When a Warrior Woos a Lass (Highlander Vows: Entangled Hearts 6) by Julie Johnstone-Review & Giveaway

When a Warrior Woos a Lass (Highlander Vows: Entangled Hearts #6) by Julie Johnstone-Review and Giveaway

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WHEN A WARRIOR WOOS A LASS
Highlander Vows: Entangled Hearts #6
by Julie Johnstone
Release Date: December 18, 2017
Genre: adult, historical, Highlander, romance

When A Warrior Woos a Lass

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date December 18,2017

The past haunts them. Treachery awaits them. Love will save them.

A shattered lass…

Scarred by the cruel whims of her late husband, Lena MacLeod lives in fear of men and marriage. So when the king’s edict obliges her to wed Scottish warrior Alex MacLean, she never expects to feel safe, let alone happy. But behind Alex’s fierce exterior lies a gentle, gallant highlander who renews her soul, emboldens her, and offers her the one thing she never thought she would possess—true love. Now that Alex has her whole heart, she’ll settle for nothing less than all of his.

A tortured highlander…

Haunted by violent nightmares of his dark past, Alex MacLean has put off getting married for as long as possible. But now he finds himself the husband of the fragile, beautiful Lena, and he’s drawn to her as he has never been to another. He vows to protect and heal her, and as she grows stronger, so does his love for her. Yet, his horrible memories and a treacherous task are preventing him from giving himself to her entirely, and the secrets he harbors threaten to destroy their life together.

A union…

When Lena uncovers a dangerous scheme involving Alex, she embarks on a desperate journey to save the man she loves. But Alex still hasn’t let her in, and he runs the risk of losing her—and his life—unless he can accept that his once delicate wife is now an ally strong enough to light his way.

•••••••••••••

REVIEW: 

This is part of a series (book 6) and I found it pretty easy to follow, so I’d say you could read it happily as a stand alone. 

Leana MacLeod has suffered a lot in her young life and it has left her with physical and mental scars, she’s afraid of both marriage and men, and with good reason. 
Kidnapped as a child, abused in adulthood, by her husband, Lena wants nothing more than to be left alone and try for a normal life. An impossible task what with brothers and well  meaning sisters in law all trying to protect and smother her. 

So when the King dictates that she weds she is filled with horror. Until she is made aware of her her new husband is to be, she knows Alex MacLean, so she hopes it will be a better marriage than her first, but who really knows what goes on behind closed doors. 

The characters are well developed, Lena begins this book a frightened and defeated woman, but she grows into a strong, and very much determined woman. 

Alex was made Laird of his clan at only fifteen years old after the death of his father. He has always done his best to be a fearless leader and a strong warrior that his father would have been proud of.

Alex is seen as a hard warrior but he’s kind and caring, and is willing to lay down his life for those he loves. He is a fierce protector. 

However Alex is haunted by violent nightmares of his dark past. And those secrets could destroy the fragile bonds of trust that both Alex and Lena are trying to forge. 

The pace of the book is very good, we have intrigue and a few secrets which all add to a good read, I found it hard to put down in places. 

Reviewed by Julie 🦋

Copy supplied for review

 

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Julie Johnstone is graciously offering a paper copy or ebook (winner’s choice) of WHEN A WARRIOR WOOS A LASS to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

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The Highlander’s Princess Bride (The Improper Princesses #3) by Vanessa Kelly-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

The Highlander’s Princess Bride (The Improper Princesses #3) by Vanessa Kelly-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

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THE HIGHLANDER’S PRINCESS BRIDE
The Improper Princesses #3
by Vanessa Kelly
Genre: adult, historical, Highlander, romancer
Release Date: October 31, 2017

The Highlander's Princess Bride

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 31, 2017

In Vanessa Kelly’s enchanting series, three young women descended from royalty overcome their scandalous beginnings to win the hearts of the ton’s most eligible men . . .

The illegitimate daughter of the Prince Regent might be expected to pursue various dubious professions. Actress, perhaps, or artist’s model. Even courtesan. Victoria Knight, however, has become a governess—a respectable choice, until she travels to Scotland to meet her new charges. The younger brothers of Nicholas Kendrick, Earl of Arnprior, aren’t children at all. They’re brawny, wild Highland men. As for the Earl, he’s handsome, guarded, and far too compelling . . . especially for a woman hiding a dark secret.

Nick needs a proper teacher to transform his unmarriageable brothers—and a sensible,
straight-laced wife for himself. Miss Knight seems to fit the bill on both counts. But he soon discovers there is more to Victoria than he thought. It’s not just her notorious origins, or the danger that’s followed her all the way to Scotland. It’s the fiery loyalty beneath that sedate façade. This, the real Victoria, is the woman Nick is starting to desire so desperately. And what an earl wants, he’ll use every seductive means to get . . .

•••••••••

REVIEW: 5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

OH MY WORD! Love it when big bad highlanders get a little proper English and make it their own! I absolutely loved this book and I am so hoping that another series comes out of this one. I can see where it would!

The Highlander’s Princess Bride is the third book in Vanessa Kelly “The Improper Princesses” and you do not need to read the first two to appreciate this book but please pick them up and immerse yourself into this world Vanessa creates. This series is also a spin off the another series called “The Renegade Royals”. A historical romance set in the regency era, it certainly takes us out of the ballrooms and gives us a fantastic dose of highlander and all they entice in us romantic readers.

Victoria Knight is the illegitimate daughter of the Prince Regent and a barmaid, and while she is the shame of her mother’s family, she has made an executive decision to not be anything like her mother and her free ways. Through hard work and determination, Victoria works hard and becomes a respectable governess that is considered to be strict but fair. She is disciplined, has a good head on her shoulders, has a knack for dealing with humourous pranksters, and an uncanny ability to sneak into the sternness of hearts. She makes one bad decision however and finds herself in very hot water. Having to flee her secret, she finds employment in the Highlands by becoming the governess of several grown Highlander men and a jackass grandfather who all need a swift kick in their ignorant ways. Victoria is about to get a real lesson herself though, when she finds herself slowly coming to adore these pains in her butt, and fall in love with the man who hired her on.

