While spying for Clan Cameron, Brodie Cameron rescues a lass, only to realize it
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Scotland, Feb. 1643 Stirling Castle
Standing in the shadows near Ross MacLean's wagon, Brodie Cameron rubbed his frozen fingers together and waited for the man to emerge from the castle. He was about to step across a line.
He was spying on a friend. But he had no choice. Ross might have violated an unspoken trust between them, and more importantly, between their clans.
Ross and his friend Neil appeared, escorting a woman he assumed was Ross's sister to the back of the wagon, but she looked as if she was arguing with them and wanted to stay at the wedding celebration. Odd. He kenned the woman, and she was not one to be forced to do anything she didnae want. Besides, when he'd asked her about Ross's activities, she'd informed him they rarely spoke, and she had no idea what her useless brother did.
He'd not been surprised to run into the feisty lass, and fellow spy, earlier in the evening because several clans were here to plan a meeting in Edinburgh with the intention of dampening the rising tensions between the Royalists and Covenanters. His laird had sent him to see what he could discover about the upcoming summit, and it was blind luck that he'd stumbled upon Ross, the man who had been suspiciously close to Cameron lands when several cattle had recently been discovered missing.
After heaving his sister into the back of the cart, Ross turned and walked back toward the castle as Neil seated himself on the bench. The cart started forward and jolted just as the lass rose. She went down hard and could possibly be hurt.
Och. He needed to follow Neil to make sure she wasn't injured. It might jeopardize his mission, but the thought of the lass lying wounded in the back of that cold wagon galled him.
Intending to inform Neil the lass might be injured before he followed Ross inside, Brodie picked up the pace and jumped onto the wagon bench. Neil flinched, then threw a meaty fist at him, connecting with the side of his face, grazing his eye and causing it to blur as pain shot through to the back of his head. On instinct, Brodie returned with a blow of his own, connecting with the man's jowl and knocking him to the side.
With the movement, Neil pulled on the reins and forced the horses to a sudden stop, jarring the entire wagon. Grabbing onto the bench, Brodie barely managed to stay seated as his vision distorted. Neil wasn't so lucky. The MacLean man lay crumpled on the frozen ground a few feet away, seemingly unconscious.
Hearing a moan from the cart, he jumped into the back and froze. He had to squint to bring her into focus, but staring back at him was a gagged and bound woman huddled against the solid wood frame of the wagon. His senses had adjusted well to the dark of the night, but with his injured eye, he could only make out the exaggerated whites of her gaze and light colored locks. He ran a cold hand through his tousled hair. Blinking, he leaned forward to bring the lass into focus, but his eye only watered, making her blur even more.
This isnae Ross's sister.
A damsel in distress wasn't a complication he'd bargained on. When he'd watched the pair escort the woman to the wagon, he hadn't noticed anything amiss, but he hadn't looked that closely.
Why had Ross attempted to abduct a woman? He could woo any lass he wanted into bed — he had no need for force. That just reinforced Brodie's suspicions that his friend had turned traitor and was up to something nefarious.
It did appear odd, now, that they had stayed to the shadows and carried her out to dump her in the back of a wagon. Ross had only stopped long enough to give some instruction to his friend.
Decision time. Leave the woman and watch from afar, or take her somewhere safe and then find a way to salvage his assignment. If Ross wanted her bad enough to abduct her, surely he would not hesitate to use her to further whatever political game he was playing.
He glanced back over his shoulder to see the unconscious mountain starting to stir. Tearing his gaze from the man on ground, he reached out for the woman. "Come with me. I willnae let any harm come to ye."
She flinched then recoiled farther into the corner of the small space as her eyes widened even more.
Why was the daft lass afraid of him? He had just rescued her. Gently taking her shoulder, he tried to reassure her. "Ye are safe with me."
She flailed and shook her head wildly. He didn't have time for this.
Just as that thought crossed his mind, Neil groaned. Hell, he'd had drinks with that man and seen him take out three men at once in a tavern fight.
Giving her his best dimpled grin, he tried one more time to appease her. It never failed to work on the fairer sex. "I promise, I willnae hurt ye, lass."
She stopped struggling and went rigid. If it weren't so dark, and if he could see, he would have sworn her brow crinkled. The woman couldn't be angry with him — he was saving her. The lass's reaction sent a shiver snaking down his spine, because despite the blurred vision in his stinging eye, she seemed familiar, as if he should know her. A pang of recognition flared, but he pushed it aside, because the thought caused an ache deep in his chest and he had learned to stop analyzing his emotions long ago. In his line of work, giving in to sentiment led to death.
Patience gone, he clasped both hands around her waist and yanked her up. She was thin, and he overcompensated for her weight causing her body to slam into his.
Despite her delicate frame, she had large breasts, accentuated by her arms being bound behind her back. Brodie spared a glance at Neil, who was scrambling to his feet.
