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Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Guest Post and Giveaway: To Dream of a Highlander by Samantha Holt

Published: April 11th, 2014
Cover Artist – Kim Killion

Description:

Sent on a rescue mission, Finn Mac Chaluim is prepared to do his duty, hand over the lass and return home. 

But fate has other ideas. 

In the midst of a Norse invasion, Catriona barely escapes with her life. Masquerading as her sister, she finds herself in the hands of Finn who intends to hand her over to her sister’s betrothed, Laird Gillean. In the interests of bringing peace to her home, Catriona is determined to continue the ruse—even if it means going along with the marriage and denying her growing attraction to a man who keeps his hurts hidden behind a quick grin. 

If the green faery, Tèile, has anything to do with it, Catriona and Finn will come together—but only at the right time. Thanks to her last attempt at matchmaking, many paths were changed and now it’s up to her to put it right. Can she help Finn— who learned the hard way that sharing your life with someone only leads to heartache—get past his doubts? And will the battle-scarred Catriona even accept him into her heart? When Laird Gillean’s attentions toward Catriona become dangerous, both Finn and Tèile will find they have an uphill battle on their hands. 

GUEST POST
Choosing the title 

For me, choosing the title is that hardest thing about writing a book. Lots of writers do it differently. Many choose the title beforehand, some have several possibilities and others, like me, wait until the very end. I tend to hope the story will lead me to the title. That’s what happened with To Dream of a Highlander. It needed to follow the same flow as the title of the first in the series, To Steal a Highlander’s Heart, but it also needed to reflect the story. In this story, dreams play a big role. The hero dreams of the heroine before he even meets her. 

But titles don’t always come easily. I can’t take credit for many of mine. I have a group for friends who are wonderful at brainstorming and usually come up with some great ideas. 

For historical authors, titles tend to be longer and more flowy to suit the style or writing. A big trend in contemporary romance is to have something punchier. One word titles are guaranteed to stick in the reader’s head. Whatever style of title an author chooses, it should always intrigue. Let it provide a little snippet of information to tease and tantalize then let your wonderful writing do the rest of the work.

EXCERPT





He swung his gaze around, grateful the night had not yet swallowed them. A flash of green a few feet in front of him caught his eye. Hair swirling about her, gown waving like seaweed in the wash, she floated on the surface—knocked senseless. 

“Damnation!” 

With several strong strides, he caught up with her. The tide drew her away but it was not strong enough to defeat him. The sea now up to his hips, he dragged Katelyn into his arms. By God, her gown weighed her down. Even for a man of his strength, he felt as though he were carrying a heavy sack of grain rather than a sylph of a woman. 

Wading to the boat, he hefted her out of the water and passed her to Logan. The man shook his head. “Sorry, Finn. We were concentrating on not getting tossed about in the wash. ‘Tisnae easy holding such a small vessel steady.” 

“Aye, have no fear. ‘Twas my fault. The lass has clearly had a shock and I should have been watching her more closely.” 

Logan laid her in the bow while Finn clambered in. He knelt by the lass and glanced up at Logan. 

“She must have taken a hit to the head.” 

“Aye, likely against the boat. Must have hit hard to render her senseless.” 

Finn nodded. “Let us get on our way. We can do no good for her here.” 

“Aye,” Logan agreed and backed away to help row the boat from the shoreline. 

Leaning over her, Finn studied the gash on her forehead with a grimace. Poor lass. She’d have a mighty fine headache when she awoke. The steady rise and fall of her breasts against the soaked green wool assured him no permanent damage had been done. 

“Ye’ll have to get her out of those wet garments,” Logan called out behind him. 

Finn clenched his teeth. “Aye, thank ye, Logan. I’m aware o’ that.” 

He ran his gaze over her. Damn his luck. He’d undressed many a fine woman but none had ever been out cold and an unwilling partner. No doubt the lady would be deeply ashamed he’d done as much. But he could hardly leave her to die from exposure. If anything, his sister would have his head. 

Fingers tentatively prying at the front of her bodice, he forced his gaze onto the wood just behind her head. But the wet fabric proved too hard to tug apart so he pressed his hands to her back and lifted her lifeless form. Icy skin and sumptuous curves flattened briefly to his chest as he fumbled with the ties at the back of her gown. By God, when had he ever blundered like a whelp when undressing a woman? But he had to admit, though he’d had little time to admire her and the swelling on her face did not reveal her features properly, the flash of creamy skin was tempting enough. In other circumstances—and had she been anyone other than a lady in distress—he’d have enjoyed such a sight. 

He had her face pressed into his neck as he pulled her gown from her. Soft skin under his fingertips forced his breath to stilt. Only the grunts of men rowing reminded him he was meant to be helping the lass and not enjoying the moment. 

Katelyn’s chemise and gown came away in one go and he peered behind him, narrowing his eyes at the men. “Keep yer eyes away,” he warned, “or I’ll be having yer heads.” 

********

“Logan!” he shouted and came unsteadily to his feet. He dropped the jug, not caring when he heard a crack. “Logan,” he said again when the man turned to face him. “I crave a word with ye.” 

“What can I do for ye, Finn?” 

In the glowing torch light, Logan’s strong features looked strained and tired. Good. Let that be his punishment for believing he could take advantage of his sister. 

“I saw ye leaving Lorna’s chambers.” 

Logan seemed to take a moment to consider this before nodding. “Aye, ye may have done.” 

Finn curled his hand into a fist. Ach, the man did not even dispute it. Did he boast with his men of bedding the lady of the keep? Damn him. 

“So ye dinnae deny it?” 

“I dinnae deny it,” he replied evenly. “I am in no habit of lying to ye, Finn.” 

Rage bubbled up inside Finn and he breathed heavily through his nostrils. The gall of the man. Looking him straight in the eyes and calmly declaring he’d bedded his sister! Before he realised what he’d done, he brought a fist across Logan’s face. 

The man staggered back, eyes wide. When he didn’t fall, it only incensed Finn more. Why did he not even show the slightest bit of shame? He had thought Logan honourable. Hell, he’d trusted him with his sister. 

Leaping forward, Finn used his weight to push Logan to the ground. Instead of fighting him, Logan held up his fists in defence and tried to shove him off. Finn was too heavy and used the chance to punch his undefended ribs. The brown haired man expelled a gagging cough and Finn repeated the movement. Blood trickled from Logan’s nose. 

With a sudden show of strength, Logan used his feet to propel Finn away. It took Finn by surprise and he ended up pinned underneath the man. The wine must have dulled his senses as, though Logan was a strong man, no one could defeat Finn in a fair fight. He stared up at Logan while the man kept him restrained with an arm across his neck. He braced himself for a hit, but none came. 

“I dinnae blame ye for yer anger.” Logan drew in a ragged breath. “But ‘tis misplaced. Ye should know better than anyone I wouldnae harm yer sister.” 

Finn narrowed his eyes and shoved Logan away. Logan allowed him to clamber to his feet and eyed him warily. 

“If ye want to look after her, ye willnae bed her again.” 

“I make no promises.” Logan crossed his arms over his chest. 

With a roar, Finn ran for Logan again but a blinding pain struck him across the mouth and he realised he’d run into a fist. He reeled back, a hand to his now bloody lip. 

“I love her,” Logan said quietly as Finn tried to blink away the painful haze the punch had left him with. “I fear ‘twill come to naught but I willnae make a promise I dinnae intend to keep. If I can persuade Lorna she loves me too then any promise would be for naught.”





About the author:

Samantha lives in a small village in England with her gorgeous twin girls and husband who is a trained bodyguard and ex-soldier. She traditionally writes historical romances involving chivalrous knights and hot highlanders, but occasionally dabbles in contemporary romance.


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2 comments:

My Familys Heart Book Reviews said...

Thank you so very much for being part of the blast and what a great Guest Post. Excellent topic.

Samantha Holt said...

Thank you so much for hosting me!