In Bed with a Highlander (McCabe Trilogy #1)

In Bed with a Highlander (McCabe Trilogy #1)

4.4 464
by Maya Banks

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Maya Banks, the New York Times bestselling author of romance and romantic suspense has captivated readers with her steamy Scottish historical novels, perfect for fans of Julie Garwood. In Bed with a Highlander is the start of a beguiling trilogy featuring three unforgettable brothers risking everything to save their clan and their legacy—and


Maya Banks, the New York Times bestselling author of romance and romantic suspense has captivated readers with her steamy Scottish historical novels, perfect for fans of Julie Garwood. In Bed with a Highlander is the start of a beguiling trilogy featuring three unforgettable brothers risking everything to save their clan and their legacy—and to surrender their hearts to love.
Ewan McCabe, the eldest, is a warrior determined to vanquish his enemy. Now, with the time ripe for battle, his men are ready and Ewan is poised to take back what is his—until a blue-eyed, raven-haired temptress is thrust upon him. Mairin may be the salvation of Ewan’s clan, but for a man who dreams only of revenge, matters of the heart are strange territory to conquer.

The illegitimate daughter of the king, Mairin possesses prized property that has made her a pawn—and wary of love. Her worst fears are realized when she is rescued from peril only to be forced into marriage by her charismatic and commanding savior, Ewan McCabe. But her attraction to her ruggedly powerful new husband makes her crave his surprisingly tender touch; her body comes alive under his sensual mastery. And as war draws near, Mairin’s strength, spirit, and passion challenge Ewan to conquer his demons—and embrace a love that means more than revenge and land.

From the Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Ewan McCabe, eldest brother and laird of the McCabe clan, is a warrior willing to take on the king of Scotland in defense of the woman he loves. Of course, that woman, Mairin Stuart, frustrates, confounds, and challenges Ewan, but he is helpless before her beauty and singular charm. They first meet under grim circumstances when Mairin, bruised and bloodied by McCabe archenemy Duncan Cameron, shows up on his doorstep. She protected Ewan's young son from Cameron's abuse, and Cameron will stop at nothing to get his hands on her sizable dowry, so Ewan allows her to stay in his keep. There ensues much grabbing of land and booty as the foes match wits and armies. Highland fans will enjoy this charming trilogy opener and keep an eye out for the sequels. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
"Wickedly delightful." —Monica McCarty

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
McCabe Series , #1
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Mairin Stuart knelt on the stone floor beside her pallet and bowed her head in her evening prayer. Her hand slipped to the small wooden cross hanging from a bit of leather around her neck, and her thumb rubbed a familiar path over the now smooth surface.

For several long minutes, she whispered the words she’d recited since she was a child, and then she ended it as she always did. Please, God. Don’t let them find me.

She pushed herself from the floor, her knees scraping the uneven stones. The plain, brown garb she wore signaled her place along the other novices. Though she’d been here far longer than the others, she’d never taken the vows that would complete her spiritual journey. It was never her intention.

She went to the basin in the corner and poured from the pitcher of water. She smiled as she dampened her cloth, and Mother Serenity’s words came floating to mind. Cleanliness is next to Godliness.

She wiped her face and started to remove her gown to extend her wash when she heard a terrible crash. Startled, she dropped the cloth and whirled around to stare at her closed door. Then galvanized to action, she ran and flung it open, racing into the hall.

Around her, the other nuns also filled the hall, their dismayed murmurs rising. A loud bellow echoed down the corridor from the abbey’s front entrance. A cry of pain followed the bellow, and Mairin’s heart froze. Mother Serenity.

Mairin and the rest of the sisters ran toward the sound, some lagging back while others shoved determinedly ahead. When they reached the chapel, Mairin drew up short, paralyzed by the sight before her.

Warriors were everywhere. There were at least twenty, all dressed in battle gear, their faces unwashed, sweat drenching their hair and clothing. But no blood. They hadn’t come for sanctuary or aid. The leader held Mother Serenity by the arm, and even from a distance, Mairin could see the abbess’s face drawn in pain.

“Where is she?” the man demanded in a cold voice.

Mairin took a step back. He was a fierce-­looking man. Evil. Rage coiled in his eyes like a snake waiting to strike. He shook Mother Serenity when she didn’t respond, and she warbled in his grasp like a rag doll.

Mairin crossed herself and whispered an urgent prayer. The nuns around her gathered in a close ball and also offered their prayers.

“She is not here,” Mother Serenity gasped out. “I’ve told you the woman you seek is not here.”

“You lie!” he roared.

He looked toward the group of nuns, his gaze flickering coldly over them.

“Mairin Stuart. Tell me where she is.”

Mairin went cold, fear rising to a boil in her stomach. How had he found her? After all this time. Her nightmare wasn’t over. It was, indeed, just beginning.

Her hands shook so badly that she had to hide them in the folds of her dress. Sweat gathered on her brow, and her gut lurched. She swallowed, willing herself not to be sick.

When no answer was forthcoming, the man smiled, and it sent a chill straight down Mairin’s spine. Still staring at them, he lifted Mother Serenity’s arm so that it was in plain sight. Callously, he bent her index finger until Mairin heard the betraying pop of bone.

One of the nuns shrieked and ran forward only to be backhanded down by one of the soldiers. The rest of the nuns gasped at the bold outrage.

“This is God’s house,” Mother Serenity said in a reedy voice. “You sin greatly by bringing violence onto holy ground.”

“Shut up, old woman,” the man snapped. “Tell me where Mairin Stuart is or I’ll kill every last one of you.”

Mairin sucked in her breath and curled her fingers into balls at her sides. She believed him. There was too much evil, too much desperation, in his eyes. He had been sent on a devil’s errand, and he wouldn’t be denied.

He grasped Mother Serenity’s middle finger, and Mairin rushed forward.

“Charity, nay!” Mother Serenity cried.

Mairin ignored her. “I’m Mairin Stuart. Now let her go!”

The man dropped Mother Serenity’s hand then shoved the woman back. He stared at Mairin with interest, then let his gaze wander suggestively down her body and back up again. Mairin’s cheeks flamed at the blatant disrespect, but she gave no quarter, staring back at the man with as much defiance as she dared.

He snapped his fingers, and two men advanced on Mairin, grabbing her before she could think to run. They had her on the floor in a split second, their hands fumbling with the hem of her gown.

She kicked wildly, flailing her arms, but she was no match for their strength. Would they rape her here on the chapel floor? Tears gathered in her eyes as they shoved her clothing up over her hips.

They turned her to the right and fingers touched her hip, right where the mark rested.

Oh nay.

She bowed her head as tears of defeat slipped down her cheeks.

“ ’Tis her!” one of them said excitedly.

He was instantly shoved aside as the leader bent over to examine the mark for himself.

He, too, touched it, outlining the royal crest of Alexander. Issuing a grunt of satisfaction, he curled his hand around her chin and yanked until she faced him.

His smile revolted her.

“We’ve been looking for you a long time, Mairin Stuart.”

“Go to hell,” she spat.

Instead of striking her, his grin broadened. “Tsk-­tsk, such blasphemy in the house of God.”

He stood rapidly, and before Mairin could blink, she was hauled over a man’s shoulder, and the soldiers filed out of the abbey and into the cool night.

They wasted no time getting onto their horses. Mairin was gagged then trussed hand and foot and tossed over the saddle in front of one of the men. They were away, the thunder of hooves echoing across the still night, before she had time to react. They were as precise as they were ruthless.

The saddle dug into her belly, and she bounced up and down until she was sure she was going to throw up. She moaned, afraid she’d choke with the gag so securely around her mouth.

When they finally stopped, she was nearly unconscious. A hand gripped her nape, the fingers easily circling the slim column. She was hauled upward and dropped unceremoniously to the ground.

Around her, they made camp while she lay shivering in the damp air. Finally she heard one say, “You best be seeing to the lass, Finn. Laird Cameron won’t be happy if she dies of exposure.”

An irritated grunt followed, but a minute later, she was untied and the gag removed. Finn, the apparent leader of this abduction, leaned down over her, his eyes gleaming in the light of the fire.

“There’s no one to hear you scream, and if you utter a sound, I’ll rattle your jaw.”

She nodded her understanding and crawled to an upright position. He nudged her backside with his boot and chuckled when she whirled around in outrage.

“There’s a blanket by the fire. Get on it and get some sleep. We leave at first light.”

