Interview with Donal MacNabb
Thank you, RomCon, for inviting me here today. I’ve brought Donal MacNabb with me to talk about his book, HIGHLAND SEER (Highland Talents #2), as well as his role in Highland Healer (Highland Talents #1). So let’s get right to it.
You were quite the thorn in your laird, Toran Lathan’s side in HIGHLAND HEALER. Why were you so dead set against his interest in the Lowlander Healer, Aileana Shaw?
I had reason to suspect her. The Healer cared for the invading army. Toran escaping with her was one thing. The laird has an eye for a pretty lass. Bringing her into the Aerie - the Lathan keep - was a risk I wasna comfortable with. Had she persuaded him to bring her? Aye, I saw how she saved Jamie’s life with her touch. But that only made me wonder what else that touch might be able to do.
You seem to have few close friends - primarily Toran and Jamie. How would you describe your relationship with them?
Aye, we’ve fought together, and shared a wee dram of the whisky a time or two.
Did your initial disapproval of Aileana damage your relationships, since Toran married her and she saved Jamie’s life?
Toran was little pleased that I challenged her. Jamie supported her, of course. But she proved her mettle when she treated the mad lass who stabbed her, Coira. ‘Twould have been simple, and right, to let Coira die, but Aileana would have none of that. She cared for Coira before she cared for herself. Toran chose wisely.
You’ve been called a natural skeptic. Does that fit you?
Aye. I trust what my senses tell me. My experience. I willna accept anythin’ on blind faith. I’ll have yer proof, if ye wish to convince me.
How did you come to be part of clan Lathan?
I escorted my sister there to be wed, and tarried a while to see that she would be well cared for among those strangers. I liked what I saw. MacNabb had naught to offer me - I’ve brothers to inherit before me. The auld laird eventually made me arms master, a position I am well suited for. Later, I stayed behind to guard the Aerie when the auld laird and his heir rode off to Flodden to fight with the King, ne’er to return. Toran lacked much of the training a laird needs, especially with weapons and tactics, such as keepin’ a cool head in a fight. I made sure he learned.
How did you gain such legendary prowess as a fighter? As a teacher?
The hard way, of course. By fighting. The teaching came after, but by then I’d learned how to stay alive. The laddies do well who listen, learn and practice.
What do your friends think about your relationship with Ellie MacKyrie?
Toran approves, or I wouldna be where I am, since I was sworn to him. Aileana misses no opportunity to express her delight that I married a lass with a Talent such as hers. I suppose I deserve that.
You held yourself aloof from women for years while you helped Toran rebuild clan Lathan. What is it about Ellie MacKyrie that you could not resist?
Ach...so much. She’s a braw lass. Beautiful. Clever. And stubborn. She’s taught me to accept what’s between us, what she saw in her dreams, even though it’s beyond what my senses tell me. We belong together. I give her what she needs. She is what I need. I love her. In the end, it’s that simple.
How is it to make a new home for yourself for the second time, first with the Lathans, now with the MacKyries?
It is right for me, and for MacKyrie. Their need for my skills is much greater than the Lathans’. Their lads have years of hard training ahead of them to become warriors who can protect themselves, much less their clan. There are still threats from without, and perhaps from within, to overcome. But MacKyrie is stronger now that Ellie and I are together than it has been since losing so many of its men at Flodden.
But you took some convincing before you decided to stay.
Aye. I didna think I could have her, even though I loved her. But she gave me no choice. Even so, I wouldha returned to the Aerie after we wed, to gain Toran’s release from my oath, but Toran sent word that he approved. We are a family now, Ellie and I, our bairn, and her clan. Our life together is better than anythin’ I could have dreamed.
Thank you, Donal, for being here today. Does anyone have any questions? One lucky reader who comments will win a Kindle copy of Highland Seer.
Highland Seer on Amazon: http://ow.ly/nieMI
Highland Healer on Amazon at http://ning.it/PbhhUB, as well as on B&N, KOBO, Sony iBooks and other e-retailers.
You can find me at www.willablair.com.
Highland Seer Excerpt:
She swallowed and licked her lips. “Ye are the man I need, Donal.”
He didn’t flinch, but his eyes narrowed again.
“Do ye, now? Has yer Sight shown ye this?” Quick as a viper, he uncrossed his arms and grabbed hers, lifting her onto her toes. His lips waited a whisper away from her mouth, taunting her. “Are ye certain that’s all ye need me for, Ellie? Is that why ye came to my chamber?”
Startled, she shoved against his chest. She had as much success as pushing against a fire-warmed granite wall. He didn’t resist, didn’t shake her, merely stood, as if waiting for her to decide what she would do. As if he held all his power leashed, under tight control. His breath on her lips fanned the flames in Ellie’s face. Her heart thudded as his chest muscles flexed beneath her fingers.
“Nay. Aye.” She pushed again with one fist, torn between making him release her and making him listen. “Nay!”
He let go of her suddenly. Ellie nearly fell as she lost the support of his grip. He steadied her, then released her again and moved toward the door.“I’m sorry, lass. I shouldna done that.” He spread his fingers, then clenched them into a fist. “Yer touch...ye make me forget my place.”
Highland Healer Excerpt:
Despite his threats a few moments before, she had sensed no real animosity in him. She’d been treated well since arriving at the Aerie. Her dream of a home, with people who cared about her, perhaps a family of her own, rose unbidden to her mind, and with it came a familiar lump in her throat. She was tired, she thought, to let that longing overwhelm her now. She folded her arms under her breasts and kept her eyes on the flames. She heard Toran move from the door to stand behind her. She tensed as his hands came to rest on her shoulders. He turned her gently, but irresistibly, to face him.
“What should I do with so beautiful, so valuable, a prize?” he murmured, almost to himself.
His deep blue gaze ensnared Aileana as completely as his hands. She knew she should be outraged at being called a prize. He’d done it before, on the way here. Did he truly see her that way? She refused to be chattel any longer, she told herself, and would not allow him to treat her so. But she found she could not summon her ire. One of his hands left her shoulder and he lightly touched her cheek, then slowly slid his fingers down her throat to her collarbone. There, he hesitated, and Aileana held her breath until he moved the hand back to her shoulder.
His simple touch sent shivers dancing and nearly undid her.