Tempting Will McGlashen
By Liz Everly
Mathilde Miller wanted to be a good daughter and marry the son of a long-time family friend, Joshua Bowman. But she didn’t want to be the wife of a Pennsylvania farmer. She loved her life, cooking on the Virginia frontier at her family’s ordinary. The minute blacksmith Will McGlashen walks into her kitchen, her restlessness focused on him. Fresh from Scotland, with a voice “like a song” and thick coppery hair, her heart belonged to him. Was it possible for the daughter of a Pennsylvania German to marry a hired man from Scotland? What did she really know about Will McGlashen and his secret past?
Will McGlashen needed to keep his own counsel. A man with a past full of violence and loss in Scotland, he was grateful for this chance to rebuild his life as a blacksmith in Virginia. He’d have to ignore the undeniable pull he felt toward his boss’s eldest daughter. When Joshua Bowman showed up and claimed her, instead of providing resolution for will, it burns like the fire he wields in his blacksmith shop. As events unfold, Will wonders if the signs she’s sending him are all in his head and prays that he has the strength not to find out.
The story is set in the Virginia frontier in 1765, a time when Native Americans still lurked in the hills, bandits and robbers were handed swift justice, and enterprising men and their families attempted to live in and tame the wild western edge of the new colonies. An ordinary offering good food, a bed, and company for travelers along the way was a much welcomed respite. Mathilde and Will’s story is woven into the history, adventure, and danger of the time period.
When she peered into the window of the shop, she nearly lost her breath. His shirtsleeves were rolled beyond his elbow and the linen was so worn that she could see his upper arms, along with his sinewy forearms, which were glistening with sweat. The muscles in his arms slid underneath the skin as he pounded his hammer to the anvil. She had never seen a man’s bare arms—even though they weren’t quite bare, they may as well have been. It was indecent, she knew, and should have immediately lowered her eyes and cleared her throat to let him know she was there, as a polite well-bred young woman would certainly do. But, she was paralyzed, her heart raced and a strange surge crept in her stomach. Was she going to faint?
Will’s thick copper-penny colored curls stuck around the edges of his face and he grimaced with each pound of the hammer, revealing deep dimples on either side of his full mouth. Now his tongue moved over his lips. She was as mesmerized by the rhythm of the bell-like sound as by the arms producing it.
His muscular legs stood firmly beneath him, solid at the top and sloped down to a robust, firm-looking behind. She drew in a breath. Surely she must look away. What sinful pull was this?
A bubble of trembling crept into her hands and the tin cup start to slip. She saved it by holding it against the wood of the door, but it made a terrible clunking noise.
Will looked up as the door flew open. He dropped his hammer and the wheel as Mathilde lurched forward. The harder she tried to get her balance, the harder it became, until finally she landed in his arms, with the cup of water clanging around on the floor, but the wrapped food still firmly in her hand and pressed against his chest. He held her firmly—she had never felt such hard arms before.
“Are you all right, Mathilde?” he asked, keeping his arms firmly around her waist as if to steady her.
The heat of the shop enveloped her and she found it a little hard to catch her breath with him pressed to her in that sweltering heat. “Ye-es,” she said hesitantly, her eyes cautiously meeting his firm stance.
One of his hot, blackened hands reached up to her face and touched it softly. His touch stayed there even as he moved his hand from her. She was bewildered and found it difficult to speak.
“Will—” she began to say, but the ravenous look in his eyes held her there. She could feel his hot body beneath his leather apron. She could not control her thoughts, her words, or even her body. She felt herself trembling and wanting to . . . she didn’t even know what. Wrap herself around him. Feel those strong arms and that chest pressing into her. Taste his mouth on her mouth, ja.
Fear ripped through her, snapping her back to reality. What if someone were to see them here in one another’s arms? Unmarried? Unbetrothed? Her father would fire him, maybe kill him, and disown her for committing such a sin. She quickly pulled away from him.
“Mathilde thought she noticed a slight tremor in his sweat-slick cheeks.
“I don’t know what I’m doing—with the daughter of John Miller. Can you please forgive me?” Will asked, untangling himself, but running his hands along her sides to linger at her hips for a moment more, as if he didn’t dare move too quickly. He looked at her with raised eyebrows.
She could not find any words in her dry mouth, but handed him his lunch.
A knock came at the door. “What’s going on in here?” It was Joshua, smiling at them both.
“Oh!” Mathilde jumped to attention. “Just me being clumsy again.” She stooped over to get the dropped cup.
“Let me get that for you,” Joshua said.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Mathilde said, not looking at him. “I’ll get it and fetch the water myself.”
The two men looked at one another, shrugging and smiling as Mathilde hurried out of the blacksmith shop.
It is my pleasure to welcome Liz Everly, author of Tempting Will McGlashen, to Room With Books!
What do you do when you are not writing?
Cook, read, run my kids to where they need to be. You know, fairly mundane stuff.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
I think that John Jakes Bicentennial series really affected me because it was the first time I read historical fiction that made history come alive and seem interesting. And it was American history, which seemed so dry and monotonous in school.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
My first book was a cookbooks and it was published some time ago. I think that the biggest thing to learn was the way the publishing system worked. Now that system is not really the same one. For example, as a non-fiction writer, you first should write a proposal and shop it around. I wrote the whole book, then the proposal, which meant that I did a lot of rewriting. Now, I’d probably have self-published it.
If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
I’d love to read people’s minds.
What was your first job?
Scooping ice cream during the summer.
Out of all of your characters, which is your favorite?
Definitely Will McGlashen—and not just because he’s hot, but also I feel for him. He’s new in the colonies, trying to start a new life, make a good impression on his new master, whose daughter is making it very difficult for him. Plus he has a Scottish accent. Ya can’t beat that. 😉
What does your writing schedule look like?
It fluctuates. Now, I get up around 4 or 5 every morning to write before my kids or husband get up and the day sort of explodes. I work as a freelance writer and editor and during my work hours, I never know what I’ll be doing. If I can fit fiction in, I do.
Do you use your OWN experiences?
No, not really. But this book is inspired by a very real place and even a real house that’s located at the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton, Va. Other than that, and being grounded in some solid historical research, the book is pure fantasy.
Was it easy to pick the title for your book?
No, I went through several rounds. I think I started off with Mathilde’s Heart then ended up with “Tempting Will McGlashen,” which I like because of the double meaning.
If you could pick one profession other than author, what would it be?
Actress. I like creating characters.
What are you currently working on?
I’m working on a suspense novel, which I plan to publish under my real name. I have a few romance proposals out—one is a vampire book, based on my short story in the anthology THE LADY SMUT BOOK OF DARK DESIRES. The short story is “THE IMMORTAL LONGING OF BRENNA BANG.”
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Chocolate, the darker the better.
Night owl, or early bird? Early bird.
Coffee or tea? Both
Roller Coasters or Water Rides? Neither
Swimming in the ocean or a pool? Pool
Walking or fitness club? Both. 😉
Thank you for chatting with our readers and for allowing Room With Books to be part of your tour!
Liz Everly writes, plays, and cooks in a tiny house with a big garden. She writes under a pen name to escape expectations and to embrace all possibilities. She’s the author of the SAFFRON NIGHTS SERIES (e-Kensington), and a contributor in THE LADY SMUT BOOK OF DARK DESIRES. She also writes regional bestselling cookbooks and Agatha-award nominated traditional mysteries under her own name. On any given day, you may find her researching murder, sex, or cooking techniques. She’d not have it any other way.
You can also find Liz on Facebook.