I’m so glad to have you here for another round of What to Read Wednesday! Today we have author Gayle Callen visiting. Gayle is giving us a quick history of her writing, and also sharing her latest release The Wrong Bride. Isn’t the cover spectacular? You know how I love covers? And don’t forget to check out her blurb and excerpt. You won’t be disappointed.
Afterward, please enter her giveaway!
Take it away Gayle…
From England to Scotland, With Love
By Gayle Callen, author of THE WRONG BRIDE
After twenty-one books set in England—every historical romance I’ve written—I’ve decided to go north and explore Scotland. I didn’t think this was going to be a big deal research-wise, but, boy, was I wrong. The Highlands of Scotland are definitely a different country, a different culture. First of all, I had to pick a time period. I’ve been writing 1840s, England, but in that time period, it was illegal to wear kilts. I can’t have a Highlander book without kilts! So I backtracked to a time period where they wore a belted plaid. Yep, the original words for a big long draping kilt. I did lots of research on how to wear those—come to find out, no one ever wrote down exactly how the men put them on, so the majority of researchers believe they arranged the plaid on the bed or the floor, laid down on it, wrapped it around themselves, holding it in place with a belt. Fascinating! But they’ve found one ancient plaid that had tiny loops in the inside. Some speculate that there was an interior belt, so the plaid would be hung on it almost like a curtain, hanging in the correct folds, and then belted again on the outside. Wonder what the truth is? Research yields some fascinating dilemmas.
So I’m in the Georgian era now, the eighteenth century, the 1720s. If you’ve read or watched Outlander, my trilogy is set within 20 years of that. I love that series, and it’s great to be able to explore the era. England and Scotland have only been united into one country for a few decades, and neither is happy about it. England believes Scotland is a savage primitive country, and in some ways it is. The first carriage only reached the Inverness in the early 1700s. Some of the Scottish people, the Jacobites, believed their true king wasn’t in England, but waiting for them to rebel and bring him home from Europe. My books are set between two major uprisings, the Fifteen and the Forty-five (during which occurred the final battle, Culloden, which the British won). I liked the feel of the 1720s, the dissatisfaction, the anger, the suspicion, because it gave me great conflict. The Scottish and the English can’t stand each other, and have been warring for centuries. My heroine is half English, raised in England, and knows nothing about the Highland ways. My hero, who’s been denied his rightful bride, kidnaps her to take her home and marry her. Problem is, he’s got THE WRONG BRIDE (the title is pretty descriptive, huh?). Hope you get a chance to read the book and see if I’ve brought to life the Scottish people, especially Hugh and Riona.
From Gayle: A first kiss is always such a fun scene to write. They’re usually filled with conflict and chemistry and confusion—the three Cs!
Riona shivered, but it wasn’t from the bathwater’s chill. It was from the frightening realization that there was something powerful between them, something that called to her, that made the risks Hugh had taken to have her for himself seem arousing, not just self-serving. There was a place inside her she’d never sensed before, surely a recklessness, a weakness.
“Ye’re strangely quiet, lass,” he murmured.
His gaze lazily moved over her face, dipping to her breasts, where the upper curves were displayed above the soapy water. Her skin felt … prickly, sensitive, even inflamed.
“I’m not done fighting you,” she said at last, almost wincing at how breathless she sounded.
A slow grin curved his mouth, even as he reached his hand to cup her face and tilt it toward him. The shock of his warm palm settling so gently on her skin made her tense, but she didn’t pull away, as if that would show that she’d given up, that she was afraid of what he could do to her … what he could make her feel.
He leaned over the tub and kissed her, his palm guiding her head. She wanted to show him he didn’t move her, that this display meant nothing to her. But his lips were warm, and glided over hers with purpose, parted gently as if he wanted to taste her. She’d never been kissed … She felt her head swim at the sensation that seemed to travel down her body, to her breasts, to the pit of her stomach and between her thighs as if he’d touched her in her most secretive places.
When his tongue traced her lower lip, she jerked back in surprise. He didn’t laugh, just studied her with those gray eyes that were considerably warmer. He kept his hand on her face, and his thumb caressed her cheek over and over.
“Our first kiss bodes well for the future,” he said.
He glanced down to her breasts again, and she stiffened. With a faint smile, he let her go and stood up.
“Dry off,” he said, back to ordering her around. “We have things we need to discuss.”
Not the topics she wanted to discuss, apparently, but she didn’t argue. He turned his back and went to the window, while she hastily dried herself and pulled on a dressing gown Mrs. Wallace had laid out for her, trying to forget the feel of his mouth on hers, and how instead of being afraid or disgusted, she’d felt … aroused. Her cousin Cat had told her one could feel overwhelmed when in intimate situations with a man, and Riona hadn’t been able to understand what she meant. She did now, and felt a new kind of fear—fear of her own reaction and response to this compelling persuasion of his.