on February 3rd 2017
Their marriage is forced. Their passion is real.
English knight Sir Adam Dayne is offered the ultimate prize by the earl who raised him: lordship of Langford castle. All he must do is accept a betrothal to the Scottish Marcher warden’s beautiful daughter, a match made to keep peace at the tumultuous Anglo-Scottish border. Sir Adam relishes the prospect—until he meets the woman he is to wed.
Lady Cora Maxwell hates everything English, including the self-assured new lord who has claimed her hand in marriage. Desperate to return home to Scotland, Cora displays increasingly outrageous behavior in the hopes of dissuading the Englishman from the marriage. But when Adam proposes a unique challenge, Cora is forced to face her greatest fears and the burgeoning desire he has awakened in her.
The Ward’s Bride is a prequel novella in a historical romance series. If you like strong female heroines, alpha male types, and sizzling romance, you’ll love the first installment of the Border Series. Transport yourself to the medieval world of The Ward’s Bride today!
1. What drew you to medieval romance?
I have loved everything medieval for as long as I can remember. When I’m not writing the Border Series, I can usually be found surfing Netflix for any shows or movies featuring castles and swords. There is something inherently romantic about knights in shining armor and their chivalric code, even though the reality of the middle ages is quite different than my romanticized notions. But these are the reasons I love historical romance and have been reading it for over twenty years.
2. Where do your ideas come from? How is the creative process like for you when creating a new title or series?
My ideas typically stem from research. For instance, once I began to research late 13th century England, information about border reivers—essentially thieves who took advantage of the tumultuous nature of the Anglo-Scottish border—sparked an idea. When I discovered instances of nobles resorting to reiving for a variety of reasons, and the idea of disposed baron who lost his inheritance to a Scottish clan was born.
I typically consider ideas for weeks, thinking about the story and characters every day until a clear picture formulates in my mind. By the time I sit down to plot, I have Pinterest inspiration boards, names, character traits and plot points already worked out. My husband “interviews” me as my characters, asking surprise questions such as, “Who is the first person you ever killed?” After a rough outline is complete, additional research is usually necessary to get the story started. Once the words “Chapter 1” are penned, I stop plotting at let the characters take over. At times they move in directions I could not have predicted making the process fun, and sometimes a surprise, even for me!
3. How do you prefer to craft your hero and heroine? Are there particular personality traits you like them to have?
I typically begin with a person I know in order to give the characters more depth. Although these associations are loose, it helps push decisions in certain directions. I don’t anticipate ever writing weak or unintelligent heroines. But aside from strong, willful women, the only other “must” for my Border Series books are alpha-type heroes. This is part of the appeal, after all, of the medieval setting of the series. From that starting point each hero and heroine’s character traits and idiosyncrasies develop with their own background and situations taken into consideration.
4. As The Thief’s Countess is the first official book in your Border Series, what can you tell us about the characters and world you’ve created?
The Border Series is set along the 13th century Anglo-Scottish border. In The Thief’s Countess we meet Sir Geoffrey Waryn, a baron’s son whose land and title were taken by a Scottish clan five years before the opening of book one. The tug-of-war between the English and Scottish border lords is a central theme of the series. Although the first two books follow the Waryn men, future stories will move into Scotland to tell the tale of their Scottish counterparts.
Along the tumultuous border, divided loyalties force each side to examine country versus family and love versus duty. I ask my fans to “Declare Your Allegiance” which isn’t always easy since the “bad guys” in book one many very well become the “good guys” in future installments.
5. What do you want readers to get out of reading your books?
I want readers to fall in love the characters. To root for their happy endings, to wonder how they will possibly ever get together. I want them to feel the building tension as the hero and heroine want to be together but are forced apart by circumstances (seemingly) beyond their control. Most importantly, I hope readers forget about responsibilities and imagine themselves rooting for their knight in a medieval tournament or climbing the stairs of The Wild Boar, an imaginary inn. I want them to be transported, if momentarily, back in time.
6. What can we see from you next?
It’s my pleasure to announce the title and share the blurb for book two in the Border Series, The Lord’s Captive, which picks up a few months after The Thief’s Countess and tells Sir Bryce Waryn’s story. For the first time anywhere, here is a sneak peek of The Lord’s Captive:
Sir Bryce Waryn has dreamed for years about the day when he will finally liberate his home from the Scots who killed his parents and stole his brother’s birthright. Now that day is finally upon him, only his brother has abdicated the title of lord of Bristol Manor to him. Bryce should be celebrating, but something unexpected stands in his way—the sister of the Scot who held Bristol. In the chaos of the raid, Lady Catrina Kerr was injured and left behind. Bryce takes her captive, hoping to exact an even more satisfying revenge from his enemy, except the fiery beauty is far more compelling than he would like…
Raised by three elder brothers, Lady Catrina Kerr knows a thing or two about stubborn men. But Bryce is more strong-willed than all of her brothers combined. He’s also maddeningly handsome, brave, and kind—but no matter how compelling her captor, she’s intent on escaping him. Only then will she be able to protect her brothers. But as Bryce’s plan escalates and her feelings for him intensify, she finds herself facing an unthinkable choice between her family and the man who has captured her heart.
~~Reviewed by AnnMarie~~
The Ward’s Bride is a prequel novella in the Border Series by Cecelia Mecca. There is no cliff hanger, so although it is part of a series, it can easily be read as a stand alone story.
Sir Adam Dayne is an English Knight, and at that start of our story he and his fellow soldiers are meeting with Scottish soldiers in an attempt to bring peace between the two sides. A contretemps between Adam’s foster brother, Richard, and one of the Scots brings shame upon the latter. Richard is heir to an Earldom, and is married. Their father (Adam’s adopted father) makes Adam a Lord and gives him Langford Castle which makes him eligible for a good marriage. The Scottish Warden in charge of the Scottish side of the peace treaty offers his daughter’s hand in marriage to Adam as a way of showing good faith and in order to keep the treaty sound. It’s not particularly what Adam wanted, especially as he hadn’t even met the woman, but he agreed to the betrothal.
Lady Cora Maxwell hates the English and everything to do with them. She is furious when she learns she is to be married to Adam. She can’t refuse her father though, and agrees to go through with it. She secretly plans to make Adam refuse to marry her by being as unreasonable as possible during the weeks they will spend together before the wedding. Plans which falter from the start when he foresees her possible plans and they marry the day after she and her family arrive at his castle.
Despite their marriage, Cora is determined to still make Adam give up on her, and although they are married, she wants him to let her live back in Scotland. She will do anything to make him want rid of her, but the longer she stays with him, and the calmer he seems to be over her antics, the more she starts to think he’s not such a bad person after all. Can she trust him, an Englishman, not to hurt her, can she spend her days never seeing her real home again? And what of poor Adam, he didn’t ask for the marriage either, but despite Cora’s behaviour, he not only finds her intriguing, and loves her spirit, but he also is very very attracted to her. An attraction that isn’t coming to anything when she manages to persuade him to give her time to get to know him before consummating their marriage.
This was an absolutely wonderful short read, with fabulous wit and sass from our heroine being met with charm and patience from Adam. Their marriage wasn’t from choice, and they certainly have some obstacles to overcome, but reading about them, and if they can get past those obstacles was a real delight. There were some very funny moments that kept the book light despite some of the more serious moments. Considering this was only a novella, I think the characters had depth, and the storyline was exciting and made me want to read straight through to find out how it ends.
I very much enjoyed this book and definitely want to read the rest in the series as they become available.
I voluntarily reviewed an advanced readers’ copy of this book.