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How could Iain look so alert and vigorous when she felt listless and painfully weary? They were alive only because of his labors. 'Twas he who'd borne her through the forest on his back, he who'd rowed the boat through two dark nights, he who'd kept watch while she'd slept. 'Twas he who should be worn with fatigue.
Humbled by her own weakness, she sat up straighter, tried to force the cobwebs from her mind. The least she could do was to press herself as hard as he pressed himself and to endure without complaint. She was no squeamish, spiritless lass, and although she might not have been born to this rugged life, she had her wits and at least some courage.
If she'd understood him, they had most of a day's journey before them over land to Fort Elizabeth. She could endure another day.
Iain handed her the leather pouch of cornmeal. "Bide here a wee."
Then he headed off toward the lake with the tin bucket in his hand.
She took a handful of cornmeal, chewed it, and washed it into her empty stomach with a mouthful of cold water from his waterskin.
It had been a long night. Wary after their encounter with the French ships the night before and determined not to fail Iain again, she'd made certain to stay awake and had watched the darkness glide past, reluctant even to breathe.
Yet, he'd seemed angry, his voice gruff the few times he'd spoken, his face hard. Perhaps he was in a temper over the things she'd said earlier about Culloden and the war. Or maybe he was still vexed with her for giving them away to the French on the ship. Or perhaps it was the poisoned rum, though that certainly had not been her fault.
You take more lookin' after than a bairn.
She'd wanted to be helpful and had offered to take up the other set of oars and row, but he'd shaken his head.
"A pair of oars in your hands would make a bloody din."
She'd felt ashamed to know he was likely right. And so the perilous, long watch of the night had passed in frosty silence, with Annie feeling useless and angry and afraid.
Oh, how he confused her! One moment he held her and comforted her to help her nightmares pass. The next he belittled her, humiliated her.
At least he hadn't kissed her again.
Why hadn't he kissed her again?
Each time she thought of it, her heart seemed to trip. The hot feel of his lips against hers. The scorching shock of his tongue in her mouth. The hard press of his body.
Oh, Annie, I knew you would taste sweet.
The memory of his words made her breath catch in her throat, and she realized she'd taken pleasure in it. She'd taken pleasure in his kiss.
Even as the truth of it came to her, she rejected it. She'd been asleep and caught up in a dream when he'd stolen that kiss from her. 'Twas a deception of her dream that she'd enjoyed it. How could she, who'd been raised a lady, find any pleasure in kissing a traitor, a rough Ranger, a Highland barbarian?
She looked up and saw the man who bedeviled her thoughts walking toward her. The shadow of beard on his chin had grown thicker and darker, and his black hair still hung, long and unbound, lending him a wild appearance. His shirt had come open at the throat, revealing a wedge of dark curls. She remembered what he'd looked like without his shirt, how it had felt to be held against that chest, and her breath caught again.
He moved almost silently, his motions sure, agile and smooth despite his size. He was, she realized, quite graceful. The very idea surprised her. Male grace was a quality she'd never thought of beyond the ballroom; either a man could dance a quadrille with skill and without stepping on her feet or he could not. But here was another kind of grace altogether-an untrained grace, an instinctive grace, an animal grace.
He set the bucket down before her, then knelt beside his pack and took out the soap and cloth she'd seen yesterday, together with the little jar of salve. "The cold water will soothe your feet. Wash them if you like and put on more salve."
Surprised by his thoughtfulness, Annie took the cloth from his hand. "Thank you."
"Be quick about it. I'm goin' scoutin'." He rose and strode silently into the forest.
She felt the water with her fingers, found it ice cold. She removed the moccasins, exposing her battered feet. Then she dipped the cloth in the water, squeezed it out and rubbed the soap against it. Although she had every intention of washing her feet, she found herself pressing the cloth to her face instead.
She almost moaned. It felt wonderful. The cold water made her skin tingle, washed away the grime, brought her back to life. Careful not to waste a drop, she washed her face, then her throat, water running in icy rivulets down her neck and beneath her gown. Next, she washed her feet and ankles.
But it wasn't enough.
She glanced about her to make certain Iain was nowhere near. Then she sat up on her knees, let the bearskin coat fall to the ground and slipped her gown and shift down her shoulders to her waist. All she needed was a few moments.
