A union born of duty. . .
Newly knighted Sir Ewan Gilroy needs a dowry and a wife, in that order. Though the widowed Lady Grace plans to enter a convent, squandering so much lush beautyand such a fortunewould surely be its own sin. Grace will not be easily wooed, despite her family's urging and Ewan's famed charm. She challenges him as no woman ever dared, proving his equal in spirit and in passions. . .
Forged by desire. . .
To atone for her past, Grace vows to never remarryleast of all a brash and reckless warrior. Yet whether defending her honor or stoking desires she hardly knew she possessed, Ewan is a man beyond compare. And as their fragile trust is threatened by treachery, Grace must decide whether to reach for the happiness within her graspand fight for the love of her bold Highlander. . .
Praise for Adrienne Basso's How to be a Scottish Mistress
"Heartwarming." Publishers Weekly
"Powerful. . .this poignant story quickly becomes a page-turner." RT Book Reviews
|Product dimensions:||4.20(w) x 6.70(h) x 0.90(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Between stints as a corporate financial analyst, marketing consultant, public librarian, wife and mother, Adrienne Basso has parlayed her vivid imagination and desire to tell romantic stories into a writing career. Regency England is her favorite time period and thus far she has set all her historical novels during that elegant time. She enjoys the challenge of creating stories that emphasize the everlasting strength and power of love and is truly delighted that her characters always achieve the fantasy of living happily ever after. Looking to expand her horizons beyond the realm of history, she has recently sold her first contemporary novel, which will be published in November 1999.
Adrienne and her husband, both native New Yorkers, now make their home in North Plainfield, New Jersey, along with their two sons. In her spare time she likes to pretend that she is an organized, efficient, dynamic super-woman. It doesn't always work.
Read an Excerpt
Bride Of A Scottish Warrior
By ADRIENNE BASSO
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2014 Adrienne Basso
All rights reserved.
Scottish Highlands, Dunnad Castle, November 1314
"He's dying," Edna whispered, her voice hushed and reverent.
"I know." Lady Grace Ferguson tore her gaze away from her maid's sympathetic eyes and looked down at her husband. Sir Alastair, chief of Clan Ferguson, lay still and quiet beneath a pile of heavy furs, his ashen face lined with pain, for even in sleep the agony did not leave his broken body.
Grace studied him for a few moments, examining the strong line of his jaw, his crooked nose, the heavy dark stubble on his chin and cheeks. Though his wife for nearly seven years, she found his features were unfamiliar, for Sir Alastair had spent most of the days of their marriage away from her, fighting beside Robert the Bruce as that noble man secured the Scottish crown on his head and independence from the English.
Grace softly stroked Alastair's fevered brow, the skin dry and warm. Instantly his eyes opened.
"Hot," he croaked, attempting to push away the pile of furs.
Grace's heart tightened as she realized he lacked the strength to move them. "Shhh," she purred, sitting on the edge of the bed. "Let me."
She pulled back the furs to his waist, then turned to the bowl of water on the table. Dampening the clean cloth she had brought, Grace slowly, gently brushed it over Alastair's face. As she did so, she could feel the waves of heat radiating from his body.
"He'll catch a deathly chill if ye keep that up much longer," Edna admonished.
Grace nearly smiled. He was dying; they both knew it. Yet Edna still worried about him catching a chill. 'Twas testament indeed to how far the uncertainty and madness was spreading among them all.
"I'll not stop as long as it brings him a small measure of comfort," Grace insisted, running the cloth over his chest and arms. "God knows he's had little peace these past few weeks."
It seemed such a cruel irony that after surviving nearly seven years of warfare, Alastair was going to perish because of a hunting accident. He had been thrown from his horse and attacked by a wild boar while hunting four weeks ago. His leg had been shattered in several places, the bone poking obscenely through the flesh.
Brother John, a monk with renowned healing skills from the Turriff Monastery, had been brought to the keep. Miraculously, the monk had stitched together the worst of the mangled flesh and bound Alastair's leg, but the fever and infection raging throughout his body would not abate.
"Ye've done enough of that fer now, milady. Why dinnae ye put down the cloth and I'll take this away before anyone sees what ye've been doing?" Edna suggested.
Ignoring her maid, Grace continued with her ministrations, admitting they brought her as much, if not more, comfort than Alastair. With this small task, she finally felt as though she was doing something, instead of sitting calmly at his bedside, watching him die.
