Book Tours: Promo Post for Scent of Souls

About Scent of the Soul…

24822360Publication Date: February 11, 2015
Soul Mate Publishing

Genre: Historical Romance/Fantasy

READ AN EXCERPT.

In twelfth century Scotland, it took a half-Gael with a Viking name to restore the clans to their rightful lands. Once an exile, Somerled the Mighty now dominates the west. He’s making alliances, expanding his territory, and proposing marriage to the Manx princess.

It’s a bad time to fall for Breagha, a torc-wearing slave with a supernatural sense of smell.

Somerled resists the intense attraction to a woman who offers no political gain, and he won’t have a mistress making demands on him while he’s negotiating a marriage his people need. Besides, Breagha belongs to a rival king, one whose fresh alliance Somerled can’t afford to lose.

It’s when Breagha vanishes that Somerled realizes just how much he needs her. He abandons his marriage plans to search for her, unprepared for the evil lurking in the shadowy recesses of Ireland—a lustful demon who will stop at nothing to keep Breagha for himself.

Excerpt…

Here’s a snippet from SCENT. In this scene, Somerled (called Sorley by his sister) is drunk and lamenting the bad decision that led to the loss of his true love. He is with his sister Bethoc, who begs permission to rejoin her husband, Malcolm of Moray, whom Somerled is hiding from the Scots king:

Somerled emptied a cup of ale and reached for a jug to refill it. The jug was empty.

“Sorley,” Bethoc said, her eyes glassy, “I can bear no more. Let me go home. I assure ye, I will die without my husband.”

“Och, the devil’s scabby ballsack!” Somerled shouted, hurling the jug to the corner of his bedchamber. It shattered on an ankle-high pile of last week’s vessels. Bethoc flinched, and Rowan slid off the bed. The dog skulked to the unlatched door, tail between his legs. With a shove of his head, he opened it and was gone.

“The king’s constable watches your keep in Moray, Bethoc. Do ye wish to rot in King David’s prison?”

“I am rotting already, slowly, from the inside out.” Sorrow wilted the corners of her mouth and drew vertical lines above the bridge of her nose. “At least tell me where Malcolm is, or better still, allow me to join him in his exile.”

“Ye’d be sleeping under your own roof tonight if ye’d sent word of your husband’s impatience for rebellion.” He charged to the stand next to his bed and shook a jug he found there. Empty. He threw it across the room and sat on his bed. “His timing could not have been worse.”

Bethoc rubbed her arms. “He was anxious to avenge his brother’s death. He thought with King David pre-occupied in England, the time was right.”

“He was wrong. Had he consulted me, I could have told him so. I am furious with ye, Bethoc, furious! Ye should have sent word of your husband’s plans.” He scrubbed a hand across his forehead. “His rashness has not only endangered your life, but it has placed me in an awkward position. I have only just received word that King David is considering my right to Arran and Bute. If he finds out I am sheltering a claimant to his throne, ye can be sure he will refuse my offer. Those two islands are the back door into Argyll. We must have them if we wish to pressure the King of Man into buying peace by offering his daughter.”

Bethoc rolled her eyes. “Och, that old song again, Sorley?”

He resisted the urge to slap her. “Life in the wilderness has slackened your tongue, lassie. Your bad manners are an insult to our parents and will not be tolerated here.”

She rushed to his bedside and dropped to her knees in front of him. “I’m sorry,” she cried into his lap. “I didn’t mean that. Forgive me. I am not myself.”

Poor Bethoc. Poor Malcolm, for that matter. The man from Moray had sent so many messages from the Isle of Rhum inquiring about his wife that Somerled had been forced to isolate him on Godmund’s Island. The local chieftain on nearby Ulva saw to Malcolm’s comfort and sent messages at a safer frequency. The messages were always the same: Malcolm of Moray suffers lovesickness and inquires as to the welfare of his wife and son.

Bethoc’s sobs were warm against his knees. He stroked her head a little too heavily in his inebriated state and accidentally brushed her fillet askew. He gasped when he saw her naked scalp. “Bethoc, your hair!”

A lesser woman would have scrambled away to hide her baldness. “It started falling out the day Malcolm left,” she said, rubbing a palm over her head. “As bad as it looks, I assure ye, Sorley, the inward symptoms of my sorrow are far worse.”

“God Almighty,” he said as he frantically sought ale. He found another jug sitting on the floor and was relieved it was half-full. He took several gulps and wiped his mouth on his sleeve.

