He was born to a clan of warriors of supernatural strength, but Gavrael McIllioch abandoned his name and his Highland castle, determined to escape the dark fate of his ancestors. Hiding his identity from the relentless rival clan that hunted him, he called himself Grimm to protect the people he cared for, vowing never to acknowledge his love for ravishing Jillian St. Clair. Yet even from afar he watched over her, and when her father sent an urgent summons, "Come for Jillian," he raced to her side—into a competition to win her hand in marriage.
Why had he run from her so many years before? And why return now to see her offered as a prize in her father's manipulative game? Furious, Jillian vowed never to wed. But Grimm was the man she loved, the one who urged her to marry another. He tried to pretend indifference as she tempted him, but he could not deny the fierce desires that compelled him to abduct her from the altar. She was the only woman who could tame the beast that raged within him—even as deadly enemies plotted to destroy them both....
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To Tame a Highland Warrior
By Karen Marie Moning
Random HouseCopyright (C) 1999 by Karen Moning
All right reserved.
The Highlands of Scotland
Grimm paused at the open doors of the study and gazed into the night. The reflection of stars dappled the restless ocean, like tiny pinpoints of light cresting the waves. Usually he found the sound of the sea crashing against the rocks soothing, but lately it seemed to incite in him a questing restlessness.
As he resumed pacing, he sifted through possible reasons for his unrest and came up empty-handed. It had been by choice that he remained at Dalkeith as captain of the Douglas guard when, two years ago, he and his best friend, Hawk Douglas, left Edinburgh and King James's service. Grimm adored Hawk's wife, Adrienne-when she wasn't trying to marry him off-and he doted upon their young son, Carthian. He had been, if not exactly happy, content. At least until recently. So what ailed him?
"You're wearing holes in my favorite rug with your pacing, Grimm. And the painter will never be able to finish this portrait if you won't sit down," Adrienne teased, jarring him from his melancholy reverie.
Grimm expelled a breath and ran a hand through his thick hair. Absentmindedly he fiddled with a section at his temple, twisting the strands into a plait as he continued to contemplate the sea.
"You aren't looking for a wishing star out there, are you, Grimm?" Hawk Douglas's black eyes danced with mirth.
"Hardly. And anytime your mischievous wife would care to tell me what curse she laid upon me with her careless wishing, I'd be happy to hear it." Some time ago, Adrienne Douglas had wished upon a falling star, and she steadfastly refused to tell either of them what she'd wished until she was absolutely certain it had been heard and granted. The only thing she would admit was that her wish had been made on Grimm's behalf, which unnerved him considerably. Although he didn't consider himself a superstitious man, he'd seen enough odd occurrences in the world to know that merely because something seemed improbable certainly didn't render it impossible.
"As would I, Grimm," Hawk said dryly. "But she won't tell me either."
Adrienne laughed. "Go on with the two of you. Don't tell me two such fearless warriors suffer a moment's concern over a woman's idle wish upon a star."
"I consider nothing you do idle, Adrienne," Hawk replied with a wry grin. "The universe does not behave in a normal fashion where you're concerned."
Grimm smiled faintly. It certainly didn't. Adrienne had been tossed back in time from the twentieth century, the victim of a wicked plot to destroy the Hawk, concocted by a vindictive Fairy. Impossible things happened around Adrienne, which was why he wanted to know what bloody wish she'd made. He'd like to be prepared when all hell broke loose.
"Do sit down, Grimm," Adrienne urged. "I want this portrait finished by Christmas at the latest, and it takes Albert months to paint from his sketches."
"Only because my work is sheer perfection," the painter said, miffed.
Grimm turned his back on the night and reclaimed his seat by Hawk in front of the fire. "I still doona get the point of this," Grimm muttered. "Portraits are for lasses and children."
