Read The Highlander's Conquest Online

Authors: Eliza Knight

Tags: #Romance, #Historical, #General, #Fiction

The Highlander's Conquest

 

The Highlander’s Conquest

 

Book
Two
: The Stolen Bride Series

By

Eliza Knight

 

 

 

What is a Highlander to do when he falls for the daughter of his enemy?

 

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…

 

 

 

 

*****************************

FIRST EDITION

October
2012

 

Copyright 2012 © Eliza Knight

 

THE HIGHLANDER’S
CONQUEST
© 201
2
Eliza Knight. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part or the whole of this book may be reproduced, distributed, transmitted or utilized (other than for reading by the intended reader) in ANY form (now known or hereafter invented) without prior written permission by the author. The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal, and punishable by law. The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional and or are used fictitiously and solely the product of the author’s imagination.
Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, places, businesses, events or locales is purely coincidental.

Cover Design by Kimberly
Killion
@ Hot Damn Designs

*****************************

Also Available by Eliza Knight

The Highlander’s Reward – Book One, The Stolen Bride Series

A Lady’s Charade

A Gentleman’s Kiss

Men of the Sea Series:
Her Captain Returns, Her Captain Surrenders, Her Captain Dares All

The Highland Jewel Series:
Warrior in a Box, Lady in a Box, Love in a Box

Lady Seductress’s Ball

Take it Off, Warrior

Highland Steam

A Pirate’s Bounty

Highland Tryst (Something Wicked This Way Comes Volume 1)

Coming soon…

The Highlander’s
Lady
(Book
3
: The Stolen Bride Series)

Highland
er
Brawn (
Sequel to
Highland Steam)

Writing under the name Annabelle Weston

Wicked Woman (Desert Heat)

Scandalous
Woman (Desert Heat)

Mr. Temptation

Hunting Tucker

Coming soon…

Notorious Woman (Desert Heat)

*****************************

Visit Eliza Knight at
www.elizaknight.com
or
www.historyundressed.com

Dedication

To my mom, for always encouraging me to be
myself
!

Acknowledgements

Without the gracious assistance of many special people, this book would not be what it is today. My th
anks to Kim, Victoria, Vonda, Andrea, Lizzie and Kathy
!
You ladies are wonderful!

Chapter One

Late Fall

Northern England
, 1297

A
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 back
ward
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. Th
e
se 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 ma
id
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 th
e
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
. Co
uld they have
dispensed
of her father’s
guard
s 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 knock
ing
through the manor gates.
She’d heard no
clanging of metal
or
yells of pain
.
Aye,
the only conclusion that made sense was, th
ey 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
t
he
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 a
n 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. W
hite 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.

Where had that thought come from? She’d never kissed a man. And she never would. She’d pledged her life and future to God. Shame crawled through her making her
cheeks heat with embarrassment
.
Even her toes felt the blush of such a carnal thought.

Aliah had to gain some control of her wayward mind. Her life belonged to the church—penance for having caused her mother’s death. There was no room for kissing or men in her life. Not even for a thought.

“Apologies, sir, but one can never be too careful. I am Lady Aliah.” She kept her arrow pointed at
his
heart
, taking note
of
how his tunic
and leather studded armor
strained over what appeared to be a very broad, taut chest.


Sir
Blane of Yorkshire.”
He doffed his cap and bowed low, then returned upright, settling his cap back in place.

She tilted her head, studying the angles and lines of his face, takin
g in the pleasant smile of his wide, full lips.
He didn’t appear to be someone she should be wary of, but as she’d learned over the years, looks could oft be deceiving. Aliah flicked her gaze toward her maid who wrung her hands and looked ready to
bolt from the room
.

Deciding that for the moment he did not have any designs to harm her, Aliah disarmed her arrow and lowered the bow. “Welcome to Mowbray Manor,
Sir
Blane.
Have you any men with you
?”

“Aye, I’ve left them by the stables. I assure you, we come on friendly terms.”

Aliah nodded,
making
her lips thin so as to keep them from trembling. Did he come with news of her father, of Arbella?
She shivered. The news must not be good. If her
father were able, he would announce his return himself.
Her spirits lowered, replaced by a dull, cold pulse.

He smiled,
disarming her,
his lips curving in a rascally way that set her to shivering and then to quickly reciting a Hail Mary in her mind for penance.

“I come with a message, my lady. If I may?” He
swept
out his hand, asking permission to fully enter their great hall.

She nodded again, not sure she could trust her voice.

Glenda backed away, but Aliah quickly caught her gaze. “Fetch our guest some refreshment.” She motioned for Sir Blane to sit at the long trestle table. “There is no need to wait, please tell me what news you bring.”

Sir Blane pull
ed
out her chair before taking h
is
own seat, and she disliked how that chivalrous move made her feel warm and tingly inside.

“I come from Scotland, my lady.”

She
felt the blood rush from her face
, but quickly recovered. There could only be one thing he needed to relay and she was positive she was not ready to hear it. Just then, Glenda returned setting down a pitcher of watered wine and two glasses.
She
left again, coming back
several moments later w
ith a
trencher of hard cheese, a few apples and day old brown bread.
After setting down the food, Glenda made a hasty retreat from the room.

Aliah poured his wine and pushed the goblet towards him, then snatched an apple from the trencher.
S
licing a piece, she bit into it, hoping the man would eat and forget that she’d asked to hear the news.

But alas, that was not to be. After a hearty bite of cheese and bread, Sir Blane’s
green
eyes met hers. “My lady, I come with a message from your father. He and your sister are well and wish you to accompany them in Scotland for a spell.”

“They are well?” Her voice sounded weak to her own ears and her heart pounded against her ribs.

“Aye, heartily so.”

Aliah released a shuddering breath.
“And Arbella, is she married then?”

A strange expression briefly crossed his face before disappearing. “Aye.”

What did that expression mean? “Is she happy?”

“I believe so.”

But would the man sa
y otherwise? ’Twas really none of his business whether or not her sister was happy, and if he were truly just the messenger th
e
n he wouldn’t know anyway.

“How can I know you speak the truth?”

As if the sting of Frosty’s earlier betrayal was not enough, the great wolfhound
sidled
up to Sir Blane and nuzzled him in the ribs. Absently, the man rubbed Frosty behind his ears.

“My lady, I come with direct orders from your sister.
Arbella
told me herself to tell you that it pained her not to have you at the wedding with her, and that she hoped you’d help
her to
settle into her new home.”

Aliah frowned. Was he telling her the truth? It made no sense. Hadn’t Arbella told her not
to
come before she left? So what changed her mind? Why would Arbella say such a thing? Aliah had agreed for her own personal reasons. Reasons no one knew about. If Blane were telling the truth
,
this
would surely hinder
her plans. There were only a few short months before spring and Aliah was due to present herself to Mother Superior, never to leave the convent again. Although her sister wasn’t aware of that, going to Scotland to be with her sure did put a glitch in her
arrangements
if it meant Aliah couldn’t return in time.

Other books

Bastion Science Fiction Magazine - Issue 4, July 2014 by R. Leigh Hennig, Hannah Goodwin, Peter Medeiros, Robert Quinlivan, Eleanor R. Wood, George S. Walker, Alex Hernandez
What Lies Within by Karen Ball
Dark Surrender by Ridley, Erica
The Virgin Mistress by Linda Turner
Buddies by Ethan Mordden
The Demon Who Fed on a Shark by Hyacinth, Scarlet
Already Home by Susan Mallery


readsbookonline.com Copyright 2016 - 2020