The Highlander Who Protected Me

The Highlander Who Protected Me

by Vanessa Kelly

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Overview

Bestselling author Vanessa Kelly returns with an enthralling new series about the men of the Kendrick clan—and the women who claim their hearts . . .
 
Lady Ainsley Matthews, heiress and darling of the ton, was expected to make a magnificent match. Instead she’s hiding on a remote Scottish estate, terrified that her vicious former fiancé will use her pregnancy to force her into marriage. One man can help her—Royal Kendrick, son of a distinguished Highland clan. Though a mistake drove them apart long ago, Royal is the only person Ainsley trusts to protect her baby—even if that means agreeing to never see either of them again . . .
 
Scarred in body and soul by war, Royal suddenly has a purpose—caring for an innocent babe and thereby helping the woman he can’t stop loving. But when Ainsley ultimately returns to Scotland, determined to be a real mother to her child in spite of the risk, there’s only one solution: marriage. And only one likely outcome: surrendering to the desire that’s simmered between them for so long, no matter how dangerous it may be . . .
 
Praise for Vanessa Kelly’s Improper Princesses series
 
“A thoroughly satisfying Regency romance.” Publishers Weekly
 
“An enjoyable, thoughtful romance.” —Kirkus Reviews

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781420141153
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 10/30/2018
Series: Clan Kendrick Series , #1
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 590,876
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Vanessa Kelly is the award-winning and USA Today bestselling author of The Improper Princesses series, the Clan Kendrick, The Renegade Royals and The Stanton Family series, in addition to other historical romances. Named by Booklist as one of the “Stars of Historical Romance,”  her books have been translated into nine languages and published internationally. In graduate school, Vanessa specialized in the study of eighteenth-century British fiction and is known for developing vibrant Regency settings, appealing characters, and witty story lines that captivate readers. She lives with her husband in Ottawa. Visit her online at www.vanessakellyauthor.com or join the Clan Kendrick Facebook Group at www.facebook.com/groups/ClanKendrick.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Castle Kinglas, ScotlandApril 1817

Clearly, not even his brother's library could provide safe haven.

With a sigh, Royal glanced up from his book when his sister-in-law marched into the room. Though the former Victoria Knight was now Countess of Arnprior, and wife to the chief of Clan Kendrick, she was still very much a governess in spirit and looked ready to box his ears.

He raised a polite eyebrow. "Is there something I can do for you, my lady?"

She arched an eloquent brow in return. Perhaps they could conduct this sure-to- be-unpleasant discussion entirely through facial expressions.

No such luck, he thought, when Victoria raised an imperious finger.

"Indeed, there is. I want you to stop moping about the castle. You've been doing it all winter, and it's become ridiculous."

She was never one to mince words or shy away from an unpleasant task. And now that she'd sorted out his brothers, she'd clearly made Royal her special project.

"I'm not moping. I'm reading a very good book."

Victoria glanced down at the leather-bound volume, then plucked it from his hand and turned it right side up.

Royal winced. "I was just giving my eyes a rest."

"Of course you were," she said dryly.

He'd barely glanced at the blasted thing, a history of the Punic Wars he'd ordered last month. After starting it with a fair degree of enthusiasm, he'd quickly lost interest. Today, he'd read only a few pages before his attention had wandered to the windswept vista of craggy peaks hulking over the loch behind Kinglas. Not even the dramatic beauty of the Highlands had the power to soothe him — not like it once had.

He supposed he could go fishing, which he normally enjoyed, but that hardly seemed worth the effort.

"At least join us for a cup of tea," Victoria said in a coaxing voice, switching tactics. "Taffy made her special seedcakes for you. She said you barely touched your breakfast. Or your lunch, for that matter."

He glanced over to see a generous tea service set up on the low table in front of the library's fireplace. He hadn't even noticed the footman lug the damn thing in.

His sister-in-law's understanding gaze — along with the fact that Taffy, the castle's housekeeper, thought he needed coddling — triggered an irrational spurt of irritation.

"I'm not one of your pupils, Victoria. Don't try to manage me with promises of treats."

"True. My students invariably displayed better manners."

"She's got you there, old fellow," said Nick from behind the ledgers stacked on his desk. "You have been moping about. More than usual, that is. It's time you do something about it."

When Nick and Victoria exchanged furtive glances, Royal had to repress a groan. Clearly, they'd planned this little ambush.

He put his book aside and glared at his older brother with predictably no effect. The Earl of Arnprior was well used to his obstreperous siblings, since he'd all but raised them after the death of their parents. Although the most generous of men, Nick was the proverbial unmovable object when it came to deciding his family's best interests. And once he made a decision, it all but required an Act of Parliament to change it.

"I repeat, I am not moping," Royal said. "And don't you have enough to worry about without fretting over me like a granny with gout?"

As usual, Nick was buried under the mountain of work that came with managing the estate, not to mention a large and sometimes fractious Highland clan. Any normal man would founder under the load, but he never failed to rise to the challenge. And now that he'd married Victoria, Nick had finally found the richly deserved happiness so long denied him.

Royal couldn't help feeling envious of having a loving wife and a sense of purpose — the feeling that one's life mattered. A compelling reason to wake up in the morning had been lacking in his life for a long time.

Nick had once relied quite heavily on Royal's support for everything from running the estate to managing the younger lads. But Victoria now appropriately filled that role, as well as still tutoring Kade, the youngest Kendrick. The boy had struggled for years with ill health, but under Victoria's loving care, he grew stronger by the day.

Aye, she was a blessing, was the new Countess of Arnprior, though not entirely for Royal. His sister-in-law was as bad as her lord when it came to wanting to repair the broken things around Castle Kinglas, including him.

"And you needn't regard me as if I'm falling into a decline," Royal said to her. "I'm perfectly fine. Better than ever, in fact."

Instead of contradicting that obvious load of bollocks, Victoria smiled. "Of course you are, dear. But I would feel better if you had something to eat."

She held out a hand.

Sighing, he took it, because today he did need help getting to his feet. The pain was always worse in blustery, damp weather. Some days Royal feared he was losing ground with his recovery. Though he faithfully followed the regime of rest and exercise prescribed by the London sawbones, his pain somehow seemed linked to the heaviness in his heart.

"Need help?" Nick asked.

"I'm not a cripple," Royal gritted out, even as he struggled to stand.

"And you know I'm stronger than I look," Victoria said to her husband.

"Aye. Skinny but strong as an ox," Nick said with a grin.

"If that's the sort of compliment you employed to woo the poor girl, it's a wonder Victoria ever married you," Royal said as he found his footing.

Victoria laughed. "That's what my grandfather used to say when I was a young girl hanging about the stables of his coaching inn. I loved helping with the horses."

"He was right," said Royal. "For such a wee Sassenach, you're quite hardy."

"I have to be to survive a houseful of wild Highlanders," she cheerfully replied, watching Royal carefully to make sure he wouldn't topple over. "I know. I'm an old mother hen."

When his gaze strayed to the decanters of whisky behind his brother's desk, she waggled a finger. "Tea and something to eat first, Royal."

"Old mother hen is an understatement." He patted her on the shoulder. "You do realize you cannot fix everything, no matter how hard you try."

"I know, and it's just about killing me." When he started to laugh, she jabbed him in the arm. "But don't think I'm giving up, either."

"Thank you for the warning."

Nick joined them at the tea table, dropping a quick kiss on his wife's head after she took her seat. "I think we're being a bit hard on you," he said. "You've done a splendid job organizing the family and estate papers, and we all know they were in ... quite the state."

"Catastrophic disarray is the phrase you were searching for," Royal said.

"Don't let Angus hear you. He all but flayed me alive when I took the job from him and gave it to you."

"So I heard. My ears are still ringing."

Nick laughed. "Aside from the fact that Angus is a disaster when it comes to paperwork, the old fellow's getting on in years. He's earned his rest."

"I hope to God you didn't tell him so," Royal said. Their grandfather would be devastated if he thought they were putting him out to pasture.

"Since my instincts for self-preservation are quite good, I did not," Nick replied.

When Nick and Royal were away during the war, Angus had managed affairs at Kinglas, watching over the younger Kendricks and serving as estate steward. He'd done his best, but with mixed results. The old fellow had an abiding mistrust of modernity — which to him meant anything after the last Stuart monarch.

"Angus did mention that you did a passable job organizing the papers," Victoria said as she poured them each a cup of tea. "Which from him is high praise, indeed."

"Seriously," Nick said, "I can't thank you enough for taking that on. I know it was gruesome."

Royal shrugged and reached for a seedcake. "I was happy to do so."

Oddly enough, that had turned out to be true. His big brother had dragooned him into taking on the job, determined to get Royal "off his arse."

"You need to accept that your military days are over," Nick had said, adopting his most lordly manner. "It's time to figure out what you wish to do with your life and then simply get on with it."

The problem was, Royal still didn't have a clue what he wanted to do.

All he seemed to be good for was mooning over Ainsley Matthews and wondering what might have happened between them if he hadn't been stupid enough to abduct her back in January. He'd kidnapped her with the best of intentions, determined to save her from an arranged marriage she was trying to avoid. Of course, he would have gained the only woman who'd ever made him feel truly alive, but that was beside the point. He'd done it for her, and any benefits accruing to him would have been merely accidental.

Still, he knew that reasoning was utterly insane. Ainsley hadn't wanted to marry him only slightly less fervently than she hadn't wanted to marry the Marquess of Cringlewood. She'd made that clear in language so caustic it was a wonder he hadn't been reduced to a pile of smoldering ash.

After Ainsley departed for her great-aunt's manor house a few hours north of Kinglas, Royal had descended into an even gloomier mood alleviated only by drastic amounts of whisky. Fed up, Nick had finally shoved him into the dusty old estate office and ordered him to work. And wonder of wonders, reading through the history of his family and clan had been absorbing. Putting those records in order, watching the ancient story unfold over the centuries, had given Royal a renewed appreciation for his heritage. The proud Kendricks had fought hard for their rightful place in the history of Scotland, and their story was worth remembering.

For a while, the Kendrick sense of pride had even rubbed off on him.

"For all the good it'll do me now," Royal muttered into his teacup.

"What's that?" Nick asked.

Royal waved off the question. "As I said, I was happy to help, especially since it put an end to your incessant nagging."

His brother adopted an air of mild offense. "I never nag anyone. I simply pass on a suggestion now and again."

Victoria choked on her tea.

Nick gently patted her on the back. "Are you all right, sweetheart?"

"Just a little something in my throat," she said as she exchanged amused glances with Royal. Though the Earl of Arnprior always had everyone's best interest in mind, whether the rest of the family agreed with his determination of best interest was another matter.

Victoria put down her teacup. "The fact remains that unless we intend to start Royal on the laundry lists, his task has been completed."

"I suppose that's why you've taken up brooding again," Nick said. "Nothing else to occupy your mind."

Except for the debacle with Ainsley was the clear implication.

"You make it sound as though I've made a hobby out of it," Royal said.

"You rather have, dear," Victoria said.

"And you're bloody good at it," Nick wryly added.

Royal mentally winced. "Everyone's got to be good at something."

"You're good at many things," Victoria said. "Besides brooding," she added when Royal lifted a pointed eyebrow.

"Yes," Nick said with an encouraging smile. "You were a fine scholar before your soldiering days. And you've always been the best in the family when it comes to fencing, riding, and training horses. You managed some horses no one else could get near."

"You forgot I was also the best sword dancer in the county," Royal responded dryly. "But my leg prevents me from taking up that mantle again, or training horses for a living. And since I have no intention of burying myself in a library for the foreseeable future, a life of scholarship is out, too."

When Nick and Victoria exchanged another worried look, he sighed. "I'm sorry. I know you're only trying to help. It's just that ..."

"You were forced to give up soldiering, which you excelled at," his sister-in- law said. "Believe me, I understand. When I stood accused of murder last year, I was deathly afraid I'd never be able to teach again."

Before she married Nick, Victoria had planned to open her own seminary for young ladies.

"Do you miss teaching?" Royal couldn't help asking.

"Sometimes I do, although I'm fortunate I can still tutor Kade." She flashed her husband a quick smile. "But I found something else to love even more than teaching."

Like her, Royal thought he'd found something new to love — something more important than even his military career. Too bad he'd been wrong about that, too.

Nick raised Victoria's hand to his lips. "Perhaps we'll have a schoolroom full of Kendrick children you can teach someday," he murmured.

She blushed and gave him a shy smile.

"Would you like me to leave the room?" Royal asked politely.

Victoria wrinkled her nose. "Too much?"

"You are rather making me lose my appetite."

She laughed. "Point taken. Let's get back to you."

"On second thought, I think I'd rather see you two act like romantic idiots," Royal said.

"We can do that anytime," Nick said. "Besides, we've been avoiding a discussion of your situation for too long."

Royal eyed his brother with distaste. "You are incredibly annoying."

"If so, it's for your own good. Now, given that you did such a splendid job with my paperwork, I have a suggestion to make."

"Just one?"

Nick, as usual, didn't rise to the bait. "Since we've now uncovered your talent for organization, you should consider working with Logan. You know he'd be thrilled to have your help."

Logan, the second oldest brother, had recently returned to Scotland after years of self-imposed exile in Canada. And now he was rich, owning a successful company trading in fur and timber. Logan was setting up an office and warehouse in Glasgow and had offered a job to any family member who wanted one. Royal had briefly pondered accepting the offer before deciding he'd rather put a bullet through his good leg than spend the rest of his life touting up columns in a dusty warehouse.

"I have no intention of becoming a glorified clerk," he said. "Besides, I'm not much of a city man. After a few weeks in Glasgow, I'm ready to crawl out of my skin."

That feeling had intensified after coming home from the war. The noise, the crowded streets, the bustle and hurry ... sometimes he could almost imagine the buildings closing in on him.

"You don't seem particularly enamored with the country these days, either," Nick pointed out.

Royal simply lifted his shoulders in another vague shrug.

Victoria studied him over the rim of her teacup. "Have you heard from Lady Ainsley recently?"

Royal had been about to take another seedcake, but he put down his plate and cautiously regarded his sister-in-law. "No. Why do you ask?"

"Since Glasgow is apparently not to your liking, it might be nice if you made a trip to Cairndow to visit her. The poor girl has been cooped up in that small village for the entire winter with only her great-aunt for company. I'm sure she'd love to see you."

Royal and Nick stared at her as if she'd lost her mind.

"What's wrong with making a little visit?" she asked. "After all, it's less than a day's ride from Kinglas. In fact, I'm quite surprised none of us thought of the idea until now."

"One generally waits for an invitation first," Royal said sarcastically.

"She'd probably shoot you if you showed up at her door unannounced," Nick commented. "You didn't exactly part on the best of terms."

"It wasn't that bad," Royal muttered. Yes, she'd still been furious with him about the failed elopement, but she'd also given him an astonishing, bone- crushing hug before shoving him away and stomping out to her carriage.

"And she has written to you over the winter," Victoria pointed out.

Nick glanced at Royal, clearly surprised. "Really? With the exception of Victoria and Kade, she made it clear she thought the rest of us were idiots. Especially you."

"Chuckleheaded nincompoop was her exact description for me," Royal said.

"Then, why —"

The door opened and his grandfather stomped in, sparing Royal the need to explain Ainsley's erratic conduct. He wasn't really sure why she'd written to him, except that she'd sounded rather lonely and bored. But her tone had also made it clear she harbored a lingering irritation with all things Kendrick.

"Ye all look as queer as Dick's hatband," Angus said as he joined them at the tea table. "What's afoot?"

"My dear wife has just suggested that Royal visit Lady Ainsley Matthews as a cure for his melancholy," Nick said.

Their grandfather's bushy eyebrows bristled like agitated tomcats. "What? That bloody woman can tear the hide off a man just by lookin' at him — that's if she doesn't stab the puir lad first."

"She's not that bad," Royal said, irritated by his grandfather's somewhat accurate assessment.

"Indeed not," Victoria added. "Lady Ainsley is a lovely girl."

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "The Highlander who Protected Me"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Vanessa Kelly.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
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.

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The Highlander Who Protected Me 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely never liked the heroine Aiansely. She was spoiled, selfish, and used the supposed hero throughout the book. I honestly never believed she actually loved him. I don't think I will finish the rest of this series. So disappointed because Vanessa Kelly is one of my favorite authors.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn%27t+put+it+down.++Can%27t+wait+for+the+next+one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
very+touching+story+and+enjoyable+to+read+couldn%27t+put+down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great characters
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read couldn’t put it down. Can’t wait to read about the other brothers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fun. But you must read the first before reading this one.
DianaInSC More than 1 year ago
A Highland hero to adore I first want to say that Royal Kendrick is a fantastic hero! He is my new favorite Highlander in any book. Royal is gruff, loyal, intelligent, respectful of women, compassionate, great with babies, and patient with his lady. I also like that he is a veteran of the Battle of Waterloo. I absolutely love how he loves Ainsley. Ainsley brings chaos into Royal's life. I like her, but she got on my nerves a little bit early on. However, she really grew as a person, actively trying to stop being snobbish and rude, so I liked her more and more as the book went on. There is a lively bunch of lovable, funny minor characters. I especially appreciate Royal’s funny grandfather and Ainsley’s quirky old aunt. It seems like this family has appeared in previous Vanessa Kelly books, but I’m not sure. This is the first book by Vanessa Kelly that I have read, but it surely won’t be the last. I was surprised and pleased by the unpredictable plot developments and timeline of this romance. FYI, it is told in third person perspective, not first person as the title would seem to indicate. This novel is a really high quality Regency/Scottish romance that I recommend to all historical romance fans, except for those who care about the trigger warning below. Trigger warning: Ainsley previously was the victim of a sexual assault perpetrated by the villain, and she does describe the event with some level of detail.
MADreaderMD 9 months ago
This is such an emotional book with both the hero and heroine wounded in body and spirit. There were definitely some all-out crying moments for me. However, there are plenty of funny moments too, especially with Angus and the rest of Royal's family. I'm a sucker for a loyal, caring hero who's also brawny enough to take on the worst bad guy. Loyal Royal is definitely that man! I also liked that Ainsley was not too fussy to give up much of her aristocratic lifestyle when it became clear she needed to protect her child. What I didn't like was all the secret keeping, omitting to tell the truth, and outright lies between the heroine and hero. This is a pet peeve of mine. Just tell the truth! You'll make your lives so much easier and can work together to solve the problem so much sooner. I'm eager to see what the future holds for Royal and Ainsley and the rest of Clan Kendrick. Warning and Spoiler Alert: There is a sexual assault that takes place, related by the heroine after the fact.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Enjoyed this story and am loving the Kendrick’s
GratefulGrandma More than 1 year ago
This book is listed as the first in a series, but unfortunately for many readers, this was a spinoff from another series where these characters are introduced and their back story takes place. There was a short introduction to the story where some of that backstory is shared, so I was okay with this book, but others did not feel the same way. Ainsley is engaged to the Marquess of Cringlewood, but detests him and wants to break the engagement. Apparently he raped her and she became pregnant. She has run away to a Scottish estate, belonging to her aunt to have her child. She knows Royal Kendrick from the past and they have a trusting relationship, so she summons him to the estate and asks him to take her daughter and raise her as his own. He agrees, so she returns to her home, leaving her daughter behind. Royal is healing from horrible wounds, both physical and emotional, from war and throws himself into raising "his daugher". It doesn't take long for Ainsley to realize that she can't live without her daughter so she heads to Kendrick Keep and tells Royal she wants to marry him. Royal has been in love with Ainsley for years so he agrees, even if the marriage is in name only. The marriage has a real chance, given Royal’s incredible patience with Ainsley, but, her parents and her former fiancé refuse to back down and let her live her life in peace. I really enjoyed this story. You had the brooding, wounded hero, hopelessly in love, the love interest who is trying to do what is best and has her own wounds to deal with and a child who is loved by them both. I enjoyed the banter between these two as well as between them and Royal's family. There is some action, humour, drama and romance. I really enjoyed Royal's grandfather. He was sassy and not accepting of Ainsley, but when push comes to shove, he puts his life on the line for her and the bairn. Once again, you had the villains who you were supposed to dislike and dislike them I did. There are some triggers in this story (rape, war) but I believe the author handled them well without giving graphic details. The story was well-written and moved at a good pace. I am ready to visit the Scottish Highlands again and see what is next for the Kendrick Clan. The publisher, Zebra, generously provided me with a copy of this book to read upon my request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.
MalkaShayna More than 1 year ago
This new series continues from where The Highlander's Princess Bride (The Improper Princesses, #3) left off. Royal Kendrick is still obsessed with Lady Ainsley Matthews and after having organized the family estate papers for Nick, and feeling at lost ends with himself, Victoria convinces him to check upon Ainsley at her great-aunt's manor, where she had mysteriously disappeared at at the end of the previous book The mystery of why she went there becomes quite apparent. She is very pregnant, having been raped by her former fiancee, the Marquess of Cringlewood. After her daughter is born, she is terrified that the cruel man will harm her daughter, so she gives her to Royal to raise, naming her after his mother, Tira. While Royal would like her to marry him, because of the timing, she fears that Cringlewood would learn the truth. The Kendricks give out the story, that the baby is Royal's from a barmaid, who doesn't want her. But Ainsley is heartbroken and six months later returns to Royal, asking him to marry her anyway. However, Ainsley is still keeping a secret from Royal which will put Both mother and child in danger from Cringlewood. Can the Kendrick clan keep them safe? For those who did not read the previous book and also for those who did, but don't remember, the author provides a brief narrative of the relevant events that happened before. The characters are appealing the plot well developed and there is a HEA. I received a free, advanced copy of this book from Net Galley.com. This is my unbiased and voluntary review
Historical_Romance_Lover More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed Royal and Ainsley's story! Royal had fallen hard for Ainsley upon meeting her, but she already had a fiancé. When she finds herself pregnant and Royal arrives on her doorstep just before she gives birth, she asks him to take the child. She doesn't want her child to be the reason she is forced to marry its father. Royal agrees to claim the child as his own since he will do anything for Ainsley. They agree to go their separate ways, but Ainsley later returns and wants to be a part of both of their lives. Can these two make it work between them? I loved how devoted Royal is to Ainsley and how he fell in love with her child. They made the best of their situation and were finally able to find their HEA! I fell in love with the Kendrick brothers while reading The Highlander's Princess Bride, so I was so excited to see that Kelly was doing a series for them. Royal's story was a great start to the series and I can't wait to read about the rest of the brothers!
stanhope3234 More than 1 year ago
This is the first book in awhile that I’ve sighed at the end and hugged the book. As silly as that may sound I. Loved. Everything. About. This. Book!!! Royal Kendrick came home from war injured and a brooding angry man. His family and clan are the only things he cares about. When he meets Ainsley Matthews she brings light to his very dark soul, if only she would have him. When she abruptly leaves to stay at her aunts Royal knows there’s somethings amiss. Ainsley Matthews is hiding some terrible secrets that will ruin her and her family. She’s hiding away in hopes of figuring out the best way to fix her problems. When Royal appears he just might be the answer to her prayers. Royal sees Ainsley for the person she is and not the one she pretended to be for the ton. He was the only person Ainsley trusted but she tried very hard not to drag him down with her until she had no one else to turn to. Royal is a strong honorable highlander, he loved his family and he has a great sense of humor and whit. He loves Ainsley enough to let her go, he only wanted her to be happy and he will do all he can to protect her. Ainsley’s whit and sarcasm, the banter between her and Royal was so great that I cheered for their romance. Her immense humor never failed to make me laugh. She was strong enough to admit her failings and to admit when she was wrong. This is a awesome start to this spinoff series and I can’t wait for the next book. I’m really hoping that Logan is next I think his story will be just as heartbreaking as Royal and Ainsley’s.
Sue14 More than 1 year ago
The Highlander who Protected Me is one awesome way to kick off a new series! Ms. Kelly seems to just get better with each novel she produces. When I first noticed how long this book was, I was a little weary. Some longer books can get bogged down at times with unnecessary details. But never fear, you will sail through The Highlander very quickly. It is hard to put down and reads very fast, mainly due to the fact that our two main characters, Royal and Ainsley, have such a wicked banter between them! It's amazing and funny and I wish I could speak my mind so well and so honestly. Ainsley does not employ filters when she speaks and not always when she acts or reacts. One truly refreshing character. Of course there is drama and sadness and tragedy in the lives of these two. But nothing that love cannot overcome given time and patience and the meddling of well-meaning relatives, and some not so well-meaning ones. And then there's the villain, who will, we have faith, get his just desserts in the end. You can't go wrong by adding this book to your To Be Read list. It's a winner!!
Lashea677 More than 1 year ago
There are no victims only survivors. Kelly dreams up a stunningly, captivating tale of heartache, bravery and romance. Royal and Ainsley are a little bit broken but no less heroes. Both are looking to find their place in a world judgment, cruelty and war. They find that place in each other's hearts. The Highlander Who Protected Me is a slow burn. Love kind of sneaks it's way into your heart. The battle is hard won, but the fire is never-ending.
georgia1 More than 1 year ago
A story that will pull at your heartstrings and take you back in time to London and Scotland. "In the spare winter moonlight, she glowed with a beauty that lit up the corners of Royal Kendrick's battered soul. He felt alive again." How beautiful is that? The opening line alone drew me in and I could not stop until the last page. This is a story of two damaged souls who need each other, but have a journey to fully find happiness. The first meeting Royal had with Ainsley, he was enchanted. She was the glowing lady of the ton with an inheritance that would tempt any man. I fell in love with Royal, who was wounded in body and soul by the war and strives to rejoin life again. When Ainsley comes to him, leaving a precious gift for him to care for, her child, he feels he has a purpose in life. Can the two come together and be happy? The first book in a new series, there is everything to love about this tale. A Scottish warrior, an English lady who has had her own trials and of secondary characters who bring humor when needed. Vanessa Kelly with her wonderful prose has written a story not soon forgotten and has me waiting on the next installment of the Clan Kendrick!! I read this through NetGallery. Lori Dykes+
AmyHi More than 1 year ago
I liked the book, especially the back and forth between Ainsley and Royal. I also enjoyed the Kendrick’s family dynamics. I can’t wait to read the next book in this Clan Kendrick series, hopefully Logan’s story.
PPriest More than 1 year ago
A great start to Vanessa Kelly's Clan Kendrick series, this book, for me, was not a typical romance novel. Even though Ainsley is an heiress and darling of the ton, she is a real character with real-world problems, and nobody but Royal and his clan are willing to help her (besides her aunt), even to the point of bringing her into the Clan and fiercely protecting her from the evils of her past. This is a well written book with very real characters and their very real problems. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series!
cayks More than 1 year ago
Royal Kendrick was injured during Waterloo, floundering thru life , a protector of all and in love with Ainsley. Ainsley is the spoilt daughter of rich English parents who grows up throughout the book. Despite the fact she's suppose to marry the Marquess of Cringlewood, Ainsley shows Royal she's interested in him. Secrets and lies highlight her journey to love and maturity. You will love following Royal and Ainsley , getting to know Grandda Angus, and the Clan Kendrick family,throughout this journey. I can't wait for the next book .Clan Kendrick will become a favorite family to all, definitely not a typical Scottish clan.
Robindpdx More than 1 year ago
This was an entertaining, well-written book. Lady Ainsley Matthews is pregnant and hiding from her former fiance to avoid being forced to marry him. Royal Kendrick is the only person she trusts to protect her baby, who she leaves in his care. Desire, love and protection are involved and I loved reading Ainsley's and Royal's story. I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more books by this author.
Noire More than 1 year ago
The Highlander Who Protected Me is the first book in Vanessa Kelly’s new series Clan Kendrick. I do think that you should read Improper Princesses book 3 The Highlander’s Princess Bride first though because you will meet many of the characters in this book and you will enjoy this one more as a result. Royal Kendrick is a second son with few prospects, a grievous war injury and his heart belongs to Lady Ainsley Mathews beautiful and spoiled way above his reach. The sparks that fly between these two are incendiary. The dialogue between them is everything and there is a line that I’m going to paraphrase badly ... but it resonates with me ... because they had no expectations of each other they were able to be their true selves with each other. Both of these characters grow because of their relationship with each other and so the HEA is very satisfying. Another thing that struck me was that although the author was quite realistic about how few options women had at the time, Ainsley was a strong character despite all of that without it being anachronistic. I enjoyed this story very much and look forward to reading the rest of the series. Mild to medium steam. I received an ARC of this book to read through NetGalley in exchange for a fair review. Publishing Date October 30, 2018. #NetGalley #TheHighlanderWhoProtectedMe @VanessaKelly
tsmb02 More than 1 year ago
What a great start to this new series! Vanessa Kelly writes such wonderful stories full of great characters and takes you on such an emotional ride. Lady Ainsley Matthews is woman that every male in the ton wants as their wife and every female wishes she could be. Beautiful and rich, what more could Ainsley want....certainly not the ex-fiance her father wants her to marry.....even if he did force himself upon her leaving her pregnant! Instead, Ainsley hides out at her crazy Aunt's remote Scottish estate until after the baby is born. Until then she has to figure out what to do. Ainsley has always been drawn to Royal Kendrick, son of a distinguished Highland clan but knew her father would never approve such a marriage. Instead Ainsley asks Royal's help in protecting her baby. She wants him to take the baby as raise it as his own. Royal reluctantly agrees. He has been looking for a purpose in life since he came back injured from the war and now he has one. He may not be able to have Ainsley as his wife, but he has the next best thing, her child. When Ainsley comes back into their life because she cannot stand to be away from her child, she puts everyone in danger. Royal realizes that the only way he can protect Ainsley and her baby is for them to get married. What starts out as a marriage of convenience quickly turns into something more. When both of them realize that they have strong feelings for each other, that is when the fun begins. It was a joy watching these two realizing their feelings for each other. Ainsley can be so stubborn at times and Royal didn't usually fall for it. I just adored the way Royal's entire family came to protect Ainsley and her baby, especially Royal's grandfather, Angus....he was a hoot! I really enjoyed the ride Royal and Ainsley went on to get to their happy ending. It was fun, entertaining and sexy all wrapped into one story!
JuliaAD More than 1 year ago
I love the crazy Kendrick clan. Royal is so great the way he protects his family and how he wants to protect Ainsley, even if it means he won't be with her. They argue all the time, but he loves her so much and wishes that she would love him too. Ainsley has problems and lots of secrets. Royal will help her and keep her secrets no matter the cost to himself. Ainsley has given up so much and so has Royal. Will they be able to figure out a way for them to be together, keep Ainsley's secrets and keep her safe? The whole family comes together to help them. Will it be enough?
Sunshine1006 More than 1 year ago
Lady Ainsley Matthews meets Royal Kendrick at a ball. She is beautiful and has many admirers. Royal, the brother to Lord Arnprior was a soldier at Waterloo. He has the scars and nightmares that go with it. When they meet, it is instant attraction and fireworks as they both are very opinionated. The one thing that stands between them is Lord Cringlewood. He is obsessed and wants to marry her. Royal returns to his family's estate in the Highlands, but never forgets Ainsley. She is at her great aunt's home in Scotland. When Royal visits, he finds that she is pregnant and afraid. There is no one she trusts more and asks him to take her baby because she knows he will keep it safe. Royal is a real hero to all who know him.. He takes the baby knowing that he will never see her again. The Kendrick's take care of their own and the baby is safe. When Ainsley returns to Scotland, will be be able to keep her and the baby safe? Lord Cringelwood is still obsessed and dangerous. I really liked the story. I went back and re-read.several parts because they were very well written and swoon worthy. There are parts of this book dealing with abuse. I received this book from Net Galley and Kensington Books for a honest review and no compensation otherwise.The opinions expressed are my own.
McM0mmy-PW More than 1 year ago
I really loved the story and how much Ainsley grew as a person due to everything that happened to her. Royal was hard NOT to love! The story was awesome and I really enjoyed Ainsley's spirit and attitude. Have to admit that Angus is still my favorite! The only reason it's not a 5 star is because even though we have a HEA, the ending made me sad. I would have preferred Cringlewood have a different ending, but I'm hoping we'll get more information in the next book. (I was a little sad there wasn't information on the next book and who gets the next story!) Thank you NetGalley for the ARC!