Highland Warrior (Campbell Trilogy #1)

Highland Warrior (Campbell Trilogy #1)

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The ruthless enforcer of Scotland's most powerful clan, Jamie Campbell will use any means necessary to vanquish lawlessness and unrest among the feuding Highland clans. Seduction is a game as easily played as subterfuge, but when Jamie poses as a suitor to a rival clan's daughter in order to expose treason, the line between duty and pleasure is suddenly blurred. Ebony-haired, ruby-lipped Caitrina Lamont defies him, denies him, and arouses him like no other woman.Caitrina has no intention of forsaking her beloved father and doting brothers for a husband-especially a hated Campbell. But Jamie's raw, sensual strength and searing kiss melt her resistance. When her idyllic world is shattered, Caitrina's only hope to save her clan lies in the arms of Jamie Campbell, the enemy she holds accountable for its ruin. Can their tenuous truce, born in the velvet darkness of passionate nights, forge a love as strong as the sword that rules the Highlands?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781452636528
Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
Publication date: 02/27/2012
Series: Campbell Series , #1
Edition description: Library - Unabridged CD
Product dimensions: 6.80(w) x 6.50(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Monica McCarty is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than ten Scottish historical romance novels, including the Campbell series, the MacLeods of Skye series, and the Highland Guard novels. Her interest in the Scottish clan system began in the most unlikely of places: a comparative legal history course at Stanford Law School. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and their two young children. Roger Hampton trained as an actor in Scotland. He has performed on stage, radio, television and film and is a busy audiobook narrator and voice-over artist.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1
“A law is no justice.”
—Scottish Proverb
Ascog Castle, Isle of Bute, Scotland, June 1608
Caitrina Lamont peered into the looking glass as the young maid pinned the last section of lace ruff in place behind her neck. The delicate points, embellished with tiny jewels, framed her face like a sparkling halo. She bit back a mischievous smile, having no illusions in that regard. As her brothers so often delighted in pointing out, she was far too bold and opinionated to ever be confused with an angel. “A man wants a biddable, demure lass for a wife,” they’d tease, knowing full well they were only encouraging her to do the opposite.
Finished at last, she stepped back to get a better view of her new gown in the small mirror. Excitement sparkled in her eyes. The dress was truly magnificent. She met the reflected gaze of her beloved nursemaid in the looking glass. “Oh, Mor, isn’t it the most gorgeous gown you’ve ever seen?”
Mor had been watching the proceedings with the brooding consternation of a mother sending her son into battle for the first time. The analogy wasn’t too far off. Tonight, there would be a great feast to celebrate the opening of the Highland gathering being held this year at Ascog. But Caitrina was well aware that her father had every hope of securing her betrothal to one of the many Highlanders who would be descending on their keep to test their strength and skill. Quickly, before it could spoil the excitement of her gift, she pushed away the disagreeable thought.
“Gorgeous?” The older woman snorted her disapproval, staring meaningfully at the low-cut square bodice where Caitrina’s bosom strained to near bursting against the tight confines of stays and satin. Mor shuffled the young maidservant out of the room and then resumed her diatribe. “Immodest is more like it. And I don’t know what’s wrong with the twenty other ‘gorgeous’ gowns you have hanging in the ambry.”
Caitrina scrunched her nose. “Oh, Mor, you know I have nothing like this.” She glanced down at the swell of flesh rising high over the edge of her gown. The neckline was rather low. She could practically see the pink edge of her … She fought the blush, knowing that it would only give Mor further cause for argument. “This gown is quite proper,” she said firmly. “All the fashionable courtiers are wearing dresses just like this at Whitehall.”
Mor muttered something that sounded suspiciously like “damn fool English,” which Caitrina chose to ignore. Centuries of enmity would not be forgotten simply because Scotland’s king had also become England’s. She lifted the pale gold silk in her hand, allowing the light from the window to catch in iridescent waves, and sighed dreamily. “I feel like a princess in this dress.”
The old woman snorted. “Well, it certainly cost a king’s ransom to have such a gown sent all the way from London to the Isle of Bute.” Mor paused and shook her head. “ ’Tis sheer foolishness when there are perfectly capable dressmakers in Edinburgh.”
“But they are woefully out-of-date with the most recent styles,” Caitrina protested. Still, something Mor said bothered her. She bit her lip, not having considered the cost of her father’s largesse. “Do you really think it was too costly?”
Mor lifted a sardonic brow, unable to hide her amusement. “Blackmail doesn’t usually come cheap.”
Caitrina’s mouth twitched, fighting another smile. “It wasn’t blackmail. The gown was Father’s idea. No doubt he was feeling guilty for forcing me to endure the attentions of the endless parade of peacocks he struts across our hall. I think he agreed to have the gathering at Ascog with the hope that with so many ‘braw lads’ to choose from, I would find one to my liking—as if I were picking a bull at market.”
