Hi Lynsay and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Falling For The Highlander!
Hi all…nice to chat with you again. 🙂
Tell us about the book with this fun little challenge using the title of the book:
Definitely a long title, so improvisation was the way to go, lol
Hide her from the
Having fainted her
And transport her
Ride to their campsite
What’s your favorite line(s) from the book?:
“Ye’re usually a quiet, grumpy bastard, but no’ since we stumbled upon Murine. I’ve ne’er seen ye smile so much ere this, and ye actually talk to the woman, stringing whole sentences together rather than just grunting on occasion as ye usually do. “
Please tell us a little about the characters in your book. What first attracts your Hero to the Heroine and vice versa?
Murine Carmichael – Loyal friend to Jo, Saidh and Edith, Murine is a lady in an untenable situation. Circumstances have made her English half-brother her guardian. A virtual stranger to her, he is treating her like chattel and plans to give her to the highest bidder to use as they wish. Unwilling to fall in with his plans, she bravely flees on her own, only to be intercepted by the Scotsman her brother had just offered her up to.
Dougall Buchanan – His brothers may consider him a quiet, grumpy bastard, but aside from being Aulay’s second in command, Dougall is a successful horse breeder who makes a good penny off his efforts. He’s pragmatic and loyal, but also has quite the passionate side, as Murine will soon find out.
Dougall was captivated the first time he saw the blond beauty with the heart shaped face sitting by the fire in the great hall. Then after he witnesses Murine’s courage and brave spirit when under threat, he is smitten.
Murine trusted Dougall right from the start, so when she encounters him during her escape and he offers to escort her to safety, she’s grateful. But she doesn’t realize she’s attracted to him until she wakes up after fainting to find herself curled up next to him and her overriding feeling it relief that it was Dougall and not one of his brothers. Even though all the brothers resemble one another in looks, she found herself attracted to Dougall above all.
When you sat down to start this book, what was the biggest challenge you faced? What were you most excited about?
The biggest challenge was Murine. My heroines tend to be strong so writing about a lady who has a tendency to faint and not having her appear weak was a real challenge.
I was excited to see the Buchanan brothers come back in the story. I love this close-knit, rambunctious family. The needling between the brothers is hilarious and their disagreements tend to end with them all piled on top of one another brawling on the ground…
What, in your mind, makes this book stand out?
The heroines are brave and fearless, not to mention each is quirky in her own way.
The heroes are the perfect combination of brains and brawn, who aren’t afraid to fight for what they want.
The series is about love and loyalty, from friends to family. It started with the MacKays, then the Sinclairs, then it went on to Joan’s newfound friends, Saidh, Murine and Edith, and finally the Buchanans.
The First Kiss…
“Saidh was right, ye’re a fine man Dougall Buchanan,” Murine said solemnly. He was still blinking over that pronouncement when she grinned and added, “I never imagined when Saidh was telling me all those tales about ye and yer brothers that one day I’d get to meet ye all.”
She hadn’t met them all yet, but he didn’t want her thinking of Aulay and her possible plans to marry the man, so didn’t point that out. Instead, he found himself moving closer to her in the water.
“Are ye warming up?” he asked.
Murine wrinkled her nose and hugged herself in the water. There were goose bumps on her shoulders above the water’s surface and she was beginning to shiver. She was definitely cold, but said, “A bit. ’Tis colder today. But still nice,” she added quickly as if afraid he would suggest they get out.
Dougall didn’t comment; he merely caught her arm under the water and drew her nearer. When her eyes widened with something like alarm, he changed his plans mid move and turned her in the water, then drew her closer so that her back rested against his chest and his body spooned hers as he had when they’d slept.
“What are ye doing?” Murine asked. Her voice was a bit breathless, but she wasn’t trying to push him away. Dougall thought that a good sign.
“Trying to warm ye up a bit,” he muttered, his voice going a bit gruff as her body slid against his in the water.
“Oh,” she breathed and relaxed against him, her arms crossing over his when he slid them around her waist to hold her in place. They were both silent for a minute, and then Murine murmured, “This is nice. Ye’re very warm.”
