A Rose in the Highlands

Book Cover: A Rose in the Highlands
Part of the Highland Rose School series:
  • A Rose in the Highlands

1684, Scottish Highlands

Englishwoman Evelyn Worthington is resolved to build a school for ladies in her brother's newly purchased Scottish castle. But when she arrives, not only does she find the castle scorched by fire, but a brawny Highlander bars her entry.

Clan chief Grey Campbell would rather die than see his family home, Finlarig Castle, fall into English hands, so Grey must win the battle of wills with the beautiful Sassenach who flashes a bill of sale before him.

When the war between Evelyn and Grey escalates, passions flare. But outsiders have their own plans for Finlarig. After secrets are revealed, and muskets are lit, the fates of the Campbell Clan, the school, and a possible future for Grey and Evelyn are in as much jeopardy as their lives.

 

 

 

Excerpt:

The slowing rain tapped upon her lips. She rubbed them together. Lord, she was thirsty and exhausted. They needed to get inside. Yanking the bill of sale out of her leather receptacle, Evelyn flashed it up at the Highlander before hiding it in her cape to keep the ink from running in the rain. “Proof that the Worthington family of Lincolnshire owns Finlarig Castle and the fifty acres surrounding it. Now kindly step aside,” she said, though she doubted the huge man was given to any type of kindly action, unless one was a pup.

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In the quickest of movements, the Highlander turned to shove the puppy back in through the door, shutting it. He grabbed up the torch. “Show me this proof,” he said and stepped to the side to give her room to join him under the narrow eaves.

Finally. First obstacle met and nearly conquered. Evelyn’s knees felt weak with relief. She climbed the steps, her sodden slippers squishing in obvious ruination. Bumps rose along her arms, and she shook from the cold. Coming level with him, she realized that the top of her head barely reached his chin, which was covered with the short growth of a beard. A slight steam came off the hot, bare skin of his shoulders where the dampness hit.

God help her, just being close to the half-naked, brawny man made her stomach flip. The girls back at court would surely swoon from such raw male power, although Evelyn was quite above such ridiculous attraction. It was a man’s mind and convictions that interested her.

As she drew out the document that had been signed by the solicitor, the king’s representative and Nathaniel, she stepped closer into the light of the man’s torch. Evelyn opened her mouth to breathe, expecting the man to stink of sweat or some off putting odor, like everyone else they’d encountered on their journey. But as she came into his circle of light, she realized that his hair was damp, and the skin of his face and neck were clean. The faint smell of pine and rosemary came from him. He’d obviously just bathed. With soap.

She swallowed. Just because a man bathed and was gentle with a puppy, did not make him safe or honorable. She looked down into the pool of madly flickering torchlight, and unfolded the document, the royal seal still attached to one edge. “Once we settle all of this, you can explain to me what happened to my castle.” She barely kept the chill-induced chatter from her words, and her heart thumped hard in her chest.

A low sound, almost like a growl, issued from deep within the man, but he didn’t say anything, just held out his large hand for the paper.

Evelyn held it up so he could see it. “I will read it to you.” She touched it with her fingertip. “Right there. Finlarig Castle and—”

The man snatched the paper out of her fingers and, without a glance at it, lifted the brittle paper to the torch flame. Evelyn’s lips fell open in numbed shock as the parchment caught fire. The Scotsman stretched his arm high above his head, holding it out of her reach as the fire ate up the paper, blackening it.

Evelyn stared, her entire being, body and spirit, trapped in motionlessness. Was this really happening? Had she packed books and teaching utensils, planned for a new life, traveled in dangerous territory for weeks, argued in the freezing rain only to have her future turn to ash before her eyes? She couldn’t even draw in breath as the horror washed through her.

The man kept the paper aloft and glanced down to capture her gaze. His voice was deep, stern, and powerful. “Finlarig Castle has always, and will always, belong to the Campbells of Breadalbane.”

 

 

COLLAPSE

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