From the moment he first encounters the ravishing sleeping beauty on his land, Ramsay MacGowan is bewitched and the tale she spins upon waking convinces him to be her protector. But Anora Fraser's stories of bandits and terror are falsehoods meant to mask a dangerous truth. And though Ramsay has had his fill of beautiful, conniving lassies, he can't resist the exquisite deceiver his strong arms ache to enfold.
Anora is desperate when she tricks Ramsay into escorting her to her home and pretending to be her lover. With no clansman to defend her, she's forced to turn to this courageous scion of the mighty MacGowans to thwart her dreaded marriage to a cruel foe. For proud Anora will surrender to no man not even to the bold, brazen highlander whose gentle yet passionate caresses weaken her resolve. But can either defy their own yearning hearts or the ancient prophecy that signifies Ramsay as the perfect husband for a Fraser bride?
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Scotland In the year of our Lord, 1534
"We are nearly there. There is no need to fret,Pearl," Anora whispered, and nudged the mare deeper into the woods.
In the late night gloaming, mist billowed up in dancing waves of ghostly silver. No sound broke the silence, naught but the soft hiss of dew slipping from bending bracken. High overhead, tattered clouds skittered past a bloated blood red moon, and from an unaccountable distance, an owl called, boding ill, But Anora of the Frasers had no time for age old superstitions.No time for fear.
"Only a moment ago I saw a tower just past the highest hill.We shall find help there; I am certain of it.Surely once the lord learns of the Munro's intentions, he shall champion our cause and----"
A scratch of noise sounded from behind.Anora jerked about in her high backed saddle, but nothing alarming met her gaze though she searched the gloom for some seconds.
"Truly, Pearl," she said, turning back, " you are such a nervous ninny sometimes.I told you, there is no one following us."
Beneath her, Pearl flicked an ivory ear at her mistress! trembling tone.
A rustle of noise sounded again, closer this time. Anora spun about, heart thumping in the tight confines of her chest. "Who comes?" she demanded, but her only answer was the whisper of alder leaves overhead.
Hard edged seconds ticked by before Anora turned forward and nudged Pearl again. "As I said, we are alone," she whispered, and shifted her eyes sideways, searching the darkened woods. "All alone.And therefore . . ." Off to the right, a chipmunk scolded and scampered up the skeletal remains of an ancient oak.Anora's stomach flipped and righted. "Safe," she finished, but just at that instant, a horse whickered.
Pearl stopped of her own accord, head turned, ears pricked forward, and every muscle taut.
"Who goes there? Anora called.
for a moment nothing moved, and then, like a a charger stepped from the shadows. As dark as sin he was, and upon his back sat an armored warrior.Black chain mail covered the rider's chest and a dark helmet hid his face.
In the muffled silence, Anora could hear her own breath, harsh in the stillness.
"Who are you?"
The shadowy warrior said nothing. Instead, he readied down and with slow deliberation drew a sword from his scabbard. Muted moonlight caressed the curved edge of the blade, gleaming from point to hilt, and for a moment Anora remained frozen, mesmerized by the dancing light. Then the charger bent his great neck and pranced toward her with cadenced steps. The warrior raised his sword and with that movement the glimmering reflection on the blade turned from gold to blood red.
Jarred from her torpor, Anora rasped a prayer and clapped her heels against the mare's ivory barrel. Sensmg peril, Pearl leapt into a gallop. Trees rushed past like ghostly sentries. They snatched at Anora, snagging her hair as she bent over her mount's straining neck. Was the warrior still there? Did he follow?
Curling her fingers into the mare's mane, she twisted about to peer into the darkness behind.
Nothing. They were safe, but ...
No! There he was again, bounding around a copse of trees. Silver steam billowed from his charger's nostrils like smoke from a dragon's maw. Moonlight gleamed with wicked zeal along his unsheathed blade.
Terror ripped up Anora's spine.She twisted forward again, but just as she did, hands reached for her.She screamed and jerked away.Pearl plunged at the Pull of the reins, whipping her mistress sideways. The clawing hands retreated into nothing more than reachIng branches, but Pearl's sharp movement had unbalanced her rider. Digging 'in with her knees, Anora grappled for control, and the panicked mare pivoted around another tree and leapt at the last instant to avoid a log.
For a moment Anora was suspended in nothingness. There was naught beneath her but air, and then she landed, crooked in the saddle but still astride. The reins had been yanked from her grasp, but her fingers tangled again in the mane and she held on for dearest life.
Where they headed she did not know, but they were racing downhill at a frenetic pace with branches whipping past her face and rocks tripping them at every turn.
A prayer burned through her soul, but there was no time to finish the frantic plea, for they were twisting again.Her knee struck a tree. She gasped in pain but held on, leaning back now against the speed of their descent, hoping only for continued survival as the world whipped past in a haze of fear and darkness.
Wind roared in her ears, rushing up from ... no, not wind; water. They were nearly at the end of their descent. Once in the river, she would gain control, head upstream, lose her pursuer, and ...
But in that instant of hope, Anora saw the log looming before her.Ordinarily it would have been no great feat to leap the thing, but the woods were dark, the mare panicked, and her take off late. Still, she soared valiantly. Anora's breath stopped, and for a moment it seemed as if time-stood still.A dozen errant memories flitted through her mind like wind chased clouds: Evermyst's dizzying heights, Isobel's gentle laughter, Meara's gruff voice---and then suddenly the world jolted back into motion.
Pearl's cannons struck wood, and then they were fallings. The earth spun toward them like a falling top. Anora heard her Own rasp of fear, felt her head strikethe earth, and then, like an odd, distorted dream, blackness settled over her.
Ramsay MacGowan was beginning to tire of his younger brothers' bickering.
"Tis raining," raining,,, Lachlan said glumly.
"And I suppose that, too, is me own fault?"
If Gilmour's mood was deteriorating with the weather, Ramsay could not tell it by his jovial tone. It was one of the things that annoyed him most about his younger brother he was always happy
-Aye, 'tis your fault,- Lachlan grumbled, and hunched his brawny shoulders irritably against the rain. He was only slightly older than Gilmour, but their personalities could hardly have been more different.Lachlan's dour demeanor matched the weather, and suited Ramsay's own less than jovial mood quite nicely.The Highland Rogues: The Fraser Bride. Copyright © by Lois Greiman. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reading Ms. Greiman's newest novel was the most fun I've had in months. It has everything--laughter, tears, and lots of action. Ramsey is a hero to die for and Anora is the perfect match for him.
In 1534 Scotland, the Ramsey siblings return home following a futile week chasing after ¿mythical Munroes, finding none on their land. Instead the brothers come across an unconscious Anora Fraser, who they take home with them. Once awakened, Anora claims some wild tale of a shadowy warrior attacking her. Although two of the brothers fall for her spin, Ramsey has doubts. As Lachlan and Gilmour argue over who will escort the beautiful Anora back to her home, Ramsey takes charge of the situation. The shadowy warrior stalks Anora and her escorts, making the trek quite perilous, but it does not stop Ramsey and his charge from falling in love with one another. THE FRASER BRIDE, the opening act of Lois Greiman¿s Highland Rogues trilogy, is an exciting historical romance novel that will thrill readers who enjoy suspense filled works filled with betrayal and love. Though the story line is fast-paced as the lead couple goes from one adventure to another with an ancient prophecy hanging between them, some readers have been there and have the book to prove it. Still Lois Greiman is known for her Scottish tales and her latest novel will elate her fans. Hopefully, they won¿t have to wait long for the tales of Lachlan and Gilmour. Harriet Klausner
Great storyline. Lois Greiman keeps me coming back for more. Definitely 5 stars.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book it started off wonderful and continued wonderful throughout the whole book up until the very end and I was so sorry to see it end I could just picture these characters not only the two main characters but the sub characters as well I found them so lovable so adorable so funny this is one of the best books I've read a long time and believe it or not this is the first book I've read by this author but it definitely will not be my last
was an enjoyable book.
Started out good but fell very flat in the middle.