Highland warrior, Blane Sutherland, has one mission: disguise himself as an Englishman, cross the border and retrieve Lady Aliah de Mowbray. Always up for a challenge, he agrees, pursuing his conquest with vigor—and trying to deny the powerful desire that eclipses him each time he touches his charge. A rogue of the highest order and a younger son, he has nothing to offer a lady but a broken heart.
And what is a lady to do when she cannot trust her heart?
Aliah is skeptical of the English noble who has come to take her to her father and sister in Scotland, but she pushes her doubts aside. Without word in months, she must make certain her family is safe, then she can return to England to join the convent to which she has sworn to pledge her life. But then her escort reveals his true self—he’s a Highlander and his kisses are more seductive than the sweetest of wines.
Surrender never tasted so sweet…
Northern England, 1297A violent banging at the manor door startled Aliah from her studies and set Frosty, the family’s monstrous Irish wolfhound, to barking ferociously. Aliah jerked backward against the oak chair she sat in, hitting her head against the ancient wood and stifling a harsh word beneath her breath.Her father, Baron de Mowbray, had left a small contingent of men to protect her while he escorted her older sister Arbella to her bridegroom in Scotland. These men would fight to keep her safe until their very last breaths.But who was to say they hadn’t already taken that last shuddering inhale?
Aliah glanced around the room, filled with memories, but not with people. Today, her maid Glenda was her only companion. Well, Frosty as well—who in fact was a far superior protector than her maid. Swallowing her fear, she rubbed the ache from the back of her head and squared her shoulders. Strength. That was what she needed, even if the sound of someone knocking made her want to run to the opposite end of the manor and hide.
Her father should have returned a month ago. The only news she’d managed to garner was that a battle took place at Stirling Bridge in Scotland—the very place her sister was to marry.Had the battle now come to her own door?
Aliah jumped as a strong fist once again slammed the door.
“Glenda, would you answer the door?” Aliah asked.
’Twas Saturday morning and most of the servants had gone to tend family or to enjoy themselves in whatever way they did, leaving Aliah quite alone—and at the mercy of whoever stood outside her door. Could they have dispensed of her father’s guards so quickly?
Glenda, afraid of her own shadow, started to shake her head, but Aliah gave her a stern look. The woman had been driving her mad since she was a babe and ever since Arbella left, Aliah had little patience for the older woman’s nonsense.
Aliah set down the book of Gaelic she’d been studying—she was determined to learn the language because she secretly believed the Scots would soon invade. Understanding their barbaric conversations was crucial. Aliah smoothed her gown and stood tall.
Glenda scurried toward the door, Frosty a foot ahead of her.
Aliah tried to find comfort in the fact that perhaps the guards had allowed whoever came knocking through the manor gates. She’d heard no clanging of metal or yells of pain. Aye, the only conclusion that made sense was, they were not enemies, but friends.
She could use a good friend. The comfort of someone she knew. Aliah frowned. She had few friends, and seldom was it that they dropped by.
So who had the audacity to practically beat down her door?
“Wait!” Aliah shouted just as Glenda touched the wooden plank barring the door.
She hurried to retrieve her bow and an arrow from beneath her chair. As swiftly as possible, she cocked an arrow and aimed it at the door. Taking a deep breath, she nodded for her maid to open it. If her father’s enemies dared to come after her, they were in for a big surprise, she wouldn’t surrender so easily.
An interminable amount of time seemed to pass before the door was fully open. Aliah stepped back, speechless. Standing before her was the most staggeringly handsome man she’d ever seen—and he was quite alone. Frosty growled for only a moment, quickly silenced by a motion the stranger made with his hand. What? How had he done that? Aliah struggled to keep her mouth from falling open at the man’s effortless command of the dog. The animal had favored her sister, but since Arbella had left, Frosty refused to leave Aliah’s side.
She felt a certain amount of betrayal at Frosty’s easy acceptance of this stranger. Who in the name of God was he? And why didn’t one of her father’s men escort him? She’d have to speak with them about that later.
The visitor wore an intriguing cap of deep burgundy, a dark feather jutting from the side, held on by some sort of medallion. A thick black wool cloak lay open to reveal a matching tunic, and leather studded armor. White hose outlined the shape of his legs in a way that drew her eyes from his intense dark green gaze. His boots were made of soft, expensive-looking leather, and the gilded belt at his waist held a gleaming, sharp sword that was hard to miss.
Aliah allowed her gaze to travel over the length and breadth of his solid form, before getting ahold of herself.
“Will you shoot me, my lady?” His voice was deep, raspy, and stroked along the ends of her nerves in a way that made her want to run away and kiss him at the same time.
Eliza Knight is a USA Today Bestselling and award-winning author of sizzling historical romance and time-travel erotic romance. Under the name E. Knight, she pens riveting historical fiction. She runs the award-winning blog, History Undressed. When not reading, writing and researching, she likes to cuddle up in front of a warm fire with her own knight in shining armor. Connect with her at http://www.elizaknight.com or http://www.historyundressed.com. You can sign up for her newsletter at http://eepurl.com/CSFFD. Follow her on social media at:
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