Never Love a Highlander (McCabe Trilogy #3)

Never Love a Highlander (McCabe Trilogy #3)

by Maya Banks

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Maya Banks, the New York Times bestselling author of romance and romantic suspense has captivated readers with her steamy Scottish historical novels, perfect for fans of Julie Garwood. In Never Love a Highlander, the youngest McCabe brother uses sword and seduction to save his clan—and seal his heart.
Caelen McCabe’s young, reckless heart nearly destroyed his clan. Now, putting family loyalty above all else, he steps up to marry his older brother’s jilted bride and salvage the uneasy alliance between two clans. While beautiful Rionna McDonald is a fit wife for any man, Caelen trusts no woman, especially not this sweet temptress who torments him with white-hot longing.

As the sacrificial lamb in her father’s power game, Rionna will do her duty but vows to protect her heart and her pride from humiliation. Despite everything, though, the heat in Caelen’s touch melts her defenses, and she craves the sensual delights of a husband who guards his emotions as fiercely as his clan. But when the ultimate battle for the McCabe legacy is upon them, Rionna’s true warrior spirit emerges. She will risk the wrath of her father, the fury of her enemies, and her life to prove to Caelen that his wife’s love is too precious to lose.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345519528
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/25/2011
Series: McCabe Trilogy Series , #3
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 6,165
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Maya Banks is the bestselling author of The Darkest Hour, No Place to Run, Hidden Away, Sweet Possession, Sweet Temptation, Colter’s Woman, and Colter’s Lady. She lives in Texas with her husband, three children, and an assortment of pets.

