Willa Blair, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. We're excited to interview your character, Ellie MacKyrie from the book, Highland Seer.
Genre: Scottish Historical Paranormal Romance
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Cover artist: Tina Lynn Stout
Length: 324 pages
Heat rating: Spicy
Tagline: The Seer believes he'll save her clan, but Donal MacNabb will be no one's pawn.
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.
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."
Interview with Ellie MacKyrie
Tell us about yourself.
I am the laird of clan MacKyrie. Female lairds are rare in Scotland's history, but not unheard of.
Tell us about Donal MacNabb:
Donal is...was...the arms master to Clan Lathan, his adopted home. He rarely smiles, so he can be intimidating. He's a master swordsman. A teacher. My rock. He...a man...appeared in several dreams. The man I Saw might have been someone else, aye, but the more time I spent around Donal, the more certain I became. He had the skills my clan needed most, and he...appealed...to me as no other.
What do you think is your greatest strength?
I will do what is necessary for the good of my people.
What would Donal MacNabb say is your greatest strength?
I go after what I want and dinna take 'nay' for an answer. As he has learned.
What would Donal say is your biggest weakness?
That I'm too soft-hearted. It's hard for me to make some of the decisions a laird must make. Then again, I suppose some decisions are hard for anyone to make.
What do you wish was different about your life?
Had ye asked me before I met Donal, I wouldha wished that Flodden never happened. That my clan remained as it was before all those deaths, my father and brothers still alive. I would still wish for that, but I would also wish for Donal to be at my side. We were decimated by the loss of our fighting men at Flodden in 1513. MacKyrie consists of women, children, and a few old men and lads. Few would know of our existence, except for the whisky we make, but our neighbors have had their eyes on the clan's holdings - and me - since Flodden. The Lathans brought a treaty promising assistance from nearby clans, but also committing MacKyrie to provide the same, which we were in no position to do. I saw the Lathan treaty as a two-edged sword that could work for us or very much against us. Donal's presence, and the men from the treaty clans he has brought to us, help to even the odds.
What is it like for a woman to be laird?
I canna speak for women who lead other clans, only for MacKyrie. It has been...difficult...challenging...since our men left to fight with the King. Our clan's only survivor, actually a fosterling from anther clan, brought us the awful news, then disappeared a few months after his return, consumed by his shock and grief. I doubt he still lives. The few warriors my father left behind have been lost in skirmishes with the neighbors. The main thing that has saved us thus far is that the neighboring lairds are wary of each other. Should one invade MacKyrie, the others wouldna be far behind, and they'd fight like dogs over the scraps of our home. But it isna all bad. My people are my treasure, and have supported me in every way. We've made much progress, more so since the Lathans arrived, but there's still much to do.
Some men claim that a woman can not be a successful laird.
A woman canna be a laird, ye say? Of course she can. She can even lead her warriors in battle, if she's trained for it. And Queens have ruled Scotland. But a woman must maintain her authority through craft, wit, and respect more than strength. She must have allies.
How does your Sight work?
I dream, rarely clearly. I may See only a brief glimpse. Or the dream may last a while, but as dreams do, make little sense when I awake. Some dreams come to me more than once. Those, especially, I must heed.
What advice would you offer other women thrust into positions of responsibility and power?
As I said, a woman must have allies. No matter how secure her position within her clan, she will be beset by outsiders, and possibly from within her own clan. Some men will pursue advantage by any means, fair or foul. Most women cannot defeat a man in a physical battle unless she is very skilled or very lucky, so she must have champions who will fight for her. She must be able to command respect. But a woman walks a fine line between being perceived as a strong leader and a shrew. So she must also nurture her people and protect whatever it is that comprises the wealth of her clan. Many men believe that marriage conveys the lairdship upon them. That isna the case, but If she is very lucky, she will find a man to stand beside her, to be her strong arm, her rock and her comfort. As Donal is for me.
About the Author
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.
Highland Healer (Highland Talents #1)
Books Coming Soon
The Healer's Gift (A Highland Talents Novella) And Highland Troth (Highland Talents #3)
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