The repetitious movements soon fell into a rhythm, and with that, the words that followed came naturally. Murmuring soothingly, Grace spoke of how he would be better soon. How the fever would break and his strength would return. Again and again, she dipped the cloth in the water, squeezing it dry, then wiping it over his head, shoulders, chest, and arms, all the while encouraging him to believe the impossible.
"I'm right here, Alastair."
He squinted at her, his features drawn tightly in confusion. "Drink."
Grace motioned to Edna. The maid frowned again, but refrained from reminding her mistress that Brother John had forbidden his patient any liquids until the sun set. Instead, the maid poured a small amount of ale into a goblet and handed it to Grace.
She shifted so she could support Alastair's shoulders, then held the vessel to his mouth. He sipped slowly. When he was done, Grace laid him gently back on the mattress and once again covered him with the furs. His eyes fluttered closed.
Slowly, as not to jostle him, Grace stood. "Fetch me a chair, Edna."
The maid clucked her tongue. "Ever since the men carried him home on a litter, ye've spent nearly every waking minute and half the night in this sickroom. Why dinnae ye go to yer chamber and lay down? I promise ye'll be summoned at once if there's any change in Sir Alastair's condition."
"I'm too restless to nap."
"Then go outside and take a walk in the sunshine to stretch yer muscles. 'Tis cold, but the wind is quiet and the fresh air will do ye a world of good."
For a moment Grace was tempted to comply. The days were growing shorter and colder. Soon the icy winds and snow-covered ground would make spend- ing any time outdoors a misery. She glanced down at Alastair, running her hand over his flushed cheeks, and sighed.
Escaping from the suffocating air of gloom in the chamber sounded heavenly, yet she could not abandon her wifely duties. "Nay, Edna, I shall stay by my husband's side."
The maid shrugged with acceptance, then pulled over the requested chair. Grace had just settled herself in it when the chamber door opened.
"Good day, Lady Grace." Brother John glanced around the chamber, his brow drawing into a heavy frown when he spied the bowl of water, damp cloth, and goblet. "Have you been ignoring my orders again?" he asked, huffing with a superior air of indignity. "I have told ye repeatedly that ye must follow my instructions precisely if ye wish Sir Alastair to recover."
Grace clenched the edge of the fur blanket. "I'm only trying to ease his pain."
Muttering beneath his breath, Brother John hurried to his patient's side. Grace forced herself to rise from the chair, so the monk could attend Alastair's leg, which was braced between two long planks of wood and covered in long strips of linen. As Brother John carefully snipped away at the linen, the putrid smell of rotting flesh filled the room.
Grace's stomach heaved. Holding her hand over her nose, she glanced down at the bed. Alastair's entire leg was gray in color, tinged with streaks of bright red surrounding several gaping wounds. She took a step back, almost knocking over the chair.
"Dinnae let the odor distress ye, Lady Grace," Brother John said. " 'Tis not obvious to the untrained eye, yet I can see there's been improvement." The monk managed a very slight grin, his thin lips parting to expose long, yellow teeth and a smile so condescending it was clear he thought her a simpleton.
Keeping her composure, Grace answered with a concerned frown. "His fever rages and he suffers mightily."
"'Tis God's will," Brother John replied. He slapped a foul-smelling poultice over an oozing wound, then started to reapply the dirty bandages.
Alastair let out a loud groan. Grace sprang forward, pushing her way between the monk and her husband. "Fer pity's sake, why must ye be so rough? Have ye no compassion at all?" Taking the bandages away from Brother John, Grace turned to Edna. "Fetch the clean linen ye washed yesterday. I'll bind Sir Alastair's wounds myself."
"Lady Grace —" There was a note of annoyance in Brother John's voice.
She turned and faced the monk, her expression set. "I will tend him," she insisted. Brother John's face reddened in anger. Grace could hear him grinding his teeth, but she refused to relent. Enough! How long was she to remain silent and complacent, while her husband was forced to suffer? She might not know as much about the mysteries of healing, but she could apply a dressing without causing undue pain.
The monk stood waiting for several long moments, then realizing her determination, he turned and huffed out of the chamber. Grace listened to the sound of his footsteps on the rough wooden floor until they faded into silence.
"He'll be back," Edna observed wryly.
"No doubt. This time with reinforcements. We must act quickly."
