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Release Date: 12/23/2016
Cancer. The terminal diagnosis paralyzes Catriona. Both saved and imperiled, she must navigate a new, immortal life as mate to the Captain of the Seelie Palace Guard.
In obedience to the oracle’s command, Thelan abducts a human woman and takes her to the Deepwood where she is unmade and remade by ancient magic. Thus given his mate, he quickly finds himself enamored of her spirit, intelligence, and uncommon beauty. She arouses his passion and challenges both his control and authority at every turn. Thelan needs to win the heart and trust of this untraditional female whom he’s determined to keep and protect from those who covet control over the moon-born’s legendary influence.
Catriona resents the lack of choice. She also resents not knowing the rules that now govern her life in this realm of myth and impossibility. Forging her own path and upsetting ancient tradition, she befriends the mysterious archivist, learns to live in a sentient palace, talks to dragons, and discovers a puzzling attraction to cats. And she must come to terms with the handsome and powerful fae male who claims her as his own and stirs her blood like none other.
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Then he drew her into his embrace and buried his face in her hair. He inhaled the warm fragrance of her, slightly herbal, slightly musky, like the forest at night. He leaned back and cupped her face in his hands, marveling at the soft texture of her skin. His thumbs swept over her cheeks. He leaned down and gently pressed his lips to hers, savoring the petal soft texture, the sweet taste. He kissed her again, softly, tasting the corner of her mouth. Catriona, who had expected a roughly enthusiastic sexual assault, melted beneath the tenderness and her heart cracked open.
“I missed you, Beloved Katarina,” he whispered, then sipped from her lips again.
Catriona did not quite know what to say, because she hadn’t precisely missed him. Yet this delicate handling, this gentle, tender treatment so differed from her experience and her expectations, that her confusion compelled her to submit to him.
“You have been well?” he inquired, his piercing green gaze searching hers for secrets.
“She’s been busy,” Mogren interjected in a dry tone.
Thelan lifted his head to look at his king. “Oh?”
“We shall let her tell you of her adventures while you were at Pyrostoke.”
“Adventures?” Thelan looked back at Catriona. She shrugged helplessly and returned his gaze with defiance. It was an odd mixture that he found endearing.
“However, the bonding ceremony is this evening and we’ve much to do to prepare,” Mogren said. “Come, Captain. Let your lady’s maid take charge of her while we discuss this new treaty with the vodnici.”
Thelan knew an order when he heard one, even it if was couched more pleasantly. He again captured Catriona’s hand and brought it to his lips. His kissed the knuckles, then turned it over to kiss the palm.
“I made my choice. I hope to be yours.”
She blinked in confusion and one hand absently rubbed the delicate tracery of silver circling her throat. She had a choice? Why had no one yet explained that to her? She made plans to visit the librarian as soon as possible for the most objective information.
“Gwenda, we’re going to see Mr. Enders.”
“But, my lady, we must prepare you for the bonding ceremony!”
Catriona rounded on her maid and snapped, “I need information and he’s apparently the only one who’s willing to give it to me. Come with me or not, I don’t care.”
Gwenda recoiled from the blazing anger in her mistress’ expression and hurried along in the smaller woman’s wake. As usual, the palace obliged and gave Catriona the shortest possible route to the library.
“Ish no’ur aghra cinyalchek taj e’vyr,” Catriona said, politely thanking the palace for its assistance. As before, she felt a warm breeze curl around her in recognition of her gratitude.
“Why do you speak to the palace?” Gwenda inquired.
“The palace is sentient. Do you not know that?”
“That’s absurd. It’s a building, imbued with magic, but still only a building.”
“Then attribute it to one of my odd little habits,” Catriona said as she patted the stone wall and felt the consciousness living within it. How could these fae not sense the palace’s sentience?
About the Author:
Holly Bargo is a pseudonym, but really did exist as a temperamental appaloosa mare whose memory still elicits smiles and entertaining anecdotes. The author has been writing improbable stories for over 40 years and only recently dove headfirst into publishing. She currently works as a freelance writer and editor, serves as the fantasy editor for Red Sun Magazine, and lives on a hobby farm in southwest Ohio with her husband, two sons, and a menagerie of four-legged critters.