“Aye,” Dougall murmured, deliberately letting his breath blow against her ear and noting her reaction when she shivered a little and tilted her head slightly, making her ear more accessible and baring her neck to him. Unable to resist what he suspected was an unconscious offering, Dougall pressed a light kiss to her neck, then another to her earlobe and felt Murine tremble in his arms as her breath caught in her throat on a little gasp.
“Dougall?” she said uncertainly, her voice breathless and husky. His name had never sounded so sexy to his ears and Dougall couldn’t resist nibbling at the lobe he’d just kissed, sucking it between his lips to bite lightly at the plump skin as his arms tightened around her, pressing her more firmly against him so that her behind rubbed against the growing hardness between them.
“Oh.” She pressed on his arms to tighten their embrace as her legs floated back and around his now, her heels digging into the backs of his legs as she tried to get closer still.
When he let the lobe slip from his lips, Murine turned her head restlessly, seeking, and Dougall answered the unconscious request and covered her mouth with his own. It was an awkward angle and wholly unsatisfying until he released his embrace to clasp her by the waist and quickly turn her in the water. The moment she faced him, he covered her mouth again, relieved when she didn’t protest, but opened for him like a flower to the sun, accepting his tongue when he thrust it forward. She gasped and moaned at the intrusion, but didn’t push him away or try to stop him. Instead, she tentatively clasped his shoulders and hung on as he taught her to kiss. It was obvious she had little experience, but she was a fast learner and what had started out as a questing kiss quickly turned into a passionate embrace. Dougall released her waist to reach for one breast, squeezing it as he explored her mouth, but the wet cloth was cloaking it. Growling in his throat, he released his hold on her altogether so that he could tug at the material, trying to get it out of the way. In the end, he had to push the clinging material up to get to her breasts. The moment he’d done so, he broke their kiss and pulled back slightly to peer at the bounty he’d revealed.
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters and why?
This was at night shortly after Dougall and his brothers discovered Murine missing from their campsite. They followed suspicious noises into the woods and eventually found her pinned to the ground having her face licked by her pet bull after she’d tripped in the dark. It shows Dougall and Murine’s interaction after an awkward moment and the brothers interaction as they fight over who’d marry her.
“I was just slipping away to attend to . . . er . . . personal needs,” she finished demurely, and then scowled at the bull and added, “But was most rudely interrupted.”
“Ah.” Dougall said, and then frowned, unsure what to do. If he left, he took the light with him, and it didn’t seem right to leave her standing here in the woods in the dark. On the other hand, she’d hardly appreciate his standing over her with a torch while she squatted in the bushes. Holding out the log, he asked, “Would ye like this?”
“Er . . .” Murine eyed the makeshift torch uncertainly, then stepped forward to take it, her eyes widening and her second hand rising to join the first as she felt its weight. It was rather a good-sized log, he supposed and wondered how she’d manage what she needed to do with both hands occupied holding the makeshift torch.
“Mayhap I should make ye a proper torch, one smaller, or longer that ye could plant in the ground and—”
“Nay,” she interrupted and then offered a somewhat forced smile and added, “My need is rather pressing, m’laird. So, I’ll make do,” After a pause, she added, “If ye’d just like to return to the fire and leave me alone to get to it.”
“Oh, aye.” Dougall nodded and started to turn away, but when he realized he could see the men settling themselves around the fire, he turned back and suggested, “Ye may want to move a little further behind the tree there. Otherwise me brothers’ll—”
“Aye,” she interrupted, and with the torch so close to her face, this time there was no question that she was blushing.
Nodding, Dougall started to turn away again, only to pause and turn back in question when she cleared her throat.
“I . . . would ye mind . . . ?” She gestured to her amorous bull, who was presently licking at her arm through her gown, and Dougall had to bite back a smile.
Scowling instead, he walked over, caught the beast by the bulky collar around his neck and pulled at it. The bull was a stubborn cuss, and dug in, bracing his legs and refusing to move until his lady said, “Go on with ye, Henry. I’ll be along in a moment.”
Much to Dougall’s amazement, the bull stopped resisting then and allowed Dougall to drag him away from his lady, as obedient as a dog. Shaking his head at the thought, Dougall led the beast back to the area behind his men, then paused, unsure what to do with the animal.
“He’s probably hungry,” Conran commented, glancing over his shoulder with a grin.
“Well then mayhap ye should feed him,” Dougall growled.
