The Ultimate Outlander Book Quiz

We’ve done many quizzes, the last one being our Outlander Show Quiz, but now we’re going to cater to the book fans with some of the hardest questions we can muster! There are twenty questions, so put away your books, mark your answers carefully, and tally them up at the end to see if you’re a true Sassenach! Each correct answer is one point.

  1. 1457646754267.pngWho else sees the water horse at Loch Ness?
    1. Jamie
    2. Peter
    3. Geillis
    4. John
  2. kristen-wiig-gif-surprisesWhat gift did MacRannoch of Eldridge give to Claire?
    1. A pearl necklace
    2. A wolf skin
    3. A dragonfly in amber
    4. Passage to France
  3. ea4c4c4883a368955d3cf98e3bce71f5What did Jamie tell Claire was the “worst thing” that ever happened to him?
    1. The death of his older brother, William to sickness
    2. When he was beat on the bare ass, over Angus’s knee in front of a crowd
    3. The rape of his sister Jenny by Black Jack Randall
    4. When he thought Claire had been kidnapped by the English
  4. 61dc3bfa2d82bee8834bdec87444e82eWhat was Munro’s job before he was a beggar?
    1. A schoolmaster
    2. A trader of fine goods
    3. A smuggler
    4. A blacksmith
  5. stop_quoting_bible_claire_drag_murtagh_stage_thesearch.gifWho does Jamie’s pocket bible belong to?
    1. Black Jack Randall
    2. His sister Jenny
    3. Alexander MacGregor
    4. Fergus Fitzgibbons
  6. giphyWhat’s the name of the dangerous horse Hamish wants to ride?
    1. Donas
    2. Oillt
    3. Cunnart
    4. Fearachas
  7. Outlander 1x15 Witch I am gif.gifWhat natural plant is the best for soothing the cuts from a whip when chewed, then applied?
    1. Pine needles
    2. Dandelions
    3. Watercress
    4. Katniss
  8. ed49cfe91f2358b7ca3de58daa14647a8ad87014100e972c82e436ac3eec5cbd.gifWhat animal-themed nickname does Jamie give Claire?
    1. Black bird
    2. Sleek cat
    3. Brown mare
    4. White dove
  9. 6357761863592540441639349322_How+i+feel+as+the+first+sick+person_8062b2_4152844.jpgWhat malady does Claire think she suffers from?
    1. Breast cancer
    2. Wool allergy
    3. Infertility
    4. Gastroenteritis
  10. gisdcsphy.gifWho gave Claire her rosary?
    1. Colum
    2. Jamie
    3. Murtagh
    4. Geillis
  11. faeriehill.jpgWhen did Geillis come through the stones?
    1. 1962
    2. 1965
    3. 1963
    4. 1968
  12. 03-claire-and-angus-2-outlander-starz-tumblr.gifWhat language does Gwyllyn the bard sing in?
    1. French
    2. Gaelic
    3. Welsh
    4. German
  13. gif200Fill in the blank: When Frank and Claire are finished watching the “witches”, before she goes back in time, they start to get frisky. When he finds she isn’t wearing any underwear, he calls her “the most terrifyingly                    person” he has ever known.
    1. Alluring
    2. Sensual
    3. Practical
    4. Intelligent
  14. e5117c16fd71ccf715a76be9fc468f74.jpgWhat ring does Jamie give Claire on their wedding day?
    1. A red ruby set in gold
    2. A stone of jet in gold
    3. A silver band decorated with thistles
    4. A Silver band decorated with knots
  15. gipwdqwdhyWhat’s the name of the ship that Jamie, Claire, and Murtagh take to France?
    1. Arabella
    2. Frigate
    3. Patagonia
    4. Christabel
  16. professional-healer-and-alcohol-drinker-claire-fraser-born-in-england-made-in-the-highlands--c40bc.pngWhat was the name of Castle Leoch’s healer before Claire?
    1. Ian Duncan
    2. Paddy Malcom
    3. Davie Beaton
    4. George Randall
  17. 01-jamie-and-claire-3-outlander-starz-tumblr.gifWhich man was deemed the best with a dirk and took charge of instructing Claire how to use it?
    1. Murtagh
    2. Rupert
    3. Angus
    4. Dougal
  18. outlander-clare-staysWhat is the date of Jamie’s execution?
    1. December 23
    2. January 8
    3. December 13
    4. January 22
  19. tumblr_nc9yvcPPeO1qbhk3no5_r1_250.gifWhat finally made Dougal believe Claire wasn’t a British spy?
    1. She drank from St. Ninian’s spring
    2. She saved Jamie from Black Jack Randall
    3. She had a chance to kill Colum in his sleep and didn’t
    4. She tended to a wounded Dougal when she could have let him die
  20. tumblr_inline_nng7hh23AM1qb0kxc_540.jpgHow did Claire come to know that Geillis was from the future like her?
    1. She told her when they were waiting to be taken on trial as witches
    2. She had someone tell Claire the year she went through the stones
    3. She mentioned the radio in passing
    4. She had a smallpox vaccine scar

All Done! Now, are you ready to check your answers? Each right answer is worth 1 point. Scroll past the naked Scot to see how well you did!

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2, 2, 2, 1, 3, 1, 3, 4, 3, 1, 4, 3, 3, 1, 4, 3, 2, 1, 1, 4

0-5 Points – You call yourself a reader?

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6-14 Points – You’ve read the books, but might want another look!

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15-20 Points – You’re an Outlander expert!

