Lana and the Laird

Lana and the Laird

by Sabrina York
Lana and the Laird

Lana and the Laird

by Sabrina York



Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps.
WANT A NOOK?  Explore Now

Related collections and offers



Lachlan Sinclair cannot escape his accursed heritage in his Highlands homeland. Somewhat resigned to the fate that destroyed his ancestors, he is prepared to live his life without an heir, without a wife—without love. But when he meets the woman of his dreams in the flesh, the bewitching lass makes him want to throw away his cursed, restrained existence…and unleash the highlander within…

Lana Dounreay has only seen the Duke of Caithness in her dreams as a wild, rugged man, while in reality, his life has been cramped by curses and cravats. He may have forgone his kilt and lost his brogue, but Lana knows that the heart of a true Scotsman beats within his broad, muscular chest. But what plans does the mysterious, passionate Lachlan have in mind for her—and can she convince him that love is stronger than all else?

“You can’t go wrong with a Sabrina York story.”—Desiree Holt

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781466878563
Publisher: St. Martin's Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/31/2016
Series: Untamed Highlanders , #3
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: eBook
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 154,491
File size: 975 KB

About the Author

Sabrina York is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than twenty hot, humorous written works. Her stories range from sweet and sexy to scorching erotic romance.
Sabrina York is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of more than twenty hot, humorous written works, including Hannah and the Highlander. Her stories range from sweet and sexy to scorching romance.

Read an Excerpt

Lana and the Laird

By Sabrina York

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2016 Sabrina York
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4668-7856-3


July 1813

Ackergill, Caithness Shire, Scotland

A familiar sound, rumbling through the bowels of the night, woke him. A sound familiar and chilling.

Lachlan Sinclair froze as a well-worn horror crept up his nape. His pulse thrummed and a cold sweat erupted on his brow. He steeled his spine and forbore hunkering deeper in the covers, because he knew damn well hunkering would do no good.

"Lachlannnn." A wail, accompanied by the clank of chains. "Lachlannnn."

His lungs locked as the sound wound through the room, a slithering wraith. He struggled to release himself from the clinging tendrils of sleep, a tantalizing dream that still clutched at his heart. He didn't want to wake. Certainly not to this.

Stiffening his resolve, he opened an eye. Though it was a sight he'd seen many times before, it hit him and hit him hard, a fist, a twist to his gut.

A man stood over his bed, looming and dark, with ashen skin and empty eyes. He was tall with broad shoulders and long, sturdy legs. His hair was short, dark curls. He was dressed in tattered rags and draped in chains. Though he seemed solid, he wavered in the glow of the night lamp.

His features were familiar. They mirrored those Lachlan saw each day in the glass, though these were weary, wan, and lined with creases.

It was his father. William Sinclair.

Or what was left of him.

"Lachlan. You must save me."

He tried not to wince at the command. It was a heavy weight to carry, the responsibility for the immortal souls of one's ancestors, but it was one Lachlan bore. It ate at him that this father, and his father before him, rotted in hell.

Lachlan was the only one who could put their spirits to rest.

All he had to do was accomplish an impossible feat.

"Please." The specter held out his hand, beseeching. The chains clinked. His father glanced over his shoulder. A look of sheer terror passed over his face and then, with another wail, he was gone.

When the howling, clanking, and moaning ceased, when the room was once again wreathed in silence, Lachlan let out a breath, though he couldn't stay his shaking. It always affected him like this, wrapped him in a panic so profound he could barely move. He didn't know why. It was only a ghost.

Ah, but it wasn't only a ghost. It was more than that.

It was a reminder that his time was running out.

And the closer he came to his thirtieth birthday, the more frequently the specter visited. The more adamant his pleas. As though he, too, knew time was short.

Far too short for the luxury of sleep.

Lachlan tossed back the blankets; when they coiled around his legs, he kicked them off. The movement made his head spin. He paused, waited for the world to right itself. It was always like this when he woke. His brain in a fog. His consciousness in the claws of some deep, dark dread.

Now that he was here, home again in Scotland, closer to his doom, it had gotten worse. The fear was sharper, the panic more profound.

