It gives me great pleasure to host a fellow Wild Rose Press author here today with a brand new release! Mary Morgan is not only a talented writer but is also very supportive of others. So, without further adieu, I turn my blog over to Mary!
Hello, Jan! I’m delighted to be on your lovely blog today to celebrate my new book, Wishes Under a Highland Star. Since I love a good party, I’m going to take you and your readers to a special feast. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!
A Midwinter Feast
Come journey with me as I whisk you away to 13th-century Scotland for a Midwinter feast. You arrive at Castle Taloch, a mystical realm within the Highlands of Scotland. These people are part-Fae, and their Scottish bloodline is steeped in ancient Celtic mythology. Though they respect the new religion that has swept across their land, the Fae continue to honor the old ways. Midwinter is a celebration of light and warmth here within the castle. The doors have been left open for all to enter in peace. Once you step inside, you are drawn to the holly boughs with ivy, bay, crimson-berried yew branches, and fragrant bunches of rosemary twigs.
The torches cast a welcoming light as you proceed onward. As you enter the Great Hall, you observe the boisterous laughter and gaiety. A bard is recanting a tale between the aging Holly King (representing the darkness of the old year), and the young Oak King (symbolizing the light of the New Year). Some of the older lasses have chosen to weave a sprig of holly onto their gowns, and they nod at you in passing.
Candles illuminate the hall in a soft glow as you make your way toward the feasting tables. The elder Fae men and women are seated at a longer table near the hearth. Ale and mead are flowing, along with the tempting dishes you survey as you take your place. The aroma of food teases your senses as your gaze drifts across the table. Should you choose the wild boar stuffed with onions and cabbages on a large trencher? Yet there’s the salmon with dill springs set on another. Perchance you would prefer the spiced apples and damson tarts?
The minstrels begin to play a lively tune, and a few of the couples rise from the benches to join in the merriment…
Sneak preview of a Midwinter feast from Wishes Under a Highland Star
“Aine’s musical voice could tame even the wildest beast,” observed Glenna.
Alex coughed into his hand to squelch the laughter. Recovering, he said, “Or any hardened warrior?”
This time, Glenna laughed. She touched his arm. “Even the fiercest beast can find comfort in a luring song.”
One of the women waved in their direction, and Glenna responded with her own. “Enjoy the feast, Holly King,” she teased, making her way across the hall.
Alex watched the woman depart and then resumed his study of Aine. Pushing away from the wall, he made leisurely strides around the tables toward her. Her attentive audience were doing their best to encourage another song. But when she caught his gaze, Aine rose slowly from her chair.
He dipped a slight bow. “I enjoyed your song.”
“I am pleased, Holly King.” After placing her lap harp on the chair, Aine rested her hand in the crook of his arm.
Sorely tempted to guide his leannán out of the hall to spend some time alone with her, he refrained and led Aine to a table where others were engaged in a lively discussion about the morning battle and games of strength.
After settling into her chair, Aine leaned near him. “Ye look magnificent in the dark blue tunic.”
Slipping his hand under the table, Alex grasped her fingers. “More clothing from your uncle. And ye are a vision of beauty, my Aine.”
Her gaze roamed his features. “I so wanted to please ye tonight.”
Alex squeezed her fingers. “Why tonight?”
She covered his hand with her free one. “Because I wanted ye to see the woman and not the lass who likes to fashion blades.”
Tilting his head to the side, he commented, “Have I not mentioned, I love both? Ye are soft—yet forged with steel.”
Joy bubbled in her laugh and shone in her eyes. She gestured outward. “Did ye taste the bread filled with nuts and honey?”
Alex dropped his hand. “Nae. I have recently arrived.”
Quickly tearing a portion of the bread apart, she placed the piece on his trencher. Pointing to the salmon, she nudged him. “The sauce is mixed with rosemary and onions. Rowena even used wild garlic in the turnips.”
“Did ye assist in making these tempting fares?” he asked, picking up a blade and spearing a slice of boar.
She snorted, then quickly recovered. “I confess, the kitchens will not be my strength, unless ye ask me to chop vegetables.”
“I did enjoy the one bite of bread this morn. And ye did make a tasty porridge the other day,” he reminded, taking a bite of the meat.
Two rosy stains appeared on her cheeks. “Aye, a first.”
Alex choked on the piece of boar, recalling the pleasurable morning in the gatehouse.
Aine swiftly poured him a cup of mead. “Here,” she urged, shoving the cup into his hand.
Grateful for the liquid, Alex proceeded to drain the contents.
PLUM TARTS aka…DAMSON TARTS
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup finely chopped almonds
3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into small pieces
1 egg yolk
2 pounds firm, ripe plums, pitted and quartered lengthwise
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Combine the flour, almonds, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the butter and the egg yolk. Mix by hand or with an electric mixer, until crumbly.
Press 1 1/2 cups of the crumb mixture in an even layer into the bottom of a 9 1/2-inch springform or tart pan. Arrange the plums in the pan, skin side down to form a flower pattern; begin at the outside and work your way in.
Sprinkle the rest of the crumb mixture evenly over the plums. Bake the tart for 40 to 50 minutes, or until it’s lightly browned and the plum juices are bubbling. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and transfer tart to flat plate.
Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.
**Damsons are a small purple-black fruit similar to the plum
During this time of year, I usually find plums at farmer’s markets or order online.
As chieftain for his clan, Alex MacFhearguis struggles with the burden of an unwanted responsibility. With the midwinter feast approaching, he flees his castle to find comfort and solitude within the forest. Yet on his quest, Alex stumbles into a world filled with magic, mysteries, and a woman with beguiling eyes who could capture his heart.
When half-Fae Aine Fraser makes a powerful wish, her simple request unlocks the magic she possesses and brings forth a Highlander into her world. Though the man has lost all his memories, she finds her attraction growing for this brooding warrior with each passing day. Unable to deny her feelings, Aine risks everything when she confesses her greatest secret.
Can a beauty who wished for a champion tame the beast of Leòmhann Castle?
I just want to add that I had the privilege of reading an ARC of this book and you can find my 5-Star review HERE!
Universal Buy Link: https://books2read.com/u/31DeYa
About the Author
Multi award-winning paranormal romance author, Mary Morgan resides in Northern California with her own knight in shining armor. However, during her travels to Scotland, England, and Ireland, she left a part of her soul in one of these countries and vows to return.
Mary’s passion for books started at an early age along with an overactive imagination. Inspired by her love for history and ancient Celtic and Norse mythology, her tales are filled with powerful warriors, brave women, magic, and romance. Now, the worlds she created in her mind are coming to life within her stories.
If you enjoy history, tortured heroes, and a wee bit of fantasy, then travel back in time within the pages of her books.
Connect with Mary here ~
Amazon Author: http://www.amazon.com/Mary-Morgan/e/B00KPE3NWI/