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To Wed A Highlander

To Wed A Highlander

4.2 458
by Michele Sinclair

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Makenna Dunstan has never needed a man’s protection before. But when her father’s failing health places the safety of the clan in her hands, she has no choice but to marry Colin McTiernay. Fearing the emotions Colin awakens within her, she finds herself succumbing too easily to his lingering kisses and warm



Makenna Dunstan has never needed a man’s protection before. But when her father’s failing health places the safety of the clan in her hands, she has no choice but to marry Colin McTiernay. Fearing the emotions Colin awakens within her, she finds herself succumbing too easily to his lingering kisses and warm caresses. Yet she wonders if she can truly trust this highlander who is quickly stealing her heart…


A highlander from birth, Colin McTiernay knows the Dunstan clan dislikes him, especially the laird’s youngest daughter. But he is determined to save the lowlanders from their enemies even if that means marrying the willful and impetuous Makenna. Taming this fierce tigress will be a challenge that Colin is confident he can meet by seducing Makenna—and tantalizing her with a passion that will only leave her begging for more…

Praise for Michele Sinclair and The Highlander Bride

"Sensual and humorous, a winning combination that everyone can enjoy." --Hannah Howell, New York Times bestselling author

"Readers will be satisfied with her feisty heroine and alpha male hero, who engages in a battle of wills guaranteed to delight." --Romantic Times

Product Details

Publication date:
McTiernay Brothers Series , #2
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Penguin Random House Publisher Services
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722 KB

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To Wed a Highlander
By Michele Sinclair
ZEBRA BOOKS Copyright © 2008 C. Michele Peach
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4201-0014-3

Chapter One Lochlen Castle, Scottish Borders, 1309

"Enough!" bellowed the old laird as he rose stiffly from his chair. His commanding voice belied the weakness of his slow-moving body, as did his brightly lit green eyes. His thick hair, which had once been a dark red, was now a beautiful silver gray barely reaching his shoulders.

Emerald shards of frustration and aggravation lashed out at the two seething figures in his dayroom. Both remained unaffected by his looks of fury. They were too obstinate to realize that his toleration of their mutual detestation had vanished. No longer could they avoid the inevitable.

Alexander clamped his jaws together as a shot of fire coursed through his chest. The pains were becoming more frequent-and more powerful. His time left was limited, and before he died, he vowed his clan would be in the hands of the one man who could ensure its survival.

He glared at the powerful highlander towering motionless near the hearth, and then slid his gaze toward the obstinate redhead across the room. Her jaw was clenched and her hands were clasped behind her back as she paced furiously back and forth across the planked floor. Neither of them was any closer to conceding.

In two strides, Alexander was in front of the hearth and met the fierce gaze of two bright cobalt eyes intense with controlled emotion. Alexander Dunstan knew he was considered a large man by his Lowland peers and had often used his height to intimidate those who had raised his ire. However, the idea of his imposing figure affecting Colin McTiernay was ludicrous. The man was a giant even among Highlanders. And while Alexander would never admit it aloud to anyone, he usually avoided being in situations in which he had to look up at his sonin- law. However, right now, the anger, fear, and frustration boiling in his blood made him oblivious of Colin's towering stature.

"Pride!" Alexander growled. "Aye, your damned, maddening, and unreasonable pride! It prevents you both from accepting what must be." Refusing to wince as the burning pressure in his chest strengthened, he returned to the comfortable, oversized chair situated in the middle of the room.

He sank into the well-worn leather cushions hoping the man he had learned to trust above all others would now trust him. Alexander knew his people disliked outsiders, but he also knew that given time, they would follow and respect the Highlander. Colin was one of those rare men a laird was lucky enough to meet, let alone welcome as family. He was a highly skilled soldier, but even more important, Colin's ability to train and create unbreakable bonds with his men made him an exceptional leader. Loyal, strong, and fair, the Highlander was Alexander's undeniable choice to lead his proud people. But, more than that, Colin was the only one who could save them.

Alexander shifted his gaze to the slim athletic woman with the fiery red mane and flashing clover-green eyes. There was no doubt she was his daughter. Her long, wild, slightly curly hair matched the color of his youth. Her eyes were both proud and compelling, and her unconventional demeanor reflected more of himself than any son he might have had. But, right now, his youngest daughter's willfulness was going to destroy not only her future happiness but also that of everyone and everything she loved.