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How did you do? Let us know! And check back next week for an all new Outlander Saturday post!

Sarah and I both have books out now, so if you like our posts, you’ll probably love our books! First Semester is a thrilling college romance that you can get HERE. Queen of Emeralds is a historic romance set in the highlands that you can get HERE.

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Romancing the Duke: Castles Ever After

I love the idea of this the Castles Ever After series by Tessa Dare. So there was an elderly gentleman who had multiple goddaughters. Before his death, he felt guilty that he didn’t treat them better so he went around and bought up castles all over England. After he died, he sent his solicitor to make the great announcement that the ladies have been gifted a castle.

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Heat: ♥♥♥♥

Genre: Historical Romance/ Version of Beauty and the Beast

Overall Rating 5/6 Glass Slippers

In this version of Beauty and the Beast, Izzy has a couple coins to her name. Her father just died and her cousin took over her childhood home. Izzy fled before he could kick he out and is seriously concerned about her future. Then, out of the blue, she is given a castle. There is just one problem. Someone already lives there.

Ransom is hiding out. He is a duke but after an accident that left him blind, he’d rather mope in one of his castles. He knows the layout perfectly, there is plenty of room for his dog, and no one bothers him. That is until Izzy shows up and tries to claim what’s his.

They both want to stay in the castle but Ransom has made it very clear that she can’t be around. One, she is making herself too comfortable in his home. Two, he’s attracted to her. Three, she’s attracted to him. Four, her lips are soft and she yields to him when he kisses her. Five, he wants to kiss her again.

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So, while I do like remakes of fairytales, I was a little concerned that this would be too cheesy or predictable. But there were twists and turns that came out of no where. I did think that there were a few moments where some of the internal dialog was a bit repetitive but the scenes were not.

Izzy isn’t the beauty who everyone talked about. She always considered herself to be plain and that was why she couldn’t find a husband. However, Ransom can sometimes get glimpses of vision and he doesn’t see a plain jane. This to me is classic. Women too often assume that because guys 1-5 didn’t find you attractive, that it means you are ugly. But in reality, people value looks differently. I loved this take on the beauty because she isn’t conventional, girl next door that typically accompanies these books.

I did like the way that Ransom seemed to bring Izzy alive and the romantic scenes were well written. The problem that I run into with a lot of historical romances is that they sound really similar when you get to the bedroom. I read one of the Spindle Cove novellas but Dare and this one. Luckily, they were completely different and they didn’t sound cookie cutter perfect. The characters were flawed and they brought those flaws and insecurities with them into the bedroom.

I felt connected to the characters and I enjoyed the idea of it. After all, what girl doesn’t dream of being left a castle from a long lost relative. Check out this series and find out more about the castles, and the love that brings them back to life. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

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Sarah’s Upcoming Book Blurb- Elton Hall Chronicles: First Semester 


Violet Carrington is a freshman at Elton Hall University, but she’s about to get more than just her degree…

Throwing herself into the insanity of college life, Violet makes new friends and even catches the eye of a handsome guy. Everything is as it should be, until one night out she crosses paths with a mysterious, sinfully attractive man. Not only does he manage to ignite a burning desire deep inside her, he also happens to be her new, off-limits college professor.

Professor David Berneli is only visiting Elton Hall, but a lot can happen in a year…

Everyone knows any personal relationship between professor and student is strictly prohibited. But somewhere in between lectures and after school events, Violet manages to dazzle him. She not only challenges David at every turn, but also tempts his every desire. No matter how hard they try to ignore the crackle of sexual tension between them, a few furtive glances quickly turn into clandestine meetings in his office.

By giving in to temptation, Violet and David fall deeper down the rabbit hole…

As the semester ticks on, Violet begins to question not only the whirlwind affair that threatens to consume them both, but David’s desires as well. If he’s not willing to risk everything for her, she’ll have no choice but to leave the comfort of his arms without looking back.

Before any decision can be made, a looming threat comes out of the shadows, putting her and the passionate relationship she has with her professor in danger.

Now Violet must fight for her own life, and for the one she wants to spend it with…

For character details, teasers, sneak peaks, and further details, check out the About Sarah Page on our blog.

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Scottish Holiday Traditions with an Outlandish Twist

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Merry Christmas! Now, Christmas in America today (where Sarah and I live) is nothing like Christmas in Jamie’s time, especially in Scotland. So, let’s take a little trip through Christmas past and some holiday-themed passages in the Outlander series to see how to add an Outlandish twist to your season. Now, the passages are plucked from different parts in the series and contain small slivers of spoilers, but we’ll share them after our historical fun facts. If you don’t want to know a thing, stop reading ones you reach the naked Jamie and then take a look at our Outlander Saturday page for some Scottish goodness that is spoiler-free!

♦Yule♦

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Let’s get into a time machine in the shape of a Viking longship and talk a bit about Yule. Yule was traditionally a Norse festival that centered around the Winter Solstice. There would be offerings to the gods, sacrifices, and toasts to Odin and people that had passed (sounds like Christmas at my house) and the revelries would last for days. It’s assumed that the Vikings brought Yule to pagan Scotland around 800AD. But around 1060AD, the Catholic church then adopted some of the customs, turning it into a holiday that venerated the birth of Christ. This focus on the Catholic religion is exactly why the practice was later banned in Scotland for 400 years, but we’ll get to that in a bit. First, let’s see a few festive things that we took from the pagans.

