Property Of by C.P. Smith : Page 1

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One

Everyone thought romance novelists had exciting sex lives—if they only knew . . . I needed a hero first.

To date, I have published twenty historical romances filled with “danger, passion, humor, and huge hulking heroes that take your breath away.” That, incidentally, was a quote from a review of my novel “Highlander’s Woman.” I, of course, wouldn’t have a clue about huge hulking men who took your breath away. I just created them.

My name is Nicola Grace Royse—though I write under the pen name Grace Martin—and I’m a romance novelist slash romance junkie slash eternal believer that love conquers all. I have been since I was old enough to understand a woman swooning would capture a knight's attention. I’m also a tiny bit dramatic in my thought process. For example, a purple flower is not a purple flower, but a violet colored masterpiece given to man from God in order to capture a lady’s heart. As I said, I’m dramatic.

As a child, I played with dolls and dreamed up magical lands where Prince Charming carried Barbie away on his trusty steed. As a teen, I didn’t date much because of my overprotective twin brothers. I had to satisfy my need for romance by devouring passionate novels where Barbie finally graduated to Guinevere and Ken became the Knights of the Round Table. Then, one day, I picked up a book about Scottish Highlanders. They were big, they were bold, and they wore a kilt with nothing underneath. If I could have transported myself back in time to the Highlands of Scotland and those sexy Scottish clansmen, I wouldn’t have hesitated. The mere thought of being manhandled and thrown over the shoulder of a gigantic Scotsman with a sexy brogue . . . well, it damn near occupied my every waking dream.

My love for the past earned me a bachelor’s degree in education, with a focus on medieval history. My love for history and the romance of it all, along with a healthy appetite for reading, found its way onto a word document one boring weekend in June when I was twenty-two. And the rest, as they say, was history.

All those years I played make-believe, read historical romances, and daydreamed about the perfect man who one-day would sweep me off my feet had translated into a bestseller by the time I was twenty-five. Unfortunately, for me, though, my strapping Highlander, Lowlander, or plain old Prince Charming had never made an appearance.

I’m thirty-two, and never been married—hell, I’d never even been close. Which, by the way, was a sore spot with my mother. She liked to blame my single status on the unrealistic characters I’d written about in my books.

“Nicola Grace Royse,” she always said, “men like that don’t exist, for goodness sake.”

I’d like to point out that my brothers still weren’t married either, yet she never seemed to worry about their single status.

“They’ll marry when they stop being boys and start being men,” she explained. I, however, had my doubts on whether or not they’d stop being boys.

My brother’s aside, I held out hope that one day I could prove my mother wrong. You see, like all good daughters in their twenties, I knew more than my mother did. Now, in my thirties, my biological clock ticked away, and the only thing I had to show for the last ten years was my books. Sadly, I’d come to the frightening realization that my mother, in fact, may have been right all along.

Part of the reason I haven’t found a man who appeals to me is because men aren’t raised to be men anymore, in my opinion. Gone are the take-the-bull-by-the-horns, never-say-die men legends are made of.

So, I write my own legends.

Men who are fearless, handsome, great between the sheets, love their women with all their hearts, and take care of them or die trying—Scottish Highlanders.

***

“Broderick gently laid his precious Rebecca on the dewy grass. The sun shone on her golden tresses, creating a halo around her head. Her eyes were hooded as she reached toward her husband, for she had but one thing on her mind.

“Are you my Laird or my husband in this moment?”

“I am one and the same, wife.”

“‘Tis true. But right now, I prefer the gentle hand of my husband than that of my Laird.”

“Aye, you’ll get my gentle hand and my strong back, my love, as I drive into ghaeahtabaejt’apppppppppppp pppppppppppppp

“Oh, come on. Get off the keyboard, Snape!” I shouted at my feline child.

Snatching the offending orange tabby (who reminded me of Garfield on a good day) off my desk, I placed him on the floor just as the sound of liquid spilling and glass breaking grabbed my attention. My other cat, Simi, who was solid gray in color with big green eyes that reminded me of emeralds, had taken Snape’s place on my desk, knocking over my cup of coffee.
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