It's Return Of The Border Warrior and of Blythe Gifford!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

It’s good to be back with my RomCon friends! My last two books were finalists in the Readers Crown, but I’ve been two years between books, the better to create a back-to-back trilogy for you.

The series launches with RETURN OF THE BORDER WARRIOR, a November release from Harlequin Historical, available in print today in the US and the UK. E-versions will follow shortly.

The three books tell the story of The Brunson Clan. Stubborn and strong, they are the most feared family on the turbulent Scottish Borders: The family that will kneel to no one!

Set in the early years of the Tudor era, the first book is the story of John, the youngest son, who returns home after years of serving as a “big brother” to the young Scottish King James. John is a man with something to prove, both to himself and to his family. As the only blue-eyed Brunson, he’s always felt as if he didn’t belong in the family. Now, he no longer wants to. As soon as he enforces the king’s command for peace, he plans to return to his life at Court and leave the valley of his birth for the last time.

But first, he must persuade Cate Gilnock to release his family from their promise to avenge her father’s death. Cate is a woman fierce as a warrior, but behind her eyes John senses vulnerability and secrets she refuses to share. Bit by bit, he falls in love with her, and with each step, he is drawn back into the life he thought he had left behind forever. Because of Cate, he discovers he is more like the rest of his family than he thought until, finally, he must decide: Is he truly a Brunson? Or is he the King’s man after all?

The second book, CAPTIVE OF THE BORDER LORD, January 2013, will tell the story of John’s sister, Bessie Brunson, who goes to court as a hostage for her family’s good behavior and finds herself at the mercy of Thomas Carwell, the king’s officer on the Borders and a man she is certain has betrayed her family. Finally, Black Rob Brunson, oldest son and now leader of the family, meets his match in TAKEN BY THE BORDER REBEL, March 2013, when he seizes Stella Storwick, daughter of his most hated enemy.

This is my first time to tackle a trilogy, something I resisted as too daunting a task, but I ended up loving it, and these three, stubborn Brunson siblings. While each book stands alone, they are tied closely and together span a period of just about a year. All three Brunsons appear in each book, and their sometimes prickly relations with each other are a backdrop to their individual romances.

We’re familiar with the importance of family in the Scottish Highlands, but it was equally important, if not more so, on the Borders, that “third country” that straddled the line between England and Scotland. During the period of this story, the era of the Border Reivers, family was more important than either king. One family might be allied with another across the border, or enemies with a family on its own side. Meanwhile, the distant governments in London and Edinburgh sometimes tried to stir up trouble, which meant that the Borders were in an almost constant state of undeclared war for three hundred years.

During this time, despite the existence of a special code of Border Laws the reiving families were actually a law unto themselves. They rode under cover of darkness, stealing cattle and sheep, or sometimes taking “blackmail” money from those who could afford to pay to be left alone.

But they had their own code of honor, something that is an important part of the Brunsons’ story. Loyalty to family. Keeping your word. And it was a code not up for question until John Brunson met Cate Gilnock. I hope you enjoy their story.

One lucky reader who comments on today’s blog will be randomly selected to win a signed copy of RETURN OF THE BORDER WARRIOR.

Good luck! Best, Blythe