Thursday, June 28, 2018

England Fiction, #Scotland for Real by Alanna Lucas #travel

Roses and Readers, please welcome our guest blogger, Allana Lucas Love to travel! And leave a comment for have a chance at winning an eBook from her backlist.

Earlier this month I chaperoned my daughter (who just turned 18!) and two of her friends to Scotland. Traveling with three teens was an interesting and thoroughly enjoyable adventure. We rented a flat in Edinburgh, but took several day trips, exploring various parts of the country. While waiting for our return flight home, we came up with our top ten for Edinburgh and beyond. Here’s our list- in no particular order, since we all agreed everything was awesome!

1) Listening to The Spinning Blowfish on The Mound -a busking band with bagpipes, guitar, and drums.
2) Hiking up to Arthur’s Seat
3) Going inside the J.K. Rowling suite at the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh (if no one is staying in the suite, the
concierge will allow you in the room to take pictures)
4) Spending the day at Edinburgh Castle- highlight of the visit: seeing the Crown Jewels
5) Exploring the numerous Closes along the Royal Mile- we also did the Mary King’s Close tour.
6) Learning about the ha-ha wall at the Holyrood Palace Garden- Prince Albert had the wall constructed for Queen Victoria
7) Seeing The Unicorn Tapestries at Stirling Castle (the original tapestries are at The Met Cloisters in New York City) – Only an hour train trip out of Edinburgh, plus an invigorating walk up to the castle.
8) Greyfriars Kirk and statue of the Greyfriars Bobby- the Skye Terrier spent 14 years guarding the grave of his owner until he passed away in 1872.
9) Climbing 287 steps to the top of the Sir Walter Scott Monument- it was a clear day and the views were incredible!
10) Walking a section of Hadrian’s Wall. We took a day trip to Roslyn Chapel, Melrose Abbey, and Hadrian’s Wall. Okay, so this wasn’t in Scotland, but it was on my life’s to-do list!

Blurb for Only a Hero Will Do:

Defender of the realm…and his wary heart…

Captain Grant Alexander is an enigma in London society. Dashing and handsome, he coldly eschews marriage. But the ton knows nothing of his role in the Legion: to bring Typhon, the traitor who seeks to destroy the British monarchy, to justice.

When Grant is thrown together with fellow Legion member Elizabeth Atwell, he’s instantly beguiled yet exasperated by this beautiful viscount’s daughter. She has little interest in combing the marriage mart for a well-bred, well-heeled husband, but is adept at code-breaking and handling a bow and arrow. She also refuses to do as she is told, insisting she accompany Grant on his mission.

As Typhon continues to evade capture and dark forces are at work, Grant realizes he must act, not only to protect the realm but Elizabeth too…not to mention his heart, which is in danger of thawing every time she comes close…

Excerpt for Only a Hero Will Do:

Early evening shadows danced across the white walls and cold white marble floors. Soon the austere ballroom would come to life with hundreds of guests, fresh flowers, and music.
Servants scurried around completing various tasks. Most were too busy to even take notice of Elizabeth’s presence. Tonight’s gathering of some of the finest and most well connected families in England would certainly bring out some of Typhon’s agents. Sooner or later, one was bound to make a mistake, bringing the Legion one step closer to discovering Typhon’s true identity and extinguishing the threat once and for all.
Elizabeth needed to be on guard tonight and was not going to leave anything to chance. Surveying the ballroom once more, she took her time covering every inch, contemplating every angle an attack might come from. She could not fail in this assignment. She would prove she was as capable as any man, and also prove to Grant that she belonged in his world.
With the layout of the room fully ingrained in her mind, she strolled to the pair of doors leading out onto the terrace. Pushing them wide open, she was rewarded with the sounds of chirping birds and leaves rustling in the gentle breeze. It all seemed so peaceful, but the gnawing in her stomach indicated it was anything but serene.
She dreaded her role tonight—to distract Mr. Ward with light flirtation in the hope that his tongue would loosen. Although a little sketchy, the rhyme he’d sung and recited during their ride in the park was a goldmine of information. Elizabeth suspected he was key to their investigation. Even still, the flirtation would be no more than that. There would be no moonlight stroll or stolen kisses under the wisteria. Absolutely not. A shudder rippled through her. There were certain things she was definitely not willing to do, not even for the greater good of her country.
She rested her hands on the cool balustrade, gazing across the lush green landscape. From this vantage point, in the twilight, one could still see across the vast sloping landscape. Once the sun set, therein lay the danger. The trees in the distance were a nest for Typhon’s men. One of them could be lurking in them there right now, watching her every move.
“Surveying the landscape?” Grant’s deep voice drifted onto the terrace and straight into her body, warming her insides.
She turned to greet him but was tongue-tied the moment she laid eyes on him. He cut an impressive figure in his blue coat and buff pantaloons. Swallowing hard, she stuttered, “Uh…y—yes.” Her response made her sound like a simpleton, not the able-bodied agent she wanted to be viewed as. She took in a deep breath, but soon realized that whenever Grant was near no amount of deep breathing could possible steady her nerves and racing heart. “You’re early.”
“It’s best I get the lay of the land before the light goes. Simon is stationed at the south end of the property, and Philson to the east.”
“And will you be stationed inside the ballroom this evening?” Her heart leaped at the possibility of spending more time with him.
“I’ll be near, just in case, but I won’t be partaking in any of the merriment tonight.” His words were formal, final.
“I’m sure you can spare one dance.” She thought to change his mind, but as soon as the words came out, she regretted them. His stern look cooled whatever warmth had entered her body.
He sucked in his breath and shifted his gaze, looking in the direction of the large pond. “I don’t dance.”
“You don’t dance? Why ever not?”
“It is not something I wish to discuss.”
The warning in his voice only made her want to challenge him more. “That’s not an acceptable excuse. Why won’t you open up to me? And don’t you dare say it’s because I’m the daughter of a viscount.”
“Damn it Elizabeth, that’s exactly why. Why must you push?”
“Because I care.”



Leah St. James said...

Welcome, Alanna, and thank you for sharing your trip favorites. It sounds just magical! Loved the blurb and excerpt, too, and the idea of a code-breaking, arrow-shooting daughter of a viscount! Sounds like a fantastic story. Best of luck with it!

Margo Hoornstra said...

Nice to have you with us at Roses of Prose, Alanna. Leah is right, the trip list sounds magical! Your story sounds magical as well. May you have many, many sales.

Vonnie Davis said...

Welcome to the Roses of Prose! Your post is so timely. I'm going to Scotland the first week of August. Paris the last week of July and then on to Scotland. Edinburgh, in fact. I do have some day trips planned, but might use your list to plug in another on my itinerary. I write bear-shifters roaming the hills and mountains of Scotland. It's about time I visit the area I write about.

I also loved your blurb and excerpt. Good luck with sales.

Jannine Gallant said...

Welcome to the Roses. Sounds like a wonderful trip! I'd love to go to Scotland one day and immerse myself in its history.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Glad to have a you as a guest today. I'm impressed with your Top Favorite list...compiled by teens. Extraordinary teens, I'd say, with a love of history. Edinburg is a wonderful of my top destinations as a traveler. Lots to see and do! Thanks for the blurb and the excerpt, another trip down history lane...with a feisty heroine. Happy sales to you!

Diane Burton said...

Welcome, Allana. I've always wanted to visit Scotland, esp. because Hubs' family is from there. Roslyn Castle would be one of my stops. Wishing you much success.

Alanna Lucas said...

Thank you for having me today!
Vonnie- I love Paris! I studied art history there *mumbles under her breath* years ago. Anything to do with travel and history, I'm there!!

Alanna Lucas said...


I think my daughter's friends were quite shocked at the pace I kept. One was stretching every time we stopped! They all said it was the trip of a lifetime! I can't wait to go back!

Jillian said...

a brisk walk indeed!! Glad you had a great time. I am ready to go back myself!

Alina K. Field said...

Great post, Alanna! Sounds like you had a lot of fun.

Alanna Lucas said...

Thanks for stopping by Jillian and Alina! Glad you enjoyed the post :-)