The Highlander's Sword

The Highlander's Sword

3.8 267
by Amanda Forester
     
 

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A quiet, flame-haired beauty with secrets of her own...She's nothing he expected and everything he really needs
Lady Aila Graham is destined for the convent, until her brother's death leaves her an heiress. Soon she is caught between hastily arranged marriage with a Highland warrior, the Abbot's insistence that she take her

Overview

A quiet, flame-haired beauty with secrets of her own...She's nothing he expected and everything he really needs
Lady Aila Graham is destined for the convent, until her brother's death leaves her an heiress. Soon she is caught between hastily arranged marriage with a Highland warrior, the Abbot's insistence that she take her vows, the Scottish Laird who kidnaps her, and the traitor from within who betrays them all.

Padyn MacLaren, a battled-hardened knight, returns home to the Highlands after years of fighting the English in France. MacLaren bears the physical scars of battle, but it is the deeper wounds of betrayal that have rocked his faith. Arriving with only a band of war-weary knights, MacLaren finds his land pillaged and his clan scattered. Determined to restore his clan, he sees Aila's fortune as the answer to his problems...but maybe it's the woman herself.

The Highlander Series:
The Highlander's Sword (Book 1)
The Highlander's Heart (Book 2)
True Highland Spirit (Book 3)

Praise for Amanda Forester:
"This clever combination of wit, romance, and suspense strikes all the right notes." -Booklist, Starred Review on A Wedding in Springtime
"Plenty of intrigue keeps the reader cheering all the way." — Publishers Weekly
"Passionate and spellbinding!" — Mary Wine, acclaimed author of Highland Heat

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Talented Forester has constructed a highly entertaining debut romantic comedy of miscommunications and misunderstandings. " - Publishers Weekly

"A sweet story." - Night Owl Romance

"The Highlander's Sword will keep you on the edge of your seat and unable to stop turning the page until the very end." - Romance Junkies

"A surprisingly radiant gem from a debut author." - Yankee Romance Reviewers

"I completely enjoyed the clever events... well-written and interesting. " - Fresh Fiction

"You get the romance, the tension, and a story you'll enjoy from beginning to end. " - The Long and Short of It

"The budding romance between Aila and MacLaren is beyond sweet and seeing them not only get to know each other more but also themselves was fun to read." - The Book Lush

"A lighthearted page-turner. I had a hard time putting the book down. " - Anna's Book Blog

"A great new addition to the romance genre." - My Overstuffed Bookshelf

"Romance, humor and a Highland mystery all rolled into one. I'm looking forward to reading more from Amanda Forester. " - Wendy's Minding Spot

Publishers Weekly
Against the backdrop of 14th-century Scotland, the talented Forester has constructed a highly entertaining debut romantic comedy of miscommunications and misunderstandings. Highlander Sir Padyn MacLaren stopped trusting women after his French fiancée betrayed him to the English, but when he agrees to marry Lady Aila Graham and guard her clan and Dundaff Castle, he discovers that some women have true honor. Strong-willed Aila has spent her whole life preparing to be a nun, but she gives it up to protect her clan. As Aila and MacLaren humorously struggle to find a time and place to consummate their marriage, they learn to trust each other, uncover a traitor, and discover the joys of love. Though the long-awaited sex scene doesn’t justify the buildup, entertaining secondary characters and plenty of intrigue keep the reader cheering all the way. (Mar.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781402229480
Publisher:
Sourcebooks
Publication date:
03/02/2010
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
381,610
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.90(d)

Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from the Prologue
Gascony, France, 1346

