The Pride of Lions

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They were torn between pride and passion. . .

It was a boastful wager, a bold flirtation meant to win a proposal from the most eligible officer in His Majesty's Royal Dragoons.  How was the spoiled and pampered Catherine Augustine Ashbrooke to know the handsome stranger with the brooding midnight eyes would see through her plot and make her the pawn in a dangerous game of his own?

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1997 Paperback Grade: B Catalog: Romance Historical English Synopsis: 387 pages. They were torn between pride and passion...It was a boastful wager, a bold flirtation meant to ... win a proposal from the most eligible off... Read more Show Less

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Overview

They were torn between pride and passion. . .

It was a boastful wager, a bold flirtation meant to win a proposal from the most eligible officer in His Majesty's Royal Dragoons.  How was the spoiled and pampered Catherine Augustine Ashbrooke to know the handsome stranger with the brooding midnight eyes would see through her plot and make her the pawn in a dangerous game of his own?

United by a reckless game of chance. . .

Alexander Cameron may have won the highborn English beauty in a duel, but not even the lure of long-forgotten desires could keep him from his meeting with destiny.  He had no choice but to carry his reluctant bride off to the Highlands, to a world of ancient blood feuds and a brewing rebellion—a world where fiery passion and breathtaking courage would prove that even legendary warriors could lose their hearts.

Bestselling, award-winning author Marsha Canham sweeps us into the turbulence and romance of Scotland's quest for freedom in a saga of two born enemies whose lives and destinies are irrevocably bound to the fate of an empire.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An electrifying love story with characters that leap from the pages, breathtaking descriptions of Scotland's awesome beauty, superb dialogue and fascinating details."
—Romantic Times

"A tense, highly exciting romance. . . [that] travels from the opulent ballrooms of England to the Scottish highlands."
—Affaire de Coeur

"Absolutely bloody marvelous!"
—Virginia Henley, bestselling author of Dream Lover

"Compelling, exciting, and riveting. When you talk about historical romance, it doesn't get much better than this!"
—Elaine Coffman, bestselling author of If You Love Me

"A fabulous tale of forbidden passion."
— Nan Ryan, bestselling author of Outlaw's Kiss

Romantic Times - Kathe Robin
"An electrifying love story with characters that leap from the pages, breathtaking descriptions of Scotland's awesome beauty, superb dialogue and fascinating details."
Affaire de Coeur - Reviewer Reviewer

"A tense, highly exciting romance. . . [that] travels from the opulent ballrooms of England to the Scottish highlands."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440224570
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/28/1997
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.87 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Marsha Canham is the Romantic Times Lifetime Achievement Award-winning author of twelve historical romance novels and lives outside Toronto, Canada.  When she sat down to write The Pride of Lions, she had no idea the telling of Catherine and Alexander's love story would require three years, and take her through nearly 1,000 pages of romance, adventure, and tragedy, and every locale and setting from the glittering ballrooms of an English manor house to the heroic battlefield of Culloden Moor.

Watch for The Blood of Roses, the sequel to The Pride of Lions, coming from Dell in June 1998.

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Read an Excerpt

"Tell me, sir, do they teach music appreciation in poaching school?"  Catherine asked.

"Dance appreciation too," Montgomery said, offering his arm.  "May I?"

She studied the rakish grin a moment before accepting.  She was aware of the heads swiveling to follow them as they walked past a row of whispering matrons, even more conscious of a pair of jade-green eyes spearing them from across the room as they merged with the dancing couples.

Montgomery's movements were fluid and assured, amazingly light and graceful for a man of his size.  She did not anticipate so strong a reaction to the feel of the steely muscles against her fingertips or the memory that came flooding back of him stripped to the waist, his black hair dripping water onto his naked flesh.  She did not expect the liquefying reaction in her own body each time he took advantage of the music to draw her boldly into his arms.

"I must apologize for being so abrupt this morning," he said, leading her in a delicate circle.  "I had been riding all night and was suffering a general lack of patience, having lost myself several times on the forest paths."

"Apologies hardly suit your character, Mr. Montgomery.  But why did you not say you were a friend of my brother?  It would not have excused your abominable behavior, but it might have helped explain it."

