First- let me introduce to you Ashley York and her book, THE BRUISED THISTLE!.
Iseabail is the much adored only daughter of the MacNaughton laird. Upon his death, she is forced to submit to her lecherous uncle who threatens the very fabric of their clan. With her brothers by her side, they plan their escape to get help from outside their uncle's tight sphere of control. Circumstances change and she must travel unprotected and incognito when he puts a price on her head and labels her a murderess. Unable to reveal her true identity even to the handsome mercenary who saves her not once but twice, she must fight her growing attraction or jeopardize their entire plan. With a price on her head and enemies on all sides, her trust is not something she can afford to give lightly…
Seumas MacDonell is a man wounded in body and soul, driven by guilt. Recently returned from the pilgrimage to the Holy Lands, he struggles with finding a purpose for his life. The wound that has left him impotent stands as a testimony to God's punishment for him. When he rescues Iseabail from one of his men, he cannot deny the intense attraction he feels for her. Her protection falls on him despite her apparent distrust of him. In the hope of finding redemption for his sins, he agrees to help Iseabail…but will his feelings for her prove to be the ultimate obstacle to his salvation?
And today we have Lane MacFarland and her books, HEATHER and CAMERON.
How will you celebrate Valentine's Day?
I've already attended a party in Scotland. After I published the first two books of my series, The Daughters of Alastair MacDougall, the MacDougall, Graham and Campbell clans came together in honor of St. Valentine’s Day. They graciously invited me to their celebration, and I’d like to share my visit to MacDougall Castle in Kilmarnock.
It was late at night when I arrived. Large torches blazed bright into the darkening sky. Solid battlements, secured behind grey stone, ran across the outer gates surrounding the fortress. Guards patrolled the ramparts, ready to drop the portcullis and defend the castle at a moment’s notice.
The carriage rattled across the wooden bridge, through a large worn gate and past guardhouses on either side. We pulled to a stop in the bailey before the stone steps leading to the keep. I tugged my wrap around my shoulders, climbed the steep stairs and knocked on the heavy oak door.
A gust of brisk air swirled in the front hall as Fergus greeted me. “Welcome to MacDougall Castle, Mistress McFarland.”
“Thank you, Fergus. It’s nice to be back.”
Laughter and children’s squeals of delight drifted from the great room. My pulse raced in nervous anticipation of being surrounded by the Scottish clans.
“Please come in, and I’ll show ye to the celebration.”
I stepped into the dimly-lit hall onto one of the thick burgundy rugs scattered about the cold stone floor. Fergus lifted the cloak from my back and escorted me down the corridor. More torches secured in brackets lined the damp passage, their flames flickering in a chilly draft.
Light from the great hall flooded the end of the passageway. A roar of mirth followed by loud guffaws greeted me as I followed Fergus into the great room.
Music filled the air. Jacob strummed a lute and Betsy played a harp. Cheers erupted as a group of dancers gathered on the floor. Cameron and Heather ran to join the revelers. Holding hands, they glided, sidestepping around a large circle. The women held the dancers’ hands on either side of them as the men and women twirled in time with the music. Children skipped around crowd, and the great hall resounded with merriment.
Fergus swept his arm in the direction of the revelers. “Make yerself comfortable by the fire. I’ll let Mistresses Cameron and Heather know ye’ve arrived.”
I scooted into one of the massive wooden chairs. Holding my hands out to the warmth radiating from the golden flames, I breathed in a comforting smell of peat.
Someone grasped my shoulder.
“Mistress McFarland?” Rena, the MacDougall cook, handed me a mug. Her snaggletooth smile radiated warmth. “Would ye care for mulled wine?”
“Yes, thank you,” I answered and took a sip. The warm spicy drink cut a soothing path to my stomach.
Loud cheers erupted and I glanced over my wine as Robert took Cameron’s hand and pulled her against his broad chest. She gazed into his eyes as he lowered his mouth and kissed her passionately while wrapping his arms around her and bending her backward.
The rowdy crowd clapped and shouted encouragement.
Robert straightened and the promises his smile bestowed on his wife would have any woman melting in his arms.
Poignant melodies hushed the revelers as Jonathan blew into his bagpipe. The man forced air into the sheepskin bags and squeezed them hard, causing wind to rush through the reed pipe.
Fergus whispered into Heather’s ear. Her head lifted and her gaze swung to me. Her hand rose in welcome. She patted Fergus’ arm and slipped across the room to where Cameron stood with Robert.
Laird Graham’s gaze lifted in my direction.
My breath caught.
Dark, shaggy hair hung to his broad shoulders with a single braid on either side of his face. Black stubble lined his cheeks and strong chin. The opening of his tan tunic revealed dark, curling chest hair, and the grey trews hugging his thighs disappeared inside his worn boots. A black and blue plaid draped his shoulder and rested under his leather belt.
Cameron was one lucky woman.
Heather grasped her sister’s hand and the two women weaved through the boisterous crowd, making their way over to the hearth.
“Mistress McFarland,” Heather said as she approached with Cameron close behind. “What a pleasure to see ye again.”
Once again, I was struck by the women’s beauty. Heather’s blonde tresses and deep blue eyes were in stark contrast to her sister’s long dark hair and green eyes. Friendly smiles lit their faces.
“Please call me Lane. I thank you for inviting me to your St. Valentine’s Day celebration.”
“Gracious, ye’re always welcome,” Cameron said, holding my hand. “Please have a seat.”
Rena entered again carrying a tray of sweet cakes. She smiled and placed the treats on a table between our chairs.
Forever watching my weight, my mouth watered in doubtful hope of even a small taste. “Thank you.”
The old woman nodded and shuffled through the crowd.
“We celebrate St. Valentine’s Day with sweets and messages of love.” I took another sip of wine. “Tell me about your first kiss with Robert, Cameron.”
A slight blush eased over Cameron’s cheeks and she glanced at Heather. The corners of her mouth tugged up. “I was stuck in a tree when I first met Robert. He helped me down and…” She paused as if considering her next words. “He wanted a reward for his help.”
Heather’s eyebrow rose. “And ye rewarded him with a kiss?”
Cameron squirmed in the chair. Her head tilted to the side with an impish smile pasted across her face. A shrill squeal interrupted them as a little lad with dark hair and green eyes flung himself onto Cameron.
“I’d say he got more than a kiss,” Heather teased.
We laughed as Douglas climbed onto his mother’s lap. Cameron kissed his plump, soft cheek and settled him in her lap as he sucked his thumb and snuggled into her chest.
“And ye, sister?” Cameron asked. “When was yer first kiss with Alec?”
“We shared our very first kiss years ago at Da’s tournament.”
“What?” Cameron straightened. “And ye didn’t tell me?”
“Even sisters don’t share everything.” She laughed.
“And at what point did you realize you loved him? I asked Heather.
Her teeth raked her bottom lip. “I think I fell in love with him the first day I saw him.”
I turned to Cameron. “And you? When did you realize you loved Robert?”
“Unlike my sister, I didn’t fall in love so easily.” She kissed the top of Douglas’ head. “Robert and I were at odds over our families’ feud. But I do remember the very day I knew he held my heart. He had escorted me to the northern loch to search for herbs to heal his sister, Isobel. After fighting my attraction to him, I realized it was futile.”
Smiling at the women and little Douglas, I felt the bond between them. St. Valentine’s Day simply provided a time to celebrate their love.
The hour grew late and I had miles to travel. “I thank you for your gracious invitation, but I must start home.”
“I hate for ye to leave,” Cameron said.
“I won’t be gone long. I’m writing Lindsey’s story and will be back to speak with her.”
Heather patted my hand. “We’ll look forward to that day.”
After placing my mug on the table between us, I stood and the three escorted me down the corridor to the great hall.
Fergus ambled toward us. “Ye are leaving already, Mistress McFarland?”
“Aye, it’s time for me to be home.” As I faced the group, I too realized how much I looked forward to the day I returned.
“Happy Valentine’s Day!”
Tell us a little about your next book.
Now that I’ve finished Cameron and Heather, I’m writing Lindsey’s story, the third in the daughter’s series. She is a real tomboy at heart, loves horses and as with her sisters, she is headstrong and independent. Dressed in lad’s clothing, she rebels at a world dominated by men and secretly delivers missives behind enemy lines to the Scottish warriors. Along the way, she falls in love with a Scottish warrior, Logan Ross.
I plan to release Lindsey’s story this summer, with Elsbeth’s book to soon follow.
Lane McFarland is a southern girl living on top of a mountain in North Georgia, and is most happy when surrounded by family and friends. When not writing, you can find her hiking with her husband, or fiddling around in her flower and vegetable gardens, feeding the birds and watching black bears and deer. Lane is blessed to have a wonderful son—her pride and joy, her buddy who, along with her husband, have made her life complete.
Lane’s debut novels, CAMERON and HEATHER, are the first in The Daughters of Alastair MacDougall books. The historical romance series is set in the late thirteenth century Scotland. Each book tells a story of one of Laird MacDougall’s four daughters coming of age in a country fraught with war and feuds amongst rival clans. The Graham and the MacDougall clans were no exception as their disagreements fueled a life-long fight between them.
As compensation for his indiscretions, Laird Alastair MacDougall promised his wife he would grant his daughters the rare privilege to live their lives as they desired.
Devoting her life to the healing arts, Cameron rebels against her father’s feuding ways. Laird Robert Graham, determined to band Scots together against English tyranny, seals a truce with her father. But after Laird MacDougall breaks that truce in a treacherous attack on Robert’s young brother, Robert kidnaps Cameron in an act of revenge. She expects the anger she feels, but not the simmering attraction to the powerful warrior, or the love she develops for his clan.
The second book tells Heather’s story. On her mother’s death bed, Heather promised she would help her senile father manage the clan. In her quest to keep her clan intact and hold off those who plot to overtake her father’s land, she secretly leads warriors on missions for the rebellion. She fights to keep her secrets safe, while resisting the lure of Laird Alec Campbell, the handsome young laird who challenges her defenses.
Bent on overcoming the belief he’s failed his aging father, Alec concentrates on proving his worth to his people. He provides for them and leads men into battle, vowing never again to disappoint his clan or lose his heart.
Here are my Author Links:
Where to find her books-
Cameron is available at Amazon, Smashwords, Bookstorewithoutborders
HOW do you win and WHAT will you win?
Well, that's easy! Lane is giving away the a free book. Winner's choice between Heather or Cameron.
Ashley is giving away an e-book copy of her book The Bruised Thistle! All you have to do is leave a comment for a chance to win! Good luck!