Seduced by Her Highland Warrior [NOOK Book]

Overview


Back in her husband's bed

Alex MacKinloch is chief of his clan and, in these dark times of unrest, he has united his people.

The void between him and his wife is proving a much harder challenge. When Alex discovers Laren has been keeping secrets from him, his thinly veiled frustration can no longer be contained.

The pleasures of the marital bed seem long forgotten to Laren. Yet her warrior husband is looking ...

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Seduced by Her Highland Warrior

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Overview


Back in her husband's bed

Alex MacKinloch is chief of his clan and, in these dark times of unrest, he has united his people.

The void between him and his wife is proving a much harder challenge. When Alex discovers Laren has been keeping secrets from him, his thinly veiled frustration can no longer be contained.

The pleasures of the marital bed seem long forgotten to Laren. Yet her warrior husband is looking at her with increasingly hungry eyes… This powerful highlander has seduction on his mind and his wife in his sights!

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781459209497
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 8/1/2011
  • Series: Harlequin Historical Series , #1054
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 126,418
  • File size: 645 KB

Meet the Author


RITA ® Award Finalist Michelle Willingham has written over a dozen historical romances, novellas, and short stories. Currently, she lives in southeastern Virginia with her husband and children. When she's not writing, Michelle enjoys reading and avoiding exercise at all costs. Visit her website at: michellewillingham.com.
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Read an Excerpt


Glen Arrin, Scotland—1305

Soldiers gripped spears in their palms and charged forwards, their weapons aimed at his wife and daughters.

Blood dripped from a wound on his forearm, but Alex MacKinloch wouldn't stop running. A primal roar resounded from his mouth as he lifted his sword and hacked his way toward the women. His lungs burned as he fought, the battle haze clouding his awareness of reality. In the distance, he saw his wife Laren's gleaming red hair as she struggled through a water–filled ditch. Her skirts weighed her down and she held their younger daughter in her arms. She didn't see the dozens of soldiers approaching as she tried to evacuate the fortress.

I have to reach them. Or they'll die.

It was a reality he didn't want to face, and the thought of his Laren falling beneath a soldier's blade was a horror he couldn't grasp. His arm ached with a vicious pain, but he fought a path towards them. The soldiers blocked his line of vision until all he could see was a swift storm of arrows.

A pulse thundered in his ears until he realised the arrows were coming from their younger brother Callum, who was guarding the women and children. Flames erupted from the wooden keep that stood high above them, like a dying sentry.

The fortress was going to fall. He ran as hard as he could and heard his kinsman Ross breathe, 'Mary, Mother of God.'

As Alex rushed forwards, he heard the cracking of wood.

'Callum, dive!' shouted a man's voice from behind her.

Laren MacKinloch struggled through the forest, her skirts sodden with water as the keep surrendered to the flames and collapsed. She stared through the trees, in shock at the sight of her home.

Gone now.

And what of Alex, her husband? 'Take Mairin and Adaira,' she begged Vanora, handing over her daughters. 'I'll join you in a few moments.'

'You can't go back,' the older matron warned. 'This isn't over yet.'

'I won't leave the trees,' Laren promised. I just need to see him. I need to know if he's safe.

She didn't wait for Vanora's reply, but moved back to the forest's edge, holding on to a slender birch tree for balance. Her breath frosted in the evening air as the cold settled around the glen.

When English soldiers surrounded the men from both sides, she felt her heart branching into silent pieces of terror. Dear God, no.

She couldn't hear what was happening, but the look of grim finality on Alex's face meant that the worst was near. As she stared from her hiding place, the years seemed to fall back. No longer was he a powerful chief but instead, the man she'd once loved. The fist of heartbreak caught her and tears dampened her cheeks. They'd grown so far apart over the past two years, and now she didn't know if she would see him alive again.

If she had one last moment with him, there were too many words to speak. Too many things she'd locked away in her heart for far too long.

Her palm pressed against the tree bark. Though Alex couldn't see her, she kept her gaze fixed upon him, as if she could memorise his face and hold it for ever.

A fiery pain blasted through her right side. Laren's knees buckled beneath her and she gasped in shock at the arrow embedded within her skin.

The searing agony stunned her and she could barely keep her senses about her. Though it was a shallow wound, piercing the soft skin sideways, near her ribs, she'd not realised how close she was to the battle.

She forced herself to snap off the feathered end, sliding the arrow free of the wound. Blood poured from her side and she pressed her dark cloak against the flow, fighting the dizziness.

You have to go back to your girls, her mind warned. She couldn't stay, no matter how much she feared for Alex's life. One of them had to live, to take care of their daughters.

It wrenched her apart, having to choose between her husband and her children, but she forced herself to continue. If the English gained the victory, they would come looking for the survivors. Her daughters needed her and she had to protect them.

She struggled up to the top of the ridge. Each step sent another wave of pain raging through her side, but she ignored the wound, hiding it beneath her dark cloak. There would be time to tend it later.

When she reached the girls, her elder daughter threw her arms around her waist, weeping. At the ages of four and not quite two, Mairin and Adaira weren't old enough to understand what was happening. Laren caught her breath, keeping Mairin's hands away from the injury while she spoke soft, reassuring words.

'Where is Da?' her daughter demanded. 'Is he safe?'

'I don't know.' Laren's throat tightened with fear, her eyes burning. 'But we have to wait here for him, away from the soldiers.'

'I'm afraid,' her daughter sobbed.

Laren brushed a kiss against Mairin's forehead. So am I.

The earth trembled as dozens of horsemen surrounded their army on both sides. Robert Fitzroy, the Baron of Harkirk, watched in fury as more of the Scots poured in, reinforced by the French. His hand tightened upon the hilt of his sword and he wanted nothing more than to bathe his weapon in their blood.

The MacKinlochs were supposed to die this day. Hadn't he burned their fortress to the ground, slaughtering their kinsmen? He'd already planned to set up an outpost here, to secure more land for King Edward Plantagenet, but he could see his victory fading away like smoke.

'Pull back!' he ordered and his soldiers obeyed. Though it splintered his pride, he hadn't survived half–a–dozen battles by making foolish decisions that would endanger his neck.

As they retreated into the hills, Harkirk cast a backwards glance. This wasn't over. Not by half.

He vowed that the next time he looked upon the face of a MacKinloch, it would be mounted upon a pike outside his gates.

It took a quarter of an hour to reach the ridge and Alex helped his brother up to the top of the hill. Nairna looked worried, for although they had survived with only minor injuries, traces of battle madness lurked within her husband's face. But Alex felt certain that once they brought Bram home, his brother would make a full recovery.

When they reached the clearing, the first glimpse of Laren sent a roaring breath of relief back through Alex's lungs. The instinct pulled at him, to go to her. He needed to hold his wife and breathe in the scent of her skin, touching her soft red hair.

Laren started to take a step towards him, but she abruptly stopped, her face ashen. Her hand pressed to her side and then she turned her attention to their girls. Their clansmen were watching, and at their sudden attention she shrank back.

He couldn't understand why. Aye, they'd grown apart over the past two years, but was it so much to ask that she show him a grain of affection? That she could welcome him back into her arms? The pain in her eyes bothered him, for he didn't understand it. Wasn't she glad to see him alive?

Though Mairin and Adaira called out, Laren bent and spoke quietly, as if to prevent them from running to him. Adaira clutched Laren's leg, burying her face in her mother's skirts.

A thousand moments passed by in a single second. Pride froze out the aching emotions, and Alex stared back at his wife, wishing she would meet him halfway. But she merely gave him a nod and moved away with the girls, unable to face him.

Something was wrong. She'd closed herself off from him and he didn't know why. His hand tightened on the door frame and he forced himself to look after Bram. 'Will you be all right with him?' Alex asked Nairna, who had helped her husband to sit upon their bed.

'Aye.' She poured water into a basin and retrieved a cloth to tend Bram's wounds. When she had wrung out the cloth, she sent Alex a pointed look. 'Go to Laren. She needs you.'

He left them alone, watching the way Nairna cared for her husband. The deep love in her eyes and the answering look in her husband's face brought a surge of envy. He wanted to be with Laren right now, to shatter the invisible wall between them.

The thought became a thorn, digging deeper into his pride. She was the woman he'd pledged to protect. Years ago, she would have thrown herself into his arms, not caring what anyone else thought. She'd have clung to him, whispering words of how she'd worried.

But now she kept her distance from him, almost as if they were strangers.

His frustration strung tighter as he walked among the survivors, asking about their welfare. During that time, not once had Laren moved towards him. Her face was white, as though she were too timid to move.

Damn it all, he didn't care if she no longer wanted him. They'd survived their brush with death; right now he wanted to hold her. He needed her in his arms, whether or not she was too shy to answer the embrace.

He crossed through the people, moving directly towards her. Without voicing a single word, he pulled her into his arms, holding her tightly. She let out a slight gasp, but her hands moved up to his shoulders, resting there. He didn't speak, didn't reveal any of the thoughts coursing through his mind. Adaira and Mairin each grabbed his legs, but right now, he needed Laren.

Dimly, he was aware that she wasn't quite holding him in return. Her hands were there, but there was no warmth, no answering embrace. His heart numbed when he pulled back to look at her, his hands resting at her waist.

He'd mistakenly believed that if he made the first move she would welcome him back, that the past two years of distance wouldn't matter any more, because they were alive. But she didn't look at him, as if she were too shy to speak.

He let his hands fall away, saying nothing. The girls were chattering, asking him questions about when they could go home, where they would sleep, and he couldn't give them an answer.

His kinsman Ross came near, and asked, 'Do you want to bring your family to our home for the night?' Since Ross's home was on the opposite side of the fortress, it had escaped the fires.

Alex never took his eyes from Laren, but agreed. 'Aye, if it's no trouble to you.'

'Not at all. Vanora will want to fuss over the wee ones, as she likes to do.' His gaze grew sombre, staring at the smoke that rose from the valley below. 'And you'll be needing a place to stay until you can rebuild the keep.'

'I'll take the girls there now,' Laren said quietly, 'if you think it's safe to return.' Her voice was shaky, but at his nod she guided their daughters away from the crowds. As they disappeared into the forest, Ross was saying something else to him, but Alex didn't hear a word of it.

His wife was behaving strangely and he didn't know why. Then his gaze drifted down to his hands. Blood stained his palms from where he'd held his wife.

It was Laren's blood.

Laren held Adaira's hand as Mairin skipped forwards. She kept her head held high, even though the tears flowed freely down her face. She kept her hand firmly upon the bleeding wound at her side, trying not to take deep breaths. When Alex had held her, his hands had pressed against it and she'd nearly passed out from the pain. The injury felt like an aching fire, but she refused to pity herself.

She'd said nothing of it to the girls. They were frightened after the battle and the last thing she needed was for her daughters to start crying again. Right now it took her full concentration to keep from breaking down in front of them. She'd never known that a minor wound could hurt this badly.

Now that the enemy soldiers were gone, she could return to Glen Arrin for a little privacy to tend it. The wetness against her hand told her that the bleeding had started up again and stars swam in front of her eyes.

You should have told Alex, an inner voice chided. The very thought of her husband sent a quiet ache of regret through her. When he'd taken her in his arms, the urge to cling to him and sob out her miseries had been so tempting. But the last thing he'd needed was a hysterical wife bleeding all over him in front of everyone. He had to be strong in front of the clan, to be the leader they needed in this time of crisis. There was time to speak of it later, when they were alone.

Laren took a deep breath, wiping the tears away. For now, she had to bring the girls to Ross's home for shelter.

