Sally McCluskey was born in Omaha and raised in Nebraska. She received a B.A. from Wayne State Teachers College, an M.A. in English from the University of Arkansas, and a Ph.D. in English literature from Northern Illinois University, where she met her future husband, Dan Borengasser, a fellow graduate student.
After graduation McCluskey taught at her alma mater and then Eastern Illinois University. She has also worked on a freelance basis as a writer for several greeting card companies. She sold her first romance novel in 1984. She has won three Romance Writers of America RITA Awards, three Romantic Times Reviewer Awards, a Maggie Award, and the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence.