Lady Arabella Fraser will do anything to protect her clan, even if it pits her against the man she loves and the army of the English king
At sixteen, Lady Arabella Fraser, is forced into marriage with seventy-year-old, Lord William Gordon. Her father, Lord Fraser, insists the union will bring him and the Gordon lord a dukedom from Bonnie Prince Charles, and free the Highlands from the scourge of English rule.
In desperation, she throws herself at the man she loves, young disposed noble, Alexander Gordon, and begs him to marry her, greatly humiliated when he refuses.
Two years later, unhappily married, Arabella swears she’ll never forgive Alexander for leaving her and joining the enemy army to fight under King George instead of marrying her
The day after the Scottish defeat at Culloden Field, Captain Alexander appears in Gordon castle at the head of the English army to wreak havoc on all traitors to the throne. Alexander cannot forget that Arabella wouldn’t wait for him and married his uncle for the wealth, title and castle, that should have been his.
Except he still loves her and wants to make her his.
Cathleen dropped by today to tell us a little about this book:
The Highland Earl’s Revenge is my first book in the Highland Lords and Ladies series. I walked Culloden Field with a battle historian two years ago and stories came up from the ground. So many Scottish families were pitted against each other. I wanted to tell the story of a young dispossessed lord, Captain Alexander Gordon, who in order to make his way in the world joins the English King’s army. The lady he loves, Arabella Fraser, is forced into marriage with his treacherous old Jacobite uncle. Arabella begs Alex to marry her instead and save her from this fate. Penniless, he refuses her desperate proposal and she can’t forgive him, then he arrives at her castle in charge of the invading English army.
Captain Alexander Gordon, leading a detachment of Kerr’s Dragoons, strode into the Gordon Castle’s great hall, the castle that had been snatched from Alex’s late father by his treacherous uncle, to come face to face with the woman he’d grown up with in Fraser Castle.
Arabella. Her gaze bore into him, fear widening her sky-blue eyes. Dear God she was full grown into a woman of eighteen and impossibly beautiful. Her face had lost the girlish roundness and her cheekbones were prominent over full, lush lips.
Her blonde hair was pulled back off her high forehead and twisted into the soft pinned curls of a married woman. Diamonds glittered at her ears and at her throat as she walked toward him, regal as a queen, but thin. Too thin.
“Lady Gordon. Surely your lord could have left you better protected? You appear quite alone.”
Arabella’s eyes narrowed into slits and she raised her chin in defiance. “Our men are on the battlefield where a Highlander should be.” The words left her lips with the stain of recrimination. He’d had no interest in fighting for the foolish Bonnie Prince Charles, who’d come over with so few fighting men, the Highlanders were doomed to lose.
“Your Highland vermin are dead,” called out one of the dragoons.
She flinched then and her face drained of the little color it had left.
Alexander turned and held up his hand. “Silence! You do not have permission to address Lady Gordon. We seek the turncoat, Lord Gordon, not his wife.”
She was his to punish, and his alone.
Up close her wide eyes glistened in the candlelight as if a million sapphires had shattered. “I beg you, do what you want with me but dinnae kill the servants. They’ve done naught but what their lord ordered and he is not a man to be disobeyed.”
“I sent men after them.” He kept his voice even so his men could hear, careful not to show favor to the wife of a turncoat.
A gasp left her bloodless lips and she tottered on her feet. “But many are your own Gordon kin. This was your father’s land.”
“Until my uncle, your husband, stole it by betraying my father to King George but it is mine now,” he added silkily. He held out his arm to her.
She recoiled at his outstretched hand as if it dripped blood. Her gaze moved to his scarlet coat, his sword, his pistol, moving up past his face to settle for a moment on his black tricorn hat before focusing back on his eyes.
Several years in the army had hardened him; he’d seen things no man should see, done them too, but she still had the power to get under his skin with little more than a glance.
She’d always had that hold over him.
A shift of army boots behind him made him turn to see Mister Kerrin enter the hall with Private Stone and swagger up to him. Wastrel. Aristocrat. Younger son. Unfortunately, his father, the Duke of Abermile, had the monarch’s ear, and worse, Kerrin claimed he was a friend of the Duke of Cumberland. Alex was stuck with him though he doubted the veracity of the friendship claim. Cumberland would have no time for a cornet, the lowest grade of a commissioned officer. “Well there’s a magnificent sight, Captain Gordon. Hope you plan to share her?”
“I dinnae share my women, Mister Kerrin. You’d be well aware of the saying, when one lies down with dogs, one wakes up with fleas.”
His men roared at that and Kerrin flushed with fury.
“Have the men bring the servants into the great hall, Kerrin. We have a feast to celebrate and I wish to dine in style. The rest of you fan out and check for traitors. Bring anyone you are suspicious of to me,” he ordered his men. “Do not desecrate the castle. There are no victor’s spoils to be had here. This is my ancestral home, gifted back to me by His Majesty for my service now Lord Gordon is attainted. We are to be stationed here until we flush out the Highland conspirators.” The soldiers left to do their business, leaving him alone with Arabella.
Although she stood before him, head held high, he didn’t miss the way her body trembled like a frail leaf fighting to remain on a tree in a storm.
“So, you’ve come to claim your birthright, sir?”
She had the power to move his heart, the place where he kept his boyish memories locked away, even though she’d speared it by marrying his enemy. “Aye Lady Gordon, I’ve come to claim what’s mine.”
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