How long does happily ever after take?
They call her banshee. The taunt has pursued strong-willed Rowen Mackenzie through the glorious Scottish highlands. One man sees beyond the superstition—Lachlan Gordon. This brave highlander is the man she loves but duty requires her to wed another.
Wickedly charming, Lachlan Gordon has loved Rowen Mackenzie since his first glimpse of the ethereal beauty. As bastard of Chief Gordon, Lachlan can never claim her as his own. When his father, Laird Gordon, is murdered, Lachlan becomes the clan chief…too late to marry the woman he loves.
Years later, Rowen is now a widow and mother and her son is in danger. She jeopardizes her life and most importantly, her heart to protect her son. Lachlan is the only man who can help her. For a second chance at love, he must risk all—his clan, his life and his love to win even as secrets threaten their happiness and their very lives.
Will Rowen and Lachlan have their own happily ever after?
“Must read for lovers of all things Scottish”—Paranormal Romance and Author’s that Rock
“5 Stars”—Goodreads Reviewer
“The book has it all war, scandals, death and undying love.” —Spunky N Sassy
Excerpt of Highland Scandal:
Lachlan lingered in the courtyard. He refused to step inside. No doubt, he could find a widow to warm the night with. He just had to stay away from the Great Hall and Rowen. Damn, she was so beautiful sitting upon her horse. She was so near to him. He could have snatched her up and run away. He couldn’t go near her. He kicked at a rock. Why did MacLean have to permit the marriage here? MacKenzie Castle was fitting enough. But the lairdess had to be pregnant. Murray’s lands were just as fitting, but lacked a female touch. Och, weren’t there women in the clan? Such ruminations failed to matter. She was here.
He peered up at the tower. She was in there and tonight he would be also…unless there was an attack or a raid. He prayed for a raid.
Lachlan leaned against the wall. He straightened as Caelen took his spot beside him, as he had countless times before. They watched the castle people stroll by them.
“All is good?” Caelen asked.
“Aye. Your wife?”
“Fat with child again. She wishes for a daughter.” He crossed his bare arms.
“You wish for a son.”
“I know what men do with women.” Castle folk hurried on at Caelen’s scowl.
“This marriage should happen soon.”
“Aye, Father Murray is here. I heard about Father Sullivan.”
Lachlan chuckled. “A skeleton of a man. Why they sent that man—I do not know. He had been here for two days. He stuttered whenever Duncan laid his gaze on him. When he saw me, he looked like he smelled something most foul.”
“Sin, so I guess the daughters of Eve left a certain smell only priest can catch whiff of. He fled in the morning.”
“Did you really chase after him?”
“Aye, he said, ‘you are the devil’. Me and Duncan were standing like this, so I had to find out which one of us he spoke of.” Lachlan chuckled. “I ran beside his animal. He kicked his heels harder, but I stayed alongside him. When I asked him, that poor holy man paled and then reddened. He proclaimed we were both devils. I thanked him and told him I wouldn’t want to lose my reputation.”
Caelen laughed. Lachlan felt a lightness that had been missing since the wedding negotiations began. It was the damn hardest thing to make Caelen laugh.
His laughter cut off at the approaching riders. The Murrays arrived. Lachlan stared at Eacharn riding among his father’s men. Bile rose in his throat and its foul taste filled his mouth. He gulped back the burning spew.
He should hate that man. He was getting to spend the rest of his days with the woman Lachlan loved. But Eacharn, the plump bastard, was a good man. He was always in the center of a fight. He was sharp-minded and loved Lachlan’s humor. Hell, Lachlan admitted it—he liked him. Not that he’d say it to him.
One more thing denied Lachlan. Nay, he was not feeling pity for himself. Never. His temper roared like a hundred Highlanders on a charge. He pushed away from the wall, only realizing Caelen had left him. Halfway out of the courtyard, he turned back. His duty was to stand with MacLean.
To save his clan…
Laird Alec Cameron wars against Clan MacKintosh and its sept, Clan Chattan over a swathe of land desired by both clan. When Alec learns MacKintosh schemes to wed his English sister-in-law to the chieftain of the Chattan, he knows the risk threatening Clan Cameron. Her riches and blood ties could overpower the Camerons. For the upper hand, he kidnaps her.
To save her life…
Widow Lady Portia de Mowbray hides in the rugged Highlands far from the clutches of a deadly baron desiring her wealth but not her hand. She has lost the man she loved and nearly her life at his hands and she must save herself. Snagged in a deadly power play between two feuding clans, she is caught in the clutches of Laird Cameron. He may be the man who can save her.
