About me…it is always an interesting process I go through when asked to write a blurb about myself. My life is rather normal and in it you would find what you would in almost every other suburban mother’s. So what I’ll put forth today I do so in the hope that it may inspire one or two hopeful writers who have yet to seriously put pen to paper, thinking (like me) that it is not their destiny.
I have never considered myself a writer. I cannot keep a journal, and doubt I would be able to for any serious amount of time even if someone was dangling a large amount of money in front of me. I tried a few times, including after my children were born, saying “just one sentence a day!” and yet even then, I could not manage to incorporate the habit into my life. Besides romance I am a heavy science fiction reader and try to read at least two-three books a month, and after years of being an insatiable reader I was dared to write instead of read one. Now, while I cannot keep a journal, since childhood I have had ideas run through my head and one of my favorite ways to fall asleep is to tell myself a story. So I jumped on the bet and a handful of months later I had my first book. (Now I must quickly interject that for my “day” job I do technical writing and editing so the writing effort was not a foreign one.) I was one of the fortunate ones to get a great agent followed by a contract with Kensington Zebra. (After scribing a good story, the ability to write a compelling query letter and riveting synopsis truly is a key to success.) Since that time I have learned a great deal and now consider myself a functional novice in the romance field.
People ask how my books differ from others in my genre and I really cannot say for that is for others to judge, but I can tell you what I hope to accomplish through my words. All my stories have a theme. My first, The Highlander’s Bride, is a light read that set the premise for the series, exploring personal responsibility. We all have aspects of our lives we feel like we need to shoulder alone, but when you have a partner in life, a miracle occurs and you know longer have to. The second in the series, To Wed a Highlander, focused on pride. How it can strengthen a relationship, but how if left unchecked, can also damage and even destroy love. We all have pride and sometimes we let it stand in the way of getting our heart’s desires. Desiring the Highlander is the third book in the McTiernay series and it centers on promises. We make promises to ourselves and to others. Sometimes out of instinct to protect ourselves from pain, sometimes in revenge, sometimes to ensure someone is protected, helped, etc. Promises, especially long term ones, can affect how we go about our lives and the choices we make. Promises are also something that we need to believe in, trust in, even when circumstances tell us not to. This book explores what promises should you keep and which you should let go…and when.
I have so many favorite scenes in Desiring the Highlander it is often hard to pick one when asked. This book makes you laugh and sigh and bite your bottom lip throughout. The whole trip back from England cracks me up. (Oh to be humble…) I think I see me in that situation. Trying unsuccessfully to “make” a man do what I want, then having the feeling of euphoria when I best him. The two river scenes are also tons of fun. But, probably the one that emotionally gets to me, is the scene in the chapel. “Cole and I have strong personalities, and if we are to work, we must be friends. The best kind of friends. We need to know that when things happen, there is at least one person whom we can count on—each other. It’s the greatest gift we can give to each other.” It is easier to write, than to do. But oh, what better relationships we would have if all of us could live these words.
Take care and I hope you have tons of fun reading the book, for I certainly enjoyed writing it. If you want, go to my site (www.michelesinclair.com) and drop me a line on what you think.
About the Desiring the Highlander
Set in the early 14th century Scottish Highlands, Desiring the Highlander is the story of the third McTiernay brother, Cole, who saves Ellenor Howell, an Englishwoman haunted by a horrible mistake, from a lonely life, only to realize it is she who needs to rescue him.
Ellenor Howell’s perfect world unraveled in one terrifying night and she vows to piece together a new future, one that is safe and far from the reach of any man. Attempts to marry her off have failed and she is weeks away from fleeing England and her nightmares, when a hulking giant arrives, determined to take her to his brother’s home. With each ploy she devises to escape her captor, the infuriating Highlander is one step ahead, and her desire to leave the safety of his arms wanes. For inexplicably, whenever the man is around, her fear of being touched disappears and she remembers what is like to be wild and carefree. She wants her freedom, but with each minute that passes in the scowling Highlander’s presence, Ellenor begins to realize that what she really wants is the one thing she can’t have…his heart.
