Wednesday, November 20, 2019

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The Guardian

Highland Heroes – Book One

They ordered her to seduce him and cast him aside. He was commanded to protect her. No one told them to fall in love. They discovered that on their own. Now each can’t live without the other but together they risk certain death.

A Highlander’s duty

A summons from court could be a dangerous thing especially for Graham MacCoinnich. He says what he thinks, and his clan’s treasonous rumblings coupled with their risky alliances cast both kith and kin in a dubious light. But King William’s order turns out to be anything but dire. Surprising? Yes. Enticing? Without a doubt. The exquisite Lady Mercy Claxton, most cherished goddaughter of the king, requires a protective escort through Scotland and Graham is happy to offer his services.

Escaping the sins of the father

Since the untimely death of her mother, Lady Mercy Claxton has feverishly searched for a way to escape her father, the Duke of Edsbury’s political games before one of his plots ensnares her either in an unsavory arranged marriage—or worse, the same humiliations he forced upon her mother. A trip through the Highlands is just the ploy for her to seek sanctuary at Iona Abbey. Or at least, it was until Mercy’s father twisted her plan into a political coup to erase his gambling debts and bolster his diminishing status at court. And if Mercy doesn’t comply and do his bidding? She’ll be shackled with the same deplorable fate her mother never escaped.

A dangerous pretense

Graham has never claimed to be a gentleman, but he’s the Highlander Mercy needs. Especially when she tells him her father ordered Graham’s seduction with the caveat that she then cast him aside and claim foul play to validate an attack on his clan in feigned defense of her honor. Her trusting desperation touches Graham’s heart. Graham’s gentle protectiveness touches Mercy’s soul. Never one to admit defeat, Graham devises the perfect solution. They’ll create a show of feigned romance for the benefit of the duke’s spies until Mercy reaches safe harbor at the abbey. There’s just one problem Graham and Mercy fail to take into account. Pretending to love is risky. It has a tendency to become all too 


This is the first meeting between Graham and the Lady Mercy Claxton who is accompanied by her father, the Duke of Edsbury. Needless to say, Graham and the duke have already locked horns. After all, the duke thinks himself above everyone, especially a lowly Scot.

“Honored to meet ye, m’lady.” Graham graced her with a smile intended as a calming gesture and a truce. After all, it wasn’t the woman’s fault her father was an arrogant arse—and an English one at that. “Might I call ye Lady Mercy?”

“You may.” Lady Mercy curtsied again and held out her hand, lowering her gaze as she waited for him to take it.

Take it he did. Graham relished the opportunity to graze his mouth across the softness of her long, delicate fingers. He knew well enough it was considered ungentlemanly to press his lips to the lady’s skin rather than hover above her fine hand, but he’d never been accused of being a gentleman nor possessed the desire of gaining the title. 

He took pride in his brazenness, breathing in her enticing fragrance as he drew a step closer. The earthy florals of a heather-filled glen paired with the intoxicating sweetness of a nervous young woman floated around her. What a treasure she was—sadly, a Sassenach, aye, but a treasure to be won and enjoyed, nonetheless.

She rewarded him with a deeper blush across her high cheekbones and an endearing gasp as she slipped her hand out of his grasp and tucked it to her middle.

“Damned, ill-bred Scot. I would expect no less.”

Graham turned and laughed in the duke’s face. “Aye, man. A Scot doesna leave a woman guessing after his intentions. They ken verra well when they’re wanted.”