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Monday, August 9, 2010

Kelley Heckart shares Cat's Curse. Comment for a chance to win big!

Welcome to my Sizzlin’ Hot Heroes of Scotland, Ireland, England & Wales summer blog event. This week it’s my pleasure to have talented author Kelley Heckart visiting. She’ll be dishing out about the hero from her latest story, Cat’s Curse, Book One: Dark Goddess Trilogy. Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win a free Ecopy of Cat’s Curse and a $6 gift certificate to The Wild Rose Press main store!

Cat's Curse, Book One: Dark Goddess Trilogy

Enter Dark Age Scotland—a mysterious, dangerous & exciting place…

Cardea is cursed to live an eternity as a blood drinker. Aedan mac Gabrain, prince of Dal Riata, trusts no one after suffering a curse that keeps him from touching any females. Can two tortured souls find love while battling a dark goddess determined to destroy them?

SKY: Welcome, thanks for joining me this week!

KELLEY: Hi Sky, thanks for including me in your summer blog event featuring Celtic heroes. I like being surrounded by hot, Celtic men.

SKY: I couldn't agree more! Tell me, what inspired you to create your hero’s character? Did he simply form as you wrote or had he been in your mind for some time?

KELLEY: I was researching the Picts when I came across this sixth century Irish king named Aedan mac Gabrain. He caught my interest because he was known as the most feared warlord of his time and he had a shadowy past. I love shadowy pasts because then I can use my imagination to fill in the blanks. He was a contemporary of St. Columba. In the Welsh poems he is called 'Aedan the Treacherous' and he may have fathered a king of the Picts, but he also fought against the Picts. This guy fascinated me and I wondered what kind of woman would capture his heart.

SKY: Give me a little insight into your hero’s personality. Is he cunning, aggressive, arrogant, kind, humorous─share all!

KELLEY: Aedan was a bit of a challenge because I had to convince readers that a fearsome warlord could be capable of love. While he does show a tender side to his woman, he has a tough, cunning exterior—he would have to be tough and cunning to be a successful king in that time period. He is also a flawed character. Aedan can be arrogant and has a bit of a jealous streak. For all his 'flaws' he is a loveable, hunky Celt. The heroine first discovers Aedan's kindness when she sees how caring he is toward his two hounds.

Excerpt from Cat's Curse:

The man started at her sudden words, turning toward her with the sword blade stopping just before the blade cut into Cardea's neck, the coldness of the iron striking a shudder in her. That was the second time in one night she almost lost her head to his sword blade.

“Why are ye following me?” Irritation filled his voice.

“You look like you need some help starting that fire.”

“I do not need yer help.” He stared at her. His brows knitted together, his eyes scrutinizing her.

“A good Christian lass would not be out here all alone in the forest at night,” he remarked with a sneer.

Cardea’s mocking laughter filled the air.

“Do I amuse ye?” He peered at her, eyes narrowed in annoyance.

She found her courage again. “You presume much of me, but what about you? I can only imagine what dreadful act you committed to be banished into these dark-winged woods. Though I can assume your misdeeds had nothing to do with fire,” she smirked, crossing her arms and planting her feet firm to the ground.

“Ye lass, are a rude minion of the Devil himself.” His handsome face rippled with indignation.

“That I may be indeed.” She stared hard at him. His ranting recalled images of the hated Levite priests. A shudder tore through her body and rage fumed inside of her, threatening to rise. She flirted with the temptation to rip his neck open and drink him dry. No one would find his rotting corpse out this far in the forest. The beasts would clean the bones of all flesh. She did not understand why she held back, but her hesitation had something to do with the odd way this man stirred her senses.

He turned around and strode with great arrogance back to his fire pit, striking the blade with the flint rock in angry thrusts. After watching him for a few moments, she approached him.

“Do ye have more insults for me?”

“No. I just cannot stand to watch you make a mockery of fire starting.”

“I can start the fire,” he insisted, turning back to the fire pit.

She watched him struggle again with the stone and blade, trying not to laugh.

“Please, allow me to assist you. It is much too cold tonight to be without a warm fire.” She did not understand why she felt compelled to help him and reached for the dagger she carried on her belt. His cold blade touched her throat before she could blink. Three times now his blade touched her throat and she wondered if it were a portent. “I need my dagger to start your fire.”

He eyed her with suspicion, but withdrew his blade from her throat.

“Ye live alone?” he asked, giving her room to start the fire, but he did not sheath his sword.

“Yes.” She noticed how he bit back a derisive retort.

