Love may be the most dangerous weapon of all.
Beatrice Knowles is a Maid of Honor, one of Queen Elizabeth I’s secret protectors. Known for her uncanny ability to manipulate men’s hearts, Beatrice has proven herself to be a valuable asset in the Queen’s court—or so she thinks. It has been three weeks since the Maids thwarted a plot to overthrow the Queen, and Beatrice is preparing to wed her betrothed, Lord Cavanaugh. However, her plans come to a crashing halt as rumors of a brewing Scottish rebellion spread among the court.
Beatrice’s new assignment is to infiltrate the visiting Scottish delegation using her subtle arts in persuasion. The mission seems simple enough, until the Queen pairs Beatrice with the worst of the lot—Alasdair MacLeod. Beatrice cannot help but think that the Queen is purposefully setting her up for failure. But Alasdair could be the key to unlocking the truth about the rebellion…and her heart. Caught in a web of evermoretwisting lies, Beatrice must rise up among the Maids of Honor and prove what she’s known all along: in a court filled with deception and danger, love may be the deadliest weapon of all.
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble Also in the Maids of Honor series: MAID OF SECRETS by Jennifer McGowan!
And now here’s the excerpt!
Excerpt: A stolen kiss
“Beatrice!” Alasdair was in front of me now. I could see him as if I were outside myself, watching him take my shoulders, watching him shake me, hard. But the images in my head blocked out what I was seeing in this moment, my mother’s quiet surrender and my father’s bleak scowls, the laughter of the children around us like a shielding cloak to the poison that was held within our tiny family, with no boys to carry on my father’s name and a mother who was but a shell and—
“Beatrice!” came the shout. “Beatrice, my love, come back to me!”
I heard Alasdair’s pleading voice, but I couldn’t fight my way back. It was as if the shroud of the past decade and more of my life had been stripped away, baring for me the truths that I had never allowed myself to see. I felt myself dropping into darkness when Alasdair’s hands suddenly seemed to spasm on my shoulders, and he hauled me up close, pulling me onto my tiptoes as his head bent and his mouth branded itself onto mine.
Heat exploded within me. I gave a little cry. Then my arms were around him and I felt his hands at my back and head, cradling me into him even as he pressed me so closely against his body that it seemed that the two of us had become one. This was not the courtly kiss I had allowed to keep the English nobles at my beck and call. This was not even the stolen embrace at the close of a dance or in the tapestry-lined antechambers of a darkened Queen’s castle. And this certainly wasn’t the lecherous advances I’d endured from men of every stripe who’d thought to transgress a step too far in their wooing of me, before I could break away and put them in their place.
These kissed were nothing like that. They were primal and real, made of fire and soul and spirit, and I found my every horrible memory burned away with the flames now stoked within me, a surge of heat seeming to fuse my bones together with a strength I had never known. Alasdair’s hands held my face now as if he were afraid to break me but even more afraid to let me go. And yet he kissed me still, raining soft touches upon me in benediction—my forehead, my eyes, my cheeks, and then my mouth. Then drawing his lips down farther still with a ragged groan, along my jaw and into the sensitive hollow of my neck, my own desperate gasps seeming to drive the breath from his very body. He trembled violently against me, and when he raised his gaze to mine, I was seared anew by the emotion burning within his eyes. “Beatrice,” he said brokenly. “Don’t ever leave me like that again.”
Finally, we’ve got an amazing giveaway for you! The prize? A $25 Gift Card to Amazon or B&N (winner’s choice) and a Grand Prize “Queen for a Day” Spa Kit! To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below:
About the Author:
Jennifer McGowan was born in Ohio, grew up in Montana, and studied in Paris. She fell in love with the Elizabethan era as a college student and is now an unrepentant scholar of that period, happily splitting her time between the past and present. An RWA Golden Heart Award winner and multiple finalist, Jenn is the author of the Maids of Honor series, which currently includes Maid of Secrets (2013), the novella A Thief Before Christmas, and the forthcoming novel Maid of Deception (2014). She lives and writes in Ohio.
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads Want to get to know Jennifer better? Check out this exclusive interview!