She's back! I'm always happy to welcome Maggie Robinson to the blog because that means she has a new book out. Today, it's the second book in her Ladies Unlaced series, In the Heart of the Highlander. Have you started reading this series yet? I highly recommend both the first book, In the Arms of the Heiress and In the Heart of the Highlander. They're sexy, heartwarming and full of fun!
Find more information about Maggie at her website and connect with her online at Facebook and Twitter.
Welcome back, Maggie!
Today is release day for In the Heart of the Highlander, and I’m delighted to spend it with my friends at the Romance Dish! It’s the 14th book to have my words somewhere in it, which to me is kind of surreal. I still feel like a “new” author, but I guess I’d better face facts that I’m just old in fiction and fact, LOL.
And speaking of old, my heroine Mary Arden Evensong has been masquerading as an elderly lady for four long years, and the gray wig and glasses are getting elderly, too. After solving everybody else’s problems through the family employment agency, she’s just itching to break out and have an adventure of her own. She seizes her chance when a hunky Highlander, Lord Alec Raeburn, comes to her “aunt” for help, spilling his deepest secrets in the process.
Now Mary is in a difficult position—she knows what she’s not supposed to know. And when she inadvertently spills the beans to Alec during an intimate moment, his trust in her is broken. Here’s the scene when Alec discovers that Mary has never been who she said she was.
“Tricky? I’ll say it was tricky! Good Lord! And here you’ve convinced me you’re pure as a Scottish snowstorm.”
“I am! Or I was before I propositioned you. I’ve never wanted to bed a client before. It’s not at all professional,” Mary said with no apparent irony.
Alec was suddenly conscious that he was stark naked. Mary had had the good sense to wrestle a sheet over herself.
“Four years. You’ve been pretending to be an old lady for four years? I suppose the grocery store nonsense is all a myth.”
“Oh, no! It’s perfectly true. My brother runs the family business now, and I was trapped, and terribly, terribly bored, if you must know the state of my mind. When Aunt Mim suggested I come to London to help her, I jumped at the chance.” Mary was sitting straight up now, her stubborn little chin jutting out. Her nipples, too, under the worn sheet.
Alec turned away. “Help her! The things you’ve seen and done . . .” He was quite overawed, if they were telling the truth to each other now.
“Well, I had to! Her business would have suffered irrevocably if word had gotten out she’d turned it over to her ignorant twenty-five-year-old niece. She has dealt with rather delicate matters since well before the turn of the century. I had the agency’s mission to fulfill.”
“‘Performing the impossible before breakfast.’” Alec quoted back to her. “I’ll be damned. So it was you under that horrible hat all along. What a little actress.”
“I never meant to lie to you. Well, of course I did, but I didn’t expect to not want to lie to you. To lie with you, as it were.”
“You’re a wordsmith, too.” He reached for his trousers.
“W-what are you doing?”
“Getting dressed. I suggest you do the same.”
Mary’s lip quivered. “You meant you won’t finish what we started?”
“I don’t believe I’m in the mood. Isn’t that what you ladies say?” Alec asked, feeling inexplicably betrayed. Really, what did it matter to him if she’d dressed as a dwarf or in sackcloth and ashes these past four years? She had accomplished what he’d hired her for—Bauer was no longer employed at the spa and Edith was avenged.
“I wouldn’t know. I’m not a lady, just a grocer’s daughter.” There was the chin again.
“And a liar, don’t forget. A charlatan.” A chameleon, who turned from doddering dowager to pocket Venus.
Mary’s lips curled. “What makes me different from your actress friends, then? Don’t they lie with every word onstage? You don’t seem to mind them. A dozen of them at least if the gossip rags are accurate.”
Hoisted on his own petard. Damn her for throwing his reputation back in his face. “All the world is not a stage, contrary to that Shakespeare fellow, Miss Arden. Miss Evensong. Whoever,” Alec replied, tangling his foot in the leg of his pants.
“You hired me to lie,” Mary reminded him.
“But not to me.”
“I’ve told you the truth now! But I won’t beg you to come back to bed. No doubt I’m nothing like the women you’re used to.”
No, she jolly well was not. Alec let out an exasperated sigh, and not at his evident inability to get back into his own pants. “Are you trying to get me to compliment you?”
“Certainly not!” Mary huffed. “I would never want you to say or do anything that goes against your beliefs. It’s clear you have a disgust of me.” She clutched the sheet tighter. “This has all been a terrible mistake. You can get us to the evening train and we can forget about the whole affair. If you wish,” she said with some brutality, “I shall give you a full refund.”
“A full refund! I don’t want my money back, you daft woman! I just don’t like being used. You’ve played me for a fool, Mary Arden . . . Evensong. You might have told me at the beginning who you really were. All those blushes and stutters—by God, if they gave out acting awards, you’d be first in line to get one!”
“I haven’t been acting with you!” Mary said hotly. “I just wanted a little experience. Is that such a crime?
