Susana and the Scot by Sabrina York-Review and Interview
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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date December 29, 2015
A SCANDALOUS TEMPTATION
Andrew Lochlannach is famous for his conquests, on and off the battlefield. When a fellow warrior challenges him to a kissing contest, he wastes no time in planting his lips on ninety-nine lovely lasses—an impressive feat of seduction that gets him banished to the farmlands. Still, Andrew has no regrets about his exploits—especially his embrace with the most beguiling woman he’s ever met…
AN UNDENIABLE PASSION
With flaming red hair and a temper to match, Susana is not the kind of innocent farmgirl who gives herself over easily to a man, even one as ruggedly handsome as Andrew. The wicked Scot may have won a kiss from the headstrong beauty in a moment of mutual desire, but Susana refuses to be just another one of his conquests. Andrew must convince the fiery lass that even though he is not playing a game, losing her is not an option…
5 out of 5 for this reader folks!
Susana and the Scot by Sabrina York is the second book in her “Untamed Highlander” series. I have to say, I love my highlanders untamed, so she absolutely delivered all I love in my historical highland romances.
Andrew Lochlannach loves the lasses, and the lasses love him. It is when he loves them a little too much that his brother Alexander (we met him in the first book of this series) has had enough and sends him away in “exile” to teach him a lesson. Exile comes in the form of a mission. Andrew must provide protection for the family of his brother’s new bride at Dounreay castle. This includes the protection of the fiery “have to have her because she lights me up” Susana.
Susana is the epitome of a strong, proud highland lass. She can be a polite and proper lady and she can also defend herself, her loved ones and her home as harshly as any man … she is someone you do not want to cross. Poor Andrew .. he hasn’t even realized that he has crossed her … long before he believes he has met her.
Through the years, Andrew has pined for one woman that took his heart captive. He hasn’t found one woman who can make him feel an ounce of what he felt for his lost Mairi .. that is until he meets Susana. Now, a mystery filled with danger is lingering, and Susana’s life is in real peril. Despite all of this, Susana still goes out of her way to makes Andrew’s life a living hell while smiling during the process. Sounds like a whole lot of nasty, but you see … Susana knows the truth .. all Andrew knows is that she reminds him of woman who a long time ago, got under his skin and into his heart.
This is an amazing, beautiful, humour filled, second chance romance that I couldn’t put down. There are twists and turns in this story, but also moments where you wonder how someone can be so blind and effective all at once. There was a back and forth between Andrew and Susana that made me giggle and think that they certainly would have a very interesting, exciting life ahead of them.
I am not going to give away anymore of this story, but I will tell you, Sabrina York is now one of my fave authors of this genre’s. The story just had a natural flow and there were times that some things were predictable, but there is comfort in that as well. These two deserve their happily ever after .. truely. Secondary characters .. LOVE THEM! So much in fact I am really looking forward to the next book in this series.
Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley
Reviewed by Rachel T.
Susana was annoyed. There was no doubt about it. The swish of her hips as she led him across the bustling bailey was a dead giveaway, that and the dark glowers she shot over her shoulder. But Andrew couldn’t help but be amused. For one thing, she was damn alluring with she was annoyed.
Hell, she was damn alluring altogether. The curve of her waist alone could drive a man insane, much less that silky tumble of hair. He wanted to wrap it is his fist, wind it around his body. A certain part of his body.
At the thought, his cock rose.
It was difficult to remind himself that he’d vowed to eschew seduction, but try as he might, he couldn’t banish the fantasy of stripping those breeks from her lovely body and laying her down in the heather. Visions of that twitching backside—bare before him—danced in his head.
But he’d made a vow. A sacred vow. And as tempting as she was, he would control his baser urges. He could. Probably.
These thoughts whirled in his head as she led him into the stables, past his men—who were unpacking and seeing to their horses—and through the kennels. Though he was perplexed, Andrew followed. He would probably follow anywhere she led. It was a fact that should have scared him to death or at the very least, concerned him. But it didn’t. However, when she started up a staircase at the very end of the long hall, he had to stop her.
