His Seduction

His Seduction

3.8 8
by Diana Cosby
     
 

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AN IMPULSIVE ACT. . .

Lady Rois Drummond is fiercely devoted to her widowed father, the respected Scottish Earl of Brom. So when she believes he is about to be exposed as a traitor to England, she must think quickly. Desperate, Rois makes a shocking claim against the suspected accuser, Sir Griffin Westcott. But her impetuous lie leaves her in an

Overview

AN IMPULSIVE ACT. . .

Lady Rois Drummond is fiercely devoted to her widowed father, the respected Scottish Earl of Brom. So when she believes he is about to be exposed as a traitor to England, she must think quickly. Desperate, Rois makes a shocking claim against the suspected accuser, Sir Griffin Westcott. But her impetuous lie leaves her in an outrageous circumstance: hastily married to the enemy. Yet Griffin is far from the man Rois thinks he is—and much closer to the man of her dreams. . .

AN IRRESISTIBLE OUTCOME. . .

Griffin may be an Englishman, but in truth he leads a clandestine life as a spy for Scotland. Refusing to endanger any woman, he has endured the loneliness of his mission. But Rois's absurd charge has suddenly changed all that. Now, with his cover in jeopardy, Griffin must find a way to keep his secret while keeping his distance from his spirited and tempting new wife—a task that proves more difficult than he ever imagined. . .

Praise for the novels of Diana Cosby

"Fans of Cosby will enjoy returning to William Wallace's historically detailed Scotland. Familiar characters play a large role, to the delight of longtime readers." --RT Book Reviews on His Destiny

"Diana Cosby writes wonderful historical romance!" --Susan King

"Passion, danger, lush history and a touch of magic." —Hannah Howell, New York Times bestselling author on His Conquest

"Finally! A bold, lusty Medieval! Diana Cosby is superbly talented." --Cathy Maxwell, New York Times bestselling author on His Captive

85,500 Words

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781601831705
Publisher:
Kensington
Publication date:
08/15/2013
Series:
Macgruder Brothers , #5
Sold by:
Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
348
Sales rank:
86,572
File size:
1 MB

Read an Excerpt

His Seduction


By Diana Cosby

KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.

Copyright © 2013 Diana Cosby
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-60183-247-4


CHAPTER 1

Scotland, September 1297

"Slay the English bastards!" an outraged Scottish laird yelled to the rebels packed within the great room of Dunadd Castle. "Cast their entrails upon the fields of Berwick to rot!"

A clan chief at the front thrust his claymore into the smoky air. "Aye, 'twould be justice for the cruelty served upon our countrymen. Too long have we suffered beneath the English king's greed!"

Lord Griffin Westcott, Baron of Monceaux, halted at the entry amidst the curl of smoke belched from a large hearth near the opposite wall. Ignorant of his presence, leather-clad nobles continued their furious shouts, all directed toward the man whom Griffin served — King Edward.

Griffin's hand brushed the empty sheath where his dagger had rested; he had been relieved of its comfort by the guard before he was allowed to enter Dunadd Castle. His English heritage and his pledge to serve the king inspired little trust.

As the vicious clamor continued, Griffin's escort gave a curt nod. "I will announce you, my lord."

"My thanks." Few wanted him on Scottish soil, especially since they had begun planning for war against his king.

The guard stepped past Griff in, and cleared his throat. "Lord Monceaux, King Edward's advisor to the Scots, seeks entry."

Silence reverberated throughout the room like a blast of thunder. The Scots turned, their faces congealed in loathing.

Griffin eyed each man and met his scorn with a challenging glare.

Feet shuffled and claymores thumped in their sheaths as the warriors parted to reveal their leaders, Sir Andrew de Moray and William Wallace, seated upon the dais.

Griffin stepped into the cast of dim torchlight. A room's length away, he nodded toward the rebel leaders.

Recognition flickered on both men's faces. De Moray stood with the slow, controlled movements of a leader and a man ingrained with military tactics gleaned from training with Swiss mercenaries.

"King Edward sent you," de Moray said, his voice hard. It wasn't a question.

"He has." From inside his tunic, Griffin withdrew the two documents he carried. "Sir Andrew, I carry a letter of safe passage from the king as well as a letter from your father."

De Moray frowned and slid a doubtful glance toward Wallace. "A letter from my father?"

