Excerpt: Her Royal Masquerade

Hubby and I are on our way home from visiting friends and family in Georgia and Florida. Next week I'll share some pictures and stories with you from our travels. But since I'm still on the road, I'm posting an excerpt from Her Royal Masquerade, book 1 in my Her Royal Romance series.

Mia’s skin tingled as Vittorio continued to play with her hair and softly brushed her face with his once again. They were barely moving, not doing much more than swaying in each other’s arms to the rhythm of the music. His breath was warm along her cheek. He murmured a few words she didn’t recognize. Soft words with a silky, sensual feel to them, just like the lips that were now teasing along her jaw line.

Her breath caught when his lips found hers. He drew them lightly across hers, not a real kiss, but the hint of one, the promise of more, if only they weren’t in the middle of a crowd. Mia shifted in his arms, moving her body against his. She found his hard erection and her body softened, moistened.

What was she doing?

“Hot,” she gasped, stumbling out of his embrace. “So hot. I’m sorry. I need some air.”

“Of course.” Vittorio wrapped his arm around her waist and the couples on the dance floor stopped and parted for them. He led her to a French door in a bank of floor-to-ceiling windows that opened onto a softly lit patio.

Mia rushed over to the waist high railing constructed of rough-hewn stone like the rest of the palace. Darkness had fallen while she’d been inside. Lights from the towns around them sparkled below. Stars in the inky sky twinkled above. Once again she had the feeling of stepping into a fairy tale.

The air was warm, even outside, with barely a breeze to lift the moisture from her skin. She took a few decidedly un-princesslike gulps of air, trying to calm the edgy arousal that burned within her.

“Are you alright?” Vittorio asked. He stepped up to her and the heat from his body didn’t help her at all. “Do you need to sit down? Something cold to drink?”

“I’ll be okay. Just give me a minute. I guess I’m just not used to the climate here.” She was so hot. She began to tug down one of the opera-length gloves. Would it be a serious breach of conduct if she whipped them off and threw them over the railing?

“Allow me,” he said, his voice suddenly a little deeper, a little slower than it had been a moment before. He took her hand in his, stretched out her arm in front of him. He ran his free hand up, starting at the palm of the hand resting in his. Slowly, so slowly, he moved his hand up her arm. There might as well not have been the fabric of the glove between them, she felt his touch so strongly. When his fingers reached the top of the glove, he didn’t immediately begin to remove it. Instead, he teased the bare skin of her upper arm with his fingers. “So soft,” he whispered, holding her gaze. He swept his hand up to her bare shoulders and cupped her neck, skimming his thumb along her collar bone, just above the diamonds Birgitte had trusted her with. “This beautiful necklace is not half as lovely as you,” he murmured.

She couldn’t speak, could only offer a shaky smile in response. He was holding her hand, her throat. Could he feel her trembling beneath his touch?

“But you are hot. It is our weather, no doubt. I can help you with this problem, I think.” Vittorio began to slowly peel the glove from her arm, dragging his fingers along her skin as he did. He focused all his attention on her arm, as if it were the most important thing to him at the moment.

What would it be like to have that single-minded attention focused on her while making love? Even as Vittorio stripped off her glove, her body heated further with the image of his long, powerful frame moving over her, entering her.

Mia imagined he would take command of her body, ensuring that he pleasured her with all the skill he surely possessed. She couldn’t help but wonder if he would look as amazing out of the expensively tailored clothing as he did at this moment. Of course, he would. Everything about Vittorio was first class. He would fit right in with Birgitte. Mia wasn’t close to being in the same league.

Vittorio began to strip off the second glove, giving it every bit as much attention as he had given to the first one. His fingers strummed along her arm as he tugged at the satin. Her newly bared arm hung at her side, her fingers closed into a fist so she didn’t reach out and tangle them in his thick hair.

“Don’t you have breezes in Mezzano?” she asked, her voice rough with desire. She hoped he would think it was the heat that affected her so. He still held one of her hands in his. She lifted the other hand to wave in front of her face, trying to stir the muggy air.

