She has never met a man like him before. Then again, he has never met a lad like her.
In 1802, Edinburgh’s poverty-ridden Old Town is rife with danger, but it is the only home Robbie MacKenzie has ever known. To safeguard herself against the worst villains of the street, Robbie conceals her femininity behind her shorn hair, dirt-smeared face, and tattered breeches. To all the world she is a lad, but beneath the ruse is a woman aching to break free.
Leaving his beloved Highlands behind in pursuit of his prodigal brother, Conall MacKay journeys to Edinburgh. There, he solicits the aid of a young street lad named Robbie. But Conall soon realizes that there is more to both Robbie and Edinburgh’s Old Town than meets the eye.
In a world where wickedness governs and darkness reigns, a savage struggle for dignity, survival, and love begins.
Historical Romance author Lily Baldwin loves writing, Scotland, her wonderful husband and beautiful young daughter--though not necessarily in that order. She has a BA in anthropology from the University of New Hampshire, and an MA in International Studies from Birmingham University in the UK. She daydreams constantly, and gets her best story ideas while running; she is even training for a half-marathon. She also finds inspiration in Nature, a quality revealed through the powerful description and drama in her books. Currently To Bewitch a Highlander and Highland Thunder (Books 1 & 2 of the Isle of Mull series) are available, and Lily is at work on the third book in the series—as yet untitled—which will be out in late summer or early fall. She is also writing a novella in collaboration with six other well-known historical romance authors for a bundle that will go live in November. She lives in New England with her cherished husband and daughter.
Tell my fans a little bit about yourself and your books.
Lily: I am 35 years old. I live in New England. I am the author of the bestselling Isle of Mull Series (Book One: To Bewitch a Highlander, Book Two: Highland Thunder). Book Three in the series, To Love a Warrior, is coming soon!
How would you introduce your books to someone that has yet to read them?
Lily: I write Scottish historical romance with spirited heroines and sexy alpha men.
What inspired you to start writing? What age did you start?
Lily: I attempted my first book when I was twelve. I have always loved writing, but To Bewitch a Highlander was my first big undertaking as an adult.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
Lily: Spending time with my family. My husband is the love of my life, and my daughter is my first priority and my joy. She is near five and fills my days with energetic play and cuddles. I write in short bursts when I am not chasing after her.
What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
Lily: Write something every day--even if it is just a few lines. Also, if you think what you are writing is rubbish--keep at it, and then re-read it in a few days. It is probably better than you think.
What's the hardest thing about writing? The easiest?
Lily: The hardest part for me is getting the story out. My first draft is VERY rough. Smoothing the seams, fleshing out the scenes, and capturing the emotions--that's the stuff I love.
What are you currently reading?
Lily: Stealing Moirra's Heart by the fabulous Suzan Tisdale
What are you currently working on?
Lily: I am currently working on To Love a Warrior, the third book in the Isle of Mull Series
What books did you read as a child?
Lily: I was always reading something, on car rides, during math class, by flashlight past my bedtime. I read A LOT of historical romance, especially Johanna Lindsay, Kathleen Woodiwiss, and Kathryn Seton. I also loved young adult mysteries and coming of age books.
Lily: Do you listen to music while you write?
I do listen to music when I need to drown out background noises :)
What's been your favorite moment as an author?
Lily: Being asked by Tarah Scott and Ceci Giltenan to join the Guardians of Cridhe--and then every moment spent with my sister Guardians.
Out of all of your characters, who is your favorite?
Lily: I really love my heroines. I love writing strong, spirited women. If I had to pick a favorite, I would choose Robbie--the heroine in A Jewel in the Vaults.
What is your dream vacation destination?
Lily: I traveled quite a lot when I was in college. Nowadays, I quite fancy the idea of a spa vacation with seaweed and mud baths and cucumbers on my eyes. I also love the idea of doing one of those horse trek vacations (although I have never really ridden a horse--it just sounds awesome.)
Do you have any interesting dreams or goals?
Lily: I have so many books inside of me. I just want to write, write, write. I would also love to take up rowing. I love the idea of rising early in the morning and setting off through the mist in my row boat.
Where can fans find you?
“What is it ye wish of me?” she said as she held his gaze.
“Ye dunnae speak like someone born in Cowgate,” he said as those crisp blue eyes scrutinized the length of her from head to toe. The setting sun was slanting though the window, alighting upon his face, making the blue of his eyes glow like the jewels adorning the dresses in the shops lining Prince’s Street. He smiled at her now, and she involuntarily drew in a sharp breath. Even, white teeth gleamed at her. She had to look away. Gazing upon his bright, clean face was like staring at the sun for too long. She pretended to adjust the frayed ends of her breeches over her knees as she stammered out an answer to his comment.
“I’ve lived my whole miserable life in Cowgate.”
“Nay, lad. Dunnae lie to me. I may, indeed, be from the Highlands, but I am not as daft as ye might like to believe,” he replied as he moved closer to Robbie and took a seat on the bed across from her.
Robbie met his gaze once more, expecting to see anger or at least frustration, but instead the blue eyes looked at her with curiosity and, if she were not mistaken, kindness. Kindness was in low supply in Cowgate. Robbie was not quick to believe what she saw, but she did give the strange man sitting before her an honest answer. “My mother was French. She was not a reputable woman, but she was fine and educated. She taught me to read as well.”
The large man nodded his approval and then slouched back on the bed, resting his weight on his elbows. “Me name is Conall Mackay. As you’ve guessed, I’m from the north, although ye may find yourself surprised by just how far north I’m from. Cape Wrath is me home, and me croft sits on the tip of that. ‘Tis’ as north as one can travel without a boat. I watch the green earth slope into the sea and the rest of Scotland lies behind me.” He closed his eyes, and pleasure softened the masculine ridges of his face. His words made her think of her mother who had often told stories of the French countryside. Just as Robbie had not been able to picture the thick French forests or shimmering lakes, she also could not imagine what Conall saw in his mind’s eye, but she recognized the peace it brought him. How she longed for peace. She waited for him to continue, wishing to hear more of the sea and sloping earth, but instead he remained quiet, his eyes never leaving hers. She gripped the seat to keep from squirming beneath his steady gaze
“Do ye sleep on the streets or in a lodgin’ house?”
“Nay,” she snapped as her eyes narrowed. “I have my own room in the tenements. ‘Tis not fine like this, but ‘tis mine alone.”
“Ye have no other family then?” he asked.
She shook her head, “Nay, I have no one.” She sat up straighter as she spoke, trying to make herself look bigger and braver than she really was. Normally, she would have lied and made up a pack of bloodthirsty brothers who would certainly miss the runt of the litter were she to go missing, but this strange man brought only truth to her lips. She blamed his fine eyes. How could she lie to eyes as clean and honest as a cloudless sky?
She looked down at her hands black with dirt and clenched them in frustration. How she wished they were white and fair like the lasses’ hands on Queen’s Street. The woman that she was, hidden by soot and breeches, longed to burst free from the confines of her bindings, to leave the ruse behind, and the man before her with his strange allure fueled that desire. Despite her outer display of indifference, Conall Mackay made her heart race.
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