Please welcome my fellow Wild Rose Press author Willa Blair!
Whisky, or uisge beatha, Gaelic for water of life, has been a part of Scottish culture for centuries. Why am I telling you about a Scotch whisky? Because whisky plays an important role in HIGHLAND SEER, the second book in my Highland Talents Scottish romance series. This story takes place in 1517, four years after the disastrous battle at Flodden Fields where Scotland’s King James IV died along with most of his nobles, clan chiefs. and their heirs. Before his death, James IV enjoyed strong spirits.
The Scotch Whisky Association says that the earliest record of distilled spirits in Scotland occurred in 1494. But it’s likely that spirits were being distilled long before they were noted in the tax rolls. The quality may not have been up to today’s standards, but even hundreds of years ago, whisky was produced for medicinal purposes as well as for enjoyment in everything from small family stills to larger operations at priories.
To impart additional complexity to the whisky’s flavor, a key part of the distillation process, then and now, involves aging the raw spirit in oak casks that were previously used for aging bourbon or sherry. Most of those valuable casks came from France. It’s not too much of a stretch to think that larger Scottish distillers also acquired parts they could not make for their stills from France. Scotland has a long history of association with France, thanks to the Auld Alliance, a pact signed in 1295 for protection against England.
In HIGHLAND SEER, the MacKyrie clan is unusual for many reasons, but one is that their wealth has come principally from their distillery, run for them by a defrocked friar. When the distillery is threatened and Donal MacNabb finally understands what Ellie MacKyrie has accomplished to save her damaged clan, his resistance to remaining with her falters as his respect grows. Ellie uses her clan’s whisky to break down Donal’s walls and persuade him to see her as the woman she is – the woman he cannot live without. A lot depends on the MacKyrie whisky!
Do you drink modern single-malt Scotch whisky? Which is your favorite?
Highland Seer Blurb:
Donal MacNabb is loyal to his adopted Lathan clan, yet he resents being a pawn in their treaty negotiations with the struggling MacKyries. The MacKyrie clan needs his skills as an arms master, but its Laird is bartering for more than Donal is prepared to give.
Ellie MacKyrie knows the Lathan treaty will help protect her clan from the neighbor determined to seize her holdings any way he can—including forcing her into marriage. But she has another reason to want the Lathan alliance. She has Seen the stubborn Donal MacNabb reaching for her in her dreams.
While Donal fights to save a clan in trouble, his desire for the MacKyrie Seer wars with his obligation to his Laird. Before she is forced into a marriage that will destroy her clan, Ellie must find the heart behind Donal’s gruff exterior and convince him he is the man of her dreams.
Highland Healer Blurb:
HE NEEDS HER FOR HIS CLAN.
HE WANTS HER FOR HIMSELF.
CAN HE HAVE BOTH?
Toran Lathan never expected to become Laird, and never expected to meet a woman like Aileana Shaw. Her healing ability is just what his people need, but Toran cannot resist her beauty. Yet will loving him destroy her ability to heal?
Aileana Shaw has a healing touch – and a special talent she must keep secret. Stolen from her home by a marauding army, she’s kidnapped again by the Highland Laird she heals. Is she a prize of war, or the prize of his heart?
While Toran battles the invading lowland army, he also battles his desire for Aileana. And Aileana must decide if she can trust her secrets to this fierce warrior who needs her talent, but wants her love.
Highland Seer Excerpt:
She swallowed and licked her lips. “Ye are the man I need, Donal.”
He didn’t flinch, but his eyes narrowed again. “Do ye, now? Has yer Sight shown ye this?” Quick as a viper, he uncrossed his arms and grabbed hers, lifting her onto her toes. His lips waited a whisper away from her mouth, taunting her. “Are ye certain that’s all ye need me for, Ellie? Is that why ye came to my chamber?”
Startled, she shoved against his chest. She had as much success as pushing against a fire-warmed granite wall. He didn’t resist, didn’t shake her, merely stood, as if waiting for her to decide what she would do. As if he held all his power leashed, under tight control. His breath on her lips fanned the flames in Ellie’s face. Her heart thudded as his chest muscles flexed beneath her fingers. “Nay. Aye.” She pushed again with one fist, torn between making him release her and making him listen. “Nay!”
He let go of her suddenly. Ellie nearly fell as she lost the support of his grip. He steadied her, then released her again and moved toward the door.
“I’m sorry, lass. I shouldna done that.” He spread his fingers, then clenched them into a fist. “Yer touch…ye make me forget my place.”
Willa Blair is the best-selling and award-winning author of Scottish romance with a paranormal twist, set in the 16th century Highlands, when the old ways, and old talents, still shaped events.
She always wished she had several psi talents, such as reading her husband’s mind, cleaning house by simply thinking about it, and flying. But alas, no. So she endows her historical romance characters with special talents and lives vicariously through them. She loves reading and writing romance novels set in the past, present and future.
She realized her life-long dream of becoming an author after retiring from her day job to write, travel, and enjoy life. Married to her own military hero golf fanatic, she lives in the Texas Hill Country north of San Antonio where she writes, feeds hummingbirds year-round and has too many hobbies to count.
You can find Willa at:
Website and Blog: www.willablair.com
You can find Highland Seer at:
You can find Highland Healer at:
The Wild Rose Press (Paperback & eBook): http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=177_139&products_id=5086
Amazon: (Kindle): http://amzn.com/B009KBFSKW