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With her sword for protection, Lady Kenna Lennox of Scotland defies social convention and reopens her family's ancient distillery. This feat of wit and daring captures the attention of the sadistic Lord Walter?the Englishman who nearly destroyed her beloved older sister, a man who is determined to bring Lady Lennox to heel.
When Colin Montgomery, an American privateer, appears on the scene Kenna is instantly wary, yet highly attracted to this man among men. Filled with fear that...
With her sword for protection, Lady Kenna Lennox of Scotland defies social convention and reopens her family's ancient distillery. This feat of wit and daring captures the attention of the sadistic Lord Walter—the Englishman who nearly destroyed her beloved older sister, a man who is determined to bring Lady Lennox to heel.
When Colin Montgomery, an American privateer, appears on the scene Kenna is instantly wary, yet highly attracted to this man among men. Filled with fear that she will be betrayed by her longing heart, Kenna struggles between the love she feels, the independence she craves and the danger she must face alone.
As vengeful, vicious plots unfold around her, Kenna must take up her sword to face her enemy, and fight for her life and her newfound love.
Ah, you flavour everything; you are the vanilla of society.
— Sydney Smith (1771-1845),
English clergyman, essayist and wit.
Lady Holland's memoir.
What she got was a hot-blooded Latin. "I am Alejandro Feliciano Enrique de Calderon, and I am entirely at your service," he said with a bow.
Fate had been extraordinarily generous to him when it came to the male beauty of long, black hair, queued back, smoldering eyes and smile whose sole purpose for existing was to persuade women. Charm clung to him like lichen to a tree trunk. Any woman attracted to him would have a difficult time saying no.
"You are Spanish," she said.
"Si, born in Espana, the youngest son of a noble Castilian family and a father with a name and title longer than mine. I am completely at your service, my lady," he said.
She was thinking he was as charismatic as Amphion, who built a wall around Thebes by charming the stones into place with the music of his magical lyre. Only in his case, he could use his smile in place of the lyre.
"Are you a member of the crew?"
He bowed extravagantly. "I am the best navigator in the world, and the most excellent friend of long standing of Captain Montgomery. I am an outstanding horseman, also exceptional with a sword. I dance and play the guitar withpassion, tell stories, and make great love to beautiful women. And now, my lovely, I do apologize, but I must ask why you have gone to so much trouble to board our ship in such weather...and please...make it short, for you look like you are fast turning into a cake of ice."
How could she not like this passionate Latin, with his playful, wicked wit, brimming self-confidence and that mischievous gleam in his eye? He had to be the most flagrantly outrageous and perfectly charming man she had ever met — and so unlike the Scots. With his savoir faire and good looks, he did not have to tell her — she knew instinctively that he possessed a flair for attracting the ladies.
She liked him immediately, and that made her relax about following her intuition by choosing this particular ship. And since he was a good friend of the captain, then it stood to reason she would like Captain Montgomery and find him as charming as his navigator.
She gave him a weak smile — weak being all she could muster, due to the cold weather that was beginning to chill more than just her skin. She introduced herself, then said, "If you would be so kind, Senor de Calderon, I would like to see your captain."
He looked her over with all the attention to detail he would use when scanning the horizon for an enemy ship. "Aah, but not half as much as he would like to see you, I think."
Kenna struggled against a flare of displeasure and did her best to temper her words. "Do you always look a lady over in that manner?" she asked.
"Of course. Is it not better to be looked over than to be overlooked?"
She could get dizzy talking to this man who seemed to flavor a conversation the way a dash of vanilla does a cake. "Are you going to take me to see the captain, or make me stand on deck until I freeze to death?"
"I will take you, of course," he said. "Please, come with me."
She fell into step with him, just as he said, "I am puzzled why the captain did not tell me he had a woman coming."
She stopped suddenly.
He paused. "Is there something wrong?"
"I think we need to clarify something here. I do not know your captain, and I can assure you I am not here for the captain's pleasure," she said, emphasizing the word. "I have a business matter to discuss with him, and that is the sole reason I am here."
"What kind of business?"
"I have a request to make of him, and if you please, might I go someplace warm? I have never been so cold. My blood thickens."
"Pardon my lack of manners," he said. "You do look very cold. We will get you warmed up, but slowly. Have you been out in this weather long?"
"Too long," she said. "And the more we stand here, it grows longer."
He laughed. "Allow me to take these," he said, and reached to take her traveling bags, which she had dropped to the deck beside her with a thud.
"Please, if you will come with me, I will take you to see the captain."
As they made their way down the passageway, he told her the ship's owner was also the ship's captain — an American privateer by the name of Colin Montgomery.
"Of sorts? I don't understand. What do you mean, of sorts?"
"It is quite simple. He is a privateer when it suits him, and a merchant the rest of the time. However, it is not something you should worry about. We are on friendly terms with Scotland."
"I would hope, considering you are anchored in the middle of the firth. And your captain does have a Scottish surname."
"I had nothing to do with it, senorita. His grandfather is responsible for that."
