The MacLean Groom: Highland Lairds Trilogy

The MacLean Groom: Highland Lairds Trilogy

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by Kathleen Harrington

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Bold men of power, pride and passionate hearts in a beautiful, troubled land . . . Highland Lairds

Married by Decree

He is her family's ancient foe, but never has Lady Joanna Macdonald seen a man she wants more. Still, she hides from Rory MacLean—the dashing lairs whom King James has ordered her to marry—hoping to save her family's honor.

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Bold men of power, pride and passionate hearts in a beautiful, troubled land . . . Highland Lairds

Married by Decree

He is her family's ancient foe, but never has Lady Joanna Macdonald seen a man she wants more. Still, she hides from Rory MacLean—the dashing lairs whom King James has ordered her to marry—hoping to save her family's honor. For the pretty young lass knows that once she is wed, her trembling passion will be a difficult secret to keep hidden from her determined bridegroom.

Bound by Desire

For Rory MacLean, this marriage was merely a means to secure his fortune. But when he finally sets eyes upon his heiress bride, Rory is enraptured, and determined to have her, body and soul. But first the rugged Highlands warrior has to the spirited, innocent beauty desire the man she has been taught all her life to hate. And by slow and sinful seduction, Rory MacLean will show sweet Joanna that he is truly the husband her heart is destined for.

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Editorial Reviews

Evelyn Feiner
Kudos to Ms. Harrington who has written a wonderful romance (first in the Highland Laird's Trilogy) filled with passion, humor, treachery, accurate historical details and excellent characters. You'll be waiting with baited breath for the next installment while putting The MacLean Groom on your "keeper" shelf.
Romantic Times
Library Journal
When sea captain Rory MacLean captures a pair of notorious traitors and turns them over to the Scottish Crown for punishment, he has no idea that he will eventually be "rewarded" with not only the castle of one of the traitors but also the hand of his granddaughter. Unfortunately, the intended bride, Joanna MacDonald, isn't about to marry the enemy and in an effort to thwart the marriage disappears--in the guise of a serving boy. But Rory has sharp eyes, and when he realizes Joanna's ruse, he perceptively alters his tactics and sets about changing his bride-to-be's attitude toward him. Harrington's appealing characters, witty dialog, and lively style have much to recommend, and although this story is slightly too late (1490s) to be considered truly medieval, its setting and themes provide enough of an "early historical" feel to appeal to fans of Scottish and medieval romances alike. This work is the first in the projected "Highland Lairds" trilogy. Harrington (Enchanted by You, Avon, 1998) is a veteran writer of well-received historicals and lives in Hacienda Heights, CA. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Highland Lairds Trilogy , #1
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Chapter One

May 1498
Kinlochleven Castle
Western Highlands

Surveying the formidable forty-foot stone wall, Fearchar grinned mirthlessly. "Welcome to your new home, laird."

Rory's scowl deepened. "And 'tis a damn strange feeling I've got about it."

If he'd hoped to find festive banners and a joyous celebration to welcome Kinlochleven's future laird to his castle, Rory would have been sorely disappointed. Not given to flights of fancy, he rode across the lowered drawbridge with a wary gaze on the ramparts overhead and his hand on his sword hilt.

The lack of resistance made him edgy.

An heiress's fortune wasn't a prize easily relinquished to a foe, and he hadn't expected the Macdonalds to submit to the king's decision without a fight. He'd brought along fifty of his kinsmen, armed and ready for battle, in the event he'd have to force his way into the fortress. If a long siege was required, he would send to his uncle's castle in Appin for reinforcements.

Damn it to hell, marrying into a nest of treasonous vipers hadn't been his idea. The preposterous scheme to bring the Glencoe Macdonalds peaceably under the authority of the Scottish Crown had been hatched by James IV.

Once through the arched gateway and inside the eightfoot-thick sandstone walls, Fearchar seemed to feel the same disquiet. His gaze moved constantly about, skimming the outer bailey for any sign of a trap.

