To Conquer a Highlander

To Conquer a Highlander

The Highlander Series, Book 1
Sourcebooks Casablanca (July 1, 2010)
ISBN-13: 9781402237379 ♦ ISBN-10: 1402237375

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A fierce Highland laird ready to kill for king and country…

When Torin McLeren discovers his neighbor’s plot against his king, he takes their daughter as his prisoner, thereby stopping her father’s plot from going forward. But that leaves him with a woman under his roof whom he can’t ignore, and not just because she’s his enemy’s daughter…

A woman who’s as much trouble as she is temptation…

Shannon McBoyd decides to use her captor to experience passion for the first time, and then to destroy him. But her plan goes awry because once she has lured Torin into her bed, she no longer wants to hurt the one man who seems to value and understand her…

Even if her father will kill him—and her—when he discovers what they’ve done…

Connected Books: The Highlander Series

Highland Hellcat
Book 2
Highland Heat
Book 3

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To Conquer a Highlander

From Chapter One

Scotland 1437, McLeren land

Fire could be a welcome sight to a man when he’d been riding a long time and the sun had set, leaving him surrounded by darkness. But the sight of flames on the horizon could also be the most horrifying thing any laird ever set his eyes on.

Torin McLeren wanted to close his eyes in the hopes that the orange flames illuminating the night might not be there when he opened them again. He could smell the smoke on the night air now but didn’t have the luxury of allowing the horror to turn his stomach. He was laird, and protecting his holdings was his duty.

Digging his spurs into his horse, he headed toward the inferno. Wails began to drown out the hissing flames. Laments carried on the night wind as wives and mothers mourned bitterly. The scent of blood rose above the smoke, the flickering orange light illuminating the fallen bodies of his clansmen. He stared at the carnage, stunned by the number of dead and wounded. He might be a Highlander and no stranger to battle, but this was a village, not a piece of land disputed and fought over by nobles. This was McLeren land and had been for more than a century.

A horror straight out of hell surrounded him. Mercy hadn’t been present here-he’d seen less carnage after fighting the English. The slaughter was almost too much to believe or accept. His horse balked at his command to ride forward, the stallion rearing up as the heat from the blaze became hot against its hide. Torin cursed and slid from the saddle. Every muscle in his body tightened, rage slowly coming to a boil inside him. Hands reached out to him, grasping fingers seeking him as the only hope of righting the wrong that had been inflicted on them.

His temper burned hotter than the fire consuming the keep in front of him. They suffered raids from time to time, but this was something else entirely. It was war. The number of bodies lying where they had fallen was a wrong that could not be ignored. Nor should it be. These were his people, McLerens who trusted in his leadership and his sword arm for protection.

“Justice…”

One single word but it echoed across the fallen bodies of men wearing the same plaid he did. Every retainer left to keep the peace was lying dead, but they had died as Highlanders. The ground was littered with the unmoving forms of their attackers. His gaze settled on one body, the still form leaking dark blood onto his land, the kilt drawing his interest. Lowering his frame onto one knee, Torin fingered the colors of his enemy. The fire lit the scarlet and blue colors of the McBoyd clan. His neighbor and apparently now his enemy.

McBoyds? It didn’t make sense. These were common people. Good folk who labored hard to feed their families. Every McLeren retainer stationed there knew and accepted that they might have to fight for their clan, but that did not explain the number of slain villagers. There was no reason for such a slaughter. No excuse he would ever swallow or accept. McLerens did not fear the night, be they common born or not. While he was laird, they would not live in fear.

“There will be justice. I swear it.” His voice carried authority, but to those weeping over their lost family, it also gave comfort. Torin stood still only for a moment, his retainers backing him up before he turned and remounted his horse. He felt more at home in the saddle, more confident. His father had raised him to lead the McLerens in good times and bad. He would not disappoint him or a single McLeren watching him now.

“Well now, let us see what the McBoyds have to say for themselves, lads.”

Torin turned his stallion into the night without a care for the clouds that kept the moonlight from illuminating the rocky terrain. He was a Highlander, after all. Let the other things in the dark fear him.

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