♦The Yule Log♦

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The history of the yule log isn’t 100% clear. But it’s widely recognized as another pagan tradition where it was burned as an offering to the fertility goddess. It’s considered bad luck to have to relight the flame and you should let it burn completely out before daring to touch it. Side note, you can watch 90 minutes of a roaring yule fire in Lallybroch now on the Starz website! How cozy.

♦The Yule Tree♦

Winter was biting, frigid, and cold, usually bringing hunger and sickness to the Norse region and Scottish Highland areas. Because of this, the plants that thrived in the winter, such as holly, mistletoe, and the evergreen tree were considered magical because how the hell else could something be bright green when the highlanders were freezing their bagpipes off? People would hang wreaths and ropes of these plants over their doors and throughout their homes to ward off the winter spirits. The tree, usually an outdoor one, would be decorated with offerings to the faeries and gods, such as lights to brighten their way and small offerings. The Christmas tree that we know today didn’t grow in popularity until King George III’s German wife introduced the indoor version in the early 1800’s. Unfortunately, there wouldn’t be a grand tree in Lallybrook’s halls because…

♦The Kirks Were Dicks♦

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So, Mary Queen of Scots wanted to be a chill ruler and allow the Protestant and Catholic Scots to practice their religion as they pleased, because she was cool like that and said they were worshiping the same god anyway, so why dick around? But she lived mainly in France for a long time, so the Scottish parliament could kinda do what they wanted, mainly abolish the Catholic practices in Scotland in favor of the “Kirk”, the Scottish church. When the Kirk took over, even hosting or attending Catholic masses could be punishable by death. The banned all “Pope-ish” practices, which included the fun traditions like lighting a yule log and decorating their homes with holly. So for 400 years, until the 1960’s, the Scots treated Christmas just like any other day and went about their business. Of course, I’m sure many people still held some of the traditions quietly. When being Catholic was allowed again, Christmas was very subdued and was basically all about mass and prayer. So in Jamie’s later years, he would spend his time giving thanks to God and possibly praying in a church, if he thought about Christmas at all.

♦Hogmanay♦

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or, like…presents are cool, too.

This fun little holiday was continually celebrated from the time of the vikings to present day Scotland. It acknowledges the final day of the year (New Years) and features a combination of things taken from Yule and Samhain traditions. It took the place of Christmas after the reformation banned the practice. It’s still a popular celebration today! The highland house was deep cleaned, gifts were given to friends and neighbors, who would visit after midnight to drink and eat together. In later years, Auld Lang Syne (discussed below) would be sung as well. There was also an additional tradition done called “First Footing”.

♦First Footing♦

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At the strike of midnight, it was tradition for someone to be the first to step into the house, bringing with them the good luck of the year. It was said that a tall, dark haired man was best and that he should bring with some some silver, salt, or whiskey. A woman or fair-haired man could bring bad luck to the house. In Outlander…“A red-haired man, though, was frightfully ill luck as a first foot, and Jamie had been consigned to his study…” Poor Jamie. He’s welcome to be my first foot. Bad luck be damned! I live in New Jersey, how much worse can it get?

♦Auld Lang Syne♦

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Sound familiar? It should. We recognize it as a traditional New Years Eve song we don’t know the words to, but we drunkenly belt out after kissing strangers at the stroke of midnight. The song originated in Scotland and the first mention of it was in 1711 by a guy named James Watson but this guy, Robert Burns, put it to music and made it the song we all know. It’s possible that the song was around before that, but as many people know, songs and stories were mainly passed down verbally. The song is also, traditionally, sung at a slower and more somber pace, giving it a sadder vibe. It’s played sung at the end of dances and at funerals in some parts of Scotland.

Now that we’ve talked a bit about the history behind Christmas, let’s get to some Outlander book goodness that might contain some wee spoilers, if you haven’t read a whole lot. If you’re averse to any and all hints of what happens, head over to our Outlander page and skim that instead! Now…about that naked Fraser…

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♦From The Fiery Cross♦

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“With a certain amount of forethought, Mrs. Bug, Brianna, Marsali, Lizzie, and I had made up an enormous quantity of molasses toffee, which we had distributed as a Christmas treat to all the children within earshot.  Whatever it might do to their teeth, it had the beneficial effect of gluing their mouths shut for long periods, and in consequence, the adults had enjoyed a peaceful Christmas.”

As a parent, I appreciate that even Claire Fraser needed to have a break from small children shrieking in her ear. Warms the cockles of my soul. Anyways, let’s chat about this sweet treat.

Molasses became a popular substitution for expensive refined sugar in the 16th and 17th centuries, particularly in North America. This was because the triangle trade brought the molasses from the Caribbean through the American ports on it’s way to England. Americans, being an inventive people, put it in everything they could; candy, birch beer, rum, baked goods, meat…hell, I bet our forefathers poured it directly into their freedom holes. The Americans kept on with their love affair of all things molasses until England said, “Hold up. You’re making all this money from exporting your molasses rum and we’re not getting a cut. That’s some shady shit, America. Here’s a molasses tax. Pip pip, cheerio!” And then, as you know, the Americans were all “Pip pip this, you tea loving f*cks”, and ruined some perfectly good tea, but not before smuggling in molasses because colonists were not about to give up on molasses rum. It’s tasty as hell.

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No one taxes George Washington’s molasses and gets away with it. No one.

If molasses is your thing, The Outlander Cookbook has a recipe for old style molasses toffee that would have been very similar to the Fraser brand. If you’re feeling up to the challenge, the recipe is available on their website, here!