Conran cocked an eyebrow, and then nodded and turned to look at Alick. He didn’t have to say a word. The younger man got up with a sigh and moved around to take the bull’s reins from Dougall. He was the one in charge of the horses when they traveled, after all. Releasing the reins, he moved to sit where he’d been ere they’d heard Murine scream. He immediately found himself struggling not to turn and look in the woman’s direction to see if she’d taken his suggestion and moved to a spot where she was less likely to be seen.
“Murine Carmichael,” Conran murmured and then shook his head. “And here I thought her English.”
“Aye,” Dougall said thoughtfully.
“She’s a fine-looking woman,” Conran added.
“Verra fine-looking.” Geordie agreed with a grin. “Saidh ne’er mentioned that.”
“’Tis good she got away from that bloody brother o’ hers,” Alick said grimly, returning to the fire. “It makes me blood boil that he’d try to sell her like that. ’Twas bad enough when I thought her an English lass, but a Scot? And the brave lass who saved our sister?” He shook his head with disgust.
“Hmm,” Geordie muttered, his grin fading. “We shall ha’e to see to it that her brother does no’ sell her off.”
“And how do ye plan to ensure that?” Dougall asked quietly, finally speaking his worries aloud. “He is her brother, and guardian. If he finds her—”
“Then we’ll ha’e to see he does no’ find her,” Alick said with a frown.
“We could hide her at Buchanan,” Geordie suggested.
“He kens she and Saidh are friends,” Dougall pointed out. “Buchanan is one o’ the first places he will look when they do no’ find her close to home. Especially since we were at Danvries when she went missing. In fact, his men may already be following us.”
His brothers all frowned at this truth and then Alick pointed out, “Were she to marry, he would no longer be her guardian with any rights o’er her.”
That thought had occurred to Dougall, but he gave a humorless laugh and asked, “Are ye planning to marry her then?”
“Mayhap I will,” Alick responded, sitting up a little straighter, his chest puffing out. “Certainly, I’d rather wed her than see her returned to Danvries. And bedding her would no’ be a hardship.”
The last comment made Dougall scowl. Bedding her would definitely not be a hardship, but for some reason he didn’t like the idea of Alick being the one to do it, but it was Geordie who said, “The devil ye will! I’m older than ye. If she needs marrying, I’ll be the one to do it.”
“Ye’re only a year older,” Alick snapped. “Besides, no doubt she’d prefer a handsome young man like me to a big brute like yerself.”
“If by handsome and young ye mean puny, mayhap she would,” Geordie growled. “But I’m thinking she’d pick a real man o’er a hairless youth any day.”
“I said it first and if she needs marrying, I’m the one going to do it,” Alick said firmly.
“The hell ye will!” Geordie snarled, standing up threateningly.
“Enough,” Dougall snapped as Alick got to his feet with every appearance of intending on attacking Geordie. “I’ll no’ ha’e ye fighting o’er her like dogs with a bone. And I’ll no ha’e ye shaming the lass with talk o’ her brother’s doings. So sit down and shut yerselves.”
His brothers fell silent and reluctantly sat down again, but they continued to glare at each other and Dougall knew he could expect them to continue the argument at another time. It made him want to knock their heads together. Hell, he wanted to knock their heads together just for suggesting they would marry the lass, though he wasn’t sure why.
If your hero had a sexy-times play list, what song(s) would have to be on it?
Starving, Pillowtalk, Sex on Fire, Hands To Myself
What do you want people to take away from reading this book?
I want my readers to enjoy it so much that they forget everything else, especially any stress they have, and just spend that time relaxing, chuckling and living in the story.
And perhaps readers will feel inspired from Murine’s example and forge ahead even when the odds are ridiculously stacked against them.
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned for 2017?
I just finished writing book #6 in the Highlanders series. Before you ask, yes, the Buchanans are back in this story as well. <G>
Within a week or so I have to start working on the next Argeneau.
Argeneau book #25, Immortal Unchained, is coming out March 28, 2017
Reissue of Bliss , most likely a Summer release
Argeneau book #26, Immortally Yours, is coming out in the fall with a tentative date of September 26th, 2017.
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: Two signed ARC copies of Falling For The Highlander…This giveaway is open internationally.
