Alexis: Hi B.J., Thank you for visiting Happily Ever After Thoughts :-) What inspired you to make the switch from nursing and childcare to romance writing?
B.J.: A true Gemini, I was blessed with not only the gift of gab ;) but also a head full of stories and the need to tell them.
Alexis: I understood at "Gemni" :-) Can you tell our readers a little bit about your latest release, Highland Legacy?
B.J. Highland Legacy is a full length, Medieval historical romance.
Faced with an abhorrent betrothal, Cailin Macmillan flees her father's castle and quickly learns that a woman traveling aline in Medieval Scotland is an easy target for ruthless English soldiers. When Highland patriot Conner Fraser comes to her aid, his steadfast dedication to king and country is challenged by his overwhelming desire to protect Cailin -- even if he must marry her to do so.
Accused of murdering one of her attackers and determined to rely on her own resourcefulness, Cailin dresses as a lad, intent on seeking refuge at the camp of Robert the Bruce. Can she elude an enemy from her past -- a vindictive English lord bent on her utter demise -- or will she fall prey to his carnal intent and be executed for a crime she did not commit?
Alexis: Sounds great! Where did you get the idea for this story?
B.J.: I have a passion for history and anything Scottish. With a Scottish, Irish and English ancestry, I guess it comes naturally. Scottish historical romance novels are my favorite reads and I found myself very much at home writing in this epic time period. I wanted to tell a story that not only shared some interesting historic facts, but showed the struggle and challenges faced by those living in that turbulent time in Scottish history. That despite the odds, love would win out in the end.
Alexis: Of course Scottish means men in kilts and women to love them. What are your favorite character traits of Cailin and Connor?
B.J.: I love Cailin’s spirit, courage and resourcefulness in a time when women were looked upon as property, pawns for sale to the highest bidder.
Aside from being a devastatingly handsome alpha hero, I love Connor’s sense of honor, duty and his passion for his cause and between the sheets ;)
Alexis: Always a welcome trait in our heroes! Now, this book is set in 1306 during the time of Robert the Bruce (my favorite Scottish King). What was it about this time period that attracted you?
B.J.: I find myself fascinated by this prominent time in Scottish history and fight for independence and freedom.
Alexis: Me too. What can we expect next from you? Do you have any new releases coming or a work in progress?
B.J.: Currently I'm working on another Scottish historical and a Civil War based paranormal/time travel. I have several other WIPS in the planning stages.
Alexis: Good to hear. Thank you so much for letting our readers knows about your stories. We appreciate you coming for a visit.
B.J.: Thank you so much for inviting me.
Alexis: For a chance to win B.J.’s Highland Legacy, be sure to leave a comment for her. If I have contact information I will let you know when you win, otherwise, Check the side column for your name on Wednesday under WINNERS :-)
For more information on B.J.’s Romances go to http://www.authorbjscott.com/books
Alexis: Check out this excerpt from Highland Legacy.
Dunkeld Scotland, 1306.
Duncan Macmillan’s nostrils flared, and his piercing blue eyes narrowed with anger. Judging by the rigidity of his stance, the bulge of his neck veins, and scowl of utter contempt, Cailin had pushed her father beyond his limits. Again.
They’d quarreled often, and each time, he cursed her wild spirit, and temerity, swore fairies stole his real child at birth and left a changeling in her place. An unyielding man, he ruled Clan Macmillan with an iron fist, and made no exceptions. Cailin experienced the force of his wrath on more than one occasion, and bore the physical and emotional scars.
He paced his chamber like a restless animal ready to pounce on its prey. “Laird MacMurray arrives on the morrow and expects to find a cheerful, willing bride. You’ll not embarrass me with your obstinacy!”
“Banish me, beat me, or throw me into the pit if you wish, but I will not marry a man I dinna love. Especially a vile, contemptible swine who is almost three times my age.” As the rebellious words left her lips, memories of past punishments flooded her mind, but she refused to concede to her father’s demands, regardless of the consequences.
“This alliance is important to the clan, and I’ve given my word.” He balled his fist and took a step in her direction.
Cailin crossed her arms over her chest and glared up at him in defiance. “The alliance does not interest you as much as the cattle, land, and chest of gold he has offered for my hand.” She took a slow, deep breath for courage, and continued. “My happiness is of no importance to you. Not as long as you can pad your coffers, and increase your holdings. I am nothing more to you than a pawn, property for sale to the highest bidder.”
His face flushed red as he stomped toward her with a hand raised in preparation to strike. “Insolent, ungrateful lass, I’ll teach you to speak to me with such disrespect. When I’m finished, you’ll rue the day you were born.”
“I have, for eighteen summers,” she snapped back in retaliation. The stinging backhand she received brought her to her knees.
“Husband, please.” Before he could deliver another blow, his wife, Catherine, stepped between them, and placed her hand on Duncan’s raised arm. “She’s your daughter, and you must show more compassion and understanding. I am sure once she has time to get accustomed to the idea, she will do your bidding. Won’t you?” She glanced over her shoulder, and gave Cailin a pleading look.
Duncan glared down at his wife. “She’s been a wee devil since birth, and it is about time she learned her place. Step out of my way, or you’ll learn your place as well.” He grasped Catherine by the shoulders, and briskly moved her aside.
Cailin slowly climbed to her feet, wiped the trickle of blood from her lower lip with the back of her hand, and stiffened her spine. “Dinna fash yourself, Catherine, it is a private matter to be settled between my father and me. Not one so easily resolved. Mayhap you should go and rest.”
Only two years her senior, Catherine carried in her belly what Cailin prayed would be the son her father had always wanted. If he finally had a male heir, she’d be freed from the burden of blame, guilt, and obligation that had plagued her entire life.
Duncan’s body shook as he pointed his finger in his daughter’s direction. “Do you see what I mean? Even when someone tries to help her, she shows no appreciation. Not a day goes by I have not wished she had—”
“Go ahead, Father. Admit you wish me dead instead of my twin brother and that you blame me for my mother’s death.” Toe to toe, she stood in front of him. She swallowed hard past the lump in her throat and fought back tears. “No matter how what I accomplish, my efforts will never be good enough. If I could bring my mother back from the dead, I would gladly trade my life for hers. I wish I had been born a lad, and not a lass, but—”
“Aye, instead of a son, I’ve been cursed with a headstrong daughter who is the bane of my existence. I am surprised any man would ask to marry the likes of you. But on the morrow, you will wed Laird MacMurray.”
His cruel words cut straight to the core, but she’d not give him the satisfaction of knowing he’d wounded her again. “He marries because he needs a mother for his nine unruly bairns, and someone to bear him more. They say he killed his last wife when he found out she could no longer breed.” The thought of bedding Graham MacMurray made her skin crawl. “Mayhap he lusts after the land and wealth I shall inherit should anything happen to you. As your heir, I will be a wealthy woman in the event of your death.”
Would she ever know if a man wanted to marry her for love, or would she always wonder if greed motivated her suitors? Then again, if all men were like her father, prayed for sons, cared only for wealth and power, she’d rather take the vows and spend the rest of her life at a convent. She’d not be like her mother and marry out of obligation or duty to her clan. Nor would she risk bringing a daughter into this world, only to have her shunned by her father and bartered for with less regard than a hog or a steer. No, she’d not take Laird MacMurray as her husband. Mayhap, she’d never marry.
“Excuse me, my lord.” The door opened and a servant stepped into Duncan’s chamber.
Duncan spun around and scowled at the young man. “Ian, what is the meaning of this interruption?”
“For—forgive me, my lord, but a messenger comes from the Clan MacMurray. He bears a gift for lady Cailin.” With his head bowed and his eyes fixed on the floor, Ian moved in her direction and held out a small wooden box. “His laird has been unavoidably detained, and will not arrive for a week or more.”
“Nay!” Cailin threw her hands up in protest, shook her head, and backed away. “Tell him I dinna want his gift.”
Duncan snatched the box and opened the hinged lid. From a bed of lamb’s wool, he plucked a ruby and emerald encrusted brooch with the MacMurray Clan crest. After he’d carefully examined the pin, he thrust his hand forward. “You’ll not insult your betrothed by refusing his fine gift. This must be worth a fortune.”
“I dinna care if he is insulted. There will be no wedding. When I marry, it will be to a man I love.” She turned to face Ian. “Send the brooch back, and have the messenger inform his laird I’ll not be bought.”
Duncan pinched the bridge of his nose and shook his head. “Love has nothing to do with marriage. The sooner you put aside these foolish notions the better.” He took a step closer, his hands fisted at his sides. “You will do as I say.”
Alexis: Don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win Highland Legacy.