Happy Valentine's Day! To wrap up our 20 Questions Valentine's Event here at The Cozy Page, today we're playing host to Carina Press author Taryn Kincaid and the heroine of her February 28th release, Healing Hearts...
As a girl, Emma Whiteside asked Adam Caldwell, Viscount Riverton, to wait for her to be of marriageable age. Now, twelve years later, Emma hates Adam as much as she once loved him, holding the former army major responsible for the death of her brother on the battlefield.
Adam already blames himself for the loss of the men under his command. But the fiery young woman Emma's become sparks his arousal, as well as emotions Adam thought long dead. The passion between them makes him want to reclaim the man he was before the war.
Though she tries to hold on to her hatred, Emma's longing for Adam is undeniable, especially after the two share a smoldering kiss. Still, Adam is certain no woman would want a man so damaged. Can Emma prove him wrong?
Our Cozy correspondent, Tink, sat down with Emma over the weekend for our last 20 Questions interview. Here's 20 Questions with Emma Whiteside! Take it away, Tink....
Tink: Are you the first one on the dance floor or not so much?
Emma: Oh, la! Once upon a time, I loved to watch the elegant ladies in their gowns and imagine myself in the arms of a handsome man. One handsome man, in particular. But sometimes we must cast aside our childish dreams, to capture those worth saving and holding. The love of my life would spin and whirl me around ballrooms throughout London if I let him, but I know he pays the price for such frivolous exercise when his wounded leg nags him. I never want to give him pain. Never. So I don't let him. These days I prefer to sit by his side in the garden, under the moon, just the two of us, my head upon his broad shoulder. Utterly content. Dreaming our dreams.
Tink: Do you prefer to spend the night at the theatre or at a bike show?
Emma: I am not quite certain what a bike show is, but when Adam & I travel to London we love to indulge in a night at the theatre. I love the words, the costumes, the sights and sounds, the champagne, even the scents. But most of all, I love sitting beside Riverton and allowing him to steal kisses and take outrageous liberties in the dark!
Tink: Do you give relationship advice or think it's a bad idea?
Emma: My name may be Emma, but I am not THAT Emma. I hope I am not so silly as Jane Austen's miss. Although...
Tink: Describe the ideal hero -- rough and tumble highlander, titled gentleman of the ton, modern-day bad boy or supernatural anti-hero.
Emma: In a word: Adam. In a phrase, Adam Caldwell, Viscount Riverton. His character: Loyal, heroic, stoic, possessive and protective. I love that in a man. Throw in steamy kisses that can turn a girl's -- my -- knees to water and a sure, knowing touch...and I am lost. Utterly, blissfully lost.
Tink: Would you rather tell someone you loved them or show it?
Emma: Most definitely show. Eyes, lips, the stroke of a hand, the hitch of a breath. Actions speak volumes, loudest of all...even when they are whispers.
Tink: Travel to the past or into the future.
Emma: I dare say I am most suited to the Regency period in which I live, 1812. But it might be a great lark to learn to Twitter and Facebook, instead of having to make the rounds of all those tedious teas and calling upon dragons who gossip behind their fans. What fun!
Tink: Bubble bath or hot shower?
Emma: Is it wicked that I love to watch Adam at his hip bath, soaping his back for him as if I were his valet or batman, trailing my hands along his slick, muscled flesh? Ah, I blush just thinking of it now. This will be our little secret.
Tink: Flats or high heels?
Emma: I wear slippers and walking boots.
Tink: Flowers or chocolates?
Emma: I love to start the day with a cup of chocolate. And end it in a moonlit garden in my love’s strong arms.
Tink: G-rated or unrated?
Emma: I am not exactly sure what you mean here. But my hero is a sure, capable, very generous lover. Who can reduce me to a jelly with the stroke of a fingertip or the sultry spark of desire in his eyes.
Tink: Alpha or beta?
Emma: Unlike my twin brother, Michael, I never had the benefit of a formal, classical education, although I read…oh. You are talking about Adam again? Alpha. But he shows me – and only me – his vulnerable side. (Just between us, I think he secretly enjoys when I twist him around my little finger. )
Tink: Would you make the first move or wait it out?
Emma: I did propose to the man when I was an unruly little miss, all of eight years old, and he was but a youth of seventeen. But twelve years later, the shoe was on the other foot. Somewhat. I did mention that he is an alpha? And that I can nevertheless twist him around my pinky?
Tink: Favorite love song?
Emma: I’m not sure that I have a favorite love song. But I am taken by the poetry of that scandalous Lord Byron. “She walks in beauty like the night…” Oh. Yes.
Tink: For Valentine’s would you rather go out or stay in?
Emma: My dear. I do not wish to be rude. But that is a henwitted question. I did mention being reduced to a jelly by my hero, did I not?
Tink: Karaoke: yes or no?
Emma: I do not carry much these days due to my delicate condition. Possessive, protective alpha, you know.
Tink: Describe your most romantic moment?
Emma: Taryn Kincaid described those in Healing Hearts. (And I would blush to repeat some of that here. But…Adam is the sweetest man. And a collector of handkerchiefs.)
Tink: Boxers, briefs…or kilts?
Emma: I should probably not share this improper bit of on dit…but I much prefer nothing to come between us.
Tink: What is your idea of a dream date?
Emma: 1812 was a very good date for me. Quite horrid in the beginning. But, oh, lah, did it end well!
Tink: Valentine’s Day watch: sappy love story, romantic comedy, action flick?
Emma: I am always partial to a wonderful love story.
Tink: And, most importantly – do you like your man clean shaven or with a five o’clock shadow?
Emma: My dear. I love him anyway I can have him. At any hour of the day or night. But…have you seen Adam’s picture on the cover of Healing Hearts? I positively swoon every time I see it!
Emma, thanks for answering all of Tink's intrusive questions! Readers, you can read more of Emma and Adam's story on February 28th at Carina Press! Now for a sneak peek into Healing Hearts....
The wind blew off the sea, moaning and wild, buffeting the man pacing the cliffs.
Hidden by a wall of rock, Emma Whiteside shielded her eyes against the bite of salt spray and continued to watch him, as she did every dawn.
Today, she thought. Today she would approach him at last. Confront him. Give him the royal tongue-lashing he deserved. She had nothing left to lose, after all. And she might not have the opportunity tomorrow. Or ever again.
The things I will say to you, Riverton, will peel the skin from your bones and lay you lower than anything Napoleon's Grande Armée had to offer.
A small voice nagged Emma from within, the advice reasonable considering her current dire circumstances. Better to seek the man's aid than chide him. But she snapped her mind closed against the unwanted counsel. The viscount was the last man on earth she'd ever ask for help.
Grief chilled her, numbed her heart, deadened the tender feelings she'd once had for him. Only her need for vengeance broke through her frozen emotions now. She longed to set Riverton in his place, however little effect her words might have on a man so impervious to remorse.
But once again Emma could neither confront him nor beseech him. The evidence of his stiff-necked pride—and her own—continued to hold her back with as much force as if an unseen hand pressed down upon her shoulder. She glared in the man's direction, as if it were his hand oppressing her.
Fierce gusts punished him, impeding his tortured progress. Pain twisted his handsome features but he confronted the gale without flinching. A tiny chip splintered off from the ice sheath encasing Emma's heart.
How do you bear it, Riverton? Are you made of stone?
She knew he was not. She saw the agony against which he fought, the stalwart way he pushed himself onward, despite the uneven gait that hampered his progress.
A cold blast of wind whistled past, ripping the hood of Emma's cloak aside, whipping her hair against her neck. The frigid current stung her eyes, wringing reluctant tears. She blinked the moisture away and rubbed the damp trail from her cheeks.
No tears, she instructed herself. Not for him. Never for him.
Riverton wore no coat or cravat. His linen flapped about him, white shirttails torn from his trousers—an unlikely flag of surrender when he refused to give quarter.
Did you stand so against the French?
Emma could think of no oath dark enough to curse a man so remarkably stoic. She envisioned him in her mind's eye, saber raised, hastening up and down the lines, shouting at his men to hold: Major Adam Caldwell, Viscount Riverton, at his most courageous.
She shuddered, conjuring the brutal attack that haunted her grimmest moments, the scene clouded by smoke and thunder, blurred by the limits of her grief and imagination. The battle where her twin had fallen, belly pierced by an enemy bayonet.
Michael admired you so, Riverton. I will never stop blaming you. 'Tis time you knew it.
Anger burned within her breast, bright as her love for the viscount once had.
And yet...her gaze swept him again, lingering on the trousers that molded his muscular thighs, the loose shirt that emphasized the breadth of his shoulders. 'Twas but the vicious wind that stole her breath, she told herself.
***GIVEAWAY DETAILS: Good news, readers! Taryn has generously offered a giveaway for today! By commenting to this post before midnight EST, Thursday; February 17th, you will have a chance to win a copy of Healing Hearts! (Chances of winning depend on the number of entries. You must be 18 years or older to enter. One winner will be chosen by the True Random Number Generator at Random.org and announced the morning after contest closing. Please check back in to see if you have won.)