“Ah, my poor cara. It is still and humid this evening. Be assured we have our share of wind and rain.” The second glove was off now and Vittorio released her hand. How ridiculous it was to feel bereft at the loss of his touch. He folded the gloves and tucked them into the pocket of his jacket.

Mia lifted her heavy hair off her neck to try to cool off for a moment. Maybe she should have worn it up. “I know I should enjoy the warm weather. Right now in Stagatland I would have to be bundled up in a coat and scarf and boots to stand outside.”

Vittorio swept his gaze over her. “And it would truly be a shame to cover the amazing view I have at this moment.”
She let her hair fall down her back. “I suspect you have had a lot of practice with those charming lines,” Mia said, letting the amusement show in her voice. Still, she soaked up the compliment, let the pleasure flow over her like a warm spring rain.

He took her hand, lifted it to his lips. This time the kiss to the back of her bare hand sent fireworks bursting through her system. “It’s only the truth, Birgitte.”

Hearing her cousin’s name fall from Vittorio’s lips was like a handful of snow smacking her in the face. Of course. She had to remember she wasn’t Mia Holmberg tonight. She’d almost forgotten she was playing a part.

Her Royal Masquerade
Her Royal Bodyguard
Playing for Real

Bears and Turkey Vultures and Teddy Bears!

We had a hail storm yesterday. But luckily no damage!

black bear coming toward us (640x427)
A black bear and his turkey vulture friends.
And I just completed Matheson Clan Bear triplets for another order and will be shipping them today!
Matheson bears (640x239) (2)

In previous posts, I’ve shown the turkey vultures surrounding the lion and lioness as if they were part of their royal court. And actually perched on top of a rhino that was sleeping. I’ve never seen the bear up and moving around. And I’ve never seen the turkey vultures in his exhibit. So see? They might not be the greatest pictures as far as photography goes, but as far as subject, pretty cool, don’t you think?
black bear side vultures (640x427)
I managed to get to 27,000 yesterday, despite being on a LIVE blog tour from noon until midnight. And I should make my goal by the weekend of 30,000, maybe more.

Have a super great Saturday! :)

Oh, and I’m from the bear state of California, and I’m researching grizzlies in Montana for A SEAL Wolf for Sale, and I saw the bear at the zoo, so what do you think I had a nightmare about???

Author's Beat interview

Recently,I was interviewed about erotic romance on blog talk radio’s Author’s Beat program.  If you’re interested in learning a little about me, how I became an author, and some background on my stories, check this out:  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/authorsbeat/2014/03/03/leigh-court-shhhh-erotic-romance


Looking for a Miracle

When it comes to the black moment between the hero and heroine, it feels like it will take a miracle to get them back together--at least to the characters. As readers, its funny how simple we think it should be. Why? Because we are privy to both character's POV.

I know I've read a book and I rolled my eyes at the heroine because I don't understand how she can't see the obvious. Seriously. Smack her upside the head. Here's the thing though. She has no flipping clue what is going on inside the hero's head like the reader does. All she has is what she's been told. Now he can do things that confuse the crap out of her, but still, she can't read minds like the reader can.

I know for me I tend to give heroes more leeway than the heroines. I don't why, but I do. Maybe it is because I think the heroine should be able to read his mind. That's unfair, isn't it? 

For example, let's say that the heroine gets to work and there is a cup of coco on her desk. Now even though the coco symbolizes their relationship as they left it, she also knows how things were left and she would need a miracle for him to come around. So the coco confuses her. She wants desperately to believe in him, to believe they have a chance, but she's wanting nothing less than working toward a deeper love and that wasn't what he wanted. So the doubts start. This symbol becomes nothing more than a mindf*ck for her. Did it mean anything? Had he even left it? Was a co-worker just being nice and had no idea what that cup meant?

As the reader, we're now screaming at her because we know the truth. This is where the reader starts getting frustrated with the heroine and wants to smack her. However, put yourself in her shoes for one moment. Forget what you've read in the hero's POV. And remember only what she has been told by him. I don't think its too far of a stretch for her to wonder if she is looking for that miracle and to be hesitant.

Why do I bring this up? Mostly because I realized I was being unfair to heroines when I was reading. Not so much when I'm writing because I am dealing with reactions more and getting them down. But when I'm reading, I'm just in the story and I do have moments where I get frustrated with a heroine who can't see what the hero's actions mean.

