Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Highland Surrender by Tracy Brogan: Guest Post and Excerpt: Buy the Book Tour Stop

By Tracy Brogan

With Valentine’s Day just past, I thought it might be nice to reflect upon my real life honey. He’s romantic all year, and I appreciate the effort even if the execution sometimes falls a little short. It’s not his fault, really. Men don’t pick up on those subtle clues we send. Like when we scowl at them all through dinner because they mention we are wearing sweatpants for the fifth day in a row, and they go on blithely eating as if everything is fine because, like the proverbial ostrich in the sand, they think if they ignore our anger, it will just go away. Yeah, he does that. But still, I’m very lucky to have him as my permanent valentine. So, to celebrate his valentine-y qualities, I’d like to share a few reasons why my husband is better than a fictional hero.

·         A fictional hero can’t scoop dog poop. Our malti-poo lives up to her name, and leaves it everywhere. My husband is always willing to clean it up. I cannot, using the breadth of my imagination, picture Mr. Darcy cleaning up doggy doo-doo.

·         A fictional hero cannot help a seventh grader complete a science project using sawdust and a table saw. Neither can I because power tools and I have an agreement to avoid each other. But my husband is a zen homework helper. While I tackle book reports and spelling tests, he’s in charge of science and math. And he’s good at it. Do you think that pouty Heathcliff knows how to convert fractions into decimals? I doubt it. Edward Cullen might. But that’s only because he keeps repeating high school.

·         A fictional hero cannot comb your daughter’s head for lice, even if he comes from a time period where head lice was as acceptable, and common, as freckles. Now, I’m not saying my perfect children ever had lice. But I’m also not saying they didn’t…

·         A fictional hero is dressed appropriately for every occasion. My husband, on the other hand, makes some really interesting fashion choices. You might think this is a bad thing. But I always enjoy a good laugh.

·         A fictional hero never has bedhead or morning mouth. But since I usually look like Nick Nolte’s mug shot until about 10a.m., I don’t want my husband hopping out of bed all fresh and sparkly, looking like Alex O’Loughlin after an exfoliating surf ride. I don’t want the bar raised beyond my capabilities. I couldn’t take that pressure. Especially before I’ve had coffee.

·         A fictional hero does stuff the first time he’s asked. But if my spouse and I removed nagging from our day-to-day conversation, we’d have about 45 seconds of chat time. Then it would be nothing but crickets.

·         A fictional hero has awesome hair. But think about this realistically. If your man had long, flowing locks, he’d be messing with it all the time. Most of them can’t keep their hands off their junk, so there’s no way they could leave their hair alone. My husband, on the other hand, has very nice hair, although there is slightly less than there used to be, and he pays just the right amount of attention to it. It’s just starting to get some silver streaks, which I think look simply dashing.

·         My husband will get out of bed in the middle of the night to get me a drink of water. A fictional hero might do this too. But a lot of other husbands might not, so I just want to give mine props for that.

·         A fictional hero needs a character arc. He needs a deep dark secret, a game-changing flaw, an inconvenient super-power, a crisis to manage, or an enemy to defeat. But as exciting as it is to read about men who could kill you with their kiss, banter with you at a crime scene, or help save the world from destruction, give me my Real Man any day. He looks after our house, our yard, our family, and my heart. So, while truth may be stranger than fiction, when it comes to my husband, truth is better than fiction, too.

Happy Belated Valentine’s Day to all you Real Life Valentines.

Tracy Brogan is a two-time RWA Golden Heart finalist who writes funny contemporary stories about ordinary people finding extraordinary love, and also stirring historical romance full of political intrigue, damsels causing distress, and the occasional man in a kilt. Her first two books, CRAZY LITTLE THING, and HIGHLAND SURRENDER both earned a 4-Star review from RT magazine and have hit the Amazon Best Selling Books list.

Tracy lives in Michigan with her bemused husband, her perpetually exasperated children, and two dogs, who would probably behave better if they could understand sarcasm.

Defiant Highland beauty Fiona Sinclair is shocked by her brothers’ treachery. To seal a fragile truce, they have traded her hand in marriage to their sworn enemy, a man she has never met, a man she was raised to despise. With no choice but to wed, Fiona makes her own private vow: though she may surrender her freedom, she will never surrender her heart.

Commanded by his king, Myles Campbell is no more willing than his reluctant bride. Still, she is a rare beauty, passionate enough to warm even the coldest marriage bed. Buy Myles quickly realizes Fiona Sinclair is no common wench. She has a warrior’s spirit and a fierce pride that only a fool would try to tame. And Myles Campbell is no fool. Their marriage was meant to unite warring clans. They never imagined it would ignite a once-in-a-lifetime love…


Scottish Highlands, 1537

  Fiona Sinclair could not reconcile the irony of nature’s twisted humor. For today of all wretched days the sky should be burdened with clouds as dark and dismal as her mood. But the morning dawned soft and fair, mild as a Highland calf, and she knew that God himself mocked her. At any moment, Myles Campbell and his father, the Earl of Argyll, would pass through the gates of Sinclair Hall, unwelcome, yet unhindered by her clan. Soon after that, she must stand upon the chapel steps and marry a man she had never met, and yet had hated for all of her life.

Through her narrow bedchamber window, sounds from the bailey filtered up. The smithy’s hammer tapped a mellow cadence as if this day were just like any other. Perhaps he shaped a horseshoe or a pointed pike. She smiled at the latter and imaged the heaviness of that same pike in her hand. Oh, that she had the courage to plunge it deep into the earl’s heart, if indeed he had one.

She rose from the threadbare cushion on the bench and moved without purpose toward the stone fireplace. A low fire burned, warding off the spring morning’s chill. From habit, Fiona slipped her hand into the leather pouch around her waist. She squeezed tight the silver brooch inside, its design and inscription etched as clearly in her memory as on the pin itself. A boar’s head, symbol of Clan Campbell, with words chosen by the king himself.

To Cedric Campbell, a true friend is worth a king’s ransom. James V.

The brooch had been a gift to the Campbell chief, the man about to become her father-in-law. But he had left it behind nearly seven years earlier, pierced into the flesh of Fiona’s mother so that all the world might know he had dishonored her. The priest found Aislinn Sinclair’s lifeless body in a secluded glen outside the village, stripped bare and broken, marked by Cedric’s lust and spite. Thus a feud, long simmering at the edges, boiled over.

But today the king thought to put an end to it with this farce of a marriage between a Sinclair lass and a Campbell son. It would not work.

Fiona paced to the window, restless and melancholy. She leaned out to breathe fresh spring air, hoping it might lighten her spirits. The too-sweet scent of hyacinth clung to the breeze, along with the ever-present brine of Moray Firth. Along the west curtain wall, more hammering sounded as masons worked to bolster the steps leading to the main keep. As if precarious stairs alone might halt the Campbell men from gaining entrance. But nothing would. Her fate as a Campbell bride had been declared the very day she drew in her first breath, and sealed when her father blew out his last.

Next Few Stops
February 20, 2013 - Book Junkie (Guest Post & Review)

February 22, 2013 - I Totally Paused (Guest Post & Review)

February 25, 2013 - P.T. Macias (Guest Post & Review)

March 1, 2013 - My Escape (Guest Post & Review)

March 4, 2013 - TBQ’s Book Palace (Guest Post& Review)

March 5, 2013 - Deal Sharing Aunt (Guest Post& Review)


1 comment:

Willa Blair said...

Love your post, Tracy! I, too, have a husband I wouldn't trade, quirks and all, for any hero in any book.