If they caught him, he would hang. Or perhaps, he mused with the detached calm born of shock, he would be eviscerated first, then hung. Best not to find out. Sir Padyn MacLaren ran through a throng of shocked ladies-in-waiting to the tower stairs before his fiancée screamed in fury. Or rather his ex-fiancée, since the lovely Countess Marguerite had just made it clear she intended to marry Gerard de Marsan. The same de Marsan who had tried to slit MacLaren's throat and now lay on the floor-dead. Soldiers from the floor below rushed up the stairs to their lady's aid. MacLaren wiped the blood from his eyes. The slash down his face was bleeding something fierce, but he gave it no mind. He needed to get past the guards, or his bloodied face would be the least of his troubles.
"Hurry!" MacLaren said to the first man up the stairs. "Gerard de Marsan has attacked the countess.
To her, quick! I will fetch the surgeon." The guards ran past him, and he dashed out the inner gate before the alarm sounded and soldiers poured from their barracks. MacLaren raced toward the outer gate, but the portcullis crashed down before him. Turning toward the stone staircase that led to the wall walk, he ran to a young guard who looked at him, unsure.
"Who attacks us?" MacLaren asked the young man, who stammered in response.
"Go ask your captain. I'll keep watch." MacLaren ran past the guard up the stairs to the battlement.
Without stopping to think or break his stride, he ran through the battlements over the embrasure and into the air. For a moment he was suspended in time, free without the ground beneath him, then he plunged down the sheer drop to the moat below. The shock of cold water and muck robbed him of breath, and he struggled to the other side. MacLaren scrambled up the embankment and crawled into the brush, bolts flying toward him from the castle walls. Rushing through the thicket to the road, he pulled a surprised merchant from his horse and rode for cover.
MacLaren raced from Montois castle without looking back. Along the road, a dusty figure of a knight rode toward him. MacLaren drew his sword and charged. The knight reined in and threw up his visor. It was Chaumont, his second in command.
"Marguerite has betrayed us to the English,"
Chaumont called. "She told me that herself," growled MacLaren, pointing to his cut face. "We need to get to camp and warn the men, or they will all be put to the sword."
Chaumont nodded. "I got word of her betrayal shortly after you rode for Montois and commanded the men to pull back to Agen."
"Ye've done well." MacLaren exhaled.
"Indeed I have. Nice of you to notice."
The thundering riders approaching cut short their conversation. They abandoned the road in favor of an overland route through dense forested terrain in which they hoped to lose the pursuing soldiers. They traveled many hours into the night, until they finally felt safe enough to stop by the shores of a small black lake.
"You need tending, my friend," said Chaumont.
"Have ye a needle?" MacLaren asked grimly. MacLaren stood without flinching while Chaumont stitched the gash on his face. MacLaren focused on the dark water before him, unbidden memories of the day's events washing over him. He had faced the English to protect Marguerite before they could reach her castle at Montois. The hard-fought victory had been won, but his closest kin had been lost.
"Patrick died for nothing." MacLaren's voice shook as he struggled with the words. "What an utter fool I was, trusting that deceitful wench. I should be dead on that field, not him." MacLaren clenched his jaw, holding back emotion. "There is nothing left for me here. 'Tis time I take my men and go back where I belong."
"What is it like, this land of your birth?" asked Chaumont, finishing his work.
MacLaren closed his eyes, remembering.
"Balquidder. 'Tis a wild place, full of wind and rain.
It can be a hard life at times, but I'm never more alive than when I'm in the Highlands." He turned to the young French knight. "Your friendship is the only thing I will regret to leave behind."
Chaumont looked at him intently. "Take me with you."
"Your place is here."
Chaumont shook his head. "If you had not given me a chance, I would still be some rich man's squire, polishing his armor and servicing his wife. I have served you in times of war, and I will serve you still, if you will have me."
"It would be an honor." MacLaren clasped his hand to the Frenchman's shoulder. They embraced the way men do, slapping each other hard on the back.
"Urgh!" Chaumont made a face. "You smell like the devil's arse."
"I swam through the moat to escape the castle. Now I know exactly where the garderobes empty into." MacLaren turned back to look over the lake.
"That water was like Marguerite, a beautiful exterior, but underneath, naught but a filthy sewer."
The words were barely out of his mouth before he was pushed hard and he fell gracelessly into the cold clean lake. He came up sputtering, only to hear the Frenchman's laughter. MacLaren bathed in the cold water and emerged the better for it. He pulled himself swiftly up the bank and tossed Chaumont into the water for good measure. It was time to go home.
"Step along now," MacLaren called to his soggy companion. "Come to the Highlands, my friend, and we shall feast like heroes."

Meet the Author

Amanda Forester holds a PhD in psychology and worked for many years in academia before discovering that writing historical romance novels was way more fun. She lives with her husband and two energetic children in the Pacific Northwest outside Tacoma,Washington.

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Highlander's Sword 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 265 reviews.
EdgyInspirationalRomance More than 1 year ago
I don't spend much time in the mainstream romance aisle of Barnes and Noble, so if I hadn't read author Amanda Forester's guest post at the Seekerville blog I might have missed this gem completely. Lady Aila Graham's future is laid out for her. She will care for her ailing mother until she passes, then join the convent and devote her life to God. But when her father unexpectedly marries her off to Scottish Laird, Padyn MacLaren, Aila must trust that God will not leave her or forsake her. It's a good thing she has her faith to hold onto, because getting married was just the beginning of a very bumpy ride. She still needs to escape from a kidnapper, help prevent the siege of her land, and thaw the heart of her new husband. Forester crafted a rich setting, filled it with likable, well rounded characters and threw them into an adventure that I couldn't put down. I loved the banter between MacLaren and his right hand man, Chaumont, a French knight with a spotty heritage. Chaumont nearly stole the show as my favorite character (in my head his name was Charmant, French for charming). This book is saucier than an inspirational romance (the genre I normally read), and the message of faith is more subtle, but this book holds crossover appeal and fans of edgy inspirational will not be disappointed. Although it is a mainstream romance, there is no explicit sex (eventually the hero and heroine do get to "know" each other but it is described tastefully using pretty general terms) and there is only an occasional crude word (there are a few arses and the hero confuses his manhood with a rooster once). All things considered, I highly encourage fans of edgy inspirational fiction to give this mainstream romance a try.
lisibear More than 1 year ago
At first the book starts out really good but then it seems like it takes forever for the hero/lass to get together. The chemistry isn't there and they don't finally get there till the very end. I like the characters personality but honestly, I probably won't be reading any more of her books. Try out Monica McCarty or Margaret Mallory. NOW THERE IS A HIGHLANDER STORY!!
bookloverSS More than 1 year ago
Its so funny and exciting. It never takes a break and cools down. One thing happens after the next. The LOVE this author!!
booklover1335 More than 1 year ago
Amanda Forester's debut novel The Highlander's Sword grabbed my attention from the very beginning. It is a fast paced page turner with lots of villains and obstacles to overcome before the hero and heroine find their happily ever after. Their love story is embroiled in outside forces and circumstances beyond their control as well as a multitude of misunderstandings. Overall I enjoyed this book, but there are a few things that I wish would have been different. I felt that Aila and Padyn were so at odds with each other at the beginning of the story, and unfortunately I never really got the feeling of what made them "fall in love" with each other. In Aila's case it started when she was a young girl as "hero worship", but for Padyn I never understood why he was "in love" with the woman that he took for a wife.that she was always more a means to an end. I contribute this to the fast paced and conflict driven plot. I thought that there were too many villains in this story, and while it made the book more exciting, it left little room for the small moments between the hero and the heroine to seem to fall in love with each other. In fact I felt that the secondary story between two lesser characters was more convincing in just two or three scenes, than the hero and heroine's love story throughout the entire book. I counted at least five different traitors/antagonists/villains, and I felt that that was just too many. While the author did an excellent job of weaving them all together in the story, I felt that there was more of a focus on the conflicts, which sacrificed time that could have been for the Aila and Padyn to interact with each other. They were separated by circumstances more than they were together, which makes it difficult to understand how or why they fell in love. Overcoming the many adversaries and dangers can form a bond, but not necessarily a lasting love.at least in my opinion. For readers who like "light" romances that are on the sweeter rather than the steamier side, or who are not particularly a fan of romance novels, but like historical fiction then I would recommend The Highlander's Sword. I would still recommend this book to fans of romance novels especially those who like them set in the Scottish highlands; just know that the romance aspect seems secondary to the conflict and action in this story. Ratings: 3.50 stars
BookaholicTracy More than 1 year ago
Amanda Forester's debut novel, Highlander's Sword, is a fabulous read! Ms. Forester has created memorable characters and sets a great pace. I'm looking forward to the next one!
RBtWBC More than 1 year ago
Amanda Forester weaves a beautiful tale in The Highlander¿s Sword, of the wilds of the Scottish Highlands where distrust and betrayal come together with love and redemption. Lady Aila Graham always expected to join the church when the time came, but when her brother and father¿s heir is killed in war Aila unexpectedly finds herself betrothed to a handsome but hardened knight. Betrayed by his fiancé and grieving the loss of his cousin while at war in France, Sir Padyn MacLaren has sworn never to love again. But to save his clan from squalor he agrees to wed the Graham¿s daughter. Always assuming the worst of Aila, their marriage is a tremulous one from the start, rife with distrust and misunderstandings, but can they overcome it and bond together when a traitor is revealed and their clan is threatened? The Highlander¿s Sword is set in the 1300¿s of medieval Scotland. The shining point of the novel is the author¿s knowledge and expert penmanship of this time period. It was very easy to immerse yourself into the world building. The character¿s were well placed and fit their surroundings. Aila is not all that young for the times, but naïve to the world, though she does secretly have an independent streak that we see more of as the story progresses. There are strong religious undertones to the tale, which I thought fit well. Aila is a pious woman who often turns to prayer when she needs an answer and then certain scriptures come to her that relate to the situation and most times help her out of a tight spot. I thought this brought a unique quality to the overall story and though the scriptures where written in both Latin and then English which sometimes seemed redundant, I still enjoyed how they fit each setting. Padyn was not an endearing protagonist. He comes off heartless in the beginning, always seeing the worst possible side of Aila¿s actions and never allowing her to explain herself. Though his reasons are understandable some instances were a bit harsh. Padyn is redeemed somewhat by the end but I would of liked to see more of his better qualities earlier, so that I could have connected with him easier. With so many conflicts in their relationship, Padyn and Aila¿s romance was rocky and a weak point in the story, often over shadowed by the action. The sexual encounters were light, well written but not descriptive enough; and I say this because I didn¿t even realize that they were finally doing the deed until it was over with. I did enjoy the side story of Chaumont, the French knight and Padyn's second. It was sweet and Chaumont often contributed to many LOL scenes in the book lightening the mood and easing awkward scenes between Padyn and Aila. Overall, The Highlander¿s Sword was a good read but I would of like to see more romance to the story then what it was.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was trying to give this book 3 stars but it apparently has mind of its own. It is definitely a three not a five.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
C===={::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::> YOU CAN TYPE SWORDS!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Okay, so here are the rules. You have to limit your mobe to five words. You cant say STABS YOU IN THE HEART or something like that. You try and stretigize. The way you lose is if you dont have enough words to make a block, or you strp into a stroke of your opponents sword without blocking. You go back and fourth between reviews, and then... well yah. Then back to camp. Give me the signal, okay?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Started off a little slow but got beeter towrd the end.
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Frisby More than 1 year ago
Great story so very enjoyable to read, difficult to put down. Loved it.
MistyPB More than 1 year ago
Full of suspense,excitement,romance and the Highlands. Loved it. Actually gained a little wisdom from this one. Lol
SweetPea92 More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nice romance story, strong female lead
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