Makenna Dunstan was not exactly ignoring her father, but whenever the Highlander was in sight, her heart raced and her blood boiled. She stopped pacing, crossed her arms, and stared defiantly at her fate looming over the hearth. She then looked at her father and shook her head firmly no, hoping to exhibit the inflexibility of her decision.

Alexander closed his eyes and after a few moments reopened them. "I love you, Áille, but your pride will give you no lasting joy," he cautioned her solemnly.

Makenna increased the grip she had on her arms. Her father's special epithet for her-most beautiful-had not masked the seriousness of his comment. He fully expected her to be at the chapel tomorrow, in front of everyone, and do the impossible. She would not bend. She could not bend ... not on this.

She marched over and knelt by her father's chair. "Your affections will not dissuade me, Father. I openly admit to my pride. It has given me self-respect and a sense of value. And with my pride, I can promise you I will never marry that overbearing bully of a giant," Makenna huffed, locking eyes with her oversized nemesis. She rose slowly. "He might have convinced my sister to marry him, but he will never convince me."

Colin clutched the timber portion of the hearth's mantel so tightly he could feel the wood begin to give beneath his fingertips. Makenna Dunstan was by far the most infuriating woman in all of Scotland, and despite her impassioned claim, it was he who was refusing to marry her. "I also have my pride, woman, and it does not include latching myself to a female who refuses to know her place. I want a wife who can maintain a keep, not see it go to ruin as she rides wild on her horse trying to be a man she can never be." Colin's voice was level and soft, but its impact was just as strong as if he roared the words aloud.

He watched as a slim hand calmly smoothed back loose wisps of curly red hair. The action revealed insolent jade pools framed by long dark lashes. The woman was like unrestrained fire, constantly challenging him on everything. It mattered little to her what her father wanted or what her four older sisters encouraged. She had been allowed to indulge in her peculiar interests for too long. She had never learned how to be a woman, let alone a wife.

Makenna refused to turn away from his cold gaze. She would not give him the satisfaction.

Colin was unmistakably a Highlander, and definitely a McTiernay with his giant build, dark brown hair, bright blue eyes, and stubborn jawline. When Colin married her sister, he had entered the Dunstan home and consequently Makenna's life. Within weeks, he had started banning her from the few activities that gave her confidence. Even though she was better at them than most men and had been doing them for years, he deemed them unsafe for a woman. Now, for almost two years, she had been forbidden to hunt wild boar or any other beast he deemed to be dangerous. She was never to ride alone, and he had prohibited her from training with his soldiers. One by one, Colin McTiernay had stripped away her favorite pastimes, and all with the blessing of the one person who had previously championed her unusual diversions-her father. She would never marry the dictatorial colossus, tomorrow or any other day.

Makenna released the back of the leather chair, swung around, and begun pacing again. Her father had had enough? Well, she was also done with this conversation. For weeks, she had felt like a caged animal being pressured into a binding agreement that would eventually steal her sanity. Despite her stream of vocal refusals, her father had moved forward inducing her older sisters, Ula and Rona, to plan the wedding. Every local laird had been invited, and most had come. Tomorrow they would all be disappointed.

Makenna took several intakes of breath, determined to maintain her composure. "I cannot do as you ask, Father. I am not ready to pledge myself to any man, but I especially won't to this one. Deirdre might have loved him, and I have never fathomed why. I don't disagree that he can lead men and rebuild our battle strength. I will even admit that he should continue to train our soldiers, but I just cannot marry him. I will only make us both miserable, and that cannot be good for anyone, including our clan."

Shocked by her flattering admission of his abilities, Colin was too stunned to do anything more than stare at her. Never before had Makenna acknowledged his skills or supported his efforts to reestablish the Dunstan army. Outside of his soldiers and Alexander, no one had verbally recognized what he had accomplished. He was about to say as much when Alexander indicated with a flicker of his fingers for him to remain silent.

Alexander understood his youngest daughter's reluctance. Marrying a Highlander would be difficult, and promising oneself to a McTiernay would be even harder. Their enormous size, dark looks, and cool blue eyes made even the most composed of men sweat. But marrying the husband of her dead sister? It was a near impossible thing to ask. Near.

"I have heard your pleas, Makenna. I have catered to your rebellious ways for too long and now that I require you to act not only for yourself, but for others, you refuse me."

Makenna winced. "Father, it is not for me, but for this clan that I refuse."

Alexander's eyes narrowed and he attacked her declaration. "It is for you. And even your sister, who watches you from above, knows it. Do not pretend otherwise. Accept for once that I know what is best and lean on my judgment. For if you do not, it will be my cousin who decides this clan's fate-as well as your own."

Alexander shifted his focus to Colin. "I have heard your excuses as well." He saw the swift turn of his son-in-law's head and the burning fire smoldering in the cobalt depths of his eyes. The man had complete control of his actions, and though Colin outwardly appeared calm and collected, Alexander knew he was suppressing his instinct to draw blood. Alexander also knew his words had to strike hard to achieve his goal. He had no more time to wait. "Aye, I said excuses, Colin. Deirdre died nine months ago, and she loved you, son, but she would not have wanted you to live this way-constantly driving yourself and the men. You have a decision to make. Keep your pride and return to your Highlands or finish what you started here. Make your choice. You're out of time."

Alexander rotated in his seat and leveled his eyes on his youngest daughter. She stared back undaunted. He had often felt enormous pride in her ability to remain staunch in her convictions. Too many times his delight with her willful behavior had resulted in him giving way to her unorthodox desires. Now she was the only one of his five daughters unmarried. "And you, my Áille, keep your pride as well, but learn to be lonely. For one day, possibly very soon, you will no longer have me to applaud your unusual accomplishments. And whom will you have then? You claim you desire no man, but I put forth that what you have always wanted was for someone to accept you, be proud of you, and love you. I have given you this, but still you want more. Someday you will realize that what you seek needs to be offered by a man, a real man, not one of the malleable ògans who follow you about professing their awe at your skills. Go and prepare yourself for a sad and solitary life, daughter."

Alexander watched a visibly shaken Makenna absorb his words. More softly, he added, "Colin is right, Makenna. You have little knowledge about being a proper wife, but you could learn." He paused and waited until she looked at him. "What a man seeks most in a wife you have to give in abundance. That I promise. You just must first learn to trust in him and in yourself."

He leaned back against the cushions. "And, Colin, despite your year with my Deirdre, you learned very little about being a good husband. Aye, I know the truth. Remember, she was my firstborn, and I knew her for almost six and twenty years before she finally chose you for a husband. Do you know how many she had turned down before you asked for her hand? Do you know why she desired you above all others? Aye, it might have been love, for indeed, she did love you, but she knew even before I did that you could save our people. She waited to marry until she found someone who could do just that. If you choose to leave, her desires for her clan will have been for naught." Alexander watched the deep blue of the Highlander's eyes grow darker.

Colin stood silent for several moments before moving toward the large dark walnut door and pushing it open. He stopped his exit halfway into the passage's outer stone corridor. Gravely, he pivoted and declared quietly, "This isn't what I wanted, Alexander."

Green eyes weakened by pain and loss captured the blue ones of the man Alexander had learned to trust and lean upon. "I know," Alexander replied, "but it has to be. Either you and Makenna marry tomorrow or you leave. Both of you, go now and make peace with your decision."

Alexander closed his eyes and listened to his daughter's light retreating footsteps followed by Colin's heavier ones. Two years ago, when his eldest daughter had announced her decision to marry the second eldest of the famous McTiernays, he never dreamed he would select Colin to be the next laird of his clan. Yet soon after their marriage vows, Alexander knew Colin was the one man who could ensure that his Dunstan lineage continued to grow and be prosperous.

His clan was not ready for another war, and yet despite Edward I's celebrated death, a fight was coming in the shape of his son, England's new king. Located on the Scottish Borders, the Dunstan clan was especially vulnerable. It needed a brilliant leader like Colin, who possessed the rare ability to train raw men into skilled warriors ready for combat.

Makenna, with her unorthodox habits of training with the soldiers, was the only one of his offspring who understood just how depleted the Dunstan forces had become while supporting Wallace's cause. Without McTiernay's leadership and legendary ability to train and build a loyal force, his people would be enveloped by another branch of Dunstans, and his bloodline would fade as if it never was. Makenna would most likely be forced to wed the man designated to run Lochlen Castle, and Colin would be obliged to return north, causing his soldiers to either go with him or disperse. Some would join Robert the Bruce's campaign, but very few would remain loyal to the Dunstans. Most had joined to follow McTiernay, and the majority of them would follow him to the Highlands if he left. Eventually the Dunstans would be no more.

There would be a marriage tomorrow.

There had to be.