"He counts poachers and highwaymen among his friends?"

"I have been to his offices in London.  I have seen some of the company he is forced to keep."

They parted, exchanging steps with other partners in their quadrangle before dancing together again.

"An apology from you would not be remiss either," he said thoughtfully.

"An apology from me?"  She tilted her head up with a frown.  "Whatever for, may I ask?"

"Creeping up on me unawares.  Standing in the shadows watching me bathe."

Her mouth dropped open.  "I certainly was not watching you, sir.  Had I known there was anyone bathing in the clearing, I would not have gone within a hundred yards of it.  I was merely attempting to water my horse and—"  She stopped and clamped her mouth shut.  The maddening, all-knowing smile was back on his lips, encouraged by the distinct gleam of amusement in the blue-black eyes.  "Please take me back now.  I see Lieutenant Garner has returned with my refreshment."

"My dear Mistress Ashbrooke—"  He raised her hand to his lips and pressed the heat of his breath against her gloved fingers.  "It has been many long months since I have held such an incredibly lovely woman in my arms, and I am loath to forfeit the pleasure just yet.  I'm afraid the lieutenant will have to wait."

"I hardly think—"

"Do I still frighten you?  Even in a crowded room?"

She caught her breath and stared up at him.  Hamilton was moving toward the edge of the dance floor carrying the tiny crystal glass of water.  The orchestra was playing and couples were moving all around them.  Montgomery was smiling, challenging her, calling her bluff.

She raised her hand and settled it around his wrist.  She felt his hand tighten on her waist again and imagined she could hear the swelling of whispers that rippled around the room as she accorded a second dance to the stranger from London.  It was scandalous behavior, as scandalous as the way his midnight eyes held her, demanding her full attention, relegating all else—the music, the laughter, the buzzing of conversations—to the distant background.  She was only dimly aware of the flashes of colored silk that passed them, of the brilliant splashes of candlelight that reflected off the panes of the windows and doors.  She was not sensible at all to the fact that he whirled her away from the close confines of the ballroom and danced with her out onto the terrace, around and around, swirling her away from the lights and the noise until they had only shadows and the dusting of starlight overhead.

Drawing her closer, Montgomery embraced her in a way that made her feel molded to the hard contours of his body.  The circles they inscribed became smaller, their footsteps slower, until they were barely moving at all, hardly swaying to the strains of the music.  Catherine felt a mindless drumming in her blood and knew he was holding her too close.  The night was too dark, the air too fragrant with the scent of roses.  She lowered her gaze a fraction and it was no longer his eyes that held her transfixed, but the sensual curve of his mouth—a mouth that was descending toward hers even as his hand slid up from her waist to cradle the nape of her neck.

His lips touched hers, and the shock trembled through her body.  A feeble protest shivered free on a sigh, but she could not even summon the strength or wit to make it sound convincing.  All of her senses became centered around the feather-light pressure of his mouth, on the teasing, taunting dalliance of his tongue as it sampled, tasted, prepared her for the bold intrusion that followed.

His arms tightened and his lips slanted more forcefully over hers.  A second gasp gave him the opening he sought, and his tongue slid possessively into the shocked heat of her mouth.  Catherine felt her knees give way and her stomach tum to jelly, hot jelly, heavy as molten lead that slithered downward into her limbs on each silky, probing caress.  Her fists clenched and unclenched.  Her fingers spread open across the velvet thickness of his frock coat and inched higher . . . higher, until her hands were circling his neck, clinging to the powerful breadth of his shoulders.  She pressed eagerly into his embrace, thrilling to the strength in his arms as they enfolded her.

She thought she had known every kind of kiss a man could offer—what mystery could still remain in the simple touching of lips?  Hamilton's kisses, to be sure warmed her deliciously and sent tiny shivers of satisfaction through her body, more so than those of any other man before him.  Yet he had never inspired this surge of liquid heat that was now setting her veins on fire.  His body had never commanded hers to melt against him, to move with him, to question the cause and cure for this incredible, burning tension.  Even her skin had grown tauter, tighter, and her belly was fluttering with urges that made her want to move closer, to feel the heat of him with her bare flesh.