Read an Excerpt

The weather for her first wedding had been a splendor of nature. An unseasonably warm day in January. Quite balmy with nary a breeze to ruffle her carefully arranged hair. It was as if the world stood still to witness the joining of two souls.
A snort rippled from Rionna McDonald’s throat, eliciting a raised eyebrow from her soon-to-be husband.
The weather for her second wedding? Gloomy and dank with a winter storm pushing in from the west. Already a brisk chill had set in and the wind blew in fierce, relentless sheets. As if the world knew just how uncertain she was about the man who stood beside her, ready to recite the vows that would bind him to her forever.
A shiver skirted up her spine despite the fact that they stood in front of the huge fire in the great hall.
Caelen frowned and stepped closer to Rionna as if to shield her from the draft blowing through the furs at the window. She took a hasty step back before thinking better of it. The man made her nervous, and not many people intimidated her.
He frowned harder, then turned his attention back to the priest.
Rionna cast a quick glance around, hoping no one had witnessed that particular exchange. It wouldn’t do for people to think she was afraid of her new husband. Even if she was.
Ewan McCabe, the oldest McCabe brother and the first man she was supposed to have married, stood by his brother’s side, his arms crossed over his broad chest. He looked anxious to be done with the whole thing.
Alaric McCabe, the man she’d very nearly wed after Ewan got himself married to Mairin Stuart, also looked impatient and kept glancing toward the stairs as if he might run out at any moment. Rionna couldn’t blame him, though. His new wife, Keeley, was above stairs recovering from a wound that had nearly ended her life.
Third time was a charm, right?
King David wasn’t standing for the occasion. He sat regally by the fire, looking on with approval as the priest droned on. Around him, also sitting, were the many lairds from neighboring lands. All waiting for the alliance between the McDonalds and the McCabes. An alliance that would be sealed upon her marriage to Caelen McCabe, the youngest–and last–McCabe brother
It was important to denote last because if anything went amiss with this wedding, there were no more McCabes for her to marry, and at this point, her pride couldn’t withstand another rejection.
Her gaze skittered from the king and assembled lairds to her dour-faced father who sat away from the assembled warriors, an unmanly, sullen pout twisting his features.
For a moment their stares locked and then his lip turned up into a snarl. She hadn’t supported him in his bid to keep his position of laird. It was probably disloyal of her. She wasn’t sure that Caelen McCabe would be a better laird, but surely he was a better man.
She became aware that all eyes were on her. She glanced nervously toward the priest and realized that she’d missed her cue to recite her vows. Even more embarrassing, she had no idea what the man had said.
“This is where you promise to obey me, cleave only unto me, and remain faithful all your days,” Caelen drawled.
His words stiffened her spine and she couldn’t call back the glare as she speared him with her gaze.
“And what exactly are you promising me?”
His pale green eyes stroked coolly over her, assessing and then lifting as if he found nothing of import. She didn’t like that look. He’d all but dismissed her.
“You’ll gain my protection and the respect due a lady of your station.”
“That’s all?”
She whispered the words, and she’d have given anything not to have let them slip. It was no wonder she’d been left wanting, though. Ewan McCabe clearly adored his wife, Mairin, and Alaric had just defied king and country to be with the woman he loved—effectively casting Rionna aside in the process.
Not that she was angry. She dearly loved Keeley, and Keeley deserved happiness. That a man as strong and handsome as Alaric had publicly proclaimed his love for Keeley gladdened Rionna’s heart.
But it also brought home how sterile her own marriage would be.
Caelen made a sound of exasperation. “Exactly what is it that you want, lass?”
She raised her chin and stared back at him every bit as cool. “Nothing. ’Tis enough. I’ll have your respect and your regard. I won’t be needing your protection, though.”
His eyebrow rose. “Is that so?”
“Aye. I can see to my own protection.”
Caelen chuckled and more laughter rose from the assembled men. “Say your vows, lass. We don’t have all day. The men are hungry. They’ve been waiting a feast for nearly a fortnight now.”
Agreement rumbled through the room and her cheeks burned. This was her wedding day and she wouldn’t be rushed. Who cared about the food and the men’s stomachs?
As if sensing that she was working herself into a righteous fury, Caelen reached over, snagged her hand, and pulled her up next to his side until his thigh burned into hers through the material of her dress.
“Father,” Caelen said respectfully, “if you’ll tell the lass what she needs to say again.”
Rionna fumed the entire way through the recitation. Tears pricked her eyelids but she couldn’t even say why. It wasn’t as if she and Alaric had been a love match any more than she and Caelen were. The entire idea of wedding one of the McCabe brothers had been hatched by her father and embraced by the McCabes and the king himself.
She was but a pawn to be used and discarded.
She sighed and then shook her head. It was ridiculous to be this maudlin. There were worse things. She should be happy. She’d rediscovered the sister of her heart in Keeley, who was now happily married even if she faced a long recovery in the days ahead. And Rionna’s father would no longer be laird of their clan.
She chanced another look only to see her father throw back yet another goblet of ale. She supposed she couldn’t entirely blame him for being so deep into his cups. His entire way of life was gone in a moment’s time. But she couldn’t muster any regret.
Her clan could be great—would be great—under the right leadership. It had never been her father. He’d weakened the McDonald name until they’d been reduced to begging for the aid and alliance of a stronger clan.
Her free hand curled into a tight fist at her side. It had been her dream to restore their glory. To shape the soldiers into a formidable fighting force. Now it would be Caelen’s task and she would be relegated to a position of observation rather than the participation she craved.
She gasped in surprise when Caelen suddenly leaned in and brushed his lips across hers. He was gone almost before she registered what he’d done and she stood there staring wide-eyed as she raised a trembling hand to her mouth.
The ceremony was done. Even now the serving women were flooding into the hall, bearing a veritable bounty of food, much of which came from her own stores after her father’s foolish wager several months ago.
Caelen watched her a moment and then gestured for her to walk ahead of him toward the high table. Rionna was gratified to see Mairin join her husband. In a sea of gruff, indistinguishable faces, Mairin McCabe was a ray of sunshine. Tired sunshine, but warm nonetheless.
Mairin hurried forward with a bright smile. “Rionna, you look so beautiful. There isn’t a woman here who can hold a candle to you today.”
Rionna’s cheeks warmed under Mairin’s praise. ’Twas the truth Rionna was a little ashamed to be wearing the same dress she’d worn when she nearly married Alaric. She felt wrinkled, rumpled, and worn through. But the sincerity in Mairin’s smile bolstered Rionna’s flagging spirits.
Mairin gathered Rionna’s hands in hers as if to offer further encouragement.
“Oh, your hands are like ice!” Mairin exclaimed. “I did so want to be present for your joining. I hope you’ll accept my regrets.”
“Of course,” Rionna said with a genuine smile. “How is Keeley fairing this day?”
Some of the worry lifted from Mairin’s gaze. “Come, sit so we may be served. And then I’ll tell you of Keeley.”
It irked Rionna that she first looked to her new husband only to catch his nod of permission. She gritted her teeth and moved to the table to sit beside Mairin. Already she was acting like a docile nitwit and she hadn’t been married five minutes.
But in truth, Caelen frightened her. Alaric hadn’t. Even Ewan didn’t intimidate her. Caelen scared her witless.
Rionna slid into the chair beside Mairin, hoping for a brief reprieve before Caelen joined her. She wasn’t so fortunate. Her husband pulled out the chair next to her and scooted to the table, his leg so close to hers that it pressed to the whole of her thigh.
Deciding it would be rude—and obvious—were she to slide toward Mairin, she decided instead to ignore him. She couldn’t forget that it was acceptable for him to be so familiar now. They were wed.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Banks nicely balances bedroom and battlefield action as Rionnas tough swordsmanship and Caelens tender lust propel the couple and the clans toward harmony." —-Publishers Weekly

