The Highlander Series, Book 3
Sourcebooks Casablanca (March 1, 2011)
ISBN-13: 9781402237393 ♦ ISBN-10: 1402237391
Ruined, Betrayed, and banished…
As brave as she is impulsive, Deirdre Chattan’s tendency to follow her heart and not her head has finally tarnished her reputation beyond repair. But when powerful Highland Laird Quinton Cameron finds her, he doesn’t care about her past-it’s her future he’s about to change…
But it’s never too late for redemption…
From the moment Quinton sets eyes on Deirdre Chattan, rational thought vanishes. For in her eyes he sees a fiery spirit that matches his own, and he’ll be damned if he’ll let such a wild Scottish rose wither under the weight of a nun’s habit…
With nothing to lose, Deirdre and Quinton band together to protect king and country. But what they can accomplish alone is nothing compared to what they can build with their passion for each other…
Connected Books: The Highlander Series
Read an Excerpt
Spring was blowing on the breeze.
Deirdre lifted her face and inhaled. Closing her eyes and smiling, she caught a hint of heather in the air.
But that caused a memory to stir from the dark corner of her mind where she had banished it. It rose up, reminding her of a spring two years ago when a man had courted her with pieces of heather and soft words of flattery.
“Ye have been angry for too long, Deirdre.”
Deirdre turned her head slightly and discovered her sister Kaie standing nearby.
“And ye walk too silently; being humble doesn’t mean ye need try and act as though ye are nae even here in this life.”
Kaie smiled but corrected herself quickly, smoothing her expression until it was once again simply plain. “That is my point exactly, Deirdre. Ye take offense at everything around ye. I am content. That should nae be a reason for ye to snap at me.”
Her sister wore the undyed robe of a nun. Her hair was covered now, but Deirdre had watched as it was cut short when Kaie took her novice vows. Her own hair was still long. She had it braided and the tail caught up so that it didn’t swing behind her. The convent wouldn’t hear any vows from her, not for several more years to come.
“But ye are nae happy living among us, Deirdre, and that is a sad thing, for those living in God’s house should be here because they want to be.”
“Well, I like it better than living with our father, and since he sent my dowry to the church, it is only fitting that I sleep beneath this roof.”
Kaie drew in a stiff breath. “Ye are being too harsh. Father did his duty in arranging a match for us all. It is only fair that he would be cross to discover that ye had taken a lover.”
Melor Douglas. The man she’d defied everything to hold, because she believed his words of love.
Deirdre sighed. “True, but ye are very pleased to be here and not with Roan McLeod as his wife. Father arranged that match for ye as well, and yet you defied his choice by asking Roan McLeod to release ye. There are more than a few who would call that disrespectful to our sire.”
Her sister paled, and Deirdre instantly felt guilty for ruining her happiness.
“I’m sorry, Kaie. That was unkind of me to say.” Her sister drew in a deep breath. “Ye most likely think me timid, but I was drawn to this convent. Every night when I closed my eyes, I dreamed of it, unlike ye…”
Kaie’s eyes had begun to glow with passion as she spoke of her devotion, but she snapped her mouth shut when she realized what she was saying. Deirdre scoffed at her attempt to soften the truth.
“Unlike me and my choice to take Melor Douglas as my lover.”
It was harsh but true, and Deirdre preferred to hear it, however blunt it might be.
“He lied to ye. Ye went to him believing ye’d be his wife.”
“Ye do nae need to make excuses for me, Kaie. I made my choice, and I will nae increase my sins by adding dishonesty to them. Everyone knows, anyway.
It seems all I ever hear about here, how I am unworthy of the veil ye wear so contently.” Deirdre shrugged.
“At least no one shall be able to claim I am intent on hiding my actions behind unspoken words and unanswered questions.”
Her sister laughed. A soft, sad little sound that sent heat into Deirdre’s cheeks, because Kaie was sweet and she didn’t need to be discussing such a scarlet subject.
“Ye have ever been bold, Deirdre. I believe ye should have been born a son for all the courage ye have burning inside ye. For ye are correct, I am content, and there is no place I would rather be but here. Living a simple life. Roan McLeod was a kind soul to allow me to become a bride of Christ instead of his wife. Wedding me would have given him a strong alliance with our clan.”
Kaie bent and picked up a leather bucket that was sitting near the doorway. “I do nae know why the man gave up something that is so important in the Highlands, but I am grateful for it every day.”
Her sister left, which granted Deirdre the freedom to frown. Allowing Melor Douglas to seduce her had been called many things, none of them good. It was slightly shocking to hear her sister label it “spirit.” Aye, the sort that knights must feel as they surged forward in one glorious charge and then came home missing limbs or an eye, or not returning at all. Such made for good talk around the fire at night, but the reality of living with those injuries during the day was anything but grand.
She sighed and took the tapestry she had been holding out to the simple wooden stand in the yard. She tossed it over the single bar of wood and reached for a thin branch that had been folded to make a rug beater. Clouds of dust began to tickle her nose as she swung the branch quickly back and forth. It had been a relief to discover the convent wouldn’t hear her vows.
Deirdre beat the tapestry harder as she struggled with her guilt. She wasn’t ashamed of the fact that she wasn’t pure anymore, but that only intensified her misgivings, because it left her wondering just what she did believe in. Kaie was correct in saying she had been angry too long.