Thursday, November 8, 2018

Today's Special - - Vanessa Kelly





I'm happy to host one of my favorite authors today and especially excited because it's in celebration of her new book, The Highlander Who Protected Me. I have to say, I really do love that cover! Vanessa Kelly introduced her Kendrick brothers in her last book and I am all in with this fiercely loyal, somewhat dysfunctional, rowdy, but loving, group of highlanders just begging for happy endings. Welcome back, Vanessa!








Make ‘Em Laugh
Vanessa Kelly

Hi, everyone, and my thanks to PJ for hosting me. The Romance Dish is one of my favorite places on the world-wide-interweb, and I love being here!

I’m particularly thrilled to be celebrating the release of THE HIGHLANDER WHO PROTECTED ME, the first book in my new Scottish historical romance series. The series features the brawny and sometimes rambunctious brothers of the Kendrick Clan, who were first introduced in THE HIGHLANDER'S PRINCESS BRIDE (Improper Princesses 3).

THE HIGHLANDER WHO PROTECTED ME is Royal and Ainsley’s book. For me, it’s very close to what authors call “the book of the heart.” Both Royal and Ainsley are emotionally wounded—Royal, from his wartime experiences, Ainsley, from the result of an assault. But they are fierce survivors, each of them battling the circumstances and people trying to hold them back. I love these two because they never, ever give up—even when they’re fighting with each other! And I also have to admit I cried more while writing this story than with any of my other books.

So, THE HIGHLANDER WHO PROTECTED ME has lots of
feels but it has quite a bit of humor, too. Over the years, I’ve discovered that much of the humor in my books comes from secondary characters. In this book, it’s Royal’s grandfather, Angus. He’s an old-school Highlander curmudgeon who was first introduced in THE HIGHLANDER’S PRINCESS BRIDE, and he’s been trying to take over the series ever since (I’ve had a few stern discussions with him about that). Angus is crusty as heck, but he’s devoted to his family and clan, and will do anything to protect them—including insulting Ainsley on a regular basis, since he’s absolutely convinced she’s not good enough for his grandson. Ainsley being Ainsley, she doesn’t take it lying down, and the two have a fairly lively relationship.

And let me just say that Angus has a way with words. His favorite label for Ainsley is Sassenach saucebox (which she kind of is), but he really hits his stride when it comes to nicknames for the villain of the book—Lord Codpiece is the first that comes to mind, and it goes from there.

Here’s a short snippet from the book, which takes place on Royal and Ainsley’s wedding night. They’ve retreated to Castle Kinglas, the family estate in the Highlands, hoping for some quiet time for themselves, and Ainsley’s infant daughter, Tira. Royal has been desperate to get Ainsley alone, and he finally achieves his goal.

**

They were just about to sink down onto the plump cushions of the chaise when the library door flew open and thudded against the wall. Ainsley jerked back, her foot tangling around his boot, and they almost tumbled to the floor as Angus stomped into the room.

“Oh, my God,” she gasped as Royal set her upright.

His grandfather scowled at them. “I’ve been lookin’ all over the bloody castle for ye.”

Ainsley leveled an accusatory glare at Royal. “You promised your family would leave us alone. You promised.”

“I bloody well didn’t ask him to come,” Royal protested. “Why the hell are you here, Grandda? It’s practically the middle of the night.”

“Och, it’s not that late,” Angus replied with a casual wave. “I’ve been here for at least a half hour, after a nice ride up from Glasgow. And that glad I am to be away from the stinkin’ city and back home.”

Royal felt like the top of his head was about to fizz up like an exploding squib. “But why are you here?”

“I couldna sleep knowin’ that the little lassie would be missin’ her grandda. So here I am.”

“Oh, my God,” Ainsley repeated, sounding utterly appalled.

“Do Nick and Victoria know you rode up?” Royal demanded.

Angus hunched his shoulders and gave him a placating smile. “Dinna fash yourself, lad. I left them a grand little note to explain.”

“Grandda, this is our wedding trip.” Never had Royal been closer to throttling Angus than he was at this moment.

“Aye, that’s the point. I can watch out for Tira while ye and the missus have a wee bit of private time. Ye’ll hardly even know I’m aboot the place.”


Ainsley switched her Medusa glare to Angus. “You are so irritating. I’m supposed to be looking after my daughter, in case you’ve forgotten.”

“Aye, and ye can bloody well use all the help ye can get,” the old man retorted, “especially since the puir wee bairn is feeling poorly. I could tell Tira was off her feed before ye left. It’s no wonder I decided to follow ye.”

When Angus tapped the side of his nose, trying to look wise, Royal had to hold back a scoff. The excuse sounded like complete bollocks to him.

Ainsley went from irate to anxious in a matter of seconds. “What do you mean poorly? I was with her an hour ago, and she was asleep.”

“She’s not sleepin’ now. That’s why I came down to fetch ye.” He flashed her a toothy smile. “As ye say, yer her mother. I knew ye’d want to be with her.”

Ainsley picked up her skirts and pelted out of the room.

Sighing, Royal followed in her wake, Angus falling into step beside him.

“Is Tira really sick, or was that just an excuse to come to Kinglas?” he asked his grandfather.

Angus shrugged. “Probably just another tooth coming in, but ye never know.”

Royal shot him a dirty look. “One of these days, Grandda, I will kill you.”

Angus snorted. “Laddie, none of ye would know what to do without me, least of all yer new missus. Even for a Sassenach, she’s bloody hopeless.”

**

You can read longer excerpts from the book on my website: https://www.vanessakellyauthor.com/books/the-highlander-who-protected-me/

I often find secondary characters easier to write than my main characters. As a reader, I think a great secondary character can really add texture and color to a book. Sometimes, those characters are so strong they even demand their own stories!

Who are some of your favorite secondary characters in novels, romance or otherwise? 

One person who comments will win signed, print copies of THREE WEEKS WITH A PRINCESS and THE HIGHLANDER’S PRINCESS BRIDE (Improper Princesses 2 & 3), plus some fun book swag.



Lady Ainsley Matthews, heiress and darling of the ton, was expected to make a magnificent match. Instead she’s hiding on a remote Scottish estate, terrified that her vicious former fiancĂ© will use her pregnancy to force her into marriage. One man can help her—Royal Kendrick, son of a distinguished Highland clan. Though a mistake drove them apart long ago, Royal is the only person Ainsley trusts to protect her baby—even if that means agreeing to never see either of them again . . .
 
Scarred in body and soul by war, Royal suddenly has a purpose—caring for an innocent babe and thereby helping the woman he can’t stop loving. But when Ainsley ultimately returns to Scotland, determined to be a real mother to her child in spite of the risk, there’s only one solution: marriage. And only one likely outcome: surrendering to the desire that’s simmered between them for so long, no matter how dangerous it may be . . .




54 comments:

  1. I totally agree - love her stories!!!

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    1. I've really fallen for her Kendricks!

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    2. Thanks so much, catslady! And thank you for hosting me, PJ! xo

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  2. The secondary characters in The Never-Open Desert Diner add a great deal to the novel. This story was exceptional and unforgettable.

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    1. I'm checking to see if my library has this one. It sounds like a powerful story.

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  3. Vanessa's books transport me to another era and are my escape. The characters are wonderful to meet. Secondary characters are always fascinating and give me great enjoyment.

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    1. Angus, the grandfather, is definitely a character!

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    2. Thank you so much, petite! That makes me so happy.

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  4. I love Vanessa's books! Secondary characters are enjoyable, but none come to mind right now.

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    1. My list is too long to post in a single comment. There have been some wonderful secondary characters over the years!

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  5. I enjoy reading about secondary characters, hoping that they will eventually get their own story. I just finished a book by Jenna Jaxon called "Wedding The Widow", which I thoroughly enjoyed. In fact, I actually preferred it over the previous book. Lots of high jinks and ups and downs, obstacles, etc. There's no need to enter me into the contest as I've already read the books in this giveaway.

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    1. I haven't read Jenna Jaxon yet. Off to check out Wedding the Widow. Thanks, Diane!

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    2. I'm always looking for new Authors, so I as really happy to find her.

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    3. Diane, I gave away one of Jenna's books at my facebook party. I'm looking forward to reading her.

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    4. Vanessa, you will definitely enjoy her books. Congratulations to you on your new release.

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  6. You broke my heart with this one, Lassie! I laughed, I cried, I ached! Will we be seeing them again and when, oh when, will we get satisfaction, if you know what I mean! And Logan! Swoon!

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    1. I'm right there with you on all points, Santa!

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    2. I'm SO happy you enjoyed the book, Santa. I have to admit I cried quite a lot while writing it. Ainsley and Royal will return to Scotland at some point, when the evil marquess is fully bested. And Logan's book is next!

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    3. Most excellent on both counts! Sorry for the double post, lol!

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  7. There are many secondary characters that end up in another book. Too many to name because I'm drawing a blank. That's why I love trilogies.
    Also love reading anything about Highlanders.
    Carol Luciano
    Lucky4750 at aol dot com

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    1. I've become very fond of trilogies too, Carol. My memory just isn't what it once was. ;-)

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    2. That makes 2 of us :) Sometimes I read so many books back to back & have to slow down because it becomes one huge story lol.
      Carol L

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  8. I'm enjoying the Mitchell family's 5 brothers: Nick, Mathias, Aiden, Dec and Ronan in Susan Mallery's Fool's Gold and spinoff Happily Inc books.


    Laurie G

    johns lake at usa dot com

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    1. Laurie, Susan Mallery is so wonderful.

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    2. I haven't read Mallery's Happily Inc. books yet. So many good books - not nearly enough time!

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  9. Funny that you should ask about favorite secondary characters. I just finished The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert. John springs to mind, the heroe's colleague at the newspaper, a style editor who defies fashion conventions and maintains a strangely full-bearded, rumpled clothes from the hamper look.

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    1. Lil, he sounds like an awesome character. I'm going to check out that book!

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    2. Another one for me to check out!

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  10. Great secondary characters are essential. Sidney from "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" comes to mind. (Just read and watched.)

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    1. I haven't seen the movie yet but I loved the book!

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  11. I could have sworn I posted here earlier today!

    You killed me with this one, lassie! You made me ache, you made me cry, you made me ache! Please tell me we will see them again and that satisfaction, you know what I mean, will be had! And Logan! Swoon! And Angus♥️, that old codger!

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    1. You did! Vanessa and I both responded to your comment. I can see it. You can't?

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  12. I enjoy Ms Kelly's books and this one looks to be no exception.
    Well developed secondary characters always add so much to a story. in the Amelia Peabody series, every secondary character whether villain or acquaintance always added to the texture of the story.

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    1. Annette, I LOVE Amelia Peabody! Those books are my faves.

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  13. I don't usually read Scottish books but this one sounds absolutely delightful!

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  14. This book sounds awesome! Can't wait to read! I agree with the above Guernsey comment for great secondary characters. I also think of Pride and Prejudice and how much I enjoy Lizzie's mom and sisters.

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    1. Mrs. Bennett is so hilarious and annoying, as are Mary and Lydia.

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  15. Love reading your books. Siblings as secondary characters are some of the best.I just finished Serena Bell's Sleepover and can't wait to read the next book about his brother.

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  16. Hi Vanessa,
    A bit late for this but wanted to drop in and say hello, congratulate you on your latest release( once again).

    Over the years I've read quite a few books, to many to recall specific secondary characters , but love when an author follows up with a book for that secondary man/ woman..just seems to round out the tale

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    1. I agree, Cyndi. I'm looking forward to my next book, which features a secondary character from another series as the heroine.

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  17. Love reading Vanessa's books. Her characters are well developed and enjoy the way she handles the secondary characters.

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  18. I love when animals act as secondary characters, helping or getting in the way of the main characters. Not all the time, but sometimes it really works.

    denise

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  19. I enjoy when an interesting secondary character gets his/her own story.

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    1. That's going to be happening with the heroine of my next book. :)

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  20. I am a big fan of Vanessa her highlanders are swoon worthy. I love secondary characters they lend authencity to a story and they are very crucial to the back drop. Families especially. Also I love when secondary characters get their own stories. A continuation or spin off of the series is always great

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