Both know the danger…
As the English widow and Highlander hero band together to war against their enemies, their desires are unleashed for each other even as the enemies encircle them.
Can these two unlikely allies win?
Excerpt of The Laird’s Right
First, he must save her from herself. Silly female, vanishing in the night in an unfamiliar land. Alec possessed the know-how to travel about the night, having raided since his first chest hair. He knew the dangers too. He almost yelled out to her, heaping reprimands on her head, then stopped himself. No need to frighten her and endanger her more than she must be. Once he called out to her, she would run—run straight to her death.
A branch snapped and not from being stepped upon. Her hiss of pain traveled from his right. She must have slammed into an overhanging branch. Beside that one slip, she was quiet. Only the nocturnal creatures betrayed her path. The quarter moon provided scant light and the canopy of trees blocked moonshine from reaching the ground. It would be a time before the sun broke the sky. He stalked her, closing the distance between them.
On the edge of the tree line, he spotted her. Her English garb caught on the edge of a tree branch. She let out a curse. He smiled at her fight. She tugged at her sleeve, sending leaves down upon her. Her blonde hair slipped free from her braid and stuck out, shining as faintly as the rising sun.
Her full hips wiggled as she struggled to free herself. She wasn’t a small woman—almost as tall as him, her high-necked garb couldn’t conceal her lush bosom as it strained against the fine fabric with each wiggle, it bounced. She was a woman in every sense of the word.
Taking his chance, Alec ate up the distance between them. Her shallow pants blew smoke then faded away in to the air. She tucked her arms tight around her chest. Nothing could stop the highland brisk air from burrowing deep and snatching away body heat. She shivered and tossed the plaid over her shoulders. Her teeth chattered. Foolish lass, she’d be dead before she ever reached England.
Alec had a choice to make—pick her up or…
“England is that way.” He hooked a thumb over his shoulder.
A sound—a squeak and a scream—broke from her. She leapt in to the air. He couldn’t see her but he wagered she glared at him, doing that pouty thing with her mouth.
She spun around, freeing her hair as she teetered on her feet, wailing her arms about for purchase and somehow remained upright. She backed up. “Then I’m heading in the right direction.”
She halted and cocked her head, silently questioning him.
“There’s a cliff a few steps ahead.” He motioned with a flick of his wrist to her left.
She curtsied. “Thank you.” She veered to the right, giving a wide berth to the rocky cliff edge.
Alec clasped his hands behind his back and trailed behind her. She glared over her shoulder. He smiled, just to vex her more.
“I cannot allow you to escape.”
“I must escape. Tis my duty as a captive,” she said as if she instructed a simpleton.
“As my duty is to capture you,” he replied using the same tone.
She dug in her pouch and threw a rock at him. It landed at his feet. He kicked it and smiled at her. She picked up her skirts to her knees and darted away. Alec froze.
“You ran away from me.” Sure, he stated the obvious but he was dumbfounded for a brief moment.
Without much speed, he chased after her. He couldn’t help it. He laughed with his whole body. The rare guffaw covered the crush of the bramble beneath his footsteps.
“You are not faster than me, Portia. I will catch you.” She made one mistake and looked behind her.
He snaked his arm around her waist and swung her into the air. She grunted as she banged against his chest.
He buried his face in her hair, smelling the faint scent of rosewater, smoke from the fire, and her light musky scent. With his lips against her small shell of her ear, he said, “You are mine and I shall not let you go.”
She bucked against him, pushing at his arms and digging her nails into his skin and ripped the short hairs dusting his arm. The underside of her breast brushed against his arm. Her behind wiggled against his awaking manhood. The kiss replayed in his mind, which would have been much more pleasure if she had returned it. Her lips were moist and warm. He wanted to feel her lips meld against his and her tongue to touch his. He would have deepened it, explored her to learn what made her moan and melted her to a fiery woman. Aye. He would have worshipped her beautiful mouth.
“Do not kiss me.” She stilled and aimed a finger in his face.
He nipped at it but she pulled it away before he could get his teeth around the tip. “One day, you shall ask for one.”
First came marriage…will love come next?
As children, stoic Caelan MacKenzie married feisty Brenna Grant for a parcel of land and an Earldom. Then the child bride and groom went their separation ways.
Years later, Caelan is the feared Viking Highlander, a great warrior. His father lies on his death bed and now Caelan must return home to take his place as the Chief of Clan MacKenzie. Time has come for him to face his past and the secret he has carried. Some believe him unworthy to lead.
