The past haunts them. Treachery awaits them. Love will save them.
A shattered lass… Scarred by the cruel whims of her late husband, Lena MacLeod lives in fear of men and marriage. So when the king’s edict obliges her to wed Scottish warrior Alex MacLean, she never expects to feel safe, let alone happy. But behind Alex’s fierce exterior lies a gentle, gallant highlander who renews her soul, emboldens her, and offers her the one thing she never thought she would possess—true love. Now that Alex has her whole heart, she’ll settle for nothing less than all of his.
A tortured highlander…
Haunted by violent nightmares of his dark past, Alex MacLean has put off getting married for as long as possible. But now he finds himself the husband of the fragile, beautiful Lena, and he’s drawn to her as he has never been to another. He vows to protect and heal her, and as she grows stronger, so does his love for her. Yet, his horrible memories and a treacherous task are preventing him from giving himself to her entirely, and the secrets he harbors threaten to destroy their life together.
When Lena uncovers a dangerous scheme involving Alex, she embarks on a desperate journey to save the man she loves. But Alex still hasn’t let her in, and he runs the risk of losing her—and his life—unless he can accept that his once delicate wife is now an ally strong enough to light his way.
I've been an enthusiastic fan of Julie Johnstone's Medieval Scotland world since picking up the first book in her Highlander Vows: Entangled Hearts series. With each book published, I become more deeply enmeshed in the lives of these characters, following their joys, sorrows, challenges, and triumphs with equal intensity. Alex and Lena's story is one I have been eagerly anticipating and Ms. Johnstone is not letting me down. I'm about halfway through their journey and, so far, it is all I could have hoped for. Here's a short excerpt from the first chapter:
She studied him from under her lashes, trying to discern why he was scowling. A smile pulled at her lips as she realized his unrelentingly determined younger sister, Bridgette, who was married to Lena’s older brother Lachlan, had Alex’s hand clutched in hers and was leading him somewhere. Alex was not the sort of man to be led; he was the warrior who others followed. Still, he had a soft spot for his sister, as well as a ferocious protectiveness of her. They were but two of the reasons Lena knew he was a good man.
Two years ago, when she’d seen him for the first time since she’d been taken from her home as a child, her reaction to him had shocked her to the core and then rapidly caused fear to course through her. She was drawn to him, and that was a very frightening thing since she could not tolerate a man even touching her, other than a brief hand to her elbow by her brothers to guide her or a swift hug from one of them. She had not expected to ever feel the pull of desire for a man again after enduring marriage to her late husband, but she’d heard enough chattering from her brothers’ wives to suspect that this tug low in her belly and heat that infused her chest was desire. The truth was that men frightened her, but something about Alex scared her less, which seemed ironic given every inch of his body seemed to be hardened by hours of grueling training and many more hours of actual combat.
She drew in a sharp breath as he came closer, and his glistening bronze eyes locked on her. She felt a fleeting sense of hope when she was around him, as if she might not always be this bird with the irreparable wing, who would never know the joy of soaring into the wind. Part of her wanted to soar, but there was another part of her that had been beaten down by her now-dead husband’s cruelty and wanted to burrow under the dirt and hide.
Even if I had not already read the earlier books and been invested in these characters, that excerpt would have hooked me good.
Have you discovered Julie Johnstone's books yet?
Are you a fan of Medieval romance? What is it about this era that calls (or does not) call to you?
One randomly selected person leaving a comment on today's post will receive a print or e-copy (winner's choice) of When a Laird Loves a Lady. Winner will be drawn on December 31.