Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!
I live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and love every minute of it. There is nothing better than living in a small town where everyone knows you. Of course, that doesn’t leave a lot of room for privacy. But, those are the trade-offs.
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
Her Scottish Rogue was so much fun to write. It normally takes six to twelve months for me to complete a book. Her Scottish Rogue was finished in one month! One month! The characters burst onto the page, knew what was to happen, and challenged me to keep up with them. What a great ride that was.
How do you create your characters?
I generally start with a basic story idea and everything else takes shape around it. I love seeing who will show up once the plot begins to form. Some characters arrive with a full plotline while others are small kernels ready to sprout into whatever is needed.
What inspires you?
I find myself thinking about a book I’ve read and wondering what would happen if the character did this? Or, what if the plot had gone this way instead of how it was written?
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)
I switch back and forth between my laptop and desktop. I generally use the desktop during the day and the laptop at night as I unwind from the day. Of course, I have been found on my deck, staring at the distant mountains with my laptop on my lap.
How do you get your ideas for writing?
Ideas can come from anywhere. The trick is to know when to pay attention and when to let your imagination have full rein. The best results come from having just the right amount of each.
What do you like to read?
I love a good romance, especially historical. And to be honest, I prefer to be led, directed, and teased by the author opposed to having every detail written on the page. When an author refuses to give you every detail, they encourage the reader to bring their imagination into the story. Imagination always enhances reality.
What would your advice be for authors or aspiring in regard to writing?
Enjoy yourself, write what you like to read, and find a good critique partner. This person needs to be someone who is honest with you but encouraging. They also need to be insightful and have a good understanding of writing technique. Most of all, they should be your biggest cheerleader and able to talk you in off the ledge when you want to scrap your current wip along with your entire career.
Wren Taggart is no lady. Her life consists of kitchen duties at Newcastle Inn. Mistaken for Lady Anne, the illegitimate daughter of England’s Prince Regent, she is kidnapped and forced to marry a man who cares nothing for her or for Britain. Deception and lies is the only way for her to return home. But when her heart softens toward her new husband, she fears she will lose more than the life she’s known.
Scottish born, Beckett Montgomery is no lord. The bastard son of a nobleman, he despises everyone and everything British. To restore a family name and fortune he doesn’t want, he must convince all of Longton nobility and England’s Prince Regent that he is the honorable Sir Lacey, and the rightful heir to Longton Castle.
When a murderer targets women who bear a resemblance to Wren, Beck must choose between returning home to Scotland and protecting the woman he’s come to love.
Beck glared first at his wife and then his brother. Wren had rushed past the door to the study only moments ago, not stopping when he’d called her name. He’d watched her from the window to see where she ran in such a rush. Baron’s horse was hitched to the front of the barn and he looked as though he prepared to leave without saying a word to anyone. Did Wren intend to have him escort her back to Newcastle?
“Will neither of you answer my question?” Beck demanded again.
Baron flicked a glance from Beck to Wren and then shrugged.
“Your lovely wife and I were having a small chat. Isn’t that right, Lady Anne? Now that we’re finished, I’ll be on my way.” He walked to a table and began tossing things from the surface. “Where’s my whisky bottle?” His body straightened and his eyes lit up. He reached his hand and pulled a bottle from behind a pile of soiled rags. “Ah. Tis not whisky, but rum. Even better. A gentleman’s drink.” He pulled the stopper from the opening and tipped the bottle. Amber liquid spilled into his mouth and splashed down his chin. Finished, he wiped the back of his hand across his lips.
“Ah, my manners.” He rubbed the opening with the palm of his hand and then shot his arm toward Wren. “Ladies first.”
Beck swung his arm wide. The cracking blow caught Baron under his chin. The rum bottle soared into the air, breaking against the wall. Beck didn’t wait for him to steady himself. He threw himself forward, catching his brother around the neck, and dragging him to the floor.
“You had everything, you spoilt whelp of a jackal, and you do na ken enough to treat a lady with respect,” Beck ground through his teeth. He hauled Baron to his feet, and steadied him for another blow.
Baron punched upward, his fists striking under Beck’s ribs, first with one hand and then the other. Beck’s breath rushed from his lungs, and he doubled over. Wheezing, he watched for the next blow.
“Spoilt whelp, am I? You stinking, Scottish bas––”
Already bent forward, Beck didn’t wait for him to finish his slur. He rushed forward, hitting his brother low in the gut and shoving him backward. Knocking him over a feed bale, the two men soared through the air, tumbling backward and then rolling into an empty stall. Beck scrambled to his feet and sat atop his sibling. He swung his arms, aiming for anything solid. Muscular legs wrapped around his head, hauling him backward. Baron twisted out from under him, sprang to his feet, and flew at him, his hands spread wide.
Movement silhouetted the door opening, and Beck glanced over his brother’s shoulder and then charged forward. Sir Lacey stood next to Wren, calmly taking in his sons’ behaviors. A slight flicker of approval lit his da’s face. Did he enjoy seeing his offspring at each other’s throats? If he did, he would…
A wooden crate shattered across Beck’s side. He stumbled sideways, grunting loudly.
“What the… are your fists no good enough for you, whelp? You have to pick up a weapon?” Beck asked, regaining his balance.
“Sir Lacey, you must stop them. They’ll kill each other,” Wren shouted from the front of the barn.
Why dinna she return to the castle? A bonnie brawl wasna anything for a lass to witness, and God knew he needed to work off his anger. He’d become enraged thinking Wren might leave him. What better way to take out his angst then with a friendly scrap with his brother?
Beck turned his gaze to Baron. His brother was hunched forward, and clutching his side. His cheek was beginning to swell, and a dark circle formed under his eye. Other than the way he held his hand, he looked ready for a second round of fisticuffs. A crooked smile formed beneath his glare. He launched himself forward, and Beck extended his arm, flattening his brother’s nose. Dazed, Baron’s eyes crossed and his body swayed like a hawk in a windstorm. Blood flowed down his face as he reached for a nearby wall. He touched his hand to his lip and looked at the blood.
“Damn barbarian,” he sneered. He wiped the red liquid on his pant leg. “My nose is my best feature. Now you’ve broken it.”
“The break gives you character, something you sorely need,” Beck sneered.
“You’ve hated me your entire life.” Baron swung a rake handle, its aim in line with Beck’s head. Beck’s eyes widened, and he ducked.
“And with good cause, you arrogant fop. You had everything, and you squandered it all. You care for nothing but yourself. Swine.”
Beck caught Baron in the chest and shoved him against the wall. Baron drew his knee up, hard and fast, catching Beck between the legs. His body jerked, and he moaned. Holding to his groin, he fell to the floor.
“It’s mine to squander,” Baron shouted. He stood over Beck, breathing hard, but momentarily out of harm’s way. “Or is that why you’re here? You’re interested in securing an inheritance.”
He stomped past Beck. Nearly out of reach, Beck’s arm shot sideways, and he grabbed Baron’s ankle, wrenching his brother’s leg backward. Baron flapped his arms, searching for something to break his fall, but thudded to the ground. Dust and hay wafted up around them. On hands and knees, Beck scurried up to him. He grabbed hold of his shirt, yanked his body up, and glared down at him.
“You have nothing I want, you or Sir Lacey. The only reason I’m here is to clean up your mess, whelp.”
“That’s too bad,” Baron said, dangling from his brother’s grasp. “Because I want something from you.”
Beck paused, and then shoved Baron back on the ground. He rested his hand on his thigh. Breathing heavily, he glanced to his side. His da and Wren no longer waited at the door. It was good that they’d left. With the direction the skirmish seemed to be taking, it might be wise that neither of them heard what they discussed.
He looked through the hay-infused air to his brother. His fight was more than an opportunity to work off spent up tension. Although he didn’t know what Baron wanted, he doubted he’d be willing to give him anything.
“What could I possibly have that would mean anything to you? You were raised with everything you wanted. You were respected by all your peers. I worked, and fought, for the little respect I could force out of people. Only to later learn that it was fear that I saw in their faces, not regard. They never saw me as anything more than a bastard. So I ask you again, brother. What could I possibly have to give you envy?”
Beck fell to his backside and leaned against the front of a stall. Baron watched him closely, and then pushed himself to a seated position.
“I want the one thing I could never have,” Baron said. “My father’s love.”
Beck’s chest heaved and then relaxed. He lifted his gaze. Dark brown hair covered his eyes.
Baron pushed himself opposite of Beck and leaned against an inside wall. “Our father provided me with a castle to live in, servants to tend to my every whim, money to buy everything I wanted.” He threw his hands forward, pushing away his explanation. “You have no idea what it’s like to try to win a person’s favor, knowing all the while you were being compared to. . . you.” Baron drew his legs up and rested his arms on his knees. “Father never said it, but in his eyes, I could see him weigh my measure against yours, and always, in the balance was you. All my efforts were for naught. I can’t fight a ghost, brother, and you weren’t here for me to best. He may have given me everything, but you were the son he wanted, the son I could never be.”
Beck crawled to his feet, and then offered his hand to Baron. “Whether we like it or no, we’re more alike than either of us want to admit.”
“But I’m better looking,” Baron said, standing to his feet.
“You were better looking,” Beck said, swatting Baron’s broken nose.
“Ow,” Baron howled. “Did you have to hit me square in the face?”
“I thought you’d duck.”
Both men laughed. Beck wrapped his arm around Baron’s shoulders. “Do na forget, Sir Lacey,” Beck said, teasing the younger man. “I’m a barbarian, but you envy me.”
Baron looked up at him, admiration beaming upward. “Not any more. Now, I respect you.”