The Return of Black Douglas

The Return of Black Douglas

by Elaine Coffman

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He'll help a woman in need, no matter where she came from...

Alysandir Mackinnon rules his clan with a fair but iron fist. He has no time for softness or, as he sees it, weakness. But when he encounters a bewitching young beauty who may or may not be a dangerous spy, but is surely in mortal danger, he's compelled to help.

She's always wondered if she was born in the wrong time...

Thrown back in time to the tumultuous, dangerous Scottish Highlands of the sixteenth century, Isobella Douglas has a lot to learn about her ancestors, herself, and her place in the world. Especially when she encounters a Highland laird who puts modern men to shame.

Each one has secrets to keep, until they begin to strike a chord in each other's hearts that's never been touched before.

Praise for Elaine Coffman:
"With an eloquent pen, Ms. Coffman weaves words into a tapestry." -RT Book Reviews
"Elaine Coffman touches the heart while making her readers laugh and cry." -Atlanta Journal
"Coffman's writing is deft, capable, and evocative." -Publishers Weekly

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781402250750
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication date: 04/01/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 304,824
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Since her first publication in 1988, New York Times bestselling author Elaine Coffman's books have been on the NYT, USA Today Top 50, and Ingram's Romance bestsellers lists, and have won four nominations for Best Historical Romance of the Year, Reviewers Choice, Best Western Historical, and the Maggie. She lives in Austin, Texas.

Read an Excerpt

The Lanarkshire hills of Scotland lack the sharp and ridgy majesty of the rugged Highland mountains, for they resemble rounded loaves of bread fresh from the oven, all huddled together. The lonely hills are somehow irre­sistibly attractive, with their pasture-covered slopes and fairy-like meadows, where clear streams murmur through rolling undulations of thick woodlands, and the wood mouse and roe deer reside. Here, the sterner features of the north give way to a grace of forest and tenderness of landscape, where the gentle Douglas Water flows.

Alysandir Mackinnon thought it a good day as he rode across the rolling hills, accompanied by the rhyth­mic clang of his sword tapping against his spur, while larks, hidden among the leathery leaves of trees, broke into song as he passed beneath the heavy branches. A glance skyward told him the sun had passed its zenith, as it dipped behind a cloud to begin its slow descent into afternoon. Just ahead, spangles on the river danced and sparkled their way downstream.

Alysandir pushed back his mail coif. Sunlight brought out the rich darkness of his black hair and the vivid blue of his eyes. He turned toward his brother Drust. "We will follow the river until we find a place to ford."

Drust followed Alysandir's lead and pushed back his own coif, the shiny links of mail almost matching his sil­very, blue-grey eyes. He wiped the sweat from his face and gave a silent nod. They continued and drew rein at a point where the terrain sloped gently downward toward the river, before it narrowed to make a meandering turn.

"This looks like as good a place as we have seen," Alysandir said, and he spurred his mount forward and plunged into the water. His horse staggered with the first splash and the water washed over his hocks, but Gallagher was a hobbler, a sturdy Highland pony known for its stamina and ability to cover great distances over boggy and hilly land at high speed. Alysandir only had to spur the horse lightly as he urged him slowly forward until Gallagher gained his footing as the water rose over the stirrups.

When they reached a point where the water became deeper than they expected, Alysandir was about to turn back, but Gallagher leaped ahead with a mighty splash, and they began the climb upward toward the opposite bank.

Wet and dripping, they rode into town and attracted a great many curious stares from villagers who gawked as if they rode into town to slay a dragon or two. Although a small town, Douglas was large enough to have a two-story tavern with a stable out back and streets that were fairly busy at this time of day. They rode between un­even rows of buildings stacked on each side of curving streets that had been laid out more than three hundred years before.

They passed a steep cobbled path that ran through an archway to a small, walled garden next to a house in ruins, and as they threaded their way among carts, wagons, barking dogs, clucking chickens, and the oc­casional darting child, they observed the slow progress of a lone rider coming toward them. He was leading a prisoner riding a hobbler, the unfortunate wretch bruised and blindfolded, with his hands bound behind his back. Alysandir wondered what the Highlander's crime had been-probably no more than trying to eke out a living in a harsh and unforgiving land.

Just ahead, near the center of town, stood St. Bride's Kirk, where mail-clad heroes of yesteryear lay entombed within, most of them with the surname Douglas. But Alysandir's fiery thoughts centered not upon the long-dead knights but upon his own desire to be away from the Lowlands, Douglas, and Lanarkshire, and back in the Highlands and his home on the Isle of Mull.

Drust, meanwhile, was giving his attention to a young lassie with copper-colored hair who was standing in the kirkyard and holding a bonnet full of eggs. Alysandir caught a glimpse of her standing beneath the graceful branches of an old tree and felt a strange yearning tug at him, but he hardened his heart and dismissed her. Aye, she was a beauty and his body stirred at the sight of her, but he still wasn't interested. The sound of Drust's voice cut into his thoughts.

"That lassie with the russet ringlets is a beauty, and she has taken a fancy to ye, Alysandir, for already she has wrapped ye in her tender gaze."

