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Sunday, December 9, 2018

A Historical Christmas Event with Lori Ann Bailey

Winner of the National Readers' Choice Award and Holt Medallion for Best First Book and Best Historical, Lori Ann Bailey writes hunky highland heroes and strong-willed independent lasses finding their perfect matches in the Highlands of 17th century Scotland. Writing about the people and places playing in her head helps her live out her dreams and delve into her love of history and romance. When not writing, Lori enjoys time with her real-life hero and four kids or spending time walking or drinking wine with her friends. 

Risking Prison for Your Faith

Did you know in Scotland, celebrating Christmas or Yule was frowned upon for almost 400 years? It was even illegal and banned by the Parliament of Scotland from 1640 until the early 1700’s. Christmas Day didn’t become an official holiday in Scotland until 1958. This timeline is during the highly charged atmosphere in which my Highland Pride series is written.

This particular scene takes place in-between Highland Deception, book one and Highland Redemption, book two. I hope you enjoy meeting the characters or revisiting the ones you already know.

Yule at Kentillie Castle on Cameron lands
December 1642

“Yer staring.” Maggie blinked as the words pulled her from reliving how she’d found herself here on Cameron lands celebrating a forbidden holiday.

Strong arms coiled around her waist and drew her back into a familiar warm chest. She leaned into the safety. It was still hard to believe she’d escaped marriage to a monster and found herself wed to Lachlan Cameron, Laird of the Cameron clan.

“’Tis just so beautiful.”

“I’m sorry yer father never had a Yule celebration for ye.”

“Even if he had cared for revelries, ’twouldn’t have been safe living so close to Edinburgh.”

“Aye. Mayhap ’twas one wise thing yer father did, but ye will never have to miss it again. Here in the Highlands, we keep with traditions. Parliament was wrong to ban Yule.” Her thoughts turned to the conflict between those siding with Parliament, the Covenanters and the Royalist clans still loyal to King Charles and Catholicism.

“Even before the ban, we didnae celebrate. It was frowned upon by so many that lived near us.”

“The Covenanters have taken complete control of Parliament. I fear the restrictions will only worsen with time. Even now, they are plotting to have Scottish clans join the English Parliament in their bid to overthrow the king.”

Maggie shuddered.

Her regard returned to the blazing fire before her. It had been built, not only for warmth on this cold December night, but to fill the room with light. An ancient custom which her family had never observed since it had been frowned upon for half a century before Parliament made it illegal two years ago. “Whose face is on the giant log?”

“Cailleach. Have ye heard of her? She’s the bringer of cold and darkness, the Hag of Winter.”

“Then ’tis tradition to carve her likeness and burn it?”

“Aye. ’Tis in hopes of banishing cold, darkness and hardships in the future.”

She turned to face her husband and his arms loosened to land on her hips. Tingles spread through her core and she found herself looking forward to the time when they would retire to their chamber.

“Who carved it?”


“Yer cousin is talented. ’Tis a shame he willnae go to find Alan’s cousin and make things right with the lass.”

“He did try once, but was turned away. The MacDonald laird nearly killed him.”

“Skye must be special. I hate to see that sadness when it creeps into Brodie’s eyes.”

“I do as well, but ’tis safer is she keeps her distance. His work as a spy would put her in danger.”

“I suppose ye are correct, but ’tis sad to know he has lost his true love.”

“No’ everyone is as lucky as us.” Maggie breathed in deeply, taking in the scent of cedar and spice, her husband. She couldn’t understand how someone who had found this kind of bond with another wouldn’t do everything possible to find their way back together.

She tilted her head to meet his blue gaze. Her eyes stung, but the tears that she held back were of joy. It would soon be time to tell her husband that they would be blessed with a bairn, but she wanted to give it another few weeks to be certain. They’d almost lost each other, but here they were, against all odds and possibly on the verge of starting a family of their own.

“Ye ken I would go through all the fear and trials again if it led me back here to ye.”

“I feel the same, wife.” Lachlan dipped his head and took her lips in a kiss that branded his name of her heart.


A knock rent through Lachlan’s study and he drew back from Maggie. He sighed, but smiled down into her sapphire gaze. The whole evening lay ahead of them.

“That will be them.” They’d been waiting for his mother, Elspeth, his best friend, Alan, and the young lad, Robbie to join them for a feast. His sister wasn’t at Kentille, their home, but he planned on bringing her back soon. She’d spent enough time hiding from her feelings for his best friend, Alan.

Most of the clan spent this evening with their closest of kin. Since the celebration had been banned, he’d not instructed others to follow Parliament’s dictates, but let his clan decide on their own what risks they were willing to take.

“Look what Skye sent back.” Alan pulled a yule cake from a satchel. The very item that could see a person sent to prison for requesting or possessing it. His friend set it on the table which had been brought into this room so that they had a more intimate setting. Alan had just returned from visiting his cousin, Skye.

“Och, she has become an amazing cook.” His mother chimed in. “Does Brodie ken ye’ve been to see her?”

“Nae and we’re no’ going to tell him.”

“They’re lovely.” Maggie eyed the small braided loafs as Alan placed one on the table for each of them. Lachlan’s mother followed, placing a candle in each.

“Robbie, this is yer first Yule with us. Would ye do the honor of lighting the candles?”

“Yes, I would be happy to.” On a recent trip to Edinburgh, Lachlan had found Robbie cradling the body of the priest who had served as a father to him. It was on that return journey where he’d found Maggie, dressed in men’s clothing and fleeing from a fate he wouldn’t wish upon his worst enemy.

One night after bringing him home, Robbie, opened up to Lachlan and Alan about his true identity and why he’d been hidden away with a priest just outside a small Scottish village. He prayed the lad’s secret was never discovered because if it was, he would be in mortal danger, along with the Cameron clan for protecting the boy.

“Sit,” his mother instructed.

As they sat and ate, Lachlan thought on what a tumultuous and joyous year it had been. The idea that next year might see the passing of new laws regulating his clan gnawed at him, but he knew with his Maggie, his family, and friends by his side they could weather the coming storm.

“What’s this?” Robbie asked as he held up a small carved wooden unicorn. Lachlan recognized it immediately as his cousin, Brodie’s work. But how had Alan gotten it to Skye for her to bake into the bread? Surely, she would have recognized it as well. Perhaps there was hope for a reconciliation between the two.

His mother laughed, then said, “Och, ye had the lucky cake. That means ye have something good coming yer way in the next year.” Robbie’s eyes turned hopeful and it was nice to see the lad had not given up on wishing for miracles. The chances of Robbie reaching adulthood without his enemies finding him was slim, but the Camerons would do what they must to protect the lad.

A little while later, after everyone had left, Lachlan and his wife remained in the study. Her cheeks were red from the heat of the logs and the merriment of the evening. He reached for her. As she nodded and her dark curls bobbed, she took his hand and stood.

“Ye are bonny, my love.”

“Thank ye for sharing all this with me.”

“There is nae one else I’d rather share it with.”

And this time when they kissed, no one interrupted as he lay Maggie on a soft blanket in front of the fire and showed her how much he adored her.

Highland Deception

Scotland, 1642. Maggie and Lachlan must fight their growing attraction, battling suspicion and intrigue as religious and political turmoil threaten to tear their clans apart.

He has sworn he will never marry.

Lachlan Cameron is honor bound to see a wounded lass to safety, although he has well learned women are deceivers, and this lovely maid harbors a wealth of secrets. But Maggie's free spirit and charms enthrall him while he works to discover if she is innocent…or a spy scheming with his enemies to destroy his clan.

She has sworn she will never fall in love.

Maggie Murray fled her home to avoid a political marriage to an abusive man. Salvation comes when the Cameron laird, unaware of her identity, protects her as she escapes. His kindness slowly warms her, and she’s tempted to confess her real name. But his strong sense of honor would force him to return her to her father…and torment at the hands of her scorned betrothed.

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  1. Thank you for sharing that, it's very interesting.

    1. duelalias, glad you enjoyed it and thanks for reading. Have a wonderful holiday.

  2. Knowing you have a family and knowing the outcome if caught, would you do what Maggie and Lachlan were doing to keep traditions and belief's alive?

    1. Hi Patti, I think if I were in their position and had a private place to honor my beliefs I would, but you are right. I would rather stick to my faith quietly than risk harm to my family. Thanks for the question.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Looking forward to reading this books and your others :)

    1. Thanks, Michelle. If you pick one up, let me know what you think. I love hearing from readers. Have a wonderful holiday season.

  5. Wow! I had no idea! Thank you!

    1. You're welcome, Lorie. Thanks for taking the time to read. :)

  6. I never realized that Scotland didn't celebrate Christmas or Yule for a long time. Very interesting!

  7. Looking forward to reading your books! :)

    maybe31 at

    1. Thank you. Let me know if you pick one up and what you think. I love hearing from readers. :)

  8. My curiosity is peaked on who Robbie really is!

  9. Oooh, Dee. We find out in book four, Highland Salvation, coming out in April. ;)

  10. Loving Christmas the way I do, I never would have survived the ban on Christmas back then! lol Love your books, Lori xo