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The Border Vixen (Border Chronicles Series #5)

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Overview

From "a legend" (Linda Lael Miller) in romance, a new novel in the Border Chronicles.

Aware of the covetous interest in his land, the laird of Brae Aisir announces that any man who can outrun, outride, and outfight his headstrong granddaughter "Mad Maggie" will have her as a wife-along with her inheritance. His proposition causes more chaos than resolution, especially when King James II sends his cousin, Fingal Stewart, to compete for Maggie's hand. The competition brings out ...

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The Border Vixen (Border Chronicles Series #5)

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Overview

From "a legend" (Linda Lael Miller) in romance, a new novel in the Border Chronicles.

Aware of the covetous interest in his land, the laird of Brae Aisir announces that any man who can outrun, outride, and outfight his headstrong granddaughter "Mad Maggie" will have her as a wife-along with her inheritance. His proposition causes more chaos than resolution, especially when King James II sends his cousin, Fingal Stewart, to compete for Maggie's hand. The competition brings out the fire in both of them, and it doesn't take long for the rivals to become lovers. But there are those who will do anything to gain control of Maggie's inheritance- even if it means getting rid of Fingal Stewart, and his border vixen.

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  • The Border Vixen
    The Border Vixen  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The fifth installment of Small's popular Border Chronicles (The Border Lord and Lady) offers a rollicking portrait of Scottish lass Margaret "Mad Maggie" Kerr, who in 1532, at 17, is looking for a husband who "will be content to let me do what needs doing." Her grandfather Dugald Kerr puts out a challenge for a man who can "outride, outrun and outfight" Maggie, his only heir to the family fortune, which includes control of a vital passage between Scotland and England that the Kerrs have protected (and collected tolls on) for more than 500 years. Winning Maggie's hand intrigues many men, especially Ewan Hay, who's furious when he fails the test. Enter Edinburgh's handsome Fingal Stewart, dispatched by his cousin, King James V, to claim Maggie and get control of the passage. Not too surprisingly, Fingal not only succeeds with the test but also wins Maggie's heart. Ewan, however, is not ready to relinquish his desires and will stop at nothing to claim the passage and conceive an heir with Maggie. Small's satisfying, heavy-breathing romp reaffirms her standing as a historical romance stalwart. (Oct.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451231222
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 10/5/2010
  • Series: Border Chronicles Series , #5
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 372,173
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Bertrice Small is the New York Times bestselling author with over 24 novels in print.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 3

As the laird enjoyed his mirth, Maggie Kerr entered the hall. "I am told we have a visitor, Grandsire," she said, coming forward.

Fingal Stewart watched her come. She was dressed in woolen breeks, boots, and an open-necked shirt. A wide leather belt encircled her waist. The skin of her neck and face was damp with obvious exertion. The lass was more than pretty, he realized, but the confident stride as she walked, the open curiosity in her hazel eyes, the set of her jaw, told him she would be neither biddable nor easy. He stood politely as she came forward.

"The king has sent ye a gift, lassie," the laird chortled. He was truly enjoying this.

"The king? A gift?" She looked genuinely puzzled. "The king has never set eyes upon me. Why would he send me a gift?"

"Ewan Hay went to visit His Majesty. He told him ye needed a husband, lass," the laird cackled. "And so the king has sent his own kinsman to wed ye." The laird waited for the outburst that was not long in coming.

"Ewan Hay told the king I needed a husband? Why would that pox-ridden donkey's ass do such a thing?" Then her eyes widened. "God's balls! He thought to steal Brae Aisir out from beneath us, Grandsire, didn't he? He thought the king would order me to wed him, the imbecile!" Then her eyes fixed themselves on her grandfather's companion. "Who are ye, sir?"

"Lord Fingal Stewart, madam," Fin answered her.

"And yer the king's kin sent to wed me?" she demanded.

"I am," he replied.

"And what, my lord, have ye done to win such a prize?" Maggie wanted to know.

"I have been loyal, madam. The Stewarts of Torra have always been loyal to the Stewart kings since the days of James the First. The king knows he may trust me to do as I have been bid," Fingal Stewart answered her in a hard voice.

"Torra? Of the rock?" Maggie was curious in spite of herself. "Where do ye come from, my lord?"

"Edinburgh, madam. We are the Stewarts of Torra because our house sits below the castle rock itself," he told her.

"Ye have no lands then," she said scornfully.

"I have a house, a manservant, twelve men-at-arms gifted me by the king, some coin with Moses Kira, the banker, a modest purse of gold I've brought with me, and James Stewart's favor. Naught else," Fingal Stewart responded honestly.

Maggie had not expected a candid answer. She had never met a man before who was quite so direct. Usually men struggled to please her, to win her over—even that obnoxious simpleton Ewan Hay. "So ye've come to wed me for my wealth," she said, contempt tingeing her voice.

"I've come to wed ye because I have been ordered to it," he replied as insultingly.

"If ye think to wed me, my lord, ye will have to comply with the same rules all my other suitors have faced. And none has succeeded to date. I'll wed no man, particularly a stranger, whom I cannot respect. If ye can outrun me, outride me, and outfight me, I'll go to the altar willingly, but not otherwise."

"There's no choice here, lass," the laird told his granddaughter. "This man has been sent by the king, and I tell you truthfully that I am happy to see him. Ye'll wed him, and that's the end of it. Will ye let a man like Ewan Hay dispossess ye when I'm dead? Make no mistake, lassie, without a strong husband to follow in my path, our neighbors will be fighting ye and one another for control of the Aisir nam Breug."

"But Grandsire, if he does not compete against me, those same neighbors will rise up against the Kerrs for having imposed our conditions upon them, but not upon the king's kinsman," Maggie argued. "Ye swore before them that all suitors must conform."

"The lass is right," Fingal Stewart agreed. "If I am to have the respect of yer neighbors, my lord, I must accept the lady's challenge. 'Twill not be difficult to overcome her. I'm surprised this Hay couldn't."

Maggie suddenly grinned wickedly. "I can outrun, outride, and outfight any man in the Borders, my lord," she repeated, "and I will, I promise ye, outrun, outride, and outfight ye."

"I am not from the Borders," Lord Stewart reminded her with an answering grin.

"Ye can have yer contest, Maggie," her grandsire said, "but first I will have the marriage contract drawn up. Ye and Lord Stewart will sign it. When the contest is over, win or lose, ye must accept the marriage and have yer uncle bless it in the chapel."

She hesitated.

"Are ye afraid I'll beat ye?" Lord Stewart taunted her.

"I'm just concerned with having to live with a weakling," Maggie said sharply.

He laughed. "Madam, have ye ever been spanked?" he asked her.

She turned an outraged face to him. "Nay, never!"

"Ye will be, and soon, I have not a doubt," he told her.

"Lay a hand on me in anger, my lord, and I'll gut ye from stem to gudgeon," Maggie told him fiercely, her hand going to the dagger at her waist.

The laird's face grew grim at her combative words, but before he might admonish her, Lord Stewart laughed aloud.

"Marrying a stranger cannot be easy for either bride or groom, madam," he told her, grinning. "I can but hope this passion of yers extends to the marriage bed, for then we will suit admirably, and there will be no talk of murder, I promise ye."

Though Maggie was tall for a woman, he towered over her. She gasped and blushed at his blunt speech. No man had ever spoken so suggestively to her. For a moment she was at a loss for words. Then she said, "I'll sign the marriage contract, for in law that will make ye my husband. And I'm certain that will convince the greedier among our neighbors that the Aisir nam Breug's future ownership is settled. Particularly after they have met ye. Ye would appear to be reasonably intelligent and competent, my lord. But ye will nae bed me until ye have fulfilled my terms."

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 54 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 54 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    a fabulous sixteenth century romantic romp

    In 1532 seventeen year old feisty independent lass Margaret "Mad Maggie" Kerr seeks a husband. However, she will not settle for any spouse as she has a criterion in who becomes her mate. The man needs to allow Mad Maggie to do what she wants to do. Her frustrated grandfather, the laird of Brae Aisir, Dugald Kerr challenges Scottish men to compete for her hand by proving they can "outride, outrun and outfight" her. The prize to the victor is Maggie who is the sole heir to his fortune including ownership of the key pass between Scotland and England that the Kerr kin have patrolled and collected tolls for over five centuries.

    Many males take a chance, but most like Ewan embarrassingly lose to the athletic tomboy. King James V sends his cousin Fingal Stewart with instructions to win her hand and gain control of the critical passage. Fingal passes the tests and more when he wins Maggie's love, but an irate Ewan decides to force her to marry him with his plan to leave with his child growing inside her.

    The fifth Border Chronicles (A Dangerous Love, and The Border Lord and Lady) is a fabulous sixteenth century romantic romp retelling the Greek mythological tale of Atalanta. Mad Maggie is a great refreshing heroine while Fingal proves worthy of her not because he wins the contests but due to his racing for her golden heart. Evil Ewan adds late suspense to a delightful amusing frolic.

    Harriet Klausner

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    A Disappointment

    I hadn't read or purchased a Bertrice Small book in years, and after reading this book I was reminded of why. If you are looking for an almost nonexistent plot, history so detailed it becomes painfully boring, gratuitous graphic sex, and insufficient character development, however, this book is for you. Initially the book shows some promise, but after a short build up the characters (such as they are) are abandoned and the reader is given a Scottish history lesson where the plot is completely lost. We never discover why we should care about the hero or the heroine or even why they might be interesting. I do enjoy learning about history, but I also enjoy a good romance and frankly I was more intrigued by James V and his story than by the hero and heroine. There are other authors who can skillfully weave a story and history together, but Ms. Small is completely unsuccessful in this book. I was very disappointed and if I am ever tempted by one of Ms. Small's books again I will visit the library and remind myself why it would be a waste of good money.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2014

    Great

    So good

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  • Posted February 19, 2012

    Intricate Plot

    Great start with unusual concept of a strong woman who can fight like a man and will not wed unless a suitor can out do her in her test of his abilities. The story seems to be bogged down in too much historical history, and way too much sex for my taste, but still a good example of B. Small at her best.

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  • Posted September 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Another Bertrice Small book to treasure!

    Mad Maggie Kerr is the heiress/granddaughter of Dugald Kerr, laird of Brae Aisir and keeper of the Scottish side of the Aisir nam Breug passage. Maggie has sworn that she will only wed a man that she can respect and to gain that respect the man must be able to outrun, outride and outfight her. Many have tried but been humiliated but when Lord Fingal Stewart, cousin of King James V, is sent to Brae Aisir with orders from the king to wed her, matters change.

    Realizing that she cannot disobey the king, she signs the marriage documents but says that Fingal must still beat her before he can bed her.

    The struggle between the two is not just physical as they get to know each other and deal with the trouble times of that historical period.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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