In truth, her father’s insistence that Caitrina begin a search for a husband worried her more than she wanted to let on. It wasn’t like him to be so stubborn. That was Mor’s domain.
Mor assiduously avoided the subject of marriage and returned to the gown. “That man would have offered you the moon to see your tears dried. I suppose it could have been worse than one dress.” She shook her finger at Caitrina. “But one of these days someone is going to come around who you can’t twist around that pretty little finger of yours.”
Caitrina grinned. “They already have.” She leaned over and pressed a kiss on the wizened cheek. “You.”
“Ha.” Mor chortled. “Incorrigible scamp.”
Caitrina wrapped her arms around the old woman, resting her cheek against the scratchy wool of her arisaidh, savoring the warm, familiar scent of peat and heather—of hearth and home. “Do you really not like the gown, Mor? I won’t wear it if you don’t.”
Mor held her back by the shoulders and looked into her eyes. “Don’t listen to me, lass. I’m just a silly old woman who’s worried about what the wolves may do to my wee lamb.” Her gaze softened. “You’ve been so sheltered, with no inkling of the wickedness of men.” The back of her finger smoothed Caitrina’s cheek. “That gown simply reminds me that you are a woman full grown.” Caitrina was surprised to see tears misting in Mor’s troubled eyes. “You look so much like your mother. She was the most beautiful lass in the Highlands when she ran off with your father.”
Caitrina’s chest squeezed; though her mother had been gone for over ten years now, the pull of emotion was still strong. She’d been eleven when her mother succumbed to the wasting ailment, and the memories of the laughing, beautiful woman who’d held her in her arms grew fuzzier with each year that passed. But there would always be an empty place in her heart and the knowledge that a vital piece of her was missing.
“Tell me again, Mor.” She never tired of hearing the story of how her father had caught one glimpse of his enemy’s daughter and fallen in love. Of how her parents had met secretly for months, until her father finally convinced her mother to run away with him.
But before Mor could respond, Caitrina’s younger brother came bursting into her room. “Caiti! Caiti Rose, come quick!”
Her heart plummeted, thinking the worst. Who was hurt, and how badly? She grabbed Brian by the shoulders and with a calmness she didn’t feel—but with three brothers to take care of, she’d unfortunately become used to—said, “What’s happened?”
He eyed her warily. “Promise you won’t be angry?”
“How can I promise when I don’t know what it is?”
At only two and ten, Brian had yet to develop firm negotiating skills. He gave up bargaining and started with excuses. “It wasn’t my fault,” he hedged. “I told Una—”
At the mention of the little girl’s name, Caitrina guessed what was wrong. “Oh, Brian! How many times have I told you to keep those beastly dogs away from the kittens?”
He looked down at his feet, shamefaced. “I told Una that I was taking the lads out, but she forgot to close the door to the stables, and then, well, it happened so fast. Boru was just playing, but the silly cat ran up the tree.”
Caitrina groaned. “What tree?”
Brian grimaced. “The old oak. Caiti, please, you have to help me get the kitten down before Una finds out. She’ll cry.” He kicked at the wooden floor uncomfortably. “I hate it when she cries.”
Caitrina met Mor’s gaze. Una was her granddaughter, and Mor had a soft spot for the little girl.
“I’ll see if I can keep her occupied while you,” Mor said, stabbing her finger at Brian’s lanky chest, “get that kitten out of the tree.”
“Come, Caiti, hurry,” he said, dragging her by the hand from her solar.
It wasn’t until they’d stepped outside the keep and started toward the gate in the barmkin wall that the curious stares of her clansmen reminded her that she was still wearing her new gown—and no shoes.
Though the skies were blue, the ground was damp from this morning’s rain, and mud squished between her toes. Knowing there was nothing she could do about it now, she lifted her skirts as best she could to keep from soiling the hem.
“You might have given me a moment to change my gown,” she grumbled.
Brian spared her a hurried glance. “Why? You look fine.”
She rolled her eyes. Brothers. She could be wearing a sackcloth and they wouldn’t notice.
After passing through the gate, they headed down the path, taking the right fork that led toward the woodlands—the left led down to Loch Ascog. On the eve of the games, the outbuildings along the banks of the loch were bustling with activity, but as she and Brian hurried toward the trees it was surprisingly quiet, except for Boru’s barking, which grew louder as they neared the great old oak. The Lamonts descended from the great kings of Éire, and Brian had named the dog after his namesake—Brian Boru, the famed high king of centuries past.
“You left the dog here?”
Her brother reddened. “I told him to go home, but he wouldn’t listen. Since the silly cat was already stuck in the tree, I figured it wouldn’t matter.”
“He’s probably scared the poor thing half to death.” She turned to the dog and said sharply, “Boru!” He stopped barking and looked at her, head cocked at an inquisitive angle. She pointed in the direction of the castle, no longer visible through the trees. “Home.”
With a soft whimper, Boru nuzzled her skirts and gave her an apologetic look with his soulful brown eyes. She shook her head, refusing to be moved. The dog certainly had a gift for the dramatics. “Home, Boru.” Whimpering again, this one even more pathetic, the great deerhound hung his head low and trotted back toward the castle.