You have no idea—” She broke off, probably deciding he didn’t have an idea and never would have.
“You know much more than I thought, if you could deal with the Burleigh mess.”
“Anyone can read a book, Alec. One hears things at school, even over the grocery counter, if you can believe that. Aunt Mim was always around to give me advice, too. I am every bit as innocent as you thought. Or I used to be,” she reflected, reminding him of all the things they’d done together the past few days.
Wet things. Wicked things. Warm kisses on her sweet puckered mouth and warmer ones where they really counted.
“Innocent,” Alec snorted, but he didn’t try to stand up. By God, the woman was a witch.
“Innocent,” Mary affirmed. “But perhaps there will be someone in London to relieve me of my unwanted virginity. Someone with fewer scruples than you have, if that’s possible.”
Alec felt the hot color wash over his face. “I’ll show you scruples,” he growled, and tugged his foot out of his pants.
Can you keep secrets without spilling them? Have you ever tried to help your family or friends in some way and then regretted it? I’ll give away a copy of In the Heart of the Highlander to one commenter!
I am an excellent secret keeper. I would not want any of my secrets spread around, so it's easy for me. I've been in a few muddles from helping out friends & family, but sometimes you just can't say no.ReplyDelete
I would not want any of my secrets spread around, so it's easy for me.Delete
I feel the same, Mary.
I am a good secret keeper. I feel like if you don't want your secrets spread all over, you need to be able to do the same.ReplyDelete
Welcome, Sheryl! I completely agree!Delete
I don't like to tell secrets or be forced to keep secrets. It's too easy to slip up.ReplyDelete
This past January our youngest son told us he wanted to elope. We convinced him to at least include the parents. He didn't get married until Memorial Day weekend. I had the hardest time not mentioning it to my 3 other children. I knew that my oldest, my daughter, would be hurt by not being invited. I managed to keep the secret! Unfortunately there are still some hard feelings.
Ouch. Being one of five children, I can understand those hurt feelings. I hope they'll be able to smooth things out soon. I imagine it's very difficult for you. (((Hugs)))Delete
Hello and welcome back, Maggie!! It's so good to have you visit with us. And it was so good to see you at RWA! Congrats on this new release! The excerpt has me wanting to read more, that's for sure. : )ReplyDelete
I am very good at keeping secrets. I use the Golden Rule when it comes to that--I wouldn't want anyone telling MY secrets so I wouldn't tell their secrets. ;-)
Andrea, it's a terrific book!Delete
I try to help my family and my friends, only if they ask for my advice. Because, sometimes if you share a comment, it can come back to haunt you! Yes, I can keep a secret, but I find it difficult not to mention it to my husband specially if it concerns the children!ReplyDelete
I've learned over the years not to offer advice unless I'm asked to. Even then, it can be tricky.Delete
Hi, Maggie! Welcome back and congrats on the release of IN THE HEART OF THE HIGHLANDER. It's another winner! :)ReplyDelete
Good morning, everyone! Thanks so much PJ and Andrea for having me here on release day! Unfortunately I'm not drinking champagne and eating chocolate--I have to go to the orthopedic surgeon, LOL. He's going to talk sweet to my right knee again.ReplyDelete
I keep secrets from my husband sometimes, only because I know he'd lose sleep, and the issues will be resolved soon. I know a lot of stuff I wish I didn't, LOL. Hope everyone has a lovely Tuesday, and I'll check back later this afternoon!
Hope it all goes well with the Ortho doc, Maggie! I visited my new Ortho foot specialist yesterday. Apparently, I was the highlight of the day. He whipped out his cell phone and took photos of my x-rays so he can share them with other docs at the classes he teaches all over the U.S. because he said they'd never believe it (how bad my feet are) unless they had photographic proof and then he called in the other Orthy foot specialist so he could see my feet "in the flesh". Um. Should I be honored? LOLOL!Delete
Oops! That's "ortho" not "orthy." :)Delete
PJ, I am hoping I'm not so special, LOL.Delete
I would hate to have my secrets spread like wildfire, so I'm a devoted secret keeper!ReplyDelete
Good incentive for keeping the secrets of others!Delete
Me too, Mary Preston. I am a great secret keeper. Of course, it could really be more of a faulty memory. I saw a comic recently, it said something like, " My memory is so bad I could plan my own surprise party." Sadly, its really true.ReplyDelete
Havent we all "helped" someone even when we knew it was a bad idea from the start?? haha
I saw a comic recently, it said something like, " My memory is so bad I could plan my own surprise party."Delete
LOL! I think many of us can probably relate to that!
I think I'm good at keeping secrets. My friends are always coming to me to tell me theirs for some strange reason.ReplyDelete
Maybe because they know you can be trusted to keep them...Delete
I think I'm a good secret keeper.ReplyDelete
We have a lot of good secret keepers in here today! :)Delete
You bet I can! When my family members or friends say, “please don’t tell anyone,” I don’t. I value their respect and don’t want to lose it. Period. So, “mums” the word.ReplyDelete
I’m really looking forward to reading Maggie’s, “In the Heart of the Highlander.”
Me too, Connie. My career demanded confidentiality so I've spent most of my life keeping both professional and personal secrets.Delete
I'm a good secret keeper, but it's not a role I covet. Too often the secret keeper ends up caught in the middle of a conflict.ReplyDelete
Maggie, I have been eager to read Mary Evensong's story since I finished In the Arms of the Heiress. In the Heart of a Highlander downloaded to my Kindle last night, and I can't wait to start reading it. I'm loving this series!
The middle of a conflict is not an enviable place to be. I hope that doesn't happen to you very often.Delete
Hope you enjoy In the Heart of the Highlander. Like you, I am loving this series!
Aw, thanks, guys. Smooches!Delete
Oh, these are my favorite type of reads!! I hate secrets but if told to keep one, I always do (but be sure you tell me it's a secret or all bets are off lol). I am usually willing to help anyone but sadly it's not always reciprocated but that's their problem.It is better to give than receive :)ReplyDelete
It is better to give than receiveDelete
Right there with you, catslady. I never help someone expecting something in return. It's a nice surprise when it happens that way but not the reason for my assistance.
Don't enter me in this giveaway because this book arrived in my mail yesterday, courtesy of winning a prize at PJ's birthday party. Thanks so much, Maggie! I am really looking forward to reading it.ReplyDelete
Good luck at the ortho doctor!
Cheryl, I hope you enjoy the book!Delete
No matter how hard I have tried, it is very difficult for me to keep secrets. As far as helping family or friends go, I have done that and at times later regretted it.ReplyDelete
So many nice comments to come home to! I told my doctor I was celebrating release day with him and he got quite a kick out of that. He also told me he once crewed a sailboat out of Gibralter that was raided by pirates, so maybe I should make him my next hero! I feel quite a bit better already. :)ReplyDelete
LOL This excerpt is fabulous!ReplyDelete
I'll admit, I have one person who I tell all my secrets to: My Nana. Once I tell her, I am a vault. She's always been my rock and my confidant, so it feels more wrong to not tell her than it does to not. But she never breaths a word! Mostly because she says she forgets what I say a few hours after I say it, but... That's beside the point *Grin*ReplyDelete
I'm generally pretty good at keeping secrets -- at least those that aren't really meant to be shared ;) enjoyed the excerpt & look forward to finding out more about those scruples ;)ReplyDelete
I have a hard time keeping secrets, but if it's important I can do it. Especially if it will cause friction, distress, or harm to someone by my spilling the beans. And yes, I've tried to help in different ways in the past, and most of the time you not only get no thanks, but things are worse by the time it's all said and done. I've learned to try to stay out of it, unless someone actually asks for my help, and even then I'm a bit wary.ReplyDelete
I'm very good at keeping secrets :) For some reason everyone spills to me. Thanks for sharing!ReplyDelete
I'm a good secret keeper. Shh... ;)ReplyDelete
I have no problem keeping secrets!! This book sounds really great, I'd love to be entered to win it.ReplyDelete
mlawson17 at hotmail dot com
I am a good secret keeper...ReplyDelete
I can keep a secret but dont like to. AND I understand the helping the family thingReplyDelete
BTW, another author you introduced me to PJ and I love Maggie!!!!
I am usually pretty good at keeping secrets.ReplyDelete
As far as trying to help and not having it work out as planned, certainly. My father remarried after my mother died. He was the type of person who needed to have a wife, unfortunately, it made him a prime target for a real nutcase. She spent time driving a wedge between him and his children, my siblings spent their time trying to wreck his marriage. I had married just a few weeks prior to his wedding, my husband was back in Vietnam, and I was pregnant and then lost the baby. For two years I got daily calls from siblings, my dad, my stepmother all complaining about what the others were doing. I tried to play referee and make them see reason, but it didn't help. I was getting calls while I was in the hospital after the miscarriage (with my husband of less than 6 months on the other side of the world). No "how are you," no "I'm sorry," just "so and so did whatever." I finally gave up. Nothing was solved, no one was happy, and no matter what I did someone would be upset with me. I basically told them all to grow up, and deal with it. I told my siblings they wouldn't appreciate the interference in their marriages so to back off (something I had been trying to say all along.). To my dad and stepmother it was along the lines of its your marriage deal with it and don't forget you have a family out there. I stayed on speaking terms with everyone, took them as they were, and didn't worry (or tried not to) about how they dealt with each other. My husband and I were happier and things eventually worked themselves out. Dad realized what a nut she was and left her. There are still bad feelings about it 40+ years later, but I realized you can't solve someone else's problems for them. You can try to help, but they need to deal with it themselves. You can't grow up for them.
Thanks for the excerpt. I am sure this will be another good book.
I'm pretty good at keeping secrets - especially if they are fun ones. Tho sometimes secrets need to be shared if that will help someone.ReplyDelete