Cardea held the stone with the sharp edge facing the blade and struck the blade in one swift movement. A spark shot out and the dry peat began to smolder. She struck the blade one more time and a flame rose from the peat, sending out warmth.

“You have to strike the blade in one swift movement with the stone to create a spark. Rubbing it like you were doing only wears the stone down. And it is best to strike the blade with the sharpest edge of the stone.”

“I have a capable pair of eyes. I saw how ye did it.” The bitter tone of his voice revealed his irritation toward her.

“I did not intend to offend you.”

“Good night to ye.” He waited for her to leave the fire before sheathing his sword. Keeping his eyes on her, he stoked the flames.

She stepped toward him and he jumped up, moving away from her. “Do not touch me.” His eyes turned an angry shade of dark blue and an aura of torment surrounded him. “I wish to be left alone.”

Cardea bristled at his surliness, thinking him to be the most arrogant man she'd ever met. “I will take my leave of you now, but you are in my territory so I imagine we will see one another again whether you approve of it or not.” Fuming, she stomped away before he could respond to her announcement. She had even lost the desire to drink his blood. His behavior puzzled her for no man could resist her legendary beauty and charms, but she had noticed a small glimmer of desire in his eyes, leaving her awash in bittersweet feelings.

She wondered why she could not touch him and why he was filled with so much torment and rage. Such a man excited her because of the mystery shrouding his spirit. For once in her long life, she stayed away from a choice bite. Cardea crept through the forest, hunting, but could not take her mind off of the strange, handsome man.

SKY: Great excerpt! Turning up the temperature─Why are readers going to fall in love with your hero-lust for him?

KELLEY: I don't know about readers, but I fell for Aedan because I love tall, strapping Celts with long hair. He is a courageous, fierce warrior king with a tender side for the one he loves. And he wields a long sword. What's sexier than that?

Excerpt from Cat's Curse:

She stared up at him, smiling at his disheveled hair and stubble-lined face. His bare chest rippled with muscles, calling to her. “Kiss me, Aedan.” Raw maleness emanated from him. His unique, earthy male scent excited her, driving her mad with want. She could think of nothing else. He leaned over her and kissed her, brushing her lips with light strokes. She pulled his head down with her good arm, showering him with eager kisses, arching her hips against his lower body.

He pulled away. “I do not want to hurt ye.”

His tender gaze filled her with warmth. “You will not hurt me. My shoulder is injured, but the rest of my body yearns for you.”

The blanket fell away from her chest, baring her naked breasts. She made no move to cover them up.

His eyes brightened with adoration and desire. He cupped her breasts in his large hands, laving each nipple to steep peaks.

Cardea moaned, gripping his long hair with her fist, wanting him more than ever.

He eased her trews off gently and tore off his own trews, his eyes bright with excitement.

Aedan's hands explored her body, eager but tentative as a new lover would. “Yer skin is so soft. I think I may have said this to ye before, but this time I am not under a spell. Ye are the bonniest lass I have ever laid eyes upon.” Deep affection filled his eyes.

He said those same words the night I enchanted him. Her heart swelled with joy.

Careful not to touch her wounded shoulder, Aedan mounted her, laving her with kisses and caresses, his touch tender, searching. His manhood brushed against her sex, hard and eager for her. Pleasurable tingles coursed through her lower body and wetness gathered between her thighs, parting in eagerness for him.

SKY: Another great excerpt! Thanks so much for visiting and sharing!

KELLEY: Thanks, Sky. It's been fun.

Four books! This is true dark ages stuff – the aftermath of Rome’s occupation of Britain, and the growing influence of Christianity vs. the old pagan ways and gods. I love epic historical/high fantasy. Fae, Celt, vampire, curses – all rolled into one book. You truly are transported to a magical time and place…it’s a wonderful escape book for anyone wanting to get away from it all and I would definitely recommend it. Read full review HERE.

~Reviewed by Heather from The Long and the Short of It

Score: 4.50 / 5 - Reviewer Top Pick! This amazing story is very refreshing in the current romance genre.The storyline had a bunch of twists and turns that kept my attention and intrigued me with anticipation. I so wanted to know the outcome of this unlikely romance. Many interesting characters and love triangles make for a refreshing story that is not as neatly tied up as most romance novels of today, but has managed to make me a fan of the author's style. I am eagerly looking forward to reading the next book (Beltaine's Song), Book Two in the Dark Goddess Trilogy, as I have become addicted to the strength, courage and real human facets of the characters in this saga. Read full review HERE.

