Title: The Highlander’s Lost Lady: The Lairds Most Likely Book 3
Author: Anna Campbell
Genre: Historical Romance
A Highlander as brave and strong as a knight of old…
When Diarmid Mactavish, Laird of Invertavey, discovers a mysterious woman washed up on his land after a wild storm, he takes her in and tries to find her family. But even as forbidden dreams of sensual fulfillment torment him, he’s convinced that this beautiful lassie isn’t what she seems. And if there’s one thing Diarmid despises, it’s a liar.
A mother willing to do anything to save her daughter…
Widow Fiona Grant has risked everything to break free of her clan and rescue her adolescent daughter from a forced marriage. But before her quest has barely begun, disaster strikes. She escapes her brutish kinsmen, only to be shipwrecked on Mactavish territory where she falls into her enemies’ hands. For centuries, a murderous feud has raged between the Mactavishes and the Grants, so how can she trust her darkly handsome host?
Now a twisted Highland road leads to danger and passion…and irresistible love. But is love strong enough to banish the past’s long shadows and offer these wary allies all that their hearts desire?
When Diarmid located the girl tethered to the bed like an animal, the anger that had sustained him this far spiked. The Grants were lucky they were downstairs, because at that instant, he was ready to do murder.
Hands shaking with rage, he strode forward and ripped the gag away from her mouth. “Mrs. Grant, are ye all right?”
Blue eyes huge with astonishment stared up at him. “Mr. Mactavish, what on earth are you doing here?”
Her voice was dry and scratchy, he imagined from having her mouth covered with what he now saw was a rough linen neck cloth.
“I’m taking ye away.” He tugged at the knots on the ropes lashing her to the bed.
“But you handed me over to them.”
“Bugger.” He gave up on knots that would do justice to a sailor and slid his dagger from his belt. “I shouldnae have.”
“But you must hate me. I lied to you. I stole from you.”
“Aye, ye did,” he said grimly. “That’s something we’re going to talk about. But no’ here and no’ now.” With ruthless movements, he cut the bonds attaching her hands to the posts on the headboard.
“They’ll kill me if I run away again.” Her flat tone robbed the statement of all melodrama.
Diarmid set his jaw against a resurgence of killing rage and slid the hem of her plain gray gown up just far enough to allow him to cut the ropes around her feet.
“Ye dinnae want to come with me?”
When she tried to sit up, he realized she must have been tied up for a couple of hours. The awkward position left her stiff and clumsy. Despite Diarmid’s urgency, his touch was gentle as he helped her onto the edge of the bed.
“Don’t be a fool.” Her familiar wry smile contrasted with the dried tearstains on her wan cheeks. “Of course I do.”
Despite all the evil he knew of her, he couldn’t help smiling back. Her courage touched his heart in a way he knew was dangerous.
Any delay was risky, but he filled a glass with water and passed it to her.
“Thank you,” she murmured in a croaky voice.
As she drank, he inspected her for signs of injury. “Have they harmed ye?”
“Not yet.” Her lips turned down with more of that grim humor, as she returned the empty glass. “They’re storing up my punishment until we’re back at Bancavan and there’s no chance of interference.”
Fury prevented him from speaking. He set the glass on the chest of drawers with a crack.
How could anyone hit this beautiful woman? The idea made him nauseous.
With difficulty, he swallowed the knot of outrage blocking his throat and held out his hand. “Can ye walk?”
“Believe me, if it means getting away from the Grants, I can fly.”
More courage. It made her so blasted irresistible. Her courage, and her spellbinding beauty. He’d wondered if knowing of her faithlessness might weaken her power over his senses. It turned out there was no chance of that.
She accepted his hand and lurched to her feet with reckless speed. He barely had time to register the tingling warmth of her touch, before she stumbled.
Without thinking, Diarmid caught her up against him. In a flash, he was back in the Chinese Room at Invertavey with a sweetly scented woman clasped in his arms.
A storm of impressions flooded his mind. She still smelled like the soap she used at Invertavey—and horses and a trace of sweat. Those Grant bastards hadn’t even given her a chance to wash before they tied her up.
That alluring scent had woven itself through his dreams ever since he’d met her. Dreams where honor held no sway, and she arched up in welcome as he thrust hard inside her. Dreams where that pale blond hair floated around him like a veil of silk and he knew nothing except how much he wanted her.
She gasped and stiffened in his hold, although God forgive him, he took a few seconds to register her resistance. Azure eyes shadowed with exhaustion darted up to his face.
He saw more than weariness. He saw alarm.
What a savage he was. Self-disgust loosened his grip on her.
“Nae need to be frightened, Mrs. Grant.” He shifted away and spoke in the soothing tone he’d use to a nervous horse. “I’m only here to help ye.”
He hoped to Hades it wasn’t a lie.
“I still don’t know why you should,” she said, and he cursed the husky edge to her voice. It put him in mind of her murmuring seductive promises in bed.
“Save your questions for when we’re safe.” With her so unsteady on her feet, he kept hold of her slender waist. “I’ve got the landlord’s wife doing her best to keep your kin downstairs, but I fear they’re no’ men to linger over their dinner and leave their captive unsupervised.”
Her lips tightened. “No.”
“Are ye able to stand without help?”
He hoped to blazes she was. Touching her like this tested every ounce of his willpower.
He let her go.
He caught her arm. “Damn it. You’re still no’ recovered from the wreck.”
“I can make it. I can make it to wherever you take me. Please…” The delicate throat moved as she swallowed. Desperation glittered in her eyes. “Please don’t leave me here.”
Despite everything, a smile tugged at his lips. “Whisht, ye daft lassie. I’ve gone to all this trouble to find you. I’m nae going to abandon ye because you’re a wee bit rocky on your feet.”
“You’re a fine man, Diarmid Mactavish.” Her expression remained grave. “Better than I deserve.”
Shame twisted in his gut. If she guessed how she made him hunger, she wouldn’t say that, by God. “Save your breath to cool your porridge.” He glanced around the room. “Do ye need anything?”
“Only my freedom,” she said. “Let’s go.”
Amazon U.S.: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PM94FN3/
Amazon U.K.: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07PM94FN3/
What’s the first binge-worthy book you read and why was it a must-read?
Katherine by Anya Seton. I was madly in love with John of Gaunt in this one!