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From the Publisher

"Sexy, full of action, and realistically violent, this story of 17th-century Scotland touches on issues of family loyalty and duty and expertly kicks off McCarty's back-to-back Clan Campbell trilogy." —-Library Journal

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Highland Warrior 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 110 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1608 on the Isle of Bute, off Scotland, Lord Lamont hosts a Highland gathering at his Ascog Castle in hopes of finding an acceptable husband for his not always biddable daughter Caitrina. He hates using his offspring as pawn, but feels for the sake of the clan¿s safety he must arrange a marriage that brings a strong alliance with it. She understands the need and accepts her role, but prays that her fiancé is not a Campbell; a clan the Lamont tribe has feuded with for years.

Due to the pleading of her younger brother Brian to rescue a kitten from a tree, Caitrina climbs up, but her sibling leaves once she gives him the feline before helping her down. The Privy Council¿s enforcer Jamie Campbell arrives in time to help the damsel in distress out on a limb; that is after taking his time as he admired the view. In spite of the clans¿ disputes and Caitrina¿s trepidations, Jamie marries her. However, whereas he sees the world as black and white, she sees a rainbow. They fall in love, but their marriage remains fragile as he remains inflexible unable to understand that chastisement is not always the best response to right a wrong. When his beloved almost dies, Jamie begins to comprehend how fortunate he is to have Caitrina as his wife and to have her love as he begins to understand justice without passion leads to injustice.

The opening of Monica McCarty¿s latest Highland saga, The Campbells, is a terrific character driven historical romance that showcases a great author cleverly using a seventeen century setting to make a point about modern day justice. Love is not enough as Jamie as the enforcer never cares about circumstances when he doles out punishment in the name of justice. Caitrina is his opposite as she feels strongly all the pertinent information needs to be considered before determining the best fairest course of action. Fans will relish their dispute over what justice truly is.

Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story is exceptional as Monica's other trilogy has been. It does not repeat the style or pattern which is good and keeps you turning the pages. I finished it in 1 day! i swear i could not even sleep till i had finished it! Jamie is very HOT! I LOVE him! Caitrina is a strong character and makes me like her all the more for it. This is a more than just enjoyable read you will not be disappointed. The story takes a very sharp and unexpected turn that you do not see coming. You will savor every last word of it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like her books and the series. You pretty much know how the story will go but I like how she creates the feeling between the characters. I also likes how she will tell what the woman is feeling and then show it from the man's point of view on the same scene. Good escapism.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was too long in my opinion. Eventually I had to start skimming. For sure not as good as others that she has written - the highland guard series is excellent!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Strong charscters, deep drama and a beautifull love story of how a woman can find good in a man who she thought was responsible for an unbelievable heartache
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
WoW.!. Grabbed me from the start and couldnt put down. A fantastic read. You will not be disappointed. A very recommended one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story, the wrting of this story really took you in. I could not put this book down. Now, on to the next in series.
Dottie60 More than 1 year ago
If you love to read about romance, intrigue, and history all in one book, you simply MUST have all these books!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
absolutely love this book. Looking forward to the rest of the series.
mybooksmylove on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My Rating: A+My Review:I honestly think that this book was just so much more than a romance. Everything that the characters experience you as the reader will experience as well. This book often had me horribly angry, frightened, amused and even more, on the brink of tears.In the beginning the heroine is cute and charming and you love her, but as the hero points out more of her faults, you begin to see them as well and just before her big change, you almost become annoyed with her. But then everything in her life changes, and she becomes a different version of herself, someone you can relate with more.The hero is a strong handsome (duh, it's a romance) very loyal man. You can understand the heroines issues with how he sees the world and why she wants him to change, but you can also see his point of view. A main component in this novel is the lines between right and wrong, and whether or not there is a grey area. This is deeply explored through their experiences and the reader can even find themselves wondering who they should side with.And the sex scenes are hot too!!All in all this is a wonderful book, Ms. McCarty's best yet!
risadabomb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved this book and wish I could give it more than 5 stars. Jamie is an excellent hero warrior and tender lover all rolled into one. Caitrina is a perfect heroine feisty and feminine. They have excellent chemistry and it is a love story you will want to read over and over again.
Chandra-of-Red on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
AUTHOR: As with any historical fiction romance author, Monica has done a great job researching the history that is the basis and foundation of this book. She has written a very sexy and passionate Scottish adventure. You will want to read book two after completing HIGHLANDER UNTAMED.SYNOPSIS ¿One man and one woman handfasted by decree of the King. He is laird over the MacLeod clan and she is a MacDonald. He wants revenge from her uncle. She wants to save her clan by winning her uncle¿s support. The MacLeod laird¿s idea of a solution is to commit to the handfasting without acting as a husband and to send her away in one year. Her idea is to commit to the handfasting and trick him into divulging secrets by making him fall in love with her. Can you say, ¿Uncle¿? Now READ!(5 out of 5) Stars. Elements of a Romance Book TEST =2 central characters, 1 male, 1 female.......................YES;One or both of the main characters are in peril....... YES; They work together to resolve the situation.............YES; Some amount of conflict and resistance in working together.....YES; The perilous situation brings them together¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿......YES. Why Five Stars? This book passed (5) of "MY" Elements of a Romance Boot TESTPASSION SCALE: This book gets (3) ASTERISK because the main characters express true passion.* NOT very descriptive and requires imagination** WILL make you wiggle a little)*** WISH it was me;**** OH BODY, whew;***** EROTICA and well over the topFAVORITE PART: Her entire relationship with MargaretLEAST FAVORITE PART: Her being attacked by a MacKenzie¿.yuk!YOU WILL LIKE THIS BOOK IF YOU LIKE: Historical romance, 16th Century Scotland, Scottish Highlanders, Clans,
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Monica's books never disappoint me. The tension between Campbell's and MacGregors is intense but the love that bridges the gap is greater than their hatred. I love the characters so much that I have read this book several times. I highly recommend this book.
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Very easy to read, good research, and enjoyed this as with all Monica McCarty's trilogies of Scottish reads. Nice to "get away" from life--very uplifting and a "feel-good" calm afterward.
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