~Reviewed by: Lydia Ferrari at Night Owl Romance Reviews

I found myself engrossed with how everything evolved. Cardea is an exceedingly winsome heroine. The reader can see her strength and development. I am excited to read the next book. Read full review HERE.

~Rated 3 ½ Tombstones by CeCe at Bitten By Books

She's a vampire, he's a cursed warrior; can true love keep them together?

3.5 stars! This was a remarkable book to read. It has all the earmarks of an enduring romance: suspense, danger, misunderstandings, true love and great sex. At the same time, it also has the elements of a wonderful fantasy story. The author’s detailed descriptions in the book brings you into the land she’s created, a fascinating escape from the day to day drudgery of our lives. I’m looking forward to the next book of this wonderful trilogy. Read full review HERE.

~Reviewed by Kris Plausky at ecataromance

Kelley Heckart

'Timeless tales of romance, conflict and magic'

Visit Kelley at any of her sites...

Also find Kelley at Awe-Struck.

Watch Kelley's book trailers on Youtube.

Thanks again for visiting. Don’t forget to leave a comment by Friday, August 13th, 12 PM EST for a chance to win a free Ecopy of Cat’s Curse and a $6 gift certificate to The Wild Rose Press.



Kelley Heckart said...

Hi Sky,

Thanks again for having me as a guest on your blog.

Sky Purington said...

It's a pleasure having you visit, Kelley! :)

Colleen Love said...

Hey Kelley!
How's my cyber twin?? :D *sigh* What could be better then a kilt clad, long-haired, sword wielding, hottie? Well, we won't go there... hehe

I just love finding that little hole in history that allows the imagination to blossom!
Great interview and excerpts!


Anonymous said...

It is very interesting for me to read the blog. Thanks for it. I like such themes and anything connected to this matter. I would like to read a bit more soon.

Julia Hakkinen

Jude Johnson said...

Sounds like another winner, Kelley! Historicals have always intrigued me, and there's just something about those Celts... I think it's the fierceness. Always under siege: if not the Vikings, the Saxons, then the English. The Irish, Scots and Welsh all managed to maintain their identity even when run over - so never completely conquered!

Lovely blog, Sky. I'll be following from now on.

Llongyfarchiadau a bob lwc!
(Congratulations and Good Luck!}

Kelley Heckart said...

Hey Colleen,
Thanks for taking the time to stop by and read my interview. I don't know what it is about those Celts. I think it's because they remind me of bad-boy rockers or something. I knew the title of my post would get your attention. LOL

Hi Julia,
Thanks for stopping by. Glad you enjoyed the blog/themes. Slainte!

Sky Purington said...

Thanks for popping in, Colleen. Couldn't agree with you more about the kilt clad, long-haired, sword wielding hotties! ;)

Sky Purington said...

Thanks for stopping by, Julia. Glad you enjoyed the post!

Sky Purington said...

Thanks so much, Jude! I can't wait to dig into one of Kelley's novels. Right up my alley! :)

Carol L. said...

Hi Sky and Kelley,
I absolutely loved these blurbs and excerpt. Another great read for me.
Celtic, Irish, Scottish, what could be sexier.:)
Carol L.

Chicks of Characterization said...

Hi Kelley and Sky, loved the excerpts!! AND those FABULOUS covers! Both books sound like a great read!!! Best of luck, here's wishing you many, many sales!


Juli D. Revezzo said...

Hi, Kelley. I too love Celts. For me, it's that, gosh darn it, they darn near could've whupped Caesar's butt, if fate had gone their way, you know? I think that's what I love about them the most, and the intrigue of why the heck didn't they? And of course, most of what we have of them comes from Caesar and the Greeks, and you know what they say about the "winners"; so I think there's still a lot there to learn about them, and I wonder if we ever will know the whole truth. Gives lots of room for an author to play with, at any rate. Anwyay, good luck with Cat's Curse! :)

Kelley Heckart said...

Hey Jude,

Thanks for stopping by. There is a fierceness about the Celts that is exiting. Roman writers wrote about Celtic women saying they were even more fierce then the Celtic men. I like that! Glad to talk to you again.

Thanks to Carol, Andrea and Vixen for leaving comments. I think what I like most about ancient Celts is that we will never know everything about them. That's a writer's paradise to me.

jellybelly82158 said...

Hi Kelley, Thanks for the great interview. It was very informative and interesting

Linda Henderson said...

I would love to read your book, I enjoy anything Celtic.