Wallace raised a skeptical brow.

"Indeed," Griffin replied. "Both are urgent. 'Tis of the utmost importance that I speak with you immediately — in private."

"Nay believe the treachery spewed, Sir Andrew," spat a burly Scot with a wild black beard, his hand clasped upon the hilt of his claymore. "Your father wrote naught. Well 'tis known over the Highlands that he lies imprisoned within the Tower of London, cast there by the English bastard!"

Agreement rumbled throughout the chamber, but Griffin remained silent.

De Moray folded his arms across his massive chest. "Let Lord Monceaux state his business."

"Aye," William Wallace agreed as he shoved to his feet, "but here."

Be damned. The offer Griffin carried would do naught but bolster the warriors' anger, a fact Wallace must suspect. Fine, then. He nodded to de Moray. "King Edward promises to release your father if you will take his place within the Tower of London."

Furious shouts boomed.

De Moray raised his hand, and the room calmed. "And if I agree to your sovereign's offer, where will my father be released, and to whom?"

Griffin eyed him, aware a brilliant strategist like de Moray would deduce that the king's proposal would be designed to serve English needs. "Your father will fight with King Edward in Flanders."

"I see." De Moray's face betrayed naught. "And after the battle is over?"

"You will both be set free."

A cold smile edged the formidable leader's mouth. "And I am to accept Longshank's words as truth?"

At de Moray's use of the unflattering name given to the king due to his height, Griffin understood that the rebel leader had made his decision. "I but deliver a bargain offered."

"A bargain whose timing I find intriguing," Wallace stated. "An offer made when your king sends the Earl of Surrey north leading an immense contingent to seize Stirling Bridge."

It was a military secret Griffin himself had passed to de Moray and Wallace a few weeks ago. He remained silent, playing the game both he and the rebel leaders understood, their roles defined by need: Griffin's, to protect his secret identity as Wulfe, an English noble aiding the Scots to reclaim Scotland. The rebels', to lead their people and reclaim Scotland's freedom.

"My king's decisions are his own," Griffin said. "As I stated, I but deliver a bargain offered."

"A bargain offered," Lady Rois Drummond repeated as murmurs of malcontent whipped like a feral wind amongst the warriors. She glanced at her friend Sir Lochlann, who stood alongside her in the shadows at the back of the chamber. "'Tis rot. The English noble is in bed with the king and well aware that once Lord Andrew is placed inside the Tower, he will never be freed."

"Aye," Sir Lochlann replied, his body tense. "And, surrounded by his enemy, 'tis lucky Lord Monceaux is still breathing."

Rois took in the English baron. Brown hair secured at the back of his neck with a leather thong accented high cheekbones, and the hard curve of his jaw framed an unforgiving mouth. His stance was that of a warrior, of a man unafraid. She ignored the shot of awareness rippling across her skin. Much she'd heard about King Edward's advisor to the Scots, his loyalty, his cunning. A man who, if nae her enemy, would cause her gaze to linger upon him.

"What are you looking at, lass?" Lochlann whispered.

At the hint of jealousy, she shot her longtime friend a teasing glance. "I was thinking 'tis too bad he is of English blood. Fine he is to look at."

Lochlann's grey eyes darkened. "The man is nae one to trust. He spews naught but the English king's treachery."

Guilt touched her. She was wrong to tease her friend when she understood he wanted their relationship to be more. "Lochlann, I was but —"

"Pray you Lord Monceaux nae sees your father."

"Why?"

Lochlann leaned closer. "Several months past, your father re-pledged his fealty to the English king. Think you if Lord Monceaux sees the Earl of Brom, he will nae expose him as a traitor?"

Panic slid through her. Her da, like many Highlanders, had re-sworn to King Edward as a ruse to keep his land and evade war. "My father ..."

"Will be hanged," Sir Lochlann finished.

She gasped. "We must keep Lord Monceaux away from him!"

"Then you had best pray King Edward's man steps nay closer to the dais."

Rois glanced to where her da sat at the front of the chamber before de Moray and Wallace, but twenty paces from the king's man, a man who could ensure her father's death.

"What can we do to stop the baron from moving any closer?" Rois whispered.

Lochlann shook his head. "Naught."

Naught? She refused to accept his claim. Since her mother's death, her father had sacrificed everything to raise her with a tender hand. When he thought her nae aware, she caught the sadness, the loneliness he tried to hide. Whatever it took, she would protect him.

"Bring me the writ." De Moray's voice boomed throughout the chamber.

Nay, Lord Monceaux must nae see her father! Rois rushed into the torchlight and pointed a pale finger at the baron. "He canna be trusted!"

Against the smoke and stench of anger, all eyes shifted to her.

Heart pounding, Rois took in the powerful lords, Scots who knew her, nobles who would believe her claim. She caught her da's frown and shook her head, thankful when he remained silent.

"And why is that, lass?" de Moray asked from his seat on the dais.

"Yes," Lord Monceaux added softly, his hooded gaze raking her from head to toe, "a fact I would be interested to hear as well."

The anger in the English baron's deep voice swept her, but his eyes, God in heaven, their intensity seared her like a whip. What reason could she give to convince those within the chamber he was unworthy? Thoughts battered her mind, but she discarded each.

An idea ignited in her mind. Nay, she couldna. 'Twas outrageous? As if with her da's life at stake, she couldna take the risk.

With her heart pounding, she faced the Scots. "A month past, the baron took liberties with me. After," she hurried, refusing to meet Lord Monceaux's gaze, "he gave me a false promise he would return."

"God's teeth, lass," Lochlann muttered. "Are ye daft?"

Nay, desperate. Several warriors cast curious glances toward Lochlann, but she didn't acknowledge him. She refused to endanger her friend or her father. She would endure the consequences of her actions alone. Rois took another step forward and started to speak.

But her mind went blank.

Her father's face darkened with displeasure as he moved in her direction.

What was he doing! Stay, she mouthed, and motioned for him to remain where he stood.

With a frown, he paused.

Her body trembling with relief, she turned toward Lord Monceaux, his expression that of a man confident in his decisions, who scrutinized her as if prey. Heaven help her, what had she done? Could she make her father understand her actions? Would he ever forgive her? However much she longed to look at her father, she kept her gaze leveled on the intimidating warrior.

After a long moment, Lord Monceaux's mouth curved with a confident tilt. "You were saying? I believe something about why I cannot be trusted?"

At the soft challenge of his words, her irritation trampled caution. Fine, let the braggart talk his way out of this. "And, shamed I am to say, this man has left me with child."

Griffin stared at the woman in disbelief. Against the wash of torchlight, a tumble of chestnut hair embraced the sweep of her pale cheeks, and she had full lips that any man would desire. But it was her eyes that held him, eyes as green and enchanting as the fields of Scotland.

He stiffened. Her beauty mattered naught.

Griffin assessed the room, stunned by how the nobles eyed him with violence. Did they believe her ludicrous claim?

His anger grew. How dare the chit sabotage a situation already dire! From her sultry burr, he knew she was a Scot and that she understood his presence within this enemy stronghold placed his life in danger. Did she want him dead? God's teeth, never had he seen this woman in his life!

The warriors closed around him, shaking their claymores, their teeth bared in the smoky light.

Bloody hell, if he didn't quell her lie now —

"He does nae deny it," one man yelled.

Griffin rounded on the Scot. "Wait!"

"Nay," a scar-faced laird growled, striding forward, "'tis long past time for waiting."

At the man's words, the woman shifted. Face pale, she took a step back.

God's teeth, she was not abandoning him in this mire. The woman would admit her lie! When she made to take another step back, Griffin caught her hand, aware of every Scot in the room watching and waiting for the slightest error, for any excuse to kill him. God's teeth! In all his years of service to the king, he had never been foiled by a woman.

Nor would he be now.

"My lady," Griffin said, his words strong, clear of doubt, and, through sheer will, void of anger. "'Tis my deepest regret you believe I have slighted you in any manner." He raised her hand, and was at once irritated by the sweep of awareness, by the softness that lured him.

Anger sparked in her eyes. She tugged to free her hand.

Griffin held firm, lifting her fingers and pressing a chaste kiss upon her knuckles. Nerves darkened her impossibly green eyes, eyes a man could drown in, eyes that would make him beg. Bedamned. After her outrageous claim, he should feel naught but contempt. But he wanted her, damnably so.

