Highlander Unchained (MacLeods of Skye Trilogy #3)

( 108 )

Overview


Lachlan Maclean will do whatever it takes to protect his clan—even if it means abducting the most willful woman in the Highlands with the secret intention of wooing her for marriage. A leader possessing brute strength and an imposing command, Lachlan is unprepared for the beautiful spitfire Flora MacLeod, who jeopardizes his plans to save his clan and digs beneath his hard, chiseled exterior to expose a tenderness that may be his undoing.

The ...

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Highlander Unchained (MacLeods of Skye Trilogy #3)

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Overview


Lachlan Maclean will do whatever it takes to protect his clan—even if it means abducting the most willful woman in the Highlands with the secret intention of wooing her for marriage. A leader possessing brute strength and an imposing command, Lachlan is unprepared for the beautiful spitfire Flora MacLeod, who jeopardizes his plans to save his clan and digs beneath his hard, chiseled exterior to expose a tenderness that may be his undoing.

The greatest marriage prize in the
Highlands, Flora is determined at all costs to avoid her mother's fate of being bartered away as a political pawn. Vowing to make her captor pay for his ruthlessness, she boldly engages him in a battle of wills,
sweetening the challenge with dangerous passion—even as the lingering curse and deadly ghosts of a past tragedy reach out to thwart a tender love that has yet to be spoken.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A high-spirited captive/captor tale that sets the pages on fire with delectable repartee and simmering sexual tension." —-Romantic Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781452636559
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/26/2012
  • Series: MacLeods of Skye Trilogy , #3
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Library - Unabridged CD
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 6.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Monica McCarty is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than ten Scottish historical romance novels, including the Campbell series, the MacLeods of Skye series, and the Highland Guard novels.

Antony Ferguson, a native of London, England, is a classically trained actor and has appeared in numerous productions in London, Off Broadway, and Regional theater. As a voice actor, he has over fifty audiobooks to his credit.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Near Falkirk, Scotland, Spring 1607

“Second thoughts?”

Flora MacLeod turned her gaze from the window to peer into the darkness at the man seated opposite her. She never had second thoughts, which—given that it was too late to change her mind—she supposed was a good thing. No, once she made a decision, she stuck with it. A small army couldn’t turn her from her course. In the matter of her marriage, there was no exception.

“Don’t be silly,” she replied. “I couldn’t be happier.”

It was clear, however, that her soon-to-be husband, William, Lord Murray, son of the newly created Earl of Tullibardine, didn’t believe her. “Happy? I haven’t seen you so subdued in months.” He paused. “It’s not too late to turn back, you know.”

But it was. She’d made her decision the moment she’d snuck out of Holyrood House and scrambled into the waiting carriage.

“I don’t want to turn back.” But the vehemence she’d intended was lost when her voice vibrated with the clattering carriage. A carriage that was fighting to stay upright on the uneven road. She grabbed the seat as best she could when they hit another bump and tried not to crash sidelong into the glossy, wood-paneled walls. A battle she was sure to lose before this day was done. The road leading from Edinburgh would only get worse as they neared the parish of Falkirk.

“Maybe we would have been better off riding after all?” she ventured. It was at Lord Murray’s insistence that they’d taken the carriage—luxurious, but impractical on the road to the Highland divide.

“No need to worry on that account. We’re perfectly safe. My coachman is an excellent driver.” William tried to hand her back her purse, which had slid off the bench beside her, but it slipped through her fingers, landing on the floor again. He laughed. “I never thought I’d see the day that Flora MacLeod was nervous.”

Her mouth twitched, caught. “Perhaps I am a bit anxious. I’ve never done this before, you know.”

He gave her hand a friendly pat. “I should hope not. But no need to worry, everything is all arranged. It shouldn’t be much longer now.”

She sat back against the seat and tried to relax. If all went according to plan, in a few hours she would be Lady Murray. Lord Murray—William, she reminded herself—had found a minister willing to preside over the clandestine marriage ceremony without proclaiming the banns. Every man had his price, and for the minister of the St. Mary’s Kirk it happened to be a cask of fine claret and five hundred merks. More than enough to soften the blow of any fine that might be levied against him for performing the irregular marriage ceremony.

An irregular marriage was Flora’s only option. She would not take a chance that one of her brothers, or her powerful cousin, would hear of her plans beforehand and try to stop her.

If she had to marry, she thought grimly, it would be a man of her choosing.

She cursed the fates for putting her in this position. She had no desire to marry at all. But it was her great misfortune to be half-sister to not one, but two powerful Highland chiefs. And if that weren’t enough, her cousin was the most influential Highlander in Scotland. But this “marriage prize,” as she was infuriatingly referred to, would rather avoid the state altogether. Marriage brought nothing but unhappiness.

Her mother’s misery was all too fresh in Flora’s mind.

But about the only thing worse than being married was being forced to marry. So rather than risk the alternative, she’d decided to take the matter of her husband in her own hands. In this case by riding at breakneck speed through the countryside to find a minister of questionable repute in an out-of-the-way parish where she would not be recognized.

She gazed sidelong at the man seated opposite her. Even in the darkness of the carriage she could see the silvery sheen of blond hair cascading across a face that could only be described as sublime. But though he was undeniably pleasing to the eye, it was not his looks that had made her decide to accept his proposal. Nor was it his wit and intelligence, of which he also had a superfluity. It was because William had wealth, power, and position of his own—he did not need hers. She had no need to question his motives beyond what he’d stated: Their union was of friends who would seek their mutual advantage by their union.

As an added boon, he didn’t seem particularly concerned with Highland politics. And of that subject, she’d heard her fill. The lessons of the mother had indeed been well learned by the daughter. She would sooner marry a toad than a Highlander.

And Lord Murray was infinitely more appealing than a toad.

“And what of you, William. Any second thoughts?”

“None whatsoever.”

“Don’t you worry what will happen when they discover—”

“Is that what this is about?” He took her hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze. “You wrote the letters, did you not?”

She nodded. One good thing about having so many relatives was that there were many places she could claim to be with none the wiser. Fortunately, the one person who might question her whereabouts—her cousin Elizabeth Campbell—was on Skye attending to the birth of Flora’s latest nephew. The second son in as many years of her half-brother Alex and his wife, Meg—a wife Flora had never met. Her mother had been too ill to travel the year they’d come to court.

“Then there is no reason to assume they will find out,” William said confidently. “And thanks to your disguise, no one will have noticed you leaving the palace.”

Noting the direction of his gaze, she touched the white linen cap she wore on her head. She grinned, amused by the image she must present. Flora was well-known for her propensity to find mischief at Holyrood House. But sneaking out of the palace at midnight to elope with one of the most powerful young men at court, dressed as a maidservant, was sure to top all that had come before. She’d outdone herself. And coming from the girl who’d once donned breeches and climbed halfway down the parapet beneath her balcony at Castle Campbell before her cousin Jamie caught her, that was saying something.

Uncomfortably aware of the scratchy woolen dress she was wearing that poked right through the fine linen of her shift, she asked, “You were able to pick up my gown?”

“As charmingly rustic as you look, my dear, I hardly think the future Countess of Tullibardine should be married dressed as a servant. Your gown is in the trunk, though procuring it from your dressmaker did take some explaining.”

Flora chuckled, thinking of the dour Frenchwoman. The court’s preference for French fashion was the one lasting legacy from the reign of Mary Queen of Scots—other than her son, King James, of course. “It seemed the easiest thing to do. I could hardly sneak it out with me. Madame de Ville already thinks me horribly indecorous. I doubt anything you could say would change her opinion.” Indecorous was probably an understatement. Flora had a reputation at court for being more than a touch unruly.

Fortunately, William had never seemed to be bothered by her reputation. If anything, her penchant for finding trouble seemed to amuse him. After news of tonight’s events spread, he was going to need that sense of humor. Their elopement was sure to cause a scandal far greater than anything she’d ever managed before.

She bit her lip. He was taking a risk. Not much older than her four and twenty years, he’d already made a name for himself in King James’s northern court. He wielded considerable influence among the privy councillors—the men left in charge while the king wooed his recalcitrant English subjects at Whitehall. Eloping with the Earl of Argyll’s cousin, and the half-sister of Rory MacLeod and Hector Maclean, was a potentially dangerous move for a young man of ambition.

One that might be excused by strength of affection, but Flora did not delude herself in that regard. Although attentive, her soon-to-be husband could hardly be described as besotted. As her feelings were similarly disengaged, it was actually another element in his favor. There would be no pretense on either side. They were friends, nothing more. It was far more than could be said of most marriages.

Most important, she knew him well enough to know that he would not try to control her. She would live her life, and he would live his. It was all she wanted.

But what of him? What did he want?

Flora had known William for years, ever since she’d first made her appearance at court six years ago. But unlike most of the young men of her acquaintance, he’d never pursued her. His sudden courtship—in earnest—upon her recent return to Edinburgh was thus unexpected but admittedly well timed.

For scarcely a few days after he’d made his intentions known, a letter from her half-brother Rory, Chief of MacLeod, arrived requesting her presence at Dunvegan Castle to “discuss her future.” Ironically, the request from Rory was followed not long after by one from her half-brother Hector, Chief of Maclean, requesting her presence on the Isle of Mull. Flora was hardly fooled by the near simultaneous requests. A discussion about her future could mean only one thing for a young woman of four and twenty left alone by the sudden death of her mother: marriage. Or, more specifically, the right to control her marriage.

With her mother gone and her father buried long before, the right belonged to Rory. A brother she hardly knew. From what she did remember of him, he didn’t seem as if he would force her to marry a man not of her choosing. But she could not take the chance. Even if Rory could be persuaded, Hector and her cousin Argyll wouldn’t let the matter be decided without interference.

All three would be furious to discover what she’d done.

Her brothers should have known better than to try to force her hand. Though she hadn’t seen them in some time, in some ways she hadn’t changed. But perhaps they’d forgotten the little girl who hated to be backed into a corner?

Flora gazed at William again, peering through the darkness to study him a little longer, wondering not for the first time why he’d agreed to her plan to elope. But she quickly pushed aside the sudden twinge of uncertainty.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 108 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 110 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    I liked the headline. It gives the reader a real and obvious idea about what the book is about. lol

    Other than that. I really liked this book. At times the plot can be kind of predictable but if you love romance novels that won't really matter to you. I just loved this authors writing. The two main characters were funny and you just knew by reading about them that they were a perfect match for each other. What I also liked about her was that many writers just do one main love scene and then just kind of tell you that the main characters make love again but not as in detail as the first time. This author writes more than one and that is what I LOVED about it. She kept you going with the passion. It was a really great book and a lovely ending. I would totally recommend that people read this one. It is great!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2008

    AWESOME SURPRISE

    Lest I offend this wondeful author I will not say how I found this book. But I will share my opinion of this story. I found it to be exciting and full of life. I really enjoyed this story. The characters had ,me dreaming of a far away place with Lachlan Maclean. Of if dreams could come true. This book will excite you. For me it was an awesome surprise.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2007

    A reviewer

    This was such a fantastic story, I read it twice back-to-back. While I've read all 3 of Monica McCarty's Highlander novels, this is my favorite plot. I loved all the twists and turns of the story and the characters of course, but the searingly passionate love-making simply steals the show. It smolders, then sizzles, and eventually ignites! I'm not sure I can ever go back to 'regular' period romances again.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 13, 2012

    Great READ!!!

    I've only recently found this author and have bought and read everything she has written. If you love romance and strong highland men, this is a series you DON'T want to miss. If Monica McCarty's name is on the cover....BUY IT!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 20, 2012

    Awesome book!

    The MacLeods!! *sigh*...love the story! Characters were wonderful...great job Monica!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 4, 2014

    Heroine is a Spoiled Brat.......................................

    Heroine is a Spoiled Brat..........................................................................
    Hero has the patience of a saint.   Lachlan has captured the 1600's version if Gloria Steinham.  Flora is 24 years old rich beautiful and is not going to marry anyone she doesn't want to.  Seriously?  Her mantra seems to be me, myself and I.    Lachlan the honorable dutiful and noble.  So of course he is madly in love with the annoying twit.    Ho hum.  My first and last Monica Mccarty.   

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2014

    Fab

    Ivve read most of donna fletchers books. They are all good but some are better than others. This series is one of the best. Cree and Dawn are fantasttic together. My only problem was that i couldnt put these books down. Beyond romantic, they were sexy, and suspenceful and i couldnt wait to see what happened next. There were so many twists and turns that i really couldnt figure out the "who done it part" till the very end. Im on to the third book in the series and cant wait. At least all three books are available now and there is no reason to wait. Great story. Phyl p

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2014

    Loved!

    Good read

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  • Posted November 19, 2012

    Breath taking adventure, her beautiful heroine who is energetic

    Breath taking adventure, her beautiful heroine who is energetic and strong hero.
    Sexual intensity that keeps you reading!
    when you start this novel, you won't be able to stop. You will enjoy adventures and inflamed love scenes .
    You will enjoy every minute with the charming and wonderful ...... ....

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  • Posted December 21, 2010

    Fabulous

    I love the story!!! She needs a new editor before. This is just one of the errors that I have found.

    She was like a bairn in a room fool of sweets.

    Fool vs. Full

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2009

    Very readable

    I like her books. I like how she portrays her characters. You feel the passion they feel for each other. Very romantic. Good for escapism.

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    Posted January 7, 2011

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    Posted January 26, 2010

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    Posted June 4, 2011

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    Posted March 16, 2009

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    Posted February 6, 2012

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    Posted October 15, 2010

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