A Standalone Scottish Medieval Romance…
Here’s what people are saying about The Devil in Plaid…
“Those who pick up this enchantingly epic book will want to read it in one sitting!” InD’Tale Magazine
“Absolutely must read!”
“Beautifully written and vividly imagined…”
“Masterfully written story!”
A passion too intense to deny…
Lady Fiona MacDonnell is certain Laird Jamie MacLeod is the devil himself. Their clans are sworn enemies, each steeped in hatred born from a long-standing feud. But when threatened by a powerful neighboring clan, they must unite to survive.
The Devil has never been hotter, his angel never so fine, but will their forced marriage be hell on Earth or together will they find heaven?
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Enjoy a sample read from The Devil in Plaid…
Jamie MacLeod was on his way home after a three-day hunting trek across the Urram Hills. Chasing after stags in the mud had more than tested his endurance and patience. Dirt and grime streaked his legs, arms, face, and hair. Several surprises had delayed their homecoming, mudslides, flooding, a band of foolhardy tinkers. But the most surprising of all—and surely the most ill-fated—was the newest delay.
He crossed his arms over his chest as he gazed down at two women he’d never seen before. One was petite and wore a fine cloak of rich blue velvet. Her raven black waves glinted in the sun. Wide, sky-blue, terror-filled eyes locked with his. She was startlingly beautiful with skin as white and pure as milk. The other woman, clad in simple homespun wool, stood tall with broad shoulders and full curves. Her blonde hair lay in a thick braid over one shoulder. She stared up at him with eyes that mirrored her lady’s, wide and full of fear.
“Who are ye?” he growled.
The women drew closer together, clasping each other’s hands, but they did not answer.
“Judging by the fear and that glimmer of animosity I detect in both yer gazes, I’m willing to bet ye’re MacDonnell lassies.” Then his eyes settled on the petite beauty in the rich cloak. “And judging by the fineness of yer garment, I can only assume ye must be the Lady MacDonnell herself.”
The black-haired beauty straightened her shoulders. Steel entered her gaze. Giving her chin a haughty lift, she said, “I am the daughter of Laird MacDonnell, so ye’d best be letting us on our way or…”
The woman’s voice quivered before it trailed off as Jamie withdrew his broad sword from the scabbard strapped to his back. “Or what?” he said, his voice deadly soft.
With the tip of the blade pointed down, he let his weapon drop. It drove into the ravine floor. The women reached for each other and stepped back. An instant later, he jumped to the ground in front of them, forcing shrill screams from their lips. They clung to each other as he approached, freeing his sword from the earth when he passed by.
He kept his eyes trained on the lady. He needed to find out why the Lady of Clan MacDonnell—newly betrothed to the son of the most powerful clan in the region—was standing in a ditch on his land.
He stopped in front of her, holding his blade loosely in his hand. “Why are ye here?”
The lady met his gaze, her eyes unwavering. Still, she did not answer. His gaze dropped to her small hand, gripping so tightly to her maid’s arm that her knuckles shone white. He glanced at her maid who trembled while she eyed his men on the ridge above.
Jamie circled around them. “I suggest ye answer me, or I will make my own conclusions.” He stopped in front of her and drew close. “Mayhap, ye’re unhappy with the soft puppy to whom yer betrothed, and ye came here to find a real man.”
“My betrothal is none of yer concern,” she bit out. He could tell she was grappling for courage.
He leaned closer still. “Ah, but ‘tis very much my business, and why do ye think that is?”
Her eyes darted around nervously, but she offered no answer.
“Because ye’re on my land,” he snarled.
Her eyes widened. She clung closer to her maid.
Slowly, he returned his blade to its scabbard. Then he reached out and took hold of a lock of her black hair, stroking his thumb across the soft waves. She smelled of lavender and honey. “I suppose I could ransom ye.”
She drew a sharp breath, then snaked her hand out and jerked her hair free from his grasp. Blue iridescent eyes widened as he drew even closer. Her bottom lip trembled, drawing his gaze to her full mouth.
She swallowed hard. “The dozen head of cattle ye stole a fortnight ago should be ransom enough.” The fear in her eyes belied the strength of her tone.
He cocked a brow at her. “I was merely taking back what was already mine.” Without looking back, he motioned for his men to jump down from the ridge. The loud thud of each of his warriors jumping to the ground sounded behind him, a chorus of his Highland brethren, which further widened the women’s eyes and caused their feet to scurry back. They cringed with terror, and as well they should.
For centuries, their clans had feuded, always on the brink of war. And the only thing worse than a MacDonnell man in Jamie’s mind was a MacDonnell woman. They were notoriously spoiled, fork-tongued vipers. “Ye still have not answered my question. Don’t make me ask ye again. What are ye doing on my land?”
Her chin lifted, and for a moment, a flash of defiant strength shaped her delicate features. “This land is ours.”
Jamie grabbed her by the shoulders and lifted her off the ground until they were eye to eye. “Ye don’t want to make me angry.”
~ * ~
A shiver raked up Fiona’s spine as she hung, suspended in the air, staring into amber eyes, burning hot with fury. If the wild, hairy, monster of a man snarling at her wasn’t yet angry, she did not want to know his true rage.
“The soil ye’re standing on has long belonged to Clan MacLeod. Now,” he hissed. “I am going to ask ye again. What are ye doing on my land?”
“Yer men attacked my escort.”
His eyes widened for a moment, just a flash, but she had glimpsed his surprise.
“I gave no such orders.”
“Be that as it may,” she snapped, forgetting her fear. “MacLeod warriors attacked us on the open road.”
Fresh anger flashed across his face the instant before he set her down. She grabbed Esme’s hand and backed away, eyeing the enemy. Tension filled his shoulders. She noticed his fists clenching and unclenching at his sides.
He closed the distance between them in one mighty step. “If ye were attacked, then it was because ye were trespassing on MacLeod land. The land from the road to ravine is ours, given as a dowry from yer clan nearly half a century ago,” he growled.
Her heart pounded. She swallowed hard, wishing Alasdair and her men would suddenly appear on the ridge and fire a dozen arrows into the devil’s back. But they were nowhere in sight. The task of defending her clan fell on her shoulders alone. She took a deep breath and fought for courage. “That union was never consummated, which forfeits the dowry,” she shot back, but inside her mind was screaming at her to stop talking.
At that moment, she needed to worry about survival not defending her clan’s honor. She was alone with her maid in the woods inches from the MacLeod, the very man who haunted the dreams of every MacDonnell child.
He shook his head at her, giving her a look of disgust. “Yer grandmother ran off before the wedding. She was a faithless viper, a stranger to honor and decency.”
“Decency?” Fiona blurted in outrage. Her grandmother had fled the betrothal because she feared for her very life, which Fiona was about to point out to the massive man glaring down at her when Esme grabbed her hand.
“This is not the time,” Esme cautioned under her breath.
Fiona swallowed her protests. She tore her gaze away from the MacLeod’s and looked beyond him at the fierce band of warriors—all as hairy and unkempt as their leader. Each man shot daggers from his eyes that cut through her fear to her very soul.
Esme was right. They were at the mercy of the enemy—an enemy known only for their cruelty.
She searched her mind for the words to make him go away when, suddenly, he turned on his heel and started to climb back up the ridge. His men followed.
Fiona glanced at Esme and lifted her shoulders in surprise. Mayhap, he was just going to leave them. Please go, she prayed.
“Are ye coming or do ye need my help to walk?” he called down to her when he reached the top.
“We will make our own way home,” Fiona said in a rush before she started to turn her back to him.
“’Tis almost as if ye wish me to turn ye into a sack of grain and throw ye over my shoulder.” His voice was deep and foreboding.
Fiona froze, knowing not to doubt his threat. She eyed the slope. “We will climb this ridge or die trying,” she whispered to Esme who nodded firmly in reply.