Though it was the middle of the night, there would be no more sleep for him. He glanced at the bottle of laudanum, the one the doctor in London had prescribed to help calm his nerves.

What a fucking joke.

If anything, the drug made him more susceptible to the torment of his own dread. Opened him up like a raw oyster and exposed him to a scalding trepidation.

He couldn't help but think there was salvation in that bottle as well, for a man courageous enough to take it. All it would take was a steady hand, a deep breath. A few quick swallows. And he would lie down and sleep. Forever.

The screams, the ghosts, the demons would be silenced at last.

Tempting, certainly.

A pity he wasn't that courageous.

Aside from that, there was far too much to do before his time here on earth was done. He was the last of his line. He owed it to his ancestors to make things right. As much as he could.

Determinedly, he thrust the impulse away. Lachlan knew he was going to die, and soon, but it would not be by his own hand. This, he vowed.

Though his legs were shaking, he stood and made his way to the wardrobe. He dressed in a pair of breeches and a simple shirt, something for which he required no help. The servants — those who were left — were undoubtedly deep asleep at this hour. Even Dougal, as faithful and ever-present as he was, would not want to be woken.

These hours were for Lachlan and Lachlan alone.

He lit a lamp and made his way through the empty, echoing hall of Sinclair Keep, skirting the sections where the walls had crumbled into piles on the old stone floor and hurrying through the corridors where the cold bite of the wind sliced through cracks in the ancient fortress. He headed, as he always did, for the gallery, which held the portraits of his ancestors.

There were many long-dead Sinclairs on these walls, all portraits of young men in their prime. There wasn't a gray hair among them, because, as a rule, the Sinclair lairds never lived past thirty. Lachlan stopped before his father's portrait, the newest in the series, and stared at the familiar face. The face that visited him every night. He couldn't bear to look at it for long — it was far too painful — so he moved on, to the portrait around the corner and tucked in a niche, as though hiding his likeness could make anyone forget what the villain had done.

Contrary to the others, this man was aged; his skin was wrinkled, his face weathered, and his hair flecked with silver. Unlike each and every one of his descendants, the Baron of Rosslyn had lived to the ripe old age of sixty-five. Dressed in the costume of the early 1300s, he stood, tall and proud — too proud, it turned out — staring out at the world with a slight smirk on his lips. Mocking his progeny perhaps. In his hands, he held the MacAlpin Cross, an ancient relic hewn of gold and jewels, emblazoned with the Red Stag of Clan Sinclair.

Some said the relic had been brought from the holy lands on some long-forgotten crusade, and others insisted it had been created by a druid witch. But everyone agreed, it represented the heart of Scotland and had been entrusted to the Sinclair clan for safekeeping.

And everyone agreed, the Sinclairs had failed in this task.

Rosslyn had been the last of the line to hold it. Incited by greed, the bastard had traded the icon to their greatest enemy, the brutal English king Edward I, in exchange for a great treasure and the title of the Duke of Caithness.

Little did Rosslyn know, in doing so, he had incurred a deadly curse. Oh, not on himself. As the portrait showed, he lived a long and prosperous life. The curse was on his son. And his sons. And his. On all heirs of the Caithness title until the end of time. Or until the cross returned to Sinclair hands.

But the cross would never be returned. It could never be. In the manner of the Hammer of the Scots, the man who wanted nothing more than to crush the hearts and spirits of the northern-dwelling clans, Edward had smashed the cross into three pieces and thrown them into the sea.

At the time, no one paid any attention to the ramblings of the old crone who lived in the woods, the one who called herself the Keeper of the Cross, as she wailed her grief over the loss of the icon. No one paid any mind to the curse she levied. Not even when the famously tainted Rosslyn Treasure, which had been the duke's "thirty pieces of silver," mysteriously disappeared.

But when the second Duke of Caithness, Rosslyn's son, died on the eve of his thirtieth birthday, and then the third and the fourth dukes suffered similar untimely deaths ... people started paying attention. Dukes and their minions began madly searching for the shards of the cross.

No one had ever found it. Not so much as a sliver.

A logical man didn't believe in curses and, indeed, Lachlan had scoffed at the notion most of his life. Living in London, far removed from the dreary reminders of the past, steeped in decadent youthful pursuits, it had been easy.

Until the visitations had begun. There was something about a voice from beyond the grave that made one perk up and listen.

Now his thirtieth birthday approached, and with each successive day Lachlan could feel the walls closing in on him. Each day was a count of hours, the constant tick in his head, the ceaseless refrain of so little time and so much to do. With a relentless advance, his options steadily shrank and with them, his world, his universe, and his lung capacity. He didn't know why, but when he thought about it, sometimes it was difficult to breathe. As though the weight of his eternal soul and all those who came before him were sitting on his chest.

Thankfully, there were no souls following him. Thankfully the Caithness-Sinclair line ended with him. He couldn't bear any more obligation. He would shatter and collapse beneath any additional burden.

Lachlan pulled an old dusty chair before the painting of the man who had damned him to an early grave and, ignoring the rain beating on the windows, the wind howling in the eaves, and the creeping shadows, he focused on the cross until the lamp grew dim.

* * *


Lachlan jerked awake gasping and clutching the arms of the chair with a savage grip. Apprehension chilled the blood in his veins. It took a moment for him to realize it wasn't the ghost waking him, but McKinney, the longtime steward of the estate. Even then, his heart thudded wildly.

He sucked in a calming breath as he stared up at McKinney's face, struggling for purchase. The old man dropped his hand from Lachlan's shoulder and stepped back, fixing his harsh features in a conciliatory arrangement. McKinney was far from a handsome man, but he was exceedingly loyal; he, like Lachlan's cousin Dougal, came from the MacBain sept, a line of men who had served the Dukes of Sinclair for generations. "Are ye all right, Your Grace?"

No. He was not. He was far from all right. His body was sheeted in sweat. Every muscle trembled. He forced a smile. "Yes. Thank you."

"Have you been here all night?" McKinney asked, his bushy brows rising. "Ye shouldna sleep here. Ye'll catch your death." Indeed, the corridor was drafty, courtesy of the myriad gaps in the old stone walls of the decrepit keep.

"I dozed off." And it had been a relief. Between the nightly visitations from his father and a recurring dream that hovered at the edge of his consciousness, he barely slept at all. It was wearing on him.

McKinney frowned. Or Lachlan assumed it was a frown. A slightly more dour expression at least. "Ah. I see. I'm sorry to disturb you, Your Grace, but you have a visitor."

"A ... visitor?" Few visited Caithness Castle. If the desolation didn't deter them, the ghosts certainly did. With few exceptions, most of the servants had fled in the face of the nightly howls and suspicious "accidents." Residents of the nearby village, well aware of the family history, could not be induced to serve their duke in any capacity — especially now.

It was damn annoying.

McKinney cleared his throat. "'Tis the Baron of Olrig, Your Grace."

"Ah yes." Lachlan's belly sank. Upon his return to Scotland, and eager to launch his plans for the restoration of his crumbling holdings, he'd called his barons to Caithness Castle. Though he had been anxious to meet these men, his vassals, and issue his orders to their faces, he wasn't in the mood for an altercation today.

Thus far, the encounters had not gone well. Bower, Halkirk, and Wick had been truculent, and Dunnet ... well, Dunnet had been downright rude. He had simply stared as he listened to Lachlan's commands and then turned around and stormed away without a word. Indeed, his barons were a stubborn, cantankerous lot who didn't seem inclined to follow any orders at all.

No doubt this was a Scottish trait. Lesser lords in London seemed to understand the consequence of a duke, even a duke from the wilds of the Highlands. And while he was used to the thinly veiled disdain with which the British treated the Scots, Lachlan was also used to being obeyed.

It would be foolish for him to harbor any hopes he could have amiable relationships with any of his vassals, but he had at least expected civility. Most certainly, obedience. He needed it. He needed them all to comply with his demands if he was to finish his business before the Grim Reaper paid his call.

Why Dunnet's reaction stuck in his craw was a mystery, but it did. He couldn't shake his indignation. Surely it had nothing to do with the fact that Lachlan had actually liked the surly Scot. He'd exuded an air of calm confidence, of sensible logic, the innate power of a leader. He was, perhaps, the kind of man Lachlan would have been pleased to count as a friend — had things been different.

"Aye, Your Grace. Olrig is awaiting you in the Blue Salon." The Blue Salon was not blue. It was a gloomy gray, but likely blue in Scotland meant something else entirely. Most things did.

Lachlan levered himself up — it mortified him that he needed McKinney's help. "I will need to bathe and dress. Will you see to Olrig's comfort while I do so?"

"Aye. Of course, Your Grace."

As McKinney headed off to see to their guest's needs, Lachlan made his way to his chambers. His steps stalled when he passed a pile of rubble where a chunk of a wall had collapsed. He could have sworn it hadn't been there yesterday. Each day it seemed another section of the castle started crumbling.

Dougal met him at the door to his rooms with a scowl. "Where have you been?" he growled. Dougal had a tendency to growl, so Lachlan ignored that and focused on the question.

"I couldn't sleep."

"Again?" His lips twisted. "Did you no' take your medicine?"

"I did. It only makes it worse."

"Ah." Dougal's expression made clear he understood. But then, he would. Dougal knew all Lachlan's secrets. His cousin, though several times removed, he'd been Lachlan's companion since they were boys. Now that they were grown, he served as factor. Though lately, he'd acted as Lachlan's secretary as well, because the man they'd brought with them from London had spent one night in the haunted castle and scurried back to England in a tizzy when a disagreeable wraith took up residence behind the bookcase in his chambers and insisted on snarling invectives and tossing books at all hours of the night.

Lachlan didn't know what would have become of him if it hadn't been for Dougal and his father, Colin. Indeed, after the tragedy, it had been Uncle Colin who had taken charge of the five-year-old duke and raised him, whisking him from Scotland to London so he could take advantage of an education worthy of his station. And also, probably, so he wouldn't have to live in the castle that had driven his father mad. So he wouldn't have to live in the shadow of the Sinclair Curse.

But that was the thing about curses. They had a tendency to follow.

"Perhaps we should consult with another doctor," Dougal said. Sometimes he could be relentless. He constantly worried about Lachlan's health, bless him. But Lachlan was tired of doctors. Tired of poking and prodding. Aside from which, he was certain his ailment was not of a physical nature. It was spiritual. Definitely spiritual. "If you canna sleep, perhaps you need a higher dosage."

Lachlan grimaced. The last thing he wanted was more of that foul mind-warping poison in his veins. "I was thinking of stopping it altogether," he said.

Dougal reared back and gaped at him. "You mustna stop taking it. You need that medicine. The doctor said —"

"Good lord, Dougal. I'm not sleeping anyway. And the laudanum ... gives me bad dreams."

"Bad dreams are better than no dreams."

No. They were not.

They most decidedly were not.

"You canna stop taking it." This Dougal muttered beneath his breath.

Lachlan merely grunted — neither assent nor dissent. He would do as he pleased. He was the bloody duke after all. What was the point of being a duke if one couldn't do what one wanted?

"We should consult another doctor," Dougal insisted.

Annoyance lanced him, and Lachlan lifted a finger. "Enough, Dougal." Displeasure flickered over his cousin's face and Lachlan offered a small smile to ease the sting of his command. "I have a visitor. I need to dress. Can you fetch Tully?" In London he would simply have rung for his valet, but if he tugged on a bell pull here, it would shred and flutter to the ground. He'd tried it.

But Dougal didn't go fetch Tully. Rather, he grumbled something beneath his breath and made his way to the wardrobe and began riffling.

Lachlan frowned. "Where's Tully?"

Dougal cleared his throat. "I will be dressing you today."

"Where is Tully?"

"Tully, ah, quit." This, Dougal said in a gruff voice. He tucked his chin so Lachlan couldn't see his expression, but there was no need. He was pretty certain it was a pitying look. It so often was.


Excerpted from Lana and the Laird by Sabrina York. Copyright © 2016 Sabrina York. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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.

From the B&N Reads Blog

Customer Reviews

Explore More Items