Hi, Babette, thanks so much for hosting me – and Shane and Lydia – today! Shane MacDermott and Lydia Daniels are the hero and heroine of my latest book, Deceptive Hearts, the first book in the Wild Geese Series. They’re a couple who fought the odds and prevailed, proving that with a little trust and honesty, love really does conquer all.
So without further ado, may I present Shane and Lydia?
How did you two first meet?
Shane: Ah, ’twas a memorable day indeed, the afternoon we met. He shoots a sly glance at Lydia. Was it in a ballroom, then, darlin’, and me askin’ yer chaperone for a dance with you?
Lydia smiling: You know very well it was not. You were on one of your protector calls…
Shane: As ye were, yerself, mo aingeal trocaireach…my merciful angel. Gently, he raises her hand to his lips and nuzzles it. Sure, weren’t we both visitin’ Nan Daly, both of us tryin’ to rescue her from the miserable man she married?
Lydia: You mean I was trying to rescue her. You were acting the stern policeman, trying your best to intimidate me.
Shane: Intimidating? Me? A tender laugh. ’Twas yerself who was after bein’ intimidating, with your elegant gown, your fine plumed hat, and those white, cobwebby lace gloves. Why, those gloves would’ve fed a family in the Five Points for a month!
Lydia: Ah, but I had other ways of taking care of those families.
Shane: Aye that you did, my love, that you did.
They gaze at each other for such a long time I begin to feel uncomfortable. There’s so much love and tenderness and longing in their eyes, it positively warms the heart to know they’re so devoted to each other. I hasten to another question.
Did you ever think you would end together?
Shane and Lydia together: Not in a million years!
Shane: Ah, sure, I always knew she was too good for the likes of a poor Irish immigrant—
Lydia: No, it was I who was not good enough for Shane! After everything I’d done—all the lies, the deception—the crimes I committed—
Shane: Sure, ’twas none of it your fault, darlin’. Weren’t you forced to do what you did?
Tears glisten in Lydia’s eyes. Tenderly, she reaches out to stroke Shane’s mouth. And weren’t you the most understanding man in the whole world? You forgave me everything—even the lies I told you.
Shane: ’Twas nothing to forgive, for I knew that you loved me, just as I loved you. He nips at her fingers, and Lydia’s face fills with love. And isn’t your love a grand gift indeed?
What is the greatest gift Lydia’s ever given you, Shane?
Quick as a wink, Shane’s face takes on a mischievous expression. Ah, sure, it has to be her apple pie. Lydia makes the finest apple pie I’ve ever tasted. Everyone says so. And she makes it special just for me. A teasing grin. On a fine autumn evening, when the children are in bed and the fire’s roaring on the hearth, why, we’ll bring a whole pie into the bedroom and…
Shane: What is it, darlin’? He strokes her cheek. Ah, I love the way I can still make you blush. Sure, it’s you’re like the first rose of the summer…
Lydia warningly: Shane…
Shane laughs: All right, darlin, ’tis sorry I am. (Sobering) Ah, I can’t tell a lie to ye. The greatest gift Lydia’s ever given me is her love. Sure, ’tis a prize beyond any price, in this world or the next.
And Lydia? What’s the greatest gift you’ve ever received from Shane?
Lydia: Christmas. Again she blinks back tears, and her voice grows soft. I never had a real Christmas before I met Shane. My childhood was…not a happy one. A tiny shiver, and automatically Shane’s arms slides around her shoulders in silent, loving support. My father was…a cruel man who did not believe in celebration—unless he was celebrating a huge profit. So I learned to do without the celebrations the other girls at school spoke about. Then I met Shane, fell in love with him, agreed to marry him…and my whole world changed.
Shane pressing a gentle kiss to her temple.: And so did mine, mo gráh. My love.
Lydia turns a watery smile in Shane’s direction.: You gave me a Christmas I’ll never forget. A Christmas complete with holly and mistletoe and a huge Christmas tree. A Christmas filled with family and friends. And most of all, you gave me a Christmas full of love.
Shane: Mo aingeal…My angel. You will always have Christmas he kisses her cheek and family another kiss to the tip of her nose and above all, love.
As Shane draws Lydia into a kiss both tender and passionate, it soon becomes clear to me they’ve quite forgotten my existence.
It’s also very clear that, despite their differences, despite the hardship and loss both suffered in the past, despite their mutual deceptions, Shane and Lydia were destined to be together.
Love really does conquer all!
A Giveaway! I’ll be giving away a handmade beaded ribbon bookmark and beaded keychain to one lucky commenter!
For those of you who have met your soul mate, did you know it right away, or did it take a while to get to know them?
…Like the Wild Geese of Old Ireland, five boys grew to manhood despite hunger, war, and the mean streets of New York…
He survived war, and returned to devastation
A hero of the Irish Brigade, Shane MacDermott returned home to New York to find his family decimated and his world shattered.
She risks her life to save the people she loves
Lydia Daniels will risk anything to protect the women she shelters beneath the roof of her elegant Gramercy Park mansion—even if she has to trust the one man who can destroy her.
Shane and Lydia both hide secrets that could destroy them – and put their lives in jeopardy. Can their love overcome their carefully guarded deceptive hearts?
The Atlantic Ocean, Black ’47
The ship Sally Malone bucked and groaned and almost upended him. Shane MacDermott halted in his tracks for the fraction of a second it took to steady himself before he scurried down the crowded passageway.
“Easy there, laddie.” The gap-toothed old man reached out a bony hand to steady him. “These rough seas’ll knock ye off yer feet, sure as the devil.”
Intent on his mission, Shane nodded a brief thanks and hurried on, carefully picking his way through the narrow, crowded aisle, one skeletal arm cupped protectively around the dipperful of warm, brackish water.
“All this rolling and tossing does make walking terrible difficult,” another woman, one of the strange community that had sprung up in this miserable, stinking hole, commiserated.
Shane barely noticed, and didn’t speak. He had to bring the water for Da. Had to help Ma dribble the few drops through his parched lips, praying they might just break the terrible fever that held his father in its deathly grip.
His mother looked up at his approach, a smile lighting her haggard face. Shane looked at her closely and shook his head in sadness. She was that thin a gust of wind could blow her off the ship and away back to the Cove of Cork.
“Ah, my Shane, ‘tis a fine lad ye are.” Ma’s blue, blue eyes, the only bit of color in her pale face, glowed with love as she took the dipper from his trembling hands.
He reckoned they’d been on this dreadful ship for five torturous weeks. Shane collapsed on the narrow wooden bunk, too weary to notice the miasma of vomit, urine and unwashed bodies. His younger brother and baby sister stared vacantly at him.
He gazed into their gaunt faces. They’d left Ireland for a better life in America, but a sudden terrible fear swept over him. Would any of them live to see it?
“Shane.” His mother’s voice penetrated his terror. “Shane, yer da’s askin’ for ye.”
Shane jumped up and hurried to the bunk where his father lay, his burly blacksmith’s frame shrunken, perspiration dotting his waxen forehead.
“Shane.” Da reached out blindly. “Shane, me lad.”
“I’m here, Da.” Struggling to keep his voice steady, Shane clasped his father’s hand as tightly as he could. “I’m here.”
“You’re a good lad, Shane,” his father rasped around his swollen tongue. “Always…helped…me…”
Tears threatened to blind Shane, but he blinked them back furiously and swiped a grimy hand across his nose. He was ten years old now. He wouldn’t let Da see him cry!
He opened his mouth to speak, but all that emerged was a squeak. Da didn’t hear, for he was struggling to speak again.
“Look after them, son,” he begged. His voice, once a hearty boom, was no more than a papery whisper as he struggled against the demon fever. But his dark eyes blazed with passion, searing Shane’s soul. “Look after…yer ma. Look after…the family. Help them…when ye get…to…Amerikay. Keep…them…safe.”
“I will, Da,” Shane vowed fiercely around the strangling lump in his throat. “I promise I’ll look out for Ma and the little ones.”
“Love…ye, lad. Ye’re…me heart’s…pride…”
The tears he could hold back no longer coursed down Shane’s face as he watched his father’s eyes close for the last time.
And Shane MacDermott vowed he’d never—never—let anything harm another person he loved.
Bio: I believe I was destined to be interested in history. One of my distant ancestors, Thomas Aubert, reportedly sailed up the St. Lawrence River to discover Canada some 26 years before Jacques Cartier’s 1534 voyage. Another relative was a 17thCentury “King’s Girl,” one of a group of young unmarried girls sent to New France (now the province of Quebec) as brides for the habitants (settlers) there.
My passion for reading made me long to write books like the ones I enjoyed, and I tried penning sequels to my favorite Nancy Drew mysteries. Later, fancying myself a female version of Andrew Lloyd Weber, I drafted a musical set in Paris during WWII.
A former journalist and lifelong Celtophile, I enjoyed a previous career as a reporter/editor for a small chain of community newspapers before returning to my first love, romantic fiction. My stories usually include an Irish setting, hero or heroine, and sometimes all three. I’m the author of The Claddagh Series, historical romances set in Ireland and beyond. The first three books in The Claddagh Series, In Sunshine or in Shadow, Coming Home, and Playing For Keeps, are all available from Highland Press.Deceptive Hearts, the first book in The Wild Geese Series, has just been released, and Book II, Keeper of the Light, will soon be released from Highland Press.
I am a member of the Romance Writers of America, Hearts Through History Romance Writers, and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers. A lifelong resident of Montreal, Canada, I still live there with my own Celtic hero and our two teenaged children.
You can find Cynthia at:
You can buy Deceptive Hearts at:
The Book Depository: http://www.bookdepository.com/Deceptive-Hearts-Cynthia-Owens/9780985069094