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Thanks for doing an interview! Could you tell our readers a little bit about your writing journey? Inspired by fairy tales and mythology, I began writing stories in grade school. Later reading of Robin McKinley, Robin Bailey, Terry Brooks, David Eddings, Barbara Cartland, Jayne Ann Krentz, and other authors continued to influence me. Eventually, I realized that no one was writing quite the stories I really wanted to read and, more importantly, that needed to be expelled from my mind. It gets crowded in there, you know. So I gradually moved from writer-as-hobbyist to writer-in-earnest and took advantage of the digital revolution to embark upon a new adventure as an independently published author.
How many books do you currently have published? I have published 14 original books since 2014. That doesn’t count the duet I published in January, which combines an original story and its sequel into one volume.
What has been your favorite book to write so far? Why? My favorite book is always the last book I publish. Then it remains my favorite until the next one goes live.
Are you currently working on a book? Will this be your next release? I’m working on the third book in my Russian Love series, Russian Dawn, which is mafia-slash-new adult romance. Series, not serial. I don’t do cliffhangers. After that, I’ll be working on the sequels to Daughter of the Twin Moons, The Dragon Wore a Kilt, and Pure Iron.
What do you enjoy most about writing? Adventure. Romance. When I write, I’m young again. Beautiful. Strong. Amazing. Even magical. Every heroine has a piece of me within her and every hero embodies some aspect of my ideal man.
Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, how do you deal with it? I seldom get writer’s block. Since I’ve got nearly two dozen manuscripts in progress at any given time, if I can’t focus on one, then I’ll move to another until something sparks. If none of those tickles my fancy, then I’ll begin a new story. I did have one long stretch–years–during which I wrote nothing at all. My younger son likes to remind me that writers suffer from mental illness more than most people and those years were a dark time for me.
Have you ever had one of your characters to take a twist you weren’t expecting and surprise you? All the time. Someone once said, “No plot survives contact with the characters.” That’s absolutely true.
Which of your characters is your personal favorite? Least favorite? Why? My favorite characters are probably Rowan from Rowan and Chloe from The Barbary Lion. Rowan’s personality most closely resembles mine, though I wish I had her confidence and courage. Chloe shows herself as strong, smart, and resourceful, traits I love in a female protagonist.
So far, what has been your favorite scene to write? I don’t know; I haven’t written it yet.
What lessons have you learned since becoming a writer? Do you have any tips for new writers? Lessons learned include: 1) don’t disappoint your readers’ expectations; 2) active voice strengthens your writing; 3) master the craft. Writing really is a craft that takes practice to master. Independently published writers suffer from a lackluster reputation because so much of what they publish is just poorly written. A good story poorly written gathers scathing reviews.
If you were to recommend your books to a stranger, which book would you advise them to start with? Why? It depends upon the genre. I recommended The Mighty Finn to my mother-in-law, because that’s the closest I have to the kind of books she reads. For those who like paranormal romance, I’ll suggest they start with Rowan. For those who enjoy high fantasy and prefer their books on the less sexually explicit side, I’ll suggest The Diamond Gate.
Do you have any extras you’d like to share, like a teaser about an upcoming new release, a summary of a deleted scene, or a teaser about a surprising plot twist or character? Russian Dawn, the third book in my Russian Love series, is scheduled for release by March 31. It will focus on the story of Latasha and Iosif. After that, I plan on writing a fourth book which will bring the series full circle. That book will unite a Russian Bratva princess with an Italian mafia prince.
Now it’s time to get to know you! What are some of your favorite books to read? Anything by Christine Feehan and Nora Roberts. Robert B. Parker, Dick Francis, and Richard Crais are favorite authors, too. Susan Stoker, Alexa Riley, and Shannon Hill have become new favorites. My taste in genres remains pretty steady, but my taste in authors runs to the eclectic.
What about television shows? Movies? I watch little television, but enjoy Big Bang Theory, reruns of MASH, and cookings shows hosted by Jacques Pepin and America’s Test Kitchen. My taste in movies ranges from costume dramas to animated features to action-and-adventure flicks. I don’t do horror and avoid tear-jerkers.
Is there a book that you have read that you feel has made a big impact on your life? Why? Perhaps Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn or Robin McKinley’s Beauty and Blue Sword series. I really don’t know why, but my mind often wanders back to those books.
Can readers find you at any live events, such as book signings or conventions? I intend to be at the ConGlomeration which will be held April 7 – 9 in Louisville, KY. Most likely I’ll be representing Red Sun Magazine as well as my own work.
If you had to sum up your life as a writer in ten words, what would you say? Don’t quit your day job. I couldn’t do this if my husband weren’t so supportive.
Do you have anything else you’d like to share with readers? Read the books you purchase and leave reviews. Please leave reviews on both Amazon and Goodreads.