Tuesday, August 2, 2016

**SPOTLIGHT, GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY** Every Time With a Highlander by Gwyn Cready

 Every Time with a Highlander
Series: Sirens of the Scottish, #3
Author: Gwyn Cready
Pubdate: August 2nd 2016
ISBN: 9781492601999

Third in the Sirens of the Scottish Borderlands series from Gwyn Cready, the “master of time travel romance” (Booklist)

She can work her magic on any man

In a quest to bring peace to her beloved Scottish borderlands, fortune-teller and spy Undine Douglas agrees to marry a savage English colonel. Desperate to delay the wedding long enough to undermine the army’s plans, Undine casts a spell to summon help and unexpectedly finds herself under the imperious gaze of the handsome and talented Michael Kent, twenty-first century British theater director.

But in this production, he commands the action

Though he abandoned acting years ago, Michael will play whatever part it takes to guard Undine’s safety—he’s used to managing London’s egocentric actors and high-handed patrons, after all. But not even Shakespeare could have foreseen the sparks that fly when the colonel’s plans force Undine and Michael into the roles of their lifetimes.

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Guest Post with Gwyn Cready

My Favorite Scene from Every Time with a Highlander and Why

The thing about writing time travel is that you spend a lot of time thinking about time—how people stretch it, waste it, bide it, take it, race against it, and run out of it. Time travel novels just exaggerate what already exists in our lives. Will we have enough time to do what we need to do? Do we feel like we’re in the wrong place at the wrong time? Will we long for a time that’s lost to us? The hero in Every Time with a Highlander, a handsome Brit named Michael Kent, feels like he’s out of time. He’s in his late 40s, older than your average romance hero. He’s been in theater all his life, rising from supporting actor to actor to star to director. In fact, he runs the Rose, Britain’s National Theatre, after having saved it from certain bankruptcy. He’s talented, smart, funny, and a good boss, but he’s grown exasperated with the self-centeredness of actors and actresses. He’s seen it all and done it all, and he wants to retire to a Barcelona and sip wine in a café while he re-reads Dickens.

Fortunately for him, life—and a spellcaster in seventeenth century Scotland named Undine—have a different idea. Undine is deeply opposed to the havoc the English army is wreaking in the borderlands. Her driving wish is to undermine the plans of the cruel and violent man who leads that army—a man she has contrived to become engaged to. She believes she can hold him at bay while she looks for information that may help those who seek peace. However, she’s underestimated his desire to marry her, and when he informs her they will be married at once, she needs help fast. Her spell pulls Michael right out of a performance of Romeo and Juliet, where he’s had to step into the part of Friar Laurence for an absent actor, to his great irritation.

I love the scene where Michael first finds himself in a strange place in a strange time. The “OMG, Where Am I?” scene is always a lot of fun to write. Tossed into a world he can neither recognize nor explain, the true character of a protagonist emerges. In this case, Kent is unnerved, but being particularly self-possessed, he moves quickly from shock to irritation.

“Is he capable of marrying us?” the man she’d called her fiancé asked, dubious.

“I should think so,” the woman said. “It’s woven into the burlap.”

In a remote place in Michael’s head, at a distance from the panic which had seized control of his cerebellum, the amusement in her words cut him. He may not be the most rehearsed Friar Laurence who ever walked the stage, but was certainly no reason to impugn the character’s inner nobility.

“Then let him do it.” The man’s exasperation was growing. “You’re still willing, aren’t you, my love? Even without a proper bishop?”

“Most willing.” She smiled sweetly, but Michael saw the falsehood even if her fiancé did not. “Are we not in need of witnesses, though?” she added.

The man growled. “They were behind me a moment ago. Let me find them.” He strode out.

Perhaps this was a dream—a dream conflating all the Shakespeare and Farquar and Marlowe Michael had ever done—with a generous helping of Wicked thrown in. Then it came to him. The potion he’d drunk. The one Friar Laurence was supposed to give to Juliet.

He willed his fingers open and looked at his quaking palm.

A hand snatched the empty bottle away.

“Wake up,” the woman said in a razor-sharp whisper, and now he realized the voice he’d heard just as the ground beneath him had begun to rattle had been hers. “Listen carefully. I called you here for one reason. Keep that blackguard from marrying me or I shall shrivel your man parts like dates in the Barbary sun.” She stashed the bottle in her bodice and turned, smiling, to greet her fiancé as he returned with two footmen, straight out of Moliere.

Michael felt as if a blast furnace had scorched him from brows to sandals. He also felt his indignation grow. No one threatened Michael’s man parts, certainly not in a theater—even if this wasn’t exactly a theater, or a play, or even a space he remotely recognized.

“Are you ready?” the man said.

Michael held up a finger. “Actually, I’m not.”

He felt rather than heard the woman’s exhale of relief.

“Your fiancée was just telling me how truly eager she is to begin life as your wife,” Michael said. “However, she has made me aware of a few, well, shall we say blemishes upon her conscience, and I know she wishes to unburden herself before the happy marriage bed is consummated.”

The man blinked. “Undine…my fiancé…wishes to confess?”

Undine, was it? Like the water fairy in Giraudoux’s play? More like Ursula in The Little Mermaid.

“I most certainly do not,” she said, eyes flashing.

“No?” Michael shrugged. “Well then, let us proceed apace with the ceremony. Good sir, do you have the Book of Common Prayer?”

“Wait,” Undine said.

Michael turned, triumphant. “Aye?”

“I might have something to confess, after all,” she said with an iron glare.

About the author

 Gwyn Cready is a writer of contemporary, Scottish, and time travel romance. She’s been called “the master of time travel romance” and is the winner of the RITA Award, the most prestigious award given in romance writing. She has been profiled in Real Simple and USA Today, among others. Before becoming a novelist, she spent 25 years in brand management. She has two grown children and lives with her husband on a hill overlooking the magical kingdom of Pittsburgh.


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