"I am leery of any lass standing under a wych elm," Alysandir replied.

"I know ye have no desire ever to have a woman in yer life again, but just suppose ye did find yerself in a position where ye were forced to take another wife. What virtues would ye seek?"

"Ye ken I have no desire to marry again. Not ever."

"So make up a list just to keep me happy. We've naught else to do right now."

Alysandir did not know why his brother insisted on having high discourse with him. Of late, Drust had been making too many inquiries as to Alysandir's unmarried state. "Ye are becoming a great deal of trouble, Drust. Next time, I will let Ronan or Colin ride with me."

"Fair enough," Drust replied as a wide smile settled across his face. "I will start the list. Loyalty would be one, am I right?"

Loyalty. The word evoked pain. "Aye."

"Ye canna stop there," Drust said with a teasing tone. "Give me the rest."

"I will give ye the virtues that any man should want in a woman, but only if ye promise to keep quiet the rest of our journey."

"Aye, I agree. Now, give me the virtues."

"Chastity, loyalty, honesty, wisdom, strength, cour­age, honor, intelligence, confidence, and a strong mind. A woman who knows when to yield as readily as she knows when to take a stand. A woman equal to the man in question, not in might but in nature, virtue, and soul. She would possess a true and steadfast love for him, and in return, she would have his undying love, respect, and honor."

"What aboot silence and obedience?"

"If a man had a woman's love in the truest sense of the word-which I have yet to see any proof of-then he would have all the others for they are but parts that make up the whole."

"I hand it to ye, brother. I didna think ye could give me one virtue, yet ye named many. Surely ye miss hav­ing such a woman."

Alysandir pinned him with a cold stare. "I never had such a woman, so how could I miss her?"

"Ye changed once. Perhaps ye can change again."

"Changed? In what way?"

"I remember when ye would as soon tryst in the kirk­yard as in a hayloft. How is it that knowing what ye or any man would want in a woman, ye refuse to find her?"

"'Tis easy enough to answer, for such a woman does not exist."

The words were barely uttered when the faintest echo of a man's laughter reached their ears.
The sound of it seemed to break into a thousand pieces and fall like tin­kling glass. Alysandir and Drust exchanged glances as the laughter faded and a slight wind stirred the heavy branches of the old wych elm.

As they rode on past St. Bride's Kirk, a tossing and rustling of the leaves sent a chill wafting down upon them. Across the way, a startled flock of sheep bolted, running across the meadow and up the hill to the pasture on the other side. The hair on Alysandir's neck stood, and his scalp felt as if it were shrinking.

"Did ye hear the laughter?"

"Aye, I heard it and felt the cold wind that blew through the trees. Unless my senses deceive me, there is an oddity aboot."

"What oddity is that?" Alysandir asked.

"We are riding by the crypts of the ancients. Perhaps they wish us to pass by quickly and not linger."

Alysandir laughed. "Perhaps ye are letting yer imagi­nation take the lead. The Mackinnons never had a quar­rel with any Douglas, living or dead."

"What aboot the laughter? Ye heard it as well as me," said Drust.

Alysandir's face looked drawn as he replied, "Mayhap it was the bleating of a winded sheep."

"Aye, and mayhap it was not." Drust gazed at the river.