Moving as fast as possible, Grace and her maid wrapped the clean bandages around his shattered leg, struggling to avoid causing Alastair any additional pain. He made no sound while they worked, waking only when they were finished. Knowing she would have but a scant moment alone with him, Grace turned to her husband.
"Can ye tell me where it pains ye the most?"
Alastair's face lit with a ghost of a smile. "Everywhere, milady. Even my hair."
"It will get better," she whispered, hoping the lie did not reveal itself in her eyes.
"Ye've a kind heart, lass. I wish I had known ye better, wish there had been more time...." His voice trailed off with a regretful sigh.
An unbearable loneliness seized her heart, followed by a stab of regret. Regret for all she'd never experienced, never had in her life. A loving husband, a gaggle of healthy children clinging to her skirts, a sense of peace and contentment. Theirs had been an arranged marriage, yet both parties had been willing. If not for the war and the years of separation, they might have had a chance to find happiness together. Or at least a peaceful contentment.
"We'll have more time together than we know what to do with, Alastair, once ye have recovered."
He grimaced. Behind his mask of pain, Grace caught a glimpse of vulnerability and it made her heart ache even more. " 'Tis no use. I'm dying and there's naught anyone can do except prolong my agony. A task Brother John seems hell-bent on completing."
"His skill is widely praised," Grace replied, not knowing what else to say, for her husband spoke the truth.
Alastair reached out, his fingers surprisingly strong as they gripped her hand. "I heard him talking with his assistant last night."
"Brother John. My healer." Alastair rubbed his thumb over Grace's knuckles. The intimate gesture brought tears to her eyes. "The monk said as a last resort he'll cut the leg."
Grace gasped. "Ye already have enough cuts upon it. Why would he insist on more?"
"Nay, Grace, ye dinnae understand. He wants to cut the leg off."
Grace shook her head vehemently. "Nay, oh, nay. Alastair, ye must have misheard. 'Tis barbaric to even consider such a thing. Besides, no warrior can lead his clan with only one leg."
"Aye." Alastair sighed heavily and closed his eyes. "Ye must stop it from happening, Grace. Ye must allow me to die in peace, with all my limbs still attached to my body."
How? Clasping her husband's palms between hers, Grace leaned forward, pressing their joined hands against her chest. "If ye want to refuse the treatment, then ye must tell Brother John. Loudly. Forcefully. He'll have no choice but to obey."
"Och, lass, most days I lack the strength to open my eyes to see who is tending me." Pain and anguish filled Alastair's voice. "Ye must speak fer me."
Grace attempted a comforting smile through her tears. "They'll not listen to a woman, no matter how loudly I shriek. Can ye not ask one of yer brothers for aid?"
"I dinnae believe they would listen. Besides, 'twould be unmanly, cowardly. I dinnae want that to be my legacy."
Grace's throat constricted. Pride, 'twas always pride when it came to men. Yet while she might not agree, she did understand his feelings. "I'll do what I can," she whispered.
"Pray fer me," Alastair croaked.
"I do. Almost hourly I ask God to bring ye back to health."
A grimace of sorrow stole across her husband's face. "Nay. Pray fer death, as I do. I dinnae fear it; I welcome it. I long fer it."
Grace heard footsteps again, this time more than one set. As she predicted, Brother John had returned, bringing with him Sir Alastair's brothers, Douglas and Roderick. The three entered the room and stared at her, a myriad of expressions on their faces.
Douglas appeared concerned, Roderick wary, and Brother John smug. Though she believed Alastair's brothers each carried a genuine affection for him, they had clear and differing opinions on his recovery. And their own particular reasons for wanting him to linger or go quickly to his final reward.
Since Alastair had no son of his own, Roderick and Douglas would each fight hard to be the one to lead the clan once Alastair was gone. If the gossip Grace heard around the castle was to be believed, Douglas currently had the most support, though Roderick was making some progress in changing the minds of his clansmen.
Thus Douglas would benefit the sooner Alastair died, while Roderick might be successful in his bid for power if given more time to garner support. 'Twas no surprise that it was Roderick who had insisted that Brother John be fetched to tend to Alastair. Indeed, no expense or effort had been spared, a commendable occurrence if one did not delve too deeply into Roderick's ulterior motive.
"Brother John says that Alastair is much improved," Roderick exclaimed. "Does that not gladden yer heart, Grace?"
"'Twould indeed make me joyful, if it were true."
Brother John snorted. "Ye lack the knowledge to properly judge," the monk insisted. Yet she heard the clank of glass upon metal as he portioned out the medicine, and she observed his shaking hands. Despite his superior attitude and almost swaggering bravado, the monk was nervous.
They all stood silently as Brother John administered the medicine, massaging Alastair's throat to help him swallow. Nearly half the liquid dribbled out the side of his mouth. Grace moved forward to wipe it away.
"Will it aid him even if he cannae drink it properly?" Roderick asked.
"Aye," the monk replied. "A smaller amount is actually preferable. Too much might do him great harm." He secured the cork stopper on the glass bottle and it disappeared into the folds of his brown robes. "We shall wait a few more days, but if the flesh on his leg continues to rot, I shall perform the operation we discussed."
Grace turned. "Nay! Ye willnae remove his leg. I forbid it."
The three men turned toward Grace, varying de- grees of shock and surprise on their faces. "Ye're too tenderhearted, Lady Grace," Brother John said. "An admirable quality, no doubt, in a female, but one that has no place in a sickroom."
"Ye will not cut off his leg," she repeated.
"I am the one in charge of Sir Alastair's health. Therefore, I am the one who will make that decision." The monk's eyes narrowed. He sounded furious.
But Grace would not relent. Still, she hesitated before speaking again. Men never liked to have their authority challenged. She moved toward Douglas, searching for an ally. "Can we not allow God to decide Alastair's fate?"
Douglas met her eyes, his face scored with genuine concern. "We must do all that we can to save him."
"Butchering him willnae save him," she dared to whisper.
The expression of compassion and concern faded from Douglas's face. "Aye."
"Do ye agree, Roderick?"
Grace could feel her legs shaking, her heart pounding, and she had the distinct feeling that she was turning red. Yet she fought hard to keep her voice calm and firm, lifting her chin in defiance. She would not acquiesce without a fight. Not when so much was at stake.
Shadows of flickering daylight softened Roderick's face and for a moment Grace dared to think he understood why this was so important. But ever the warrior, Roderick bristled against even the smallest hint of weakness. "We must do as Brother John commands."
His words chilled her. They had each acknowledged it was hopeless, yet still refused to allow Alastair a peaceful death. She sank gracefully into the hard, wooden chair and folded her hands on her lap. This battle would not be won with words or reason. She would have to find another way.
Grace sat silently as the men spoke in low tones to each other, and gradually she returned to what they expected her to be. A quiet, placid, and obedient female, content to peacefully accept what she was told, to willingly follow the dictates of men. Yet inside she seethed.
She reminded herself that there would be a price to pay for her interference. In this world and most likely the next, when she would have to stand before God and account for her earthly sins.
Yet was this a sin? Granting her husband's last wish, easing his unbearable suffering?
Three days. She had but three days to figure out a way to peacefully end her husband's suffering and hasten his leap from this life into the next. Her eyes burned and for a brief moment she was afraid she was going to cry. She curled her hands into fists, tightening them until the nails bit painfully into the soft flesh of her palms, blinking several times until the burning vanished.
Excerpted from Bride Of A Scottish Warrior by ADRIENNE BASSO. Copyright © 2014 Adrienne Basso. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Grace Alastair is a widow determined never to marry again. After her period of mourning, she plans to go back to the convent that she grew up at and dedicate her life to helping others. Ewan Gilroy is in need of a wife with a large dowry. Unfortunately, being born a bastard has made all of the noble families turn down his marriage proposals that is until he gets to the home of a friend. Ewan is instantly attracted to Grace and will do just about anything to get her. Feeling guilty about the death of her husband, Grace is determined never to marry again. It doesn't matter that she is attracted to Ewan, she can't marry him. Thinking her brother is taking her back to the convent, Grace is surprised to find that Ewan is leading her escort. Unbeknownst to Grace, Ewan is taking her back to the convent in hopes of changing her mind about the marriage. Will Ewan be able to convience Grace that marriage to him is better than life at the convent? This story was an enjoyable read. Grace was determined to never marry again even when she would like nothing more than to have her own family. She was a strong woman that held on to her convictions and it wasn't until someone other then herself was threatened, did she give in to Ewan's marriage proposal. I also really liked Ewan strength of character. Even though he was a bastard, he made the best of his life. Through hard work, he was able to get an estate of his own. He didn't has that "woe is me" attitude because he wouldn't inherit anything from his father. This was my first book by Basso and it definitely won't be my last!
Loved the story.
can't wait for more in this series. hopefully brothers reconcile
Excellant......the best I've read by Ms. Basso. But all of her books are great. If you have never read her books you in for a real treat. ENJOY
*An excellent medieval romance...
This was an enjoyable book with a strong storyline . Worth a read .
Sir Ewan Gilroy was born a bastard and even though he is now a knight and been gifted property from the King, everyone still sees him as a bastard. Grace is a lady with a secret and not wanting to marry again her only option is to become a nun. Once Ewan meets Grace he knows that she is the woman for him. Ewan must use his considerable charm to woo Grace and break down the walls she has built because of her husband’s death. A wonderful Scottish romance has a wonderful group of characters and is very funny and Ewan is the perfect sexy Scottish warrior. This was my first read from Adrienne Basso but it won’t be my last.
One not to miss Historical, Romance Scotland Sir Ewan Gilroy is newly knighted and in desperate need of a dowry and a wife. Ewan is famed for his charm but widowed Lady Grace is determined that it will not work on her. Ewan feels that Grace’s plans to enter a convent is a waste of both her beauty and her fortune. Even with her family urging the match Grace proves to be a challenge for Ewan as no woman has ever proven to be in the past. She proves to be his equal in both spirit and passion. Grace feels that to atone for her past she must never remarry. Most certainly not to a brash and reckless warrior. Yet Ewan proves to be man beyond compare no matter if he is defending her honor or stroking the desire that she never dreamed she possessed. With the newly formed trust between them threatened by treachery, Grace must decide if she wants to reach for the happiness that is suddenly within her reach. And if she is willing to fight for the love of one very bold Highlander. This is story that takes readers back in history and brings that time to life. The story comes to vivid life with every word that this read. The characters are interesting and the plot pulls the reader into the story more and more with every page that is turned. The reader will get lost into another time and place and will mourn when the story is over even with the satisfactory ending. The action moves the story line along well and keeps the reader engaged with the story. It also gives some history for the time period that makes for an interesting read.
A very sweet, delight of a read, Bride of a Scottish Warrior was absolutely fantastic. I loved this book! It was totally engaging, with lovely romance and thrilling danger, and I enjoyed every bit of it. Loved it! Grace was a lovely heroine. She was stronger than she first appeared, though in a quiet way. Rather than outright defiance, she simply held on to her strong will and refused to let anyone force her into anything. And, she was a genuinely kind character. I really liked her. I thought she was a great heroine. Ewan was amazing. I so adored this man. He was so sweet and utterly charming and just so endearing. He was a kind and sweet man, but one who was also very clever and formidable if you got on his bad side. I absolutely loved this charmer. He was wonderful. The romance was great. Grace and Ewan were so lovely together. They started falling for each other from the minute they met, and it was very sweet. Not to mention the chemistry between them. Definitely some steaminess there. I thought they were a perfect couple. The plot was fast paced and I was utterly hooked the entire way through. The threat of danger from Roderick (a man determined to use Grace to gain power) kept things interesting. I really enjoyed the story and the ending was absolutely lovely. Bride of a Scottish Warrior was a brilliant historical romance. I totally loved this book and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Romance lovers, this book is a must read. *I received a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
A newly knighted warrior in need of a bride. I give this 3.5 Stars. Bride of a Scottish Warrior is a historical romance set in the Highlands. This is about a newly knighted warrior, Sir Ewan Gilroy, who is on the search for a wife with a substantial dowry. He’s been bequeathed land and a run-down castle by the king for his services, and when Ewan meets widowed Lady Grace, he decides she’s the perfect lady to wed, provided he can convince her. Grace has plans to enter a convent following the death of her husband, but she doesn’t take into account meeting Ewan, a man who is determined to sway her to his side. The only thing is, she begins to fall for him, and adores how he defends her honor and stokes her desires back into life. Passion flares between them and once they’re wed, sparks fly. Adrienne Basso delivers some beautiful, steamy love scenes, and the characters’ relationship develops and grows as they confide in one another and take a chance with their hearts. I enjoyed this book but wished the writing had taken me deeper into the characters’ thoughts. This is a personal preference because I adore books written in Deep POV and being immersed in the story without any distancing elements being present. Certainly though, if you love historical Scottish romances, this will be a book you enjoy, and I’ve no doubt about that.