A Hundred Kisses was published in May 2017 by The Wild Rose Press. Jean wanted something unique and romantic for her story’s title. “Part of the plotting and revision process revolved around a curse of a hundred kisses,” Jean said. “The plot evolved from my original vision, but the curse remained and the title was perfect.”
Jean found the inspiration for her story from her love of Scotland. “Ever since a few romance authors took me on a reader’s journey there twenty years ago (thank you, Judy Garwood and Diana Gabaldon, of Outlander fame).” Once Jean finally visited the land of sweeping moors and craggy munros, she was besotted.
The concept of the story follows the heroine, Deirdre, who has a special ability to sense the auras, or lifebloods of those around her. “She can sense their emotions and feelings, which can be both an asset and a nuisance,” Jean explained. “Her mother died when she was younger, so she yearns to understand this ability that embraces the power of fire. The answer may lie with a distant aunt who still lives on her mother’s home isle, Uist. She also believes she’s cursed, for she is widowed twice over…her husbands both dying the morning after their wedding.” Then, along comes Alasdair, a man with a tormented past, traveling under a secret identity to bring pivotal information to Uist for The Scottish Cause against the English crown. Does he stand a chance to break the curse and heal himself of his own emotional wounds? The story brings two unlikely people together, both seeking answers, hope, and redemption.
Jean like journey stories, so A Hundred Kisses begins at Eilean Donan Castle in the Scottish Highlands, but the characters soon journey to the mystical western isle of Uist.
The setting is magical with the rugged backdrop of the Kintail mountains, a castle abutting a deep blue loch; and an eerie windswept machair of the isle of Uist. “A castle has everything one would need,” Jean said, and she personally visited Eilean Donan castle. “It’s a resplendent backdrop. Fields, gardens, protection from outsider invaders (loch on one side, mountains on the other). It gets a bit rainy; though when I was there I saw a rainbow and experienced sunshine.”
In A Hundred Kisses you’ll meet Deirdre MacCoinneach, a laird’s daughter with a special ability to sense the lifebloods of those around her. You’ll also get to know, Alasdair Montgomerie, a nobleman traveling under a false name, carrying important political information, whilst being hunted by a notorious baron wishing to squash The Scottish Cause. Deirdre seeks answers. Is she cursed, causing her husbands to die after they share her bed? And she wonders about the mystical power she possesses. Alasdair is on a mission to support The Scottish Cause…and to escape his haunting past.
Jean loves secondary characters. “They provide layers to the story and entrench us in the time period,” Jean said. “Crystoll is the dutiful soldier ordered to protect Deirdre, even if it means protecting her from the mysterious Alasdair. When Deirdre reaches her mother’s homeland of Uist, a desolate isle off the western coast, she befriends Lady Annella, a woman with her own secrets, but who becomes a quick friend. Likewise, Deirdre will finally connect with her long lost aunt…and unlock the mysteries beyond her power to feel lifebloods.”
There is also a ruthless baron who is hunting all supporters of The Scottish Cause. “The secret effort to restore a rightful heir to the Scottish crown,” Jean explained. “Alasdair included. The baron and Alasdair have a messy past.” Jean wouldn’t reveal further secrets.
Three key elements to A Hundred Kisses is the Ancient culture of the isles holding mystical abilities that use the gifts of water, fire, earth, and wind. Curses can be broken, and sometimes meetings are predestined.
Jean laces her stories with hope and dreams. “It’s probably why I write romance,” she said. “I love telling stories of characters with emotional wounds, conflicting goals or cultural differences, and obstacles to overcome. Beautiful landscapes, cruel villains, and journeys complete the mix.”
A Hundred Kisses is the first book written in a trilogy but it falls in the middle. “I’m currently completing a prequel about Deirdre’s parents, Gwyn and Simon, and outlining the third book (sequel) about Deirdre and Alasdair’s son,” Jean explained. “The first book will take readers to a time when the mystic and Norse Vikings ruled the western Scottish isles. It’s a story of clashing cultures, special abilities, and war. It revolves around the power of the Healer. The sequel focuses on the power of the Seer. Deirdre’s ability in A Hundred Kisses is a Feeler.”
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Let’s get a closer look at A Hundred Kisses!
1296 Two wedding nights. Two dead husbands.
Deirdre MacCoinneach wishes to understand her unusual ability to sense others’ lifeblood energies…and vows to discover if her gift killed the men she married. Her father’s search for a new and unsuspecting suitor for Deirdre becomes complicated when rumors of witchcraft abound.
Under the façade of a trader, Alasdair Montgomerie travels to Uist with pivotal information for a Claimant seeking the Scottish throne. A ruthless baron hunts him and a dark past haunts him, leaving little room for alliances with a Highland laird or his tempting daughter.
Awestruck when she realizes that her unlikely travel companion is the man from her visions, a man whose thickly veiled emotions are buried beneath his burning lifeblood, Deirdre wonders if he, too, will die in her bed if she follows her father’s orders. Amidst magic, superstition, and ghosts of the past, Alasdair and Deirdre find themselves falling together in a web of secrets and the curse of a hundred kisses…