Colin marched out of the dayroom and descended the tower's stone spiral staircase. Rounding the last turn, he exited into Lochlen Castle's inner ward and proceeded along the southern curtain wall leading to the inner gate. Named for Malcolm Canmore III, the Canmore and Forfar Towers were two of the castle's most prominent structures.

After the Viking raids, Malcolm III was one of Scotland's first rulers to defy the Norman kings of England reluctant to accept Scottish independence. Malcolm's leadership inspired the construction of many keeps, including Lochlen, named after the small lake located southwest of the castle's town wall. Continually fortified for over two hundred years, Lochlen had been transformed into a small, well-fortified castle nestled between the Lammermuir Hills and the River Dye Water. Seven towers unevenly spaced to fit the rolling contours of the land formed the castle's odd-shaped inner ring. Surrounding the main castle was a thick outer curtain wall connected by intermittent round drum towers situated to protect the two main outer gates.

Colin had intended to continue expanding and securing Lochlen by completing the town wall surrounding the local village. While it would only protect clansmen who made their home behind the stone barrier, the wall would create a place for Dunstans and allies to come and seek refuge when under attack.

With Alexander's decree that he leave, the wall would be completed without him.

Colin's mood darkened with each step. He had been walking among Dunstan clansmen for almost two years and still the men and women scampered like frightened children out of his path. Today was no different as one by one they ceased their occupation and dashed out of view. He knew his black mood was clearly etched on his face, but Colin doubted his expression was the cause behind their fast disappearance. The Lowlanders darted out of sight because of who he was-an unwanted outsider, an undesired future clan leader, and worst of all-a Highlander.


Excerpted from To Wed a Highlander by Michele Sinclair Copyright © 2008 by C. Michele Peach. 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.

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To Wed A Highlander 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 458 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was a nice romance, especially if you love Scottish period pieces. I liked the characters. I like that the woman had spunk and the guy was a hunk, with brains of course. I liked that it was a growing relationship, not just a love/hate thing. I like that the characters did grow and progress. Most of all it is always enjoyable when you get so sucked in that you can't put the book down because you are rooting for everyone so much. I don't read a lot of romances but Scottish ones and the occasional cowboy one are irresistible on a quiet evening or a rainy day. Sometimes you just have to have something to take you away and this book did so nicely
enticed More than 1 year ago
I love the highlands, and I can say this book was great. I like the way the writer makes you feel like you are part of the book right from the start.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Most follow-up books can never compare to the first but To Wed A Highlander was just as good as the first McTiernay romance. I love Colin and his bride as much as Conor and Laurels story. It was great that the author found a way to include them in this book as well. I can't wait to read about the other McTiernay's brother's adventures in love.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Michele Sinclair fascinated and entertained Scottish Historical Romance fans with her debut, 'The Highlander's Bride.' In this sequel, the story of the McTiernay family continues with the youngest and first to marry McTiernay brother, Colin McTiernay, a highlander who married into a lowlander clan for political alliance and was briefly mentioned in the first book. Colin finds himself once again single, widowed, and being pushed by his father-in-law to marry his wife's sister, Makenna Dunstan, in order to keep the Dunstan clan strong and defended. The strong and handsome leader still has not been accepted by the Dunstan clan, despite his previous marriage to Makenna's sister Deidre. Besides his problems with the Dunstan people's mistrust and the surrounding laird's greed in wanting Dunstan, he cannot believe he is being forced into marriage with Makenna, who he constantly was at odds with during his marriage, and feels another marriage is not required to be a strong laird. Deidre was blonde, blue-eyed, and meek a woman trained to run a large keep and be an important laird's wife, but she was also very fragile. Colin loved Deidre in his own way, but his heart was not really engaged. Thus, it was a comfortable marriage. Now he is being offered a red-haired, green-eyed, tomboy, termagant, to deal with and marry, who is willful, can wield a sword as well as, or better than, many of the Dunstan men, and worst of all, has no idea how to do woman's work. Makenna has many of the same feelings as Colin. She is afraid of him and her own feelings and lack of confidence to step into Deidre's place. She has seen Colin as the huge bellowing man that has done nothing but make her life miserable by not allowing her to sword practice and instead forced her to train at ladies work, where she was a complete failure and ridiculed by many of her people. From the time of the marriage and through the trials of running the Dunstan clan, Colin begins to see the colorful beauty and strength of Makenna and falls deeply in love with her, while at the same time, Makenna sees Colin as the strong leader needed for the clan, as well as one to awaken her womanly passions in bed. Can Colin convince Makenna that she is truly his first true love and save Dunstan at the same time? This is a well-written, interesting, and entertaining story that is packed with suspense. Adding to the suspense and mystery is that there are many enemies within, trying to sabotage the keep and Makenna and Colin's budding desire, passion and love. As Colin struggles with his leadership and feelings of a true marriage of passion and love, Makenna struggles as well with her growing womanhood and homemaking skills. They soon grow to realize that Makenna's father made the true match the second time around and that Colin and Makenna are perfect for each other, not only in bed, but in keeping the Dunstan clan strong, united, and protected from dangers within and without. As there are many McTiernay brothers, Scottish romance readers have more fun to look forward to in the future as the series continues. Michele Sinclair has a talent to keep the reader engaged with interesting storylines and unforgettable characters. A real Highland and Lowland treat!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Michele Sinclair makes characters come alive. I am one of the lucky people who got to read and review an advanced reader copy. From the opening sentence you are 'into' the story. Sinclair makes you SEE the characters, the scene, the country-side. If you have followed Michele Sinclair's planned books in this series and been to her web site, you'd know that her working title was 'A Highlander's Pride'. In reading this story, you'll see why that was her working title because 'pride' is another character in the story. Another winner from this new author. Now that I've read this one, I can't wait for #3 to come out!
jjmachshev More than 1 year ago
"To Wed a Highlander" was my second read by Michele Sinclair. This historical reminded me of a Harlequin historical, but with added length and oomph. There's good guys and bad guys and relationship problems, light drama, and really hot sex!

