With Cait Campbell hiding Scottish fugitives from the British crown, who should arrive wearing his English-style coat but Iain Campbell, the traitorous clan leader and the man responsible for her husband’s death. Iain seeks a healer for his fallen kinsman, and out of a sense of duty Cait is obliged to help. Her uncanny ability to read people is powerless against his dark, impassive gaze, yet Iain is kind in a way that moves her.
In Cait’s company, Iain is overcome by painful memories of his best friend, her husband, who died protecting him. But grief shows weakness—a luxury he cannot permit, because Iain is playing a dangerous game with the British army. One small misstep and he could be branded a traitor or executed as a spy. But even with political tensions mounting to a fever pitch, Iain can’t get Cait out of his mind. What he doesn’t know is that Cait is playing a deep and deadly game of her own, and their love could put everything—even Scotland itself—in peril.
Look for all of Sharon Cullen’s delightful historical romances:
The All the Queen’s Spies series: WED TO A SPY | BOUND TO A SPY
The Secrets & Seduction series: THE NOTORIOUS LADY ANNE | LOVING THE EARL | PLEASING THE PIRATE | HIS SAVING GRACE | SEBASTIAN’S LADY SPY | THE RELUCTANT DUCHESS
The Highland Pride series: SUTHERLAND’S SECRET | MACLEAN’S PASSION | CAMPBELL’S REDEMPTION
Praise for the novels of Sharon Cullen
“Fans who crave a bit of mystery mixed with their romantic historical fiction will be drawn to this story of love, loyalty, and honor.”—Library Journal, on Sutherland’s Secret
“Riveting . . . Intense romance and intriguing mystery make this a tale to be savored.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review), on The Reluctant Duchess
“This Regency romance has it all—danger, blackmail, passion, love, and characters that draw you in and leave you wanting more.”—Fresh Fiction, on Sebastian’s Lady Spy
Includes an excerpt from another Loveswept title.
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Border of Campbell and Sutherland Land
Cait Campbell stood outside her front door, hands folded calmly in front of her, but her heart was thundering as heavily and quickly as the hoofbeats pounding their way toward her.
Black Cat wound around Cait’s legs, peeking out from beneath the skirts to check the dark lane leading to the cottage.
Two horses were riding toward Cait as if the demons of hell were chasing them.
Luckily, Brice Sutherland had departed not a half hour ago, after leaving Scottish fugitives who were on the run from the English who were hunting them. They were now hiding under the floor of her cottage.
The horses rounded the turn, and her shoulders dipped in relief to see that the riders weren’t English redcoats. Highland warriors were bowed low over the necks of their straining mounts. One wore the kilt of the Campbell clan, his long dark hair flying behind him, the muted blue and green of his kilt flapping in the wind. The other . . .
Cait drew in a sharp breath and released an even sharper curse. The other wore a long leather coat that fluttered behind him, revealing buff breeches and a white shirt.
Iain Campbell, leader of her clan.
Cait squared her shoulders, clutched her fingers together, and tried to appear serene despite the fact that her heart was hammering.
The horses slid to a halt in front of her, tossing their heavy heads and snorting their displeasure.
Iain slid off his mount and tossed the reins over the saddle. Cait flicked a glance at his partner, who was pale as the moonlight, with a thin layer of sweat beading his brow as he labored to breathe.
Iain helped Adair Campbell, commander of the Campbell warriors and apparently injured, off the horse. “We need your help,” Iain said in the clipped tones that blended Lowland Scots and northern English.
Adair was leaning forward, his arm protecting his middle. She could see from the blood staining his shirt that he’d been either shot or stabbed.
She was reluctant to let these two into her home. It was well known that she was not a friend of the Campbell, and if he discovered the fugitives hiding under the floor, she would expose Sutherland’s secret underground movement to whisk the most wanted of Scotland’s fugitives out of the country, thereby putting her life in danger and ruining any chance of the fugitives escaping.
But what choice did she have? She was the local healer, and as such, her door was always open to those in need. It would seem churlish and raise suspicion to turn them away.
But dear Lord, why tonight? Why couldn’t Adair have gotten hurt tomorrow night, when her cottage would be empty?
“Follow me.” She turned on her heel, not bothering to wait and see if they obeyed. As she walked through her small sitting room, she quickly glanced to the corner. The shadows concealed the small padded chair that perched over the secret door leading to the steps beneath her cottage where seven Scotsmen, running from the blades of the English, were hiding. Eventually, if all went well, they would secretly board a ship to take them to Canada, a place safe from the brutality of the English, where they would have a second chance at life.
Campbell paused in the doorway, Adair’s arm draped over his shoulder. Dark, assessing eyes took in her small cottage. She turned her back to Iain and reached into a cabinet for supplies. Her house wasn’t as grand as the one she and John had lived in three years ago, when John was Campbell’s commander. Iain would be noting that for sure, and she steeled herself against the bitterness that swept through her. Not because she was living in a far humbler abode but because she was so much alone, her husband and daughter lying beside each other in cold graves.
She pushed away the wave of grief. It was always like this when she was forced to face Iain Campbell. The grief and anger returned, even though it had been four years since he had come to tell her that her husband was dead.
She flipped her hand toward one of two straight-backed chairs pushed up against her small kitchen table. “Put him there.”
There was much shuffling behind her and finally a grunt of pain as Adair dropped into the chair. He slumped forward, one arm still hugging his middle. Campbell stood behind him, bracing him with a hand on his shoulder.
“What happened?” she asked.
“We were attacked by rievers while patrolling the perimeter.”
Their gazes locked, memories bouncing between them. This scenario was all too familiar to the two of them, and Cait hated that. Different kitchen. Different house. Same basic scene.
Her husband, John, and Campbell had been out patrolling when they were attacked by enemies. Only John ended up dead.
She tore her gaze from Campbell’s. “Dagger, dirk, bayonet, or pistol ball?” she asked, ignoring the quaver in her voice.
Bloody hell. This would be no quick fix and might require that Adair stay the night.
She knelt in front of Adair. He was a big man. Muscular. A warrior. Just like her John and every Campbell commander before them. But Adair was dark to John’s light. He’d been promoted into the position after John’s death. She’d not had much contact with him because she had moved away from the big house occupied by Campbell.
Adair was looking at her with surprisingly bright blue eyes. His face had lost all color, and drops of sweat dotted his brow.
“Ye’ll have to pull yer arm away,” she said.
He gritted his teeth and moved his arm in slow, jerky movements.
Cait had seen a lot of wounds in her time as a healer. This was not one of the worst she’d seen, but neither was it minor. The midsection of his shirt was soaked in bright red blood, as was the arm that had been protecting the wound.
“I’ll need more light.” A lantern appeared at her side, and she lifted it to get a better look. “The shirt is stuck to the wound.”
She glanced up at Iain, who was watching her with dark, impenetrable eyes. His expression never revealed his thoughts, which was always disconcerting to her. John had said that he buried his emotions, but Cait wasn’t certain the man possessed any emotions.
“I’ll need water. Warm is best. There’s a ewer on the counter. Place it by the fire to warm it.”
To her surprise, the great clan leader immediately did as she instructed.
“We’ll need to move ye,” she said to Adair. “Ye’ll need to be lying down for this.”
Adair tried to rise but fell back on the chair with a groan. Cait shoved her shoulder under his arm, taking his hand and draping it across her back. “On the count of three, we’ll rise. One . . . two . . .” Adair tensed. “Three.”
She braced herself to take Adair’s full weight, rising slowly so as not to jar him. She got him standing, but he was swaying precariously, and she wasn’t certain she could keep him standing if he decided to fall.