Coming this Fall!!!
Book 2 of the Macinnes Sisters Trilogy
"Highlander's Rebellious Love"
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Donna Fletcher is a USA Today bestselling author of adventurous historical romances. She has written over thirty books that have sold worldwide.
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SNEAK PEEK OF "HIGHLANDER'S REBELLIOUS LOVE"
“You cannot be serious, Father.”
Anytime his middle daughter Patience called him Father, Donald Macinnes knew he was in trouble. Unlike his eldest daughter Heather who was sweet and kind, or his youngest daughter Emma who was too interested in learning all she could about everything she could, Patience was nothing like her name.
“I have not been home a full day. I have yet to see my sister Emma who I have learned is wed to Rogan MacClennan and who had been Heather’s intended. I also have not yet found my sister Heather who has been abducted by the vile Dark Dragon.” Patience threw her arms up in the air. “And what does my Father want of me? He wants me to go settle a squabble for a clan that claims us kin, but we have not heard from since,” —she threw her hands up into the air again— “since when, Father? Heather is my priority, not some distant, inconsequential squabble between two insignificant clans.”
Donald Macinnes pulled himself away from the pillows that supported his back in bed and glared at his daughter. “The last time I looked, I was still laird of this clan and your father, and that means you will obey whatever order I give you.”
“Why would you think that would work now, Father, when it has not worked since I was young.”
“Because you are not only the finest warrior I have, but you are the most capable to see this matter settled without a war ensuing.”
“You think to ply me with compliments, so I will do as you ask?” Patience asked, planting her hands on her slim hips while a glint of fire surged in her bold green eyes.
“I ply you with the truth,” Donald snapped. “You are an exceptionally skilled and capable warrior and as your laird I am sending you where your talents are most needed. I am in correspondence with the King to see what can be done to have Heather returned home to us.”
“King James do something?” Patience laughed. “He is too afraid of the Dark Dragon to do anything. We must rescue Heather ourselves.”
“Enough!” Donald demanded. “Whether I speak to you as my daughter or one of my loyal warriors, you have no choice but to obey me on this, and do not think it insignificant. You know full well that the McFarden clan is necessary to our clan’s safety and we to theirs. Their land borders McLaud land. They are fierce and mighty Highlanders that will not be ignored and they are claiming that a portion of McFarden land belongs to them. If we allow them to stake claim to it, then they will not stop there and soon McFarden land—our land—will belong to the McLauds.”
Patience understood the importance of what her father was telling her, but what mattered more to her was finding her sister Heather. If it had been herself who had been captured, Heather would not rest until she was returned home. And Patience intended to do the same for her sister. She would not rest, would not relent in her pursuit to find Heather.
“Let Rogan MacClennan send a troop of warriors to settle this dispute, since our clans have now been joined by marriage.” Patience’s eyes flared a fiery green once again. “Did you even bother to ask Emma if she wanted to wed Rogan MacClennan?”
Donald dropped back against the pillow, worn out from arguing with his daughter. Ever since she had been young, it had not been easy getting her to obey. She had a mind of her own and a sharp mind at that, and she was full of confidence. She had all the requisites of a fine laird, which made her exasperating to deal with.
“Emma and Rogan happen to love each other,” he said.
“You are sure of that?” Patience asked. “Rogan had not wanted Emma and now he claims to love her?”
“I understand your misgivings, but their love is there for all to see and your sister is happy. And I am happy and relieved that the arranged marriage turned out so well for her.”
“You will not marry me off to anyone without my consent,” Patience warned with a shake of her finger.
“I would not dare, Patience. Your husband is yours to choose.”
A fit of coughing gripped Donald and Patience hurried to his side to help him sit up and drink some of the brew kept on the chest by his bed. Her father had appeared much improved since last she saw him over a month ago, but that did not mean he had completely recovered from his illness. She had failed to keep that in mind when he had summoned her to his bedchamber. She had assumed he wanted to speak with her about formulating a plan to rescue Heather. To learn that his only intention where Heather was concerned was to keep in correspondence with the King had infuriated her. And that she was to be sent off to deal with witless warriors infuriated her even more.
