The Magic of Romance
When I first starting writing romance, it was straight Regency. Then Harlequin introduced their Undone! imprint, and my editor encouraged me to experiment. As a child, I was utterly fascinated by my sea captain grandfather’s tales of mermaids. The creatures he described, lying naked on the rocks combing their seaweed hair with fish bones, were nothing like the Hans Christian Andersen version. They weren’t pretty, but they were so fatally attractive even the most experienced sailor would risk shipwreck just to get close to them. My first venture into the world of historical paranormal romance, The Highlander and the Sea Siren, had a selkie heroine, and it’s told like a fairy tale, directly inspired by those childhood tales.
The next step down the paranormal route for me was, rather bizarrely, a Regency sheikh, Innocent in the Sheikh’s Harem, and what I learned from writing this was the magic of world-building. My 19th Century Arabia had its foundations in fact, but the invented kingdom’s customs, the descriptions of the desert and its cities, the harem itself, came straight out of my head. I let my imagination run riot writing that story, and I loved it, so when my editor suggested a paranormal Undone! trilogy, I was more than ready to create a totally fantastical world of Highland shape-shifters which had absolutely no grounding in reality at all.
Writing the Legend of the Faol trilogy was, truly, a magical experience, not just because I could make up pretty much everything, but because it gave me the opportunity to have a heroine who was sexually experienced without worrying about historical convention. I’ve always loved strong female characters - my favourite fairy tale was The Snow Queen – and it makes for a very, very hot romance, I discovered, finding a human hero who is alpha enough to compensate for a heroine’s magical powers. Sorcha, the shape-shifter wolf princess who is the heroine of the third book in the series, was my favourite to write. I love that she’s defined by her powers, and yet also emotionally constrained by them. She’s not cruel like the Snow Queen, of course, but she has the same irresistible allure, the compelling strength that enchants and beguiles and fascinates.
I’m just finishing a Christmas Undone! which has a Scottish witch struggling with a two-hundred-year-old curse. Like Sorcha, Jura’s magic is powerful, and she believes it makes her invulnerable, even though she’s emotionally isolated. And like Sorcha, she discovers that there is something even more powerful than magic. Love.
Excerpt from The Highlander and the Wolf Princess
It had been so long, so very long, since Conall had lain next to any woman, far less a captivating creature like this. She was so close he could feel the soft feathering of her breath on his cheek, count the thick dark lashes which framed those mesmerising eyes, which were locked on his. “I should – you should rest,” he said roughly. But he couldn’t seem to move. He didn’t want to move.
“I’m not tired,” Sorcha replied. Though the Faol were an innately sensual race, she had always instinctively guarded against intimacy of this sort. Seeing others’ innermost thoughts, their lives and futures laid bare, made her reluctant to be revealed herself. Knowing all, she had no wish to be known. Until now. Now, all she could think about was being closer still to this forbidding, powerful Highlander. Her body yearned for it. He made her feel safe and vulnerable at the same time. She edged a little towards him. Her toes brushed his legs. .
Conall’s erection hardened. He should move. He meant to move, and he did move, but in quite the opposite direction from that he intended, pulling her to him, so that they lay breast to breast, thigh to thigh. Her nipples were hard. His shaft was harder. Her breath was a whisper on his skin. Some irrevocable internal command compelled him to kiss her. So he did.
Sorcha had never allowed any man to kiss her, but as Conall’s lips touched hers, resistance was the furthest thing from her mind. His mouth was warm, every bit as sensuous as it looked. He tasted dark and dangerous. A rush of heat flushed her, from her neck down, her belly up, as his tongue touched hers. He pulled her hard to him and kissed her more deeply. It felt as intense as her shifting did. Her nipples peaked against the rough expanse of his chest. Her pulses began to flutter unevenly.
She was lying on top of him, the hard length of his erection pressing into her belly, his hand cupping her bottom. His breathing was as ragged and harsh as his appearance. His stubble rasped her delicate skin, yet his mouth was a delight. As he rolled her onto her back, she could almost taste the scent of their arousal, a bittersweet blend of salt and spice. Running her fingers across the span of his shoulders, she marvelled at the power in his bunched muscles. So this was what a man felt like? So different from what she had expected.
She tried to tug his shirt free from his belt, wanting to test the feel of his skin. His firm hand on her wrist halted her. His lips deserted hers. For a long moment he gazed at her in bewilderment. She had a fleeting glimpse of it then, his essence. Dark, hard, glittering like the rocks which formed Kentarra’s citadel. Then, as he rolled himself off the bed with an exclamation which sounded horribly like disgust, it vanished as quickly as it had appeared.
©2011 Marguerite Kaye
The Legend of the Faol novellas along with my Regency vampire, Bitten by Desire, and my Selkie fairy tale, The Highlander and the Sea Siren, are all published in the Harlequin/Mills&Boon Undone! available in ebook now.
My Christmas Undone will be out in November this year. You can read excerpts and background and more on my website at www.margueritekaye.com
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