Nicholas Kendrick, Earl of Arnprior is my ideal book boyfriend. He is the head of his unruly family and fed up with the nonsense they create. He is handsome, strong willed and holds a few secrets close to his chest. When he hires Victoria he is taken aback at her methods to tame his brothers and a deep seated respect and loyalty begin to set in. He falls in love with her, but he also knows she is guarding secrets close to her heart, and wants her to trust him enough to let him help and protect her. Even if that needs to occur at her pace.

I ADORED the laughter I experienced reading this book. So very well matched, these two leads had quite the journey to get their HEA, but what a journey that was. I love how fierce and protective the men became of Victoria (especially when trouble comes knocking) and I love that she became protective of them. She truely blended into this family despite the harsh start they all had. I even didn’t mind the Grandpa Dearest who was a douche for a good chunk of the book, but I will admit there were times I was thinking “Enough already jerkface!” LOL

A very strong historical romance from Vanessa and I am going to make an effort to check out her previous books because I really enjoyed her writing that much. If you are looking for a chuckle this holiday season, love your Highlanders err.. difficult but so irresistible, and a woman who is not afraid to put them in their place then by all means do check this book out. I for one am really hoping that these brothers are another spin off series.

HAPPY READING! 🙂

Copy Supplied for review

Reviewed by Rachel T.

hpb- excerpt

EXCERPT 1: Lord Arnprior explains what he expects from his new governess, Victoria Knight.
“What I wish you to do is remind my brothers what those standards are. They were raised as gentlemen, but certain events have caused them to forget themselves. A refresher course is required.”
“And what would such a course entail?” She cast a disapproving glance at his brothers. “Beyond the obvious.”
Nick shrugged. “The usual one—how to engage in polite conversation with young ladies, how to conduct oneself appropriately at a dinner party, how to dance—”
“They already know how to dance,” barked Angus.
“Just reels, Grandda,” Grant said. “Oh, and the sword dance. But I don’t think many girls know that one.”
Alec choked, trying not to laugh. When Nick shot him a glare, his friend simply gave him a bland smile.
“And it would be fun to learn how to waltz,” Graeme said, suggestively waggling his eyebrows at Miss Knight.
“Ye wish to be caperin’ about like dandies?” Angus growled.
Miss Knight seemed to shake herself free of some sort of mental paralysis. “I am not a dancing teacher, my lord. I’m an educator.”
“For God’s sake, Arnprior,” Alec said. “Why don’t you simply hire a dancing master? Surely he could help the lads with those other”—he waved a vague hand—“social things.”
“I tried that. It didn’t work.” The horrific experiment of a few months ago remained vivid in his memory. The dancing master had barely survived the week.
“Bloody caper merchant,” Angus muttered.
“Let me see if I understand you correctly, my lord,” Miss Knight said. “You wish me to tutor your youngest brother. As well, I am to train your older brothers to be accomplished, well-mannered gentlemen for the purpose of putting them out on the marriage mart. And I am to do that without the help of other instructors who specialize in such matters.”
Nick met her irate gaze with an approving smile. “That sums it up nicely, I think.”
“Would you also like me to teach them fencing and boxing?” she asked sarcastically.
“Oh, we already know how to do those,” Grant piped up.
“Good God,” Royal said, shaking his head. “This is a complete joke.”
“I am forced to agree with your brother, Lord Arnprior,” Miss Knight said. “This must surely be a joke.”
“It surely is not,” Nick said. “And I never joke.”
“That’s actually true,” Graeme said.


 

hpb- about the author

Vanessa Kelly Named by Booklist as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance,” USA Today bestselling author 

Vanessa Kelly’s books have been nominated for awards in a number of contests. She is also the recipient of the prestigious Maggie Medallion for historical romance. With a Master’s Degree in English Literature, Vanessa is known for developing vibrant Regency settings, appealing characters, and witty storylines that captivate readers. You can visit her on the web at 

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The Highlander’s Crusader Bride by Cathy MacRae-Review, Book Tour & Giveaway

THE HIGHLANDER’S CRUSADER BRIDE ( Hardy Heroines #3) by Cathy MacRae (& DD MacRae)-Review, Book Tour & Giveaway

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THE HIGHLANDER’S CRUSADER BRIDE
Hardy Heroines #3
by Cathy MacRae
Release Date: October 24, 2017
Genre: adult, historical, Highlander, romance

The Highlander's Crusader Bride

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About the Book: Release Date October 24, 2017

Born in the Holy Land only a few years after the Third Crusade, half-Armenian, half-Scot Arbela MacLean is a true daughter of the desert, beautiful and untamed. Trained to be a warrior to avoid her gentle mother’s fate, Arbela has honed her skills with Turkish bow and arrow, sword and throwing darts—and dreads the day her father choses a man for her to marry.

After more than thirty years in the Holy Land, Donal MacLean, Baron of Batroun, is recalled to Scotland, the last son available to take up leadership of clan MacLean. He brings with him knights, treasure, trade—and a daughter of marriageable age.

Caelen MacKern, known as the Bull of the Highlands, is cynical about women. His first marriage formed an alliance, and he did not grieve when his spoiled, immature bride passed away. He has agreed to marry again—against his better judgement—for the men, means and coin to recover from a devastating pestilence that all but wiped out his clan.

Though more than a little resentful at finding himself forced to remarry, Caelen’s proposal to Donal MacLean’s headstrong daughter nevertheless piques her interest. Each will receive what they want most from life—the ability to live as they please without interference from a meddling spouse. But their marriage of indifference will soon change to one of passion that neither Arbela nor Caelen could have predicted.

••••••••••

REVIEW: THE HIGHLANDER’S CRUSADER BRIDE is the third instalment in Cathy MacRae’s adult HARDY HEROINES historical, Highlander romance series. This is half-Armenian, half Scot Arbela MacLean, and Caelen MacKern’s story line.

Told from dual third person perspectives (Caelen and Arbela) THE HIGHLANDER’S CRUSADER BRIDE is a stand alone story line that follows the marriage of convenience between half-Armenian, half Scot Arbela MacLean, and Laird Caelen MacKern, leader of Clan MacKern in the Western Highlands of Scotland. Death and disease has ravaged the MacKern Clan, and with it comes the struggles to feed and support the numerous bodies within the Keep. To add insult to an already suffering Clan, Laird MacKern’s former father in law seeks revenge against the Laird for the untimely death of his daughter, Caelen’s first wife, plundering small herds and burning down the outlying crofts. Enter Laird Donal MacLean, who offers up his twenty year old daughter Arbela MacLean in exchange for provisions, repairs and additional security. What ensues is the marriage of convenience between the independent and warrior-trained Arbela MacLean, and Laird Caelen MacKern, and the potential fall out as Laird MacGillonay demands custody of Caelen’s only son attacking the Clan and the woman with whom Caelen is falling in love.

Arbela MacLean is half-Armenian, half-Scot, and royalty by birth, but our heroine is unlike any of the Scottish woman Caelen has ever met or seen. Warrior trained in both the defensive and offensive ways of war, the head-strong but beautiful Arbela is a one-woman army unto herself. Darker skinned with an attitude to match, Arbela will become the victim of racist slurs and savage attacks that accompany her marriage to a Scottish Laird. Five years earlier Caelen MacKern’s wife died leaving our hero a single father with a one-year old son. Discouraged by his first marriage Caelen vows never to remarry as he battles to maintain control of his struggling Clan. A marriage of convenience will aid in the resurrection of the MacKern Clan but a marriage that is doomed to fail as both Caelen and Arbela refuse to accept anything beyond a marriage in name only.

There is a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting characters. Not everyone is true to the MacKern Clan-there are traitors in the midst, some closer than others. The introduction of Bram MacKern softens our heroine’s heart as she grows to love the child as her own.

The relationship between Arbela and Caelen begins as an arrangement. Arbela had no plans for marriage; and Caelen refuses to enter into a marriage with another unhappy wife. Their unwritten agreement to keep separate lives is quickly extinguished when their palpable sexual attraction is heightened by threats against the people they love. The $ex scenes are intimate without the use of over the top, sexually graphic language and text.

THE HIGHLANDER’S CRUSADER BRIDE mixes historical facts with fiction creating a wonderful story line about two people pulled together by circumstance and love. There are moments of betrayal and devotion, hatred and friendship, discrimination and acceptance, romance and love. The premise is entertaining, revealing and engaging; the characters are real, colourful and charismatic; the romance is passionate and slow to build. Cathy MacRae adds another dimension to her Hardy Heroine’s –a series of strong, independent and beautiful women who find the courage to live and love.

Reading Order and Previous Reviews
Highland Escape
The Highlander’s Viking Bride
The Highlander’s Crusader Bride

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

About the Author

Cathy MacRae lives on the sunny side of the Arbuckle Mountains where she and her husband read, write, and tend the garden—with the help of the dogs, of course.

You can visit with her on facebook, or read her blogs and learn about her books at www.cathymacraeauthor.com . Drop her a line—she loves to hear from readers!

•••••••••••

DD MacRae enjoys bringing history to life and considers research one of the best things about writing a story! With more than 35 years of martial arts training, DD also brings breath-taking action to the tales.

You can connect with DD through www.cathymacraeauthor.com. It’s always exciting to hear from readers!

Connect:

Site: www.cathymacraeauthor.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cathymacraeauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/cmacraeauthor
Goodreads: Cathy: https://goo.gl/o7dwLk   DD: https://goo.gl/Phh881

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The Scot’s Bride (The MacGregors: Highland Heirs #6) by Paula Quinn-Review,Excerpt & Giveaway Tour

THE SCOT’S BRIDE (The MacGregors: Highland Heirs #6) by Paula Quinn-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway tour

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THE SCOT’S BRIDE
The MacGregors: Highland Heirs #6
by Paula Quinn
Release Date: October 231, 2017
Genre: adult, historical, Highlander, romance

The Scot's Bride

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 31, 2017

AN IRRESISTIBLE SCOUNDREL
Highlander Patrick MacGregor likes his life just the way it is. Fighting for his coin, enjoying a woman’s charms, and bearing no responsibility at all. Aye, that’s the life for him. That is, until Patrick sees her-a raven-haired beauty with eyes as dark as midnight. Patrick swore never to fall in love. Not even with a lass as wild as he…especially when she’s from a rival clan.

AN UNDENIABLE DESIRE
Charlotte Cunningham knows Patrick is trouble the moment she sets eyes on him. Her only goal is to escape the possibility of marriage. Any marriage. But as the summer days turn into sultry nights, enticing her beyond reason, Charlie is forced to choose between the freedom she craves and the reckless rogue she can’t forget.

••••••••••

REVIEW: 5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

“Rachel, Paula Quinn has a new …” … “YES, YES, YES I will review! ABSOFRICKENLUTELY!”

So when Paula has a new release, this is generally how quick the response to a book review request is! LOL

The Scots Bride by Paula Quinn is the 6th book in her “The MacGregors: The Highland Heirs” series, and it is just as incredible as her previous 5. A highland historical romance where you get a taste of a time that was very tumultuous, the characters are believable and steamy, and the story line gets your heart pumping with each page you flip. I would recommend you read the previous books in this series and while you are at it be sure to check out her previous series where this one branches off from. Nothing like returning to characters that you fell in love with and seeing how their life has progressed. Personally that is one of my fave parts about Paula”s books, I get to visit old friends every few months.

Patrick MacGregor is a rogue. Straight up, no pretense, he is what he is. He has no time for marriage as his heart is a wandering heart. He seeks excitement, adventure and day to day living. He fights, he drinks, he keeps it simple and easy. and if a woman just so happens to cross his path, well who is he to refuse? He is handsome, rough around the edges and is about to have his world rocked by a raven haired lass who he happens to make eye contact with in a tavern.

Charlotte Cunningham is our raven haired lass who is just as set in her ways as Patrick is. She is stunning, intelligent, daring and comes to realize that eye locking with the hot rogue in a tavern she has no business in visiting is detrimental to her plan. NEVER fall in love and marry. Her father and brothers saw to that mindset by teaching her a horrid lesson that has left her desiring to be left the heck alone for her life. But, that man who set her on fire is always around, and she soon begins to wonder if falling in love could be so bad. Perhaps falling in love is not the issue though, as Patrick is from an enemy clan, and only more blood shed could come out of this union if the truth is set free.

This is a true slow burn kind of read. You get the instant attraction and the catch and release effect with this novel. You know this couple is facing some serious odds but you will come to root for them to find their way. They are very complimentary of the other, but not predictably so. They have their humorous moments, but I have to say it was the steamy love that I absolutely loved. Man can Paula Quinn write a love scene.

Set against the incredible highland scenery, for those that have experienced a Paula Quinn book, you will feel nostalgic when you read her descriptions, and for those that are reading her for the first time, you will fall in love with the vivid pictures her writing creates. I love the gruff, no apologies aspects of this time, but I also loved that her characters likes to break the rules.

Another fabulous book Paula, each book you write has it’s own feel and while the enjoyment remains the same, it is wonderful to get to that conclusion in different ways. I highly recommend for my fellow historical romance fans and be prepared to gobble this story up quick! 🙂

HAPPY READING! 🙂

Reviewed by Rachel T

Copy supplied for review

The Scot's Bride teaser

Excerpt beige

 

Charlie caught the subtle shift of his gaze toward her when she glared at him, doing her best to keep her eyes above his chin and ignoring his long, sculpted physique and broad shoulders. Was he speaking to her or her captor?
Dunbar laughed at his offer. “You don’t even carry a sword.” He looked him over. “Or even a place to hide one.”
It was true. Charlie hadn’t noticed it before. Patrick Campbell spoke like a Highlander and had dressed like one when she’d first seen him at Blind Jack’s yet he carried no obvious weapons.
“I dinna’ need one,” he claimed, his amiable smile changing slightly into something more ominous.
Charlie knew it was true. He had fought Hamish with no weapons other than his fists. What kind of Highlander didn’t carry a sword? The kind who doesn’t need one.
Campbell moved closer to her and the eight men behind her. His gait was wrought with ease and confidence while her brothers and her father remained still.
“I’ll kill you for this, Campbell,” Duff swore.
“That’s doubtful,” Campbell tossed back without turning around. Instead, he looked at Charlie, now only a few inches away, standing between him and her captor.
If there wasn’t a blade to her throat, she would have taken a moment to admire him and all his hard angles.
“Untie me,” he said to Dunbar, “and I’ll fight them all with no help or risk of injury to ye or yer men.” He lifted his bound wrists up, close to Charlie’s face and the dagger at her throat. “The Duke of Argyll will hear of how ye aided his nephew.”
Dunbar seemed to think it over for a moment and then moved the dagger away from her neck to possibly cut Campbell loose. But instead of waiting to be free, the Highlander moved in a blur of speed snatching the dagger from Dunbar’s hand. In one fluid movement that Charlie almost missed by blinking, Campbell, still bound and clutching the hilt in his fingers, lifted his arms and then brought them back down to capture Dunbar’s head between his forearms, and Charlie’s head between his thick upperarms.
An instant turned into an eternity while he pulled Dunbar closer, wedging Charlie up against his chest. Time slowed as she looked up and he tiled his head to meet her gaze. She stared into his summer-glade eyes—ringed by lashes that were that long—and the evidence of Hamish’s wrath on his lip. His current wounds and an older one which had broken his nose saved him from being pretty. His mouth crooked ever so slightly—just enough to flash his dimple and completely befuddle her. A rascal. That’s what he was. He was helping her. But why? Before she had to ponder it further, the instant was over.
He hauled Archie Dunbar an inch closer and knocked him out with a clean blow, forehead to forehead. He moved quickly and lifted his arms to release Dunbar from his hold then gave him a powerful kick in the guts to topple him over.
“Run!” He pushed Charlie behind him and faced the rest of the Dunbars alone.
Duff reached them at the same time and an instant before the stunned expressions on the faces of Dunbar’s men wore off and they rushed forward.
“Give me your hands!” Charlie commanded, tugging on Campbell’s sleeve. When he obeyed, she cut him loose using her black blade.
The fool took a moment to smile at her before she tucked the dagger back under her skirts.
Hendry finally joined the fight but Charlie couldn’t take her eyes off Mr. Campbell in the melee.


 

About The Author beige

New York Times bestselling author Paula Quinn lives in New York with her three beautiful children, three over-protective chihuahuas, and a loud umbrella cockatoo. She loves to read romance and science fiction and has been writing since she was eleven. She loves all things medieval, but it is her love for Scotland that pulls at her heartstrings.

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The Highlander’s Viking Bride by Cathy MacRae-Review, Giveaway & Excerpt Tour

THE HIGHLANDER’S VIKING BRIDE (Hardy Heroines #2) by Cathy MacRae-Review, Giveaway and Excerpt Tour

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THE HIGHLANDER’S VIKING BRIDE
Hardy Heroines #2
by Cathy MacRae
Release Date: May 22, 2017
Genre: adult, historical, Highlander, slightly paranormal, romance

The Highlander's Viking Bride

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Add to Goodreads: https://goo.gl/k5LpBx

About the book: Release Date May 22, 2017

Calder MacGerry, laird of an impoverished clan, has resolved to end the bitter feud between the MacGerrys and Sinclairs. He jumps at Laird Sinclair’s offer of marriage to his only daughter, Katja, to seal the agreement between their clans—only to get more than he bargained for.

Katja’s chance to escape her father’s harsh treatment appears to be too good to be true. But becoming Lady of a clan that despises her because she’s a Sinclair, doesn’t make her life any easier. When the attacks turn deadly, she fights her way out, making a dangerous passage to the Shetland Isles for refuge with her Viking family.

Calder and Katja’s marriage, built on mistrust, rushes quickly into disaster. As Calder seeks to repair the damage, Katja discovers not another enemy, but a husband who pledges a new beginning.

•••••••••••

REVIEW: THE HIGHLANDER’S VIKING BRIDE is the second installment in Cathy MacRae historical, slightly paranormal HARDY HEROINES romance series. This is Laird Calder MacGerry, and Katja Sinclair’s story line. THE HIGHLANDER’S VIKING BRIDE can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty.

Told from dual third person perspectives (Calder and Katja) THE HIGHLANDER’S VIKING BRIDE follows Laird Calder MacGerry as he must make peace and end the feud with Clan Sinclair upon the death of his father. Without food or supplies for the upcoming winter, the new Laird is desperate for find provisions for his suffering clan. When Earl Sinclair offers a truce, the truce comes with a caveat-a proviso of sorts-Calder MacGerry must marry the Earl’s only daughter, and in doing so would be granted the woman’s dowry and everything that comes with. Enter Katja Sinclair, the mysterious and only daughter of Earl Sinclair, and the woman with whom Calder will fall in love. What ensues is the tepid but growing relationship between Calder and Katja, and the struggle for Katja to trust the man who has all but destroyed her heart and her soul.

THE HIGHLANDER’S VIKING BRIDE is a story of romance, betrayal, revenge and mistrust. Calder never thought about taking a bride but with his clan in total disrepair, Earl Sinclair’s offer is something he could not refuse. Katja is an independent young woman who has struggled all of her life to find a place in her father’s heart only to be rejected time and again. Her marriage to Laird Calder MacGerry comes with a promise of love but a love that will be threatened by sins of the past. The $ex scenes are intimate and seductive without the use of over the top, sexually graphic language and text.

THE HIGHLANDER’S VIKING BRIDE, like many of Cathy MacRae’s previous Highlander tales finds our couple apart for a good portion of the building story line. Katja believes she is better off, away from the Laird and his clan, and finds herself on the run, searching for family she hasn’t seen in years. Meanwhile Calder MacGerry must go in search of his wayward bride. More time together would have increased my enjoyment of the overall story. The premise is entertaining and passionate; the characters are colorful, strong willed, and charismatic; the romance struggles in the face of mistrust and threats against the heroine’s life. THE HIGHLANDER’S VIKING BRIDE is a dramatic and energetic story where a young woman finds happiness against the odds.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

Excerpt

(Katja meets Calder)
Katja reluctantly heeded her father’s summons to the great hall. She much preferred taking meals in her chamber, as constant criticism and scorn from her father made for poor company. Her only regret was not spending the time with her brothers. She remembered the days before her amma died when mealtimes were pleasant, even enjoyable. She did not remember the days when her ma was alive.
Everyone in the keep knew guests had arrived—rumored to be the hated MacGerrys. Her father would likely use the opportunity to dangle her as bait again for some sort of alliance, her hand in marriage as part of the bargain. She grimaced. The MacGerry laird was as old as her sire—as were all the men her da had presented as prospective husbands.
“I willnae marry a man thrice my age. Why does he keep bringing such old relics about, Freki? Has the man not made the acquaintance of anyone younger than two score?”
Her companion did not answer.
Katja hurried to the great hall with Freki at her side. If she allowed her sire to wait too long, he would add to her humiliation by displaying her like a freshly caught trout in front of his guests. Much as she disliked appeasing him, flaunting her disdain was far worse.
When they reached the door to the hall, she raised a hand, whispering a command for her companion to wait outside the door as she perused the people seated in the great hall. Pale auras of color surrounded each man, giving the room a festive look were it not for the unsettling tale each told her. The reds of anger and lust, the brown of dishonesty, gray and sulphur of dark thoughts and pain. From long practice, she ignored the pale green of pity she knew were aimed at her.
Skirting the red auras, Katja moved silently into the room, attracting no attention. Years of avoiding her father gave her the skill to move about the castle like a ghost, finding tremendous value in being invisible when the need called for it. It wasn’t until she stood near the foot of the lower tables that anyone noticed her. Laird Sinclair’s eyes gleamed.
“Ah, here is my daughter. Katja, meet the new MacGerry Laird.”
The sight of a young man instead of the old laird she expected startled Katja. Tall, lean of muscle with dark brown hair and fair skin, his deep blue eyes were the color of sapphires or perhaps the ocean on a calm day. A high forehead, strong jaw and full lips made for a very handsome face. Lips which curved into a kind smile at her.
His eager blue eyes stared at her, as if caught in a pleasant dream. Katja’s stomach twisted in a way she’d not experienced before. Heat scorched its way from her head to her shoulders, tingling along her breasts and descending lower. She didn’t recognize or understand the strange awareness. Her breathing picked up its pace as her heart beat tripled. How could one look from a man inspire such a reaction?
She averted her gaze in an effort to wrestle her body and emotions under control. Inhaling deeply, she raised her eyes again only to find the same sensations slamming into her anew. She needed a distraction.
Use the sight. It doesnae lie.
Looking past her normal ability to see, she glanced first at her father. The darkening gray aura surrounding him reflected his greed, his nature growing more corrupt with time. A band of deep brown layered on top of the gray was new today. She knew it as a sign of deceit and wondered what he was up to. Scanning the rest of the table, the light blue surrounding her brothers Bjorn, Christer and Patrik reflected

About The author

Cathy MacRaeFollow Cathy: Twitter / Goodreads / Website / Facebook

Cathy MacRae lives on the sunny side of the Arbuckle Mountains where she and her husband read, write, and tend the garden—with the help of the dogs, of course.

 

You can visit with her on facebook, or read her blogs and learn about her books at www.cathymacraeauthor.com. Drop her a line—she loves to hear from readers!