To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: If you were in Murine’s dire situation, isolated with no one coming to rescue you, would you…
1) Try escaping as she did. A lone lady, riding her pet bull under the very real threat of being robbed, or hurt, or far worse at any time.
Would you leave it up to fate and wait to see if someone rescued you from the clutches of your nefarious half-brother?
Excerpt from Falling For The Highlander:
“Oh, Henry! Fer heaven’s sake ye scared the wits from me. Leave off with yer silly kisses now and let me be.”
Dougall came to a halt. Henry? Kisses? Did the lady Danvries have a lover she’d ridden off on her cow to meet? If so, the man must have followed them and waited until they were distracted to creep up to her. It seemed she was not as innocent as she looked, he thought and was unaccountably disappointed by the knowledge.
Mouth tightening, he started determinedly forward, only to stop a moment later as his torch lit up a scene he’d not soon forget. Lady Danvries lay on her side in the grass, fending off a cow who stood over her, trying to lick her face as if it were a tasty treat. Nay, a bull, he corrected himself dryly as he took note of the horns as the bull stopped trying to lash her with its large tongue and raised its glaring eyes to him.
“Looks like her bull followed us,” Conran commented behind him with amusement and Dougall glanced around to see that all three of his brothers had followed him and were grinning at the sight Lady Danvries made.
“Oh, m’laird.” Lady Danvries scrambled to her feet, clasping one horn of her bull to manage it, then quickly brushed down her skirts before facing him with a pained expression. “I was just . . .” She waved vaguely to the woods, and he thought she might be blushing, though it was hard to tell in this light.
“Rolling about on the ground with yer cow,” he suggested, feeling a smile trying to tug his lips wide.
“Certainly not,” she said with dignity. “Besides, Henry is a bull.” She turned then to caress the beast’s snout as if to soothe any insult he had taken from being called a cow. “I raised him from a bairn. He was small and the stable master did no’ think he’d survive, but I took him into the castle and tended him meself and he is growing into a fine big beast.”
“Are ye mocking us?” Conran asked suddenly, stepping up beside Dougall, irritation on his face.
Lady Danvries frowned slightly. “Nay. I really did raise him meself, and he really is a bull.”
“No’ about the bull, lass. With yer speech,” Dougall said quietly, knowing what had caused Conran’s query. He hadn’t noticed until his brother asked the question, but the woman was speaking with a Scots brogue. Seeing her bewilderment, he explained, “Ye’re English, but mimicking our speech, Lady Danvries.”
Her eyes widened at the suggestion and she drew herself up proudly. “I’m no’ English. And me name is no’ Danvries. Montrose Danvries is me half brother. I’m Lady Murine Carmichael. Me father was Beathan, laird of clan Carmichael.”
“Murine Carmichael?” Conran breathed as if she was one of the world’s finest wonders, a sentiment Dougall completely understood as he realized just who he was staring at.
It was Alick who said, “Our Saidh’s Murine?”
Murine glanced to him sharply. “Saidh Buchanan? Ye ken her?”
“Ken her?” Geordie echoed with amusement. “Aye, ye could say that.”
“We’re her brothers,” Alick announced. “I’m Alick Buchanan, and these are me older brothers Geordie, Conran and Dougall.”
“Oh,” Murine breathed, relief pouring over her face. Her expression then turned to startled alarm, however, when Alick suddenly launched himself forward and grabbed her up in an exuberant hug that lifted her off the ground.
“Thank ye, thank ye, thank ye,” he crooned happily, swinging her around.
“Leave off, Alick. Ye’ll make her dizzy swinging her about like that,” Geordie growled and then stepped up to take his place when Alick set her back down. He too hugged her, lifting her off the ground to do so, but he didn’t swing her about. He merely lifted her up in his arms and probably squeezed the breath out of her as he rumbled, “Thank ye, lass. We can ne’er repay ye fer what ye did fer us.”
“Oh,” Murine repeated weakly, patting Geordie’s back uncertainly and looking confused. She obviously had no idea what the men were thanking her for.
The moment Geordie set her carefully back on her feet, Conran stepped forward to take his place.
“Aye, thank ye,” Conran said and gave her a hug as well, though his was more circumspect. He let her stay on her feet and just gave her a quick, hard hug. “Saidh told us what happened with that harpy who tried to kill Lady Sinclair.”
“Oh!” Murine said with sudden understanding now as Conran released her. Waving away their thanks with one fluttering hand, she mumbled an embarrassed “’Twas nothing.”
“’Twas no’ nothing,” Dougall growled, and rather than hug her, crossed his arms and glared at her for the very suggestion. “Ye saved both Lady Sinclair and our sister when the wench would ha’e killed them. ’Tis a debt we can ne’er repay.”
“But ye already ha’e,” Murine assured him solemnly. “Ye saved me from me brother’s plans fer me. Ye’ve definitely repaid the debt.”
“Nay, lass, ye saved yerself, escaping on that cow o’ yers,” Dougall pointed out with a frown, thinking now that they should have done the saving rather than leave Danvries, and forcing her to save herself. Certainly, they would have had they known who she was. Saidh had told them a lot about the woman standing before them. She hadn’t just saved Saidh’s life, she’d become a dear friend to her as well, and by their sister’s accounts was a fine lady; smart, honorable and brave.
“Aye, all we did was hide ye from yer brother’s men when they came looking,” Conran pointed out with a frown.
“And we’ll continue to do so, will we no’, Dougall?” Alick said excitedly. Without waiting for a response, he continued, “Ye’re safe with us lass. We’ll no’ let that bastard English half brother o’ yers catch and sell ye off like a mare to the first comer.”
Geordie grunted an agreement and assured her, “Yer worries are over. We’ll keep ye safe, will we no’, brother?”
When all three of his brothers turned to him expectantly, Dougall hesitated and frowned. If Danvries was her guardian, he could do with her as he liked. If he found her. The best they could do for her was get her somewhere she might be safe from him. The problem was, Dougall couldn’t think of many places like that. A nunnery came to mind. If she took vows, she would be protected by the church, but it did seem a waste to see a lovely lass like Murine, who was not only pretty, but brave and, according to Saidh, clever, locked away in a church for the rest of her days.
“Dougall?” Conran prompted when he remained silent. “We’ll keep her safe, will we no’?”
Blowing his breath out on a sigh, Dougall nodded reluctantly. He couldn’t in good conscience see her return to Danvries. The man would just use her horribly to gain the coin he lost with his wagers. So they would have to do what they could. First he had a couple of questions he needed answered, though. “Where were ye planning on going when ye fled on yer cow? Do ye ha’e family who might offer refuge?”
“Henry is a bull, no’ a cow,” Murine repeated firmly, and caressed her cow’s nose. The animal immediately tried to lick her hand as if it might be a tasty treat, and Murine smiled crookedly as she avoided the tongue. Glancing to him, she added solemnly, “Thank ye fer bringing him along too. I ken it must ha’e slowed ye down.”
Dougall ignored the nudge Conran gave him and didn’t mention that he’d ordered the bull left behind. The ornery beast had decided to follow them on its own. In truth, Dougall was rather impressed that it had been able to keep up. To prevent one of the men from admitting that, he shifted and gestured back the way they’d come. “Let us all go sit by the fire. Ye can tell us where ye were headed. We’ll escort ye there safely.”
Excerpts. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands welcomes readers back to the Scottish Highlands, where a gallant warrior vows to protect a beautiful runaway . . .
Lady Murine Carmichael has known her share of bad luck. But when her debt-ridden half brother tries to sell her off in exchange for a few Scottish horses, it’s the final straw. If keeping her freedom means escaping through harsh countryside alone, so be it. She has barely begun her journey when she lands an unlikely escort—the brawny Highlander who just refused to buy her virtue.
Dougall Buchanan was disgusted by Lord Danvries’ shameful offer, but Murine tempts him beyond measure. Even bedraggled and dusty, the lass glows with beauty and bravery. Dougall wants to do more than just help her flee. He wants to protect her—with his life and his heart—if she’ll only let him. For Murine may be pursued by a powerful foe, but nothing compares to the fiery courage of a Highlander in love.
Meet the Author:
My name is Lynsay Sands and I’m the author of the Argeneau series and many hysterical historicals (as my readers tend to call them). I have written over fifty books and twelve anthologies, which probably tells you I really enjoy writing. I consider myself very lucky to have been able to make a career out of it.
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