Donald took hold of his daughter’s hand as she helped him to lie back on his pillows. “I know what I ask of you makes you angry, but sometimes a laird has no choice but to do what must be done even if he does not like it himself. And if you dare to think that I am giving up on your sister, then you should be ashamed of yourself. I love all three of my daughters with all my heart and I would give my life to keep you all safe and see you all happy.”
The anger drained from Patience like a receding wave, leaving a heavy dose of guilt in its wake. Her da was right. No one could ever doubt his love for his daughters.
“I am truly sorry, Da,” she said and hugged him.
He patted her back. “It has been a difficult time for all of us, but fear not, I will see that all turns out well.”
His reassuring words lightened her heart a bit and reminded her of what she should have realized that her da would not rest until Heather was rescued.
Donald patted the bed for Patience to sit and she did. “It is a most unwelcoming area, mountainous range and barren land, another reason McFarden joined with us. We provide them with much needed staples. They in turn keep watch over that area and let us know of any unrest.”
“There is always unrest in the Highlands, all of Scotland for that matter. I sometimes wonder if Scotland will ever be at peace.”
“A feeling felt by all,” Donald said, “which is why we must make certain we do all we can to keep our clan and holdings as strong as possible.”
Patience had no choice but to agree. “You are right, Da, but I hate delaying my search for Heather over nothing but a—”
“A matter that can be settled with relative haste,” Donald said, “thus avoiding a major conflict that if left unattended could cause far worse delays in finding your sister. And need I remind you again that I do not sit idle when it comes to your sister’s abduction. You must trust that I am doing more than you realize to see everything ends well.”
Her da was a man of his word and he was a wise and courageous laird. He had taught her much and she continued to learn from him. She could see to this matter and return home in no time. Another thought struck her that made this mission more appealing. It would give her a chance to extend her search for the Dark Dragon’s lair. The trail she had followed had gotten her nowhere. It seemed the Dark Dragon’s warriors lived up to their name—ghost warriors. Their trail had led nowhere. Their tracks were there one moment and gone the next. The only thing she had learned was that the Dark Dragon’s army was vast and would not be easy to battle against. It had made her reach the conclusion that it would take a much wiser plan to defeat the evil beast.
“I will ready your warriors and leave in the morning,” Patience said.
“Take a new batch of warriors with you. Your faithful group needs a rest.”
“They go where I go,” Patience insisted, knowing her men would not take kindly to being left behind.
“Think, Patience,” her da said. “Your men are worn out. Fresh warriors will serve you better and help keep your mission brief.”
If anything, she wanted this mission to be as brief as possible. “Another point conceded, Da, though my men will not be happy about it.”
“Nonetheless, they will obey you as you do your laird,” Donald said. “Now listen well, for you need to know about the McLauds. Greer is the oldest of three sons and laird since his da’s passing a few months ago. He is a fierce one and short-tempered, so tread carefully around him. Rona, his wife, is as short-tempered as her husband. Rab is the middle son, skilled in weapons and battle, and it is he who leads the McLaud warriors when it comes to conflict. He recently wed and her name is Saundra. She is the eldest daughter of Hew McDolan, laird of the McDolan clan and you know well that we have almost come to conflict with them several times. So, it is easy to assume that he is behind this attempt to confiscate some of our land. And there is no need for me to tell you that land is power here in the Highlands.”
Patience hated to admit it, but her da was right in seeing to this matter immediately. Left unattended the McLauds would seek to encroach and lay claim to more Macinnes land. “From the little I recall about the McLauds, they are a more brute than intelligent lot. Do you think Hew McDolan is behind this encroachment?”
“Craig McFarden will know if there has been interference from the McDolans.”
“And if there has been?” Patience asked and grew upset watching her da take a deep breath, as if trying to lift a heavy weight off himself. She spoke up before he could answer, wanting to lighten his burden. “I will see to it, Da.”
“With little or no bloodshed,” he said, though more commanded. “Now about the youngest McLaud, though there is not much to tell. From what I hear, Hunter keeps himself busy entertaining the lassies. I do not think you will need to worry about him. His father, Ewart, when he was alive, spoke poorly of him. And it is well known he came to blows with Hunter on more than one occasion. I do not think you have much to worry about when it comes to him.”
“Men are men, Da, I can handle them,” Patience said with confidence.
Donald shook his head. “And what happens when there comes a day you cannot handle one?”
Patience laughed. “I will marry him.”