. Winged eyebrows, chiselled lips … She couldn’t have said why, but she suddenly had the odd sensation that he seemed vaguely familiar.
The Master of Strathburn
Amy Rose Bennett
A sweeping, sexy Highland romance about a wanted Jacobite with a wounded soul, and a spirited Scottish lass on the run.
Robert Grant has returned home to Lochrose Castle in the Highlands to reconcile with his long-estranged father, the Earl of Strathburn. But there is a price on Robert’s head, and his avaricious younger half-brother, Simon, doesn’t want him reclaiming his birthright. And it’s not only Simon and the redcoats that threaten to destroy Robert’s plans after a flame-haired complication of the feminine kind enters the scene…
Jessie Munroe is forced to flee Lochrose Castle after the dissolute Simon Grant tries to coerce her into becoming his mistress. After a fateful encounter with a mysterious and handsome hunter, Robert, in a remote Highland glen, she throws her lot in with the stranger—even though she suspects he is a fugitive. She soon realizes that this man is dangerous in an entirely different way to Simon…
Despite their searing attraction, Robert and Jessie struggle to trust each other as they both seek a place to call home. The stakes are high and only one thing is certain: Simon Grant is in pursuit of them both…
About the Author:
Amy Rose Bennett has always wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember. An avid reader with a particular love for historical romance, it seemed only natural to write stories in her favorite genre. She has a passion for creating emotion-packed—and sometimes a little racy—stories set in the Georgian and Regency periods. Of course, her strong-willed heroines and rakish heroes always find their happily ever after.
Amy is happily married to her own Alpha male hero, has two beautiful daughters, and a rather loopy Rhodesian Ridgeback. She has been a speech pathologist for many years but is currently devoting her time to her one other true calling—writing romance.
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