My One True Highlander
DARE TO FALL IN LOVE
Scotland, 1812—Rugged Highlander Graeme’s loyalty to his clan means that their enemies are his own—even when that includes his neighbor, the Duke of Lattimer. It’s a fight he doesn’t relish, but when Graeme’s reckless younger brothers foolishly kidnap Lattimer’s younger sister, all bets are off…
Lady Marjorie Forrester may be aligned with the enemy, but capturing her puts Graeme squarely in the middle of a war. If he turns Marjorie over to his clan chief, she could be killed. If he lets her go, his brothers could face prison. In addition, the woman can’t stop trying to civilize the lot of them! What’s a Highlander to do, then, but keep the stubborn lass close…and explore the unexpected passion that develops between them? But how can Graeme protect Marjorie and his brothers when both Lattimer and his own clan are on the warpath—and will do whatever it takes to tear these two star-crossed lovers apart, in My One True Highlander, the next No Ordinary Hero Scottish romance from New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Enoch.
Enoch infuses the warmth of love and family into every page of her wonderfully romantic novel. The unforgettable characters — from the hero and heroine, to the children, villagers, friends and companion — work their way into readers' hearts. There's joy and passion, a captive/captor plot twist and scandal tangled together into one marvelous read.
– 4 1/2 star Top Pick - RT Book Reviews
This is a brilliant read. It is atmospheric, filled with drama and angst. The plot is engrossing and enjoyable, but it is the characters that really set’s this apart from other work. It is a tantalizing and thrilling Highland Romance, if you’re a lover of all Rugged Highlanders then you will adore Graeme. Thoroughly enjoyable and very much recommended.
– Chicks, Rogues and Scandals
“Hello? I know someone’s out there. If I’m to remain trapped in here, I require another candle. And a book, for heaven’s sake. I’ve never seen a sitting room before that didn’t contain even a single, solitary book on a shelf somewhere.”
Listening carefully, she heard muttering and then fast-retreating footsteps. Quite possibly she shouldn’t have insulted the lack of literature; she had no idea, after all, if any of these heathens could read. But for once her instinct to be kind and proper and polite could go hang itself. If she’d been less polite she might have ordered Mrs. Giswell to leave the table at the inn so she could dine in peace, and she would be within sight right now of Lattimer Castle and Gabriel. But because she’d bit her tongue against her frustration and left to clear her head, she was here. And she didn’t want to be here.
Heavier, booted footsteps approached, and she backed away from the door. She’d nearly fallen over the last time he’d stomped into the room, and she had no wish to be grabbed again. Far too many people had grabbed at her today.
The door opened, but this time he didn’t enter. He didn’t really need to, though; big and broadshouldered as he was, he filled the doorway. He leaned against the doorjamp to gaze at her, a long strand of his unruly hair falling forward halfway down his cheek. “A book and a candle?” he finally drawled.
“Unless I’m to sit here in the dark, yes,” she returned.
“Ye can if ye like. Or ye can come with me, yer highness.”
Marjorie folded her hands in front of her, wondering why in the world she could look at a man who’d kidnapped her and kept her trapped in a room and still be able to notice that he had fine gray eyes, a lean waist, and an indescribable…something that made her want to keep looking at him. “You’re leading me to my prison cell, I suppose?”
“Aye.” He narrowed one eye. “It does have a fireplace and a warm bed. I reckon ye’re chilled.”
“I’ve been sitting in a cold room and in a damp gown for hours. Am I supposed to be grateful that you’ve finally realized I might be uncomfortable?”
“Nae. Ye could stop yammering aboot it and follow me to where it’s warmer, though.” With that he turned his back on her and walked out of the doorway.
The man was a barbarian. That was the only conclusion that made sense. An uneducated, unfeeling, arrogant barbarian. “Heathen,” she muttered, stalking after him.
“I didnae quite hear ye,” he returned, slowing his march up a long hallway.
“I called you a heathen,” Marjorie said distinctly.
“Ah. That’s what I thought ye said.”
An older man in black livery emerged from a side door to fall in behind her. Someone to make certain she didn’t run out the large double doors ahead, she supposed. Still, at least now she knew precisely where the exit lay. She would have to find some paper and begin sketching out a map of the house and countryside around her. When an opportunity to escape presented itself, she meant to make use of it.
In the small foyer, Maxton turned to face her, lifted an eyebrow, then headed up the stairs to her left. All along the wall portraits hung, men in the same plaid as those she’d spied outside, some bearded and glowering, others looking more contemplative, and most of them with the gray eyes and red-brown hair of her so-called host. Evidently his ancestors made a habit of marrying red-headed women.
