Title: How to Handle a Highlander
Author: Mary Wine
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: November 5, 2013
Buy Links: Amazon (Paperback) Amazon (Kindle)
In a Land of Warriors Playing a Deadly Game...
Moira Fraser has been given an ultimatum—marry the elderly Laird Achaius Morris, or risk another deadly clan war. She vows to do the right thing, as long as she can steer clear of the devilish charms of one stubborn Highlander...
How Do You Avoid Becoming a Pawn?
Gahn Sutherland knows there's a dangerous plot behind Moira Fraser's wedding, and will stop at nothing to foil it. But where a hot-headed, fiery Highland lass is involved, trust and honor clash with forbidden attraction, threatening to blow the Highland's sky-high.
1. Which countries/states have you traveled to do research?
I love to travel. My husband is forever making fun of me because he’ll look over at me on a family vacation and say…”You’ve got that look in your eye, you’re plotting a book!”. It’s usually true.
2. How did you choose your character names?
I love my characters to have names from their world. Many of my Highlanders have Gaelic names. I search through old church registries and do research into the time. When you’re talking about some of these early eras, some of the best resources are tax records. But it’s also important to know what the name means. In these eras, people did name their children for what they felt they looked like, or the circumstances that they were born into. An example of that might be the name ‘Regan’, it means ‘noble born’ and was often used for girls who were fathered by noble men on mothers of lower station. It was actually a bit of privilege to have the name because it meant your blood was better than those around you.
3. Do you keep journals of your research for reference?
Yes, yes and yes! I’d be lost without my note books. I like to put twists and turns in my books, so it important to keep all the details straight.
4. Is there a specific time of day that you write?
I feel very strongly about being disciplined. I get up with my boys and drop them at school. Then it’s to the writing cave. One of my greatest challenges is many of my friends who get it into their heads that ‘I just work at home’, so that means I can just get up and take care of other things. No. It’s my work and I’m doing it, while the rest of the family is doing their work. But it is a smashing good fun sort of work!
5. Do you have an outline of your story or do you write as you go?
I always make an outline. However, I often turn in a book that needs a new outline because the story just went in a different direction. But if I don’t have that outline, I tend to sit there looking at the blank page.
|“Inspecting yer new possession?”
She recognized Gahan’s voice instantly. It was slightly unnerving how swiftly she identified him.
“Yer sister would have found it beneath her,” he added.
Gahan parted from the shadow of a doorway. The hall was farther behind her than she’d realized; the setting of the supper table was now only a dim buzz. A strange twist of excitement went through her belly, startling her. But it also left a bitter taste in her mouth, because she realized she preferred Gahan to her groom.
It was knowledge she could have done well without.
“Nae that I’d expect any less of any woman wedding such an old man,” Gahan informed her.
His tone was condescending at best, and it irritated her. He was her better. The fine weave of his kilt and the silver buttons running up the sides of his knee-high boots showed off just how much his father gave him. She should have kept her mouth shut, but her pride flared up and she propped her hand onto her hip.
“And will yer father give ye any choice when he contracts a bride for ye?” She questioned boldly “Or will ye turn yer nose up no matter who is depending upon ye to do yer duty? Like a spoiled child who knows naught of the way alliances keep a clan safe?”
His eyes narrowed. For a moment, it looked like he was considering what she said, almost as if she’d surprised him somehow.
“Nae if me duty includes making sure me kin can start a feud.”
“I have no such desire.” She shouldn’t snap at him but just couldn’t squelch the urge. “A contented man”—she had to stop to swallow the lump lodged in her throat—“is happy to stay at home.”
He studied her for a long moment, one that felt far longer than it really could have been. She felt like he was looking at her thoughts, his gaze cutting past her realistic reasons, to see her true feelings.
“So what is it that draws ye to a man old enough to be yer grandfather? The title? I suppose I can believe that. Yer sister was certainly enchanted by titles.”
“Half sister.” She paused, realizing that what Bari had so often used to insult her was something she prided herself on.
“And I’m bastard-born,” he replied softly. “Which changes nothing when it comes to me loyalties. Or, I doubt, yers.”
He was trying to intimidate her, but instead, his words somehow impressed her. There was something in his dark eyes that intrigued her, and she stared into the dark orbs, trying to decipher it.
He snorted at her. “Do nae try it.”
He crossed his arms over his chest, and she suddenly realized just how close he was. There was no more than a pace between them now, and she jumped back, colliding with the hard stone of the wall. His lips twitched.
“I admit, ye play the innocent better then Sandra ever did, but ye’ll nae find it simple to seduce me.”
She straightened up, stepping away from the wall as her temper simmered. “Ye have no right to accuse me of nae being innocent. Or of trying to act like a harlot. Ye were the one waiting in the shadows.”
His lips parted to flash his teeth at her. “I knew ye had claws. Ye are a Fraser after all.”
There was a ring of triumph in his tone, which irritated her beyond every bit of self-discipline she had.
“What I have is the sense to know when I’m hearing naught but dribble. Son of an earl or nae, ye do nae have the right to insult me for obeying me laird. I do nae need the Matheson thinking I turned up me nose at their laird. Marriage is for forming alliances. I’m nae so selfish as to think an insult to a laird, like refusing his offer, will nae become a festering point of contention.”
But her voice lowered as she finished, and she had to push the last sentence past her lips because she just didn’t want to believe she was one day away from having to wed Achaius Matheson.
“And I was nae trying to seduce ye,” she added.
His grin remained arrogant and large, but he opened his arms, offering her a view of just how wide his chest was. “Ye were looking into me eyes.”
“And ye were looking into mine,” she countered. He was suddenly too large and the hallway far too compact to suit her. “Enough arrogance. Perhaps ye are accustomed to only the sort of women who like to seduce, but I am nae of that sort. I’m set to wed, and I do nae think it wise to be standing here acting like—”
“Like lovers flirting in the night shadows?” His voice dipped low and sent a tingle along her limbs. There was a gleam of mischief in his dark eyes.
She shook her head, her tongue feeling frozen with shock.
“Nay, we are nae acting like lovers, or are ye arguing that we are nae lovers—yet?” He pressed forward another few inches.
Something snapped inside her. She gasped and went to shove him away from her.
“Ye obnoxious urchin!”
She flattened her hands against his chest, but he didn’t budge. She’d used a fair amount of strength, but Gahan Sutherland only chuckled at her attempt to move him.
“Ye have no right to accuse me of such indecent things. Maybe there are plenty who would remind me that ye’re me better and can say what ye will, but I will do me duty.”
He closed his hands around hers, but he didn’t remove them from his chest. Instead, he trapped her there with her hands upon him.
“What if I told ye I would nae be opposed to becoming yer lover? I promise ye will find me bed more to yer liking.”
Her mouth dropped open, and her temper exploded. She never really thought about what she was doing; her body simply refused to remain still. With a snarl, she sent her knee toward his unprotected groin. One moment he was chuckling at her, and the next, she felt her blow connecting.