Authors in the Spotlight


Category: Historical Romance

Description: It's an ill-advised journey that leads sensible Lady Caroline Blacknall to Muirin Inish, an isle off the windswept coast of Ireland. She never expected to be shipwrecked and then rescued by a man who, long ago, held her life in his hands . . . and with it, her heart.


Author Spotlight: Laurel McKee

The first romantic book I remember reading was Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. I found a battered old paperback copy in a bag of books my mom bought at a garage sale when I was about ten years old, and I liked the cover—a crumbling castle on a rocky cliff with a gray, stormy-looking sky. So I dove in. And I read all night long before starting the book all over again the next day.

I was deeply shocked by the (spoiler!) mad wife in the attic, and I loved how strong and outspoken Jane was. (I had watched enough old movies by then to know how strange this was for a Victorian lady). I loved the Gothic atmosphere, the hint of mystery and danger, and I really loved Mr. Rochester. I immediately went to the library to find other Bronte novels. (I also loved The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, but was probably too young at the time for Wuthering Heights, which I didn't come to appreciate until later.)

In my own writing, I can still see the influence of the Bronte sisters; I owe them a lot. I love dark, stormy, dramatic settings and a mysterious, dangerous hero. I love an independent heroine (especially if she's kind of bookish!), moors or seaside cliffs for her to walk along, secret passageways, and murderous villains.

Luckily for me, I was able to use all my Bronte-love in Lady of Seduction. When I first met Grant Dunmore in the second book of The Daughters of Erin series, he was meant to be just the villain of that story, most likely intended to die at the end. But he had an unexpected connection with Caroline, the youngest of the Blacknall sisters (and the quiet, intellectual one!), a love of books and art, and a terrible obsession with finding his own place in the world and taking revenge on his cousin. He was very Mr. Rochester-ish and somewhat Heathcliff-ish (though mentally more stable—haha). grew more and more intrigued with him, and I knew I needed to find out more. He deserved his own story with Caroline.

And that's how Lady of Seduction came about. We see Grant three years later, after he's been injured and scarred in a fire, living alone on a gorgeous, dangerous Irish island (another love of mine!) and set on a deadly mission. I loved spending time with him again and seeing Grant and Caroline's adventures as they unexpectedly find love together.

I hope readers enjoy their story too. If you'd like to read more about the background of the story or see photos of the "real" Muirin Inish and Caher Island, please visit my website at

- Laurel McKee



“Caroline, you were surely sent here to drive me to madness,” Grant groaned.
“Then we are both mad.” Caroline rested her forehead on the curve where his neck met his shoulder. She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply of his clean, spicy-dark scent, drawing it down into herself. A bittersweet longing swept over her, overwhelming. She longed for him, and also for something deep and desperate she couldn’t quite grasp. Yet she sensed it was something of vital importance.
She curled her fingers into the front of his shirt and kissed the pulse that beat at the base of his throat. She parted her lips and spread a line of kisses along his throat, his jawline, the spot just below his ear. His skin was hot and smooth, and the slight roughness of his whiskers abraded her lips.
She tore open the lacings of his shirt and at last touched his naked chest. How had she gone without this for so long?
She pressed her mouth to that heartbeat and felt the rhythm of it on her lips. She traced her tongue around his flat, hard nipple and reveled in the moan of his response. He wanted her too, she knew that. She wasn’t alone in this madness.
His fingers twined in her hair and pressed her against him. “Caroline,” he said, and his voice sounded rough and desperate, the fine English accent and cool distance gone. “I tried to fight against this, whatever this is between us…”
“I know,” she whispered. “Oh, I do know!”
“I’ve never known a woman like you,” he said. “It’s as if, when I’m with you, I see only you, as if you’ve cast a spell over me, over this whole island.”
Caroline looped her arms around his neck and stretched on tiptoe until her body was pressed flush to his, hip to hip, breast to hard chest. “You are the sorcerer, I fear.” He was sent to beguile her away from her purpose, to trap her in this heated pleasure until she could see nothing else. She didn’t want to see anything else. If this was to be her downfall then she welcomed it.
For tonight anyway. Tonight was part of the spell, and tomorrow was very far away.
His hands closed hard on her waist, and he bent his head to capture her lips in a hard, hungry kiss. She opened her mouth to him in eager welcome, and his tongue touched and twined with hers. He tasted of wine, and of that darkness she craved so much.

His kiss was full of desperation, and it made her desperate too, made her fall deeper and deeper into the humid, hot abyss of longing. She needed him, she needed to be closer and closer to him until she could no longer tell where she ended and he began.


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