Bethoc returned her fillet and barbette to her head. She crawled up from the floor and moved to a bench near the fire, where the light accentuated the shadows of her sunken temples and eye sockets.

Somerled sighed. “Godmund’s Island,” he said.

She looked at him. Her eyes were red. “What?”

“Malcolm is on Godmund’s Island.”

“The tidal island? Green tears of our blessed saint, Sorley,” she said, standing, “let me go to him.”

“Bethoc, ye would have little comfort with Malcolm. There is only a hermit’s cell for shelter.”

“I need no other comfort than my husband’s arms around me.” Her expression softened. She sat on the bed beside him and took his hand. “Love is more important than anything. I think ye know this, don’t ye? That is, if the rumors are true.”

“What rumors?”

“They say ye loved a lassie . . . and lost her.”

He had just taken a swig of ale. He swallowed, and the liquid barely made it through his constricted throat. “Tell me who ‘they’ are, so that I may have them flogged.” After a long silence, he said, “Her name was Breagha.”

“I am sorry I never met her.” Bethoc laid her head on his shoulder. “She must have been wonderful to win your heart. I am even sorrier for your loss. There is nothing worse than wondering where your loved one is. Thank ye for taking that pain from me.”

“Bethoc, I am glad ye have been rewarded for your bravery and obedience with love.” His voice was strained, his words slurred.

“They have rewarded me surely. I was terrified the day Malcolm sent for me, but I did as ye wished.” She knelt in front of him again and took both of his hands in hers. “And now ye have done as I wished. At least now, I no longer have to wonder where my beloved lays his head at night.”

His chest ached. “Would ye really trade all comforts to be with Malcolm?”

“Let me answer your question with another, Sorley: if ye knew where Breagha was, would ye not crawl there on your hands and knees? Would ye not risk your life for one last embrace, one last kiss?”

Somerled ran his fingers over Bethoc’s; they were tiny and smooth, just like Breagha’s. Something dripped onto the back of his hand. He wiped his cheek and found wetness there. Bethoc flung herself around him. She needed a bath. He patted her back and found a shockingly prominent spine hidden beneath her tunic. She was right; the separation from Malcolm was killing her. He peeled her arms from around his neck.

“I will have Cormac take ye to Godmund’s Island, but I canny even send a handmaid for your comfort. The local chieftain sees that Malcolm eats, but that is all. We must not draw attention to the island. And ye must promise me, Bethoc, to stay hidden.”

“I can only go to Malcolm if ye promise me to look after Donald.”

“I will.” It was not much to ask. He adored his nephew, who was in his company more often than not.

His cheek was wet again, but this time, the tears were his sister’s.

“I shall never forget this kindness,” she sobbed against his ear. “May the Fates bless ye for it.”

About the Author…

Something magical happened in the musty basement of Julie Doherty’s local courthouse. She went there intending to research her ancestry, not lose herself in a wealth of stories, but the ghosts of yesteryear drew her into the past and would not let her go. The trail left by her ancestors in those yellowing documents led her from rural Pennsylvania to the Celtic countries, where her love of all things Irish/Scottish blossomed into outright passion.

She became particularly interested in Somerled, self-styled “King of Argyll” and progenitor of the Lords of the Isles. In 1164, he led a fleet of 164 galleys up the River Clyde in an all-or-nothing attempt to overthrow the Scottish crown. What would lead a man of his advanced years to do such a thing?

Of course, history records he did so because the king demanded forfeiture of his lands. But the writer in Julie wondered …what if he did it for the love of a woman?

Those early ponderings led to SCENT OF THE SOUL, Julie’s first novel, coming soon from Soul Mate Publishing.

Readers will notice a common theme throughout Julie’s books: star-crossed lovers. This is something she knows a bit about, since during one of her trips to Ireland, she fell in love with an Irishman. The ensuing immigration battle took four long years to win. With only fleeting visits, Skype chats, and emails to sustain her love, Julie poured her heartache into her writing, where it nourished the emotional depth of her characters.

Julie is a member of Pennwriters, Romance Writers of America, Central PA Romance Writers, The Longship Company, Perry County Council of the Arts, and Clan Donald USA. When not writing, she enjoys antiquing, shooting longbow, traveling, and cooking over an open fire at her cabin. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, who sounds a lot like her characters.

For more information please visit Julie Doherty’s Website and Blog. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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