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♦The Fiery Cross…♦

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 Brianna makes a dozen geese…

 “What’s the occasion? For our homecoming?”
She lifted her head from his chest and gave him what he privately classified as A Look.
“For Christmas,” she said.
“What?” He groped blankly, trying to count the days, but the events of the last three weeks had completely erased his mental calendar.
“When?”
“Tomorrow, idiot,” she said with exaggerated patience.

I’m guessing that most of the Christmas celebrating readers have ham or turkey when they cook, instead of goose. But goose is still seen as a traditional Christmas dish. Why, you ask? Well, let’s chat about it.

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Geese are “prime” to be eaten twice a year; as new gosling (if you’re a total monster) and in the fall and winter after they’re all chubby from finishing off the last of the corn. Their fat is delicious and it made for a fine feast throughout history. The Norse served it to Odin and Thor for giving them a good harvest. It was also eaten during the feast of Michaelmas, a minor Christian holiday, during Medieval times. The feathers were also used in all manner of bedding, particularly for winter blankets, so it only made sense to butcher the goose when it had the most down and then eat the meat. The goose swayed over to turkey thanks to the settlers in North America, as the bird follows the same cycle of maturation. And, as we know, Brianna was quite the good shot when it came to felling the turkeys!

 ♦Drums of Autumn♦

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“What if I tell you a story, instead?”
Highlanders loved stories, and Jamie was no exception.
“Oh, aye,” he said, sounding much happier. “What sort of story is it?”
“A Christmas story,” I said, settling myself along the curve of his body. “About a miser named Ebenezer Scrooge.”
“An Englishman, I daresay?”
“Yes,” I said. “Be quiet and listen.”
I could see my own breath as I talked, white in the dim, cold air. The snow was falling heavily outside our shelter; when I paused in the story, I could hear the whisper of flakes against the hemlock branches, and the far-off whine of wind in the trees.

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Hate to be the one that points this out, but Jamie will never read A Christmas Carol for himself or even lay eyes on the book. It wasn’t printed until 1843, far later than is possible for Jamie to have lived. Still, this classic is one that most people know by heart, and Claire is no exception. Let’s all be collectively glad that at least he will never know the disappointment that was Jim Carey’s version. Ugh.

♦The Fiery Cross♦

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Catholic as many of them were–and nominally Christian as they all were–Highland Scots regarded Christmas primarily as a religious observance, rather than a major festive occasion. Lacking priest or minister, the day was spent much like a Sunday, though with a particularly lavish meal to mark the occasion, and the exchange of small gifts.

While Claire, Bri, and Roger would have remembered Christmas in their time as a celebration of food, gifts, drinks, and shopping, Christmas for Jamie would have been very different. In the books, while the Frasers are on the ridge, there’s usually a fine meal, a few drinks, and a plate of Claire’s molasses cookies for the bairns.

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The Outlander Kitchen Cookbook has a recipe for Claire’s cookies here.

Lastly, in The Fiery Cross, a rather wintery book, apparently, Brianna asks Roger…

“Didn’t you see all the Greenery when you came in? Lizzie and I made all the Chisholm go out with us to cut evergreens; we’ve been making wreathes and garlands for the last three days.”

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Sarah and I both have books out now, so if you like our posts, you’ll probably love our books! First Semester is a thrilling college romance that you can get HERE. Queen of Emeralds is a historic romance set in the highlands that you can get HERE.

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Crescent Hill

I have a small (very large) obsession with reality TV shows. It doesn’t matter the kind. I watch The Real Housewives of everywhere, the singing competition, dancing competitions (Love the Jabbawockeez), and of course, the improvement shows. Jackie Wang’s new book takes what we all secretly love about these shows and adds a little unscripted romance.

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Heat: ♥♥♥

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Overall Rating: 4.5 Glass Slippers

Roman has worked hard over the years and become successful. He is a well known hospitality whiz and can take any hotel, bed and breakfast, or lodge and turn it into a thriving business. Or at least he thought he could. When he offered to help the Summers family with their small town hotel, he had no idea what he was getting into. The kitchen serves food that is barely edible, the front door sticks, and the rooms are unlivable. How will he manage to fix the hotel up in time for their grand reopening? He rolls up his sleeves and gets to work. The only problem is, Magnolia (Maggie) Summers keeps catching his eye. She’s hot, sassy, and a wonderful mom but she is holding something back. Roman dives in to try and fix all of her problems, but Maggie isn’t used to accepting help, especially not when her son’s father is back in the picture.

Maggie is wasting her life away, working in a hotel that she hates, for family who blame her for their biggest tragedy, and all while being known as the town’s worst kept secret. But she gets up everyday, takes her sons to school, and works hard. So hard that she’s nearly given up on her ambition to become a professional pastry chef. How can she? The boys need new sneakers, her family needs a hotel manager, but she needs a break. In walks Roman who offers to give her everything. But at a price. Is living happily ever after worth leaving everything she has ever known, taking her boys from their fathers and the possibility of a relationship. What’s a single mom to do when sex on a stick offers you more than just a good time?

I read a beta version of this book and it was a lot of fun. My husband works in the hospitality business so I knew a lot about hotels by proxy. I felt that Wang did a pretty good portrayal of the jobs, the different types of workers,and the problems that overtake struggling businesses.

