The Return of The Highlanders, Book 1
by Margaret Mallory
Release Date: May 1, 2011
“And what are you good at?” she asked instead.
“Just as ye say,” he said, leaning closer, his even white teeth gleaming. “Seducing my wife.”
She felt herself blush to her roots. “I’m not your wife.”
“But ye are,” he said.
“Ye did not claim me for five years.”
He slid a hand beneath her hair and cupped the back of her neck as he leaned toward her. “Well, I’m claiming ye now.”
The story begins with four young lads, both friends and family, visiting a local seer. Each lad wishes his future told and the seer gladly obliges. She tells young Ian MacDonald that he will wed twice, once in anger and once in love. Disgusted by the topic of marriage, young Ian wants to hear something more interesting – like how many battles he will fight or how he will die. The seer tells him she has no control over the sight.
Fast forward 8 years … returning home from fighting on the border and visiting the Scottish court, Ian MacDonald encounters young Sileas on the road late at night. Sileas implores Ian to take her with him as she just escaped her evil stepfather who is intent on marrying the young girl to his very own son. Having known Sileas for several years and always seeming to be the one to get her out of trouble, Ian agrees to take her to his family. Since he is now traveling with a young charge in the dark of night, Ian decides to make camp until morning, only to be found by his father and uncle who believe he has compromised young Sileas. Even though Ian protests profusely, he is forced to marry Sileas. Immediately after, he and his three friends leave the country to fight in France.
Sileas has dreamed of marrying Ian MacDonald since she was a little tot; however, her dreams and her reality do not match. Sure, she married Ian and is his wife, but the man has been gone for 5 years. Five long years of facing the entire clan as a married woman who is still virgin, which is very daunting and humiliating. Sileas dreams of the day when Ian will return and sweep her into his arms and confess his undying love for her. Once again, her dreams and her reality do not match. The night of Ian’s return, Sileas’ dreams are dashed when Ian does not acknowledge her presence in his parents’ home.
When Ian embraced his mother first, she understood. That was only right. And she hardly resented it at all when he greeted Niall next, for Niall had missed Ian almost as much as she had. But then, it was her turn. She fixed her gaze on the floor and held her breath, waiting. He was the one left; he should come to her. In any case, her feet would not move.
She imagined it a thousand times. Ian would give her a wide smile that warmed his eyes and pull her into his arms. He would tell her how much he missed her and how glad he was to be home. Then, in front of God and his family, he would call her wife and give her a kiss—her first real kiss.
In her more realistic moments, she thought it might be awkward between them at first, but that Ian would attempt to make it right and seek her forgiveness. Never did she imagine he would not speak to her.
Not a single word.
Ian is beyond shocked when he returns to his home to find the young slip of a girl he married has matured into a woman full of curves, full of intelligence and full of love for his family. Once he overcomes his shock, Ian is anxious to prove he can be the husband Sileas wants … at least in her bed. But Sileas wields the steadfast Scottish stubbornness and makes it clear to Ian that she wants, and more importantly deserves, a husband who loves not only her body but her heart, mind and soul.
Chip by little chip, Ian begins to tear down the wall between Sileas and himself. When a Highlander sets his mind to a task, there is nothing and no one that will stand in his way. Not a stubborn wife. Not an evil stepfather. Not a clan searching for a leader. Nothing. The task may difficult, but the reward is so sweet and so satisfying.
As a huge supporter and fan of Margaret Mallory, I have always enjoyed her rich, lush historicals. This book is Ms. Mallory’s first foray in Highlander storytelling, and I must say the romance community now has a new star in Scottish tales. Ms. Mallory weaves a sweeping story that brings the Isle of Skye and the Scottish spirit of determination, passion and love alive for the reader. Characters that tug at the deepest corners of your heart, a love story that seeps into the very depth of your core and a multiple sigh-worthy ending that sings to your spirit are all combined in the magic of this wonderful book. A definite must read! Bravo, Margaret Mallory! Bravo!
Now hurry up and write the rest of the series! I can’t wait to read the tales of Alex, Duncan and especially Connor.
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