Exciting news! The hero from By Promise Made has stopped in for a chat. He’s talking all about his life, his love, and the time in which he lives. It’s quite fascinating. Without further ado, I’m proud to introduce Hugh. Welcome to my site.
I am glad to be here. My name is Hugh Cullane, and I want to thank Mistress Daulton for inviting me to her blog today.
As I said, my name is Hugh Cullane from the Makgullane estate in the southern Highlands during the early reign of Queen Mary of Scotland in the mid-1500s, and I hope ye can understand me Scottish brogue. When I first met the queen, she was four years old and already every bit a queen. She ne’er (never) called me by name, but always “my man,” and she thought me to be verra (very) handsome. I am tall, broad-shouldered and braw (strong) with dark brown hair streaked with auburn that shines red in the sun. I like to say that my eyes are the color of biscuits toasted to a delicious golden shade. While my looks may be the first thing the lasses notice, ’tis (it is) my charm, my wit, and my beguiling smile that brings them close enough to kiss.
I have only vague memories of where I was born, having spent my life as an orphan surviving on the streets until I fell in with a gang of reivers – thieves – who roamed the countryside when I was ten. My life was hard and cruel until I met Robin Cullane of Makgullane, the first man who ever showed me any kindness. After he adopted me, my life changed until the day the restless itch inside me led me to leave Makgullane for the streets of London where I lived by my wits and the next roll of my dice. Many a tavern and gambling house welcomed me because I tell a good joke, enjoy a laugh, and I never complain whether I am winning or losing.
I thought I owned the world until the night I lost all my money playing passe-dix, a game with three dice, and, in the most foolish wager of my life, I bet the dagger with the Makgullane crest that Robin gave me the day I left home. Robin told me to use it only in defense of my life until love brought me home again, advice I stupidly ignored. In trying to get the dagger back, I chased the man into the woods where an owl killed him. Aye, I said “an owl!” ’Twas (It was) an accident, but with no witnesses, I was charged with murder and sentenced to hang. King Edward offered me a pardon in exchange for going to Fawside Castle in Scotland with a message of betrothal. That’s where I met the young Queen Mary and her devoted guardian, Katherine Payne.
The first time I met Katherine, or Kit, in the forest, I didna ken (didn’t know) who she was, only that she was beautiful, and I wanted to kiss her. Her long chestnut hair fell in a thick braid down her back and her glittering blue eyes shone like stars at night. Her body was trim and luscious, and at first all I wanted was a taste of her lips, but her kiss made me want to ken (know) all about her and for her to ken (know) all my dreams and wishes. Her kiss mattered more to me than any kiss I’d ever had, until she jerked my head back, kicked me between the legs, and ran off. The next time I saw her I was in chains and, as the queen’s guardian, she refused the betrothal message. To emphasize her point, she ordered me beheaded and my head sent back to the king in a jar!
Kit and I came from two very different families. With seven brothers and two sisters, noise and activity, filled my life at Makgullane, never a dull moment. Kit’s, on the other hand, was quiet and empty. Raised as an orphan in a convent, she wed at sixteen to a much older man she had never met. When he died, Captain Rand took her in and trained her vigorously to be the child queen’s protector. As such she gave up a personal life. However, we were similar in that trusting was an issue. I realized quickly that I could trust Kit completely, but it took her longer to trust me. Still, I told her that even if she ne’er (never) loved me, I’d stay and love her until the day I died. Together we promised to protect the queen from men determined to murder her for their own power.
I think Susan Leigh Furlong wrote about me because there was always hope of redemption for me. I may have made bad choices, but I always accepted the consequences, and I never blamed others. Mistress Furlong looks for strong character in everyone she writes about. Even the worst of her villains are strong in their convictions and never wimpy or weak.
I do wish she had no’ (not) told everyone how selfish I was in leaving my home with Robin at Makgullane. Robin was the best thing that e’er (ever) happened to me. He showed me love and tried his best to teach me right from wrong. I learned that all I wanted was to get home and repay him for all he’d given me. I am ashamed that I hurt him.
Again I thank Mistress Daulton for giving me this time on her blog. The rest of my story is in the book By Promise Made, officially released in two days on September 23.
Hugh Cullane, accused of murder and sentenced to hang, is forced to deliver a message of betrothal to four-year-old Queen Mary of Scotland. He faces death yet again when, in rejecting the proposal, the queen’s guardian orders his severed head sent back to England in a jar.
Trained to protect her queen at all costs, Katherine Payne can show no mercy to the handsome messenger, despite the way his stolen kiss unsettles her single-minded sense of duty. Trapped between the English and Scottish armies, she must escape with Mary. Hugh joins her as men chase them, determined to murder the young queen in their own quest for power.
Although this wasn’t his first kiss, it somehow mattered more than any other kiss he’d ever had.
He kissed her again. His tongue darted along her teeth and then into the juicy cavern of her mouth. She did not refuse him as he suckled her tender lips. She responded to his kiss, pulling him near, offering more of her mouth. She moaned quietly and ever so slightly eased her body closer to his as her hands worked their way up his back.
Pausing briefly in the most delicious kiss he’d ever had, he whispered, “My name is Hugh Cullane.” He brushed his lips against hers again. “What should I call ye, my beautiful princess?” Softly he licked her lips with his tongue.
“Call me whatever ye wish,” she said, locking her fingers into his hair and snapping his head and shoulders away from her with unexpected strength. She swung her right fist squarely into his jaw, and after a quick jerk of her knee into his groin, he fell to the ground, coughing and gagging. With one last powerful kick to the ribs, she ran madly away around the hill.
As he struggled to take a full breath, a sharp jab of pain bit through his side. Letting his head drop to the ground, he rolled over onto his back.
“Oh, my Lord!” he said aloud between coughs. “I do believe I have offended the lady.”
By Promise Made is available on:
Barnes and Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/by-promise-made-susan-leigh-furlong/1137427006?ean=9781509232284
Kobo https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/steadfast-will-i-beAmber Daulton Blog Hugh interview.doc
Amber, Thank ye for letting me talk with ye. I had a wonderful time! Hugh Cullane
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