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Now onto Roman. I’ve read a few of Jackie’s books but Roman was one of my favorites. It had nothing to do with the fact that he was loaded (though that didn’t hurt). He embraced Maggie’s sons and treated them with respect and didn’t overstep his bounds. That is a fine line to tread sometimes. But I also liked how Roman wanted to help people. He went out of his way to help people wherever he was. He didn’t want the press, but rather he did it because he had a good heart. A good heart, a great ass, and an accent…I’m sorry, I got completely distracted by a new book boyfriend.

This is one of Wang’s steamier books but it is still on the tame side so I think this is a good book for beginning romance lovers, or those who don’t know what to do with a whip or a chain to check out.

If you enjoy the fixer upper shows on TV and the romance movie on Hallmark, then this book is perfect for you. Enjoy and if you like what you see, check out her other books Fugitive and Landlady. 

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An Excerpt From ‘The Amethyst Bride’

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Penelope marched up the steps of the MacLeod townhome, blank music sheets and a new bottle of ink following her by way of a footman. She was lead into the library where Flora sat before the fireplace, a small book in her hand.

“Good morning, Penelope.” The girl grinned, marking her place in the novel and shutting it.

“Good morning,” Penelope replied. “Where is everyone?”

“Charlotte and Conner have gone to the children’s home to prepare for the opening on Saturday. You’ll be there, yes?”

“Of course, although I’ll be quite sad, as it marks the end of their stay here.” Penelope took her supplies from the footman and placed them upon the desk. “And Drummond?”

“He’s around here, somewhere.” Flora beckoned the footman. “Summon Drummond, if you will?”

“I don’t want to bother him,” Penelope said hurriedly.

Flora’s blue eyes flashed. “Oh, trust me, it won’t bother him in the slightest.”

Penelope ignored her and busied herself with unpinning her fashionably feathered hat. She had just placed it next to her sheet music when Drummond entered, rolling his sleeves up to his elbows.

“Penelope,” he greeted, “I hope the day finds ye well?”

“Substantially better now that I’ve found something to do,” Penelope replied lightly. “I was hoping you would have time to work on your manuscript, today?”

Drummond paused for a moment before answered with a small glance towards Flora. “Aye, I do.”

“Fantastic.” Penelope gathered up the paper and ink. “I assumed there’s some manner of piano, somewhere?”

“Oh, yes, in the ladies’ drawing room. Drummond knows where it is,” Flora said, picking up her book again.

“Will you not come with us?” Penelope asked.

Flora didn’t bother looking up from her pages. “Oh, no, I’m going to stay here and finish this novel. It’s quite interesting.”

Penelope rolled her eyes and looked up at the large Scotsman. Propriety would demand she call for a maid to play chaperone but, as Drummond was basically an employee of the MacLeods, she didn’t see the harm in being alone with him. There were many times where she had been with a footman, or butler, without someone to oversee them. “Lead the way.”

Drummond strode down the long hall, Penelope double stepping to keep up with his long strides. He opened a door near the end, motioning for her to enter first. This room was smaller than the regular drawing room with only one small fireplace, a piano, a settee, and a small writing desk. Drummond left the door open, something that didn’t escape Penelope’s attention.

She slid onto the piano stool and flipped up the mahogany top to reveal the keys. With no hesitation, Penelope tested the keys with one of her favorite songs that she long ago had memorized. She was pleased to hear that the instrument was finely tuned. “Perfect. This shall do quite nicely.”

“So, what are we to do, now?” he asked, leaning back against the wall beside the piano. “I do no’ know where to start.”

“Well, I was thinking that we should go through some of the better known tunes you are familiar with, and go from there. I also thought that it might be smart to pick songs that have a backstory, as did the first one you sung at the dinner party.”

“And ye can write the music?”

“Of course. All I need you to do is sing and talk; let me take care of the rest.” She smiled reassuringly and placed a blank sheet atop the piano and the tumbler of ink. “Oh, dash it all,” Penelope muttered as she realized she forgot a pen.

“Lookin’ for one o’ these?” Drummond had pulled one from his sporran and held it out to her, lips curled in amusement.

“You’ve read my mind,” she she muttered, taking the pen. “Now, let’s begin. Sing it once and then I’ll try to follow along with the piano.”

He cleared his throat before beginning the haunting tune. Penelope listened hard, her fingers itching to touch the ivories. Once he had gotten through the first round, she motioned for him to begin again. This time, she attempted to mimic the flow of his voice with the sound of the keys.

“No’ bad.” Drummond nodded his head as Penelope repeated her playing again for him to review. “Ye are rather good at this.”

“I have an ear for music,” she told him plainly, dipping the pen in the ink. She made several marks upon the paper with one hand, the other slowly playing. “You will need to write down the words, though. I don’t know what you’re saying, nor do I know how to spell it.”

“Do ye really think people would wish to read somethin’ like this?” he asked, pulling out the desk’s seat and placing it beside the piano.

“I do believe so,” Penelope replied, looking up from her work. “If not, it’s still nice for you to have for your people. History is often spun, when not properly recorded. We’re basically historians.”

Drummond sat down, his elbows upon his knees and his hands dangling. He watched as she wrote and Penelope could feel his eyes upon her. It almost felt unsettling, but at the same time, it was rather comforting to have such a gentle giant close at hand. While the dangers were limited in a drawing room in the fashionable side of London, aside from the terror of being served cold tea, Penelope still valued his competent company.

They worked with companionable ease that truly surprised her. She had never been so close to a man that she was not related to, well certainly not for so long and with such casual manners. If she were perfectly honest with herself, she would admit that those facts made her more nervous than she would like. Of course, nothing would occur between them, as Penelope had more sense than to be too familiar.

Drummond explaining the spellings, and meanings, of the Gaelic lyrics, while Penelope jotted down the notes and translations. After about an hour, she was pleased enough with their progress to move on to the next song in the book.

They were about to begin when Flora entered, carrying a tea tray. “I thought you could use a break.”

“Thank you.” Penelope took a cup and held it out, allowing Flora to pour her some tea.

“Getting a lot done?” Flora asked, handing a piece of china to Drummond.

Penelope held in a laugh at the sight of the tiny teacup in his hand. She often forgot how large he was until moments such as that. “Yes, we’ve finished one already.”

“Aye, Penelope has a way with the piano,” Drummond told Flora.

Penelope pinked at his compliment and took a sip of tea, hoping the cup hid some of her face. “Well, Drummond has a way with song.”

Flora made a small humming noise, her face unreadable. “I really must go upstairs, I had to go through my gowns and select something for Saturday.”

“But, you just got here,” Penelope pointed out. She was going frustrated with Flora’s constant need to cause mischief.

She placed her unfinished tea back onto the tray. “Shall I send up something for you to nibble on?”

“Aye, this is hungry work.” Drummond stretched. “But somethin’ a bit more substantial than wee cakes and sugared fruit.”

“Can do.” Flora glided form the room, leaving them alone again.

Penelope placed her cup back on its saucer and turned to Drummond. “So, what’s next?”

He shrugged, leaning forward to look at her sheets of lyrics and notes. His face was close to hers then and, with his attention firmly on the papers, Penelope could really take a moment to see him, really see him.

Drummond had clear skin, tanned with hours of full sunlight. His lashes were dark, and his lips sat in a firm line as he read. Full, wavy, hair brushed his shoulders; wonderfully tousled in a way that made him look both savage, and carefree. The sleeves of his shirt were pushed up and Penelope caught a glimpse of rough-looking skin. It was such a contrast to the rest of his flawless visible body that Penelope couldn’t help but gawk.

“Frightenin’, is it?” Drummond asked, looking at her intently under a heavy brow.

Penelope blushed and averted her eyes. “I’m sorry, that was exceptionally rude of me to stare so.”

“Donna fash.” He pulled his sleeves down, covering the marred flesh. “Ye would no’ be the first to stare.”

“I really do apologize. It’s not frightening, I’m just a discourteous fool.”

“Perhaps that’s enough for one day.” Drummond made a move to stand, but Penelope held out a hand, placing it upon his arm.

“Please, don’t,” she pleaded, her cheeks still heated with shame at humiliating him. “I feel terrible. Please forgive me.”

He shifted in his seat, glancing down at her hand, so small compared to his. “Do no’ think o’ it. I’m sure the sight surprised ye.”

“It did,” she admitted. “But, it isn’t frightening. You must trust that I’m speaking true, as a genteel lady. As you know, a lady always faints upon seeing something really dreadful and I am the picture of health and stability at the present moment.”

Drummond’s serious façade cracked and his mouth turned into an amused grin. “Ye are a strange woman, Penelope.”

“Well, that’s not very polite, so I assume we’re even,” she stated primly, taking her hand away from his arm and straightening her back.

“Should I show ye and get it over with?” he asked quietly.

Penelope raised a brow. “What?”

“My scars. I can show ye so ye do no’ have to wonder.”

“I don’t think that’s truly necessary.”

“But, ye are curious?”

“A bit,” she confessed quietly. “But I don’t think that would be terribly proper.”

“It’s naught but a medical display,” he assured her, rising form his seat. He unbuttoned several buttons at his throat before pulling the thin linen off.

Penelope immediately gasped and spun in her seat. Her body burned from the tips of her toes to the roots ofher hair and her heart thumped wildly, knowing his naked torso was but a mere two feet away. Maybe even less. “Do get dressed before someone sees you!”

“Ye did no’ even look.”

“There’s nothing to look at!”

“Well, that’s rather rude,” he mumbled with a laugh. “Just look and get it over with.”

Penelope squared her shoulders and turned towards him. She saw immediately why he might feel insecure about his bare skin. His left arm, shoulder, and some of his chest were wrapped in the spidery scars, the kind that is only left by burns. The skin was pink and puckered, obviously old, but not well healed.

Drummond sat again and held out an arm for her closer inspection. “See? It frightens ye, I can tell by the way the blood left your face.”

“But I haven’t fainted,” she argued pointedly, trying to sound braver than she felt.

“That does no’ mean ye would no’, given the opportunity.”

Tentatively, she reached out and brushed the marred skin with her fingers. It was warm beneath her palm and she squeezed lightly. “I’m not frightened,” Penelope said softly, but firmly, her eyes settling resolutely upon his. “It’s just not every day someone strips before me.”

He brushed his free hand through his hair, breaking their eye contact. “Ye’d be the first to no’ be frightened.”

“May I ask how this happened?”

“A few years ago we were raging against the MacKinney clan. They stole some horses, we stole them back, along with some sheep; normal disputes. But, they took it too far and burned a small village on the MacLeod lands, to the ground. I went to help put out the fires but got caught up in a barn while releasing the livestock. A beam had fallen on me and left me this way.”

Penelope’s brows knit with worry as her mind flashed to small baby cows and tiny sheep. “But what of the livestock?”

Drummond’s brows shot up and he let out a booming laugh that made Penelope jump. “But what of the livestock…” He doubled over in mirth, his hand on Penelope’s, anchoring her in place.

He seemed closer than before, as each of them teetered on the edges of their seats, their knees touching. Well, if Penelope was honest, they were more than just touching. Her legs were tucked between his and their faces were closer than was proper, as he was still bent low, trying to catch his breath. She smiled at the sight of him, so filled with humor. But she was still temped by the bare skin of his chest, almost made more ruggedly appealing by the scar. She could feel the twisted pattern of the burn beneath her fingers and almost wished she could feel the skin of his shoulder, his torso…

When Drummond saw her staring again, he paused, looking back at her between curtains of russet locks. His full lips parted and Penelope felt herself growing closer still, as if pulled by an invisible force. She waited for him to say something, a joke, or a smart remark. But she heard nothing more than her own heartbeat in her breast.

“Am I interrupting?” Flora asked from the doorway, her clever face impassable.

Penelope stood abruptly, nearly overturning the piano stool with her bustled skirt. “Oh, no, we’ve just finished. I really must go home now!”

“No need,” Flora said hurriedly. “I have much more to take care of. I was just seeing if you had been brought refreshments.”

“Don’t worry about it, I really must be going.” Penelope began gathering her things. “It must be getting terribly late.”

“Please, stay for supper,” Flora implored, her face breaking into a ridiculous grin.

“I can’t,” she replied, attempting to take control of her flighty fingers that shook as she tried to carefully stack the sheets. “Drummond, top notch musical work, I’ll be in touch about our scholarly pursuits.”

“Should I see ye home, Penelope?” he asked, pulling his shirt back on.

“Oh, that won’t be necessary.” Penelope avoided looking in his direction. “Goodbye! I’ll see you both, soon!”

She scurried from the house, leaving her hat behind.

 ***

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That’s all for The Amethyst Bride! But you can read more about Drum, Penelope, and the rest of the series here!

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Ultimate Outlander Show Quiz

We often talk about how much we love Outlander, but how much do you know about it? We have created a harder show quiz for those of you experts out there. Answer the questions and then check your answers at the bottom to see how you did. Each correct answer earns you one point.

Season One Questions

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  1. Why did Claire go back to the stones in episode one?
    1. To sketch a flower
    2. To pick a flower for medicinal purposes
    3. To investigate the stones
    4. Because she heard them buzzing but didn’t want to go near them while Frank was with her.
  2. maxresdefault Jamie initially goes by a different last name because he is a wanted man. What name is it?
    1. Macleod
    2. MacTavish
    3. MacKenzie
    4. FitzGibbons
  3. 57c16cc678686023dc86e552e9dc185cWho was The Skye Boat Song written about originally?
    1. The Real Jamie Fraser
    2. The Real Geillis Duncan
    3. The Real Bonnie Prince
    4. The Real Dougal MacKenziememe-sassenachsplash
  4. Claire heals a boy from possession because she realizes that he has been poisoned. What was he poisoned with?
    1. Hemlock
    2. Lily of the Valley
    3. Cyanide
    4. A Demon
  5. 35e29bccb04ffa7eb2b73fa51dc63670What was in the love potion that Claire gave to Laoghaire?
    1. Horse Dung
    2. Wood Lice
    3. A Sedative
    4. Whiskey
  6. tumblr_nc27uajpvu1sbre0jo5_r1_250What ailment does Ned Gowan suffer from?
    1. Indigestion
    2. Bowed Legs
    3. Asthma
    4. Syphilis
  7. outlander-season-1-weddingJamie tells Claire that she has the protection of his name, his clan, his family, and if necessary, what else does he promise her?
    1. The protection of his sword
    2. The protection of the MacKenzie warriors
    3. The protection of his body
    4. the protection of his hand index
  8. Where does Black Jack take Claire when he kidnaps her?
    1. Fort William
    2. Inverness, to the stocks
    3. Fort Thomas
    4. On the road back to England
  9. 200_sJamie was banished to Dougal’s house but Claire was told to stay, what reason did Collum give for their separation?
    1. He wanted her medicinal help
    2. He wanted her for himself
    3. He thought she was a spy
    4. He wanted her help to further the Jacobite cause
  10. 8c87bd7d698c8a9154042d62677ead51Jamie’s mom was given all sorts of presents from her suitors, the mention of one, helps to aid in Jamie’s rescue out of jail.
    1. A Corset
    2. A Pearl Necklace
    3. Ivory Bracelets
    4. Hair Ribbons

Below are the answers. Add them up when you finish the questions for season two to see if you’re a true Outlander show fan!