She curled gratefully into the warmth of the blanket, uncaring that the stones and sticks on the ground dug into her skin. Laird Cameron. She’d heard talk of him from the soldiers who drifted in and out of the abbey. He was a ruthless man. Greedy and eager to add to his growing power. It was rumored that his army was one of the largest in all of Scotland and that David, the Scottish king, feared him.

Malcolm, bastard son of Alexander—­and her half brother—­had already led one revolt against David in a bid for the throne. Were Malcolm and Duncan Cameron to ally, they would be a near unstoppable force.

She swallowed and closed her eyes. The possession of Neamh Álainn would render Cameron invincible.

“Dear God, help me,” she whispered.

She couldn’t allow him to gain control of Neamh Álainn. It was her legacy, the only thing of her father’s that she had.

It was impossible to sleep, and so she lay there huddled in the blanket, her hand curled around the wooden cross as she prayed for strength and guidance. Some of the soldiers slept while others kept careful watch. She wasn’t fool enough to think she’d be given any opportunity to escape. Not when she was worth more than her weight in gold.

But they wouldn’t kill her either, which granted her an advantage. She had nothing to fear by trying to escape and everything to gain.

An hour into her vigil of prayer, a commotion behind her had her sitting straight up and staring into the darkness. Around her, the sleeping soldiers stumbled upward, their hands on their swords when a child’s cry rent the night.

One of the men hauled a kicking, wiggling child into the circle around the fire and dropped him on the ground. The child crouched and looked around wildly while the men laughed uproariously.

“What is this?” Finn demanded.

“Caught him trying to sneak one of the horses,” the child’s captor said.

Anger slanted Finn’s features into those of the devil, made more demonic by the light of the fire. The boy, who couldn’t be more than seven or eight years old, tilted his chin up defiantly as if daring the man to do his worst.

“Why you insolent little pup,” Finn roared.

He raised his hand, and Mairin flew across the ground, throwing herself in front of the child as the fist swung and clipped her cheek.

She went reeling but recovered and quickly threw herself back over the child, gathering him close so she could cover as much of him as possible.

The boy struggled wildly under her, screeching obscenities in Gaelic. His head connected with her already aching jaw, and she saw stars.

“Hush now,” she told him in his own language. “Be still. I won’t let them hurt you.”

“Get off him!” Finn roared.

She tightened around the little boy who finally stopped kicking and flailing. Finn reached down and curled his hand into her hair, yanking brutally upward, but she refused to let go of her charge.

From the Paperback edition.

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Wickedly delightful." —-Monica McCarty

Meet the Author

Maya Banks is the bestselling author of The Darkest Hour, No Place to Run, Hidden Away, Sweet Possession, Sweet Temptation, Colter’s Woman, and Colter’s Lady. She lives in Texas with her husband, three children, and an assortment of pets.

From the Paperback edition.

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In Bed with a Highlander 4.4 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 464 reviews.
BubblesBaubles More than 1 year ago
As I read this book, I kept thinking I had read it before. I had- it's called The Bride by Julie Garwood. Almost everything was the same- though the details that Ms.Garwood wrote about were charming, actually were pretty flat in this book. There were a few differences, but not enough to matter. Save your money, and buy The Bride instead.
Acanoffleas More than 1 year ago
Redonk Nutshell: Laird marries an entangled heiress to protect her and inherit her dowry Said with horrible Scottish accent: Isna' luvleh covah! *snorts at self* Yeah, yeah. I can actually do a decent Scottish accent but only after a few glasses of wine. I was excited to read this for a few reasons. 1) it's Maya Banks 2) it's her first stab at a historical 3) it's about highlanders 4) my fellow rom bloggers liked it So, I picked this up and devoured it. Mairin Stuart is the illegitimate daughter of the Scottish dynasty, hidden away at a convent for her safety until said convent is ambushed by men looking to secure her for their laird, Duncan Cameron. Cameron attempts to force her to marry him, but she refuses, earning herself a nice beat down. With the help of servants, Mairin manages to escape, along with a fellow child-captive. The two are eventually found by the child's clan, The McCabes, and they're taken back to their homeland. The McCable laird, Ewan, eventually discovers who she is and he offers to marry her. Knowing her options couldn't really get any easier or better, she accepts. And of course, she they gradually begin to fall in love with each other amid a scheme by nasty Cameron to get her and her dowry back. I enjoyed this book. It was spirited and fun with a nice Highlander touch. We meet the McCabe brothers, three men who are each getting their own book, and who each have their own distinct personality. Ewan is a hardworking and earnest man, a man who is hard but compassionate. He's exactly what Mairin, flighty and hard headed as she is, needs. They fit together perfectly, and it's lovely to watch them realize it. Overall, I thought the Banks' first foray into historical romance a success. I'll definitely be picking up the rest as they're released. In Bed with a Highlander by Maya Banks, 352 pgs, Aug 2011 Rating: C+ Romance: 3/5 Raunch: 3/5
cinful1121 More than 1 year ago
Maya Banks has done it again!! This is a fabulous start to a brand new series from this talented author. I enjoyed this book from beginning to end and can't wait for the next installments to release, thank goodness that is back to back in Sept. & October or I may have gone scooters having to wait. One of the things I like most about Maya Banks writing is that she doesn't spend 20 pages explaining one setting or one event drawing it out to the point my eyes glaze over. She keeps a good pace with good dialogue which in turn keeps me entranced until I realize I've read the entire book. This book is Ewan McCabe & Mairin Stuart's story. He is Laird, eldest of the 3 McCabe brothers and a fierce warrior. She is the illegitimate daughter of the king who's been in hiding since she was a mere child. They are ultimately brought together by his son Crispen (who you just have to love) and initially wed to gain her dowry and lands. As she finds her footing and place within the McCabe clan she frequently causes a ruckus and disobeys her husband. It proves to be quite humorous as she has the habit of speaking out loud the thoughts in her head. Avoiding a ton of spoilers and in turn outlining the entire book I will leave off saying that this is a worthy read that will leave you wanting more! **I would like to thank Maya Banks for this Advance Reader's Copy it has been a pleasure to read and would happily do so anytime in the future**
thecollector0 More than 1 year ago
I am a voracious reader who enjoys romance books and this one was hard to put down.
Mimmi More than 1 year ago
In Bed With A Highlander kicks off a new series for Maya Banks ~ and her first foray into Historical Scottish romance. The heroine, Mairin Stuart, is the illegitimate daughter of King David ~ who is now dead, widely thought to have no heirs. Mairin has been secreted away in an abbey for most of her life to help keep this deep secret ~ but there are some who know of her, and search for her. When she is kidnapped from the Abbey in an attempt to score her hand in marriage, and in doing so secure an heir & her dowry, Mairin fights from the second she's taken ~ and plots her escape. But when a small child is found trying to steal a horse from her captors, she quickly puts his safety and welfare before that of her own... Ewan McCabe, the oldest of three McCabe Highlanders, searches for his missing son, Crispin ~ he's vowed revenge on anyone who would harm his child, and is frantic to find his son alive. When his brother brings back not only his son, but a woman as well, and they are both closed mouth about who she is and how they came to be together, it's Ewan's job to find out the truth ~ and the fact that Mairin's secrets can be only a boon to his clan, who has suffered from an attack years ago, can only be a good thing... I adored this book ~ I'm such a fan of Highlanders any time, but Maya truly brings to life the characters, the life they led by necessity ~ Ewan decides on Mairin first because it will benefit his clan, and second because she is great with his son ~ putting himself and his needs last. Yes, he's attracted to her, and the story is a treasure to see them get to know one another, and fall for one another, but you really 'feel' the sense of what came first in Ewan's life. The sex scenes are smokin' hot, the characters leap off the page, and the love story will make your heart twist and swell ~ I've really come to expect all these from Maya Banks, but was truly thrilled to get that added...SOMETHING that up to this point I get when I read only a hand full of authors, and I can only say this book made me think over and over of how thrilled I was to find someone else who can write historicals like Julie Garwood.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great start and paved the way for rest of the series. Steamy sex scene but they're newly married and experimenting, perfectly normal. The author's pacing is good and fast, kept to the plot of the story, not overly describing stuffs like furniture, clothes or tapestries. You cannot skipped a paragraph.
