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A Match For Marcus Cynster by Stephanie Laurens…Excerpt Tour Stop & Giveaway

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About A Match for Marcus Cynster: 

Duty compels her to turn her back on marriage. Fate drives him to protect her come what may. Then love takes a hand in this battle of yearning hearts, stubborn wills, and a match too powerful to deny. #1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens returns to rugged Scotland with a dramatic tale of passionate desire and unwavering devotion.
Restless and impatient, Marcus Cynster waits for Fate to come calling. He knows his destiny lies in the lands surrounding his family home, but what will his future be and with whom will he share it?
Of one fact he feels certain: his fated bride will not be Niniver Carrick. His elusive neighbor attracts him mightily, yet he feels compelled to protect her—even from himself. Fickle Fate, he’s sure, would never be so kind as to decree that Niniver should be his. The best he can do for them both is to avoid her.
Niniver has vowed to return her clan to prosperity. The epitome of fragile femininity, her delicate and ethereal exterior cloaks a stubborn will and an unflinching devotion to the people in her care. She accepts that she cannot risk marrying and losing her grip on the clan’s reins to an inevitably controlling husband. Unfortunately, many local men see her as their opportunity.
Soon, she’s forced to seek help to get rid of her unwelcome suitors. Powerful and dangerous, Marcus Cynster is perfect for the task. Suppressing her wariness over tangling with a gentleman who so excites her passions, she appeals to him for assistance with her peculiar problem.
Although at first he resists, Marcus discovers that, contrary to his expectations, his fated role is to stand by Niniver’s side and, ultimately, to claim her hand. Yet in order to convince her to be his bride, they must plunge headlong into a journey full of challenges, unforeseen dangers, passion, and yearning, until Niniver grasps the essential truth—that she is indeed a match for Marcus Cynster.

 

Excerpt:

The last words came out on a tide of frustration.

Marcus’s instincts pummeled and pushed him to volunteer, to leap to her defense, especially against importunities of such a nature. But when it came to her, he didn’t know if he could—if he should—trust his instincts; far from protecting her—their immutable goal—they might, in such a case, lead him to unintentionally hurt her, and that was not a possibility he would ever willingly court. Not in this lifetime.

Protecting Niniver Carrick had become his personal touchstone, at least in guiding his actions with her. Yes, he was attracted to her—deeply, viscerally. So attracted that, as soon as he’d become aware of the nature of that attraction—at her father’s funeral, of all places—he’d asked his mother and his sister to see what The Lady, the deity their family served, could tell them of his future. But all they’d seen was that his fated future lay somewhere in The Lady’s lands, meaning somewhere in the local area, but at that time, all they’d been able to tell him was that his fated future was “not yet.”

Was it now? Was that why Niniver had come to him? Why she’d finally come to call in his promise of two years ago?

Was she his fated future, or…?

It was that “or” that had kept him from her through the intervening months. That, and his impossible to shake, impossible to deny, drive to protect her. If he’d approached her, if he’d wooed her as he’d wished, she might well have been happy to succumb—but what, then, if his fated future came calling, and said future was not with her?

He couldn’t harm her, so he’d had to keep his distance in case she wasn’t for him.

Knowing the ficklessness of Fate, he’d been disposed to believe that the very last woman Fate would hand him as his destiny was the one woman he desired—at least at this time, desired above all others.

He’d convinced himself that Fate would send him some female he’d never met before.

Instead, Niniver had come knocking at his door.

Was Fate laughing at him—or testing his mettle? Testing his commitment not to harm Niniver?

Or was this his destiny calling?

Her gaze had remained leveled on his face, the expectation in her expression patently clear. He shifted, straightening in his chair as he searched for options, for what other choices he—and she—might have. “I understand…your difficulty.” She was such a tiny thing, and quiet, and—as far as he knew—sweet-tempered. He knew her clan folk thought the world of her—quite obviously, as they’d elected her their lady. But she was kind-hearted and loved deerhounds; dealing with large angry men wasn’t something she was well equipped to do. “You need someone your clansmen respect, someone whose statements they’ll accept.”

He met her eyes; her gaze didn’t waver but remained fixed on his face. “What about Thomas? They know and respect him—and, what’s more, he’s clan himself.”

Her eyes narrowed a touch. “Thomas—as you must know as well as I do—has all he can handle with his daughters. I’m not going to ask him to come and rescue me. I wouldn’t do that to him, much less to Lucilla.”

Marcus inwardly winced at the implied rebuke. His twin sister had given birth to twin girls five months ago, and both Lucilla and Thomas were, indeed, fully engaged with caring for the tiny but demanding bundles of joy. “Indeed. You’re right.” No help there. He frowned. “What about Norris?” He leaned forward, resting his elbows on his thighs; her remaining brother was surely the right person to defend her. “I know he’s younger than you, but only by about a year—which means he’s what? Twenty-five?” Old enough.

Her lips firmed into a line. Her eyes narrowed further. “I’m twenty-five—he’s not yet twenty-four. But he left. He’s pursuing his own life in St. Andrews, and I’m not about to call him home—besides which, none of the men in the clan would pay the slightest attention to him.”

Niniver paused but felt compelled to push. “I need someone with standing. With a status that will command attention at least, if not outright obedience.”

She needed someone like him; that was so obvious it barely needed stating.

Abruptly, she stood. When he started to rise, too, she brusquely waved him back; the last thing she needed was a crick in her neck. She started to pace back and forth across his hearth. She only paced when she was agitated or anxious; she’d worked to break herself of the habit—it revealed too much—but in this instance, she wasn’t sure she cared.

She’d steeled herself to do this—to hide her reaction to him, to ignore the waves of prickling awareness that washed over her skin whenever he was near. She’d told herself she could face him and ask him to honor his promise even if he wasn’t attracted to her, as she, so very definitely, was to him. She’d pushed herself to do it, and she’d done it and asked, but for some reason, he was now reluctant.

The realization didn’t please her at all. Now that she was there, making her case, she wasn’t about to let him off any hook she could find. “I had hoped”—pausing and facing him, she enunciated the words evenly, endeavoring to remove all emotion from them—”that you would see your way to assisting me in dealing with this situation as a favor to a neighbor.”

His face was all chiseled angles and planes, sharply prominent cheekbones above lean cheeks. His lips were mobile, fascinatingly so, but as he looked up at her, his blatantly squared chin left no doubt of his ability to remain unmoved. The arrogance born of supreme confidence etched his features, yet as she met his eyes, she saw that her comment had reached past his façade; even though he gave no sign, she knew she’d prodded him in a sensitive spot. Neighborly assistance, if requested, was taken for granted in the country.

She’d avoided him for months, and if her senses’ preoccupation with his appearance—with every little thing about him—was any guide, that had been one of her wiser decisions. Even though she’d remembered his promise, she’d previously hesitated to ask for his help precisely because of the unnerving attraction—avid and compelling—she felt for him. Because that attraction was obviously one sided. He was a Cynster; she knew what sort of man he was—a gentleman descended from a noble line and with all the natural arrogance and confidence that background bestowed. If he’d harbored any interest in her, he would have approached her—he would have let her know.

Just as her idiot clansmen were doing, but doubtless with more panache.

His dark gaze had locked on her. “How, exactly, do you imagine I, as a neighbor, might aid you?”

 

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About Stephanie Laurens:

New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens originally began writing as an escape from the dry world of professional science. Her hobby quickly became a career; she has been writing historical romance novels for more than 20 years. Currently living outside Melbourne, Australia with her husband and two cats, she spends most of her days writing new stories in her signature ‘Errol Flynn meets Jane Austen” style.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for being a part of the tour!

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