'Why are you crying, Mama?' Mairin asked, coming to her side. 'Are you sad?'

'I'm just tired,' she lied. She had to hold herself together right now. Alex would be busy sorting out places for the rest of the clan to live; likely he wouldn't join them until later tonight.

'Da!' Mairin shouted, breaking free of her. Laren turned and saw Alex striding towards them. Her heart sank, for he looked furious. Instinctively, her hand went back to her wound, pressing against the flow of blood.

'Why didn't you tell me?' he demanded, raising up his hands. Upon them, she saw her own blood.

'It's nothing,' she said. 'I'll be all right.' To the girls she said, 'Mairin, I want to talk to your father for a moment. Take Adaira down to the bottom of the hill and wait for us.'

Her daughter paled at the sight of Alex's face and didn't argue, retreating with her sister.

'What happened?' he demanded.

'It was just an arrow. It pierced the skin here…' she pointed to her bleeding side '…but it's only a small wound. I'll have Vanora help me with it.'

'Were you trying to hide it from me?' In his voice, she heard traces of fear, mingled with his anger.

'You had too much on your mind and I didn't want to be a bother, not when it's something so minor.'

'You were shot with an arrow, Laren. Why in the name of God would you think I wouldn't want to bother with that?'

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 16 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 10, 2011

    Great book, but needs a different title

    I enjoy Michelle Willingham's historical novels, and I greatly anticipated this book after I had read its prequel. One thing I really enjoyed about this particular romance was that it was about a married couple with kids and they had been married for many years, but had to find a way to make their marriage work again after dealing with personal tragedy. As a married woman with kids, I get a little tired of reading about the usual "boy meets virgin, and then gets her pregnant" romances. I also enjoyed the fact that Laren, the leading lady, has an occupation other than just tending to her children. I think, however, that the title is misleading. Not once in the novel is the woman "seduced by her Highland warrior." In fact, it was the other way around. I would have enjoyed reading about him choosing to take the initiative in this regard, but instead, it seems, as in real life, it's the wife who has to make the effort to make the intimacy work between the two of them. Her husband tries his best to try to avoid it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 22, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    This book has it all!!!

    Review by Jen:I'm a sucker for a good medieval romance. There's just something about the primitive culture (at least by our standards, they were actually pretty advanced if you think about it) and the uber alpha males. And if you put that medieval story in the Scottish highlands... well, be still my heart. Seduced by Her Highland Warrior has all the ingredients I need for a winning read.

    I found that I really enjoyed this book, the first I've ever read from Michelle Willingham. The premise was one that is not normally seen in a romance, but more often in chick-lit. The main characters, in this case Alex and Laren, are already married, but have drifted apart. The romance comes from them trying to repair the rift that separates them. Alex is that alpha male, but also feels deeply for his family and clan and will do anything for them. Laren isn't your normal chieftain's wife. She's shy and withdrawn and is carrying a secret. Following an attack on their home, Alex realizes how much he and his wife have drifted and while rebuilding their home, he decides to rebuild their relationship as well. Laren wants to repair the rift, but isn't sure she's able to trust Alex again after he inadvertently broke her heart and isn't sure how he will react about her secret.

    This book has it all -- an interesting premise, notable characters, romance and such descriptive scenes that made it feel like I was watching them on a screen. After finishing the book, I realized that it's the second in a series. Now I need to go hunt down book one.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2013

    A real romance

    These characters faced issues that could actually represent problems couples face today, I enjoyed how they found their way back to each other.

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  • Posted December 26, 2012

    Just when I don't think MW could surpass her last book of the se

    Just when I don't think MW could surpass her last book of the series, she does. I really think this is my favorite of all her books, which is saying alot! The way this married couple has forgotten how to get the love they once had back, is how it is in real life, this felt so real to me. The anquish over losing a child, how you each go your separate ways in trying to deal with the loss, instead of clinging to each other was so real. As in alot of her books, MW has a lot of twists and suspense!! A must additional to your library!!

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  • Posted October 24, 2011

    4.5!ANOTHER GREAT SCOTTISH READ! SEDUCED BY HER HIGHLAND WARRIOR BY MICHELLE WILLINGHAM...

    SEDUCED BY HER HIGHLAND WARRIOR by Michelle Willingham is an exciting historical romance set in Scotland. It has romance, sweet sensuality,second chances,betrayal,stained glass,secrets,a time of unrest for the Scottish clan,murder,and love. A must read for any historical,Scottish warriors, and romance readers. This author has done another awesome job with "Seduced By Her Highland Warrior".Received for review from Net Galley and the publisher. Details can be found at HQN and My Book Addiction Reviews.

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  • Posted July 28, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    decent

    I found Michelle Willingham's Seduced by Her Highland Warrior to be a decent book of the romance genre, but there were too many things lacking for my taste. The characters weren't fully developed, though there was effort in that aspect. Historical details seemed lacking or at odds with other aspects of the storyline.The middle dragged on but was wrapped up neatly and succinctly at the end.

    Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by teh publisher.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 13, 2011

    Did not seduce me

    Alex was destined to be the clan chieftain. Laren was born to a poor and struggling family.
    A simple, comforting hand on the shoulder brought Alex and Laren together and began their love story.

    Early fourteenth century Scotland was riddled with battle and loss for the MacKinloch Clan. Targeted by the English, they lost good men & good warriors. They also lost their keep when the Baron of Harkirk set it ablaze. Now the MacKinloch Clan is faced with the weary task of rebuilding.

    It is during this time that Alex realizes that not only must he rebuild the MacKinloch keep, but he must also rekindle the relationship with his wife, Laren. The keep and his marriage each had a sturdy foundation once, but time and loss have taken their respective toll on both. Being the clan chieftain divides Alex's focus and he finds that the years he spent dedicating his every waking minute to his people has left his relationship with his wife in shambles. Will he have the strength to construct a stronger keep while reestablishing the relationship he yearns for with this wife?

    Laren fears she never will be of value to the clan, let alone her husband. The daughter of a begger, she found it was best to blend into the background rather than be a strong presence. The years of shunning and disrespectful words she has endured from her mother-in-law has only reinforced her shy and cautious nature. When Laren and Alex lost their son only days after his birth, she retreated into herself and felt Alex do the same, abandoning her. Her despair of the loss led her to the art of glass blowing. The glass blowing was her private penance turn joy and she shared it with only a few on a must-know basis. But after the raids and battles, which resulted in the keeps burning, Laren discovers that her glasswork could be the saving grace that the clan needs, earning them the silver needed for reconstruction and the respect of the clan. But will her talents also earn her the much needed respect of her husband? And will she, at last, realize that she is worthy of the clan chieftain's love?

    The opening scene of Seduced by Her Highland Warrior was filled with dramatic action; my heart was beating like a war drum... It, like the remaining story, was told from both Alex and Laren's point of view and had me sitting on the edge of my seat with anticipation on how the the battle would end. I was rooting for both Alex and Laren in those beginning pages - hoping they would find each other and embrace the love that they obviously had for each other.

    The book's finale was also well scripted with action and drama and had me holding on until the very end. My hoping and rooting at the beginning was finally realized, claimed, and held at the end of Ms. Willingham's story.

    It was the middle or the meat of Seduced by Her Highland Warrior that I did not mesh well with.
    Overall - I would rate this book a 2 out of 5 stars. It wasn't the Scottish Highland romantic tale I was looking for, though I hope it rates as the plaid in another woman's kilt - meaning I hope Ms. Willingham's characters and story find loving and doting homes in many women's imaginations. Good luck!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2011

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    Posted August 24, 2011

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    Posted August 22, 2011

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    Posted August 20, 2011

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    Posted July 22, 2011

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    Posted August 2, 2011

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    Posted August 15, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2013

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    Posted March 30, 2013

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