Cole has good reason to despise Ellenor Howell. She is not only English and someone he is honor bound to hate, but she is proud of it. She is also aggravating, stubborn, and enjoys challenging everything he says or does. It should have made it simple for him to stay away. Instead, he finds himself drawn to her, as she continually understands him in ways no one else does. But as he helps free her from the memories of her past, his desire for the tawny-haired beauty grows, and he rediscovers pieces of his soul he thought forever dead. As their time together draws to an end, he must make a choice…forsake a solemn promise he made long ago committing him to a solitary life, or make a new one to his sworn enemy who has the power to open his heart and heal his wounds with love.
About the Author
Michele Sinclair is an award-winning author. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and of the Georgia Romance Writers. In addition to writing romance novels, she builds large HO model trains, loves to boat and jet ski, and decorates everything she can during the Christmas season. She lives in suburban Atlanta, GA.
Leave a comment for Michele as she is giving away a book of the winner's choice to three lucky winners. They can choose from either Book 1, 2 or 3. Each winner will also receive signed covers of all three books. Winners will be announced at the end of the week.
DESIRING THE HIGHLANDER by Michele Sinclair
Cole felt the looming tentacles of a trap. He had suspected one the moment Laurel had managed to finagle his promise without disclosing exactly what he had been sent to retrieve. He had sensed it again when the baron had his men ride after him, beckoning his return. Never, however, did Cole dream the nature of the trap to be the kicking disaster being coerced towards him.
It was a woman, or what looked like had been a woman at one time. Her long chestnut colored hair had been unwashed and unattended for days, if not weeks, and was a nightmarish concoction of tangles. The once deep emerald green gown she wore was covered in dirt smudges and frayed along the hems.
The sound of a new rip along one arm echoed across the small courtyard as she fought her captors. The woman was struggling for her freedom with all her might. Even now, Cole could see blood dripping from her nails as she clawed the cheek of one the men dragging her.
As she neared, her eyes darted everywhere looking for any possibility of escape. The woman hated her captors, but clearly did not want new ones.
Cole watched expressionless as the frustrated guards tugged her to his mount’s side. He gazed down as the woman shook loose the soldiers’ hold. Her defiant posture, her dress, the condition of her arms and hands...she appeared to be quite mad. Then, she looked up, and as if caught in some spell, her dark green and gold eyes held his blue ones.
Her face was filthy, but it did not conceal the collection of well-defined features. A soft lower lip slightly fuller than the upper was stretched into a scowl that held both fear and audacity. Framed in deep brown lashes, eyes too large for her face were tight with strain and lack of sleep. A sudden gust of wind whipped at her clothing and hair. The few brown tendrils not tied in unwashed knots danced across her face, but she refused to brush them away.
Whatever game she was playing, she had been playing it for a long time. The woman was many things, but she was not crazy. She was as sane as he and every other person present.
Cole glanced at Donald, who was staring wide-eyed at the woman’s back. The look in her eyes when she had been dragged between them had been borderline maniacal.
Believing her act to be true, Donald shifted his gaze to the baron. “What have you done to this woman?”
The moment Donald spoke, the female hissed and leaped to attack but before she could inflict injury, Cole reached down and grabbed her hands firmly but not painfully in his grasp. She thrashed only for a moment and then stopped. With his long arm outstretched, she could not reach him or his horse with her kicks. Her jaw tightened, and she flicked him an icy look that he suspected could chill many a man. But her quick acceptance of the situation reinforced Cole’s suspicions.
“No one did anything to her,” Ainsley answered and threw a bag to Donald who easily caught the bulky item. “She is my wife’s younger sister. After her father’s death, she became deranged. No one knows why. Those are her things, at least the ones my wife tells me were important to her at one time.” Swallowing, Ainsley wiped his hands on his tunic and said, “Good bye, Ellenor. Gilda would be here to wish you well, but I thought it would be too hard on her. She does love you.”
Cole watched the woman’s eyes narrow with fury before she spat on the ground. No, madness did not swirl in those large hazel depths--hatred did.
For several seconds, Cole observed in hidden amusement as she threw rapier glances at baron, causing him to shrink under her stare. Then, she turned her eyes towards him, assessing him as if he were a new challenge. “Leave, Scot, while you can. For you don’t want me. No man does.”