Customer Reviews

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Never Love a Highlander 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 343 reviews.
Acanoffleas More than 1 year ago
Redonk Nutshell: Hasty marriage between two stubborn hot heads turns passionate If you're new to The McCabe series, start with book one. Each book can be read independently of the other, but you get a more in depth idea of each McCabe brother. Or more to the point, you'll understand my love for Caelen and his headstrong wife Rionna. You all know my love of dark and broody heros. Well, my friends, Caelen is everything dark and broody could be. Hard headed as he can be, his heart belongs solely to Rionna, whom he has stepped in to marry so his elder brother could marry another. Rionna is just as head strong as her husband, and she's had about enough of the McCabe men passing her off among them. When Caelen marries her she finally has some closure, but whether or not their relationship will work out for the better is another matter altogether. She has trained as a warrior, and Caelen wants nothing of it. He prefers her acting and looking like a woman. Rionna makes an effort to please him, but it falls flat. Together they learn how to compromise, and in the process they end up falling head over heels for each other. As with the other McCabe stories, Never Love a Highlander is a lovely romance with plenty of swoon worthy gushing. This one is probably my favorite if only because of how well Rionna and Caelen suit one another. I'm pretty sure I tore through this in a day. All in all, if you're considering partaking in this series it's definitely worth your while. Never Love a Highlander by Maya Banks, 305 pgs, 10/25/11 Rating: B Romance: 3/5 Raunch: 3/5
lordofbooks More than 1 year ago
I've read all Maya Bank's books. They are all great, full of romance. I can't wait to read the next one.
harstan More than 1 year ago
With his two older brothers finding the inconvenience of love (see In Bed with a Highlander and Seduction of a Highland Lass), the youngest McCabe sibling Caelen must complete the clan alliance with the McDonald brood by marrying Rionna McDonald. Neither wants this marriage as he distrusts females after a betrayal left his clan in peril and she prefers to fight with men and not kiss them. They do their duty as the two clans need each other to battle their common enemy Duncan Cameron, but on their wedding night Rionna passes out from too much ale. However, Rionna and Caelen find they enjoy love making with one another. Still though he has fallen in love with his trouser wearing wife and her with him, Caelen anticipates her betrayal. By the time he learns how loyal she is, he may be too late. The third sword and romance McCabe brother historical is a terrific finish to a strong saga as the youngest sibling finds love in a marriage of political and military convenience. Action-packed from start to finish, sub-genre fans know this is one author we can bank on for a wonderful tale. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Every one of these books are great.
FastReaderMJ More than 1 year ago
This book is the third in the McCabe brothers trilogy and for me it was the absolute best! These were the first books that I have read of Maya Banks and I couldn't get enough. To enjoy this book completely I think that you MUST read the previous books...they set the story for this one and the dramatic ending of this trilogy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read all 3 and this one is my favorite! Caelen and Rionna are a perfect pair. It was great to see a woman so strong and have her flex a little "warrior" muscle! The humor and romance between them was beatiful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Maya banks is a wonderful writer! I am so glad i came upon this series because it really is my favorite!! Perfect writing and nothing to complain about.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a romance junkie, but this series is my favorite!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This trilogy should be made into a movie or miniseries!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was like Christmas when I realized my pre-order was ready today. Over half way done the book. Maya Banks has written a great series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it!!!
Kimberly Faul 4 months ago
I don't usually write reviews but after reading two and being almost swayed not to give this author a try, I feel like I have to offer my two cents. I am a voracious reader and was in search of a new author, I stumbled across Maya Banks and am so glad I gave her a chance. This three book series captured me like few have. i could not stop reading. She pulled me into her story and made me fall in love with her characters!I love stories with strong women and well rounded characters that are plausible, Maya Banks did this without a hitch. The books followed me even as I set them down. They demanded my return to them and I was hard pressed to deny them that attention!A but comes here, speaking only on this three book series there was one scene that was not particularly to my taste in love scenes (in book two) but it is also that book that grabbed me hardest and had me (actually) crying over the characters! I couldn't bring myself even then to put the book down, I had to know their plight! So through my tears with tissue in hand and blurry vision I continued on!I am so glad I picked up that first book! Her characters will stay with me long after I have devoured all she has written and I go in search of my next author!!Thank you Maya Banks for allowing me to share in this wonderful adventure you let escape to paper. P.S. Just in case she reads reviews...I truly hope you'll pick up these characters lives further down the line and we'll learn how their children find the love their parents found.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book. Loved all three in this series. I went from one straight to the next and enjoyed everyone of them. I fell in love with Ewan, Alaric and Caelen and their fierce wives. Very enjoyable ....... at times hilarious, stressful and tender. I recommend these books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books ever
thehistorychic on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Read for FunChallenges: Read for FunOverall Rating: 4.50Story Rating: 4.50Character Rating: 4.50First thing I thought when Finished: Good wrap up of the trilogy but wanted Gannon to fall madly in love with someone :)What I Loved: Never Love a Highlander wrapped up the McCabe Trilogy very well leaving us with hope, love, and family. I always like when everyone is involved in the last book and you leave a series smiling. This was definitely one of those stories that I thought weaved together very well. Rionna was a fantastic leading lady and I felt her story was moving.What I Liked: Caelen and Rionna were a fantastic couple but I didn't love them as much as the other two couples. That being said, I was rooting for them the whole time!What left me wanting: Gannon not getting an HEA! I really loved his character :)Final Thought: I would highly recommend the whole series
Conkie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A satisfying ending to this trilogy. Ms. Banks does an excellent job of maintaining each character's "voice" from story to story; a definite plus to any series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was well worth the wait. Once again she delivered a thrilling and sensuous story full of romance. The story was fast in engaging the reader by giving insight into the character of the primary subjects. There was a hint of suspense, humor, drama, and romance in this tale. Absolutely loved it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The best. The storyline and the writing was excellent writing was excellent
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AboutThatStory More than 1 year ago
I loved all the books in the trilogy but this was my FAVORITE! It's always the super gruff alpha types that get me. Such a fantastic story and I was hooked on every word. I loved Caelen and Rionna together and separately. Caelen is all grumpy and alpha but underneath is all this sweetness and I loved seeing him wage this war with himself over his feelings. I love how he stepped in for his family to marry Rionna. Rionna was awesome, such a strong heroine and I loved how tough she was. She was so inexperienced in the beginning when it came to men and I loved her trepidation and finding her way and embracing that side of herself. Rionna's personality and what Caelen expected from her made for a lot of ups and downs and I loved that argumentativeness and the heat it generated. It was fun and sweet and sexy. I loved their clashing personalities, it made it incredibly entertaining to read. The heat level is holy wow! When these two start to really connect that passion skyrockets and its way hot and steamy. Caelen and Rionna were hard headed and stubborn and I liked the conflict for them that was created. I couldn't wait for that moment when things clicked for Caelen. There is awesome drama and action happening as well. There is a story line that's carried over through the course of the series and I loved the action packed conclusion that it came to. I was totally cheering! Fantastic storytelling. Loved the writing, pace, and build. I thought it had a great flow. I was so caught up from the very beginning and honestly couldn't put it down. I loved the time period and the issues faced and how the women fought what was expected of them and were challenging to their men, it made it exciting and fun to read. I also love the element of drama involved and how it kept me on the edge of my seat. Most of all I love the characters opening up and getting to truly be who they are and embracing their future. It was a well thought out, excellent read that truly was amazing. I can't begin to say enough good things. I loved the gruff warrior opening his heart and the warrior princess being truly loved and accepted. It just made me so incredibly happy. Maya Banks writes a heck of a story. I highly recommend this!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Makes me wish i was born in anpther time
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago