Seduction of a Highland Lass (McCabe Trilogy #2)

Seduction of a Highland Lass (McCabe Trilogy #2)

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 Seduction of a Highland Lass, an indomitable Highland warrior is caught between loyalty and forbidden love.
Fiercely loyal to his elder brother, Alaric McCabe leads his clan in the fight for their birthright. Now he is prepared to wed for duty, as well. But on his way to claim the hand of Rionna McDonald, daughter of a neighboring chieftain, he is ambushed and left for dead. Miraculously, his life is saved by the soft touch of a Highland angel, a courageous beauty who will put to the test his fealty to his clan, his honor, and his deepest desires.

An outcast from her own clan, Keeley McDonald was betrayed by those she loved and trusted. When the wounded warrior falls from his horse, she is drawn to his strong, lean body. The wicked glint in his green eyes ignites a passion that will follow them back to Alaric’s keep, where their forbidden love draws them deeper into the pleasures of the flesh. But as conspiracy and danger circle closer, Alaric must make an impossible choice: Will he betray his blood ties for the woman he loves?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345519504
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/27/2011
Series: McCabe Trilogy Series , #2
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 463
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

Chapter 1

Alaric McCabe looked out over the expanse of McCabe land and grappled with the indecision plaguing him. He breathed in the chilly air and looked skyward. It wouldn’t snow this day. But soon. Autumn had settled over the highlands. Colder air and shorter days had pushed in.

After so many years of struggling to eke out an existence, to rebuild their clan, his brother Ewan had made great strides in restoring the McCabes to their former glory. This winter, their clan wouldn’t go hungry. Their children wouldn’t go without proper clothing.

Now it was time for Alaric to do his part for his clan. In a short time, he would travel to the McDonald holding where he would formally ask for Rionna McDonald’s hand in marriage.

It was pure ceremony. The agreement had been struck weeks earlier. Now the aging laird wanted Alaric to spend time among the McDonalds, a clan that would one day become Alaric’s when he married McDonald’s daughter and only heir.

Even now the courtyard was alive with activity as a contingent of McCabe soldiers readied to make the journey with Alaric.

Ewan, Alaric’s older brother and laird of the McCabe clan, had wanted to send his most trusted men to accompany Alaric on his journey, but Alaric refused. There was still danger to Ewan’s wife, Mairin, who was heavily pregnant with Ewan’s child.

As long as Duncan Cameron was alive, he posed a threat to the McCabes. He coveted what was Ewan’s—­Ewan’s wife and Ewan’s eventual control of Neamh Álainn, a legacy brought through his marriage to Mairin, the daughter of the former king of Scotland.

And now because of the tenuous peace in the highlands and the threat Duncan Cameron posed not only to the neighboring clans, but to King David’s throne, Alaric agreed to the marriage that would cement an alliance between the McCabes and the only clan whose lands rested between Neamh Álainn and McCabe land.

It was a good match. Rionna McDonald was fair to look upon, even if she was an odd lass who preferred the dress and duties of a man over those of a woman. And Alaric would have what he’d never have if he remained under Ewan: his own clan to lead. His own lands. His heir inheriting the mantle of leadership.

So why wasn’t he more eager to mount his horse and ride toward his destiny?

He turned when he heard a sound to his left. Mairin McCabe was hurrying up the hillside, or at least attempting to hurry, and Cormac, her assigned guard for the day looked exasperated as he followed in her wake. Her shawl was wrapped tightly around her, and her lips trembled with the cold.

Alaric held out his hand, and she gripped it, leaning toward him as she sought to catch her breath.

“You shouldn’t be up here, lass,” Alaric reproached. “You’re going to freeze to death.”

“Nay, she shouldn’t,” Cormac agreed. “If our laird finds out, he’ll be angry.”

Mairin rolled her eyes and then looked anxiously up at Alaric. “Do you have everything you require for your journey?”

Alaric smiled. “Aye, I do. Gertie has packed enough food for a journey twice as long.”

She alternated squeezing and patting Alaric’s hand, her eyes troubled as she rubbed her burgeoning belly with her other hand. He pulled her closer so she’d have the warmth of his body.

“Should you perchance wait another day? It’s near to noon already. Maybe you should wait and leave early on the morrow.”

Alaric stifled his grin. Mairin wasn’t happy with his leaving. She was quite used to having her clan right where she wanted them. On McCabe land. And now that Alaric was set to leave, she’d become increasingly more vocal in her worry and her dissatisfaction.

“I won’t be gone overlong, Mairin,” he said gently. “A few weeks at most. Then I’ll return for a time before the marriage takes place and I reside permanently at McDonald keep.”

Her lips turned down into an unhappy frown at the reminder that Alaric would leave the McCabes and, for all practical purposes, become a McDonald.

“Stop frowning, lass. It isn’t good for the babe. Neither is you being out here in the cold.”

She sighed and threw her arms around him. He took a step back and exchanged amused glances with Cormac over her head. The lass was even more emotional now that she was swollen with child, and the members of her clan were becoming increasingly more familiar with her spontaneous bursts of affection.

“I shall miss you, Alaric. I know Ewan will as well. He says nothing, but he’s quieter now.”

“I’ll miss you, too,” Alaric said solemnly. “Rest assured, I’ll be here when you deliver the newest McCabe.”

At that, her face lit up and she took a step back and reached up to pat him on the cheek.

“Be good to Rionna, Alaric. I know you and Ewan feel she needs a firmer hand, but in truth, I think what she most needs is love and acceptance.”

Alaric fidgeted, appalled that she’d want to discuss matters of love with him. For God’s sake.

She laughed. “All right. I can see I’ve made you uncomfortable. But heed my words.”

“My lady, the laird has spotted you and he doesn’t look pleased,” Cormac said.

Alaric turned to see Ewan standing in the courtyard, arms crossed over his chest and a scowl etched onto his face.

“Come along, Mairin,” Alaric said as he tucked her hand underneath his arm. “I better return you to my brother before he comes after you.”

Mairin grumbled under her breath, but she allowed Alaric to escort her down the hillside.

When they reached the courtyard, Ewan leveled a glare at his wife but turned his attention to Alaric. “Do you have all you need?”

Alaric nodded.

Caelen, the youngest McCabe brother, came to stand at Ewan’s side. “Are you sure you don’t want me to accompany you?”

“You’re needed here,” Alaric said. “More so as Mairin’s time draws nigh. Winter snows will be upon us soon. It would be just like Duncan to mount an attack when he thinks we least expect it.”

Mairin shivered at Alaric’s side again, and he turned to her. “Give me a hug, sister, and then go back into the keep before you catch your death of cold. My men are ready, and I won’t have you crying all over us as we try to leave.”

As expected, Mairin scowled but once again threw her arms around Alaric and squeezed tight.

“God be with you,” she whispered.

Alaric rubbed an affectionate hand over her hair and then pushed her in the direction of the keep. Ewan reinforced Alaric’s dictate with a ferocious scowl of his own.

Mairin stuck her tongue out and then turned away, Cormac following her toward the steps of the keep.

“If you have need of me, send word,” Ewan said. “I’ll come immediately.”

Alaric gripped Ewan’s arm and the two brothers stared at each other for a long moment before Alaric released him. Caelen pounded Alaric on the back as Alaric went to mount his horse.

“This is a good thing for you,” Caelen said sincerely once Alaric was astride his horse.

Alaric stared down at his brother and felt the first stirring of satisfaction. “Aye, it is.”

He took a deep breath as his hands tightened on the reins. His lands. His clan. He’d be laird. Aye, this was a good thing.

Alaric and a dozen of the McCabe soldiers rode at a steady pace throughout the day. Since they’d gained a late start, what would normally be a day’s ride would now require them to arrive on McDonald’s land the next morning.

Knowing this, Alaric didn’t press, and actually halted his men to make camp just after dusk. They built only one fire and kept the blaze low so it didn’t illuminate a wide area.

After they’d eaten the food that Gertie had prepared for the journey, Alaric divided his men into two groups and told the first of the six men to take the first watch.

They stationed themselves around the encampment, providing protection for the remaining six to bed down for a few hours’ rest.

Though Alaric was scheduled for the second watch, he couldn’t sleep. He lay awake on the hard ground, staring up at the star-­filled sky. It was a clear night and cold. The winds were picking up from the north, heralding a coming change in the weather.

Married. To Rionna McDonald. He tried hard but could barely conjure an image of the lass. All he could remember was her vibrant golden hair. She was quiet, which he supposed was a good trait for a woman to have, although Mairin was hardly a quiet or particularly obedient wife. And yet he found her endearing, and he knew that Ewan wouldn’t change a single thing about her.

But then Mairin was all a woman should be. Soft and sweet, and Rionna was mannish in both dress and manner. She wasn’t an unattractive lass, which made it puzzling that she would indulge in activities completely unsuitable for a lady.

It was something he’d have to address immediately.

A slight disturbance of the air was the only warning he had before he lunged to the side. A sword caught his side, slicing through clothing and flesh.

Pain seared through his body, but he pushed it aside as he grabbed his sword and bolted to his feet. His men came alive and the night air swelled with the sounds of battle.

Alaric fought two men, the clang of swords blistering his ears. His hands vibrated from the repeated blows as he parried and thrust.

He was backed toward the perimeter set by his men and nearly tripped over one of the men he’d posted as guard. An arrow protruded from his chest, a testimony to how stealthily the ambush had been set.

They were sorely outnumbered, and although Alaric would pit the McCabe soldiers against anyone, anytime, and be assured of the outcome, his only choice was to call a retreat lest they all be slaughtered. There was simply no way to win against six-­to-­one odds.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"The second book in Bank's trilogy shows her ability to write fast-paced, sexually charged, emotionally intense romances." —-Romantic Times

Customer Reviews

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Seduction of a Highland Lass 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 360 reviews.
Acanoffleas More than 1 year ago
Redonk Nutshell: Forbidden attracting ensues after a Highlander falls in love with the woman who nurses him from a near mortal wound Book two in Maya Banks' McCabe trilogy. Alaric McCabe is on his way to the neighboring clan to court his politically matched fiancee. He's waylaid when an attack along the journey nearly kills him. When Keeley McDonald finds a half dead warrior at her door she quickly takes him in and works to nurse him back to health. Keeley is a trained healer who lives on her own at the farthest edge of her clan's borders. Banished by her laird, Keeley has made it fine on her own...until Alaric tumbles to her door. When Alaric's older brother and laird of the McCabe clan tracks him down to Keeley's home, they're both escorted back to McCabe land - so Alaric can heal and so Keeley can see to the birth of the laird's child. Keeley and Alaric battle a forbidden attraction. I thought book one was a good time, and book two was no different. I didn't know anything about it except that this was Alaric's story. I started it figuring this would be a tale of a husband wooing a reluctant wife - boy was I surprised. I liked Keeley as a heroine, but she didn't really rock my world. One thing she does have going for her - she's stubborn without being abrasive. I was a fan of Alaric from book two, so I was looking forward to seeing more of him this time around. I have to admit, though, my admiration has been saved mostly for the younger McCabe, Caelon, who has some dark and broody moments. Ya'll know how I like mah dark and broody men. *snort* I enjoyed Seduction of a Highland Lass. I feel confident in recommending Banks' Scottish series to fans of the genre who are looking for something with a brogue but not over the top. Banks is skilled a writing a story that's intriguing, sexy and heartwarming. Overall, a lovely fluff read. In trews. Seduction of a Highland Lass by Maya Banks, 352 pgs, 9/27/11 Rating: C+ Romance: 3/5 Raunch: 3.5/5
theReader278 More than 1 year ago
very hot. Good romance, very good plot and a story that will keep you entertained for hours
harstan More than 1 year ago
The three McCabe brothers have struggled for years to bring prosperity to their clan. Recently the oldest one Laird Ewan took the first major step when he married his beloved Mairin (see In Bed With a Highlander). Now Alaric McCabe feels he must follow in his older brother's footsteps. Taking a small party with him as his clan needs warriors to stay home to protect the laird and his pregnant wife, Alaric heads to nearby Clan McDonald where the aging chief has promised his daughter Rionna in marriage. His party is ambushed by he assumes the family enemy Duncan Cameron. Alaric escapes on horseback near dead. McDonald clan outcast Keeley finds him and heals him. However, as they fall in love, he knows he must wed Rionna for the sake of his clan as two clans and a king would demand; and Keeley though kicked out due to a betrayal remains loyal to her clan (and his) which means he must wed Rionna. The second McCabe Highlander romance continues the exciting intrigue as the marriage of convenience alliance appears broken when Alaric and Keeley meet and fall in love. The fast-paced story line grips the reader once the loyal heroine rescues the severely injured knight and never slows down until the final confrontation from demanding lairds and a king that also sets up third McCabe brothers historical. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful book! Keep plenty of tissue available. My favorite in this series but they're all great!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book!!!!!
Renee1129 More than 1 year ago
Loved it!
asdf78 More than 1 year ago
I loved all three novels of this series. While each stood well on their own, read them in order. If you enjoy Julie Garwood novels, you should like these. I have not enjoyed Maya Banks when she writes her erotic novels, but these novels are in a class by themselves. I hope she continues in this style of writing.
FastReaderMJ More than 1 year ago
I loved this had romance, a real story line to follow and it was the first book in a REALLY long time to actually make me a little teary. I felt such sorrow for Alaric & Keeley...I dreaded the emotional toll it would be for Keeley to give up the only one person she ever really had...heartbreaking for me at times. Can't wait for the conclusion of these brother's tales.
pilsilver30 More than 1 year ago
all the books are great! but I think this second book is my favorite. with all the tribulations and dangers the main characters preserved their love and devotion. Plus Alaric is the hottest brother so what more can you ask?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
must read...great story
cathie35 More than 1 year ago
If you like a real love story.   This is the one to read.    You will cry, for sure.   Lots of love and romance.  Don't we all wish we could have such and undying love. There are 3 books in this series.   Buy #1 first.  Each story overlaps the next in this series.   Ewan's  Love story is #1   Alaric's is #2    Book #3 is Never love a Highlander...   .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Impossible to not fall in love with Alaric and Maya Banks crafty and witty story. A Must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very sexy and well written story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I havent read what would be consudered a historical in a very long time. That being said this book was a amazing read. I laughed and cried. And books rarely bring me to tears. Its better than the first in the series. And the first was very good. Just read it!!!! You will not regret it!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a great story. I cried my heart out. Very emotionally charged. I enjoyed the 1st book, but it is nothing in comparison to this one. I cannot wait to start the 3rd book as soon as I'm done with this review. I'm sure this book is fine as a stand-alone, but I highly recommend that they should be read in order.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LOVED this book these 3 books about the McCabe brothers were great. These were my 1st Maya Banks novels but won't be my last
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nice sweet pics
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Story line is devastatingly romantic and the sex is delicious :-)
thehistorychic on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Read for FunChallenges: Read for FunOverall Rating: 4.75Story Rating: 4.75Character Rating: 4.75Thought when finished: Damn you Maya Banks--I just cried darn it!What I Loved: This was my favorite story in the trilogy. I cried, laughed, went "holy moly that was hot", and fell in love with Alaric and Keeley. It was fantastically written and told! The thing that struck me the most was how emotionally tugging the final chapters were.What I Liked: Getting to see all the McCabe Brothers and their loves. I love the McCabe Clan and they really shined in this story.What left me wanting? I was craving Caelen and Rionna's story!
froggykm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a great addition to the series. I am not a fan of medieval historical romances, but wanted to try this because I love Ms Banks's books. I am not disappointed. This one is just as enthralling to me as the first one. The characters drew me in, I felt for them and was in tears a few times. Great story, no matter what your genre preference! :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It couldn't compare to the first book. It still was a easy read and had great moments, but loses the spark that made the first book had.
AboutThatStory More than 1 year ago
This was so amazing. I was so caught up in everything between Alaric and Keeley. I was on the edge of my seat with all the tension, longing, and passion happening and I was pretty much dying for my HEA. So freaking fantastic! I loved Alaric and Keeley, these two had major chemistry. I loved how challenging they were to one another. Keeley is seriously feisty. I loved how caring and wonderful they were and how their feelings were growing in the midst of this impossible situation since Alaric is supposed to be with another. I really enjoyed how they fought those feelings as they continued to fall for the other. I ate up every detail as the longing and passion grew. It totally gave me butterflies! I couldn't wait to know how it was all going to work out. The heat factor is crazy wow… these two were super freaking ridiculously hot together. I loved every single detail. I loved learning about Keeley's past and how that played into the story. The excellent cast of characters, the brothers and seeing Mairin and Ewan again. The lay of the land. The dialect. The time period. All of it. It was so fun to read, seriously, I was chuckling so much. The women are fantastic, challenging their men, and being completely exasperating since they don't put up with being told what to do most of the time. The men are alpha and adorable all at once, it's so sweet and cute how they're all tough and brawny but they totally cave to their women. There is a great amount of drama too and I just loved all the different layers involved and side stories happening as well. The writing was fantastic. So descriptive with an incredible pace. I wanted these two to be together so badly and I could feel that tension and pain in the middle of this complicated situation and the build to get there was awesome. Which led to a pretty amazing conclusion for Alaric and Keeley. There’s a nice bit at the end that leaves you really excited for the next book. Can’t wait! This was just awesome. Highly entertaining. Drama filled. Lots of emotion and heat as well. I was just enraptured with it all. Fantastic read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
McCabe trilogy #2 is the best yet & I can hardly contain myself for the trilogies after the next two. I can't wait to buy the ones after the deaf girl & other. I've been waiting for six years. Please Maya work faster.
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