But the inhabitants of Kinlochleven barely looked up from their tasks at the large party of horsemen. The blacksmith continued to swing his hammer, his brawny apprentice beside him at the fire. A cooper sauntered leisurely across the grassycourtyard with an ale barrel perched on his shoulder. Two dairymaids ducked into a barn with frightened backward glances, as though sighting Satan and his legions on Judgment Day. From the bakehouse, the tantalizing aroma of fresh, warm bread lingered on the still air.

Not a blasted soul offered a word in greeting.

At Rory's signal, his men dismounted and followed him into the keep's dim vestibule, where a man in his early sixties, with thinning brown hair and stooped shoulders, appeared to be waiting for their arrival. He rose from a carved bench the moment he saw them. The fellow suffered from what appeared to be an old leg injury and moved with an obvious limp.

"I'm Kinlochleven's bailiff, David Ogilvy," he told Rory as he inclined his head in a brief salute. His gaze quickly assessed their strength, and his bristly brows met in a frown over his slightly protruding eyes. "Please follow me, laird."

With a brusque nod, Rory motioned for Ogilvy to proceed. The bailiff led them with a slow, shuffling gait up a flight of stone stairs to the castle's upper hall, where the Macdonalds stood waiting in small groups, their weapons sheathed. About twenty were men-at-arms, the rest, castle retainers along with a handful of menservants. A thin, ascetic priest stood at the edge of the gathering, his hand on the shoulder of a dirty-faced lad.

Brilliant colors adorned the vaulted timber ceiling; rich tapestries covered the walls. Ornately carved cupboards held silver tankards and jewel-encrusted plates. Even the floor boasted thick carpets from the Levant, as glorious as any made for an Ottoman's harem.

To a man used to the spartan furnishings of a ship, the magnificent display of household comforts in a Scottish castle should have been a pleasant surprise. But the setting's opulence only increased Rory's uneasiness. Anything this fine had to come at an exorbitant price. And as the new laird of Kinlochleven, he wasn't about to pay with his own blood-or that of his kinsmen.

With a flick of his hand, he signaled his men to be prepared for an attack from all sides.

At the far end of the hall, a middle-aged lady in a goldtrimmed black headdress sat waiting, her embroidery on her lap. She shifted nervously in her chair as they approached. Standing next to her, a maiden about the age of Rory's bride-to-be cradled a plump white cat in her arms.

"Laird MacLean," the woman said before they'd quite reached her, "welcome to Kinlochleven Castle. I am Lady Beatrix, Lady Joanna's cousin." Without offering her hand for his salute, she added briskly, "I'm sorry that my husband isn't here to greet you. The king's letter arrived only yesterday, and Laird Ewen remains at Mingarry Castle, unaware of the proposed alliance."

As Rory inclined his head in curt acknowledgment of the chilly greeting, he studied the younger female from the corner of his eye. The king had told him the heiress favored her notorious grandfather. Her large nose, square body, and frizzled hair made the resemblance to Somerled Macdonald unmistakable.

Having no lands of his own to bring into the marriage, he was scarcely in a position to quibble about the lassie's face and form. But somewhere in the back of his mind, Rory had always hoped his future bride-chosen for prudent reasons, of course-would he easy to gaze upon.

His wife-to-be's English blood was another disappointment. Her father, Alasdair Macdonald, had married Lady Anne Neville, whom he'd met in London while trying to...

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What People are saying about this

Kat Martin
A marvelously talented author!

Meet the Author

Kathleen Harrington, winner of the Colorado Romance Writers' Award of Excellence, has touched the hearts of readers across the country with her sparkling tales of high adventure and unending love. Her historical romances have been finalists for Romance Writers of America's RITA® Award, the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice, Virginia Romance Writers' HOLT Medallion, and the Phoenix Desert Rose Golden Quill. Her fabulous heroes have garnered the K.I.S.S. (Knight in Shining Silver) Award. She lives in Southern California.

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