Adrienne snorted. "I commission a painter to immortalize two of the most magnificent men I've ever laid eyes upon"-she flashed them a dazzling smile, and Grimm rolled his eyes, knowing he would do whatever the lovely Adrienne wished when she smiled like that-"and all they can do is grumble. I'll have you know, one day you'll thank me for doing this."
Grimm and Hawk exchanged amused glances, then resumed the pose she insisted displayed their muscular physiques and dark good looks to their finest advantage.
"Be certain you color Grimm's eyes as brilliantly blue as they are," she instructed Albert.
"As if I don't know how to paint," he muttered. "I am the artist here. Unless, of course, you'd like to try your hand at it."
"I thought you liked my eyes." Hawk narrowed his black eyes at Adrienne.
"I do. I married you, didn't I?" Adrienne teased, smiling. "Can I help it if the staff at Dalkeith, to the youngest maid of a tender twelve years, swoons over your best friend's eyes? When I hold my sapphires up to the sunlight, they look exactly the same. They shimmer with iridescent blue fire."
"What are mine? Puny black walnuts?"
Adrienne laughed. "Silly man, that's how I described your heart when I first met you. And stop fidgeting, Grimm," she chided. "Or is there some reason you want those braids at your temples in this portrait?"
Grimm froze, then slowly touched his hair in disbelief.
Hawk stared at him. "What's on your mind, Grimm?" he asked, fascinated.
Grimm swallowed. He hadn't even realized he'd plaited the war braids into his hair. A man wore war braids only during the blackest hours of his life-when he was mourning his lost mate or preparing for battle. So far, he'd worn them twice. What had he been thinking? Grimm stared blankly at the floor, confused, unable to vocalize his thoughts. Lately he'd been obsessed with ghosts of the past, memories he'd tossed savagely into a shallow grave years ago and buried beneath a thin sod of denials. But in his dreams the shadow corpses walked again, trailing behind them a residue of unease that clung to him throughout the day.
Grimm was still struggling to answer when a guard burst through the doors to the study.
"Milord. Milady." The guard nodded deferentially to Hawk and Adrienne as he hastily entered the room. He approached Grimm, a somber expression on his face. "This just came for ye, Cap'n." He thrust an official-looking piece of parchment into Grimm's hands. "The messenger insisted 'twas urgent, and to be delivered into your hands only."
Grimm turned the message slowly in his hand. The elegant crest of Gibraltar St. Clair was pressed into the red wax. Suppressed memories broke over him: Jillian. She was a promise of beauty and joy he could never possess, a memory he'd consigned to that same uncooperative, shallow grave that now seemed determined to regurgitate its dead.
"Well, open it, Grimm," Adrienne urged.
Slowly, as if he held a wounded animal that might turn on him with sharp teeth, Grimm broke the seal and opened the missive. Stiffly, he read the terse, three-word command. His hand fisted reflexively, crumpling the thick vellum.
Rising, he turned to the guard. "Prepare my horse. I leave in one hour." The guard nodded and left the study.
"Well?" Hawk demanded. "What does it say?"
"Nothing you need to address, Hawk. Doona worry. It doesn't concern you."
"Anything that concerns my best friend concerns me," Hawk said. "So give over, what's wrong?"
"I said nothing. Leave it, man." Grimm's voice held a note of warning that would have restrained a lesser man's hand. But the Hawk had never been, and would never be, a lesser man, and he moved so unexpectedly that Grimm didn't react quickly enough when he whisked the parchment from his hand. Grinning mischievously, Hawk backed away and uncrumpled the parchment. His grin broadened, and he winked at Adrienne.
"'Come for Jillian,' it says. A woman, is it? The plot thickens. I thought you'd sworn off women, my fickle friend. So who's Jillian?"
"A woman?" Adrienne exclaimed delightedly. "A young, marriageable woman?"
"Stop it, you two. It's not like that."
"Then why were you trying to keep it a secret, Grimm?" Hawk pressed.
"Because there are things you doona know about me, and it would take far too long to explain. Lacking the leisure to tell you the full story, I'll send you a message in a few months," he evaded coolly.
"You're not getting out of this so easily, Grimm Roderick." Hawk rubbed the shadow beard on his stubborn jaw thoughtfully. "Who is Jillian, and how do you know Gibraltar St. Clair? I thought you came to court directly from England. I thought you knew no one in all of Scotland but for those you met at court."
"I didn't exactly tell you the whole story, Hawk, and I doona have time for it now, but I'll tell you as soon as I get settled."
"You'll tell me now, or I'm coming with you," Hawk threatened. "Which means Adrienne and Carthian are coming as well, so you can either tell me or prepare for company, and you never know what might happen if Adrienne comes along."
Grimm scowled. "You really can be a pain, Hawk."
"Relentless. Formidable," Adrienne agreed sweetly. "You may as well give in, Grimm. My husband never takes no for an answer. Believe me, I know this."
"Come on, Grimm, if you can't trust me, who can you trust?" he coaxed. "Where are you going?"
"It's not a question of trust, Hawk." Hawk merely waited with an expectant look on his face, and Grimm knew he had no intention of relenting. Hawk would push and poke and ultimately do exactly as he'd threatened-come along-unless Grimm gave him a sufficient answer. Perhaps it was time he admitted the truth, although the odds were that once he did, he wouldn't be welcomed back at Dalkeith. "I'm going home, sort of," Grimm finally conceded.
"Caithness is your home?"
"Tuluth," Grimm muttered.
"Tuluth," Grimm said flatly. "I was born in Tuluth."
"You said you were born in Edinburgh!"
"Why? You told me your entire family was dead! Was that a lie too?"
"No! They are. I didn't lie about that. Well ... mostly I didn't lie," he corrected hastily. "My da is still alive, but I haven't spoken to him in more than fifteen years."
A muscle twitched in Hawk's jaw. "Sit down, Grimm. You're not going anywhere until you tell me all of it, and I suspect it's a tale that's long overdue."
"I doona have time, Hawk. If St. Clair said it was urgent, I was needed at Caithness weeks ago."
"What relevance has Caithness to any of this, or to you? Sit. Talk. Now."
Sensing no possibility of reprieve, Grimm paced as he began his story. He told them how, at the age of fourteen, he'd left Tuluth the night of the massacre and wandered the forests of the Highlands for two years, wearing his war braids and hating mankind, hating his father, hating himself. He skipped the brutal parts-his mother's murder, the starvation he'd endured, the repeated attempts on his life. He told them that when he was sixteen he'd found shelter with Gibraltar St. Clair; that he'd changed his name to Grimm to protect himself and those for whom he cared. He told them how the McKane had found him again at Caithness and attacked his foster family. And finally, in the tone of a dreaded confession, he told them what his real name had been.
"What did you just say?" Hawk asked blankly.
Grimm drew a deep breath into his lungs and expelled it angrily. "I said Gavrael. My real name is Gavrael." There was only one Gavrael in all of Scotland; no other man would willingly own up to that name and that curse. He braced himself for the Hawk's explosion. He didn't have to wait for long.
"McIllioch?" Hawk's eyes narrowed disbelievingly.
"McIllioch," Grimm confirmed.
"Grimm stands for Gavrael Roderick Icarus McIllioch." Grimm's Highland brogue rolled so thickly around the name, it was a nearly unintelligible burr of r's and l's and staccato-sharp k's. "Take the first letter of each name, and there you have it. G-R-I-M."
"Gavrael McIllioch was a Berserker!" Hawk roared.
"I told you you didn't know so much about me," Grimm said darkly.
Crossing the study in three swift strides, Hawk bristled to a stop inches from Grimm's face and studied him, as if he might uncover some telltale trace of a beast that should have betrayed Grimm's secret years ago. "How could I not have known?" Hawk muttered. "For years I'd been wondering about some of your peculiar ... talents. By the bloody saints, I should have guessed if only from your eyes-"
"Lots of people have blue eyes, Hawk," Grimm said dryly.