Makenna is the wild child of the four daughters of the Dunstan Laird. She's also her father's favorite, so when her father asks her to marry her dead sister's husband, she's outraged. Colin is overbearing and arrogant...and he loved her dear dead sister Deirdre who was the opposite of everything Makenna is. Can she really give up all chance at love for the sake of her clan?

Colin doesn't give his promises easily, and he won't break them once he does. Of course, when he promised to marry Makenna at Deirdre's deathbed, he never really thought he'd actually have to do it. Makenna is wild and undisciplined, interested in weapons and fighting...how can she ever make a proper Laird's wife? Colin just can't decide what to do...until he kisses her. Now he's fighting another battle, this one to keep from caring too much.

Two strong-willed characters who must learn to compromise and lean on each other. I loved it. Reading about the two of them with their fiery tempers and passion kept me warm on a cold winter's day!
FFC70 More than 1 year ago
This book was really good beginning to end! Read all three!
Honeysweet More than 1 year ago
The series was wonderful. I love the way she potrays the family. I cant wait for the next one in the series.
love4romance More than 1 year ago
Just loved the story, period. Would recommend to everyone.
NavyWave62 More than 1 year ago
FANTASTIC - ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL! I loved the first in the series Highlander Bride, but I think this is so much better. Most suspense, twists, and just so enjoyable. I actually could visualize the rooms, the battlegrounds everything, because Michele Sinclair writes so beautifully, I felt I was on a ledge watching it all unfold. I too, like how Conor and Laurel were at least a part of this story. Oh, to find a Highlander to love!! The secondary character's are rich and so enjoyable along with the main character's. This is such a wonderful series, one of my favorite Highland Romance e-books, and I read a lot. (ljb)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this book. I have read this over and over again.
Anonymous 4 months ago
Enjoyed reading To Wed A Highlander
Anonymous 7 months ago
Very good indeed!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book. Didn't want to put it down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book. Can stand on its own. Also gets you intrested into tne otherbooks about the brothers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A most excellent series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You come to truly appreciate the characters especially Makennas strength of character.
CindyRomanceNovels More than 1 year ago
I liked the fact that the leading lady in the book was very strong willed and had a mind of her own. This is a very easy reading book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
But not great...took me awhile to get into it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this author's books. I liked this one the best so far. I've only read three of her books, but all three were great. And i havent read them in order either. But with these highlander books I dont think you need to read them in order, in my opinion. Would recommend!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While I might be willing to say not every second of reading this book was great, that would be barely accurate. The story was great with a really good plot. The characters are likeable and enjoyable to follow. The switch from mutual antagonists to supportive willingness was a bit sudden, but the method was pleasant. This book is officially among my choices to read again, and I welcome it to my collection. I intend to check out more from this author for sure.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago