A very international experience in Miami, in which I attended a Scotch whisky tasting and a reading from a historical romance novel set in Scotland – all on the same night. Read Part 1 here.
Miami author Michelle Marcos discusses her latest historical romance novel, Secrets to Seducing a Scot, at Books and Books in Coral Gables. Scottish Highlander men are jaw-dropping tall, according to Marcos. See the video to learn more about these kilt-wearing seducers and why a Miami girl is writing a romance novel trilogy on the subject.
After spending a couple of hours tasting Dalmore Scotch with Richard Paterson and discovering the sensual angles of the experience, I sauntered into Books and Books feeling a certain frisson.
Miami novelist Michelle Marcos was reading from her latest novel, Secrets to Seducing a Scot. What an appropriate end to the evening, although somewhat ironic – as clearly the Scotch had already seduced me.
I first met Marcos when I was an "agent" in the massive Ford Fiesta Movement social media campaign. At the time, Marcos was working with Habitat for Humanity as Communications Director. During our acquaintance, she gave me a tour of Habitat for Humanity’s development in an underserved Miami neighborhood near Overtown.
Marcos, a lovely, soft spoken gal was not only championing this amazing non-profit, but also writing historical romance novels on the side. Later, she would take a career leap and dedicate herself to novel writing full-time.
Marcos looks and talks like your girl next door. She’s Christian, humble and devoted. But she has this saucy side to her and is a phenomenal wordsmith. You think blogging is hard? Try cranking out novels.
I just love that a Miami girl, encouraged by a big and warm Cuban family, is successfully writing romance novels set in the Scottish Highlands. You’d think that’s a stretch – but Marcos has the smarts and wit to pull it off. She represents the Cuban-American 305 truly, giving us volumes of good sensual read better than any telenovela out there.
You wouldn’t ever think to put Hialeah and Scottish Highland in the same sentence, but there you go. Weirder things have happened in this amazing universe.
Secrets to Seducing a Scot had me spellbound, even though, I’ll confess, it’s my first read in the genre.
The closest I’ve ever gotten to historical romance is the obviously prudish Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Please don’t tell me Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte was a romance, because I’m thinking that stick-in-the-mud never had an orgasm or at least, never dared to speak the unimaginable of female pleasure. However, I’m pretty sure literary genius Jean Rhys, author of Wide Sargasso Sea, probably indulged in an orgasm or two even though she never wrote about that directly.
And of course, there were the gothic novels I studied in grad school, where there was always a chaste, orphaned heroine being threatened by all kinds of ghoulish fears, most of them, of course, imagined archetypes when she was really freaking out about being pressed to give up her chastity.
Giving it up was a big deal back in the day. Well, it still is. There's your vagina (the physical organ) and then there's your vagina -- the part of your body subjected to all kinds of moral, cultural, political and religious scrutiny.
Serena Marsh, the novel's heroine, isn't about to give it up so easily. She's a stunner and has a flair for fashion, but in spite of being beautiful, she's far from perfect or pure, which makes her character quite likable. A smart, sassy and pampered writer penning a Sex and the City style column for a London newspaper in the early 19th century, Serena March is obligated to travel to Scotland with her ambassador father, who must make peace between Scottish clan leaders and the English monarchy.
Under some twisted circumstances (I won’t give up the plot) Serena Marsh finds a “protector” in Malcolm Slayter, a knock-out macho Scotsman who is an outcast, belonging to no particular clan but fiercely loyal to anyone who should place her trust in him.
This is a true tango of masculine and feminine, spelling out “I’ll dance with you, but only if you can lead me.” This is Taming of the Shrew without the shrew, though Serena Marsh is admittedly stubborn, in a good way. Both man and woman seduce each other, just like a real tango, with equal leverage of power, even though it appears, at first glance, that the woman is strictly submissive.
There’s a fantasy scene written out where Serena Marsh imagines what it would be like to explore under her would-be lover’s kilt. If you can imagine a brazen woman owning her sexual bravado, this is it. But the city girl gets seduced by the Highland knave, though not overnight. She must also prove herself worthy of love.
Marcos is particularly attracted to the Regency era, so the novel takes you through that time period and not without some of the bloody violence you might also read about in history books. The sex scenes were hot, but I loved journeying through the Highlands with characters encountering potential danger at every corner.
Secrets to Seducing a Scot is Part 1 of a trilogy and I am absolutely aching for the release of Part 2 in the Spring 2012. My guess is that I’ll read this sipping a good Scotch from the Highlands.
To follow Marcos, check out her website, Facebook and Twitter.
Here's the link in case you missed A Sexy Scottish Affair, Part 1.