THURSDAY THREADS Welcomes Cathy MacRae


The Highlander’s Reluctant BrideAuthor: Cathy MacRae

Genre: Scottish Medieval Romance

Heat level: Sensual
Determined to keep the Macrory clan’s holdings out of the clutches of marauding pirates, King Robert II sends his man, Lord Ranald Scott, to hold Scaurness Castle. There, Laird Macrory lays dying, awaiting word from his son who is missing on the battlefields of France. If the son is not found before the old laird dies, Ranald will take over as laird—and marry Laird Macrory’s headstrong daughter. 

Lady Caitriona sees no reason she cannot rule the clan in her brother’s stead, and is bitterly disappointed with the king’s decision to send a man to oversee the castle and people. Not only is Ranald Scott only distantly related to the Macrory clan, but he was her childhood nemesis. She has little trust or like for him. 

Her disappointment turns to panic when the king’s plan is completely revealed and she realizes she must wed Ranald. Pirates, treachery, and a four-year-old girl stand between her and Ranald’s chance at happiness. What will it take for them to learn to trust each other and find the love they both deserve? 
Excerpt:

Absently Riona brushed a wayward strand of dark auburn hair from her face as she took two quick paces to catch up with him. The movement reminded Ranald of her as a child.

“I don’t suppose ye were too anxious to come here,” she said.

He formed a rueful expression. “Nae. ‘Twas no’ my first choice.”

“I know ye dinnae like it here. Ye always seemed relieved to depart.”

Ranald laughed. “‘Twas ye I dinnae like.”

Rather than take offence, Riona nodded again. “Nor I ye.”

“Ye were a difficult lass.”

She drew up short, staring at him. “Me? Difficult? All I ever wanted was to be included. Ye were forever running off, trying to leave me behind.”

Ranald did not check his pace. “Ach, we did let ye play sometimes.”

With a huff, Riona scrambled to his side. “Oh, aye. Ye let me play ‘princess.’ The princess ye kidnapped and held for ransom by tying me to a tree all afternoon.” She grabbed at her skirt again as she stumbled and caught herself.

Ranald paused and his horse tossed his head at his master’s sudden halt, but Riona didn’t slow her stride. With one long pace he was even with her again.

“And what about the time ye let me go fishing?” she tossed at him. “Except I had to sit in the bottom of the boat and use my skirt to hold yer catch. I smelled of fish for a week.”

Ranald chuckled and shook his head. “That wasnae me, lass.”

She bit her lip, and Ranald wondered why her straight, white teeth fascinated him so. He stared at the reddened mark her bite left behind.

“True,” she allowed. “Ye dinnae like the water, do ye?”

Ranald swallowed back his wayward thoughts. This was Riona, his childhood nemesis, not the sweet widow he’d left behind at Scott Castle.

He caught her sideways glance at him and realized he’d not answered her. “Nae. ‘Tis all that up and down and sideways motion. Makes my stomach churn.”

“How do ye intend to be laird of a people who live by the sea?”

“I cannae say if I’ll ever be much of a sailor, but I will be laird.”
BUY LINK: http://www.amzn.com/B00J1PNPPC/

Author’s links:

Website: http://www.cathymacrae.com

Twitter: @CMacRaeAuthor

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/cathy 

 

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Romance Writers Weekly: What does Romance mean to you?


image001Welcome! If you’re here, I hope you’ve come from Katie O’Connor. This week’s questions comes from Jenna Da Sie, and she asks this: “Romance. There are so many different meanings. What does it mean to you?”

Well, when I first read this question, I got the lyrics from Human Sexual Response’s What Does Sex Mean to Me? stuck in my head. Which is made all the more disturbing by the fact that it’s been over a week, and that particular ear worm (and the one god-forsaken line I know) has been running on a continuous loop in my head ever since.

In any case, thinking of this question… It’s loaded, for sure. This question could be interpreted in a variety of ways. I mean, are we talking books? Well, in a romance novel, you have a couple who meets, fall in love, have a variety of difficulties, and then, in the end, wind up with their happily ever after. Of course, that’s over-simplifying it, kind of like if I described literary fictions as “blah, blah, blah, convoluted mess, sadness. Pain. Misery. Death. The human condition. The end.”

So… for me, the genre of romance is, just like lit fiction, about the human condition… but, the better part of it. That’s what I like about it. My life has enough turmoil in it, what with jobs and school and kids and husband; when I read a book, I want the best parts of life to go into it. I can’t read a book built entirely on misery anymore, because I just don’t have it in me be sad when I read (that sounds rather dull and trite, doesn’t it? Ah, the human condition sometimes is that way, right?) I want a happy ending, I want to know that, no matter what is thrown at a character, it will all work out, because my life doesn’t always fit into those nice parameters. No one’s does.

As for romance in real life? Well, I suppose that changes as one ages. Gah, when I was significantly younger, it was grand gestures of undying affection. Think Say Anything. I mean, for real, I wanted to marry John Cusack. Or, if we’re going with strict 1990s references, a sensitive ponytail man (as in Singles, but I would have happily taken Cameron Crow, too), who would write poetry about me and sing my praises and tell me how utterly fascinating every word I’ve ever spoken truly is.

Only the majority of what comes out of my mouth is hardly fascinating, and I never met a sensitive ponytail man; I married a cop.

So, romance is in the little things. It’s in the face that he will let me sleep in on a Saturday, or that he might make me coffee in the morning. Sometimes, he’ll do the dishes, and I would seriously weep over how romantic that is. Or he’ll take the car to get it registered or get the oil change, or he’ll check my tire pressure when I’m about to go on a long drive. It doesn’t sound romantic, and it doesn’t sound all “knight in shining armor” romance novel worthy, but I assure you, after 18 years of marriage, two kids, a mortgage and two jobs, it really, truly, honestly is.

Why not head on over to Jenna’s page and see what she had to say?

Meggan

THURSDAY THREADS Welcomes Viola Russell


Buccaneer BeautyBy Viola Russell

Genre: Historical Romance

Heat Level: Sensual
BUCCANEER BEAUTY is the story of Grace, Graínne, O’Malley, the beautiful daughter of a powerful Irish chieftain and a conventional mother. At the age of eleven, Graínne cuts her hair and sneaks aboard her father’s galley ship, determined to follow a life at sea and to seek the company of a handsome Scottish gallowglass, Bruce Donnel. Graínne proves herself a budding warrior when Spanish marauders invade her father’s vessel, but her parents have other plans for her. Though she proves an able sailor, Graínne is forced to marry Donal O’Flaherty, another powerful chieftain. Though enamored of Bruce Donnel, she nonetheless obeys her parents and proves an able helpmate to her violent and rash husband, continuing her own adventures at sea while raising children and supervising her husband’s home. Her heart, however, still belongs to a handsome Scot who she can never have. 
Upon Donal’s death by ambush, Graínne continues her adventures along the Irish coast and Europe, secretly battling England’s growing power in her country. Alternately sleeping with the devil or manipulating the British authorities to her own ends, Graínne is determined to save her family and people from the tyranny imposed upon them by England. To make her family stronger, she weds Richard Bourke, one of the most powerful men in the region, but she can never forget Bruce Donnel and the passion he incited within her soul. Richard proves Graínne’s most stalwart supporter and she his, their minds and bodies uniting in an almost mystical union. Together, they faced the English with no fear—with only audacity and boundless courage. Still, the shadow of a youthful gallowglass intrudes on Graínne’s peace.
BUY LINK: http://www.amzn.com/B010MOFENQ/

Excerpt:

 “I wish you could come with me to Bunowen.” Grainne heard Bruce’s footsteps when he stepped on the hay spread along the barn. She looked up from grooming her chestnut horse. 

“Now what would I be doing there?” Bruce ambled toward her and began stroking the mare’s nose. The horse stomped on the ground with her right front hoof and let out a fierce snort. The Scot took a step back. 

“She thinks you mean to dishonor me.” Grainne grinned at him as she combed the horse’s mane. “My da gave her to me after that first voyage. Before that, I’d only had a pony. He said I could handle Anu after that.” 

Bruce had regained his courage. He searched within the folds of his cloak and offered the horse a carrot. Anu gazed at him with what looked like suspicion, sniffing the tempting vegetable. “She’s a wild one.” 

Grainne laughed and threw her arms around the animal’s long neck. “She’s a smart one, you’re meaning.” She stared at the now fully-grown man before her. His fair hair fell lightly onto his shoulders, and he wore the tartan trews typical of his people. She glanced at the way his muscular legs bulged within the tight material of his tartan trews. He’d spent most of his life yielding an axe, and Grainne didn’t want to admit to herself how lonely the months were when he returned to his native land with the rest of his men. “How old are you now, Bruce Donnel?”

Bruce watched as Anu took a generous bite from the carrot, then he lifted it to his own lips, grinning. “Older than you, Lady Grainne.” He studied her for a few minutes. “Twenty.” 

“So no Highland Lass has won your heart, has she?” Grainne swept the coarse mane from the comb and tossed it aside. She wiped her hands on her trews and pushed a stray strand of hair from her face. 

“No, my heart’s been stolen by an Irish goddess, but I can’t have her.” He turned to the pawing horse and shared the rest of his carrot. 

Grainne’s heart hammered inside her breast. She took a deep breath and forced levity into her voice. “Who is she, pray tell?”

Bruce was suddenly so close to her that she could feel his hot breath feathering the slight hairs on her neck. “Don’t play with me, Grainne. It hurts too much.” 

Grainne swallowed hard as her very being lurched with desire and aching need. Every sinew in her body wanted to wrap him within the all-consuming fire of her passion. She forced a laugh into her voice. “What hurts? By what I hear aboard ship you waste no time pining for the chieftain’s daughter. You’re quite the man about port. Many a Spanish and French lass can attest to that.” 

“They mean nothing.” His fingertips lightly touched a strand of her hair, but he jerked away as if an electric jolt raced through his body. He added bitterly, “But you’re the daughter of one of the most powerful men in Connaught, and you’re soon to be the wife of another. I’m a poor mercenary.” 

“Not so poor by what I’ve heard.” Grainne struggled to control her own rapid breathing. The heat of his body infiltrated her very pores. “Rumor has it you’ve farmland in the Highlands.” 

Bruce’s face was very close to hers as he moved closer to her, his breath fanning against her lips as they lightly touched hers. Grainne involuntarily touched his cheek, her fingertips on fire and her own breathing sounding loud in her ears. “You’ve heard right. It would be a great place to raise sheep, if I had the right woman.” 

“Aye. It would be in a place with the right woman.”

Grainne looked away, but she still felt his heat. He cupped her chin under with his thumb and forefinger, forcing her to look at him. His brown eyes bore into her soul. Grainne’s whole body grew hot, and she gently slapped away his hand. Turning from him, she replied softly over her shoulder, “I have to finish with Anu.” 

“Would you leave with me, my wild rose?” Suddenly, Bruce’s powerful arms encircled her waist. He ran his lips along her neck as his hands shifted to her breasts. 

Grainne turned to him, almost against her as though she couldn’t help her conscious will. In his arms, she wasn’t possessed of a mind at all, only an aching body that longed for sexual release. During her long journeys at sea, Grainne had acquired many unsavory sailors’ habits. She loved to game and swore in such a way that made her mother cross herself before flailing her only daughter, but Grainne had never given of herself to man. She’d purposefully withheld her sexual favors from the men inhabiting her father’s ships. Grainne was a chieftain’s daughter. She wouldn’t disgrace him or herself.