Today we are joined by NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Anita Clenney. She grew up an avid reader, devouring Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books before moving on to mysteries and romance. After working as a secretary, a Realtor, teacher’s assistant, booking agent for Aztec Fire Dancers, and a brief stint in a pickle factory (picture Lucy and Ethel–lasted half a day)…she realized she’d missed the fork in the road that led to her destiny. Now she spends her days writing mysteries and paranormal romantic suspense about Secret Warriors, Ancient Evil and Destined Love. Anita lives in suburban Virginia, outside Washington DC, with her husband and two kids. Anita has agreed to share with us a recent chat she had with Cody MacBain, hero of her second book, Embrace the Highland Warrior.
Anita: I’m sure you have better things to do, Cody, but thanks for joining me.
Cody: We’ll have to make it quick. I have an appointment with a demon.
Anita: Does the demon know that?
Cody: ‘Course not. It’s all about stealth. That’s how the clan has survived this long.
Anita: Can’t you get one of the other warriors to handle him?
Cody: <Crosses his arms> You know bloody well, the powerful demons have to be assigned. You want me to send Faelan or Ronan and have them killed.
Anita: Uh, sorry. I’m sure the ladies wouldn’t appreciate having Ronan killed.
Cody: <Frowns, narrowing his hazel eyes> You saying the ladies like Ronan better than me?
Anita: No. That wasn’t what I meant at all, although he does seem to have a pull for the female sex. You’re just fine. Better than fine, actually, with all that dark hair, strong jaw, and intense eyes. Can I get a drink please? No, don’t let Brodie get it. He likes to play tricks. So can you tell us about these demons, or does that violate some kind of warrior code?
Cody: There is a warrior code. Centuries ago, they would have eliminated anyone who found out about the warriors, for the good of humanity, you understand. I’m making an exception here, since it’s Halloween. I want to warn people that there are real monsters hiding out there, creatures that make Lord of the Rings look like a fairy tale.
Cody: Life’s unpleasant.
Anita: Not all of it. You and Shay used to have a lot of fun.
Cody: Aye. Back then.
Anita: Shay didn’t know then what was going on? She thought all that training was just a game?
Cody: <Shifts in his seat> But I couldn’t tell her who she really was. It wasn’t my place.
Anita: But you were her best friend…do you regret not telling her now?
Cody: <Stares at a little tattoo on his wrist that looks like a sword> Aye. I regret lots of things.
Anita: Care to elaborate?
Anita: Okay then. So tell me about your brothers.
Cody: <Shrugs> What’s to know? They’re like all brothers, make you crazy one minute, saving your backside the next.
Anita: Lachlan’s your younger brother. He reminds me of Ronan.
Cody: Aye, he’s a handful, and he’s usually got his hands full…if you know what I mean.
Anita: I think I do. I saw him eyeing Anna earlier.
Cody: <Snorts> Anna will put him in his place. She wants nothing to do with men. Unless she’s sparring with one.
Anita: You seem close to the other warriors, but they live in Scotland. You and your family spent most of your lives in America.
Cody: It was our mission. We had to protect Shay. But we had other missions as well. The world is a warrior’s battlefield. We travel wherever our assigned demons go. We don’t spend much time at home.
Anita: That explains the lack of accent. There’s just a hint of brogue.
Cody: That’s part of our disguise. We have to blend in with our surroundings. And we don’t want the demons to know where we’re from.
Anita: Doesn’t the kilt ruin that plan? <Looks at Cody’s kilt>
Cody: We only wear them at home, not in battle. Except Faelan. We’re having a hard time getting him out of his. <sexy grin> Though he takes it off a lot for Bree.
Anita: <Clears throat>Well, he is from the 19th century. Kilts were more common then. Should I ask if it’s true…what you wear, or don’t wear, underneath?
Cody: <Another grin, drops open his knees> I could show you.
Anita: Please don’t. <If he wasn’t careful, she’d find out regardless…Fanning>Water, I didn’t get my water. Tell me more about Shay. You seem uncomfortable when I mention her. I know you were close growing up. How close?
Cody: <Grin fades> What do you mean?
Anita: I mean, were you best friends?
Cody: <Rubs the tattoo on his neck> You could say that. We knew everything about each other.
Anita: Everything? Are you sure about that? I hear there were secrets.
Cody: <shifting in seat, again> Let’s talk about something else besides Shay.
Anita: You know your voice sounds different when you say her name.
Cody: <Scowls, and a racket sounds outside door. A horrible screeching sound as the door splinters. Bloody hell! I think the demon’s found me.
Anita: <jumps up> Maybe the kilt gave you away.
Cody: <Pulls a dirk from his boot, hits a button extending it to a sword> You’d better hide. You might be able to write books, but you can’t fight worth crap.
Anita: Okay, looks like the chat is over. Oh my God. Did you see that thing? It looked like an Orc.
Cody: He’s one of the prettier ones.
Anita: <Jumps up, runs toward a closet, glancing over shoulder> Are you opening your talisman? Good grief, you’re opening it. You’ll kill me.
