Saturday, September 08, 2007

The Black Sheep and the Princess by Donna Kauffman

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USA Today bestselling author DONNA KAUFFMAN has seen her books reviewed in venues ranging from Kirkus to Library Journal to Entertainment Weekly. A past RITA finalist, National Readers Choice, Maggie, and PRISM award winner, she lives in Virginia with her two sons and a growing menagerie of animals. Donna loves to hear from her readers. You can contact her through her website at


Why did you become a writer? Was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?
As a child I used to write stories (The Hamster Family Chronicles were a particular highlight ), and later on I was a big journal keeper, but I never aspired to a career as a writer or thought writing a novel was something I wanted to do. It was more an extension of my love for reading. I’m unsure if it was that same love, or the fact that I was in my 43rd week of pregnancy, in the hottest August on record outside D.C., that drove me to actually try it myself.

What do you love about being an author? Is there anything you dislike?
I’ve always been involved in creative endeavors throughout my life, so this is definitely a fulfillment of that passion. And the bunny slipper commute is pretty nice. The only thing I dislike is the uncertainty that goes along with working in this industry. But paranoia is a great motivator.

How do you balance your personal and writing time?
Great question. When I figure that part out, I’ll let you know. J My sons are almost grown now, with one already out on his own, so parenting doesn’t take up the time it used to, which helps. I also run an education program for a local craft store, in addition to writing for several publishers, so it’s always a juggling act. Sometimes I do better keeping all the balls in the air than others.

How do you write? Do your characters come to you first or the plot or the world of the story?
Usually it’s a plot concept, sometimes it’s a particular character type I’d like to explore. Sometimes it’s something as off beat as the setting, or a title that moves me.

What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?
At the moment, I’m writing contemporary romance with a light suspense angle. I’ve also written paranormal romance as well. I am my own consumer, so I write about the same kinds of things that draw me to other author’s books. There’s an industry motto that goes: Write what you love. I am definitely on board that train.

What is the biggest misconception about being an author?
That it’s glamorous. Sweat pants and bunny slippers rule my world, so if there’s a glamour aspect to this, I totally missed it. But I happen to love the idea of never wearing pantyhose again, so I’m okay with this.

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
My characters are never based on real people. Always completely fictional.

Out of all the characters that you've written, who is your favorite and why?
That’s like being asked to pick a favorite child. So I’ll just say my favorite is the one I’m writing now, as falling in love with new characters is always a thrill.

If you were writing a script for the big screen, who would you want to act in your movie?
I get asked this often, and it’s been interesting to hear who my readers would pick for certain roles, as it gives me a peek into how they see a character who I might have been envisioning in a completely different way. For me personally, I don’t have a cast list. I’m certainly open to suggestions, though!

What would you want readers to take away from your books?
I hope they’re entertained, get to enjoy a few hours with some of my favorite people, laugh a little, and close the book feeling happy and satisfied. We can all stand to have a bit more of that in our lives. I love that I get to contribute to the fun part of someone’s day.

Do you have any advice for beginning writers in regards to writing a book?
Finish the book. Most beginning writers never do. Then stick with it. Perseverance is 99% of the battle.

Who are your favorite authors?
I have too many to list, but here’s a few off the top of my head: Jennifer Crusie, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Lisa Scottoline, Brad Meltzer, George RR Martin, James Grippando, Janet Evanovich….

What are you reading right now?
I’m probably the only person who hasn’t finished it yet, but the final Harry Potter. Sob!



They’re the black sheep—the bad boys every good girl wants to have hold her, touch her, take her, love her. But being bad never felt so good…

“I have some spare beer, if you’re interested…”
I’d know that voice anywhere, and every time I hear it, it makes me sweat. Not that well-bred heiresses are supposed to sweat, but if you saw Donovan MacLeod, trust me, you’d need a change of clothes, too. It’s been eighteen years, but he’s got the same cocky swagger, silver-gray eyes, shaggy hair, and that sexy smile that promises a whole lot of trouble. Not that I’ll ever find out because he loathes me—thinks I’m some spoiled princess. So, there’s something I’ve just got to ask…

“Why are you here, Donovan?”
The lady asked a question, she deserves an answer. Well, Kate Sutherland, how about, I’ve fantasized about you for eighteen years? Or, I wanted to remember how it feels to need a cold shower every time you flick that perfect blonde hair out of your blue eyes? Or, why don’t you come over here and let me show you, baby? Yeah, good answers, but I’ll stick with this one—I came back to help, because I think you’re in some trouble. My bad boy gut says you’re gonna need me—in more ways than one…


Kate glanced at him, then shifted her gaze firmly back to the winding mountain road. “Why are you here, Donovan? Just tell me.”

“I told you. I saw the write up in the paper, saw you needed some help.” He lifted a shoulder in what he hoped came off as a nonchalant shrug. “I happen to be in the helping people line of business these days. Or you can just consider it assistance from an old friend.”

She snorted. “We were hardly friends.”

He didn’t look away. Couldn’t actually. The morning light was far more The Black Sheep and the Princess by Donna Kauffmanrevealing than the porch light had been last night. “No, I guess we weren’t. Sentimental reasons, then. I grew up here, after all. Is it so strange to want to give back?”

She looked at him again, clearly suspicious. “You couldn’t be bothered to come home after your father was buried, and please forgive me if I’m being completely insensitive, but you don’t strike me as the sentimental type.”

Mac decided to drop all pretense. “You’re right about that. I’d just as soon never step foot back on this property. A lot of memories are tied up here, most of them bad.”

“Then my question stands. And don’t tell me it’s about some stupid newspaper article.”

“It’s the God’s honest truth that if not for that article, I wouldn’t be here. But, actually, it was Rafe who spotted it.”

“Rafael Santiago? You’re still in touch with him?”

“I work with him. Finn Dalton, too.” He raised his hand. “And my word is still good. Always has been. There have been times when that’s all I had, so I don’t give it lightly.”

She didn’t say anything to that, concentrating on the road instead. “So you’re saying the Unholy Trinity has this sudden vested interest in saving a rotting old camp because of some little newspaper write up.”

“Hardly little. It was the New York Times. And the headline was something about an heiress giving up her inheritance to take control of family lake property in order to open up a camp for disabled kids. Is that true?”

“Which part? That I swapped my inheritance with Shelby? Or that I’m planning on a camp for kids?”

“Perhaps you’re doing well enough on your own not to need Louisa’s money.”

“Does it look like I’m rolling in it, Donovan?”

“I have no idea what game you might be playing at. With Shelby involved and an inheritance worth a lot of zeroes, now vandalism, and rumors of developers being involved—“

Kate braked and abruptly pulled over. “Get out.”

“I’m just calling it like I see it. Do you want me to sugar coat it?”

“I want you to get out. And stay off camp property. My property.” She wasn’t looking at him, and her tone was flat and hard. But he saw the tremor in her jaw, the vein standing out in stark relief along the side of her neck, and the white knuckles gripping the steering wheel.

“Someone isn’t just spraying unhappy little messages on trees, Kate. Someone has been watching you,” he said without preamble. “You may not like me or what I have to say, or believe why I’m here, but that’s beside the point. The point is I have the resources to help get you out of whatever it is you’ve gotten yourself into.”

Her cheeks drained of color and she swallowed hard.

“You may not even know what you’re up against,” he said, a tad less stridently. “So stop looking the gift horse you have in the mouth and let me help you.”

Her chest rose and fell more quickly.

“Look at me.”

Her throat worked.


She swung her gaze to his, and there was no mistaking the fatigue, wariness, and the healthy dose of fear he saw there. “What?”

“To be perfectly honest, I haven’t the faintest freaking clue why I’m here. Maybe it’s some sort of whack karmic justice, or God having a really big laugh at my expense. All I know is that I felt—we all felt—like it was the right thing to do.” Now it was his turn to look away. Because he still wasn’t being completely truthful with her. “And maybe it’s because once I saw your picture, it stirred up a bunch of stuff I thought I was long done with. Stuff that not even my father dying stirred up.”

He felt her gaze flicker to his and looked up in time to catch it, hold it. “Meaning what?” she asked.

“Meaning we have unfinished business, you and me.”

“We don’t have any business. We never did.”

“I know.” His grin was slow, but it kept on growing until he saw the color steal back into her cheeks. “That’s the unfinished part.”


"Bad boy Donovan MacLeod, illegitimate son of the drunken handyman, returns to the Catskills camp where he was scorned as a teenager to find out why Kate Sutherland is giving up her mother’s inheritance to turn the place into a camp for disabled children. Kate is getting the cold shoulder in town when she seeks workers to rehab the camp and law enforcement officials to find out who is vandalizing it. Donovan once lusted after Kate, and she after him, but neither acknowledged their feelings. Now he volunteers himself and his organization, Trinity, to help her, knowing that his NYPD experience is more than adequate preparation for the job. Kauffman provides such clever red herrings that the solution to the mystery is a real surprise, as well as funny, but it is watching good sex turn into love that makes this such a winner. And Trinity is shorthand for the “unholy trinity,” referring to Donovan and two friends who were the hellions of their long-ago camp days. Readers will be happy to know that his cohorts’ tales will follow."
-— Mary K. Chelton

4 cups: "Kate Sutherland was the daughter of a very rich woman, but she turned her back on all of that to work with sick children. When her mother dies, she inherits all of her wealth, but she trades that with her stepbrother for his legacy --summer camp for rich kids that she will remake into her dream, a camp for sick children.

Donovan MacLeod is the son of the drunken caretaker of the camp and other than the time he spent with the other members of the Unholy Trinity, and fleeting moments he spent lusting after Kate Sutherland, he hated it there. He vowed never to go back. But Kate is being harassed, and he can help.

When Kate Sutherland wants to open up a camp for sick children, surprisingly someone is determined to stop her. She is shocked when the object of her adolescent fantasies shows up to help her. Mac has only gotten better and she does need him, in more ways than one.

I think I am really going to like this new series; the Unholy Trinity seems to be pretty much irresistible. Mac is the ultimate sexy bad boy and I can see why Kate was so drawn to him in her teens. Grown up, he is even better. Mac finds that Kate is nothing like the princess he remembered, except that she is as beautiful as ever. It is obvious that the two of them have unresolved feelings for each other, leading to some very hot love scenes. The sabotage of Kate's camp gives an aura of danger and suspense to the whole story. I loved the setting of a remote camp in the Catskills, which added to the suspense nicely. The author throws in some really good twists and turns and you really do not know who is harassing Kate until the very end. I cannot wait to read about Rafe and Finn."
-- Maura, Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance

The Black Sheep and the Princess
by Donna Kauffman
ISBN #: 0758217250
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Kensington/Brava
Release Date: August 2007
$14.00 from

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posted by Rachelle
at 3:50 PM