Wasting no more time, he flung her over his shoulder and jumped to the ground with a jarring thud. The lass exhaled sharply as his shoulder dug into her abdomen on impact. He almost felt sorry for her, but it was her own fault for not listening. As he ran for his horse, her struggles stopped.
After easily tossing her slender body onto the steed's back, he climbed up behind her. She rocked as if she would lose her balance, but he pulled her close and held her around the waist. It steadied her, but it also kept her pinned to him while her legs dangled over the side.
"Brodie," bellowed Neil, who had gained ground, clambering toward them with his fists in the air.
Brodie peered at the dark path ahead.
"Hold on," he whispered in her ear. Tightening his grip on the lass, he dug his heels into his mount, and the echo of hooves upon hard, frozen ground cut through the silence as his horse shot through the dark.
Despite his hold on her, the movement jolted her to the side. He pulled her closer to his chest as tendrils of her long hair whipped against his face. The smell of fresh lavender teased him and reminded him of home.
It reminded him of her. The only lass he had ever wanted, the one who had shredded his heart. He was torn between the need to push this woman away or pull her closer.
What the hell had he done?
He could have left her in that wagon and continued his mission to spy on his friend, yet here he was, galloping into the night with a strange woman. Still, she might be the key to discovering if Ross was a traitor.
A small change in his plans, but he'd calm the terrified lass down, get the information he needed, leave her somewhere safe, then return to Stirling and finish his mission. As always, he'd turn this small distraction to his advantage. For clan and country.
He spurred his horse on.
Skye's heart had clenched at the thick, all-too-familiar Highland burr of the man who'd jumped into the back of the wagon.
Nae. It couldn't be — the terror of being abducted by strangers was merely playing tricks on her.
A broad-shouldered man leaned closer, and she let go of the breath she held, because she didn't recognize the form. These shoulders were much wider and the girth was almost twice what she remembered from the man of her youth. Hoping to hide, she sank back into the depths of the cart, her entire body stiffening and her heart pounding in her chest.
But then he reached for her, and a beam of moonlight hit his face. The intruder gave her the smile that had once brought her to her knees, the one she had spent her whole childhood trying to put on his face. Now, the sight only brought her pain.
She had spent the last five years of her life trying to forget that smile, trying to shake the memory of him, trying to become a whole person again. With that one cocksure smirk, he had just shredded all of her efforts, and damn him, she wanted to reach out and feel that he was real, that this was not one of those dreams she would wake from and find him gone, leaving her alone yet again.
Many times, he'd visited her at night in her fantasies, saving her from imaginary foes and then professing his undying love, promising to never leave her side again. In the delirious haze of sleep, she always forgave him, but this didn't feel like a dream.
I'm an imbecile.
She had to remember she hated this man. He'd promised her the moon, made her dare to believe they could have the perfect life together. A home, a family, and love.
Then he had taken it all away. He had carelessly tossed her aside and left her with a gaping hole, a void that could never be filled. She had given her heart to him, and he had trampled all over it.
Her disloyal body wouldn't listen to the warning. The delight at finding herself in his arms scared her, and she cursed herself for still wanting him. Relief invaded her as he heaved her from his shoulder then tossed her on a horse.
Splayed across the horse's back, she teetered and almost lost her balance, until he climbed on behind her. Easily flipping her, he pulled her to sit then drew her back into his chest.
Damn, why were chills spreading down her spine?
He was everything she'd needed and the one thing she could never allow herself again. She still remembered every curve and sharp angle of his taut stomach and muscular arms, and the dimples of the special smile she'd once thought had been only for her — the one it seemed he now gave every lass who crossed his path.
Och, I was a fool.
How naive she had been to fall for such a heartless rake.
She would get out of this and would not allow him to break her heart again.
First, she had to figure out how she had come to be here — bound, on a horse speeding away from Stirling Castle, with Brodie Cameron holding her tight. Anxious over her future, she had fled the hall for a breath of air after an introduction to her newly betrothed, only to have two brutes grab, tie, and drag her away.
What if her abductors were Covenanters? Her uncle, Alastair MacDonald, laird to the MacDonalds would sacrifice her if the dastards intended to use her to force his clan to submit to the Covenants of the Scottish Presbyterians and turn away from King Charles and their Catholic faith.
She thought she'd been afraid of the men who had taken her, but that was before she had heard Brodie's steady purring tenor. Now, she was petrified. She'd almost rather take her chances with the others. Surely, they were less clever than Brodie, and she'd have had a much greater chance of escape.
This man who sat so calmly behind her would do much worse damage. He hadn't even realized who she was. The bastard. That was how much she had meant to him — he no longer even remembered her. She was going to claw his eyes out as soon as she could get her hands on him.
Wrists raw from the ropes, her arms ached, and the gag had pulled all the moisture from her mouth.
Why had Brodie taken her from the kidnappers? What could he possibly want with her, and why had he not untied her? What if he was in league with the kidnappers? Or did he have something else in mind? In this charged political atmosphere, with raids and murders on the rise and tensions mounting as clans took sides, it was hard to know who was friend and who was foe.
"Stop yer fidgeting, lass," Brodie ordered.
Her hands remained bound behind her back, and they were currently brushing against his cock as she struggled to free them. It made him want things he did not have time for.
Dark trees sped by as he kept the hurried pace he'd set. If he could be sure Neil wasn't right behind them, he would spare the time to stop and untie her, but with the scant light, he had to stay to the main road. The angry beast he'd thrown from the cart could be upon them at any moment.
The squirming lass threw her head back, the movement catching him off guard and sending stinging barbs through his chest. She had a hard head. She should be grateful for his interference in whatever Ross had planned for her, yet here she was, fighting him.
She flung herself back again, this time with more force.
"Stop, woman," he ground out.
She harrumphed through the gag. Then, she sat straighter and pulled away from him. He heard her take a deep breath just before she drove her hands down between his legs. The pain crippled him, and he fell onto her, sandwiching her between his body and the horse's neck. Luckily, he was somehow able to stay on his steed's back.
He must have cut off her air, because when he finally regained his composure and sat up, she started a rapid inhaling. Served her right.
It did seem to be time to have a talk with her, as they had been traveling for a couple hours, and there had been no sight of Neil. Pulling on the reins, he eased the horse to a stop.
"Ye didnae have to do that," he said as he shook his head. The throbbing ache still assailed him. Getting off the horse and walking it out seemed like a good idea.
After dismounting, he regretted losing the warmth of her body. He pulled her down, set her on her feet, and came around to her back. She tried to follow his movements, but he reached out with one hand and held her still. With the other, he retrieved the dirk he had hidden at his side then brought it up to saw at her bindings.
A small whimper escaped from her still-gagged mouth. He loosened his grip and was careful not to pull the bindings too tight while he cut her free.
Her arms fell limply to her sides, and she slowly pulled them up and started to shake them furiously in front of her. Brodie reached up to untie her gag, but her hair had become tangled in the rag, and he had to pull at the long strands to free the cloth. As it loosened, he ran his hand down her hair, fisting a handful and bringing it to his nose.
He inhaled. The smell was like a punch to his gut as he again recalled the lass who had haunted his dreams.
She turned on her heel and slapped him.
It didn't hurt all that much, but he was stunned. Staring at the wee lass who had just hit and cursed at him, he absently rubbed at his jaw. Unfortunately, his vision was still blurred, so he could not make out her features. She was shaking her hand as if she'd hurt herself more than him.
"Ye dinnae even ken who I am. Do ye?" the lass continued as she poked her finger into his chest as if she weren't almost half his size. The wee woman had a temper. "Take me back to my uncle right now, Brodie Cameron, before I castrate ye."
Hell, she knew him. Who the devil was she? He grabbed her shoulders before she could lash out again. Holding her and squinting with his throbbing eye, he scrutinized her face. It was dark, but recognition flared.
It couldn't be.
Blond hair glistened in the moonlight. Her pale skin glowed, but it was too dark to see the startling green gaze.
Even in the inadequate light, he saw her chin tilt upwards. "Dinnae tell me ye forgot me so easily."
It had been five years, but his body had known he held the only woman he'd ever wanted. The pain of her rejection came rushing to the surface, and he released her, backing as if burned. Hell, he had work to do, and she was the last complication he needed.
Stepping forward, she slapped him again. It still didn't hurt, but he rubbed the spot where her fingers had touched him.
"Why am I here?" She stamped her foot on the ground.
"What do ye mean?"
"Why am I no' at Stirling?" She stood, legs apart, hands fisted on her hips, foot still tapping.
"I dinnae ken yer question. I pulled ye from the back of Ross's wagon."
"Why was I in the wagon?"
He shook his head. "I dinnae ken."
"Then why were ye there to take me out?" The moon provided just enough light for him to see her eyes narrow on him.
Excerpted from "Highland Redemption"
Copyright © 2017 Lori Ann Bailey.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
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
I really enjoyed Brodie and Skye's story. It's a reunion story and those are some of my favorites!! I really enjoyed watching Brodie and Skye get reacquainted and to learn how both of them have grown up in the years that they have been apart but that the attraction they once shared is still there!! I can't wait to see what Bailey comes up with next!!
This was a good read for me. The story is fast paced with plenty of drama and suspense. I liked Skye but Brodie could be a bit annoying at times. The story has a good plot and definitely held my interest throughout.
in highland redemption. skye macdonald and brodie cameron have loved each other since they were children. but when skye's father died and brodie was no where to be found, she believed the worst. finding sanctuary with her uncle she refused to see brodie again, instead choosing to believe the stories of his drunkenness and womanizing as evidence that he never loved her. in her defense, she was young and scared and brodie wasn't there. but it's also not at all true. brodie was away at that time working for the royalist government, as a spy he had missions that required him to be away, but he never would have abandoned skye had he known of her need. he did try to get her back. the feelings they have for each other are still there when they reconnect. even though years have passed since they were last together, it's as if no time at all has gone by. their love is still this unviolable, unmovable force. even as they sort through the misunderstandings and the guilt they feel for not giving each other the benefit of the doubt, for not fighting harder, the one thing that holds true is that love. it's as if they both know that this is their second chance, and having lived without one another and knowing that it isn't what they want, they are going to find a way to make sure their love thrives this second go-around. **highland redemption will publish on november 27, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (amara) in exchange for my honest review.
This is a story of second chance at love. Brodie Cameron, of Clan Cameron is a spy for the Royalists and is trying to find out if his friend Ross MacLean is was working with the Covenanters. Seeing Ross kidnap a lass, he decides to take matters into his own hands and rescues her, from what he thinks is a bargaining tool. What he finds is that he has taken Skye MacDonald, who he had not seen in five years. They had fallen in love and he had intended to marry her when a plethora of misunderstandings occurred. He began working as a spy and had to leave her for weeks at a time. Skye felt he was not coming back and after her father died, she had been placed in the care of her uncle. As Brodie and Skye spend time together as he tries to get her to safety, a lot of old hurts come forth and they both have a hard time accepting the truth... that they still love each other. Full of adventure and emotion, this story will take you on a journey to find that there is sometimes a second chance and you just have to take it! This is the second book in a series and although can be read as a standalone, I do wish I had read the first book beforehand to help with some of the characters. This writer has a lot of promise as she continues to write future stories.
Brodie Cameron was spying on his friend Ross MacLean, when he notices Ross and another man escorting a woman, who reluctant to go with them. Wanting to ensure the woman is alright, Ross approaches them, a scuffle ensues, and then Ross wonders if he has seen the woman before and if Ross has turned traitor. Edinburgh is to host a summit between Royalists and Convenanters; does this have to do with it? Brodie leaves with the woman and they ride away to safety. Sometimes a detail just won’t let itself be forgotten, and this is what happened here. Brodie doesn’t recognise the woman, Skye MacDonald, and this was a huge problem for me. Brodie and Skye were once in love, they had had sex, it was only five years before when Skye was eighteen, and he doesn’t recognise her? Skye is not covered in mud, she is not battered and bruised beyond recognition, and he doesn’t recognise her? I might have been able to overlook this – might – if the author had not kept on rehashing and repeating how much they had loved each other, how he bedded numerous women and drank too much in order to forget her, but when he sees her, he does not recognise her? It’s 1643 and it’s not as if she would have had cosmetic surgery, or had made drastic changes to her appearance or that she was scarred; women that age do not change that much in five years under normal circumstances, especially not in those days. Had it been Brodie whom Skye had not recognised, it might have worked; men that age are still growing and fill out, a different hair style and facial hair can make a huge difference. If only there hadn’t been that bit about Brodie not recognising Skye, HIGHLAND REDEMPTION would have been fine, although there are minor issues and your usual miscommunication, lack of communication, and misunderstandings. It’s well written, the action scenes are terrific, and the political machinations and clan disputes are interesting and handled well. I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.
5 Stars for Lori Ann Bailey. This is Lori’s 2nd book in her Highland Pride series, the first being Highland Deception. If you like Scottish history and romance, this is the book for you. Lori has a way of making her book flow and her characters come alive. There is evil, revenge, mystery, spies, misunderstandings and yes love. All the thing I love in a book. I highly recommend this book, you wont be disappointed. Travel back in time to 1643 Scotland with Brodie Cameron and Skye MacDonald when five years prior there was heartbreak for both of them due to a misunderstanding and Skye leaves her home with her uncle since her father had died and she was all alone. Now 5 years later when a betrothed Skye gets abducted by the Maclean Clan and not knowing it is Skye, Brodie comes to her rescue. Seeing no way to her get her back to her uncle plus the continuing war between the Catholic and Presbyterian and not knowing who to trust, Brodie takes her back to the Cameron Clan ignoring his better judgement. Why was Brodie always gone to who know where and leaving her alone? Can Skye over come her fear of being alone? Can Brodie trust Skye with his secret? Can the Clans make the right alliances with other clans? Who is really after Skye and why? Will Skye marry her betrothed or can Brodie and Skye rekindle the flame they once shared? You will just have to read Highland Redemption to find out. Kat Tolle Wiley