All but his wife—Brenna knows the true man that he is from the letters they had been exchanging since childhood. Now at Castle MacKenzie anticipates her husband’s return. Brenna must use her influence to protect the Grant clan or have her life destroy. And that she refuses to happen.
From the Scottish Highland shores to the rugged glens, the alpha male and his brave heroine must battle against outside forces to save their wedded life even as they succumb to their sensual desire.
Can they save all they hold dear including their growing love? Or will they be defeat and betrayed?
Excerpt of Claiming the Highlander
Brenna shut her chamber door. The smoke from the wall torches filled the turret stairs and stung her eyes. She waved away the cloud as she descended from the top floor. That chamber had been her own since she was seven, when the laird and lairdess first fostered her. Brenna loved the space, since Caelan once rested his head there. Being in the chamber was the closest she came to sharing a bed with her husband.
Learning her role as the future Lairdess of Clan MacKenzie, her life consisted of watching, waiting and being a help or a hindrance. Lately, she had been a help. Only that mattered to Brenna, especially after she intruded upon the Lairdess weeping in the garden. That was her place of refuge. Brenna had moved forward and then stepped back, leaving her to her sadness. What did one say when death hovered near? The truth was, Brenna wished she could make the laird survive. Brenna took pride in her healing skills and knowledge of herbs, but in this instance, those skills were meaningless, so she strived to lessen the Lairdess’ burden. This day, the duties had been split between her and Rowen.
Rowen would see to the household, the meals, the cleaning of it, and other duties. Whereas Brenna was to assist the clan and handle any issues the clan-folk faced this day. Today, she would take her place as the Lairdess of Clan MacKenzie. Last night, she hadn’t gotten much sleep. Though, she had been trained in her duties, that knowledge did nothing to stop her from fretting. If only Caelan were here with her…with him beside her the day would be easier. He should return home soon. Perhaps this day or the next.
She reached the last step and halted. The smoke must have conjured images. Caelan stood at the end of the corridor. She blinked, believing the vision would vanish into nothingness. The arched doorway framed his muscular form, which was draped in plaid. His head hung down. His long locks draped around his face and blocked him from her view. Light flickered over his Viking blond hair. She blinked a few times, waiting for him to notice her standing here. She must have moved because his head flew up.
He faced her. A smile spread across her face and her cheeks hurt from it. She wanted to throw herself in his arms. Instead, she buried the urge. She even squeezed out a couple of tears.
Her feet skipped over the floor as she raced to him. She threw her arms around him and squeezed him tightly. She lacked the strength to hold him as she wished. Caelan was all hard muscle. He smelled of the outdoors—greenery, and of the fresh wind that whirled about him and caught in the weave of his plaid, along with a manly scent that was his own. She stroked her cheek against his plaid. The scratchy wool scraped her skin. An itchy tingle spread through her cheek.
She ran her hands over his thick arms. He had come for her. She linked her fingers with his. She leaned her head to the side to look at the shut chamber door. Last night had been a difficult one. The healers and servants had been going in and out through the night. Their muffled voices floated to her chamber along with the groans of pains coming from the laird—aye, the laird would be leaving this earth soon. Her smile dimmed along with the heady delight within her. “You have finally returned.”
Caelan arched a brow, revealing his blue eyes. She loved his pure, blue hue that shined bright with shards of white, unlike her plain, brown ones. He pulled his hand away. She tucked her empty hand within the pleats of her dress. This was not the reunion she had imagined since she learned he was returning home. Caelan was supposed to grab her in his arms and swing her about. After her holding her close for a drawn-out moment, he was supposed to slide her down his body, and then kiss her. After he ravished her mouth, he was to stare deep into her eyes.
Her hand in marriage could secure peace and safety for the clan she longs to protect.
Lady Ailsa Cameron is not the most patient of souls. She has even slept through a few more masses than she has admitted. Still, this gentle lass never did anything wicked enough to marry the dreaded Black Duncan, Laird of Clan MacLean. Yet, this marriage will bring peace to the clan but for her…perhaps not.
As Chief of the Spartans of the North, Duncan MacLean has inspired many a gruesome tale throughout the majestic Scottish highlands and beyond. Duncan accepts Laird Cameron’s offer of his daughter’s hand in marriage and pledges to make war against their shared enemy, Clan MacKinnon.
The arrange marriage is anything but convenient. Duncan aches to possess his ravishing bride as passionately as he vows never to lower his defenses to another woman while Ailsa will not settle for anything less than the life she yearns for. Nonetheless, love blooms between the Highlander and his lady until betrayal incites war. Clan MacLean is in danger as are Ailsa and Duncan—but most in peril is their love.
Can past enemies become lovers at last? Or will the flame in their hearts be consumed by the fires of war?
Reviews for The Marriage Alliance
Cannot wait until her next 1…2…3. Great romance, great story and great humor throughout—Jocelyn S.
Will make you laugh and cry—Martine E
Awesome book. Loved every minute of it…I laughed and cried. This is one of my favorites and well definitely read again—Jennifer P.
Loved the book-Amazon customer
Excerpt of The Marriage Alliance
Scottish Highlands, 1256
Surely, Ailsa Cameron never managed anything in her score of a lifetime so wicked to deserve this cruel punishment. She never took the life of another. Admittedly, she dozed through a few masses in her lifetime. Others were guilty of such sin and never punished so harshly. Maybe, it was the many times she took the Lord’s name in vain. That vile curse hadn’t passed her lips for some time, not since her last penance forbade her from speaking for a sennight. She had remained silent until the noon meal but her guilt still lingered. Even that did not warrant her wedding the dreaded Duncan MacLean.
Nay, she journeyed along the stone-littered tract to the MacLean fortress because of men and one in particular, her father—Laird Cameron. His fierce desire to merge with the Spartans of the North appointed Ailsa the maiden sacrifice to appease the ferocious dragon. Who was the dragon—her father or her husband-to-be?
Either way, Saint Peter would throw open the pearly gates for her since she behaved as the dutiful daughter, pledging the rest of her days to Laird MacLean.
Not that she had many days to live.
MacLeans would rather kill a Cameron than share the air…of course, after they cut out her tongue.
Especially since bloodthirsty MacLeans enjoyed a savory meal of human flesh.
Would her tongue be roasted before consumed or eaten raw?
No doubt raw.
That meal probably accounted for the clan’s immense proportions. Few men towered over Highland men yet most Highlanders struggled to stand shoulder to shoulder with MacLean men. Muscular forms of others appeared scrawny beside the mighty MacLeans. And the women were no smaller, just about the height of an average Highlander, convenient since both sexes lugged around basketfuls of enemies’ fingers. Ailsa strained to reach her brother’s wide shoulders. She’ll never fit in.
She wanted to escape to the mountains rising in the distance behind her. If she veered her mare around, she could gallop away to freedom in the harsh environment, where she could starve to death or, if luck were on her side, be eaten by wild animals.
Maybe, it wasn’t too late to be a bride of Christ. She could live in a convent and not starve or have her flesh ripped from her bones by the sharp fangs of wolves. Then again, the nunnery might not be the best place. Even though Ailsa perfected the serene visage, her talents rested elsewhere. Besides, she had slumbered through quite a few more masses than she admitted. Another sin she added to her mental count. Taking the veil would be a disaster for her and the nuns.
So, Ailsa rode onward, up the cresting hill. The impressive fortified castle soared on the rocky outcrop overlooking the loch at the path’s end. A towering curtain wall hugged the craggy contours as the loch’s water lapped gently against the rocks. Harsh Highland elements weathered the structure’s limestone to a mixture of grays, browns, and whites cloaking the structure with a dismal aura Ailsa believed her life would become once behind its walls.
Even her gentle mare, dismayed by the sight ahead, stumbled on a stone strewn on the trail meandering to the gatehouse and her doom.
“We shall be well, Joy.” Her mare tossed back her head and neighed, not believing her.
Patting her lean crest, she peeked through the veil of her hair to her father. He wore a pleased looked on his face that bode ill for others. She glanced at her elder brother. Alec sent her tentative smile then turned his gaze. He was as happy about this marriage as she was. As the heir, Alec tried to persuade their father from his determined course but to no avail. Father had a plan, and his children must submit to his commands.
“Come along,” Laird Cameron demanded, placing himself between the two siblings. She sucked in a lungful of crisp highland air, slowly exhaling until the straining muscles in her face eased. Unlike the countless other times, her calming technique failed so she decided to ignore him.
Glancing upward to the lofty battlements, she spotted two heads. Oh God’s eyes, she forgot that gruesome tale! She gawked and swallowed her squeak.
MacLeans decorated their parapets with their enemies’ heads on spikes as a warning to those foolish enough to attack. For the rest of her short days, she’d have to see ghastly heads…until she was propped next to them.
“By marrying the brute, my influence will extend to these lands, and I can get what is mine. Girl, you’ve been an annoyance since your first breath,” Laird Cameron snarled the exact words he had grumbled since her first breath.
Ailsa craned her neck, scanning the ramparts for more spiked heads when her father jerked Joy to a halt, whipping her head forward.
“Finally, you serve some good.”