The Highlander

The Highlander

3.8 13
by Elaine Coffman

View All Available Formats & Editions

When Tavish Graham stumbles upon the naked body of Sophie d'Alembert, he thinks she is dead. But it doesn't take him long to discover that Sophie is very much alive and more woman than he can handle, so he leaves her with his brother, James, the Earl of Monleigh.

Beautiful, young and French, Sophie finds herself in the wild, strange land of the Scots.


When Tavish Graham stumbles upon the naked body of Sophie d'Alembert, he thinks she is dead. But it doesn't take him long to discover that Sophie is very much alive and more woman than he can handle, so he leaves her with his brother, James, the Earl of Monleigh.

Beautiful, young and French, Sophie finds herself in the wild, strange land of the Scots. Terrified and not willing to trust James, she fails to tell him that she is the granddaughter of Louis XIV—and that she is fleeing a forced marriage to the hated English Duke of Rockingham.

Reluctantly, Sophie begins to fall in love with the rugged Highlander. And before she can reveal the truth of her past, James discovers her royal connection, and wonders what else she is keeping from him. Can James resist her, or will he defy the might of England and France for a lover as wild and passionate as himself?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The bone-chilling dampness of Scotland and the crackle of a hearth fire are nearly palpable in Coffman's (The Italian, etc.) atmospheric 18th-century Highland romance. Desperate to escape an arranged marriage to the narcissistic English Lord Rockingham, legendary French beauty Sophie D'Alembert, granddaughter of Louis XIV, slips out of the country on a boat bound for Norway. Her circumstances change abruptly when the ship gets caught in a storm and wrecks off the coast of Scotland. Nearly dead from battling the frigid seas, Sophie is rescued by a gallant young Scotsman who entrusts her to his imposing older brother, Jamie, the earl of Monleigh. Uncertain of the earl's political leanings and unwilling to be sent back to France or to Lord Rockingham, Sophie feigns amnesia. Jamie mistrusts Sophie, but he's unable to resist his growing attraction to her. It soon becomes apparent, however, that the couple can't avoid Rockingham indefinitely. The manner in which Sophie and Jamie finally overcome Rockingham will make some readers raise their eyebrows in disbelief, but the events leading up to their confrontation are compelling. This lush, well-told tale will remind readers why the Highlands are such a popular and superb setting for romance. (Nov.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Publication date:
Sold by:
Sales rank:
File size:
702 KB

Read an Excerpt

The Highlander

By Elaine Coffman


Copyright © 2005 Elaine Coffman
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0778323919

Trust not the horse, O Trojans. Be it what it may, I fear the Grecians even when they offer gifts.

 — Virgil (70-19 B.C.), Roman poet.

Laocoön, from Aeneid, Book 2

Grampian Highlands, northwestern coast of Scotland, autumn 1740

She was not utterly naked. But she was damnably close.

He did not know why he chose to ride along the narrow strip of beach that day, for he usually took the winding track that curled through the rugged granite peaks nearby. Perhaps it was the working of divine providence that sent him cantering over the sand, then caused his horse to rear suddenly and turn sharply away.

Otherwise, he might have ridden right over the woman lying there.

Who was she? he wondered. Some mythological figure escaped from a Renaissance painting — one of the three Horae, perhaps? Clad only in a thin, wet shift, she lay in a cradle of rocks and sand, imbued with melancholic beauty, her body provoking, and yet chastely invisible. Still and pale, she reminded him of an ancient statue — for her beauty could have inspired some venerable sculptor to immortalize her in marble.

Tavish Graham dismounted and walked toward her, puzzled by this mysterious woman. How did she get here?

She had no name and nothing to identify her, nor was there any clue as to where she had come from — nothing, save the shift she wore and the pure lambent reality of cold, naked flesh. Incredibly young, and fair of face, she was slender as a reed, with a body to arouse envy in the female heart, and lust in her counterpart.

She did not move, even when he dropped down on his knees beside her. He put his head to her chest and listened, for he hoped to hear the beating assurance of a heart that said she lived.

He heard nothing.

He dusted the sand away and was about to listen again, when the exquisiteness of her face distracted him. She had a pureness of beauty quite unlike anyone he had seen. It brought to mind the dim, smoky light of taverns, where nudes reclined on canvas, and licentious thoughts were given free rein — to look, to touch, to make advances, or simply to toss the woman over the shoulder and carry her away.

She was far too lovely to die, he thought, as he lifted a bit of seaweed clinging to her pale lips. He inhaled sharply when he saw she was staring at him, as if just awakening from a deep sleep.

Her skin was like ice when he laid a palm along her cheek. "Who are you?" he asked. It was as if she came vividly to life before his eyes, and with elegant hands and masses of chestnut hair she modestly tried to cover her nakedness.

"Have no fear, lass. Ye are safe. I have come to help ye."

He saw a tear roll from her eye. She whispered something inaudible and closed her eyes.

She was not dead, thanks be to God, but she would be soon if he did not get her dry and warm.

He looked around him, but saw no signs of anyone having been here, nor did he see any bits of wreckage that could have come from the ship that went aground the night before.

He knew not where she came from, this nameless beauty shrouded in mystery. He only knew she had not been in the water long, or she would be dead.

Which she would be soon enough, if he did not get her warm.

He was puffing vigorously by the time he wrapped her in his plaid and carried her to his horse and placed her in the saddle. He mounted behind her and pulled her close against him, so the heat from his own body could offset the icy chill in hers.

He turned his horse, ready to continue on his way, when a moment of indecision furrowed his brow.

Where should he take her?

He feared it was too far to take her to his home at Monleigh Castle. With her so wet and cold, he doubted she would make it that far. His only hope was to make it to Danegæld Lodge. His brother Jamie had gone there two days ago to have peace and quiet.

Tavish did not stop to think how Jamie would react to having a half-drowned lass interrupt his quiet retreat, or left in his care. But then, Tavish rarely thought of such things for he was the youngest brother, and the one to use his charm to manipulate others — the one who saw his way as the right way.

Tavish turned his horse toward Danegæld and rode at a gallop, for he knew that soon the cold, dampening fog from the North Sea would begin to creep inland, and it would carry with it a cold chill.

As he rode, he thought about the woman in his arms, and the inexplicable aura that surrounded her. That he did not know her captivated him. He had been away at the university in Edinburgh for most of the past three years, so it was possible a lass or two could have escaped his attention — even one as bonnie as she.

Night descended upon them and the weather turned colder. Tavish pulled the plaid more tightly around her, until only her face and a few wet curls were visible.

"Clk…clk…" He urged his horse forward and kept up a steady pace, riding toward the dark edging of trees in the distance where a stingy moon hid behind the clouds, throwing everything below into deep shadow.

Soon, they began to climb the flanks of the mountains that rose like a buttress against the powerful North Sea, as if commanding the churning waters to come no farther.

The woman stirred and moaned something inaudible. He knew her position was not a comfortable one, but Tavish did not let a thing like pity slow him down. She needed a warm place more than she needed comfort.

Still, the knowledge that she might need soothing did not prevent him from offering a few sparse words of comfort in that awkwardly tender way men sometimes have — gentle words, gruffly spoken. "You are safe now, lass."

Her cold hand fell limply against his and he slowed long enough to tuck it beneath the plaid. Overhead, the moon outran the clouds to illuminate her blue lips, and fell with lifeless color upon a face as pale as ashes.

He could feel the cold numbness of her body reaching out to him through the plaid, and could only hope that some of his own body's warmth would pass into hers, before they both froze. He urged his horse into a faster pace.

The trail was uneven and rough, strewn with large boulders, some so close together there was barely enough room for a horse to pass through.

It slowed their progress, and his horse pricked his ears forward and stepped gingerly over the rocks, made slippery by a heavy mist that descended upon them.

Ahead of them, Tavish saw where the trail took a sharp turn and dropped steeply toward the river. Once they were around that, it would curve away and upward and they would begin to climb again.

"Hold on, lass. "Tis no' so far now."

A soft mist began to scatter droplets about, and he cursed his luck. She was wet enough. Saints above, the last thing she needed was more water.

The track dipped into a narrow ravine, and they rode along the river until they came to a shallow ford. He slowed his horse to cross with the hope no water would splash upon her, adding to her discomfort.

He paused a moment on the other side, hearing only the sound of the harsh breathing of his horse as he watched the steam rising from his wet hide. Tavish felt almost apologetic when he resumed his pace and urged his horse into a gallop along the narrow trail. He was thankful the lass in front of him slept on, for he knew if awake she would be complaining mightily.

Gradually he could feel the warmth beginning to gather between them, and he felt relieved that at least the part where their bodies touched was losing its chill. He tried to shift his position, but the lass was all dead weight.

"Och, yer a hard one to budge," he said, not really realizing he had spoken aloud until he heard her reply.

"Where are you taking me?"

Her voice was soft, and her accent went straight to his groin. Seductive as hell, it was. He glanced down at her, almost too astonished to answer.

"What difference does it make? You should be glad to go anywhere, as long as it is dry."


Excerpted from The Highlander by Elaine Coffman Copyright © 2005 by Elaine Coffman. 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.

Meet the Author

Elaine Coffman is the New York Times bestselling author of eighteen novels, which have been published worldwide and won numerous awards. She lives in Austin, Texas, where she is working on her next novel. Visit

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

The Highlander 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous 6 months ago
Two stars is all i can give this one. Characters were mostly one dimensional. Irritatingly so, entirely too much time was devoted to describing main male character's lust, manhood and what he'd do to the wench in bed. boring.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nothing much happened.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Genevieve54 More than 1 year ago
What i did not like in this book was that it was full of sexual desires. They have only met for few hours(i mean REALLY few hours) but they were already driven out of sexual desires. They start thinking of each other with sexual intentions in their minds far too soon in my opinions. Secondly, they spent time together[i think half of the book] without interacting with anyone else. I would have love to see them interact with other people aside from Jamie's family. Third, the author could have shown us Sophie and Jamie interact with one another in front of other people. After the part where they arrived at Monleigh Castle, Jamie and Sophie only spoke with one another alone or even if they did, it was quite short without really showing their feelings. I would have loved it if they showed their affection in front of other people.... Fourth, i don't get why Jamie over i mean REALLY overreacted with the fact that Sophie's a Bourbon. To even go as far as to lock her up? i know she lied but she had a really good reason to lie but i feel as though the author made him overreact simply to create a situation(she could have done better) And after starving herself for 6 days because she would not eat the food that belongs to him, she still makes love to him after some few exchange of sentences? She should at least have been more feisty. Threatening to stab him with a shaking hand was quite...unconvincing... Fifth, i do not understand Rockingham's case. He was a brute at the first meeting but he seems enamored to Sophie. I only hated him when he and Sophie finally met[when he slapped and embarrassed her] but after that he was fine. i know he wants to use her to become the king of England but i don't see why he was referred as a really really hated man throughout the book. I read the passages after Sophie first showed up for a dinner; he seemed nice. the way the author wrote, "her smile dazzled him, just had her beauty the first time he first saw her. that she was here now, in his home, under his supervision and coming willingly with him left him feeling like a schoolboy". In my opinion, these words belong to a lover instead of someone soo hated. I thought this was extremely sweet and cute. Also another line, "the door closed behind her but he remained in place for a moment longer until the scent of her perfume vanished". These are a lovers line instead, right? but the author uses it for a villain anyway... six, she could have informed us how old there are!!!! I know Jamie's 29 but what about Sophie and Rockingham? jamie said Arabella's last visit in the Lodge was when she was 14 but Arabella said that she hasn't been at the Lodge since last year. So Arabella's 15? So Sophie is between 16 to what? They are supposed to be really close age. but what about Rockingham? Is he an old fart or right around Jamie's age?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I've read and I read at least three a week. You won't be disappointed. Beautiful story...sensual and touching with images that will stay in your mind. Exceptional read....
Guest More than 1 year ago
Once I picked up this book and started reading it, I couldn't put it down. It draws you in w/the first sentence and keeps you wanting more when the last one is read. I loved it! It was fast moving and never slowed down. The characters were wonderful and you felt all the emotions and termoil by the authors telling.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This exhilarating tale weaves in suspense, romance, action, mystery, jealousy and completely pulls you into the book. This has to be one of the most enrapturing tales I've ever had. I finished it in 7 hours and then gave it another reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In 1740 Scotland, Tavish Graham finds the unconscious, almost naked, body of a beautiful woman. He knew with the cold fog coming that he did not have enough time to take the half drowned lass to the family castle. Instead he travels to the nearby Danegaeld Lodge, his grandfather¿s abode where currently his brother, James, the Earl of Monleigh and chief of Clan Graham, has gone to for some rest.

The French lass Sophie d'Alembert fears her strange surroundings as much as she is frightened of her host. She hides from James her true identity as the granddaughter of French King Louis XIV and that she is a pawn being used to marry the abominable English Duke of Rockingham. As James and Sophie become acquainted, they fall in love though he believes she hides much of the truth from him and she feels guilty for doing so. Although she soon trusts him, Sophie fails to reveal who she is before James learns the identity of her grandfather. Now he does not trust the woman he was willing to risk the wrath of two kings to keep at his side.

Eighteenth century Scottish romance readers will want to peruse THE HIGHLANDER, an exciting tale that never slows down from the moment Tavish finds a seemingly dead Sophie on the shore. Though the setting has been over used, the French lass provides freshness as her apparently more cultured society clashes with the rugged Highland lifestyle. James and Sophie are a delightful duo struggling between a growing love vs. duty and secrets, which means that fans will enjoy Elaine Coffman¿s latest historical.

Harriet Klausner

Guest More than 1 year ago
Tavish Graham thinks he has found a dead woman when he finds a naked form lying in his way. However, Sophie d'Almbert is very much alive and intriguing. She is also a problem he does not want, so he turns her over to his brother James, the Earl of Monleigh. James is not as put off by the lovely foreigner as his brother. Rather, he finds himself all too attracted to her. Since her memory is apparently gone though, for all he knows, she is a commoner, too lowly to even consider marrying. Even if she were high born, Sophie is not the woman he is engaged to marry. She might make a suitable mistress, and that is an idea that appeals to him greatly. ................ Sophie hides her secrets behind the cloak of amnesia. She is not a low born woman, but a member of the French Royal family, on the run from an unwanted marriage. Her fiance is hot on her heels and Sophie might have to sacrifice herself to him to save the people who have given her refuge and love. ................... *** Daring escapes and mystery fill this book. James and Sophie share a passion that defies all practical considerations. Not only that, but Ms. Coffman creates a panorama of secondary characers who could easily continue her saga. ***
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was one of the best romance book I have ever read. It takes to places. It was trully amazing.