"If indeed I have left you with child," Griffin said, "'tis honor I offer you." Eyes narrowed, he scanned the room, meeting the impenetrable fury of each Scotsman's gaze. Satisfied, he turned to the stunning woman whose hand trembled within his. "Before your peers, I will take you for my wife."

Her face drained of color, a reaction he'd expected. Well he understood Scotland's custom of handfasting, that once a pledge was issued in public and agreed upon, they would indeed be wed. Feeling confident, Griffin waited for her to admit the truth.

The growing concern in her eyes assured him that she regretted her lie. 'Twould be but moments before she declared her false accusation to all, and he could return to de Moray's decision concerning King Edward's offer.

Silence battered the crowded chamber, thick with expectation.

Rois again tried to yank her hand free of Lord Monceaux's grip. He smiled down at her, but no warmth existed in his hazel eyes. Could she fault him for his resentment?

Aye, Lochlann had asked her if she was daft when she voiced her assertion. Well, now she sat in a fine mess. Proof her mind was indeed muddled.

Shame filled her. Of all of the mischief she'd stirred over the years, naught had reached this magnitude. Why had she insisted on attending the meeting? And what of her promise to her da to stay in the shadows unnoticed?

Her father.

Thank heaven the men crowding around her and Lord Monceaux were blocking him from sight.

"Enough," her father declared. "Let me through."

Nay! He couldn't make his presence known! Rois met the baron's smug expression. Pulse racing, she nodded. "Aye, I accept your offer of marriage."

The room exploded with shouts of outrage and disbelief.

Rois took advantage of the baron's complete shock and jerked her hand free, slipping into the throng of uproarious men. Under the shield of mayhem, she reached her father.

"Lass, what in God's name have you done?" Lord Brom demanded, his words all but smothered by the din.

"There is nae time for the telling now," Rois replied. Breathless, she towed her father toward the side door. "Hurry. Once we are away, I will explain everything. I swear it."

Her father's weathered face darkened further. "Aye. But only because the business I had here is done. And by God you will be explaining everything, that I promise you."

Relief swept through Rois as they stepped outside. Aye, she would explain, that would nae be a problem. Convincing her father to procure an annulment might be a wee different matter.

CHAPTER 2

Amidst the shouts of anger and stunned looks, Griffin scoured the great room for the woman who'd crafted this chaos. He found naught but the fierce Scottish nobles eyeing him with a mix of grim satisfaction and resentment. Blast it, had he asked to be married? If one day he were to take a wife, he'd expected to at least know the woman's name!

God's teeth, 'twas a mess.

A mess delivered to him in the form of a fine- looking woman. But her pale skin and intoxicating eyes would not sway him. Once he found her, she'd regret her lies.

"Silence!" Andrew de Moray's voice roared over the irate warriors. The chamber fell silent.

A muscle worked in his jaw as Griffin faced the imposing man on the dais. However much he wished to end this farce the woman had created, for his own pride, he could never expose he neither knew the woman's name nor had ever seen her before this day. Worse, how in bloody hell would he break the news of his marriage — to a Scot — to King Edward? Or, for that matter, to his sister and the MacGruder brothers?

The MacGruder brothers. He grimaced at the thought of the extended family gained after his sister Nichola's abduction by the Scottish rebel, Alexander MacGruder, had tumbled into a marriage. Then there were Alexander's older brother, Seathan MacGruder, Earl of Grey, and his younger brother, Duncan, and their adopted brother, Patrik — all married and in the thick of Scotland's fight for independence. As was Griffin. Indeed, they would find humor in his plight.

Except, by the time they learned of the matter, 'twould be after an annulment had been procured. Caught up in helping the rebels to reclaim their country's independence under the guise of Wulfe, he did not have a wife in his plans at this time, and certainly not this woman, who would regret whatever had driven her to the insanity of her false claim.

"The handfasting is over," de Moray stated. "I will speak with Lord Monceaux on the matter, but later. For now, there are issues of import we need to discuss."

"Aye," a Scot near the front shouted as he thrust his claymore into the air, "including telling King Edward to stuff his offer of free passage for you to the Tower of London up his arse!"

Cheers broke amongst the Scots, removing a layer of tension from the great room.

Andrew de Moray raised his hand. "Lord Monceaux."