She was kissing him back, she knew she was, but Montgomery ended the kiss suddenly, breaking away with an abruptness that brought a cry of disappointment from her lips.  His face was in shadow—she could barely discern more than the black slash of his brows—but she sensed a shared feeling of surprise.  As if he had not expected the rush of pleasure she could feel thundering through his chest.

He held her away from his body, as if he did not trust any further contact, and when he spoke he tried to make his words sound light and casual.

"I did warn you about unscrupulous rogues who would not hesitate to take advantage."

"So you did," she murmured.  "You also threatened to teach me a lesson in reality.  Was that it?"

"Reality?"  he whispered.  "I'm not even sure I know what that is anymore.  I thought I did. . . ."

Catherine shivered as he brushed his fingertips along the curve of her throat.  She turned her head slightly, the better to feel the warmth of his flesh on hers . . . and her eyes opened wide in horror.

The figure of a man was standing less than five paces away, his silhouette framed in the glare of lights that spilled from the open french doors.  His hands were rigid by his sides, the fingers of one fist crushed around a tiny crystal glass.

Catherine gasped and jerked out of Montgomery's arms.  "Hamilton!"

"I hope I am not intruding," the lieutenant said, his voice cracking with anger.

She took several halting steps toward him.  "Hamilton . . .it isn't what you think. . . ."

"Is it not?  Pray then, by all means, tell me what it is.  You send me for a glass of water, then dance away with a fe!low to whom you have only just been introduced.  Ten mmutes later I find you wrapped in his arms and"—he finished the sentence with a sneer—"you tell me it isn't what I think."

"Hamilton, please . . ."

"I think, madam, you were kissing this gentleman, and with no great show of reluctance.  The act hardly requires more explanation than that . . . unless, of course, you have recently formed the habit of kissing perfect strangers and see nothing untoward in the deed."

Montgomery gave up an audible sigh.  He reached to an inside pocket and extracted a thin black cigar.  "You are not giving the lady much of a chance to explain.  If you did, she might be able to tell you the kiss was entirely my idea, and that she simply . . . endured it."

"Endured it?"  Garner's face remained impassive, carved out of stone, as he watched Montgomery strike a sulfur stick and touch it to the end of his cigar.

"It is her birthday, is it not?"

"And you thought to take advantage of the situation by forcing yourself on her good nature?"

"I did not force anything on anyone," Montgomery said quietly.  "I was merely expressing my felicitations."

    

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 71 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 71 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2006

    Great love story

    It was beautiful...the romance, the struggles between the character's, the scenery and the history. I need to start looking for the sequel, this one is one you will want to continue on reading into the next novel.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2014

    What a great story!

    I can't wait to read the next in the series!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2014

    AWESOME!!!

    Great Book! NOT your cut of the mill romance. After reading this book you will be HOOKED on everything Marsha Canham. One of the greatest romances ever!

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  • Posted July 11, 2014

    I have read all three of the trilogy and they are all wonderful.

    I have read all three of the trilogy and they are all wonderful. The Pride of Lions and the Blood of Roses are by far the best of the three. The love story between Catherine and Alex is unbelievable and I was hooked from the very beginning. Wow, is all I can say! If you enjoy a really good love story with lots of history thrown in, you will not be disappointed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2014

    One of the best romances I have ever read.

    I loved the main and minor characters and the historical events that formed the backdrop for the story added to the realistic aspects of the romance.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2014

    One of my all time favorites. Great story, adventure and romance

    One of my all time favorites. Great story, adventure and romance that comes to life as you read. And lives on long after you finish. Be sure to read the second half of this amazing story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2012

    GOOD READ

    I really enjoyed reading this book a lot of action and spark between the characters. There were some things left unfinished which I realize is due to the fact there are two more books. I would definitely recommend this book. Not as good as her Robin Hood trilogy but I did enjoy it.

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  • Posted June 27, 2012

    Very romantic

    Very romantic

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2012

    Highly recommend

    Kept the story very historically accurate, and Canham was able to capture the emotion of the characters as they battled their individual wants with their perceived "duty". I enjoyed the love story between Catherine and Alexander, the usual hot romance that the author delivers. Both books are a great read.