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Return of Black Douglas 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I rented from the library. Fell in love with it and bought it for my Nook, you cant go wrong!
AAR More than 1 year ago
THE RETURN OF BLACK DOUGLAS by Elaine Coffman is an exciting time-travel romance set present day and 151 Scotland.What a delightful story of old and new mixing,ghosts of old,and finding your soul mate even if it is three hundred year in the making. When Isobella Douglas visit old Scotland with her twin sister,Elisabeth they are transported to 16th century Scotland by the mischievous Black Douglas' ghost. While Black Douglas are Isobella and Elisbeth ancient ancestors he is also devious,believes in love,fate and determined the girls will be happy in their new surroundings. When Isobella and Elisabeth are dropped in the middle of a clan skimish,Isobella is saved by Alysandir, the clan Mackinnon chief,while Elizabeth is carted off by the Maclean clan.Alysandir has harden his heart by a marriage gone wrong,and rules his clan with an iron fist.He suspects Isobella is a spy,for she is not only in strange clothes but also speaks strangely. As Alysandir's heart softens toward Isobella,for she is intriguing,infuriating, sexy,beautiful, and intelligent,he is also dealing with the fact of a son he does not acknowlege,from is annuled marriage and hurt of so long ago.In the meantime Isobella has fallen head over heels in love with him not knowing her future or her sister's future.The more Alysandir and Isobella are together the more they become attached.Isobella will realize this is her future as will Alysandir realize that this strange,adorable woman is his future.This is a fast paced story of time-travel full of romance,sweet sensuality,learning from the past,finding the future in the strangest places and true love.This is a must read for all time-travel,romance,and historical readers.There is a little something for everyone.I can hardly wait for the next installment,for we still have to find out what happens to Elisabeth.This book was received for the purpose of review from the publisher and details can be found at Sourcebooks,Casablanca,a imprint of Sourcebooks,Inc. and My Book Addiction Reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just OK, thoroughly disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The twins seemed pretty nice. But it was hard to like a hero who is such a crappy father. Really he was a shade short of abusive. The ghost that spoke in riddles got pretty tiresome. And the story was a little dull and drawn out. But it was OK. Somewhere between a 2 and 3 star.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sorry but thereis no depth to these characters and very little plot. I read a lot of romance where you feel like you are there. This was just people talking about their feelings and constant angst about what to do next. Ugh, sorry I wasted my time on reading this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book very much due to the story being centered on the inner battles of the characters more so then the actual fighting going on. I like that instead of chapter titles quotes where used instead. I also enjoyed the humor and realistic worries that Isobella thought about, it made her truly seem like a modern day woman stuck in the sixteenth century! In short i found this story to be utterly delightful!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Within the first few pages I had high hopes for these characters. Alysandir is a totally sensual male, I could feel the heat coming off the pages! Isobella never had a chance and that is before he even tried to seduce her. Due to bad previous relationships neither of them want another but we all know how that goes! I loved the relationship between Isobella and her twin Elizabeth and all of Alysandir's siblings. This would make an excellent series since there are 12 siblings in Alysandir's family alone and 5 or 6 in Isobella's. I fell in love with this couple and rooted for them through the book. I loves Ms. Coffman's writing and will look for more of her books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good, the first i have read for her and i will be reading more. Absolutely romantic from the first word to the last word and very well written.
BrokenTeepee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I would like to start by saying that I love time travel books. To love time travel books one has to be able to let reality go. 'Cause time travel just doesn't happen. Nor do paintings come to life or any of the other things that tend to happen in this genre of novel. But that doesn't mean that the book can't still be grounded in some semblance of its own reality. The world outside of the time travel still has to make sense for the book to work. And that is where this book let me down.The tale starts with the visit of twins Isobella and Elizabeth Douglas to Scotland to explore their ancestors. One of them is the famous "Black Douglas." Isobella has studied Celtic history and she wanted to know more about the past of her family. She had also just been dumped by her fiance; he ran off with their dance instructor! She wanted a Darcy but didn't think she'd ever find one in modern times. She felt she was born hundreds of years too late.Erm, we all know what happens next, right? Both Isobella and Elizabeth are sent back into the past by their ancestor The Black Douglas to the 16th century. A bit before Mr. Darcy to say the least.While I liked the characters and I enjoyed Ms. Coffman's writing there were just too many stupid plot points that spoiled the book for me. I don't want to go into them in detail because I don't want to ruin the book for anyone that reads it. Things that were obvious to the reader that just were ignored by the characters. Again, I realize that these books are inherently fantastic but there must be some sense of protocol. For example: The hero finds the two girls from the future in a field wearing 21st century clothing. He captures one of them but doesn't search her bag even though he thinks her a spy? Makes no sense...This is just one of many small little things that helped to distract me from totally enjoying the story.
blodeuedd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My thoughts:Sometimes the Scottish accent works and sometimes not. This time it worked for me and I do think I know the reason. The Hero had his accent, the heroine not, so it was never too much. Which I am glad for since it can be pretty hard sometimes to understand.To the book then, it was sweet and fun. Isobella Douglas is visiting Scotland and soon she and her sister stands in a battlefield. Ok at the side, and they watch some handsome, really handsome highlanders fight each other. Every woman's dream (the hunky guys in kilts, not the fighting). Elizabeth is soon gone and then we have our hero and heroine, Isobella is a modern woman and she will let no man tell her what to do. But she is falling for Alysandir who do not want a woman again after being hurt. And Elizabeth knows that a mistress is of no worth. Alysandir did have some moments where I just shook my head. But then you saw it so much better in this book because they were from different times. But I was also sure that the heroine could transform him.These two are slowly falling in love, Isobella wants help getting her sister back, and then she discovers a neglected child and takes the child under her wings. There is also a big question hanging in the air, will The Black Douglas suddenly come and take her back home, what if she wants to stay? And the best of all, I know I always come back to my oh no! She is ruined bit, but here I did not care since this was a modern woman, so she could just do as she pleased ;)Conclusion:I finished this book rather fast because it was easy and fun. A good highland romance with a couple that is nothing alike.Rating:A fast read
celticlady53 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have always loved a good timetravel story, sometimes time travel stories can be so predictable but The Return of Black Douglas by Elaine Coffman was different. For starters, not only was Isobella sent back in time but so was her sister Elizabeth with the help of the ghost of Black Douglas who is a matchmaking ghost. The story was a fun and easy read and the characters so real that they could have stepped right out of a portrait...oops that is what happened to Black Douglas. The setting was in the 16th century between two clans who have their own conflicts with each other and the arrival of the sisters only enhance the conflicts. This is a great romance story, sure to make you smile at the end. If you love a great well told story than you will love this one. Full of handsome Highlanders, including the brogue, a pure escapist story. I enjoyed it..
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Great story with time travel. Loved the characters. Will be reading more from this author!
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Loved it.
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