The rousing yells faded and every eye focused on Griffin. He nodded to de Moray, playing the role the crowd expected from an English baron and King Edward's advisor to the Scots.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from His Seduction by Diana Cosby. Copyright © 2013 Diana Cosby. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
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.

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His Seduction 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Sailon More than 1 year ago
A rash action to save her father from an English hanging finds Lady Rois Drummond hand fasted to the enemy, Sir Griffin Westcott (an ambassador for the throne of England).  Shocked by his circumstances, Griffon can’t believe how his political gamble has him married to the very man's daughter he has formed a secret spying alliance(The Earl of Brom)… an alliance to free Scotland from English tyranny. With his cover in jeopardy, Griffin can’t reveal to his new bride that they are on the same side while he fights to protect her even from her own plans. Passion flares, tensions rise and the freedom and life of all they hold dear hang in the balance. This is a suspense filled romantic story, His Seduction will keep you glued to the pages. The romantic tension is thick enough to cut with a knife while the love connection is a slow building and well developed relationship. The characters are genuine creating a special reader- character bond. I especially enjoyed the reappearance of past MacGruders series characters and how they were blended into this story line. With just a touch of paranormal, His Seduction was a wonderfully enchanting read. I received this ARC review of His Seduction from eKensington in exchange for a honest review. This book is set for publication August 15, 2013. Written by: Diana Cosby Series: MacGruders  Sequence in Series: 5 Print Length: 244 pages Publisher: eKensington  Publication Date: August 15, 2013 Rating: 4 Genre: Historical Romance (Dab of Paranormal) Age Recommendation: Adult
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fantastic series of historical romance! Ms. Cosby writes with great attention to detail and well developed characters. The sexual chemistry is wonderful, the beautiful setting and of course a touch of magic. I admit, I laughed at the antics of Rois and the predicaments Griffin found himself in while around her. You can't help but fall in love with the characters and eagerly await the next installment.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mirabelle8 More than 1 year ago
Intriguing Scottish Adventure 4 ½ I read His Seduction and loved it very much. This is the first book that I read from Diana Cosby. It's a romance filled with intrigue and action, a beautiful Scottish adventure. This is the fifth book in the MacGruders series, a real page turner. Could not put it down. I loved her characters Rois and Griffin and found that this writer is very descriptive in her style of writing. She nicely blended her other characters from her previous book into this story. It is well written, her plot was well developed. an amazing paranormal as I like them. I recommend this book if you love Scottish romances.
Under_The_Covers_BookBlog More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Guest Reviewer/Kimberly & posted at Under the Covers Book Blog When Scottish Lady Rois Drummond believes her father, The Earl of Brom is about to be accused of treason to the Englishman Sir Griffin Wescott she steps forward and accuses Griffin of compromising her to deflect from the politics. What Rois doesn’t think will happen ultimately happens when Griffin offers for her hand, knowing she is a liar and hoping she will speak the truth before the vows. Hmmmm and the plot thickens when Rois sticks her her lie and ends up Griffin’s wife. Rois goes into the marriage believing the worst about her new English husband, but soon realizes that her preconceptions were wrong. Sir Griffin not only is an honorable man, but he may just be the love of her life. Shame that it is that Rois simply can’t tell the truth to her husband, but Griffin has secrets of his own. The politics of the time lead to a story filled with suspense, the romance is is passionate and real. Rois comes off as impetuous and immature at first but evolves into a confident and honorable heroine. Griffin is the dream hero from the first page. He of course has his issues, but her always treats his woman with respect and understanding, even when he know she isn’t forthcoming with him. His Seduction is the 5th book in the epic MacGruder series. With each and every story Diana Cosby just keeps getting better and better. Her characters come alive with her story-telling and the reader becomes attached to each and every one. I highly recommend His Seduction as well as any other book in the MacGruder series. *ARC provided by author
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ornerylibrarian More than 1 year ago
Lord Griffin Westcott, Baron of Monceaux, plays a dangerous game, an Englishman with Scottish sympathies. He is an advisor to the English king but works with the Scottish rebels to aid in their quest for freedom from English tyranny. Lady Rois Drummond is a fiery, Scottish beauty who, in seeking to protect her father from a perceived threat from the Englishman, inadvertently traps them both in marriage. This story is filled with danger, betrayal, magic, and most importantly, love. A very enjoyable tale.