Iain MacPherson swears he was nothing like his father, but his kidnapping of Victoria Hockley, Countess of Landsbury, is the first step toward the same obsessive jealousy that fueled his father’s life-long feud against the man Iain’s mother loved.
A kiss, a midnight race for freedom, and a royal missive force Victoria into her captor’s arms. Hallowed ground can’t save her from the devil that followed her from England. Yet the Scottish lord who’s sworn to protect her is far more dangerous.
I adore the sweeping saga that is Scottish Historicals. The drama allows for an intricate story that demands plenty of space to be well-told. Lord Keeper is set during the Renaissance when James IV ruled Scotland. James believed in education, so made learning mandatory for Barons and rich land owners. As leader of his tribe, our hero Iain MacPherson fell under this edict and attended the university in Glasgow. Iain is an educated man. However, his education didn’t stop him from taking part in a bloody feud waged by his father against the man Iain’s mother loved, nor did it stop Iain from kidnapping the woman he wanted. Don’t you just love a man’s logic?
Lord Keeper was inspired by Julie Garwood’s The Bride. From what I understand, The Bride inspired many books. Not surprising. The story is fantastic. In The Bride, the heroine Jamie has a younger sister who visited Jamie at the monastery to which she had fled. The Bride’s hero Alec Kincaid had a right hand man who caught sight of Jamie’s sister and waited—hoped—she would step off holy ground so he could kidnap her. The girl had the good sense not to oblige. I always wondered what the story would have been if she had taken one too many steps in the wrong direction. Hence, Lord Keeper was born.
So I began our story with Iain dragging our heroine across his horse—and hard thighs—after she got just far enough from the abbey for him to be certain he could catch her. Of course, that’s only the beginning. Victoria Hockley doses up medicine Iain isn’t quite prepared for. Isn’t that the way it always goes? What man is really prepared for a woman? Heh heh.
Victoria has her own secrets, but Iain comes to a quick and easy conclusion as to why a woman of breeding would sequester herself in a remote Scottish monastery. After all, if he looks too closely, he might not like what he sees. Victoria, on the other hand, has nothing but questions. Who is this dangerous man, and what could he possibly want with her? These questions eventually lead to the heart of Iain’s motivation, a motivation even he’s not aware of.
Here’s a sneak peek to what Iain’s thinking when he first sees Victoria.
Iain might have been standing on the edge of a dream when the abbey door opened and she stepped out into the morning light. Though separated by a small earthly measure of holy ground, he sensed her mind to be as far from him as heaven was from hell. His heart stilled with the sudden blaze of auburn hair against the Highland sun, and he determined to learn what color eyes matched such fire.
With a nod in response to Father Brennan’s statement that the Menzies clan was rumored to be raiding land to the north, Iain slid a hand along his horse’s neck. The beast nickered and shifted beneath him. Behind him, one of his men’s horses whinnied in answer. Careful not to give away his intention, Iain slid his gaze across the heather covered hills beyond the abbey and covertly monitored the woman’s progress as she strolled along the grounds, a book in hand. Another moment and she would be off Montrose Abbey.
Annoyance flared. Curse the archaic law that kept her safe on holy ground. What if he ignored the civilized directives instilled by his education and simply took her? He dropped his attention to the intricately carved leather wristband that covered his arm from wrist to elbow. A deep scratch spanned the leather, a reminder of the battle that almost took his arm, had taken the lives of many good men, a battle fought in the name of justice.
Iain looked up in response to Father Brennan’s report that four Menzies clansmen had passed the abbey yesterday afternoon. He was in no mood to encounter marauding Menzies on his return home, particularly considering his change in plans. He breathed deep of the Scots pine scent carried on the keening wind. The law forbade him taking the woman while on holy ground, but sanctioned the kidnapping once she entered the outside world. No law would be broken, no war begun when he claimed her.
Ticking off the seconds in his mind, he gauged her progress away from the grassy expanse that marked the distance needed to intercept her race back to the monastery. Any resistance would be hampered by the heavy skirts of her expensive brocade dress. She took the last fateful step. Iain flashed Father Brennan a grin as he grasped the hook on his claymore’s scabbard and unhooked latch from hook. Sword and scabbard dropped to the ground. The priest’s eyes registered surprise, then understanding. He whirled as Iain dug his heels into the horse’s belly and broke ranks with his men.
“Run!” the priest shouted.
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