Despite his worn, dirty clothes, he didn’t seem to be some common farmer. This was no farmer’s cottage, at the least. Simple and rather austere, yes, but the size alone said it belonged to a family of some rank and importance. Shepherds didn’t have portraits of their ancestors lining the walls.
The doors on either side of the upstairs hallway stood closed, probably so she couldn’t see into the rooms that lay beyond. It would never do for her to discover where the muskets or swords were kept, after all.
Maxton stopped two doors short of the windows that marked the end of the hallway. Making a show of producing a key from his coat pocket, he unlocked the door and pushed it open. “In here,” he said, gesturing for her to precede him.
The door itself looked very solid and somewhat intimidating, but Marjorie kept her shoulders squared and stepped inside. A large bed stood close by one wall, while a small fireplace on the opposite wall sent warmth and light into the room. A comfortable-looking pair of chairs squatted before the fire, while a huge, heavy-looking wardrobe shared the wall with the fireplace. If this hadn’t been a prison, she would have called it welcoming.
“The windows are nailed shut,” Maxton said, strolling in behind her. “If ye think to set fire to the hoose and escape that way, keep in mind that ye’ll be the last soul to be rescued – and that’s after the foxes and the cats. In fact, I may nae get up here to ye at all.”
The words sounded easy and amusing, but she didn’t mistake for one second the steel behind them. “No matter the circumstances,” she retorted, “I would never endanger young Connell in that way. I’m not the barbarian here, sir.”
“That’s good to know,” he returned, eyeing her again. Whatever he looked for, she hoped she left him wondering. “Ye’ll find a bell pull by the bed,” he went on after a moment, “should ye need to summon me.”
“Summon you?” she repeated, seizing on the words. “Are you the butler, then?”
“I’m the man ye’ll be dealing with. The only one.”
“Well, how pleasant for both of us.” She took another turn about the room, not about to sit in his presence. “I don’t suppose you’ve considered that I have no change of clothes or even a hairbrush? Not to mention the fact that I just spent hours racketing about in the back of a filthy wagon in the rain.”
Gray eyes assessed her from toe to head, the slow lift of his gaze making her heart skitter. With boarding school, and finishing school, and then serving Lady Sarah and her cats, followed by months of being ignored by everyone in Mayfair, she’d never had many dealings with men. By the time she’d received Gabriel’s letter, she’d actually begun to anticipate the inevitable crowd of fortune hunters. At least a man who needed her income would have reason to be polite to her. Even a fortune hunter, though, wouldn’t look at her like Graeme Maxton was – with the gaze of a predator assessing his next meal.
“The room across from ye has a bath tub,” he said after a moment. “We’ll fill it fer ye once I’m finished here. And there are a few things in the wardrobe that might suit ye. Nae as fancy or grand as what ye’re accustomed to, I imagine, but they’re clean. And dry.”
She nodded, expecting him to leave and lock her in again. Instead he remained in the middle of the bedchamber and continued looking at her. “Don’t expect me to thank you, Mr. Maxton,” she finally said, as the silence began to stretch on. “I’m not here because I chose to come visiting and got caught by the foul weather.”
“Nae, ye arenae here because ye decided to come calling,” he agreed. “Until I decide what’s to be done with ye, though, ye might consider trying to be more pleasant.” He inclined his head, the gesture graceful but not looking terribly practiced – as if he didn’t bow often, or willingly. “I’ll fetch ye when the tub is full. And if ye’re going to keep snapping back at me, it’s Laird Maxton. I’m a damned viscount, m’lady.”
A moment later she was alone again, locked into yet another room with nothing but the clothes on her back and deep dark night out the trio of windows behind her. With a shudder she pulled the heavy green curtains closed. For all she knew those men still stood outside, watching her from below.
A viscount. She never would have guessed that in a hundred years. Calloused hands, worn clothes, his plain-spoken, rude manner – the only aristocratic thing about him was his arrogance. If he was what passed for nobility in the Highlands, she’d be doubly happy to return to London.
A tear ran down her cheek, and she brushed it away. Tears wouldn’t get her out of this mess. And screaming out her frustration would only convince her captor that she should never be allowed out of this room.
Hm. Perhaps Lord Maxton’s comment had some potential. Perhaps being polite and pleasant and demure would gain her some trust. If so, Graeme Maxton had given her the key to his own downfall. Because the moment they turned their backs, she meant to escape. And no aggravating, arrogant man – handsome or not – would be able to stop her.