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  • Posted February 27, 2012

    Absolutely fantastic

    The Pride of Lions and The Blood of Roses are two of my favorite books of all time. Marsha Canham creatively weaves historic truths with imaginary main characters. She manages to do epic the way that Margaret Mitchell didn't, and one of the greatest pleasures of this book is watching the evolution of Catherine's character. She grew, over the course of the two books, from a spoiled wealthy child to a brave woman. And watching her fall for the delicious Alexander Cameron was a treasure.

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  • Posted February 15, 2012

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THIS SERIES

    Can't say enough about this series, you will laugh and cry. I highly recommend it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011

    A good read

    A nice mix of history and an interesting story.

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  • Posted July 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Sad

    This was not my favorite book by Marsha, and I am a huge fan! In fact my favorite book to date was written by her. In this one I just couldn't get into liking the characters. I found the heroine just flat out annoying! She is stupid....I little up in the air is ok, but for me it was just over the top...Again I am very sad! :(

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 31, 2011

    An Old Favorite

    I read this one about 3 times, which says alot for this type of book.
    I would place it second to the Dians Gabaldon Novels which is saying quite alot.
    I loved the characters which are a bit predictable,but lets face it ,
    we really don't mind a little predictability in character or plot in
    novels of this genre. The pace was perfect, and I enjoyed the realistic
    battle scenes - not that there was blood and guts - it was real in it's
    emotion, thoughts , and sentiments that I would never have realized
    occurred during war.
    I applaude Ms.Canham for her artistic ability to let these characters, and their era remain alive in my mind.

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  • Posted May 18, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Awesome Read!!

    THIS SERIES IS ONE OF THE BEST I HAVE EVER READ.THE BATTLE DESCRIPTIONS ARE VIVID AND ALAS HEARTBREAKING.BLOOD OF ROSES, MIDNIGHT HONOR ARE TO BE READ TO GET WHOLE PICTURE..CHARACTERS ARE FANTASTIC.............

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2008

    A reviewer

    This has got to be one of the most beautiful romance novels I have ever read. I do enjoy reading Julie Garwood's novels, but her books are more of the breezy kind of lighthearted read. Canham's style is quite different. This novel and the sequel 'The Blood of Roses' are so emotionally riveting that it takes your breath away. It's historically enriching and very moving. The sequel picks up right where the first book left off. Her main characters, Alexander and Catherine are real people, and that fact makes it even more wonderful to read if you love historical romances. My all time favorite romance novel quote came from this book as Alexander tells Catherine'...I can admit quite freely that I love you...With my body if you will have it, my heart if you will trust it, my soul if you will take it into safekeeping.' This book will leave you breathless! If you are interested in the history of Scotland and the Jacobite rebellion in the early 1700s...pick this up now!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2007

    One of my favorite books ever!

    I was totally taken with this and The Blood of Roses...I loved how the sequel takes off right where the Pride of Lions ended. I could not wait for a few hours each day to read! Alex Cameron was incredible! So valiant, so gallant... I also read The Outlander and really liked seeing the rising of '45 from a different perspective.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2003

    The Best!!!

    This and the 'Blood of Roses' are the best books I have ever read. Well written, very engrossing with many surprises. After reading these 2 books I find it hard to find anything that comes remotely close to holding my interest. I too couldn't put it down until I finished reading it (over a weekend). I also read 'Midnight Honor' and loved the continuation of the story from another persons' perspective. The history of Scotland is another reason it was so interesting (being from the USA)and never having studied their history. Marsha, you have to find a way to continue the story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2003

    I can't believe that's where it ended

    This is the first book of Marsha Canham's that I have ever read and I was only disappointed that I could not continue with reading the sequal the very next day.( I had to order the book because it was out of stock). So well written. I love the way Catherine grew from a prissy spoiled princess to a brave and selfless woman and how she and Alexander challenged each other. The characters were all amazing and the love and battle scenes were breathtaking. This book and the The Blood of Roses have made me a devoted fan of Ms.Canham's work.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2001

    Best thing i've read since Flame and Flower

    I cannot say enough about this book.The story and characters are wonderful and I couldn't put it down until I was done!Hated reaching the end.Was furious in how this book ended.Only because new book wasent out yet.But so glad to have the continuation of a great story to enjoy.And to get the REST of the story.

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