The Blood of Roses

The Blood of Roses

by Marsha Canham

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reissue)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780440224556
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/28/1998
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 564
Product dimensions: 4.23(w) x 6.84(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Marsha Canham is the award-winning author of twelve historical romances and makes her home in Toronto, Canada.  While not a member of the half-century club yet, she is looking forward to holding her first grandchild in her arms this August.

She was inspired to write The Blood of Roses and its prequel, The Pride of Lions, by an inexplicable and intense fascination with eighteenth-century Scottish history.  Among the many intriguing coincidences that occurred during the three years it took to write the two novels was the fact that the Battle of Culloden was fought on April 16, 1746, negotiations for The Pride of Lions were begun by her publisher on April 16, 1985, and the final words of The Blood of Roses were written on April 16, 1988.  Neither of the latter two events was planned.  They were brought to the author's attention by a third party.

Her next historical romance, Pale Moon Rider, will be available from Dell in December.

Read an Excerpt

Catherine struck out with her fists, pushing and writhing against the great wall of muscle that threatened to crush her. She managed to land a solid blow to his temple and was gathering steam for another when she heard a softly muttered Gaelic oath.

Her fist froze in midair and her eyes widened. Certain her mind was playing some dreadful hoax, her body tensed and her heart skipped several beats.

"A hell of a greeting for a wife to give her husband," Alex murmured, his hand still in place over her mouth, but easing slightly so that it was almost a caress. Indeed, as she continued to stare up at him in shock, the hand slid around to cradle the side of her neck and the pressure of his lean fingers was replaced by the possessive warmth of his lips.

"Alex?" She gasped. "Oh, God . . . Alex?"

"You were expecting someone else, perhaps?" He leaned back and let the firelight play havoc with the glimmering wash of silk. "Come to think of it, you certainly look as if you were expecting someone."

"N-no. No!  No, I . . . I . . ." Her hands trembled up to his cheeks as if to confirm he was real flesh and blood. "Please . . . tell me I'm not dreaming."

"You are not dreaming," he assured her, kissing each disbelieving eyelid with a gentleness that caused a sob to catch in her throat. "I'm here. I'm real."

"But . . . how did you get here?  I thought . . . I mean, Damien said it would be too dangerous for you to come here . . . that I was to wait for a message . . ."

Alexander's hands moved down her body compulsively, as if he could not stop their actions now that she was finally in his arms.

"When Damien impressed upon me the fragile nature of your patience"--his palm encircled the heavy softness of her breast--"I found my own condition to be rather indelicate as well. Far too indelicate to bother with cloak-and-dagger nonsense."

"But the soldiers . . . the militia . . ."

Alex's gaze followed his hand. His thumb stroked the velvety crown of her nipple, and he watched it grow taut and rigid beneath its veil of silk. Catherine's eyes were fixed unwaveringly on his face, on the square, rugged jawline, the dark slash of eyebrows, the twin crescents of long black lashes. She felt the motion of his thumb and she felt the pressure from each individual finger against her breast. Icy shivers of anticipation raced across the surface of her flesh, growing more and more insistent at each slow circuit of his thumb.

Suddenly the obsidian eyes were gazing deeply into hers. The muscles in his arms were tense and unyielding, his body seemed strained to the limit of his composure. Was it her imagination, or had the months of rigorous army life added even more strength, developed even more formidable breadth to his shoulders and chest, whittled a lean new hardness to his waist and hips?  His hair was as long and unruly as she remembered it, and, responding to an impulse, her fingers released the thin black ribbon binding it and let the glossy waves spill free and curl forward over his shoulders.

His hands had not been idle. They had roved lower on the smooth, silk-clad outline of her hips and thighs, and returned with the captured hem of the nightdress. He drew it above her waist and left it in a shimmering crumple under her arms while he sent his fingers skimming back down into the soft golden thatch below her belly. Catherine endured the first light, delicious strokes in silence, awed by the sweet, sharp ache of shameless pleasure. But as the incursions became deeper and more determined, she rose against him, arched against the shivering torment with a need she could neither conceal nor deny.

"Easy, love," he whispered. "Easy."

"I . . . can't." She gasped. "It's been so long. I--I've missed you so badly."

"Shhh. I'm here now."

"I didn't know if you were alive or dead. I didn't know if I would ever see you again, if you would ever come back to me. I began to wonder if I had imagined it all . . . everything . . .  Achnacarry . . . everything."

A sob of sheer ecstasy was torn from her throat as he lowered his dark head to her breast. His lips claimed the tightly crinkled nipple, drawing the succulent flesh into the heated well of his mouth where it was taunted and tormented with the same skillful thoroughness his fingers were demonstrating elsewhere. When she was a breath away from orgasm, he withdrew his hand and his mouth covered hers, smothering her harsh groan of frustration. His tongue plunged repeatedly over and around hers, the sensations coiling downward and inward until she felt like a molten sheet of flame.

His mouth blazed a trail of fire from the underside of her chin down past the laboring rise and fall of her breasts. From there his tongue swirled onto her belly and into the seductive little indent of her navel. Restlessly he traveled lower, prompting shocked reverberations that weakened each of her limbs and made her quiver with expectation as he eased them apart. His hands curved beneath her hips and held her firm while his lips and tongue explored the tender pink junction, lashing over and over again at the remaining shreds of her composure.

Reaching down with frantic, disbelieving hands, she clawed her fingers into the thick, raven mane of his hair. Her lips drew back in a soundless cry as hot, shivering spirals of pleasure whorled through her body and, tasting them, delving for them, his tongue set wave upon wave of fiery convolutions rippling inward and outward until she stiffened and shuddered again and again and again.

With a groan that mocked his own self-restraint, Alex rose above her, his muscles bunched and trembling, his hands shaking where they still cradled her hips. He drew her forward and upward into his first thrust, burying himself so deep there was not a breath or gasp between them, no nerve left unscathed by the joining. She locked her arms around him, locked her legs around him, helpless to forestall the white-hot surge of ecstasy that gripped them both in endless volleys of sharp, blinding pleasure.

Dazed, they clung together, straining and writhing with the need to savor each prolonged tremor until it shimmered into memory. Only then did pent-up breaths make a startled, rushed release; only then did the shivering, quaking tension drain away to leave the two damp, entwined bodies collapsed and panting softly against one another. From somewhere Alex found the strength to raise his flushed face from her shoulder and kiss her--a kiss as honest and naked in its emotion as the shine betrayed in his eyes.

"I did not think a man could miss his wife as much as I have missed you," he admitted shakily. "A mistress, aye. As a former rogue, content in my bachelorhood, I could more easily understand the intrigue and fascination there . . . but a wife?"

Catherine's eyes opened slowly, two dark pools of violet swimming with unshed tears of happiness. His lips caressed each lid, the tip of her nose, the luscious pout of her lips, and her arms tightened reflexively, as did her limbs, when she felt him start to ease himself away.

"Please don't," she pleaded softly. "Don't leave me just yet."

"I have no intentions of leaving you. I just thought--"

"Don't think. Don't do anything. Just hold me . . . as close as you can."

Aware of his superior weight, Alex compromised by gently rolling with her onto his side. He wrapped his arms tightly around her and Catherine pressed her face into his shoulder, the inner turbulence of her emotions finally seeking relief through quietly muffled tears.

"Catherine--" He brushed his lips over her temple and stroked a hand through the tousled length of her hair. "I never meant for this to happen. I never wanted you to worry about me or be afraid. If there had been any other way to ensure your safety, I never would have let you out of my sight, you must know that."

"Sometimes"--her voice caught on a sob--"I think I would rather risk any danger on earth than suffer such loneliness as I have these past months."

His arms hugged her closer.

"The rest of the time"--she angled her head upward, her face streaked and shining--"has been spent contemplating divorce, revenge . . . even murder. Three months, Alex. Three months and you never once wrote to me. Not a note, not a letter, not one single paltry word to let me know you were still alive."