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Season Two Questions

  1. latestWhere did cousin Jared go that enabled Jamie and Claire to take over his business?
    1. Back to Scotland to see family
    2. Touring the wineries of France
    3. Visiting the Indies to expand his business to spices
    4. Making new trade contacts in Italy200_s.gif
  2. Master Raymond’s sleep potion contains…
    1. Valerian and hops
    2. Nightshade and pigs blood
    3. Pine needles and lavender
    4. Lemon and rosehipstumblr_o67xzdmwmu1un0ky0o1_r1_500
  3. Claire fights with Jamie when he comes home from the whorehouse with…
    1. All of his money spent
    2. An STD
    3. Lipstick on his collar
    4. A hickey on his thighgiphy
  4. Who humiliated Black Jack Randall at Versailles?
    1. Claire when she calls him a rapist
    2. King Louis when he order him to kneel
    3. Jamie when he challenged him to a duel
    4. Mary Hawkins when she refuses his proposaloutlander
  5. Who gifted the dragonfly in amber to Claire?
    1. Hugh Monroe
    2. Murtagh
    3. Jamie
    4. Mary Hawkins19-outlander-dog-nocrop-w529-h375
  6. What is Mother Hildeguard’s dog’s name?
    1. Henri
    2. Bisou
    3. Heuruex
    4. Boutonimage6
  7. What is Alexander Randall dying of?
    1. Syphilis
    2. Tuberculosis
    3. Lung cancer
    4. Dysenterytumblr_oa2j2qkHLC1un0ky0o1_500.gif
  8. What proved to Brianna that her mother was telling the truth about traveling time?
    1. Claire showed Bree some historical documents only she knew the meaning of
    2. Geillis Duncan told Brianna she met Claire in the 1700’s
    3. Bri watched Geillis travel through the stones
    4. Roger found the Fraser family tree and showed Bri Jamie and Claire’s marriage certificateclaire_is_back
  9. What small thing convinces Reverend Wakefield that Claire may have told the truth about the stones, when she returns to her time?
    1. She tells him the names of all the Scots that fought in Culloden
    2. Her dress is verified as being from the 1700s
    3. She can tell him the movements of the Scottish troops that no one but a studied historian would know
    4. He sees someone else travel through the stonesgiphwqdqwdy.gif
  10. Who fathers the child of Louise de La Tour de Rohan?
    1. Charles Stuart
    2. Comte St. Germain
    3. King Louis XV
    4. Jules de Rohan

 Below are the answers to season two! Tally your score, add them with your score from season one to see what level Outlander fan you are!

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0-5 Points – Do You Even Outlander?outlander-jamie-picnic-sad-face-1024x573

6-15 Points – You Know Your Way Around The Stones92097a4558d89fac0c42179c860bccd6

16-20 Points – Jamie Would Be Proud8c4b241deddb4242504c6ff6116252fd

How did you do? Are you a true show Sassenach or would the stones spit you right out? Let us know! And come back next week for more Outlander Saturday posts!

Sarah and I both have books out now, so if you like our posts, you’ll probably love our books! First Semester is a thrilling college romance that you can get HERE. Queen of Emeralds is a historic romance set in the highlands that you can get HERE.

Kelsey McKnight’s Author Interview

Kelsey McKnight introduces herself and answers several questions about her craft, her vices, and her upcoming novels.

Learn more about Kelsey’s projects, and read exclusive chapters, on her About page.

If you are interested in an author interview, a product review, or a book review, please contact Kelsey and Sarah here.

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Misled

Look who’s back with another military mafia romance…Penelope Marshall! But it’s not just her, this time. She’s collaborated with Tia Lewis to bring you Mislead, an extra steamy story of revenge, lust, and murder.

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Heat Level:♥♥♥♥♥

Overall Rating: 5/6 Glass Slippers

Genre: Military Mafia Romance

Isaiah was a Navy Seal, until one decision ended his career with a dishonorable discharge. Unable to get clean work, he begins to act as mafia boss Salvator Sabella’s muscle. So when Salvator tells Isaiah that his sister, Mellissa Sabella, is on the run and wanted for murder, Isaiah grabs his gun and goes on the hunt.

Mellissa doesn’t know where to turn when her brother accuses her of murder. So she goes to the only place she knows, Isaiah’s house. She’s hoping for sanctuary with a handsome bad boy who never gave her a second glance. But her hope of safety comes with the question of who’s side Isaiah will be on and if they’ll both now have targets on their backs. Sometimes not even family ties can keep you safe.

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I don’t read a lot of collaborations, just because many don’t come through my email! But I was pleasantly surprised that this book sounded like it was only done by one author, not two, which I found very impressive. The only new changes I instantly recognized, as someone very familiar with Marshall’s work, is an expanded steamy scene that gave us an extra splash of dirty sex. This is the first time I’ve read anything by Lewis, but I can imagine just how hot her books must be! Misled was thrilling, sexy, and had the distinct Marshall mafia flair with more than one unexpected twist.

To see what I’m working on, check the About Kelsey page!

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Undead Love: Not Alone

You know how much I adore a good zombie book, and I was very pleased when Lee Sutherland send me the second book in his Undead Love Series, Undead Love: Not Alone. Each novel can be read as a standalone, but if you’d like to start with the first book, you can read my review of it here! BTW, it’s on sale for .99 for a limited time!

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Heat Level:♥♥♥

Overall Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers

Genre: Horror Romance

The world as we know it is over. A sickness has spread that brings the deal to life and creating an army that kills on sight. Conner has seen, firsthand, how it feels to loose a loved one, only to see them return as less than human. This is why he will do anything in his power to keep his brother Phil from harm.

Juliet only has her dad, Cedric, to turn to when the undead begin their attack. They find sanctuary with a band of survivors, but when Juliet and Cedric find that evil comes in many forms, they flee their “safe haven” and find refuge in Conner’s home. But when Conner and Juliet being to grow closer, the forces outside come to call, both the living and the dead.

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As with the first book, Undead Love, this was written in dual POV, and was very easy to follow. It was shorter than a traditional novel, but I didn’t find it off putting, nor was it rushed. Sutherland puts enough imagery in his work to give you the creepy, crawling, feel a horror novel needs and adds some romance to break up the dread. I also always find it interesting when the acts of man are more violent and terrible than the “monsters”. Overall, I found this an enjoyable, heart pounding, read and suggest this book to fans of The Walking Dead and any other action-filled series.

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