 

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Bedding the Highlander by Sabrina York-Review, Interview & Giveaway

Bedding the Highlander by Sabrina York (presented by James Patterson)-Review, Interview, and Giveaway

Bedding the Highlander Banner

BEDDING THE HIGHLANDER
by Sabrina York
BookShots Flames presented by James Patterson
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Genre: adult, historical, Highlander, romance

Bedding the Highlander

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / BAM /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date March 7, 2017

Only a Scot can steal her heart.
There’s nothing ladylike about Katherine Killin. She’s a spitfire who cannot be tamed. To rid himself of her, and to honor a truce set by the Duke of Glencoe, her father agrees to wed her to his clan’s mortal enemy, Ben Rannoch. But when Katherine meets the enticingly masculine Kirk Rannoch, brother of her betrothed, she suddenly craves domination.
BookShots Flames

Original romances presented by JAMES PATTERSON
Novels you can devour in a few hours
Impossible to stop reading

•••••••••••

REVIEW: Bedding the Highlander is a Book Shots Flames brand. This is a selection of stories that are well written with a sizzling romantic theme to their genre; today’s review is BEDDING THE HIGHLANDER by Sabrina York, presented by James Patterson. The books are priced at under $5.00 US and have approximately only 150 pages. Designed to be read in an evening or at work on lunch hours, etc. Interesting idea, but I, personally, love a good long well written story. But then, I’m retired and have lots of time to read.

Now to this captivating story.

The story is about rival clans in Glencoe, Scotland in 1603. The Duke of Glencoe, in order to try to make an alliance for peace, has ordered the marriage of Katherine Killin to the rival clan laird Ben Rannoch.

Kirk Rannoch, brother of Ben, and his friend Brodie have been assigned to bring Katherine from the Killin stronghold to the Rannoch keep to be wed to Ben. They are, understandably, reluctant to enter the Killin keep, as many don’t return. Unfortunately, when they do, they find the wrong Catherine…no misspelling, it seems many of the Killian Laird’s daughters, mostly illegitimate, are named a form of Catherine. However, they notice the one presented does not have the signature red hair of the real Katherine Killin. They are told the real Katherine has run off rather than be wed to their enemy and they don’t know where she is. Reluctantly, they leave.
During the trip back, while camping at night, two thieves try to take the men’s horses. They capture them only to find that they are females and both have a form of red hair. A romance between “Ann” (aka Katherine) and Kirk is immediate and sizzling.

Okay, that’s the set up and the rest must be read to be enjoyed. It’s only 150 pages and doesn’t take long. I found it to be incredibly entertaining and very well written. I loved her solution for not having to marry the laird…possibly brave, possibly foolish but very interesting! Sabrina York is a fine author and writes a very inventive period novel.

Give it a shot!

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Georgianna

Interview

TRC: Hi Sabrina. Welcome to The Reading Cafe.

Sabrina YorkSabrina: Thank you so much for having me! I am excited to be here!

TRC: We would like to start with some background information. Would you please tell us something about yourself?

Sabrina: Absolutely! My name is Sabrina York and I LOVE writing steamy, snarky romances…but I have ADD and enjoy writing in all sub genres (historical, contemporary, SEALs, Dukes, Highlanders and so on!).

Though I am predominantly published in romance, I also love writing in other genres like women’s fiction, fantasy, sci fi and more.

I think trying new things is important for working the writing muscles and keeps my writing fresh and fun.

TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?

Sabrina: My greatest influence was my mother, who refused to let me use my dyslexia as an excuse for not being an overachiever. She convinced me at an early age that this difficulty was actually a gift, because it allowed me to see things in ways other people might miss.

Indeed, it has been a gift, and so was having a mother so determined to help me succeed.

Although, I must say, I am also thankful for spellcheck and editors!

TRC: What challenges or difficulties have you encountered writing and publishing your stories?

Sabrina: Dyslexia aside, I worked for years writing and polishing my work. I submitted to hundreds of editors and agents and received an encyclopedia full of rejections. Though my work won many awards, I just couldn’t seem to sell.

And then, just when I was about to give up (for a career of sitting on the sofa, eating bon bons and watching Toddlers in Tiaras) I miraculously sold my first book.

My advice to writers who are struggling is: Don’t give up. Keep trying.

Now that I am published (in traditional and indie worlds) my challenges are balancing projects with the business side of things. There are so many things I have to do that I never imagined.

It would be wonderful if being an author meant sitting back and writing books, but there is so much more to it, including accounting (ick), marketing, social media, events, conferences and more (especially for Indie writers!)

Bedding the HighlanderTRC: Would you please tell us something about BEDDING THE HIGHLANDER?

Sabrina: I am so excited about this story! It has been a glorious experience working with James Patterson, Laura Fazio and the team at Hachette!

The core story is that with the death of the queen and the ascension of James VI—and the union of the crowns between Scotland and England—the world has turned on its ear. The new king is determined to make the transition a peaceful one. He is adamant that Scotland not be seen as a land of savages, but loyal, peaceful subjects of the crown. He has commanded his dukes to maintain peace and squash unrest at all costs.

In light of the rising turmoil and increased hostilities amongst his highland clans, Nicholas Lennox, the Duke of Glencoe—acting on explicit orders from the newly ascended King James VI—has issued an ultimatum to his unmarried lairds, demanding they unite with their rival clans…through marriage.

As logical as this plan is, nothing seems to go right.

His first declaration is that Ben Rannoch, Laird of Rannoch should marry Katherine Killin, daughter of Cuithbeart Killin (The Rannoch’s mortal enemy).

In Bedding the Highlander, Kirk Rannoch is sent to collect his brother’s intended. He has no idea that Katherine is far from a biddable wench. The plucky redhead has decided to seduce Kirk in hopes of scuttling a wedding to his brother, the Beast of Rannoch.

Imagine Kirk’s chagrin when he realizes the woman he had bedded is not the maid he thought her to be, but his brother’s bride!