"Not like yours, Grimm," Adrienne remarked.
"This explains it all," Hawk said slowly. "You're not human."
Adrienne leveled a dark look at her husband and linked her arm through Grimm's. "Of course he's human, Hawk. He's just human ... plus some."
"A Berserker." Hawk shook his head. "A fardling Berserker. You know, they say William Wallace was a Berserker."
"And what a lovely life he had, eh?" Grimm said bitterly.
* * *
Grimm rode out shortly thereafter, answering no more questions and leaving the Hawk immensely dissatisfied. He left quickly, because the memories were returning of their own accord and with fury. Grimm knew he had to be alone when full recollection finally reclaimed him. He didn't willingly think about Tuluth anymore. Hell, he didn't willingly think anymore, not if he could help it.
Tuluth: in his memory a smoky valley, clouds of black so thick his eyes had stung from the acrid stench of burning homes and burning flesh. Children screaming. Och, Christ!
Grimm swallowed hard as he spurred Occam into a gallop across the ridge. He was impervious to the beauty of the Highland night, lost in another time, surrounded only by the color of blood and the blackness of soul-disfiguring desolation-with one shimmering spot of gold.
Is he an animal, Da? May I keep him? Please? He's an ever-so-glorious beastie!
And in his mind he was sixteen years old again, looking down at the wee golden lass. Memory swept over him, dripping shame thicker than clotted honey off a comb. She'd found him in the woods, scavenging like a beast.
He'd be fiercer than my Savanna TeaGarden, Da!
Savanna TeaGarden being her puppy, all one hundred forty pounds of Irish wolfhound puppy.
He'd protect me well, Da, I know he would!
The instant she'd said the words, he'd taken a silent vow to do just that, never dreaming it might one day entail protecting her from himself.
Grimm rubbed his clean-shaven jaw and tossed his head in the wind. For a brief moment he felt the matted hair again, the dirt and sweat and the war braids, the fierce eyes brimming with hatred. And the pure, sweet child had trusted him on sight.
Excerpted from To Tame a Highland Warrior by Karen Marie Moning Excerpted by permission.
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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What People are Saying About This
"Highly original...sensual, hard-to-put-down romance. Karen Marie Moning is destined to make her mark on the genre."—Romantic Times
"A hauntingly beautiful love story...Karen Marie Moning gives us an emotional masterpiece that you will want to take out and read again and again."—Rendezvous
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Ms. Moning has a great passion for storytelling. More than once I was tempted to highlight sentences or passages because they were phrased so well. Of course, I was so engrossed in the book that I could not be bothered to put the book down long enough to get a highlighter.
This story is fun to read and is based on supernatural beings called Berserkers which were supposed to have existed in Scotland many years ago. We watch the character of Grimm go through a transformation as he attempts to hide his true nature from the world and then, through circumstance, reveal himself to close friends and to the woman that he loves.
One of the things that I love about Ms. Moning's books is they all have this element of fearing to reveal our true self to the person we love the most, even when that person is the person who understands us best of all. When the moment finally comes to share ourselves, we find that the other person knew the truth and accepted us all along.
I love the scene in the church when Jillian's father says that love involves having passion, so much passion that you'd be willing to kidnap your beloved before she turned to someone else. You really get the sense of divine intervention in this book. This man and this woman are made for one another and no matter what they do to deny it, fate always steps in and thrusts them together until they are ready to accept it.
I highly recommend this book and pretty much anything else by this author. She has a fabulous way of combining celtic mysticism and historical romance without feeling forced. This is a fantastic series.
I believe Moning is one of the best romance writers of today- because you are drawn in so quickly and it is such an enjoyable read. She knows how to be light and funny and then make you feel the drama and suspense of the moment. This one was my favorite.
