PROTECTING HER WAS HIS PASSION
High-born though she is, Kate Campbell isn't afraid to draw her sword. When raiders strike, she rushes into the fray...and is lucky when a mysterious Highlander shields her from a deadly blow. Swept onto his stallion, she soon discovers that her rescuer is her clan's most hated enemy: Callum MacGregor, the man they call The Devil. Yet she cannot ignore his achingly tender touch or the way his fiery gaze leaves her breathless.
POSSESSING HER WOULD BE HIS PLEASURE
Callum MacGregor has taken many Campbell lives, but he's never saved oneuntil now. Mesmerized by this spirited lass, he wants her by his side, even if it means holding her for ransom. As his fingers graze her sumptuous curves and tangle in her unruly tresses, Callum realizes Kate Campbell is his most dangerous foe of all. For he can't make love to her without betraying his kinsmen and his honor...and surrendering his heart forever.
About the Author
New York Times bestselling author Paula Quinn lives in New York with her three beautiful children, three over-protective chihuahuas, and a loud umbrella cockatoo. She loves to read romance and science fiction and has been writing since she was eleven. She loves all things medieval, but it is her love for Scotland that pulls at her heartstrings.
Read an Excerpt
Laird Of The Mist
By Paula Quinn
ForeverCopyright © 2007 Paula Quinn
All right reserved.
Chapter OneGLEN ORCHY, SCOTLAND
KATE CAMPBELL LOOKED her enemy square in his lifeless face and then swung. Her blade severed an arm, but the torso remained intact. Mindless of her uncle's men honing their battle skills around her, she lifted the ax she gripped in her other hand and grunted as it sank deep into her opponent's straw chest.
Swiping her hair away from her eyes, she spied her uncle Duncan crossing the small bailey of her holding. He had arrived in Glen Orchy a few days ago to bring her to Kildun Castle, in Inverary. He'd promised to bring her and her brother to his home when they were children, but at the end of each visit he left without them.
Their mother died giving Kate life. Their father was killed at Kildun twelve years after that, just before Duncan was named Earl of Argyll, and Kate and Robert's guardian.
Kate watched him stalk toward her, his equine legs encased in fine woolen breeches and boots of polished obsidian. His frame was slight, his shoulders narrow beneath an olive doublet. He was built more for priesting than for fighting, though he often bragged of his victories in battle. These battles kept him away from Kildun for months at a time, he'd reminded them many times during his visits, planting a kiss on their foreheads before heading for the doors. Soon he would come to bring them home with him. But he never did. Not even when her father's vassals began leaving, save for a small handful who raised them.
Kate met the earl's gaze briefly, and his gray eyes grew dark with intent that made her skin crawl. He may not have wanted her as a child, but he wanted her now.
"You brandish your weapons well, Katherine." He came up behind her and ducked to his right when she hefted her ax over her shoulder for another crushing swipe, this time to her enemy's thigh.
Aye, she and Robert had been made to practice day after day. "Amish and John taught us well."
Behind her, she heard a tight snort. "They have remained loyal soldiers to my brother these many years. But their duty to him is over now. I will see that they are rewarded." He leaned over her so that his whispered breath clung to her cheek. "It pleases me to know you would fight back should any man try to ravish you."
Kate clutched the handle of her ax and thought about flinging it over her shoulder. "Truly, Uncle, your concern for mine and Robert's well-being has always warmed my heart. Especially when you used to remind us how fortunate we were that it was the McColls who raided Glen Orchy every other fortnight, and not the murderous MacGregors." He hadn't cared that a Highlander might ravish her while she was growing up, or that there were but a handful of men left in the garrison to fight them if they did.
"When you were a child, the only thing the raiders wanted was sheep. I knew you were safe here. But now you are a woman and the Highlanders will take more than your livestock." His breath glided over her throat. Kate cringed and brought her ax down hard on her opponent, raining hay on their heads.
"I do not fear any man who thinks to come here to steal my virtue, Uncle."
"And if our enemy should fall upon you?"
Kate knew whom he meant. He'd spoken of them countless times over the years. "There are hardly any Mac-Gregors left in Scotland worth fretting over. I'm certain I shall never meet one."
"There are enough of them left to continue to back the royalists' cause." The earl curled his finger around a raven lock that fell over her shoulder. "We must not forget how they joined forces with their Catholic Marquis of Montrose against us. Or how many of our kinsmen have died during their murderous rampages. Remember I told you how they massacred the Covenanters without mercy at Kilsyth? I will not let you fall to them, as well. You will do as I say and come home with me." He gave her hair a tug, as if to remind her that he would not let her refuse.
"This is my home," she said, stabbing her opponent in the throat.
"Not anymore." When she stiffened at his sharp retort, he softened his tone. "Robert is eager to see you. It has been near three months since he has set eyes on his beloved sister."
Kate missed her brother terribly, but he had chosen his path. "My brother has waited years to give his service to the realm, but I am content here, Uncle."
His laughter raked across her ear. "With a few old men and a handful of servants? What could you hope to do against the Devil, should he find you?"
Kate was certain he already had and was standing behind her at this very moment. Her uncle was trying his best to frighten her into leaving with him, by reminding her of the horrid MacGregors the way children taunt each other with tales of beasties. The most terrifying of them all: The Devil, who had killed over fifty Campbells six years ago in a massacre that had made him legend-and made her and Robert orphans.
Duncan hauled her closer and gritted his teeth. "Have you forgotten already that he killed my father and yours?"
"Nae," Kate answered without turning. "I have not forgotten." Indeed, Kate hated him, but she did not concern herself with legends or the foolishness of fearing them.
"And you do not fear such a blood-lustful man?" he demanded while she swung again.
"Nae, I will kill him if ever I meet him," she vowed, decapitating her enemy with her sword.
"You never will." The earl slid his hand down her arm until his fingers covered hers. He jabbed her blade into her lifeless opponent, a groan tangling in his throat as he pressed her back to his chest. "Tomorrow you will return with me to Kildun. Only there will you be safe from our enemy."
Kate stopped fighting and ground her teeth when he kissed the back of her head. "You are my enemy, as well," she murmured as he swaggered back to his men. She brought her ax upward instead of down; it struck and wedged tightly between her opponent's legs.
Leaving the ax where it landed, Kate sheathed her sword and walked off toward the meadow where her sheep grazed oblivious and innocent to the lusty wiles of men. It sickened her when she thought of why her uncle wanted her. She'd known of his depravity for some time but had never told Robert. She hadn't truly thought Duncan would come for her, even after Robert went to live with him, so there was no need. But now he was here and so anxious to get her out of Glen Orchy, she was certain he would drag her there tied to his horse if he had to. Did he think Robert would let him touch her once they arrived at Kildun? Fool. Her brother would slice off Duncan's hands, uncle or not. Robert was noble and valiant, with a strong sense of duty to protect his clan. It was he who taught her Malory and Monmouth's tales of Arthur Pendragon and his knights of the Round Table. And it was the terrible tales of the savage MacGregors that drove him to leave their home three months ago and join the other knights of Inverary.
Robert had begged her to go with him, but Kate did not want to leave her home, and she certainly did not want to live with her uncle. She was safe here. The raiders were bothersome but not terribly dangerous.
Amish had made her and her brother vow to never lift a weapon to the mountain men. Their raiding, he had told them, was a way of life. They did not come to kill, so long as they were not attacked. Not so the MacGregors. For over two centuries they were considered the scourge of Scotland: uncivilized barbarians with no regard for honor or a man's family. So heinous were their crimes against the Campbells and their allies that their name had been proscribed over fifty years ago.
Amish and John never spoke ill of them, though, even after the Devil killed her father. Hatred, they told her as her father had, was poison to the soul.
Kate wiped her fist across her ear, where the stale smell of her uncle's breath still lingered. Hatred might be poison, but if he ever touched her again he would feel the power of it when her blade sliced open his heart.
A thunderous cry from the braes above pierced her thoughts. Her face paled. Raiders! She turned, looking back at her uncle's men already drawing their swords. Nae! She sped toward them, praying as she ran that she could reach her uncle's men before the Highlanders did.
Callum MacGregor, clan chieftain of the MacGregors, reined in his mount atop the crest of a hill and watched the small battle taking place in the vale below. His dark brows creased over his eyes as he scanned the men engaged in the melee around the Campbell holding and those lying dead in the grass. Duncan Campbell was not among them.
"Looks like we've stumbled upon a raid by the McColls," said one of the four men flanking him.
"Ye said the Earl of Argyll would be here, Graham." The chieftain cut his gaze to his first in command.
"He's here," his commander assured confidently while he rotated the cap tilted jauntily atop his mane of honeyed curls to a backward position. If any man had reason to be so certain of his words, 'twas Graham Grant. After pretending to be a Campbell from Breadalbane and living in Kildun Castle for the last pair of months, Graham knew all there was to know about the Inverary Campbells and the tenth Earl of Argyll. "This was his brother Colin's homestead. He's come here to retrieve his niece." Graham pointed into the vale at the soldiers. "Campbell's men are here. Mayhap he hides in the keep. We know he lacks courage."
"Save fer when he's brandin' MacGregor women," said another man, a bit broader of shoulder than the rest. He popped the cork off a leather pouch dangling from his belt and raised it to his mouth.
"Can ye no' go anywhere wi'oot yer poison, Angus?"
Angus took a swig, belched, and then swiped his beefy knuckles across his thick auburn beard. "Brodie, ye know I like killin' Campbells wi' a bit o' auld Gillis's brew in me." He grinned at his cousin stationed beside him. "It fires up me innards."
Callum refused when Angus slapped the pouch of brew against his arm, offering his laird to take part. Callum did not need whiskey to fire his innards. Hating the Campbells was enough. They had taken much from his clan. But they had taken everything from him.
"The McColls are puttin' a quick end to the Campbells. They'll be less fer us."
"Dinna fret over it, Brodie," Angus said, corking his pouch. "We killed us enough o' the bastards already at Kildun before we got here."
"It will never be enough," their laird growled low in his throat.
"If Argyll is there, the McColls might get to him before we do," Jamie Grant, Graham's younger brother and the youngest of Callum's men, pointed out.
"There's a lass fightin' among the men!"
"That's no' a lass, Brodie." Angus guzzled another swig of whiskey. "'Tis a Campbell wi' mighty long hair."
Brodie flashed his larger cousin an incredulous scowl beneath his dark whiskers. "'Tis a lass, ye dull-witted bastard."
Callum heard the side of Angus's sword smack against Brodie's head, and Brodie's subsequent oaths before he pounded his fist into Angus's chest. The chieftain ignored his kinsmen and observed the object of their disagreement. The mounted warrior certainly looked like a lass. He'd never seen a lass fight before, though many times he wished he had. His mother's screams still haunted his dreams. He'd been a lad when Duncan Campbell's father raided his village and his men raped and branded the women, though no hand had been lifted against the earl's men.
But here was a woman who had the spirit to actually fight to save her life.
"'Tis a lass," he said, more to himself than to his men. "Mayhap Argyll's niece."
"Aye." Graham nodded, watching her lush raven mane swing around her shoulders while she whirled her horse around and deflected another mighty blow. "She tires against the McColls. I know she's a Campbell," he said with only a hint of regret, "but it looks like a good enough fight. Shall we aid her, Callum?"
Graham smiled at his friend's slight nod, and then he flicked his reins and took off a moment after Callum kicked his stallion's flanks and raced toward the melee.
The MacGregor chief cut a straight path to the lass, swiping his claymore through anyone in his way. His men fanned out around him, killing the rest. The closer he came to her, the harder he rode, his dark hair snapping behind him like a pennant. Her arms were growing weary. She was having difficulty lifting her blade to parry the flurry of strikes hammering down on her. He told himself, while he hacked at a McColl riding up behind her, that he was rushing to her defense to keep her alive so that she could tell him Duncan Campbell's whereabouts.