She'd never been naked in the open air like this, and a part of her could scarce believe she was doing something so reckless. She dipped the cloth into the bucket, squeezed it, then stared in astonishment at her own body. Purple bruises stained her skin, caused by her tumble down the embankment. One of her breasts was scratched, and there was an angry red welt above her right hip. Death had made its mark on her.
Eager to put it all behind her, she washed quickly, first her breasts and belly, then her arms and shoulders. The breeze raised bumps on her wet skin, but the cold water soothed her bruises. As dirt and mud and dried blood washed away, she began to feel like herself again.
"You'd tempt a saint, lass. But I am no' a saint."
Annie gasped and covered her breasts with her arms.
He stood not ten feet away, the butt of his rifle resting on the ground, his hand around the barrel, his gaze sliding blatantly over her.
"Y-you ought no' be watchin'!"
"You ought no' be naked."
Iain was surprised he could speak. At his first sight of her kneeling bare-breasted and wet-skinned, the breath had rushed from his lungs. His thoughts had scattered like ashes in a gust of wind. He'd found himself rooted to the spot, his cock painfully hard, his anger and frustration from the past few days merging into sharp sexual need.
Even scratched and bruised, she was bonnie. Her cheeks glowed pink with shame, her apple-green eyes wide with a maid's innocent wariness. Her breasts were round and full, their rosy tips pinched from the cold. Her skin was creamy, her shoulders soft and curved.
Iain had been raised to treat women gently, but he did not feel gentle just now. His mother's Viking blood burned in him, ancient and hot, urging him to fist his hands in her hair and bear her onto her back, to claim her in the most primitive way a man could, to plant his seed inside her again and again, whether she consented or no.
One arm still shielding her breasts, she fumbled for her shift and gown.
"Leave them off."
She stared up at him, clearly alarmed, and reached again for her gown.
"I said leave them." He closed the distance between them, knelt down beside her, only one thought on his mind: He had to touch her.
Her breathing was ragged, and she trembled. Her eyes were huge and round.
He reached out, took her wrists in his hands, and drew them one at a time to his lips, exposing her. "Dinnae hide your loveliness from me, lass."
Then he feasted on the sight of her. Her creamy breasts rose and fell with each rapid breath, their weight enough to fill his hands. Her puckered nipples looked as if a man had already sucked them to tight, wet peaks. One was marred by an angry red scratch. Behind her breastbone, her heart beat fluttered like that of a wild bird.
Desire lanced through him, sent a bolt of heat to his already aching groin, made it hard for him to breathe. He wanted to cup the weight of her breasts in his hands, to taste her, to draw her nipples into his mouth and tease them with his tongue and teeth.
He ducked down, pressed his lips to the scratch, kissed it.
She gasped, and her body jerked as if his lips had been a brand. "P-please dinnae-"
Lust roared in his ears like the raging thrum of a heartbeat. His cock strained against the leather of his breeches, claiming the right to mate. "You've naugh' to fear from me, Annie."
'Twas an outright lie. If she knew what he was thinking, she'd likely slap him soundly-or scream and run.
You're a bastard, MacKinnon. Can you no' see the lass is an innocent and sore afraid?
Fighting to defeat his need for her, he released her wrists, picked up the cloth and dipped it in the bucket. "Turn 'round. I'll wash your back."
Covering her breasts again, she seemed to hesitate, then did as he asked.
He squeezed out the cloth, lifted the heavy weight of her tangled hair over her shoulder, and pressed the wet cloth to her skin. He heard her tiny intake of breath, felt her shiver, saw the rapid beating of her pulse against the column of her throat.
And the fire inside him grew hotter.
Excerpted from Surrender by Pamela Clare Copyright © 2004 by Dorchester Publishing. Excerpted by permission.
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.
Posted October 1, 2013
Posted September 18, 2013
Book One of MacKinnon's Rangers
This is Iain and Annie's story. Iain is the eldest MacKinnon brother. He is forced into service in the British army by William Wentworth - one of his family's greatest enemies. When he comes across Annie in the forest, he saves her from certain death against his orders. Thus begins a romance to write home about.
Audio notes - Kaleo Griffith is a god. His use of accents is wonderful and while he differentiates between men and women, he does not try to sound like a woman.
If you're looking for a well-written, fantastically narrated story about love amongst war, this is the book for you.
Posted July 17, 2013
It was a pretty good book. Although, as a big fan of highlander type romance novels, I'm comparing it to other great series by Monica McCarty or Diana Gabledon. Therefore, I'll say I finished it in about a day and a half and was pretty entertained but I'm giving it 3 stars because I didn't feel that some of the passionate scenes sizzled like in other series I have read and at times I even found myself chuckling at the Author's insistence that the pair repeatedly exclaim each other's names throughout the love scenes. Some of those scenes were just too cheesy for my taste and took away from the believability. I also felt that she could have made some of the adventures we experienced with the characters more exciting but all in all it was decent.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 31, 2013
Posted August 10, 2012
Posted August 1, 2012
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Posted July 10, 2012
Posted June 26, 2012
I Also Recommend:
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Unlawfully charged with a crime and now fighting for the hated British, Iain MacKinnon disobeyed orders and endangered his brothers and his mission to rescue a woman. And though he sensed Annie was hiding something from him, it was too late to hold back his heart...
Okay, so while the about doesn’t provide much, this book is a MUST read. Matter of fact, it’s a read it over and over and over again!
Ms. Clare has done it again! She manages to ensnare me in her world and just when I think I may just “enjoy” a piece she has written, I walk away after reading, only to find that I absolutely ADORED the crap outta it. *grin*
The characters are so very real, so very smooth, so very intriguing, and SO very lovable. Iain is the hero everyone wants to meet and Annie is the heroine that everyone wants to be. The rangers are adorable and Ms. Clare maintains such a level of honor and integrity that makes the entire experience so real. So true.
I truly enjoyed this piece, loved all the different ways she added more drama to it and absolutely adored the MacKinnon brothers.
Ms. Clare, if you shall ever find yourself in need of sending one of your heroes’s a home – send them my way!
Five out of five stars for a job well done!
Posted March 31, 2012
A friend of mine recommended Surrender and Untamed by Pamela Clare; I don’t read a lot of highlander novels finding many tend to get really annoying with accented dialogue. But trusting my friend, I purchased the first two books of the MacKinnon Ranger series. I read both of these books in two days, and I really liked them. There is a little accented dialogue but it is palatable. The McKinnon brothers Iain, Morgan and Connor, came to the colonies after the “45” as boys. Reared by their parents on the upstate New York frontier, they have become friends with their Mohican neighbors, and lived amongst them as they grew to be men, and were accepted as brothers by them.
Years later in Albany the brothers run afoul of the British Commander Lord William Wentworth, the wholly fictions grandson of King George II; Wentworth is a great villain, and he wants to set up a force of “Ranger” basically guerilla fighters to use against the French ad their Indian allies, and he isn’t above using despicable tactic to see this come to pass. A British soldier is found dead, the same solider that the MacKinnon brothers had stopped from abusing one of the town doxies. The elder brother is accused of murder, and when given a choice fight for the British until the end of the war or die at the end of a rope, he has no choice. But where one Mackinnon goes the others follow.
Surrender: Is the story of the eldest brother Iain and an indentured servant girl called Annie. From the first Iain knows there is something not right about this girl’s story. Annie has been unjustly indentured to keep a horrible family secret from coming to light. After she barely escapes a raid on the homestead she has been indentured to, she lands almost at Iain’s feet. Under orders only to scout and report, not to engage unless ambushed, Iain finds he cannot obey orders. Ordering his men to move on he goes to help the girl. Before they return to Ft. Edward he is in love with Annie, but her feelings are a bit more complex. When they return to the fort he knows he is in trouble with Lord Wentworth, who has come to a have a grudging respect for the Scots, not that he would ever admit that. But he must make an example of Iain.
This is a good love story, I really like Iain and Annie, and the Rangers, I even like the way she wrote one of the villains, he is not one dimensional and has some depth, and the real villain is real evil and a little over the top. The historical details are good and you can see that Ms. Clare did her research. She is a fine writer, and I was engaged in the story very quickly, which is always a good sign. I give it a solid 4 stars.
This review is based on the December 2011 edition.
Posted March 11, 2012
This truly is an exceptional novel. The history is rich and powerful and the love story is strong and beautiful. The MacKinnon brothers are strong and sure, their personalities stay true throughout the series and their beliefs held fast within the entire story. Easily the best historical series I've read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 20, 2012
Posted January 25, 2012
Posted April 27, 2011
I am not a person who usually enjoys historical romance, but I thoroughly enjoyed Iain and Annie's story. This isn't your typical historical, there is no frill and no lace. Annie has grit and spunk and is loyal to the core and will fight for anyone she deems fit. Iain is resigned to his fate, does his job and does it well until...Annie. All that is left is to SURRENDER!!! The historical accuracy was meticulous, flawlessly woven into the tale, never appearing as though it were flung up like scenery in the background. Creating a Battle of Ticonderoga scene sufficiently convincing and captivating that one is not tempted to skim through on the way to the good stuff is quite a feat. I am very much looking forward to Morgan's story "Untamed".
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Posted October 11, 2010
I really enjoyed this book, I love the books surrounding Scottish characters and this book demonstrated the trials that many went though on the frontier. My escape into the lives of the characters, was wonderful. I can't wait to read more.
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Posted December 16, 2006
Pamela Clare does it again! A handsome Scottish hero, Ian MacKinnon is forced to serve the British crown in their fight against the French in the early American colonies. Ian, a Scottish warrior who has also learned fighting skills from the Abenaki Indians, forms The MacKinnon's Rangers - a skilled group of fighting men. During a scouting operation he comes across the bonnie Lady Anne Campbell who is attacked by Indians. Not only does Ian rescue Anne from Indians, but also from her circumstance as a bond slave. Months before, Anne discovers the evil, sick deeds and murder of inncents by her only living relative, her father's brother. So that his deeds are covered up, Anne's uncle has her falsely accused as a thief, arrested, and sent away to America. As Ian and Anne run from the French, the British, and their pasts, their attraction for each other grows. This passionate, sensual, intelligent romance, written in an interesting period in history, is difficult to put down. I read it in one night. A definite keeper! I sure hope Pamela Clare will make this a series, as there are two more handsome, sexy MacKinnon Brothers. Fans would love to know their stories as well.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 3, 2006
Surrender by Pamela Clare is the first of a trilogy set during the French and Indian War. Scottish immigtrant Iain MacKinnon is unjustly forced to fight for the British or hang. Annie is betrayed by her uncle, branded a thief and sent to America as an indentured servant. When the Abenaki threaten to kill her, Iain abandons his war mission to save her. The bond between them strengthens as they flee the vengeful Abenaki. At the fort, the commander, Lord Wentworth notices something familiar about Annie, whom he wants for himself. While Iain at war, Wentworth¿s interference brings a visit from Annie¿s uncle. After Iain returns, his blood boils to protect his woman from her uncle and foil Wentworth¿s plans. In Surrender, Pamela has created a suspenseful ride that will have you turning pages to see what happens next. Her characters are strong and full of passion. The historical detail is superb. Surrender will leave you breathless and wanting more.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 2, 2006
Set in a time period not usually used, The French and Indian War in 1757 New England, Ms. Clare takes her readers through a history period many don't know about in the exciting and passionate Surrender. Betrayed by the man she thought of as a father, Lady Anne Campbell is arrested for a theft she didn't commit, branded a thief and sold into indentured servitude in the Colonies. Iain is also falsely accused of a crime and forced to serve the British army as a scout and Major of the Rangers. While on a mission, he comes across a war party of Abenaki burning out the cabin of Anne's employers. She is able to escape the carnage, but only to be tracked down by the blood-hungry warriors. Iain rescues her from certain rape and worst, putting his men and mission at risk. Though facing punishment for disobeying his orders, he doesn't regret saving the lovely lass for a moment. As always, the road to love is rocky and Ms. Clare does well to weave history and romance. Iain and Anne must overcome more than just their social and religious differences. They have to be wary of Lord William Wentworth, the man who falsely accused Iain and who, if he discovers Anne's true identity, will send her back to her abusive uncle. How will Iain react when he learns Anne's identity and will Wentworth manage to seduce her before Iain? Or will her sadistic uncle demand custody of Anne and return with her to England, taking her from the man she loves. Surrender will have on the edge of your seat with its adventure and fanning your flushed face with its hot, sensual love scenes. True love, as always, conquers all. Excellent read!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.