After reading the 1st installment of Moning's Highlander series, I knew I had to continue reading more! I figured I would grow tired of Scottish highlanders and their pursuit of women but I haven't. She writes with such humor & detail that even though you know the highlander will get the girl in the end, you are still drawn in & can't wait to see how their story unfolds! This story of Grimm & Jillian is excellent as Grimm strongly resists his feelings given his mistaken beliefs about his father. A great read!!
I absolutely LOVED this book! The dialog was hysterically funny in parts, and I laughed out loud frequently while listening to the audio book. I recommend listening to the audio book because the narrator has an excellent Scottish accent! Anyway, the character of Grimm is everything you want in a hero and then some! Jillian's character is quite believable as a 21-year-old that is still hopelessly in love with her childhood fantasy man. The supporting characters are well-developed, and the story just got better and better. MUCH better than the first book in this series! I highly recommend it.
Great story! Had me just a few short chapters in. Really love the charachters and the flow from book one to book two.
Book 1 grabbed my attention so of course I bought #2. I was very happy! Best historical/romance series Ive read in a looong time! Couldnt put it down!
I love the Highlander series!
I loved this book, but I can't get enough of Highlanders and Karen Marie Moning. The character, Grimm, was introduced in a previous KMM book and I was thrilled to learn a little more about him.Gavreal McIllioch, or Grimm, is a Berserker, which means, when he goes to battle, he REALLY goes to battle. He's a superhuman dude when it comes to beating a foe senseless. He is asked to go back to a place where he was brought up after the death of his father to care for Jillian St. Clair.Jillian has not married yet and her father has summoned three men to try and get her to marry them, Grimm being one of them. She and Grimm basically grew up together and many years ago when she told him she loved him, he up and left. She's rather ticked about that to say the least.This love story goes through the ups and downs of Grimm's and Jillian's hidden love for each other and why Grimm is so adamant about not getting involved with her. I recommend this book. It shows how love can blossom and survive in spite of roadblocks that are thrown in the way
I am hearing from people that you could skip the first 2 books in this series and not miss anything, but I adored this book! The first one is good, I loved this! Don't skip it! Very charming! Lived the Beserker mythology!
AUTHOR: Second time reading a book by Karen Moning. She is now on my TOP FIVE list of favorite Romance Authors. Her books are adventurous and passionate.SYNOPSISGrimm, short for Gavrael Roderick Icarus McIllioch, with an extra "m" of course, witnesses many deaths and wants vengeance at a very early age. He calls on a power that whispers in his ears. Seeing his mother amongst the dead, he runs away from home taking a secret about himself with him. Hungry and dirty, he is taken in by the St. Clair family. Jillian St. Clair as a young child loves him at first site. Years later a constant pursuing enemy intent on destroying Grimm finds him living with the St. Clairs. They attack the castle home. After doing battle, Grimm leaves with the intent of protecting the St. Clair family, leaving broken hearted 16 year old Jillian behind. Time passes and at the age of 21 years, Jillian is continuously pressed by her father to get married. He forces her into a situation to make a choice by inviting (3) warrior suitors to win her as a bride. Grimm is among them, still carrying his secret. He has always found Jillian a bother and a source of irritation. The story will eventually lead to him returning to his original home that he no longer thought existed. SEX SCALE: Of the following five options: 1) NOT very descriptive and requires imagination' 2) WILL make you wiggle a little) 3) WISH it was me; 4) OH boy, do not have to use my imagination at all; 5) EROTICA and well over the top******THIS BOOK GETS A THREE for "WISH it was me" rating because when the emotion of love finally comes to a realization, OH BOY I WISH IT WAS ME. Sexy, loving, caring******LEAST FAVORITE PART: Return to the village of Tuluth and to Maldebann CastleFAVORITE PART: Felt author carried out the bickering between Jillian and Grimm for too long. After a while, it was really annoying to read.YOU WILL LIKE THIS BOOK IF YOU LIKE: Hidden secrets and hidden love. Men competing over one woman. When the passion spicket is turned on, boy does it run! Misunderstandings and unhappiness that takes many years to get sorted out.