She whirled on him just as he reached her, and Callum felt something in his gut jolt. Her skin was pale alabaster against a spray of soft obsidian waves, dampened by exhaustion. Her eyes were beautiful as black satin, and when she looked up at him, they told Callum she had just lost hope in surviving this day.
He did not expect her to swing at him, looking as defeated as she did. For an instant, he merely gaped in stunned disbelief at the blood soaking his thigh. Then he lifted his claymore over his head and brought it down hard on another McColl. The lass turned away from the force of his deathblow, but a moment later she returned her gaze to his. Callum responded to the great relief in her expression by wheeling his mount around and calling out to his men to guard her on every side. There, they shielded her until the only men left in the yard, besides them, were dead or wounded.
When Callum turned his mount around to face her again, her sword slipped from her fingers. He glanced at it, then lifted his eyes to hers. "Are ye injured?"
She blinked as if emerging from a daze. Her breath still came heavy enough to part her lips.
"Are ye hurt?" he demanded again.
She shook her head nae. "Are you?" Her gaze slipped to his thigh. "My deepest apologies for wounding you. I did not know who you were, or-"
"Are ye Duncan Campbell's niece?" he interrupted.
She either didn't hear him or chose to ignore his query. "I must find Amish and John. They are old and-"
"Woman," he cut her off again, this time his voice hard enough to make her blink. "Are ye Argyll's niece?" When she nodded, his expression went hard. "Where is he?"
She looked around at the fallen, presenting him with the delicacy of her profile. "I had hoped he was here. But he must have run off with one of my sheep."
A hint of amusement crossed Callum's expression before he angled his head and barked out another order to the four men around her. "Brodie, check the keep with Angus and Jamie. If ye find Argyll, bring him oot to me."
"Who are you, that I may properly thank you for aiding me?"
Callum's gaze swung back to her. For an unsettling instant he lost all ability to reason, save that he knew he would be content to look at her for however many days he had left on the Earth. 'Twas not fear that made her bonny eyes appear so big, but reverence. Admiration from a Campbell! Since he had never saved the life of one before, he was not prepared for her awe. He shifted again, feeling damned uncomfortable and blaming her for it.
"I am Callum MacGregor." Best to get it over with sooner rather than later, though a part of him regretted having to watch that veneration turn to hatred when he spoke his name aloud. He was not disappointed. Her face paled to such a milky white he thought she might faint dead away and tumble from her horse.
His eyes were usually very quick, and on any other day Callum MacGregor would never have missed an enemy reaching for a weapon. But for a moment her beauty made him forget about fighting and hatred and blood. A moment was all it took for her to slip her hand beneath her belt and retrieve the small dagger she had hidden there.
The glimmer of surprise that sparked Callum's eyes belied his cold, impassive voice. "Ye have courage to point yer dagger at me." She swung, and he moved in a blur of speed, yanking her from her horse to his. Pressing her chest to his, he closed his arms around her, pinning her dagger securely behind her back. "Ye insult the laird of the clan MacGregor with such a meager weapon, lass."
"Let me go, vermin!" she hurled at him and spent the remainder of her energy kicking and wriggling, trying to free herself. "Let me go if you be a man, and let me fight you with my sword."
Callum glanced at Graham, mirroring the commander's expression of admiration at her furious promise. She was a fiery, braw lass, something all Highlanders valued.
But she was a Campbell.
"Is Argyll in the keep?" Callum asked her, barely straining a muscle against her attempts to be free of him.
"I told you I don't know where he is, but when you find him, take him to hell with you!"
Aye, now this was more like the reaction he expected from a Campbell. She was no more innocent than the rest. "Graham, get me some rope. The wench tires me."
Her fight came to an abrupt halt. She glared up at him with the promise of retribution frosting her eyes. "Will you prove yourself naught but a savage by raping me?"
