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*Sin climbs the rigging to the crow’s nest with a mega phone* Wenches! Pirates!
*Hellion rolls her eyes and pushes Capt’n Jack into a dark corner*
*Terri grabs another glittery hooha and makes eyes at a deck hand*
*Marnee’s flirting with the new hottie of the week, fluttering her eyelashes*
*Readers are merrymaking with our previous hotties and pirates we’ve kidnapped*
*Sin yells into the mega phone* The ship is on fire!
*chaos ensues and everyone swings around to give Sin the death eye*
*Sin grins* Now that I have your attention…
Hellion- You can’t be serious!
Sin- As a deadly eyelash to the back of your neck.
*Ter moves closer to Hellion and looks over her shoulder* I told you not to provoke her.
*Marn grimaces but tries to smile* She’s only teasing.
*Hellie and Ter both roll their eyes* You sleep with one eye open.
*Marn grins* Someone has to watch the rations of men.
*Sin clears her throat* Yeesh! Pay attention! We have a guest on board!!
*Pamela Clare rises from the sea like a siren and steps off her magical wave and onto the deck*
*Everyone on deck instantly fan squeals* Pamela!!
Pamela- “My thanks to you for havin’ me back aboard your fine ship. I return wi’ a new tale I’ve penned for you. But I’ll speak nary a word till my cup is brimmin’ wi’ rum…”
*Sin flips down from the crow’s nest and sneaks up behind the wenches* Boo!
*Ter and Marn squeal*
*Hellie tugs at her shirt sleeves- appearing unruffled*
Sin- Since I couldn’t wait to have Pamela Clare back on the ship and tell us another wonderful tale and corrupt her some more, I’ve kidnapped her!
*All wenches and pirates nodding by this wonderful feat!*
*Pamela saunters by Chance and Chance gives her a glittery hooha*
*Pam blinks and looks back at the pirates* A glittery hooha?
*Pirates and Wenches holding up their drinks* Rum soaked goodness.
*Pam looks unsure and takes a drink. The smiling grows as she keeps drinking*
*Sin claps her hand and pirates and wenches part like the red sea and she steers Pamela to the bow of the ship* Now, let’s get her drunk and wind her up so she’ll spill all her secrets!
*Pam gives Sin the look*
*Sin whistles and looks innocent. She tips PC’s glass up further* I mean, let’s be nice and ask her questions about her greatness.
*Pam drinking her drink and looking suspicious*
Let’s get this show on the road! Without further ado- I give you the most wonderful, and bestestest (shut up, Hellion, it’s a word) Pamela Clare (THE author of I-Team series and five historical romances including her newest release UNTAMED!) She’s going to share with us a never before seen excerpt of UNTAMED that was cut in the final edits and a tale from the MacKinnon brothers.
This tale I’ve put to words, ’tis about Morgan MacKinnon, a son of Scotland, exiled wi’ his da’ and mother and two brothers across the ocean sea to America. He was but a striplin’ lad when the Sassenach avenged themselves on the Highlanders for Culloden. They put his grandda’, laird of Clan MacKinnon, on a prison barge and forced his father, Lachlan MacKinnon, to take his wife, Elasaid, and his wee sons Iain, Morgan and Connor and leave Skye wi’ naught but the clothes upon their backs.
They sailed westward beneath a troubled sky to the Colony of New Yorke and then journeyed over land upon roads long and weary until they came to Albany. So you’ve heard of Albany? Aye, ’tis that port on the river won from the Dutch, but you’re puttin’ a kinch in my tale, so sit back and hauld your whist, aye?
The brothers watched the wilderness claim first their gentle mother and then their da’. But it could not claim them, for they were young and hale and grew quickly seasoned to this harsh and wild land. In this none aided them more than the Mahican. Some call them Mohican or Stockbridge Indians, but it matters no’ what you call them. ’Tis one and the same.
The Mahican taught the three brothers how to survive. They showed them the secrets of the hunt so that they might fill their bellies and no’ starve. They showed them how to move through the long reaches of the forest wi’out losin’ their way or fallin’ into enemy hands. And they taught them to fight.
’Twas Iain as the oldest who first earnt his warrior marks, provin’ to the village that he could survive as a man. Morgan was next, eager to show that he, too, was a warrior of worth. And Connor? Och, that lad! A stubborn lad and full of piss and vinegar, he was! (And still is if half the tales about him be true!) He earnt his marks a year after Morgan, and proud of them he was!
The three lads might have settled to a life of farmin’ on the land that had been their fathers had Lord William Wentworth no’ spied them comin’ to the aid of whore on the streets of Albany, savin’ her from the knife of a man who’d tupped her but didna wish to pay her fee. Wentworth saw how well the brothers fought, and he kent that ’twas men like them the British needed should they hope to win this war against the French and hold fast to their colonies. He had them placed in shackles and brought before him, and he told them he would see them hanged for murder if they didna take up their rifles and swords and fight for Britain. He tasked them with drummin’ up men who fought as they fought — in the Indian way — and trainin’ them as Rangers. And so the brothers fell under Wentworth’s yoke, chained to a war no’ of their makin’, leaders of a Ranger company.
Iain’s story is known to many of you — how he came to find Annie in the wild and save her from a war party of French and Abenaki, who would have slain first her spirit and then her body if he hadnae stopped them. He chanced his life and those of his brothers and his men to spare her that cruel fate — and paid in pain and blood. But though his back was bloodied by the lash at Wentworth’s command, he gained for his sufferin’ a true wife in bonnie, sweet Annie.
But Morgan’s tale you have no’ heard. It begins in the spring wi’ the trees well budded out and the birds singin’ in the sky.
Morgan bad Iain farewell and led the Rangers northward to Ticonderoga — what the French call Carillon. There they spied upon the French as Wentworth had ordered and made preparations to raid the pier, where a wealth of gunpowder sat in hogsheads, waitin’ to be loaded into French rifles…
Morgan and his Rangers waited. Until the sun had set and sky was darkened by night, they waited. And then they crept by stealth to pier and fired their muskets at those hogsheads, ready to set the pier aflame! But when they fired those fateful shots, they saw that they had been deceived. For ’twas no’ powder in those casks, but sand! ’Twas a trap!
Morgan ordered his men to fall back, and fall back they did, but no’ as cowards who drop their swords and flee! Nay, those Rangers returned shot for shot as they drew back amongst the trees, laughin’ at the French canon balls and cryin’ out wi’ the Mahican war cry. (’Tis enough to raise the hair on the back of a dead man’s neck, I’d warrant!)
But then Dougie, one of Morgan’s men, fell, pierced through the leg by cruel lead, and Morgan would no’ leave him to be taken captive or killed. He braved a hail of musket fire, drew Dougie onto his back and ran wi’ him to the safety of the riverbank, sendin’ him on wi’ his men and stayin’ behind to cover the retreat.
He didna see the French soldier in the riggin’. The first shot caught him in the chest near his right shoulder so that he couldna hold his musket. Still, he raised his pistol and shot that soldier dead. But then others came and saw him wounded, a second shot piercin’ his thigh and drivin’ him to the ground.
His strength spent, he consigned himself to death, savin’ his last words for Connor.
“Beannachd leat!” he cried. Blessings go with you, brother!
The last thing he heard afore darkness claimed him was Connor’s anguished cry.
My tale doesna end here, for ’tis near death’s door that Morgan meets his angel, Amalie, whose love will save him from the cruelest of fates, even as it tests his loyalty to his brothers and his men.
Now, keep the rum flowin’ and I’ll be happy to bide shipboard a wee and chat wi’ you.
(The following scene was cut to comply with the publisher’s maximum page count.)
April 19, 1759
New York frontier
Major Morgan MacKinnon lay on his belly, looking down from the summit of Rattlesnake Mountain to the French fort at Ticonderoga below. He held up his brother Iain’s spying glass—nay, it was now his spying glass—and watched as French soldiers unloaded kegs of gunpowder from the hold of a small ship. Clearly, Bourlamaque was preparing to defend the fort again. But if Morgan and his men succeeded in their mission tonight, that powder would never see the inside of a French musket.
Connor stretched out beside him and spoke in a whisper. “I cannae look down upon this place without thinkin’ of that bastard Abercrombie and the good men we lost.”
Morgan lowered the spying glass and met his younger brother’s gaze. “Nor can I, but we didna come here to grieve.”
“Nay.” Connor’s gaze hardened. “We’ve come for vengeance.”
Last summer, they’d had no choice but to follow Abercrombie—or Nanny Crombie as the men had called him—to a terrible defeat. An arrogant bastard who paid no heed to the counsel of mere provincials, Abercrombie had ignored their warnings that Ticonderoga could not be taken without artillery. He hadn’t believed that the hastily built abatis—the barrier of felled trees and branches that had been piled afore the walls—could hinder trained British Regulars and had ordered his men against the French breastworks with naught but muskets. Soldiers had become ensnared like rabbits, cut down by French marksmen afore they could reach the walls, victims of their own loyalty and Abercrombie’s overweening pride.
On that terrible day, the Rangers, then under the command of Morgan’s older brother Iain, had taken position to the northwest together with Captain Joseph’s Muhheconneok warriors and had fired endlessly at the French marksmen, trying to dislodge them. But the French had turned cannon upon them and pounded them into the ground. So many had been lost—good men and true, men with families, men who’d fought beside them from the beginning.
’Twas here they’d lost Cam—and dozens more.
Dead for naught.
When Abercrombie had finally sounded the retreat and the smoke had cleared, the fort had stood just as it had afore.
Never had Morgan seen such senseless death—and at the age of seven-and-twenty he’d seen death enough to sicken a man’s soul. For nigh on four years, he and his brothers had lived and breathed war. Forced by that whoreson Wentworth to choose between fighting for Britain or being hanged for a crime they had not committed, they’d taken up arms against the French and their Indian allies, harrying them with ambuscades, seizing their supplies, fighting them in forest and fen. They’d slain fellow Catholic and heathen alike, burying their own dead along the way.
Morgan had never imagined that he, as a MacKinnon, would fight the French, traditional allies of all Scotsmen still faithful to Church and Crown. During the Forty-Five, the French had aided the Highland clans, including Morgan’s grandfather—Iain Og MacKinnon, laird of Clan MacKinnon—in their vain struggle to drive the German Protestant from the throne. Then, after the disastrous defeat at Culloden, the French had given refuge to many an exiled Scot, saving countless lives from the wrath of Cumberland. Even now France sheltered the rightful heir to the throne, bonnie Charles Stuart. Every true Scotsman owed the French a debt.
Aye, it was a devil’s bargain that had spared Morgan and his brothers the gallows. Father Delavay, the French priest Iain had kidnapped last year when he’d had need of a priest to marry Annie, said the sin was not theirs but Wentworth’s. And yet absolution stuck in Morgan’s throat, for it was not bloody Wentworth who pulled the trigger on his rifle, but he himself.
If anything gave him peace, it was knowing that Iain was now out of the fray, settled on the MacKinnon farm with Annie and little Iain, the firstborn of a new generation of MacKinnons. Wentworth had released Iain from service, not because he’d wished to spare Iain, but because he was besotted with Annie. Whatever the cause for Wentworth’s mercy, Morgan was grateful. He’d never have found the courage to face Annie had Iain been slain in battle—or worse—taken captive.
Morgan saw something move in the dark forest below, heard the slow click of rifles being cocked around him, and felt a warm swell of pride. He rarely needed to give orders. Having fought side by side for so long, the Rangers thought and moved as one. There were no better fighters in the Colonies, no men better suited to the hardship of this war. ’Twas an honor to lead them, as Iain had done afore him.
Morgan closed the spying glass, raised his rifle, cocked it. But it was not French scouts who emerged from the green wall of forest, but Captain Joseph’s warriors, eighty men in black and white war paint moving swiftly and silently through the shadows. They’d been watching the Rangers’ west flank on the long march northward and had gone on to scout out the French sentries while Morgan and his men surveyed the fort from above.
Morgan lowered his rifle and whispered to Joseph in the Muhheconneok tongue. “You thrash about like a randy bull moose. We heard you coming from a league away. You might have been shot.”
Joseph grinned. “There is more to fear in a bee’s sting than in your muskets. My blind granny has better aim.”
Bonded by blood to Morgan and his brothers, Joseph Aupauteunk was the son of a Muhheconneok chief and a fearsome warrior. He and his father had come to the MacKinnon farm, bringing gifts of dried corn and venison that had helped Morgan and his family survive their first bitter winter of exile in the colonies. Though Morgan’s mother—God rest her soul—had at first been terrified of Indians, a lasting friendship had grown between Morgan’s family and the Mahicans of Stockbridge. ’Twas Joseph and his uncles who’d taught Morgan and his brothers to track, to fight, to survive in the wild. As for what Joseph’s sisters had taught them, Morgan was too much of a gentleman to say—without a gill or two of whisky in his belly.
Morgan switched to English so that those among his men who did not speak Muhheconneok could understand. “What does Bourlamaque have waitin’ for us?”
It was time to plan their strategy.
Okay, readers and writers of the Romance Writer’s Revenge it’s your turn! Since we’ve kidnapped Pamela Clare and we’re not giving her back no matter what they offer for her, let’s talk to her about craft! Ask, ask, ask! Ask her lots of questions and you have a chance to win the signed book of your choice from among her eight titles!!!