Well...here's the thing. Before...I wasn't dealing with the opposite sex. Now I am. I get that lost, flailing feeling a lot more than I ever have. It's confusing because I can't read minds. So because of this I do plan to give the heroines more slack than I have in the past, lol.


A Walk at Loch Nell

Oban in Argyll, Scotland is an amazing place to explore, relax and take in the history of the area. One of our favorite places to stay is Clan Cottages on Loch Nell in Kilmore, about 4 or 5 miles outside of Oban. These cottages are only a few years old but they were built in a circle at the edge of the loch to resemble an ancient Celtic village of thatched roof cottages. The whole setting is beautiful and enchanting.

The morning mist at Clan Cottages.

Morning mist on Loch Nell.

Ducks on River Nell.

We've stayed in this cottage too. Loved it!

The cottages have wonderful landscaping.
I couldn't resist taking a pic of this spiderweb in the morning dew.

River Nell and the hill beyond.

One day we took a walk up the nearby hill or mountain, depending on how you view these sorts of things. Once we walked down the narrow one track road along the River Nell and some sheep, we crossed a bridge, walked through a farm or croft and headed up the hill.

 Tommy is a sweet, friendly ram who loves to be petted and hand fed grass. I think he's a wee bit spoiled. :)
A sheep on the cliff.

The view of Loch Nell and Clan Cottages was amazing from the hill. From here it looks like a wee Celtic village from hundreds of years ago.


It was late September, my birthday actually, and the heather was still blooming.

Black-faced sheep

The beautiful black-faced sheep didn't know what to think of us. Were we a threat or not? They hung back at a distance and watched warily. 

During a bad storm the water of the loch grew choppy.

Red deer beside the road leading to Loch Nell.
Loch Nell in the evening.

Wildflowers, including thistles, growing near the loch.

During another stay, during July at sunset, we took walks along the small road which follows the loch. Lots of wildflowers and sheep to photograph.

A wee Roe deer.
 Walking in the opposite direction, we saw a Roe deer and a beautiful old bridge. It is so peaceful out here in the Scottish countryside. There's hardly any traffic on the road. Yet it is convenient in that we're only a few miles from town and shops and restaurants. Oban has a ferry terminal where you can take ferries out to some of the western islands such as Mull, Iona, Barra, Staffa, etc. Within an easy drive (or ferry ride) from Oban you will find many historic and prehistoric sites such as Dunstaffnage Castle, Kilchurn Castle, Inveraray Castle, Duart Castle, Kilmartin Glen, Iona Abby, Dunnollie Castle and others. This is an ideal place to stay for a week (or longer.) :)

A wonderful place for a walk in the evening.
Rainbow above Clan Cottages.


Thanks so much for visiting the Kilmore area with me! Hope you enjoyed our little walk. :)

http://amzn.com/B00GB5M4K2Chief Torrin MacLeod vows to possess and wed the spirited lady who stole his heart the previous winter. But Lady Jessie MacKay wants naught to do with the dangerous warrior, no matter how devilishly handsome and charming he is. When Torrin arrives unexpectedly at Jessie's home, along with Gregor MacBain, a man Jessie was formerly handfasted to, she is thrown off-kilter. She never wanted to see either man again, but now they are vying for her hand. Torrin promises to protect her from the devious MacBain, but how can she trust Torrin when she has witnessed how lethal he is?

The more time Torrin spends with the strong and independent Jessie, the more determined he is to win her heart. Once she allows him a kiss, he feels her passion flame as hot as his own. After she knows Torrin better, Jessie finds herself falling for the fearsome Highlander. But the odds are stacked against them. The sinister MacBain is bent on kidnapping Jessie, making her his bride and killing Torrin, while Jessie's conniving younger brother, Haldane, is determined to use Jessie to take over the castle in his older brother's absence. Jessie fears she can never be with the man she loves, while Torrin will do everything in his power to ensure they are together forever. In his heart, she is the only lady for him.

The Highland Adventure Series

My Wild Highlander
My Notorious Highlander