RomancingRakes More than 1 year ago
Let me start off by saying that I have never read a book by Maya Banks, until now. Go ahead, judge. After coming back from RomCon11, I had a new appreciation for highlanders. Anyway, the ARC was staring at me from my bookshelf. It kept crying my name and I finally gave in. Also contributing to the need to read factor, the ultra fabulous Tessa Dare made the book trailer. How can you not pick up the book after watching? Oh my stars! I need the next book (after reading the teaser in the back) right now. I'd do anything for it, even drop trew. I must say that this book series could totally be made into a movie or an epic TV show. This book had me giggling and sighing, wishing I had my own highlander going alpha when I misbehaved. Ms. Banks has a way with words, placing me inside the story and experiencing all the emotions each character feels whether it is inner or outer turmoil. I laughed, I cried, I may have thrown the book at the wall a few times (courtesy of Ewan and Caelen) but I came back for more. Now, is it September yet??
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoy her other series and started her historical after. I enjoy anything she writes.
mcsbclcc More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite series by Maya Banks is the KGI series and i anxiously await the next of that since i patiently await that one i figured i would try the McCabe trilogy. And all i can say is that i fell in love with the whole McCabe clan! The stories are well told and my eyes hurt from reading books 1&2 between yesterday and today but i could not put the books i anxioulsy await Cailen's story. Definitely books worth reading;-)
Imperfect_Ann_Sassy_8D More than 1 year ago
I always love Maya Banks ,but this one was a great one I laughted my butt off, even cried a time or two. I got angry with the heroin and just had a good time ! Cant wait for the brothers books! Also read Julie Garwood- Saving Grace, the Bride ,the Wedding if u like the book u will love these as well Great Job Ms. Banks keep them coming!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing story of romance, honor, etc definitely worth reading !!!
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Waits for Gabby.
pilsilver30 More than 1 year ago
I loved it! the use of the Gallic words, the description of the battles and the development of the feeling of the two main characters is what makes Maya Bank's books are wonderful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed it. It's not her best work, but still a good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
loved the whole series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
NaughtyBookSnitch More than 1 year ago
I really wanted to like this one more than I did. I just couldn't connect with the characters or should I say whats her name... Mairin.  This started out really strong. Mairin is smart, strong and unbendable and has a wonderful and beautiful heart. Then once she meets Ewan McCabe she turns into a helpless and ignorant woman.  One of the most annoying things about Mairin was that she constantly has diarrhea of the mouth. Her internal dialogue was never internal and when people would answer her she would chastise herself and say that shes really needs to stop that.  It seemed like everyone in the McCabe clan was calling Mairin "daft". Well, I really think she was. I get that she needed to establish herself as Mistress but don't threaten to cut a horse in half in an attempt to solve a dispute over a horse. Then fire the stable master. I know what she was doing with the horse but come on, its your first day. You should be trying to make friends and not act like a high and might bossy brat!  Lets not forget the I'm a tough girl but too stupid to know better act. UGG! Okay, let me throw this out to you... I'm paraphrasing here, not quoting... You've just been shot with an arrow and may not realize it right away because of the excitement going on around you and the adrenaline rush. So after you insult your husband and his entire clan you start walking away. With a pain in your side and someone saying you've been shot... You act like nothing is wrong but know you're hurt and then act like your drunk. Its just so ridiculous! You've been shot and its not even that bad and you act like a complete idiot. It's completely unbelievable that she doesn't know whats going on.  Its get worse from here. All Mairin does is go around pissing people off. Of course I'm not excusing Heath's actions but when I read this particular scene all I could see in my head was the Jersey Shore Snookie punch.  The only redeemable part in this book is the last 20%. This was the most exciting but anticlimactic part of the book. This is the only reason why Im giving this book 2.5 stars and rounding up. This part was exciting, suspenseful and Mairin didn't got on my nerves as much.  I know I just ranted bout Mairin but now I'm done with her.  I did LOVE the rest of the characters in the book. I loved Ewan and all his brothers. The entire clan is awesome and I'm looking forward to reading more about them.  Overall, this was just an ok read for me. The sex was lackluster and boring. I found myself daydreaming and didn't go back to reread the scene. I just wanted to get through it. I did really enjoy the ending of the book and all the characters in the book except the heroine. I will continue with this series but maybe at a later date.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago