Tag Archive | historical romance

Blockheads & Petticoat Holds – A Look at Regency Slang with Ally Broadfield

I’m pleased to welcome historical romance author Ally Broadfield today. Welcome, Ally!

Just A Kiss CoverTara, thank you for having me as a guest on your blog today!

Regency readers are very smart and savvy, and they notice when an author uses a word that wasn’t in use in during the period. I utilize both The Online Etymology Dictionary (etymonline.com) and The Compact Edition of The Oxford English Dictionary to look up words to try to ensure I’m not using a word that didn’t exist at the time. One of my favorite words is “suss.” It’s quintessentially British to me, and I was sad to discover that it’s a modern word and was not around during the Regency. It came into use during the 20th century as a shortened form of “suspect.” I wish I could use it in one of my books, but I’m glad I looked it up so I didn’t make that mistake.

There were some really fun slang words and phrases that I’m hoping to work into a future book, like “Dub the jigger.” It sounds inappropriate, doesn’t it? It means “open the door.” Or “Petticoat Hold,” which refers to a man who has an estate during his wife’s life.

There is a scene in Just a Kiss where several people were unhappy with one of the characters, and I had a wonderful time researching words they could use to show their displeasure. Though I wasn’t able to use all of them, these are some of the words I considered:

Clodpoll=blockhead

Numbscull=a stupid fellow

Blockhead=stupid person

Nick Ninny= a simpleton

Mutton-Headed=stupid

I’m sure you can see a pattern here. I’m afraid you’ll have to read Just a Kiss to find out which words I used.

Just a Kiss

Blurb: Charlotte Lightwood has one season to find a husband or she’ll be forced to marry her guardian’s loathsome cousin. With no title or dowry, she doesn’t have much hope of making a good match. Sebastian Wilkinson, the Earl of Marley, has been the most eligible bachelor on the marriage mart for more years than he cares to count and is very aware of his duty to marry a woman who will add to the wealth and stature of his title. Sebastian makes Charlotte an offer she can’t refuse: he will pretend to court her to help her attract more suitors in exchange for her advice about which ladies he should pursue. As they work together, their mutual attraction grows. When they realize they just might be perfect for one another, they must decide whether to bow to the dictates of society or follow their hearts.

Buy links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Just-Kiss-Novella-Entangled-Edge-ebook/dp/B00JI0RS1M?tag=entangpublis-20&link_code=ur2&creative=9325&camp=211189

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/just-a-kiss-ally-broadfield/1119127247

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/just-kiss-its-in-his-kiss/id856964058?ign-mpt=uo%3D8

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/just-a-kiss-an-it-s-in-his-kiss-novella

 

Bio: Ally lives in Texas and is convinced her house is shrinking, possibly because she shares it with three kids, five dogs, a cat, a rabbit, and several reptiles. Oh, and her husband.  She likes to curse in Russian and spends most of her time letting dogs in and out of the house and shuttling kids around. She writes historical romance set in Regency England and Imperial Russia.

Links:

Website: http://allybroadfield.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/allybroadfield

Twitter: http://twitter.com/abroadfield

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/AllyBroadfield

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZZ98KE4QU__pnI5mkiWAeg/videos

 

 

Welcome Author Katherine Bone

Duke By Day CoverI’m excited to welcome Katherine Bone to the blog today. She’s here to tell us about her new story and reveal her gorgeous new cover. She’s also generously offered a $10 Amazon gift certificate to one lucky commenter. We’ll announce the winner on Monday, February 3.

Welcome, Katherine! Please tell us a little about your story.

Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog today, Tara! It’s a pleasure to share this wonderful helm view.

Duke by Day, Rogue by Night is the first book in my Nelson’s Tea Series.

CONSTANCE DANBURY is desperate to escape a forced marriage to a man nearly twice her age. Her only hope is to board a merchantman bound for Spain and enlist her aunt’s help. Nothing prepares her for being captured by pirates.

Nobleman PERCIVAL AVERY is a member of Nelson’s Tea, an elite group assigned to protect England’s shores at any cost. Undercover, and determined to avenge his sister’s death, Percy disguises himself as a pirate to infiltrate the gang of cutthroats responsible. But when his vessel attacks a merchantman, Percy is forced to choose between vengeance and saving the life of his commander’s niece, Constance Danbury. His only choice is to mutiny, but mutiny obliterates his well-laid plans.

Fascinating! I love a good pirate story. And when that pirate is really a handsome noble…so much the better!

Tell us about your future releases? What are you most excited about?

Hand flail! I’m especially excited to announce that the first book in my Nelson’s Tea Series, Duke by Day, Rogue by Night is relaunching with EsKape EPress Publishing, ETA — February. Duke by Day has a brand new look — the romance cover of my dreams! I’m hoping readers will enjoy the adventurous appeal of the book, as much as I do, as well as the new compass heading — I mean editing.

Soon to follow, My Lord Rogue, the prequel novella for my Nelson’s Tea Series, which chronicles how Nelson’s Tea was organized, particularly Viscount Bourne, Lord Simon Danbury’s mission to form the clandestine group of first sons from every tier of life willing to serve Nelson and the crown.

Katherine, who would you cast to play your hero and heroine in an adaptation of your story?

Tara, this is a great question because I see all my books as movies. Prior to writing, I do casting calls. I’ve got characters in my head, but as a visual writer, I need inspiration to make them three-dimensional in my mind’s eye. Pinterest is a great way to harvest inspiration for all kinds of things. As a result, I’ve got boards for all of my books. Love. Love. Love Pinterest!

“And rum!” Jack supplies.

That too!

You’ll find that in My Lord Rogue, Simon Danbury was inspired by Toby Stephens and Baroness Chauncey by Abby Cornish. In Duke by Day, Rogue by Night, Percival Avery was inspired by Jared Padalecki and Constance Danbury by Hayden Panettiere. In The Rogue’s Prize, Henry Guffald was inspired by Simon Baker and Adele Seaton by Amanda Righetti. And in the final installment, The Rogue’s Surrender, Garrick Seaton is inspired by Tom Mison of Sleepy Hollow fame and Adelaide Kane from Reign as Mercedes Vasquez de la Claremont.

Ouch!

Jack knocks on my head. “Speaking of hollow. Are you sure there’s enough room in your head for all those people?”

Katherine BoneAnd now, a little about you…What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?

You mean other than Jack? 😉

“That’s Captain Jack Sparrow, luv.”

Indeed it is.

Well, my favorite guilty pleasure is to sit on the beach, toes in the sand, tropical breezes ruffling my hair, a good romance novel in hand, surf teasing the shore, and ships passing on the horizon. Of course, a constant flow of strawberry daiquiris wouldn’t hurt.

Rolls eyes… “You mean rum. Rum. Say it. RRRRRum. Rum. Rummy. Rummy.”

Rum comes in many forms, especially Strawberry Daiquiris. (Wink!)

What’s one thing about you that would surprise readers?

I think people are always surprised to find out I’m a Mimi (channeling la François). I’ve got four grown children and three grandsons. And my heart does a flip flop anytime someone I meet swears I don’t look old enough. I assure you I am. LOL!!!

Jack points his finger my way. “It’s the rum, luv. Preservative, as it were.”

Which would you rather possess: flying monkeys or Toto?

Flying monkeys? Shiver me timbers!

“They wouldn’t happen to be undead, would they?” Jack asks, cringing.

If you could wake up stranded on a desert island with one celebrity hunk, who would it be?

Oh, Tara! You made this one too easy. Buahahaha!!! Of course, there’s no question I’d be stranded with Captain Jack Sparrow. He’d have a gun with one shot, which isn’t meant for me, not to mention his effects.

“Which effects, dearie?” Flash of golden tooth. A devilish wink. Jack postures himself.

Why a compass and — well you already know, Jack. We’d have a rum stash hidden and left behind by rum runners. Free of the cares of the day, we’d spend our days sunning, bathing along the coast, and our nights imbibing while dancing by campfire light. We might even scare up some sea beasties for dinner too.

Jack crinkles his nose. “Sea beasties?”

Oh, Tara! What can I say? It’s a pirate’s life for me!

“And me! I’ve got a jar of dirt!”

 It’s been a pleasure sailing with you today, Tara! Wishing you calm seas & tons of bootay!

Before I sail off into that distant horizon, I’m ponderin’ more celebrity hunks. Which one would you like to be marooned with? I’ve got a $10 Amazon Gift Card for one lucky commenter. Woot!!!

Want to learn more about Katherine, including her very inspirational Pinterest boards? 

Dear Reader…What’s Your Hero “Type”?

Pistols, Parasols & Passionate Little LIes

I’m planning the next book in my Secrets & Spies series and I’m curious…readers, what type of hero would you like to read about next? Of course, he’s got to be gorgeous and studly and definitely swoon-worthy. That goes without saying. Are we in the mood for a brawny Scotsman? A reformed outlaw? A lawman straddling the line? A man who looks like a bookworm but really knows his way around a gun…and the ladies? A cowboy…or two? I’d love to know your thoughts.

Share your thoughts for a chance to win a Kindle copy of the latest installment in my Secrets & Spies series, Pistols, Parasols & Passionate Little Lies. I’ll announce the winner on Sunday, January 19, just in time to get a hot spy story to warm a cold January weekend and heat the rest of your week.

Drumroll Please: Cover Reveal – Pistols, Parasols & Passionate Little Lies

The second book in the Secrets & Spies series will be making its debut next week…I’m impatient, so I couldn’t wait that long to share the gorgeous cover. I just love it! Pistols, Parasols & Passionate Little LIes

So beautiful! Share your thoughts about the cover, and you might win the first book in the Secrets & Spies series, Secrets, Spies & Sweet Little Lies. One lucky commenter will win a Kindle copy of the book. Already have Secrets, Spies & Sweet Little Lies? No problem – if your name is chosen, you’ll be one of the very first to receive a digital copy of Pistols, Parasols & Passionate Little Lies when it takes its bow in the very near future.

Here’s a little about Pistols, Parasols & Passionate Little Lies:

Sometimes, even a spy needs a hero.

Like any good secret agent, Amanda Emerson knows how to get what she wants—in this case, a man with guts and a gun—a man heroic enough to break a notorious double agent out of a Confederate prison. But first, she’ll have to save her hero’s own neck.

Caught with Rebel plans and set for a hanging, Union spy Steve Dunham’s luck has run out—until a cunning beauty shows up at the jail and engineers his escape. Of course, she’s there for a reason besides preventing him from dangling at the end of a noose—he’s the key to her daring scheme.

Steve may be trading one execution for another, but the tempting—and off limits—operative draws him into the perilous mission. Falling for Amanda is a complication he can’t afford, but Steve’s never been one to play it safe. The spoils of victory will be Amanda’s surrender. And the terms of surrender promise to be sultry and sweet.

Pistols, Parasols & Passionate Little Lies will be available soon! Look for details later this week.

Welcome Author Averil Reisman

To Cuba With LoveIt’s my great pleasure today to welcome author Averil Reisman. Averil writes American-set historical romance with an adventurous edge, set in the Gilded Age years of the 1890s. Averil’s new release, To Cuba With Love, is a thrilling tale of danger and passion set during the years before the Spanish American War. Averil’s here today to tell us about her inspiration for To Cuba With Love.

Welcome, Averil!

Tara, have you ever asked the question, “what if . . . ?” What if this had happened, what if that had happened? The idea for To Cuba With Love came from one of those “what if” questions.

While I was researching another storyline at the Amelia Island Historical Museum in Fernandina, Florida, I came across a newspaper article stating that Fernandina’s natural deep water port had been the capital of gunrunning ventures to Cuba during that country’s long fight for independence from Spain. I thought there had to be a romance story in there somewhere.

Shifting gears, I started researching the topic, and found a white paper titled, The Fernandina Filibuster Fiasco in a museum folder of the island’s history during the 1890s.

The document told of the failure of a gunrunning venture to Cuba financed by Cuban immigrants living in the United States. Three ships had been illegally chartered to send men and war material to Cuba in opposition to the U.S. Neutrality Act of 1794. The venture was discovered and the cargo confiscated before the ships left American waters.

Bingo! This was it. What if . . . the cargo had been divided into quarters instead of thirds, and the fourth portion hidden for another stab at delivery? To Cuba With Love grew from that germ of an idea.

Bold, dramatic, and dangerous, my illegal mission required the strength of character and the courage of a hero and heroine who were up to the task. So . . . I created Sean Nolan, an honorable, very wealthy, alpha male sea captain facing sure financial ruin, and Samantha Ethridge, a brazen, quick-thinking society news reporter, stymied by the role of women in her time—the Gilded Age.

Drawn together at first by their passion, they learn to work together, to understand each other’s personal priorities, and to let go of the lies they’ve told themselves about what they really want out of life.

Check it out at http://www.amazon.com/db/b00fpvcf2k

Thanks, Averil, for that historical nugget that inspired your story. Having read the book, I can tell you the research is meticulous. You certainly know your history! 

Welcome Author Lane McFarland

Cameron coverIt’s my pleasure to welcome my friend, author Lane McFarland. Lane’s steamy Scottish historical romances debuted earlier this month on Amazon…readers are gobbling up these touching and passionate stories. Lane’s here with a character interview of the heroines of her romances, Cameron and Heather. Welcome, Lane. Please tell us a little about your stories.

Thank you for having me, Tara. I’m excited to tell you about the first two books of my series, The Daughters of Alastair MacDougall. Before I published Cameron and Heather’s stories, I took one last opportunity to interview the sisters. I’d like to share my visit to MacDougall Castle in Kilmarnock, Scotland.

It was late at night when I arrived. Large torches blazed bright into the darkening sky. Solid battlements, secured behind grey stone, ran across the outer gates surrounding the fortress. Guards patrolled the ramparts, ready to drop the portcullis and defend the castle at a moment’s notice.

The carriage rattled across the wooden bridge, through a large worn gate and past guardhouses on either side. We pulled to a stop in the bailey before the stone steps leading to the keep. I tugged my wrap around my shoulders, climbed the steep stairs and knocked on the heavy oak door.

A gust of brisk air swirled in the front hall as Fergus greeted me. “Welcome to MacDougall Castle, Mistress McFarland.”Heather cover

“Thank you, Fergus. It’s nice to be back.”

“Please come in, and I’ll show ye to the solar.”

I stepped into the dimly-lit hall. He lifted the cloak from my back and escorted me down the corridor. More torches secured in brackets lined the damp passage, their flames flickering in a cold draft.

He opened the solar’s worn door and swept his arm in the direction of the chairs positioned before the hearth. “Make yerself comfortable by the fire. I’ll let Mistresses Cameron and Heather know ye’ve arrived.”

I scooted into one of the massive wooden chairs, holding my hands out to the warmth radiating from the golden flames. Nerves strung tight, I couldn’t help but wonder what the MacDougall women thought of the stories I had just written about them. While rummaging through my briefcase for my notebook, the sound of footsteps and feminine laughter drifted from down the hall.

“Mistress McFarland,” Cameron said as she slipped into the room with Heather close behind. “What a pleasure to see ye again.”

I stood and smoothed shaking fingers down my skirt as Cameron extended her hand in greeting. Once again, I was struck by the women’s beauty. Cameron’s long dark hair and green eyes were in stark contrast to her sister’s blonde tresses and deep blue eyes. Friendly smiles lit their faces.

“Please call me Lane. I thank you for seeing me on short notice and at such a late hour.”

“Gracious, ye’re always welcome,” Heather said, grasping my hand. “Please have a seat.”

Rena, the cook, entered carrying a tray of warm spiced cider and her sweet cakes. She smiled and handed me a mug.

“Thank you.”

The woman nodded and shuffled from the room.

“What can we do for ye?” Cameron asked, sipping the drink.

“I hope you’ve had a chance to review the books I wrote about you and your families.”

Heather leaned back in her chair. “Aye, we appreciated yer just account.”

Relief poured over me and I relaxed. “May I ask a few follow up questions? I want to ensure I have correctly depicted your stories.”

“Certainly. Heather and I will try to answer whatever questions ye have.”

I flipped open my notebook and addressed Cameron. “When I first visited, you were experiencing difficulties. Would you describe that hard time in your life once more?”

She stiffened slightly.

Heather reached over and squeezed her sister’s forearm.

Cameron smiled sadly. “It was indeed a difficult time. Mum had been so ill. I couldn’t find a cure for her wasting sickness. When she passed, I felt like a failure.” She shook her head. “It took a long time before I wanted to continue learning the healing arts.”

“But you did,” I added.

Her eyes gazed at me, the light from the flames in the hearth flickering in the green depths. “Aye, I could not stop my passion to heal the sick and injured.”

“What of the feud with the Grahams? Did it play a role in your decision to continue?”

She scoffed. “There was always some kind of skirmish or prank they played on each other. Inevitably, someone was injured. Poor Fergus still has limited use of his arm.”

“That was about the time Laird Graham kidnapped you, wasn’t it?”

“The very time. As a matter of fact, I was collecting medicinal herbs for Fergus when Robert snatched me. He was bent on revenge. Ye see, he found his younger brother and his elderly captain with my da’s arrows jutting from their backs.” She exhaled through her nose. “Who could blame him for his actions? He had just sealed a truce with my da and was hurting over the brutal attack and outright betrayal.”

“You struggled with escaping or staying with the Grahams. Did you make the right decision?”

The corners of her mouth tugged up. “I did.”

“What, if anything, would you like to change about your life?”

“If there was anything I’d like to change, it would be the continued conflict with the English. We’re on constant alert, forever fearful of attack. I pray someday we will live in peace.”

“Thank you, Cameron.” She smiled, and I turned to Heather. “I would ask the same of you. When I first met you, you were in a bit of a dilemma.”

“Aye, before Mum passed, I promised her I would help Da run the castle and protect the clan. It was a time of unrest. I couldn’t trust our neighboring Scots. Too many scoundrels lurked, waiting to pounce on us at the slightest opportunity. I had to keep them at bay.”

“Ye led your father’s warriors into battle.”

Her blue eyes narrowed. “I had no choice. I had to keep the clan intact while holding off those who plotted to overtake our land.”

“What about Alec—I mean Laird Campbell? Could you not trust him?

She sat straighter, her shoulders squared. “I no longer knew him. It had been many years since we last met. I couldn’t take the chance he would betray Da’s confidence.”

“What do you mean?”

“Da suffers an affliction of the mind. If other clans got word of it, they would storm in and overtake our clan. I had to protect his secret.”

“Alec had secrets of his own, didn’t he?”

Heather’s fingers fidgeted in her lap. “There were rumors he had failed his aging father and clan.”

“But you were attracted to him. That must have been difficult for you.”

Her eyes blinked and her gaze dropped to the floor. “It was indeed a hard time. My heart screamed to turn to him. It would have been so easy.” She smiled. “He was handsome and strong, leading his men into battle and caring for his people.”

“How do you feel about your life right now? What, if anything, would you like to change?”

“I echo my sister’s sentiments on the rebellion, and understand all too well what it entails to protect the castle and the clan. We will forever be on constant alert.”

A log rolled in the fireplace and red sparks flitted up the chimney. “I wish things were different for you. That is a difficult way to live.”

Cameron nodded. “Aye, but we make do.”

I hated to leave, but the hour grew late. “I thank you for your time tonight. I won’t keep you any longer.”

After shutting my notebook and tucking it away in my satchel, I stood. Cameron and Heather escorted me down the corridor to the great hall.

Fergus ambled toward us. “Ye are leaving already, Mistress McFarland?”

“Aye, it’s time for me to be on my way. I have two books to publish.”

After our visit, I released the first two books about Alastair MacDougall’s daughters, Cameron and Heather. They are available on Amazon in eBook, with printed format offered soon. I plan to publish Lindsey’s story late spring 2014, with Elsbeth’s book to soon follow.

Author Bio:

Lane McFarland is a southern girl living on top of a mountain in North Georgia, and is most happy when surrounded by family and friends. When not writing, you can find her hiking with her husband, or fiddling around in her flower and vegetable gardens, feeding the birds and watching black bears and deer. Lane is blessed to have a wonderful son—her pride and joy, her buddy who, along with her husband, have made her life complete.

Lane’s debut novels, CAMERON and HEATHER, are the first in The Daughters of Alastair MacDougall books. Set in late thirteenth century Scotland, this series tells the stories of Laird Alastair MacDougall’s four independent and oftentimes, headstrong daughters coming of age in a country fraught with war and feuds amongst rival clans. Follow his daughters as their lives become intertwined with four fierce, rebel highland warriors bent on eradicating the English soldiers from their homeland.

Cameron is available at Amazon, Smashwords, Bookstorewithoutborders

Heather is available at Amazon, Smashwords, Bookstorewithoutborders

My November “Book Baby”

I’m a November baby, so it seems only fitting that my historical romance, Secrets, Spies & Sweet Little Lies has a November book birthday as well. Here’s a little about the story:

Secrets, Spies & Sweet Little LiesSecrets, Spies & Sweet Little Lies

A heart’s destiny cannot be denied when a daring Union spy abducts a beautiful runaway bride he suspects of being a traitor.

Emma Davenport was a model senator’s daughter: prim, proper, but hell-bent on escaping the dreaded fate of spinsterhood that awaited her under wartime Washington’s all-too watchful eye. She was going to be a bride, and no one was going to stop her. Not even the daring renegade who steals her from a train transporting her to a forbidden marriage. Her heart tells her this mysterious captor is a dangerous man, but the undeniable attraction he wields is a more potent threat than any weapon.

Major Cole Travis is a highly trained secret agent, as skilled with deception as he is with a gun. Keeping a beautiful traitor from her rendezvous with a treacherous scoundrel shouldn’t be a challenge for the battle-seasoned spy—but he’s not the only one after his tempting prisoner. Emma Davenport must be kept out of enemy hands at all costs. Drawn to this woman whose innocent allure may be just another weapon in her arsenal, Cole risks his neck to shield her. Soon, however, protecting her from his own heart’s desire becomes another story entirely.

You can find Secrets, Spies & Sweet Little Lies on Kindle. Prefer a paperback? The story will be out in paperback soon.

Inspiration for Sexy Heroes: Guest Author Eliza Knight’s Highlanders

Oh, the life of a romance author, surrounded by sexy men, all just waiting for her to tear their clothes off… Okay, so maybe those men are all in my head, but boy, is it fun to imagine!

When I’m getting ready to write a book, I really like to find pictures of what I think the hero might look like—and not only naked. I like to think of the way he moves, the way he looks when he’s angry, sad, passionate, laughing. I love to study him. One of the most fun parts of the book process is the cover. When the hero comes to life! I typically get the cover while I’m writing.

Now, don’t think me too shallow. I do love to look at a hot, brawny, masculine body, but often there is also something else that draws me in—eyes, intensity, all those things that make a man sexy. On to the eye candy!

The Highlander's RewardSexy Hero #1: Magnus – Look at those arms… Arms can work magic! They can fight off enemies and hold a woman in their tender embrace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Highlander's ConquestSexy Hero #2: Blane – Gulp… Look at those abs!! I just want to stroke my fingers over the ridges…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Highlander's Lady  Sexy Hero #3: Daniel – Um, why yes, I do love men in kilts. Especially men with six-packs, swords and an ultra-alpha confidence that makes me drool. Plus, look at that landscape? It’s snowing and I love winter when I can curl up with a hero…hehehe…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
The Highlander's Warrior BrideSexy Hero #4: Ronan – His back. A strong, determined back. He’s fiercely loyal and carries so many burdens. I need to rub his shoulders…. I just know he’s powerful and protective and I want to sink into his embrace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
The Highlander's TriumphSexy Hero #5: Brandon – Kilts…  Can’t get enough of those! Love the intensity in his gaze—even though its facing down. He has a lot on his mind, a lot of demons to battle, and I want to help him out! A nice, crisp sprinkling of chest hair, too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
The Highlander's SinSexy Hero #6: Duncan – Oh, those abs, arms, sword, kilt, face… I love his face. I love that he too looks troubled. I want to leap into his strong arms and soothe away the pain of his past. I could stare at him all day…

A little about my newest release – The Highlander’s Sin. Then a fun excerpt…

Book Title: The Highlander’s Sin

He stole her away… But she set him free…

They called him The Priest. Maybe because of his billowing black robes and the steel crucifix that hung around his neck. Or perhaps it was because those who met him were compelled to pray. But Duncan Mackay was anything but a saint. He was a sinner—a paid mercenary. Until he met her, and she made him want to change his ways.

Lady Heather Sutherland has never been compelled to follow rules. And this time, she’s gone too far. Following in the footsteps of her brothers and cousins, she chooses to join the fight for Scottish freedom—and gets herself abducted by a handsome, rogue warrior whose touch is sweet sin.

Duncan’s duty was clear—steal Heather away from Dunrobin Castle. What he didn’t expect, was to be charmed by her spirit and rocked by her fiery kiss. Now, he doesn’t want deliver her to those who hired him, instead he wants to keep her all to himself.

“Who’s there?” Her voice echoed through the chapel.

A shadowy figure lurked just beyond the benches in the corner where their chaplain’s chamber was. Looked like a hulk of black. If she’d been more superstitious, she might have thought the devil was coming to pay her a visit like Aunt Fiona always threatened.

“Father Hurley?” She swiped a drip of sweat from her eyes. “Is that ye? Come away from the shadows.”

A shiver of fear skittered over her spine, settling like a solid stone in her belly.

The figure didn’t move.

Heather swallowed her fear and stood up, straightening her shoulders as much as she could, squaring her jaw. “Come into the light at once,” she ordered.

The shadow moved along the wall toward the front of the chapel. Heather followed him with her eyes. ’Twas not the devil but a man. Most definitely not Father Hurley. He was taller by at least a foot—and wide by about the same. His black robes billowed around his form, swishing around his ankles with each step, and sending whispers of fear with every move. The silver chain around his neck swung the large crucifix it held like a pendulum. Back and forth.

A man of the cloth? Her hair prickled. He looked like death come to take her.

Heather stared at the cross, at the man in robes, hypnotized by his stealthy, calculated movements, her eyes wide and immobilized. She finally blinked when they stung with dryness.

“Are ye new to Dunrobin?” she asked, refusing to believe he might be the reaper and wondering why no one had told her there was a new priest.

He stopped a few feet away, just outside the line of light from the candles.

“Nay.” His voice was deep, dark, and slid over her body shamefully, in a way that made her want to hear him speak again.
Lord, help her impetuous nature.

Heather made a sign of the cross. “I’ve not seen ye before now.” The slight quiver in her tone made her angry.
He didn’t answer. A long pause of silence ensued, making her uncomfortable. Her skin prickled.

“Where is Father Hurley? What are ye doing in here?” The questions tumbled from her tongue.

The man pointed toward the chaplain’s chamber. “He is there. Sleeping.”

Again that voice. Why did she like it so much? “And ye? What are ye doing out here? I’m…I’m praying. I want privacy.” She lifted her chin another notch, hoping the odd priest would leave her be, that he hadn’t noticed the slight stutter of her words. When she saw her brother Magnus, she was going to tell him about this odd priest and how uncomfortable he made her. Zounds! She wouldn’t get the chance before she left… The dawn of her new life would begin today. A note then. She would tell Magnus in a note.

“I’m afraid ye won’t be getting any privacy, my lady.” Confidence dripped from his words and slid over her skin in a way that felt wicked.

“Ye are not to talk to me in such a manner.” No matter how hard she tried, she sounded petulant rather than in control.

“And ye need to hold your tongue, ye saucy wench.”

Heather gasped, blanched. Pressed a hand to her chest and took a step back in shock. “What?”

“Ye heard me.” An underlying tone of amusement captured his voice.

Indeed she had, but no one had ever, ever, talked to her like that before.

“How dare ye?” She seethed, gripped her fingers around her dagger, though what she’d do with it, she had no clue. Killing a man of the cloth was a sin she’d never be able to pay her way out of.

“Enough bluster, my lady. I need ye to come with me.”

“Come with ye? I’ll be doing no such thing.” She shook her head vehemently and took another step back. Only about a dozen more, and she could bolt for the door.

Perhaps today was not a day to run away. Outside dangers had never been a consideration before now. She’d just assumed she’d be able to reach Wallace’s camp unharmed. With her dagger, a bow and arrows, she could protect herself. Keep hidden in the bushes and not get caught.

But that was before being confronted by this man who made her feel…scared and hot all over. Now she just wanted the safety and tranquility of her bedchamber. How naïve she’d been to think her plan was solid.

“My lady,” he said in his calm, smooth voice. “Ye must. There is no choice in this matter.”

“Or what?”

Slowly, he opened one side of his robe, and she squeezed her eyes shut, not wanting to see what he revealed.

“Open your eyes,” he demanded.

She shook her head, bit her lip. But when she heard the click of his boot heels on the floor, her eyes flew open. He stopped moving, maybe a dozen paces away and removed the hood from his head. Beneath his robe, he was cloaked in a white leine, leather jerkin and tightly pleated plaid of dark colors. But what she couldn’t take her gaze off of, was the cruel-looking battle ax strapped to his chest with a leather belt of sorts. The ax glittered where it caught the light. Silver carved on its handle. It wasn’t a regular ax blade either, but elongated, curved and hooked where it should have been flat and triangular.

Heather raised her eyes to his. He’d stepped far enough forward that the candles lit what parts of his face weren’t hidden by the hood of his cloak. Strong chin and nose. And his eyes, they flashed out at her like blue lightning, ready to snuff out her life with one blink. His hair was pulled back in a queue, but shaved along the sides, making him resemble a savage.
Her hand involuntary rose to her chest as she pressed against her quickly beating heart. Realizing what she’d done, Heather forced her hand back to her side, not wanting the stranger to know how much he was affecting her.

He touched a strong-looking hand to the handle of the ax. “Dinna make me use it, lass. I’d hate to mar your pretty face.”
He thought her pretty? She almost cocked her head and gave him a coy smile, until reality struck and she again realized who he was. A stranger who was attempting to abduct her. A savage-looking warrior priest who threatened to cut her with that horrid-looking blade.

THE HIGHLANDER’S SIN is the sixth book in the Stolen Bride series, but it can stand alone.

Check out the other books in the series!

The Highlander’s Reward
The Highlander’s Conquest
The Highlander’s Lady
The Highlander’s Warrior Bride
The Highlander’s Triumph

And releasing early 2014 — The Highlander’s Temptation

Read it! Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Smashwords

Author Bio:

Eliza Knight is the multi-published, award-winning, Amazon best-selling author of sizzling historical romance and erotic romance. While not reading, writing or researching for her latest book, she chases after her three children. In her spare time (if there is such a thing…) she likes daydreaming, wine-tasting, traveling, hiking, staring at the stars, watching movies, shopping and visiting with family and friends. She lives atop a small mountain, and enjoys cold winter nights when she can curl up in front of a roaring fire with her own knight in shining armor.

Website: www.elizaknight.com

Blog: www.historyundressed.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/elizaknightauthor

Twitter: @ElizaKnight

Welcome Jaye Garland, author of “The 25th Hour”

Jaye GarlandI’m pleased to welcome my friend, author Jaye Garland, as my guest today. Jaye’s going to give away a free ebook to one lucky commenter – the winner will be announced on Monday, September 9. Welcome, Jaye! Please tell us a little about your story, The 25th Hour.The 25th Hour

The impossible can be quite simple, actually. Just imagine…. With one stroke of her architect’s eraser, an heiress is chased through time by her father’s murderer and lands in the arms of a 19th century Wyoming rancher. The enduring lovers must find the killer before another life is taken—and the rift in time closes, separating them, forever.

What a terrific read, Jaye! Now, let’s talk about you. What earns a book a place on your keeper shelf, real or virtual?

Memorable characters, setting, and/or a plot that lives on in my mind days, sometimes months and years, after I’ve read the last page. Yes, I have quite a few of those on my keeper shelves and re-read them many times. Gone With The Wind is a great example. I’ve read that book at least six times.

I have quite a few keeper books…I loved the old “gothics” of Barbara Michaels, and Jude Devereaux, Julie Garwood, Amanda Quick, and Teresa Medeiros all have a special place on my shelves.

If you could bring a fictional hero to life, which one would it be? Heathcliff? Mr. Darcy? Mr. Rochester? Tarzan? Captain Mal? One of your own heroes?

Easy answer is Colonel William F. Cody. Yeah baby, I’m talking about Buffalo Bill.  While he’s not the hero of my debut novel, THE 25th HOUR, he does make several appearances in that story. I’d love to hear his first-hand accounts of how things really happened back in the late 19th century.

Oh, that would be fascinating…if you ever pull it off, make sure to invite me, too! I’d love to chat!

If you could live during any era in time, when would that be? Why?

Another easy answer. I’d have to pick 1877 which is the time frame of THE 25th HOUR. That way I could interview several of my characters—because they’re all real, right? No? Okay, in all seriousness, I’ve used real-life people and events in that story and they will be making appearances in my next book which is in the final drafting stage. Along with Buffalo Bill, there are a few other real people in this story, too. I’m wondering how many readers will pick up on that—aside from Buffalo Bill.

I love that era, too…essentially the years between the Civil War and the Gilded Age are my favorites for reading and writing…so many exciting changes and adventurous people.
What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?

Cat-napping on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. I think I gave up sleep when I became a writer. Just not enough time in the day for everything. Oh, and chocolate, of course. Good chocolate.

Chocolate is one of my food groups!

What’s one thing about you that would surprise readers?

I absolutely hate to try on clothes and spend the money to get them, aka: shopping. Please don’t take my Girl Card away, because other than that one flaw, I’m all girly-girl.

Which would you rather possess: flying monkeys or Toto?

You know that meme drifting through Facebook, the one where you only see the shoes and red & white stockinged legs of the Wicked Witch of the West, and she’s saying it’s a good day when you don’t have to release the flying monkeys? Yeah, that would be me.

I’m a flying monkeys gal, too! They’d be so handy to have around the house.

What’s your all-time favorite movie? Why?

I can’t pick just one because I watch these over and over, if nothing else to hear their incredibly fabulous sound tracks:  Quigley Down Under, Hunt for Red October, and Medicine Man. Eye candy along with great plots and sound tracks. Triple win!

Great choices…I’d have to add Raiders of the Lost Ark to that list…gotta have me some Indiana Jones.

Do you follow sports? Favorite teams?

I love football and live in Houston, Texas. “GO Texans!”

Jaye, I love football, too. I’m Steelers by marriage…originally a Virginia gal (Redskins), but marriage to a guy from Pittsburgh means you wear a lot of black and gold.

Thanks so much for stopping by and getting to know a little bit about Jaye. Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win “The 25th Hour”. Or order if for wonderful weekend reading – Here’s the link: http://tinyurl.com/oxjfa7t

A little about Jaye:

Born and raised on the Great Plains, Jaye Garland thrives on ‘what-if’ scenarios by turning ordinary ranch life events into novels steeped in adventure on the American West. Her award winning first novel, THE 25th HOUR, is now available as an eBook on Amazon.com.

Guest Author Cari Davis – Happily Ever After: Reality or Myth?

Cari DavisI’m pleased to welcome my friend, fellow author and critique partner Cari Davis. Cari writes suspenseful historical romance set in the exciting years of the California gold rush. Welcome, Cari.

Last month, my brother married a terrific lady who I am lucky to have as a sister-in-law. The two are so perfect for each other that it’s hard to not believe they were meant for each other. This wonderful union started me thinking about the proverbial Happily Ever After (or HEA) and my love/hate relationship with romance novels.

I spent many years doubting the existence of real HEAs. I was convinced that the whole concept was a myth perpetuated by Disney films and romance novels. And, yes, I was one of those people. I turned my nose up at the mere thought of reading romances. But can you blame me? My mom and dad got divorced when I was four, and between the two of them, I’ve had five stepparents. If that weren’t bad enough, when I looked around at my friends’ parents, I saw even more broken families or couples that stayed miserably together for the sake of the kids.

Yet, despite the jaded cynicism, there lurked a rose-colored-glasses optimist. This Little Miss Pollyanna in my psyche seemed to always steer me in the direction of stories with happy endings and the occasional dreaded romance novel. (Whenever I was caught reading said novels, I was quick to explain that I had run out of better books to read.)

When I started writing and realized all the stories in my head were love stories, I was forced to admit the truth – I love romances and the promise of the HEA. I was also forced to take a long hard look at what I believe and why. How could I write believable characters with believable happy endings unless I did indeed see the reality of HEAs?

After stripping away the emotional baggage of coming from a broken home and burning away the illusion of everything being light and happy, I was left with the realization that both good things and bad things happen. There are relationships that end in divorce or are cut too short by tragedy. There are people who settle for an unhappy relationship because they’re afraid of being alone. There are people who are desperately seeking Mr. or Mrs. Right. But there are also people who have found their soul mates as well as people who have found their HEA in a life of being single.

It has taken a long time, but I have finally learned that regardless of where a person is on the spectrum, HEA is within their grasp. Sometimes it means making difficult but necessary changes. Sometimes it means just altering how you perceive things. Instead of seeing the glass is half-empty, allow yourself to see that it’s half-full.

I’m going to go on a bit of tangent, but I promise it’s related. Fifty years ago this week, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. In August of 1963, he stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and shouted out to the world his dream – his vision of a perfect world. A utopian world. All these years later, have we achieved his dream? Of course not. Is the world a better place because he stood up for his dream? Absolutely.

Since then, through the perspective of time, we can look at all the ways in which we as a nation have failed. Or we can look at all the ways in which we’ve succeeded. It’s the same in our personal lives. Do we wallow in our bad luck and misfortune? Do we succumb to settling for less or accept that tragedy is inevitable? Or do we find the courage and strength to dream, to hope, to love?

And that, my friends, is what a romance novel is all about. That is why, despite my embarrassment, I’ve always been drawn to a good romance, and why I’m compelled to write them. They are a lesson on how to choose happiness despite the obstacles, a map to finding our own Happily Ever After.