"His grandfather," she repeated. "Sir Hugh Montgomery, twelfth Baron of Fairlie."
"The ship is flying an American pennant. I had no idea the captain was a Scot."
"Don't let Colin hear you say that. He is American by birth. His father was a Scot who found himself besotted by an American, so he married her and chose to live in America."
"If Colin's father was the son of a baron and chose to leave Scotland, he must have loved her very much, or else there was an older brother in line to inherit."
"No, his father was the only son, but he and his father did not look through the same spyglass. As for Colin, you couldn't entice him to live here with a ship made of solid gold. He is too much like his father when it comes to the grandfather, and Colin hates your Scottish weather. Unbelievable though it is, Baron Fairlie lives in a place colder than this. I went there once, and a more remote and foreboding place I have never been. It took only five minutes for me to understand why Colin's father left. One would need to have pure Viking blood to live there. They should have let the Norsemen keep it."
She smiled. "Caithness or Sutherland?"
"Sutherland," he said. "It would appear you have been there."
"Hmm," she said, and fell silent, for the thought of northern Scotland brought back memories of her own grandfather, and the happy times she had spent at Durness Castle as a child. They were all dead now...her grandparents and her mother, too, and now Durness belonged to her, but Kenna had not been there since she was a child.
When they came to the end of the corridor, Alejandro knocked on the cabin door. "Captain..."
While she waited beside him, she was thinking herself quite fortunate to have met Alejandro instead of some waterfront ruffian, for it was apparent that he was from a more privileged class.
It stood to reason that she would find Captain Montgomery as likable and charming as his navigator, not to mention that she and the captain had something in common — they both had grandfathers from northern Scotland.
The charms of the passing woman are generally in direct proportion to the swiftness of her passing.
— Marcel Proust (1871-1922), French novelist.
Remembrance of Things Past, vol. 4.
What he needed was a woman.
He was, by anyone's standards, drunk. He had been uproariously, outrageously and gloriously drunk for two days, and if the freezing wind and snow did not let up soon, he would stay that way.
His ship had been dogged by bad luck and bad weather since he left the port of La Spezia, and it left him believing he was long overdue for a change of fortune. To his way of thinking, he'd had more than his share of discomfiture from the elements. And even worse, neither he nor his crew had set foot off the ship for the past four days, all due to bad weather and the need to keep unceasing vigilance to lessen the risk of damage to the ship.
After each watch, the men hurried below with blue nails and aching wrists, results of the furious wind and the battering of an unrelenting snowstorm. Under such circumstances, everyone on board searched for ways to pass the time. Some whittled. Others wrote letters or played card games. A few even managed to catch up on their sleep.
Colin thought about beautiful women — both those he had known, and those he had yet to meet.
He sat behind his desk with his feet propped on the top of it. A bottle of Spanish wine and a half-filled glass sat a few inches from where his hand rested. He leaned back in his chair and took another drink of blood-warming wine. He had to hand it to the Spaniards — they knew what it took to warm a man's blood.
His mind went back to other ways of warming a man's blood, and if he was going to spend Christmas aboard ship, then being with a woman was the best way to spend it. There wasn't much that could go wrong in life that a little female companionship would not help.
A woman... That was exactly what he needed to take his mind off the abominable Scottish weather raging beyond the fogged portholes. A woman would be a good diversion, and a way for him to pass the time doing something besides drinking himself into a stupor.
In the absence of a real woman, he conjured one up...a true beauty, dark and sultry, with skin dusky as twilight. While he imagined what he would do once he had this phantom of delight beneath him, his body was ravaged with godforsaken longing that was fast becoming stone-hard desire.
Not the best time for someone to puncture his dreams with a knock at the door.
"Damn!" He stared moodily at the door; the urge to choke whoever was on the other side growing with each breath he drew.
Another knock, this one louder. Alejandro's voice called out, "You have a visitor, Captain. A female visitor."
Excerpted from By Fire And By Sword by Elaine Coffman Copyright © 2006 by Elaine Coffman. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted December 9, 2008
In 1746 Lady Kenna Lennox needs to flee the Highlands before she is murdered by her family enemy Lord Walter, who killed her brothers and tortured her sister. She pleads with American privateer Captain Colin Montgomery to take her to America, but he refuses. Instead she sails to France on the Danish vessel Aethelred II.----- Kenna becomes a student of a master swordsman Monsieur Le Comte. Meanwhile feeling guilt and desire Colin journeys to France on his ship Dancing Water to insure Kenna is okay. When tragedy strikes, Colin escorts her back to Scotland where she must ignore her need for the handsome colonist as diverting her from her objective to challenge, defeat and kill Walter in a sword duel.----- Kenna is the focus of this fine eighteenth century romance in which vengeance is what keeps her breathing. The story line is character driven as she flees to Calais and then Paris to learn how to fight before retuning to challenge her greedy adversary. Though Walter never fully comes across as more than an avaricious SOB, fans will enjoy this fine tale starring an intrepid champion trying to ignore love as a detractor to her life¿s goal, but Colin refuses to go away.----- Harriet KlausnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.