great addition to the series.... thoroughly enjoyed this book. Grimm and Jillian were intriguing characters, The plot was exciting and we couldn't put the book down
To Tame a Highland Warrior, along with Beyond the Highland Mist, is my favorite of Moning¿s Highlander series because there is more tension between the characters than in the other novels. While there are certainly tried and true traits to her novels (alpha males, virgins, etc.), the settings and stories are unpredictable.
This is the second book in Moning's Highland Warrior series. I liked the second one more than the first. This one does not include any time traveling. These do relate to the Fever series a little bit. This book deals with Berserkers. I liked the dynamic between the leads in installment.
Grimm will always be my favorite highlander. (sighes) I just wish Karen would give him a bigger spot light, like the Keltars.
This book was amazing. Loved Grimm, he was sooo sexy. This book was beautifully written and captivating.
I couldn't put this book down. I thoroughly enjoyed this tale of a berserker and the woman who could tame him.
One of my favorite authors. Always a fun romp.
So in love with this series
We met Grimm in the last book and he was a bit of a mystery. You don’t really know much about it and there was a moment where he sort of just disappears without any excuse. When I found out that the next book was his story I was really excited to read it. Even still, the majority of the book leaves you clamoring to know more about Grimm. I mean, you know he’s a Berserker in the beginning of the story but you don’t really know what that means for him because Grimm himself doesn’t even know what that means. It isn’t until towards the end of the story that you start get the whole picture. Grimm is kind of a self-loathing character. He hates his family, he changed his name so no one would connect him with his clan, he hates that he summoned the Berserker, and he hates that he loves Jillian even though he knows he can’t have her. He knows the aftermath of what happens after his Berserker takes over but he has no control or memory of what takes place when he’s no longer in charge. He’s terrified that he’d hurt Jillian, so instead of courting her like her father had intended, she pushes her away. One thing that really bugged me was the fact that for a guy who’s pretty much 30 years old, he acted like an idiot. I mean, he was terrified of being honest with her and telling her that he was possessed by a Berserker because he felt she would be horrified and turn him away, and so his solution to keep her from getting close to him is to insult and belittle her at every turn. I mean, if you wanted someone to leave you alone because you felt you were too dangerous for them, why not just come out and tell her what you are? Seems to me that would be a foolproof way of letting someone know that it’s just not gonna happen. When Jillian realizes that her father sent suitors with the intent that she marry immediately, she’s clearly put out. She’s been dodging suitors for years and this is yet another plot of her fathers to see her wed. However, when Grimm shows up at her door, she’s taken right back to her teen years. She finds herself mooning over him, following him around, and seeking him out at every chance. Given the fact that he calls you names and makes you feel like a petulant child, you’d think she’d back off and move on. Nope. She just keeps on throwing herself out there over and over again. I think if it weren’t for the Berserker aspect of the novel, I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much. I got why Grimm was so drawn to Jillian. It’s said that when a Berserker finds his mate he can no longer see anything beyond her. Which makes sense as to why when he left her home way back when he’s been celibate ever since. It also makes sense why when he pushes her away, the moment she shows interest in one of her other suitors, he comes charging back in. The Berserker refuses to allow another man touch his mate. I just wish that the way Jillian and Grimm danced around each other was different. Maybe less of Grimm being mean to her and maybe also less of Jillian following him around like a lost little puppy. While this story doesn’t include time traveling like the previous book, it does have Berserkers. Which is something you don’t see all that often. This is kind of a mash up of a second chance romance, set in historical highlander era, with a Berserker to boot. Needless to say, I was entertained the whole time.
My favorite in the series so far!
This is rhe highlander series each book in series is abour a new couple in each book