I came up with this idea when my husband and I were visiting Scotland last September. I’d never been there before and it was a wonderful time. One of the villages we visited was Kinloch Rannoch, the town my mother’s people came from. I decided that my next Highland romp had to take place there!

TRC: How do you keep the plot(s) unpredictable without sacrificing content and believability?

Sabrina: I live by a maxim that an author can do whatever she wants, as long as she does it well. So no matter the twists and turns I fold into the plot, they have to be masterfully executed.

You get a feeling in your gut, a little niggle, when things aren’t right. I’ve learned you cannot ignore that, no matter how much work it is to rewrite. I’ve also learned I am always so much happier when I get it right!

One of my favorite things to do is lead the reader down the garden path, make her expect that something typical will happen, and then flip the script! The secret here is having fully-formed characters who behave in genuine and authentic ways. Needless to say, I lean toward strong, determined and sometimes stubborn heroines.

TRC: Have you ever had the opportunity to visit the Highlands of Scotland, and if so, how much of an influence or impact did the visit have on your stories?

Sabrina: I most certainly did, but sadly, only one time. I would love to go back.

Laird of her HeartIt was fascinating visiting historical sites like Urquhart Castle (which featured in my Highland Time Travel, Laird of her Heart) and the battlefield at Culloden, thinking of all the lives that had been lived and lost in these places. We took a tour of the north coast where my Untamed Highlander Series took place.

Standing on the cliffs at Duncansby Head Lighthouse and staring out over the cold grey waters of the North Sea gave me a new appreciation for the strength and stamina of the Scottish people.

I took hundreds of pictures so I would remember the feelings, the sights and the faces. Some things change with the times, but others don’t. I often felt I had stepped back in time.

Mostly, I was suffused with this amazing feeling of coming home, which makes sense, because my mother’s people are Stewarts.

TRC: You write several different genres. Which do you prefer? Which do you find the most difficult?

Sabrina: I love writing them all, because when I switch, it’s almost like taking a break. It makes work feel less like work. J

The genre I find most difficult is the one I am working on at any given time.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my job. But it ain’t easy!

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: I believe the cover is the most important element these days because a good 90% of readers are buying books online. The cover is the first thing they notice, there in a sea of covers.

It has to be stellar, and it has to reflect the story accurately.

In polls I’ve done with my lovely street team, the cover is always the top ranking decision factor, with “An Author I Know and Love” as number two. That’s why it is also critical to write consistently excellent books and give the reader what they want.

From a personal perspective, I also believe that relationships are super important in this business, whether it is with publishers, other authors, industry professionals and, of course, readers. I offer lots of ways to connect with my readers from my VIP Facebook room, to my Street Team and a newsletter that offers exclusive contests and content.

Yes, it takes time away from writing to foster and maintain these relationships, but it think it is important to know for whom I am writing. Plus, they are damn wonderful people!

TRC: When writing a storyline, do the characters direct the writing or do you direct the characters?

Sabrina: I have a trick. I start out with a fairly well developed outline, but then, when I get going, yes, the characters start talking to me. I have to listen. It is their story after all!

TRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the storyline 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: Absolutely. My job is to let the reader FEEL the story. To evoke and exploit emotion. My tactic is to write in what is called deep POV (Point of View). I only write one character per scene and everything from the language to the tone to the simmering emotions MUST be genuine and true to that character.

Another trick I learned is to keep the story moving. Focusing on the action and evolution of the story, I fold tidbits of information into dialog, reactions and internalizations rather than providing it in huge choking chunks. This is essential to KEEP THE READER IN THE STORY. I do not want you to put the book down! Long dull chunks of exposition are the perfect excuse to close the book and go have a root canal or something.

No! This cannot be allowed!!!!

As for writers who fail in invoking emotion, I’d like to say (and to be honest) we all have failed at one point or another. If we are lucky and/or smart, we have learned from it.

In my opinion, this failure (for wont of a better word) occurs when writers try to rush through scenes and assume the words they are putting on paper are having the effect they desire. I call this lazy writing and I am an expert at it. But the trick is in the editing. It is in the second, third or fourth pass when we flesh out the scene, maximize opportunities to stir emotions and cut out anything that gums up the works.

This last bit is where many writers struggle, because they are not inclined to murder their darlings. You know, that perfectly wicked turn of phrase, or the description of the train station we are in love with but goes on waaaaay too long for the reader to tolerate… That stuff needs to go, but writers in love with their own words don’t want to cut it.

Ask yourself is the story truly better or worse with this and then become a slasher.

In my humble opinion, writers only truly fail when they let their ego get in the way.

TRC: Do you listen to music while writing? If so, does the style of music influence the storyline direction? Characters?

Sabrina: I love listening to music, but words distract me (muddles up the flow in my head) so the only music I listen to is classical. Fortunately, I love classical. It is supremely evocative.

Beethoven is a personal favorite (Appassionata and other such concertos), as well as Mozart and anything with the cello and oboe.

When I am in the “flow” the music does indeed influence me.

TRC: Many authors bounce ideas and information with other authors or friends and family.  With whom do you bounce ideas?

Sabrina: Believe it or not, no one in my family reads. Most of my friends are authors, but when we chat it is usually about other things (because we are all involved in our local chapter and conference). So no one, I suppose! Though I do occasionally talk to my agent about story ideas she would like to see.

TRC: What do you believe is the biggest misconception people have about authors?

Sabrina: I think they believe we live glamorous lives, which makes me giggle because I work from home, rarely leave the house and might have a conversation with one person other than my husband (or the dog). On a good day, I might actually get out of my PJs!

TRC: What is something that few, if any people, know about you?

Sabrina: I’m an Army Brat, so I grew up traveling the world (though I don’t travel much anymore unless it is for work because I am so busy). Because we lived overseas when I was in college, I took a course in Ancient Egyptian History…in Egypt. I’ve actually been inside the Great Pyramid. Which was awesome…until I remembered I’m claustrophobic.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Sabrina: I am thrilled that St. Martin’s asked me to continue my Untamed Highlander Series. I am now plotting out Hamish’s story!

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Sabrina: I love to connect with readers. Here are my links! I also have a tiara fetish, so be sure to enter my giveaways!

Giveaways: http://sabrinayork.com/current-giveaways/

Get two free books when you sign up for my Newsletter: http://sabrinayork.com/gift/

Join my Street Team: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/12s46UGgNUze1c3o3L8jIlXiLuhR5cFZjR83SCMElfw8/viewform?c=0&w=1&usp=mail_form_link

Facebook VIP chat room: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SabrinaYorkChatAndContests/

CONNECT

Follow my Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/sabrinayork

Friend my Facebook Profile Page https://www.facebook.com/sabrina.york.14

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/

Sign up for Amazon alerts: http://www.amazon.com/author/sabrinayork

Sign up for alerts on new releases with other vendors: https://books2read.com/author/sabrina-york/subscribe/1/28367/

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food: Bacon

Favorite Dessert: Cheesecake

Favorite TV Show: Below Deck

Last Movie You Saw: Shawshank Redemption

Dark or Milk Chocolate: Dark

Secret Celebrity Crush: George Clooney (and it’s not so secret)

Last Vacation Destination: Los Angeles

Do you have any pets? A rottie mix named Lola

Last book you read: Tina Fey’s Bossypants

TRC: Thank you Sabrina for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the release of Bedding the Highlander

Sabrina: Thanks for letting me play!

 

Giveaway

Sabrina’s publisher is graciously offering an ebook copy of
BEDDING THE HIGHLANDER to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

1. If you have not previously registered at The Reading Cafe, please register by using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

NOTE: If you are having difficulty commenting after logging onto the site, please refresh the page (at the top of your computer).

2. If you are using a social log-in, please post your email address with your comment.

3. Please like and follow Sabrina York’s Author Page on Facebook.

4. LIKE The Reading Cafe on FACEBOOK and then click GET NOTIFICATION under ‘liked’ for an additional entry.

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8. Giveaway is open internationally

9. Giveaway runs from March 17-21, 2017

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Waiting for the Laird by Willa Blair-a review

Waiting for the Laird by Willa Blair-a review

Waiting for the Laird

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 19, 2016

Will a ghost be the key to his past and their future?

Widow Lara MacLaren hungers for the hunky architect she hires to restore her derelict Scottish manor, but is she ready for a relationship…and is Ian ready for her twins?

Ian Paterson is eager to awaken Lara’s passionate side. Yet, if he reveals his ancestral claim to her estate, he risks losing her and his job. His clan’s history, lost over the years, may be hidden in the walls—along with a ghost waiting for the laird’s return.

When they uncover a room full of Jacobite treasure, proof of his ancestry, Ian realizes he’s out of time. If the ghost is real, it could expose his secret and destroy his romance with Lara. Ian must convince her she and her twins are the future he truly wants.

•••••••••••

REVIEW: Just in time for Halloween! Waiting for the Laird is a delightful romance/ghost story by author Willa Blair. I began reading last night, late. Thinking I would just read a little and then head to bed. Oops! About 3:00 am I finally had to force myself to stop and get some sleep…yes, it was that good.

While it is a romance/ghost story, it’s not a completely chilling scary one. I found it delightful, the romance is a widow with twins, continuing to finish her husband’s dream of renovating the old Scottish keep, Cairn Dubh. She’s been grieving for a year and is beginning to be ready to heal and move on. Lara MacLaren finds everything she needs in Ian Paterson, an excellent renovation specialist and general contractor, or so she thinks.

Ian Paterson is an honorable and delicious man. With dark auburn hair that has those wonderful copper highlights, a toned body from construction, and a marvelous highland accent. He also has a few secrets. Ones that he’s afraid to let Lara know because he wants to keep this renovation job and, if possible, her and her children.

The romance builds slowly, with respect to her decease husband, very believable and well done. You get to know a bit about the characters, their joys and sorrows. The children are a boy and girl twin pair, 9 years old with all that the enthusiasm and willfulness you’d expect. The mysteries abound in this delightful tale. Secret rooms, treasure, and danger. It’s great to have a ghost story that won’t make you afraid to go to bed at night. In fact, you’ll probably wish for a ghost of your own.

Give yourself a treat and grab this book, you’ll have marvelous time, I certainly did.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Georgianna S

About the author

Willa BlairGoodreads/ Website / Twitter Facebook

Willa Blair is an Award-winning Amazon and Barnes & Noble #1 Bestselling author of Scottish Historical, light Paranormal, and Contemporary romance. She has been featured on and contributes to USAToday’s Happy Ever After romance blog, Savvy Authors, Romance University, and more.

Her books have won numerous honors, including the Marlene, the Merritt, National Readers’ Choice Award Finalist, The Reader’s Crown finalist, Historical Romance finalist and Honorable Mention in InD’Tale Magazine’s prestigious RONE Award, NightOwl Reviews Top Pick, and InD’tale Review’s Crowned Heart.

A life-long student and reader, she has been a stained glass artist and instructor, a foreign language teacher, a computer scientist, an analyst, a manager and an executive. She has visited five continents and can get by in several languages. She loves scouting new settings for books, and thinks being an author is the best job she’s ever had.

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Susana and the Scot by Sabrina York-Review and Interview

Susana and the Scot by Sabrina York-Review and Interview

Susana and the Scot

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / The Book Depository / BAM

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…

REVIEW:

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.

HAPPY READING!

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Rachel T.

 

Excerpt beige

 

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?
The minx.
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.”
“Will it?”
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.


 

Interview beige

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.

Susana and the ScotTRC: 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

Untamed Highlanders series

TRC: Have you ever had the opportunity to visit Scotland or any of the places you have written about in your series?

Sabrina Hates HaggisSabrina: 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
SPURRED ON

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!

Bookshelf! http://sabrinayork.com/books/

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bj8tKb

Website: http://sabrinayork.com/

Follow my Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/sabrinayork

Tsu: https://www.tsu.co/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/

LIGHTNING ROUND

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.

I have a dog

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

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