"I wrote hundreds of them . . . thousands. In my head. Every day."

She dashed the back of her hand across her cheeks to dry them and glared. "As if anyone could ever read what was in your head."

"You can if you try." He cradled her chin in his hand. "Look again."

Catherine did indeed look. And they were all there: The hundreds and thousands of words and feelings he had been unable to commit to paper were gleaming deep within the midnight depths, thrilling her with fresh shivers that prickled all the way to her toes.

"Oh, Alex, when you are with me, I know you love me," she cried, burrowing against his shoulder again. "But when you are hundreds of miles away . . . it just isn't the same."

"I guess it isn't. Mind you, I didn't exactly see a flood of mail coming from this direction."

Catherine pushed herself upright. She stared into his eyes another long moment before twisting out of his arms and climbing off the bed. With the rucked-up folds of the gossamer gown sliding back down to gild her body, she snatched the lamp from the night table and disappeared inside the dressing room. A loud scrape and bang of a drawer conveyed her anger, and when she returned to the bedside, her arms were full of unposted letters. After dumping them unceremoniously on the bed, she planted her hands on her hips and favored him with a scowl.

"I did not know where to send them."

Alex dragged his gaze away from her face and scanned the impressive pile of letters. Most were several pages thick, folded into wads that required several seals and a string binding to hold together.

He reached a tentative hand out to select one but, with an angry gesture, Catherine brushed them all to the floor.

"No. What's in them doesn't matter anymore. They were . . . a way of passing the time."

"Catherine, I am sorry. But your husband is supposed to be away in the colonies," he reminded her gently. "How would you go about explaining letters and notes that arrived regularly from northern England?  Or suppose they were intercepted and opened?  I doubt if even your quick wit could produce an adequate excuse for being in receipt of letters from a captain in the Jacobite army. Especially if they contained anything half as inflammatory as most thoughts I have about you."

"Don't try to wriggle out of it by being logical and rational."

"All right, I won't." His arms snaked out and curled around her waist, pulling her back down onto the bed in a flurry of silk. "I'll make it up to you instead, by being perverse and avaricious."

His mouth made good on the threat, and when the kiss ended, she was flushed and laughing as she clung to his broad shoulders. She was also naked, the nightdress flung up and away somewhere in the shadows.

"How did you get in here tonight?  The militiamen have the manor surrounded."

"One of them was generous enough to lend me the use of his uniform."

She frowned and raised her head, peering at the door. "You just walked into the house and came up the stairs to my room?"

"I came in the same way any lusty Romeo would think to come--by way of a very obliging trellis that leads straight from the ground up to heaven. Remind me to show you how to keep those doors locked from now on; that latch isn't worth a damn."

"It wasn't meant to keep out intruders, only drafts."

"Nevertheless, I want you to keep it locked tightly when you are in here alone."

"And when I'm not?  Alone, I mean."

The dark sapphire eyes narrowed consideringly. "By all means leave the doors unlatched. But choose your lovers carefully, madam, with an eye toward swiftness and an ability to fly, for if I ever paid a visit unannounced and found some addlebrained Lothario trespassing on territory I have clearly staked as my own . . ."

A growl defined the consequences, and Catherine welcomed the roughness of his kiss as well as the lusty stirrings elsewhere in his body. Unfortunately, another fit of muffled laughter brought an unwanted end to both intimacies.

"You find the prospect of infidelity amusing?" he demanded with a frown.

"Only the sudden image of my vaunted lord and husband chasing some hapless scoundrel about the room at the tip of his sword."

"Your own pretty buttocks would find nothing to smile about, I assure you."

"They have nothing to fear," she said, and pressed a chaste, tender kiss over his lips. "For the situation will never arise. You are lover enough for me in this lifetime . . . indeed, ten lifetimes."

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Blood of Roses 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 50 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was an amazingly good book. The history, the story and every thing emotional for it was so real that it felt like living in that moment in the history. The problem I had was that even though this is a historical romance I wish it would have been a little less heavy in the history. I like the first book better even though Alex acted like a jerk and Catherine like spoiled brat. In that book the misery of war and politic wasn't so heavy. To tell the truth I made myself finish the book and all through the last 200 pages( the book is 418 pages) I had a love- hate relationship with it. The book is so dark that it is hard to read. If she had at least a hundred pages less and a little less political it would have been perfect. I know that was the reality at that time but I wanted a histrical romance with the side dish of war. Something like Monica Mcarty's highld series. This book was a war book with the side dish of sex and a little romance. Even though the characters developed a lot and we fell in love with Alex and Catherine but still it was not enough to get through the rest of the book. The first book was historical romance this one was mostly war with them getting together for a while and then war and misery again. I still think the author is amazing but I dont think I want to read the third book yet. She said it took her ten years to write the third book I think it is gonna take me at least a few months break in between to be able to read it. Still if you like history in its most raw and emotional way this book is truely amazing. It was just a little heavy for me since I emotionally connect with the characters and I didnt want to see some of them die.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you love historic romance you will love this book. It is one of my all time favorites. The author, Marsha Canham, goes deep into her characters thoughts and wishes. You feel like you know them. The historic background is realistic and exciting.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Canham writes a very historically detailed and emotionally riveting romance. Her characters are well-drawn, mixing the fictional with actual historical figures. For those who like explicit love scenes, she does these in detailed and scorching fashion. The continuation of 'Pride of Lions', this is the sort of story that leaves you wanting more.
lollypop917 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Blood of Roses is the continuation of The Pride of Lions and I would highly recommend you read it's predecessor first. This is the story of Catherine Ashbrooke Cameron and Alexander Cameron and how their lives are affected by the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745. The beginning of book is spend recapping the previous novel so if you haven't read the Pride of Lions you will have a pretty good idea of what has happened thus far. I would really describe Blood of Roses as being much more of a historical fiction book than a romance as so much of it is spent in details of the rebellion and the military gains leading up to the battle of Culloden Field. I was very pleasantly suprised with all of the wonderful detail as a lover of history in general. The author spends a great deal of attention to the Bonnie Prince Charles and the military leaders entrusted to the rebellion. I really felt she did a wonderful job describing why the rebellion failed and why the Scots backed it in the first place. Amongst all of the details about the rebellion this is also a great romance story. The author did a wonderful job balancing the romance portion of the story with the rich history of the time. This was a great read and I highly recommend it!
aseaver on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Sequel to The Pride of Lions, engrossing, rich in historical detail, and a sense of the mindset and motivations of the Jacobites, as well as the continuation of this moving story of Alexander and Catherine, as well as the secondary characters. Could not put this one down, much less forget it, or the characters. The sequel (or tie-in) to this is Midnight Honor, again, a rich and complex novel that is difficult to stop reading. Alexander and Catherine both have appearances in Midnight Honor, although they are not the main characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love love love these books!
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This book had everything. Love, hot love, best love story...and drama...i recommend.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent book!!   I have read almost all of her books (and most books I have read twice) & just love this author.  For this genre, she writes like no other!  With each & every  one of her books, she draws you in.  You feel you are part of the story looking on and this book is no exception.  Powerful & very moving, true to the historical essence of the story.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a romance, a very good one....but it is the heart wrenching emotions in this incredible story that will stay with me a long time...the scottish history and pride, the far too realistic conclusions rather than fairytale ending left me breathless. Read these two novels, pride of lions first then this one (which is the better one, so dont give up) will not be disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Black rose were everwhere. Is this words 'will you, Slivermoonstar, be my mate?' He sat at the end
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely loved this book! Had not ready anything by MC before, but now I'm hooked. Will definitely be reading more by her.
PennyHend More than 1 year ago
I was so excited to read this book after reading and enjoying "The Pride Of Lions". The sequel did not dissapoint.
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kmTX More than 1 year ago
I LOVED IT! Both books in this series is great! Not shallow like alot of the historical romances I've read. You will laugh and cry.
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