Excerpted from Laird Of The Mist by Paula Quinn Copyright © 2007 by Paula Quinn. 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I read Ravished by a Highlander and fell in love with Quinn's writing so I decided to check out some of her other titles and came across this book. This is seriously the best book I have read in a while! The plot is good and transitions well, but that is not what made this book a favorite - it is the characters! I love the humor between the men and the two main characters are just fantastic! A great read but be warned once you start reading it you will NOT be able to put it down!
Paula Quinn breaks away from her Risande Family trilogy with this masterfully written medieval of the highlands. It is a time in Scotland where the name of MacGregor has been declared under proscription wiped out from the name of all Scottish clans. The strong and handsome highlander Callum MacGregor and his darling of a sister Maggie grow up as small children surrounded in evil as they are imprisoned and shackled deep in the Campbell¿s dungeon, after their family was killed, their lands taken away, and their very name wiped away as a Scottish clan. Callum never gives up and his hatred grows as he continues to grow up in the dungeon. One day he finally escapes with Maggie by killing his captors and becoming known as the evil MacGregor. With the help of other sympatric clans he refuses to drop away and hide as anything but a MacGregor and instead becomes their laird. But the evil Duke of Argyll has made it his life¿s work to destroy all MacGregors, especially Callum and Maggie. As Argyll rides across the Scottish lands killing any and doing evil to those who harbor or claim to have helped the MacGregors, his beautiful niece Kate Campbell and her brother Robert, unbeknownst to them, live on Callum¿s previous lands, have been told that the MacGregors are considered evil, but do not understand the full effects until one day the large handsome Callum kidnaps her in order to use her as a lure to bring Argyll to him so he can finally kill him and earn his final vengeance. As Kate lives amongst Callum, Maggie and the MacGregor people, she not only falls in love with the highlands and its people, but deeply for Callum. Maggie and many other MacGregors want peace as well and fear for their handsome and strong leader and his continued thirst for vengeance. Can the deep, passionate and sensual love Kate feels for Callum, as well as the love of his sister Maggie and his people, make him realize the true meaning of life and happiness and overcome this severe vengeance and bloodshed? As Kate becomes possessed by Callum, the reader will become possessed by the story as well as the main and secondary characters, unable to put the book down. Laird of the Mist is a beautiful love story that will touch the deepest parts of your heart. It is masterfully written and will make you laugh and cry, with an ending that will not disappoint. If you loved Paula Quinn¿s other medieval romances, you will not want to miss this one and if you haven¿t had the pleasure of reading one of her books before Laird of the Mist, you will want to purchase them all to add to your collection. Her masterfully written medieval historical stories are a reader¿s joy!
This book was a good romance, but about mid-way on, it had way too much detailed sexual episodes. Really didn't need that, at all! The book was hard to catch my interest, but after awhile, I began to understand the relationships in this Scottish lore, but never actually finished it because of the sex scenes.
I loved this wonderful book. It was very well written. One of my favourite books.
If you're looking for a romance novel that is easy to read that doesn't require too much attention, this is the book for you. I liked the characters well enough but they were very cookie cutter as far as your average cast of romance novel heroes and heroines go. The plot was fairly thin and predictable as well with seemingly high drama that built up too slowly and resolved itself too quickly. For the price I paid it made it worth reading but if I had paid more than a dollar I think I would have skipped this one and moved on to something else.
In the seventeenth century laird Callum MacGregor swears he will not become the latest homicidal statistic of the perfidious Campbells over the past century members of the Campbell clan have assassinated every MacGregor laird. Instead Callum decides to lead a presumptive strike by attacking his enemy¿s stronghold leaving no one behind to ultimately try to kill him.----------- During the assault, Callum breaks his second rule of taking no prisoners as he abducts angry Kate Campbell with plans to use her as a hostage and an expendable pawn. She plans to escape starting with seducing her clan¿s enemy. As they fall in love, the Campbell clan is coming to liberate her with a retaliatory strike that includes leaving no one alive especially the Laird.---------- This entertaining Scottish historical romance focuses on a Romeo and Juliet with a love that neither of the feuding clans will blithely tolerate. With Callum stubborn when it comes to his belief that his enemy has murdered his predecessors and thus obviously distrustful, it is up to the courageous tolerant heroine to prevent a deadly battle and keep her beloved alive. Brave Kate steals the novel as she faces love, danger and treachery.----------- Harriet Klausner
this is the second book i've read by Paula Quinn and like the first one, i LOVED it. Paula Quinn is great in giving details about the story line and the characters. i couldn't put this book down and was sad when it came to the end. i will definitely re-read again.
