I am delighted to have my friend Cathie Dunn here to share her deep love of animals and her Scottish historical romance, Highland Arms.
Cathie: Thank you so much, Beth, for hosting me today as part of your wonderful Furbaby Friday series. I’ve been enjoying reading posts by other authors about their furbabies – both present and past – and, like some, I found it a little tricky to choose one of mine.
We currently have three cats and one dog: Tiger, our 13 ½ year old eccentric patriarch who is of Welsh origin, then lived in Scotland for a decade, and survived the long drive to the south of France where we now live; Ellie Dog, a still timid female griffon beagle cross we adopted just over a year ago; Charlie Young Cat, a Siamese girl who suddenly showed up near us, still too young, last spring, and who we took in shortly after; and Shadow Kitten – the last one of four kittens we found abandoned (by a person, as they were scrambling around next to an empty plastic bag in thick shrubs by the riverside). No worries, the three other kittens found good homes, but nobody wanted a black male boy, so he’s staying… ~sigh~ 😉
So, after some thoughts, I’ve decided to write about Ellie Dog today. We don’t know her age, but the vet guessed she was around seven years old when we adopted her in December 2015 from a local rescue. That was mainly because her teeth were pretty bad, but we think she’s a couple of years younger. She can bounce like a puppy when she’s excited, but also tires quickly during walks.
Ellie was very scared when we visited her first. She’d not been at the center for long, just over a week after being found wandering the streets of a village, but she already showed herself as the gentlest creature, looking after her even more scared kennel mate. We knew, from past experiences, that adopted pets arrive with baggage, and Ellie was no exception. She was scared of everything.
Ellie is highly intelligent, tolerates the cats (Tiger took his time in accepting her, but Charlie and Shadow LOVE her and love cuddling up with her), and learned the ropes very quickly. Well, as long as there are no real ropes involved! We guess she must’ve been beaten, and she has several scars on her legs which may stem from trying to jump fences. Or something we’d rather not know.
Over the months, we tried to allow her to walk without a lead, but after she followed her nose (and, boy, does that nose work!), she shot off across vineyards and scrubs in search of the source. She was in heaven, ears flying, running back and forth. One afternoon, hubby walked her when she ran off along a path and he lost sight of her. Worried, he kept calling her, only to find her in a fenced in compound with another dog, in the middle of nowhere. The local hunters keep dogs out there, so there was nobody about. She must’ve jumped the fence at high speed, and now couldn’t find her way out again, so hubby had to climb over (yes, trespassing!), and pick her up. He wasn’t impressed – and she was grounded!
A year down the line, Ellie is still scared of many things, such as leaves flying in the high wind, us picking up a blanket from the sofa, or the lead dangling in front of her, but she has come a long way. No longer does she run away when you accidentally drop the lead, and if she’s unsure of something, she now looks to us for reassurance. When we both walk her, she often stays between us, as she does in the mornings on our bed, when she rolls on her back, at her happiest. It’s wonderful to see her come so far, but we know there’s still some way to go.
Perhaps it’s best we don’t know what happened to her. That way, we can channel our energies into making the rest of her life the best it can be.
Ellie has her own Facebook page, so if you’d like to know more about her life, feel free to follow. We share posts there in three languages… 😉 https://www.facebook.com/mrselliedog/
Blurb for Highland Arms:
Exciting blend of danger and romance
“The author has a wonderful way of describing the highlands.” ~ Booked Up Reviews
Escape to the Highlands
Betrayed by her brother’s lies, Catriona MacKenzie is banished from her home to her godmother’s manor in the remote Scottish Highlands. While her family ponders her fate, Catriona’s insatiable curiosity leads her straight into trouble–and into the arms of a notorious Highlander.
Five years after an ill-fated Jacobite rebellion, Rory Cameron works as a smuggler to raise money for the cause–until Catriona uncovers a plot against him and exposes his activities. Now, Rory is faced with a decision that could either save their lives or destroy both of them.
But he’s running out of time…
One day, she had to return home—just not yet. Her father planned to find her a new suitor, someone willing to overlook her indiscretion. Pah!
Once he found such a paragon of society, he’d send for her. Most likely, the chosen suitor would be a rich man, but what else? Old, grizzled, and frail? Or young and arrogant, cast in the same mould as her brother? She liked neither option but then, it was not her decision to make. One thing was certain—love did not feature in her marriage contract.
What if her father let Angus have a say in it?
The notion froze her to the core, and she sat up. Despite her fondness of Edinburgh, and its array of entertainments, the longer she remained here in the Highlands the safer she was from such a fate. Perhaps she’d even be allowed to stay on as her godmother’s companion? Growing old without having to wed anyone. Remain a spinster for the rest of her days. It was not the most appealing option, but preferable to whomever Father or Angus might choose. Yes, she’d just have to convince Auntie Meg—and Rory Cameron—that she simply had to stay.
Her mind made up, she rose and wrapped a thick blanket around her shoulders. As her bare feet touched the wooden floor, she hissed at the chill. With no maid to call upon, she left her room and went downstairs in search of the kitchen. The thought of a warming cup of tea raised her spirits. Then she’d continue to set her plan into motion.
She pushed the kitchen door open and stopped short. Standing by the mullioned window, in front of a large bowl overflowing with water, was Rory Cameron. He turned as he heard the door. Catriona caught her breath and grabbed the handle, letting go of the blanket.
Water dripped over his head and down his torso, trickling in small rivulets over his kilt held by a broad belt with a round silver buckle in a Pagan design of interlacing swirls. The light curls of hair on his tanned chest glistened with moisture. His shoulder-length hair was unbound, falling softly over taut muscle. A dry smile told her she was staring at him. Again.
She swallowed hard. “I…” She stuttered. “I’m so sorry, Mr Cameron.” She averted her gaze to her feet. “I was just going to heat up water for my tea. I didn’t mean to interrupt.”
The insufferable man laughed as he grabbed a piece of cloth and began to pat himself dry. “I don’t think you did.” He shook his head, sending strands flying before rubbing it vigorously. “And it’s Rory, remember?” He grinned. Catriona stood rooted to the spot. Words failed her. Her mouth went dry.
“But tell me,” he went on, “do you always venture into the kitchen so early? If so, you’d better get dressed next time.”
Transfixed by his mocking gaze, her cheeks heated as she became aware of her own state of undress. What an impression was she giving him, with her hair falling loosely over her shoulders, and the blanket only barely covering her modesty?
Oh, dear God, the blanket!
Highland Arms is in Kindle at: https://www.amazon.com/Highland-Arms-Danger-Scottish-Highlands-ebook/dp/B01MYLCKHK
Cathie Dunn writes historical romantic suspense.
Cathie has been writing for over 20 years. In 2008, she gained a certificate in Creative Writing from Lancaster University. Her focus was on novel writing, which she teaches in the south of France. She loves researching for her novels, delving into history books and visiting castles and historic sites.
At the moment, Cathie is working on a medieval Scottish romance, and a time-slip paranormal romance set in the Languedoc area in southern France, in the present time and the days of Charlemagne’s reign just prior to AD800.
Cathie’s stories have garnered praise from reviewers and readers for their authentic description of the past.
Follow her at www.cathiedunn.com!