The Highlander's Dangerous Temptation (Harlequin Historical Series #1162)

( 10 )

Overview

SHE IS SIN PERSONIFIED…

Cursed by past tragedies, notorious Highlander Laird Athdar MacCallum has devoted himself to leading his people—and has vowed never to marry again. Until he is utterly disarmed by the innocent beauty in the eyes of Isobel Ruriksdottir…

Isobel is drawn to the vulnerability she senses behind the fearsome facade of the clan chief. But with his formidable reputation, he is strictly ...

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The Highlander's Dangerous Temptation (Harlequin Historical Series #1162)

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Overview

SHE IS SIN PERSONIFIED…

Cursed by past tragedies, notorious Highlander Laird Athdar MacCallum has devoted himself to leading his people—and has vowed never to marry again. Until he is utterly disarmed by the innocent beauty in the eyes of Isobel Ruriksdottir…

Isobel is drawn to the vulnerability she senses behind the fearsome facade of the clan chief. But with his formidable reputation, he is strictly forbidden. Being together can only lead them into danger, yet the temptation to risk all for their perilous passion is impossible to ignore.

Don't miss the next installment in The MacLerie Clan miniseries, Yield to the Highlander by Terri Brisbin! Available now from Harlequin Historical!

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780373297627
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 10/22/2013
  • Series: Harlequin Historical Series , #1162
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 385,334
  • Product dimensions: 4.40 (w) x 6.64 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

Terri Brisbin is married to one, mother of three, and dental hygienist of hundreds in the southern NJ area. A three-time RWA RITA® finalist, Terri has been writing romance fiction since 1995 and has had more than 22 historical and paranormal romance novels, novellas and short stories published since then 1998. You can visit Terri at her website: www.terribrisbin.com for more info about her current, past and upcoming works and events.

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Read an Excerpt

Lairig Dubh, Scotland—AD 1375

'Look! Look! There he is.'

The excited whisper drew Isobel's attention. Her friend Cora rarely took notice of the opposite sex, so this was something different, something special. She turned to see who her friend was watching.

Athdar MacCallum, brother of the laird's wife Joc-elyn, strode through the yard, heading for the keep. From the decisive way he walked, looking neither right nor left, he had business with the laird and would not be slowed from his task. Still, he was a fine-looking man to gaze upon.

'He is leaving to return home,' she said. At Cora's questioning frown, she nodded. 'My father mentioned it this morn.'

'Will he be here for the evening meal, do you think?' Cora asked, watching her closely for her reply.

Isobel wanted to show her excitement much as Cora did, but she held back. If she showed her interest in Athdar, word would make it back to her father and then trouble would begin. Just mentioning his name usually caused her father to look extremely bothered. And bothered was not something she, or anyone, wanted her father to be.

The half-Norse, half-Scottish natural son of the Earl of Orkney did not suffer fools easily and at some time in the past, before even her birth, Athdar had done something very foolish and her father would never let it go. It mattered not that Athdar had been young and tended towards brash acts. It mattered not that he had suffered for his misjudgement. And it mattered not that the result had brought Jocelyn MacCallum to Lairig Dubh as the laird's wife. All that mattered to her father was that Athdar's character was lacking then and possibly still. Isobel turned away from the path and faced Cora.

'I know not, Cora. I do not keep watch over his comings and goings.'

Though she would if she could.

As Isobel had watched her various cousins being matched and married these last couple of years and as she'd reached what she considered a marriageable age, the only man who had caught her attention was Athdar. Oh, it had nothing to do with his strong, muscled body or his piercing brown eyes or the way his long, brown hair framed the masculine angles of his face. Dabbing at the perspiration on her forehead with the back of her hand, Isobel realised she'd noticed his physical attributes much too much!

There was also the fact that he intrigued her. Always respectful of her, he spoke to her as though she had a mind and did not shy away from her as all the other men did. Someone who would stand up to her father was not a bad thing. He was a fair and competent man, according to the earl. Compassionate, according to his sister.

And Isobel could sense the pervasive sadness that lived within him and it called to something deep within her soul—she needed to be the one who gave him solace. Rather than drive or scare her away from him, it appealed to her. She shivered now as she glanced at him again.

Cora noticed her reaction, for her friend squinted and stared at her face. Then the girl smiled and nodded.

'I think you are not so unaffected as you want me to believe, Isobel.'

'Cora, he is kin through my father,' she offered, hoping Cora would allow the issue to settle. Wiping her damp hands on her gown, she tossed her hair over her shoulders and took her friend's hand. 'Come, we have tasks to see to before dinner, whether Athdar attends or not.'

That had been a near thing. Her friend wisely let the subject drop though the man walked half the yard ahead of them as they also headed for the keep. Her mother was attending Lady Jocelyn in the solar and that gave her the reason to follow him inside. Her heart raced in her chest and she tried to keep the anticipation of speaking to him under control…and she might have if someone had not called out his name from behind her. Athdar paused and turned to see who had called out to him. As he did that, his gaze, those intense, brown eyes, fell on her.

Any attempt to continue to behave as though his attention was usual or customary in her life dissolved away when he winked and then smiled at her. She stopped where she stood and tried to remember to breathe. Cora had not been looking so she continued forwards a step or two before realising she'd left Isobel behind. Isobel forced a breath in and out and then glanced back, returning his smile. She was trying to think of something pithy to say to him when Ranald brushed by and stepped between them.

'I am working in the practice yard, Dar,' Ranald called out. 'Come there when ye finish with the laird.'

Isobel watched as Athdar waved to Ranald, nodded his agreement and then turned to enter the keep. Ranald greeted both of them and then went back to the yard. Cora's gaze followed his every step until Isobel cleared her throat to gain her attention. The blush that crept up her friend's cheeks must be similar to the one she could yet feel heating her own. She waved her friend along, not commenting on Ranald's obvious appeal to Cora.

As they entered and walked the corridor to the lady's solar, Isobel decided that she would find a way to watch the two men practice in the yard later. Surely Cora would accompany her on her mission.

Athdar swore under his breath as he walked ahead of the two young women into the dark stone keep to find his brother-by-marriage. He had to meet with Connor and several of his advisors over changes to their plans. As he nodded to those he knew, he cursed himself for his stupidity. Smiling and winking at Isobel? Truly, he was wanting in the head to do such a thing in front of others.

Nay, to do such a thing at all.

Isobel was Rurik's daughter and if Rurik learned of any attention paid by him to her the man would have his head…or nether parts! He'd already faced death at Rurik's hands once before and he never intended to do that again, not even for the lovely Isobel.

Damn his eyes, but she was a beauty! He'd watched as she'd grown from gangly girl to this stunning young woman of confidence and intelligence. Her parents had seen her educated as most of those in the MacLeries' immediate families were. And like many of the other girls and women, they had been encouraged to know and speak their minds. Most unusual, he knew, but here in his brother-by-marriage's keep and village it all seemed the norm.

He sought the chamber that Connor used as a workroom and found him there with several others he knew. As they began their discussion, Athdar found his thoughts distracted by a heart-shaped face surrounded by pale blond curls and the blue-green eyes that were ever filled with merriment when they met his. And the full, pink lips that tempted him to madness. His body went along with these thoughts and reacted in surprising manner. Athdar shifted in his chair, gaining Connor's attention.

'Are you well?' Connor asked, offering him a cup of wine.

'I am,' he replied, taking a mouthful of wine to give him a moment to focus his thoughts on the business at hand and not on the lovely and forbidden Isobel. 'About the preparations for winter?'

Try as he might, even as Connor went back to explaining their plans, and his clan's part in them, Athdar thought about Isobel.

And the fruitlessness of any interest he might have in her.

Glancing around the chamber and realising that most of those there were happily married, he felt the heartache pierce through him as it always did.

Happy, he might be, but married he would never be again.

The disasters of his previous marriages and the most recent betrothal had made his decision for him—he would not subject any woman to the dangers of marrying him.

Especially not the lovely Isobel.

The tragedies of his past would haunt his every day and night, but he would not risk someone as precious and vibrant as her to the chance that he was truly cursed.

Some would laugh and call him foolish. People died. Women died, especially in childbirth or such manner. But then they would recall that he'd lost two wives to death, a betrothed to an accident and two possible wives to the fear of all that would befall them if their fathers agreed to matches with him.

So, in spite of any desire he had to find a wife and have a family as these men had, Athdar understood that the fates stood against him. Standing and walking to the window, he listened and replied to Connor from there.

As though his thoughts had conjured her up, Rurik's daughter passed into his view as she walked through the yard in the direction of the practice yards. She and her friend had their heads close together, conspiring no doubt on some feminine matter, as they laughed and glanced at the men practising their fighting skills. He emptied the cup and placed it on the nearby tray.

'I will accept your invitation to stay for a few days, Connor.' He strode towards the door, ignoring any questioning glances. 'I must check with my man about some of the supplies we need.'

'Your sister is in her solar, Dar,' Connor said.

'I will seek her out later.' Lifting the latch on the door, he pulled it open. 'I will return shortly.'

His feet led him outside before he could consider how strange his behaviour was. Something, someone drew him as though a rope connected him with…her. When he realised his dangerous actions—dangerous to his own well-being and hers—he slowed down and sought Ranald instead.

A good fight might beat this madness out of him. It might make him remember his reasons for being here. And his reasons for avoiding marriage completely.

His plan almost worked, too, until he heard Isobel gasp out his name as he landed face first in the dirt from a well-aimed punch. How was he ever going to ignore her when every fibre of his body and soul wanted to claim her?

'Rurik thinks to marry her elsewhere.'

Connor stepped closer, watching the scene in the yard from above—in his favourite place and standing behind his beloved Jocelyn. He leaned nearer, placing his arms on each side of where she stood, and inhaled the scent of whatever she used to wash her hair. His body grew hard just thinking about her…taking a bath…naked. Shaking his head, he laughed at the ever-present temptation she presented to him, regardless of their decades-long marriage and age.

'Has he finally realised she is of age to marry?' Jocelyn asked, turning into his arms. 'He has resisted for a long time.'

'Two offers have come in recently. We discussed them at length which forced him to accept that it is time.'

'And you support these matches?' she asked. A hint of something—suspicion? sarcasm?—entered her voice as she asked.

Connor laughed. 'Is the game on then, wife?' Kissing her, he watched as her eyes lit with mischief. 'So it is, then.'

He released her and looked over the side of the battlements down to the yard. Her brother had left their meeting abruptly and now he fought with one of the younger warriors, Ranald, before a shouting and cheering crowd. Even from this distance, Connor could read the distraction in Dar's fighting style. And, if he was right, he knew the person causing it.

'He notices her.' He felt Jocelyn tense and waited for her to object to his guess. 'Rurik will not be happy.'

'Athdar has sworn not to marry again,' Jocelyn whispered as they watched her brother losing control of the match below. 'He keeps so much pain within himself.'

Connor remained silent then, knowing that it could be telling their own story again—the pain, the refusal to marry, the inability to hope that love could be within their grasp until it was nearly too late. Only the woman before him had saved his soul and his heart from eternal darkness.

'Rurik has hopes she will settle her heart elsewhere, and that's without Dar's name being mentioned.'

'I did not think Rurik one to hold a grudge for so very long,' Jocelyn said, facing him once more and searching his face. 'It was so long ago and Athdar was so young. And it was only an insult, not an attack.'

'You have not involved yourself with Dar's affairs before. Why take up this challenge now?' he asked. He was trying to figure out if this would indeed become their next matchmaking challenge.

'It was not my place, Connor. I had accepted that,' she said, as sadness filled her voice.

'Had?' That was not good.

'I see the longing in his gaze at gatherings. He wants what we have. He wants a wife, bairns. Love. He wants it and yet he fears taking another chance.'

'So mayhap you should leave him to making that decision?' It could not hurt to nudge his beloved in the right direction. 'He is a chief now, with responsibilities. I do not think he would take it well to know you plot about him.' Hoping that was enough to push her away from making this attraction between Dar and Isobel more than that, he added, 'I have to see to things. I will see you at table?'

She smiled, acquiesced even, but he knew in his soul that she would not turn her efforts from a possible match between her brother and Rurik's daughter. And there would be hell to pay on all sides if that happened. He did not have the time to make her see the folly and danger in her choice, but he would see to it later. This night. In their chambers.

'Until then,' she whispered, reaching up on her toes to touch their mouths together.

He watched the seductive sway of her hips as she walked away and realised she'd not denied that she would pursue a match. Outplayed once more by desire for his wife, Connor cursed under his breath and walked away in the other direction. He needed to have a conversation with Rurik.

Or mayhap not.

For, once fired up, the commander of all his troops was formidable even for him. Mayhap this time he would hold back and see how this all played out?

With thoughts of what would await him in his bedchamber tempting him, Connor walked off to find someone to fight. It was a good way to clear his mind and sharpen his wits. And if his wife and the other mothers had decided on a match, he and the other fathers would need their wits about them.

From the smug expression that lay across her lovely face as she turned from him, he knew that even his wits might not win this battle.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2014

    Dull and draggy.......................................................

    A vibrant warm compassionate young girl falls in love with a whiny depressed middle aged man. Her father thinks she can do better. He's right.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2013

    I would recommend this book. It's a different story line from t

    I would recommend this book. It's a different story line from the run-of-the-mill and I liked it. Read from NetGallery

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 4, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I love a good Scottish story. I guess it's because that's the on

    I love a good Scottish story. I guess it's because that's the only way I'll get there. I have read other stories by Teri and this one is equally good. This was a bit different as there were no battles between clans just y father and his daughter's choice of husbands. This was interesting as Athdar blacked out a trauma from his past. Isobel is furious that she wants to help and he refuses her help. Isobel finds the answer but it is up to Athdar  to man up. I liked this book. It is a quick read kind of story but doesn't leave anything out. There is lots of action to keep everyone satisfied. I will be looking for other books by this author. Enjoy!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 31, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Guest Reviewer/Kimberly & posted at Under the Co

    Reviewed by Guest Reviewer/Kimberly & posted at Under the Covers Book Blog

    Since a tragedy that happened in his youth, Laird Athdar MacCallum has vowed never to wed after his heart breaking loss of two wives and a betrothed. How much can one man take? His life is bereft with mishaps and nightmares of a past he cannot remember. Still, he is a strong leader with a conscience and his people’s trust is paramount to the leader.

    Enter Isobel Ruriksdottir, beautiful, intelligent and innocent, but attracted to the mystery of Athdar MacCallum. Athdar takes notice of the beauty of Isobel but attempts to put aside his attraction to her due to the fact that her father Rurik is not a fan of his combined with black cloud that seems to hover over him and all that he loves. Isobel will have no part of that however. This lady is determined to get what she wants, even if it puts her in danger.

    When Isobel sees the inner turmoil that her Athdar deals with, she must help him overcome his past so he can leave himself open to a brighter future even when outside forces exist that want Athdar’s downfall still after so many years. When she realizes that it’s not a black cloud that hovers, but revenge in the flesh that wants his downfall, Isobel will do what she must to save her love.

    Yet another great read by Terri Brisbin, The Highlander’s Dangerous Temptation is a whirlwind of mystery and romance. Both Athdar and Isobel are such likable characters with so much emotion to share. This time it’s the hero who is the stubborn one and the young Isobel who has the brains and the wherewithal to persevere. I truly enjoyed this book and always look forward to Terri Brisbin’s Scotttish Historicals, which are always keepers on my romance shelves.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 23, 2013

    Athdar is a man scarred by tragedy and afraid to let his guard d

    Athdar is a man scarred by tragedy and afraid to let his guard down to love once again. That is until he realises that the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed perky Isobel is now of a marrying age. Of course he is thinking more on the lines of her being bedable, doable and scrumptiously lovable. It is such a shame that her father doesn't really like Athdar, which makes the lovely Isobel persona-non-toucha.
    Fortunately for him this female has her own mind, game plan and  strategy to get Athdar to notice her. She isn't exactly 'sin personified' as described in the blurb though. More like innocent nymphet fumbling around in the dark.
    The story had a good pace and I am glad to say it didn't suffer from any hyped up steamy scenes or cheesy dialogue, which is often the case with these type of stories.
    It also had the added bonus of a mystery on top of this historical romance. Overall it was good read that ticked all the boxes.
    I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2014

    Recommend

    This is a good story. Athdar, the brother of Jocelyn MacLarie has been married two times both wives have died and then his next betrothed dies as well. He says he will never marry again. His sister has made it her mission to see him married and have a family. He becomes attracted to Isobel she is only 18 and he is 37 but she too is attracted to him. There are many twists and turns in this book which I found intriguing. Terri Brisbin is the champion at Highlander novels. JM

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2014

    Velvet

    She approced quietly as her dress slid over the ground "hello david im supposed to take him to the castle " she said pointing at the slave

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2014

    David

    No

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  • Posted October 28, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** The Highland

    ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***




    The Highlander's Dangerous Temptation by Terri Brisbin
    Book Seven of the MacLeries series
    Publisher: Harlequin
    Publication Date: October 22, 2013
    Rating: 4 stars
    Source: eARC from NetGalley




    ***Warning: this is an adult book, and for the eyes of mature readers***




    Summary (from Goodreads):




    Cursed by past tragedies, notorious Highlander Laird Athdar MacCallum has devoted himself to leading his people - and has vowed never to marry again. Until he is utterly disarmed by the innocent beauty in the eyes of Isobel Ruriksdottir….




    Isobel is drawn to the vulnerability she senses behind the fearsome facade of the clan chief. But with his formidable reputation, he is strictly forbidden. Being together can only lead them into danger, yet the temptation to risk all for their perilous passion is impossible to ignore.




    What I Liked:




    Two adult romance reads in a row! Go me, right? I'm on a roll with these adult books. Not that the Young Adult books are getting boring - they so are NOT - but it's refreshing to read something different, something... undiluted. No twisted romance plots or love triangles or anything like that.




    This story is no exception - in fact, it was quite different from what I was expecting. The romance did not follow the usual timeline that I have mapped out in my head, when reading historical romance novels (and romance novels in general). But that turned out to be a good thing!




    Most romance novels start in the same way. A male and female either meet each other, or already have met, and there is some immediate chemistry between the two of them. In this story, Athdar and Isobel know each other - or at least, they have met before, and their families know each other. Athdar is quite a few years older than Isobel, but Brisbin has a way of weaving the story so that it doesn't seem so strange. Remember, men and women did that all the time in history. Older men married young women. 




    Anyway, as it turns out, both of them are totally attracted to each other. And one character, Athdar's sister, seizes an opportunity to throw Athdar and Isobel together. Athdar's sister (Jocelyn), Isobel, and Isobel's mother travel to Athdar's keep, to get some herbs from the healer at Athdar's keep. More importantly, Jocelyn wants Isobel and Athdar to become better acquainted.




    Well, one thing leads to another, and suddenly, Athdar and Isobel are married. WOAH, right? That's at only 50% of the story! I couldn't believe it! Usually, in historical romance novels, the two protagonists don't get married until the end of the book, or close to the end. Well, halfway throughout this story, Athdar and Isobel get married. 




    The first part of the story deals with Isobel and Athdar falling in loves. Brisbin does a beautiful job of putting these two together, of making them fall in love, in a progressive but timely manner. Like, the relationship grows steadily, but as readers, we know time passes. That's nice.




    Then they get married. Then they adjust to being married - which is a tad bit funny, because both of them feel awkward, for one reason or the other. The final "big" part of the story deals with a condition that Athdar has. He blacks out at times, and doesn't remember this one event in his childhood - one event that changed everything, and affects his immediate future.




    Thus, we come to the climax. An interesting climax, especially when the two major plot lines merge. Isobel's father arrives, and Athdar's past catches up to him. Fret not, because the ending is still a great ending. But this book has an actual climax, with danger directed towards the male protagonist AND the female protagonist. Another interesting thing.




    I really enjoyed this story, you all. Not just because of its interesting differences, but because it was a genuinely great story! I love historical fiction, and ESPECIALLY medieval fiction, and I think that Brisbin did an excellent job with bringing across the medieval aspect of this story, without drowning readers in historical information or linguistics. All in all, a pretty awesome story!




    What I Did Not Like:




    The only thing that bothered me (and it really didn't bother me *too* much) was how Brisbin brought about Athdar's condition. I could see that she was trying to slip it in progressively, but I feel like the majority of the information about the condition was thrown at readers. Like, subtle hints were made throughout the story, but the condition itself was brought about quickly, sort of rushed, towards the end.




    The beginning is all about the chase, the challenge, the chemistry. But the remaining 35% (ish) dealt with Athdar's condition. To me, it could have been more spread out. It would have made the summary more believable - because the entire time, I was trying to figure out what the conflict would be, besides Isobel's father Rurik going crazy about his daughter staying alone at Athdar's keep.




    Would I Recommend It:




    I think yes! Yes, I would. If you're a fan of historical romance novels, then I definitely think you want to read this one! Don't miss it. And even if you're a fan of contemporary romance, this book is easy on the history and information dump. It's not bad, especially for people who don't like history or think that history is boring. This is a good read, for any romance fan!




    Rating:




    4 stars. An enjoyable historical romance read! I really liked this book, and its unique plot, and fresh perspective on Highlanders. I really should go back and read the previous books in this series!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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