I loved this book! It was so refreshing to read about a girl who could hold her own against a man and not be the typical damsel in distress. It is a must read! I know you will fall in love like I did!!
I really enjoyed this story. It's historical, keeps you on the edge of your seat and is a great love story. You pretty much have an idea of how it's going to end but it's well written so you don't mind that point. The sexual situations in the book are VERY explicit. Frankly, I thought it added to the story but everyone may not feel that way. I had read some of the reader's reviews prior to selecting the book, so knew what to expect. I plan on reading more of the author's books, as they continue with the next generation. My suggestion? Try it - you might like it!
There is so much that happens in this story I don't know where to start, except to say, this is one heck of a story. Yes,as in all of her books there is sex, but I don't feel it is overly graphic, just right for the story. I loved all the character's, especially Maggie, I laughed and cried over her story as well as Callum. Kate is such a strong women, I loved how Ms. Quinn wrote her. You can't go wrong with this historical romance, or any of Ms. Quinn's books. I am glad the next book is about Graham. I loved that there is an Epilogue too.(ljb)
My favorite Scottish romance by far! (And Ive read quite a lot of them!)
This is the book that got me hooked on historical romance, and I can honestly say that I haven't found one better than this. The flow of it was so realistic and smooth that I fell in love with Callum and Kate myself.
Well written. In the first few chapters, the hidden disturbing relationship between Kate & her uncle is a tattle tale of whats yet to come. the developing relationship between Kate & Callum is very possible. Kate being tucked away all her life in Glen Orchy, not knowing anything else but what she grew up with, of course she'd be attractive to the first man she gets to know. Callum struggling between "hero" & "devil" is understood. The sparing relationship with Angus, James & Brodie shows the closeness in "brotherhood." The friendship Robert & Graham is special. Loved the tenderness in Maggie & James
Captured me from the start. Love the period and the story. Can't wait for the next one.
This was a great read. I really enjoyed the characters and their relationships. I had not read any Paula Quinns books but will be going and checking other titles out. This book is a good weekend or poolside read.
I really loved the story..and i totally fell in love with the cast. I liked how the caracters werent completely stupid and i didnt find myself yelling at them the whole book. The only thing i didnt like was the sex that in the book.. I enjoyed the story but i cant recommend it because of the contents.. But i guess it depends on what you are looking for.
This book had it all. Great romance, story, and characters. If you are a fan of highland romance, then i highly recommend this book!
This story has it all. I laughed, I cried, and I got angry at the injustice. The story line is wonderful and the characters are wonferfully described. Amazing story. I highly recommend!
This book was my first romance novel and I can't begin to say how impressed I was by it. The story was engaging and the characters are memorable. I just couldn't put this down. It was a nice balance of romance and adventure. Highly recommended! After you've finished, check out the next MacGregor novel, A Highlander Never Surrenders. 5 stars!
This was hands down one of the best Highland romance novels I have ever read. The story was excellently written and even made me tear up at one point. Quinn out did herself and I look forward to reading more of her novels in the future.
This was a well written and engaging romance from beginning to end. I loved the characters. Callum MacGregor is a bold Devil who lives up to his reputation only to be tamed by the wild Kate Campbell. Callum's men are loveable characters that will make you chuckle throughout the story. I bought this book because it was under a dollar and fell in love with the way Paula Quinn writes. I intend on buying more of her stories regardless the price.
Couldn't put it down.
A great read. I really enjoyed all the characters.
I was very surprised. This was entertaining and I really enjoyed it. Read it in 2 days.