She glared at the hand he set on her arm. He tried to ignore the sizzle that raged through him at their first touch. It was ridiculous how much that touch affected him. And how much he enjoyed her glare.
He edged closer. “Where are we going?” he asked in a purr.
Judging from her frown, his tone irritated her. He rather enjoyed irritating her, he found.
She ripped her arm away and continued up the stairs. He followed and found himself in a narrow loft that ran the length of the kennels. It was dim and a little dusty. Motes danced on the air. The roof was so low he had to duck his head to miss the rafters.
“Your men will stay here,” she said.
Andrew gaped at her. The room was swept clean and empty. A thin shaft of light from the far window illuminated it with a murky light. But the yipping from the kennel and the stench of excrement wafted up from below. For some reason, all thoughts of alluring backsides dissipated. Disbelief gushed through him. “Here?”
She crossed her arms and offered what could only be described as a smirk. “Here.”
He tipped his head to the side. “This is a kennel.”
“I am aware of that.”
“I have twenty-five men.”
“The room is quite large.”
“There are no beds.”
She blew out a breath. “We’ll bring in pallets.”
Andrew blinked. He set his teeth and tried to remain calm. His men were warriors. They did not sleep on pallets. In a kennel. “This will not do.” Surely she saw that. Surely she understood… He caught a glimpse of her smug expression and it dawned on him.
She did. She did understand. She knew damn well what she was doing. Her response only verified his suspicions.
“I’m sorry, but you have descended upon us with no warning whatsoever with a large group of men. I’m afraid this is all we can offer you at this time.” Her smile was deferential, but hardly sincere. The light dancing in her eyes lit a flame in his belly. “Of course, if our accommodations are unacceptable, you can always return to Dunnet…”
Oh, she’d like that, wouldn’t she?
Rather than the exasperation her self-satisfied look should have sparked, Andrew found himself filled with another emotion entirely. Anticipation. Exhilaration. The thrill of a challenge.
For that was what she was, Susana Dounreay. A challenge.
And it appeared she reveled in provoking him.
A pity she didn’t understand he was a dangerous man to provoke.
The tumult her presence sparked within him flared again, burning the edges of his resolution; his inconvenient lust blossomed, and with it, an unruly resolve.
He wanted, very badly, to kiss her. He wanted to wrench her into his arms and cover her sweet mouth with his. He wanted to taste her, consume her, possess her.
And he would.
Clearly he wasn’t the kind of man who could swear off women. Clearly he wasn’t the kind of man who could keep a vow.
So be it.
Damn to hell his ridiculous vow.
Damn to hell the fact that she was his sister-in-law.
He was going to seduce this vixen, and he would start right now.
Desire, like a snarling, snapping beast, rose within him, and he stepped closer.
Susana’s eyes flared as Andrew advanced on her, like a skulking fox that had spotted a plump rabbit. She didn’t mean to retreat, but she had to. She’d seen that expression in his eyes before and she knew what it meant. Something within her howled: Run.
Perhaps it was the expression in his eyes, or the knowledge that she was playing with fire, or the sudden realization that she’d foolishly come here, to this deserted loft with the most dangerous man she’d ever met, but she couldn’t still the urge to whirl and pace to the far end of the room to peer out of the smudged window. She was aware he followed. She felt his presence like a fire in a forge.
Desperation prompted her to continue their conversation, to put some space between them, to raise a shield. “The room is perfectly habitable,” she proclaimed. “And once we have pallets brought in, it will serve you well.”
His voice was low in her ear, a whisper almost. And far too close. She wanted to turn, to confront him, but she knew, if she did, they would be face to face, perhaps lip to lip and she could not allow that. She could never allow that.
The last time he’d kissed her, it had been her undoing.
A pity he didn’t remember.
“My men willna like being housed with the dogs.” Holy God. Was that his hand on her hip? His thumb tracing her waist? “Nae doubt they will all want to find…other beds to welcome them.”
Susana stilled as his words sank in. The threat was clear. And it was rather horrifying. A horde of randy warriors set loose on the innocent maidens of Dounreay? That his hand had slid over to toy with the small of her back, to tangle in the skeins of her hair, didn’t help.
Her pulse thudded and her knees went weak. She couldn’t have it. She couldn’t have this man touching her. She sucked in a breath and slipped to the side, out of his grasp. When she was far enough away for some measure of safety, she turned to face him, a reproachful look fixed on her face. “Are your men so lacking in discipline?” She hoped her frown, her reproving tone, would bring him to heel. She should have known better.
He grinned and stepped closer. His eyes glinted, as though needling her was an amusing sport. “They are verra disciplined…when their needs are met.”
She crossed her arms, as though that could protect her, and pretended to study the room. Pretended she wasn’t aware of his thrumming presence, his heat, his intent. “Well, I shall hold you responsible for any…improprieties.” She took a step toward the staircase, only a tiny one—surely not an attempt to escape.
He chuckled—chuckled, the bastard—making it clear he recognized her cowardice for what it was. And he paced her.
“They’re all good men. They all volunteered to come with me. Each and every one of them is dedicated to the cause of protecting Reay from the villains who have been plaguing you. However…”
The way he trailed off derailed her retreat. She stilled. Glared at him. “However, what?”
“However, they do have…needs. Surely you can find better lodgings.”
She blew out a breath. “In time.” In time.
In time, he would be gone, God willing.
He stepped toward her again, although nonchalantly, as though he were not chasing her across the room. It occurred to her they were engaged in something of a macabre dance. It set her nerves on edge. She hadn’t realized what a long room this was, or how far it was to the stairs.
“Doona leave it too long.” His smile was heinous. It made all kinds of shivers dance over her skin. “My men are…restless.” She had the chilling sense he was talking about himself.
“I shall…do my best.” Like hell. “And now, if you will excuse me, I have things to do.”
His brow quirked. She tried not to notice what a perfect brow it was. “Ah, but I thought you and I could…talk.”
“Talk?” She didn’t intend to squawk, but she could tell from his predatory stance, a conversation was not the primary urge on his mind. At least, not one with words.
He nodded. Though his features were patently earnest, the sincerity was patently affected. “About the defenses you have in place…so I can decide what needs improvement.”
Aggravation rippled. It displaced her concerns about being here, with him, all alone. Fury did that, she’d often found. Overrode common sense and led one into dangerous waters. Her hands curled into fists. She strode toward him until they were nearly nose to nose. “Nothing needs improvement,” she snapped. They didn’t need him. Or his men. Or his stupid ideas.
“Nonsense. Now that we’re here, we intend to make a statement to Stafford, or whatever miscreants are lurking out there thinking Dounreay is an easy target. But before I set my plans in motion—”
“Your plans?” He already had plans? Och! He was so exasperating.
She barely noticed that he stepped closer…until their chests brushed. He was hard and hot; the touch made her tingle. His voice, low and luring made her tingle as well. His gaze skated over her face, then stalled on her lips. “Let’s meet and discuss—”
Her pulse skittered. “I doona have time to meet with you. Not today.” She took a step back. He followed.
“Nae?” A whisper. And his caress over her shoulder, that was a whisper as well. Like a panicked fawn, Susana eased back again. And again. He matched her, step for step.
She swallowed heavily. “I… You have descended upon us with no warning—”
“My brother sent a letter.”
He was too close. Far too close. She swallowed heavily. “Twenty-five men that now need to be housed and fed. On top of that, I have many other duties that need attending.”
He cocked his head to the side. “Which duties?”
“Many duties.” She frowned and glanced toward the staircase. Ah, lord. It was so far… He was too warm. Too broad. Too alluring. Though she didn’t intend to, she took another step back and—
Oh hell. He’d backed her against the wall. That he couldn’t stand straight in the low-ceilinged room was a small consolation.
“Susana,” he said as he leaned closer. His breath was a tantalizing trail over her face.
An unholy thrill snaked through her. Surely that wasn’t anticipation? Hunger? Need?
She could not allow him to kiss her. She could not—
Her knees nearly melted at the touch of his lips. His warmth, his taste, his scent made her mind whirl. Thank God he had his hands on her waist and was holding her steady, or she might well have collapsed.
It occurred to her that she should push him away, fight him, but she couldn’t. Something, something deep within her resisted. Something deep within her needed him. Needed this.
And ah, it was glorious. As glorious as she remembered.
His lips were soft, gentle, questing as they tested hers and then, with a groan, he pulled her closer, melding their bodies together. He deepened the kiss, sealing his mouth over hers and dancing his tongue over the seam.
She opened to him. She couldn’t resist. He filled her senses with his presence, his heat. With tiny nibbles, sucks and laps, he consumed her, enflamed her. All sanity fled. All logic and resolution and anger flitted away as Andrew tasted her, tempted her.
His hands were not still. They roved over her body from her shoulders, down her arms to her waist. They tangled in her hair and stroked her cheek and chin.
Heat blossomed, skittered through her veins. Her body softened, melted, prepared for him.
She should not have responded the way she did. She should not have pressed against him, rubbed against the hard bulge on his belly. She should not have explored the hard flesh of his back, cupped his nape, raked his silken scalp. She should not have moaned.
Surely all these things would only encourage him.
He lifted his head and stared at her, an odd mixture of befuddlement and awe in his eyes. His tongue peeped out and dabbed at his lips, snagging her attention. Surely she didn’t lean toward him in a mute plea for more.
Was she truly so weak?
Aye. She was.
TRC: Hi Sabrina and welcome to The Reading Café.
We would like to start with some background information. Would you please tell us something about yourself?
FROM THE WEBSITE: Her Royal Hotness, Sabrina York, is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of hot, humorous stories for smart and sexy readers. With over 25 titles her books range from sweet & snarky to scorching romance.
TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?
Sabrina: I am a rebel and when someone tells me I can’t do something, I have a tendency to do it anyway. So when I was in preschool and they told my mother I would never learn to read (much less write), my fate was set. Add to that, the fact that my Mother’s response was something along the lines of “Oh, hell no!” and the fact that, rather than believing them, rather than treating me like I had no chance, she simply insisted I was a different thinker who marched to the sound of my own drum. We faced my dyslexia together and she helped me figure out ways to cope with and, in fact, exploit, my…unique brain.
Incidentally, I’ve met lots of awesome, successful people who are dyslexic. We tend to be super creative, because we spent our lives solving puzzles. Although I do admit, my spelling isn’t stellar.
TRC: What challenges or difficulties have you encountered writing and publishing your stories?
Sabrina: I think every author struggles in their early years. I “wrote” my whole life but once I decided to finally get serious and seek publication, I was surprised that editors and agents didn’t fall all over themselves to publish me. In fact, I spent years writing and submitting and filing rejections.
While it was frustrating and discouraging, now, looking back, I see that that time was a gift. It allowed me to hone my “voice” and get myself ready to face the challenges that emerge once you are published. It’s not an easy business, even when you have lots of books in publication. There are difficult things to deal with including bad reviews, books that simply don’t sell despite your love of them, and convoluted contract issues. I needed to be ready, emotionally and spiritually. Also, I think it is important to WANT something. To strive for something. When you work for it, you value it.
And I truly value each and every reader.
TRC: Would you please tell us something about Susana and the Scot?
Sabrina: Oh my goodness! I had so much fun writing this book! I think it is my favorite of all time! In the story, which picks up where Hannah and the Highlander left off, Andrew Lochlannach has come to Reay to guard his brother’s new lands against hidden enemies. He comes face to face with a woman who reminds him of his lost love…but he is disgruntled when she, Susana Dounreay MacBean, seems determined to drive him back to Dunnet.
As for Susana, she is furious that he is here, that he’s come to invade her perfectly ordered life. Worse, he doesn’t even seem to remember that he once held her, kissed her…and more. She is determined to make him pay!
They come together and the sparks fly!
**READ THE EXCERPT ABOVE THE INTERVIEW**
TRC: How many books do you have planned for the series?
Sabrina: There are three books in this series!
Hannah and the Highlander is out now.
Susana and the Scot comes out December 29th
Lana and the Laird is available for preorder now and comes out in May 2016
TRC: Have you ever had the opportunity to visit Scotland or any of the places you have written about in your series?
Sabrina: Funny you should ask! I just got back from Scotland. It was amazing! The only thing I didn’t like was the haggis! On the same trip, we stopped in London and I researched Mayfair, Hyde Park and Coven Garden for my Regency Romps!
TRC: How do you keep the plot(s) unpredictable without sacrificing content and believability?
Sabrina: I’ve read thousands of romances and am familiar with all the tropes and typical plots. One of the things I LOVE to do is lead the reader down the garden path…and then throw in a twist. I love to write strong heroines who turn tropes on their ear. Oh, and snark. Did I mention snark?
TRC: There is a fine line between romance, erotic, and erotica in many of today’s popular contemporary fiction. What do you believe accounts for the differences between the sub-genres in today’s romantic stories?
Sabrina: I think Fifty Shades of Grey had a lot to do with shifting the line. Scenes that would never have appeared in a mainstream romance are now commonplace. In my mind, erotica is predominantly about the sexual relationship and does not need that happy ending romance demands and an erotic romance is a story where the plot is driven by the sexual relationship (and turning points are connected to the sexual story development). I tend to write books that are driven by the emotional relationship and therefore consider them non-erotic, but there are always steamy scenes.
TRC: Which genre do you find most difficult to write and why?
Sabrina: Romantic suspense, I think. I don’t write it because I don’t enjoy reading it.
TRC: Do you believe the cover image plays a deciding factor for many readers in the process of selecting a book or new series to read?
Sabrina: Yes. 100%. Absolutely.
TRC: When writing a story line, do the characters direct the writing or do you direct the characters?
Sabrina: It really depends on the story, and how far along I am in the world. Early on, I am totally in charge but as we progress, they become more vocal. I will admit, I have had characters wake me up in the middle of the night and tell me I got it wrong. LOL. Usually when I am stalled, it’s because I am not listening to them!
TRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the story line so that they experience the emotions along with the characters. What do you believe a writer must do to make this happen? Where do you believe writer’s fail in this endeavor?
Sabrina: Story is emotion. My job is to evoke emotion in readers. The key is to make the CARE about the characters. That means having people who are three dimensional and REAL on the page. Writers who don’t take the time to set the stage will never touch that reader the way the want to.
TRC: Do you listen to music while writing? If so, does the style of music influence the story line direction? Characters?
Sabrina: I tend to prefer silence, because I am easily distracted, but if I listen to music, it is always classical, because there are no words, but can evoke a lush mood.
TRC: What three things would you like to accomplish in the next five years?
Sabrina: I’ve worked hard to create a diverse platform, but one can always do better, right? I’d really love to continue writing well-received books. I try to have a release a month, so shall we say 50 more books?
There are over 2,000 subscribers on my newsletter list. My goal is 10,000! I would love every romance reader to sign up for my alerts! I share updates, releases and giveaway announcements and have members-only giveaways!
I’ve hit the NYT and USA Today list with several collections… I’d really like to hit it on my own!
TRC: Have you collaborated with any other authors/writers? If not, have you considered such an enterprise?
Sabrina: I am a proponent of author collaboration! I’ve done tons of projects with other authors including collections that have hit the best seller lists, a Kindle Worlds release with Cat Johnson and promotions with other authors! Check out this FREE Sampler I coordinated with 20 of my author friends! Teasers and Tasters: 2015 Romance Author Sampler
I think the key to success in this business (and any business) is relationships! I am honored to have so many amazing author friends!
TRC: Many authors bounce ideas and information with other authors or friends and family. With whom do you bounce ideas?
Sabrina: I have an amazing street team! I will often bounce ideas off them. You can join the conversation on Facebook: HERE. I also have a great critique group who supports me and helps me stay sane!
TRC: What do you believe is the biggest misconception people have about authors?
Sabrina: HAHAHA! That we are all rolling in dough. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some excellent months, but I’ve had dismal paydays too. It all depends on what’s happening in the market, on the season, day of the week etc. We control some elements, but not all of them.
Next time you buy a 99¢ collection with 12 stories, think about this…
We upload the book to Amazon. With each sale, we make 30% of the sale price (70% if the price is over $2.99, but for the purposes of this example, let’s say it is a 99¢ book!) That means we receive about 30¢ per sale. Not bad…but the 30¢ needs to be split amongst the 12 authors…and that is AFTER the costs of covers, formatting etc. We’re lucky to make 3¢ per sale.
So why do we do it? Simply to expand our platforms. We all hope readers will buy the collection for their favorite author, read our books and discover how awesome we are. We hope they will all go back and buy our backlist.
Some do. Some don’t.
I love the ones that do! 😀
TRC: What is something that few, if any people, know about you?
Sabrina: I have a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. The day job (I left 2 years ago to write full time) was in government! How boring. See why I LOVE my life now???
TRC: On what are you currently working?
Sabrina: I have about 5 books in progress.
I am writing a sequel to Guard Dog (my Hot SEALs Kindle World book: Hot Seals Guard Dog: Stone Hard Seals 3 )
It is set in Hong Kong (and based on a trip I took there several years ago to meet my adopted sister’s biological family).
I’m working on the sequel to The Real McCoy and Come Hell or High Water (from the Cowboy 12 Pack and 12 Alarm Cowboys, respectively—both NYT Bestsellers). The new collection is called Cowboy Justice League, and I’m writing a cowboy sheriff! You can get updates HERE
On that note, I just signed a 3 book deal with Berkley InterMix for stories set on the Stud Ranch featured in all those books! Titles in the Stripped Bare series are:
STUD FOR HIRE
COWBOY TO COMMAND
I’m writing a Regency Romp for the Seven Sinful Nights Anthology
I am editing Trickery for release
I’m working on others I cannot talk about yet. 😀
So yeah. I am busy!
TRC: Would you like to add anything else?
Sabrina: I absolutely love to interact with readers and encourage you all to follow me, chat and sign up for my newsletter! Here are the links!
Follow my Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/sabrinayork
Like my Facebook Author Page https://www.facebook.com/SabrinaYorkBooks
Follow me on Twitter @sabrina_york https://twitter.com/sabrina_york
Follow me on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5817917.Sabrina_York
Check out my Pinterest boards: http://www.pinterest.com/sabrinayork/boards/
Join the conversation on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SabrinaYorkChatAndContests/
Favorite Food: Bacon (Duh!)
Favorite Dessert: Cheesecake (preferably without bacon, thank you)
Favorite TV Show: Ellen
Last Movie You Saw: MI5 with my honey, Jon Snow.
Dark or Milk Chocolate: Seriously? Is there anything other than DARK????
Secret Celebrity Crush: Charlie Hunnam, but it’s not so secret.
Last Vacation Destination: Scotland, London and Paris! My first VACATION in 10 years!
Do you have any pets? YES! We just adopted a Rottie mix named Lola (she’s named for a character in Guard Dog!) and she likes to chew on things.
Last book you read: The Highwayman by Kerrigan Byrne (Awesome)
Pet Peeve: Being added to Facebook groups without my OK…I get 100s of emails a day and NEED Facebook notifications so I can keep up. THESE clog my feed.
TRC: Thank you Sabrina for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the release of Susana and the Scot