Without breaking his gaze, Cole reached behind him and yanked free the leather strip that had been holding back his hair. He wrapped it around her wrists. “Aye, in that you are right.”
The woman’s expression turned to one of outrage as he cinched the knot. In one smooth upward movement, she attempted to crack her fists against his jaw, but Cole was far more agile than she had anticipated.
“Damn you,” she hissed.
Cole captured her chin between his thumb and forefinger, raising it. “Can’t condemn a man who has already been damned. And know this now, babag, I hit back.”
Her defiant eyes glittered with anger, and for an instant, Cole felt his pulse race. She wasn’t afraid of him. It was rare to look a woman in the eye and not see the urge to flee reflected back at him. There was a significant amount of fear churning in the dark green depths, but he was not its cause.
He abruptly released his hold and she lost her footing. With her hands bound, she could not reach out and soften her landing. Donald instinctively grabbed her shoulders and tried to help her stand upright again. The second he touched her, she started screaming and jerking wildly. The more she thrashed, the tighter Donald’s grip became.
Cole nodded to Donald, who hesitated for a moment and then let go. The instant she was free, she turned and nailed Donald in the groin, and then flew to Cole’s side like a wild creature seeking refuge.
Donald grabbed his horse’s mane to keep from keeling over in agony. “Insane bitch,” he grunted, “you will pay for that mistake.”
Stupefied that any woman would attack a man twice her size, Jaime nodded in agreement and then added, “Starting with being tied to the back of my horse.”
Cole signaled Jaime to remain seated. Couldn’t either of them see she was terrified? And now Cole knew why. The woman hadn’t been feigning madness to annoy the baron, she did it to keep him and his men away.
He looked down at her huddled form hovering near his leg. She was scared of everyone. Everyone except him.
Without taking the time to explore why she had selected him for protection, Cole reached down and hauled her thin frame onto the section of saddle between his groin and the pommel. He could feel her back stiffen as he squeezed her tightly so that she couldn’t speak. He yanked out his broadsword and pointed it at the baron. “Do not look to Scotland again to solve your problems. If you do, you shall be doing it at the end of a blade.”
Grabbing his horse’s reins, Cole swung his mount around and entered the forest enveloping the Cheviot Hills and the keep. The woman grabbed the mane of his horse to steady herself and looked back at him. He thought for a moment she was going to beg to be returned, but instead she pointed her finger at the nervous baron behind him and shouted, “May you and my sister go to hell!”
“Be silent,” Cole ordered, as he began to weave in and out the trees.
Ellenor straightened her shoulders. “Or what? You’ll make me walk?”
“Considering how bad you smell, that suggestion has its advantages, but I would rather endure your stench than stay any longer on English soil. So that leaves...”
“Do not pass me off to one of your men,” Ellenor spat. Her eyes sought his, seeking reassurance but also warning him of the hell she would bring if he tried to make her ride with anyone else.
“Gagging,” Cole clarified. “I will gag you, babag, until we reach our destination. Be silent and don’t tempt me further.”
He glanced down at her to make sure she understood. Hot, furious tears brimmed in her eyes. “My name is Ellenor. Ellenor Howell,” she said through clenched teeth, ignoring his warning.
For a brief moment, Cole thought she might have understood his Gaelic insult for her hazel eyes had flashed bright green with recognition and pain. But then her expression turned cold as she issued him a challenging smile. Gesturing to the horizon just becoming visible between the tree limbs, she snickered, “Your precious homeland is beyond those large hills, and the sun will soon set. So I hope you can ride as well as I reek, Scot.”
Then with the skill of someone who had ridden horses all her life, she swung a leg over the horse’s neck and sat on the saddle astride, reducing their physical contact.
Her regal defiance surprised him, and Cole found himself intrigued. She was unpredictable, spirited, and most of all...a survivor. He had seen it in her eyes. This woman had endured pain and persevered.
He met her smile with one of his own. “Are you challenging me, lass?” he laughed and flicked the reins. “Because I do love a challenge.”