Cody: I told you to hide. Close the door and cover your eyes or this’ll be your last book.
Anita: <Hides in closet and covers eyes as a blinding flash penetrates the darkness> If you want to know more about Cody and Shay, here’s a blurb for Embrace the Highland Warrior, available now.
They were driven apart by a timeless secret…
Cody MacBain let the woman of his destiny slip away. A member of an ancient clan of Scottish warriors, he grew up beside Shay Logan as her secret protector, but his heart compelled him to become more. Until Shay’s true identity was revealed, and the fated pair’s chance was gone…
But danger will drive them back into each other’s arms…
Shay fell for the boy next door, suspecting nothing of the ancient secrets he guarded. After a stinging betrayal, she’s determined to banish the memories of her first love forever. But the past can’t let go, and the boy she once loved has returned to her a warrior determined to protect her from the unspeakable evil fate has planned…
You can find out more about Anita and her books at:
Some of the places Embrace can be purchased:
Cody sighed. Might as well get it over with. He removed the shackles, returned them, and bent over her. “Shay, wake up.”
Her eyes flew open. She planted both hands against his chest and shoved, knocking him on his back, then sprang on top of him. “How dare you handcuff me to a bed?” she yelled, punctuating each word with a shake that rattled his brain. He didn’t fight back. She had to get it out of her system, and he didn’t blame her. He’d be more than pissed if someone shackled him.
She landed a fist into his stomach, and the breath rushed out of him. Okay, enough was enough. He captured her hands and rolled, trapping her under him.
“Get off me, you oaf.”
“I’ll get off when you stop beating the snot out of me.”
She let out a war cry and lunged for his throat, teeth bared. Intrigued, he hesitated a second too long, and she sank her teeth into his neck. A jolt of desire shot straight to his groin. He’d never been one for the rough stuff, but damn! He pulled back before she could do more than leave a bruise. He trapped her legs with his and held her hands above her head, letting his full weight press her into the soft mattress. She still struggled but could move only enough to get him excited.
“I’m sorry, Shay. I had to do it. It was too dangerous to let you go traipsing through the woods. I had to keep you safe.”
“What if he was hiding in one of the other bedrooms and sneaked in here while I was handcuffed to the bed? You left me so I couldn’t even protect myself.”
“Lach heard him out in the woods, but that’s why I locked the door, just in case. If this guy had broken it down to get to you, you would’ve screamed, and I would’ve come running. I was never far from the house.” He’d heard every name she called him.
Her eyes still flashed fire, but her breath was steadier, and she kept glancing at his mouth. He thought that was a good thing. He wondered if she’d calmed enough not to hit him, because he should move. She had to notice the effect all the wiggling around was having on him. He felt her hips push against his, and he groaned. He relaxed his grip and lowered his head, letting his lips touch her chin. He kissed his way to her mouth, and she head butted him in the nose.
While the stars exploded in his head, she shoved him aside and bolted out the door. He jumped up and went after her as she pounded down the stairs. He caught up with her outside. She was swinging her purse like a whip, headed for the car.
“Where are you going?” he demanded.
“Get away from me.”
“You can’t leave.”
“Watch me.” She opened the door. “I’m tired of people hiding things from me. I thought you were going to stop. Now you’re handcuffing me to the bed.”
“I explained it to you.”
“Don’t touch me,” she said, jerking away when he grabbed her arm.
“You’re not leaving.”
Shay straightened her shoulders. “You can’t stop me.”
He grabbed her, tossed her over his shoulder, kicked the car door shut, and stomped up the steps.
“Put me down!” Shay kicked and twisted, cursing at him. He dumped her on her feet inside the door.
She blew her hair out of her face, and as soon as she could see, she threw a punch at his chin. He deflected it and grabbed her arm. “Stop hitting me.”
“How dare you throw me over your shoulder like some kind of caveman,” she spat, trying to wrench her arm free. It didn’t work, so she used her knee.
“Ah, not there.” Cody trapped her knee. “I made the mistake of letting you leave here nine years ago without listening to me. By God, I won’t do it again. You’ll listen if I have to sit on you,” he growled.
She drew back her other arm, and before she could throw the punch, he had her on the floor and was sitting astride her, pinning her wrists to the floor. She bucked and twisted, but he held her down. “We can do this all night if you want, but you’re going to listen to me this time.”
“Listen to more lies? You’re still hiding things from me. Like the fact that you have Nina’s entire house under surveillance. Like the fact that you’ve got a Bat Cave in your basement. Like the fact that you were in Scotland when the stalking started.”
“You think I’m your stalker?” he yelled. “Me! I’m trying to keep you alive. We’re all trying to keep you alive. That’s what the clan’s been doing your whole damned life, trying to keep you alive! And just like always, you’re making it hard as hell. Your father wasn’t a bloody spy, and that thing in your living room wasn’t a man!”
My publisher will give away a copy of Embrace the Highland Warrior to one commenter, US and Canada only please. My question is, if you could interview anyone, past or present, who would it be?