The Highland Renegade
by Amy Jarecki
Lords of the Highlands - Book 5
Release Date: January 8, 2019
She is the daughter of his sworn enemy.
Famed for his fierceness, Laird Robert Grant is above all a loyal Highland clan chief. But when redcoats capture his rival's daughter, he sets aside their feud and races to her rescue. Aye, Janet Cameron is beautiful, cunning, and so very tempting, but a Cameron lass is the last woman he should ever desire.
He is her one hope of happiness.
Janet refuses to meekly surrender, not even when surrounded by foes. She takes every chance to escape, first from the English soldiers and then from the wickedly handsome Robert. Yet with each day they spend together, his unexpected gallantry chips away at her reserve little by little. As danger and treachery loom, can she trust him enough to choose love over vengeance?
THE HIGHLAND RENEGADE
by Amy Jarecki
Janet awakes in the mountains
Janet’s head throbbed while she dreamed of running. Warmth surrounded her, though her mind hovered beneath the threshold of consciousness. Something told her the morn had come and she must wake. But every time she began to stir, the pounding in her skull grew worse.
When something shifted against her back, her eyes blinked open for a moment, then lazily closed. She winced at the pain not only from the megrim, but because her entire body ached.
Dear Lord, please let me sleep for a few moments longer.
Something was clamped around her waist, and a deep voice sighed. A very deep, masculine voice that in no way should be behind her when she was sleeping. Janet’s eyes popped wide while her body stiffened. Not daring to take a breath, she slowly turned and looked back.
With a jolt she drew her fists beneath her chin. Of all the people in Christendom who could be slumbering alongside her, it had to be Laird Grant. Deliciously handsome, rugged-looking Mr. Grant. The wound on his cheek oddly served to add to his allure while he breathed through slightly pursed lips. Soft, gentle, masculine lips. Were they as kissable as they looked? Her tongue tapped the top of her mouth as she considered how wickedly delicious he might taste.
No, no, no, no! This is an abominable state of affairs.
She inched up the stiff blanket and peered out. Good heavens, they weren’t alone. Men covered with snow lay around the embers of a fire. Oddly, she was warm and dry, yet snow continued to fall. Shifting her gaze upward, she understood why. She’d been sleeping beneath a rock shelter—with Mr. Grant.
Lord have mercy, what if my father learns of this?
Suddenly panic seized her chest, making it impossible to breathe. If she didn’t escape this very instant she might die of utter mortification. How had she ended up in such a precarious situation? Yes, Mr. Grant had ridden to her rescue. He’d given her his cloak when she was on the verge of freezing to death. Thank the stars for his kindness, but she hadn’t given him leave to do…to do…good glory!
This state of affairs might ruin her for the rest of her days. She could ill afford to stay wrapped in a cocoon with Mr. Grant a moment longer.
Janet kicked her feet, but they wouldn’t budge. She pushed against the blanket, but it was as stiff as oak bark. Had they bound her in this contraption? Had they taken advantage and accosted her while she was out of sorts?
Her megrim throbbed tenfold while she thrashed and kicked. “Let me out!” Gaining a bit of room, she jabbed her elbows into the big Highlander behind her. In her panic, Janet’s chest tightened, making it harder and harder to breathe.
“God’s blood, woman!” Mr. Grant bellowed. In a heartbeat the blanket released her.
She sucked in a gulp of precious air.
Sitting up, he threw the blanket aside and sprang to his feet. “Have you caught fire?” he demanded, grabbing her shoulders and looking her from head to toe, his eyes wild and filled with alarm.
Janet gave him a hearty push as she scooted away. “No, you brute!” Looking down, she froze. Her life was all but over. How could he have removed her clothing and left her wearing nothing but a shift and stays? She was practically bare, and now she had nearly a dozen men staring at her. In her undergarments of all things. Swiftly hopping to her feet, she grabbed the leather blanket they’d been wrapped in and clutched it beneath her chin, trying to shake away the miserable pounding in her skull. “I demand you tell me why I am in such a compromising state of undress.”
His Lairdship spread his palms to his sides as if pleading innocence. “I beg your—”
She shook her finger. “You—you—you have taken advantage of a helpless maid. My brother was right. You are a scoundrel of the worst sort.”
“I did no such thing! If I had not taken action and removed your damp garments, you would have succumbed to the cold.”
She spotted her cloak and gown draped across a big rock under the shelf. Careful to ensure the blanket covered as much as possible, she scooted toward them.
“Beg your pardon, Miss Janet,” said Jimmy, shaking the snow off as he stepped toward them. “But Robert speaks true. You were half-dead when we arrived last eve. And he bellowed at us all, telling us to mind our own affairs and leave ye be.”
The lad’s words only served to make her shudder. She snatched her cloak and threw it over her shoulders. Had they all stood by and gaped while the laird removed her outer garments? She reached for her gown, suddenly realizing her stays had been loosened as well.
How dare he?
“I bid you all turn your heads whilst I dress,” she said in a commanding voice—at least she sounded as commanding as possible given her disgraceful state of dress.
Once all backs were turned, Janet pulled on her gown and tied the laces as best she could. Thank goodness her clothing was dry—even her shift and stays had dried, though they were as frigid as ice. When certain her cloak covered every possible loose string, she glanced to the laird’s satchel. “May I have my shoes, please?”
“If Your Ladyship will allow me to turn.”
“I am composed.”
“Very well.” He retrieved the shoes and gave them to her. “We have a bit of dried meat. We shall eat and be off.”
She slipped her feet inside the shoes, the fit a bit snug with Mr. Grant’s stockings. Janet looked down. No, I’m not giving them back until I’m safely home. “Are we heading for Achnacarry? My father will have a word with the colonel at Fort William. I’m certain he can set things to rights with the lieutenant.”
A rider approached from the glen, the snow making him look fuzzy at first. “Redcoats spotted!”
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