Men In Kilts, Anyone? + Giveaway!

by Cathryn Parry, author of Secret Garden (Harlequin Superromance)

It all started when I was seven years old and the doctor, concerned that my curved spine might be heading for scoliosis, suggested to my mother that she sign me up for ballet classes.

I was terrified of those classes. Completely ungraceful. Lived in fear of my fierce, birdlike ballet teacher and her insistence that all students perform on stage at her end-of-year dance recital.

But by a quirk of fate, that ballet teacher—Mrs. Clay—was also an aficionado of Scottish dance. For the grand finale of her recital, all students were called back on stage for a rousing Highland Fling, followed by the traditional Sword Dance.

I’d never heard such music in my young life—bagpipes so deep and yearning that it stirred something in my soul. This, I could do! I happily picked up the leaping, turning steps and felt the joy of the performance.

In preparation for the big day, my father escorted me upstairs to my grandmother’s attic, and there we found a kilt ensemble, including sword, from a Scottish ancestor. An ancient sword? So romantic!

It also turned out that I had four clan tartans to choose from, due to all the family lines that had originated in Scotland. I chose a true woolen kilt costume with all the extras—blouse, cap, socks, flashes, pin—in the McLeod tartan, from my nana’s maiden name.

I was ecstatic. And as it turned out, all of this cultural immersion into the music, dance and clothing led to a lifelong passion for all things Scottish.

Castles. Romantic stories. Ewan McGregor. Outlander.

When I was ready for a new set of proposals to the Harlequin Superromance line, I crossed my fingers and sent my editor a story idea set in Scotland, hoping she would accept it. To my utter joy, she did!

Now, I love writing and reading romance mainly because of the characters. I’m inspired by flawed people who are basically noble, who heal each other through falling in love.

But place—setting—is also important to me. When I read—and write—I want to be transported on a romantic adventure. Scotland seemed the perfect place to set some big, lush, emotional story ideas.

So that is the background for a Harlequin Superromance series set in Scotland!

And now, my question: Exotic location, ranch, castle or cosmopolitan city—which setting do you prefer to read about?

Please answer in the comment section below for a chance to win a copy of The Sweetest Hours and Scotland for Christmas.

Giveaway! Open to residents of the US and Canada, excluding Quebec. Giveaway closes August 27, at 11:59 p.m. ET.  One (1) winner will be selected from all eligible comments and announced here on or around August 28. For full official rules, click here.

Good luck, and thanks for reading!

Update this contest is now closed.

About Secret Garden:

0815-9780373609222-bigwHidden from the world…

A reclusive artist in the Scottish Highlands, Rhiannon MacDowall is an enigma. Few people know about her carefully structured life, or why she hides within the protection of her family’s estate. Until an errant golf ball changes everything…

Colin Walker was once Rhiannon’s best friend. Now he’s a pro golfer on the verge of ruin who’s returned to Scotland on family business. But as much as Rhiannon tries to keep Colin out, their connection remains—and turns into something both exhilarating and terrifying. Something that threatens the foundations of Rhiannon’s safe little world.

Cathryn Parry writes for Harlequin Superromance from her home in Massachusetts. For an email reminder the week a new book releases, please subscribe to her reader newsletter at Connect with her on Facebook at

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Comments ( 36 )
  1. Elizabeth Stacy
    August 21, 2015 at 9:15 pm

    I would love to go scotland enjoyed reading contemporary romance special historical. I basically enjoyed reading any romance books. Thank you for this opportunity.

  2. Shirley Hearn
    August 21, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    I love reading stories set in castles.

  3. librarypat
    August 22, 2015 at 12:09 am

    It is a close thing between ranches and castles, but castles win out. Cowboys and Scots have a lot in common, but the sound of bagpipes, the kilts, Highland Games, Haggis, and oatcakes win the day. Modern or historical, castles win.

  4. Texas Book Lover
    August 22, 2015 at 9:31 am

    I love them all but my favorite agree storeies that take place in small towns. They are so much fun!

  5. Debra Stone
    August 22, 2015 at 10:11 am

    Oh definitely castles. I have always dreamed of going to scotland and Ireland. Very romantic.

  6. Krista Grant
    August 22, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    I’m part Scottish and love all things to do with it. I also really love stories set on a ranch.

  7. Deborah B.
    August 23, 2015 at 10:00 am

    As long as the sparks fly between the characters I’ll fall in love with any location!

  8. Brittany
    August 24, 2015 at 11:21 am

    Exotic locations are probably my preference as you can almost imagine you are there too.

  9. Theresa N
    August 24, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    I love reading stories set in the mountains.

  10. Daniel M
    August 24, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    probably a castle

  11. Joanna j
    August 25, 2015 at 12:11 am

    Medieval Scotland, hunky Scottish men, and the demure but determined lassies with a mind of their own – wonderful bedtime reasing!

  12. Joanna j
    August 25, 2015 at 12:13 am

    Medieval Scotland, hunky Scottish men, and the demure but determined lassies with a mind of their own – wonderful bedtime readng!

  13. clynsg
    August 25, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    I don’t really care that much about the setting. If written well, with a good story, any location can be intriguing.

  14. Sharon
    August 25, 2015 at 5:30 pm


  15. Mary McCray
    August 26, 2015 at 2:38 am

    I love reading books set in locations most anywhere but from the choices above I have say cosmopolitan city or ranch

  16. Elissa
    September 15, 2015 at 2:04 pm

    This contest is now closed, and congratulations to our winner by random draw, Barbara Stuber. Please check your inbox for an email from me. -Elissa from Harlequin

Leave a reply to Joanna j