Published by Knight Media on April 24th 2017
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Four bestselling Scottish romance authors take you on an epic journey through the heart of Scotland...
From within the soul of a special stone, the embodiment of the heart of Scotland, a protector is selected. A woman with a pure heart and the ferocity of a warrior is called to the fairy pools on the Isle of Skye upon the death of the previous protector. However, nature has a way of balancing itself, and so with each call to a Protector comes the call of an evil force, set on using the stone for their own purpose. These are the stories of the Protectors of the Heart of Scotland, the stone they seek to keep safe and the love that strengthens and emboldens them.
The Highlander’s Quest by Eliza Knight Her mission was to protect the young boy king. He’s uncovered a plot to destroy Scotland. Together, they must fight a powerful enemy who hides behind a traitorous veil of secrecy…
Cassandra by Madeline Martin Together their power is brilliant. But when destiny rivals the safety of family and the whole of Scotland hangs in the balance, can their love survive the required sacrifice?
The Protector’s Promise by Cecelia Mecca Two bitter enemies. One sacred vow. Will the passion that flares between them consume everything they love?
The Highland Guard and His Lady by Lori Ann Bailey To protect Scotland, she must eliminate her greatest enemy. But when the challenge begins, will he forgive her for destroying his family?
The Highlander’s Quest by Eliza Knight
Julia made her way up the winding stairs, encountering a number of lords, ladies, servants and other people on the way. Dear heavens, with the castle this crowded, how was she ever to keep a watchful eye on the king?
She found the second door on the third floor and was about to knock when the entry swung wide. She came face to chest with a mountain of a man who glowered down at her with such scorn that Julia might have backed up, were it not for how irritated his obvious contempt made her. His dark shoulder-length hair was slightly curled. And every angle of his chiseled features seemed to be arrowing down into his frown. A shadow of a beard lined his tanned jaw, and his aquiline nose appeared fashioned for looking down on others. The only part of his face that wasn’t dark and broody, were his eyes, glittering green and full of suspicion.
“The earl is not accepting visitors.” The man’s gaze bore into her own, and his wide, firm mouth turned back into what looked to be a permanent grimace. Despite that, she couldn’t help but admire how handsome he was, if not a bit frightening. “Best get back to the village.”
Julia opened her mouth to tell him to get out of her way when he held up his hand, silencing her with that single gesture—more so from shock than actually obeying his command.
“I’m in no mood to be trifled with, wench. Best be on your way.”
Merida growled at Julia’s side, seeming to grab his attention for a moment, his eyes squinting down toward the hound.
“And take that beast with ye.”
Julia stood her ground. “I’m expected. Step aside.”
At that, the unfortunately handsome brute raised an ironic brow. “Ye’re expected? By whom? The cook?”
Julia gritted her teeth, her fingers touching the tip of a dagger that was just enough past her wrist to brush her palm. She considered flicking it out and giving him a good taste of just how frightening she could be. “The Earl of Moray, ye great oaf. Now get out of my way before ye embarrass yourself further.”
“Embarrass myself?” the warrior sputtered. Momentarily, his brooding expression changed to one of confusion.
Julia let out a long, annoyed sigh. “I am Lady Julia Sutherland. If my name doesna crack open whatever is left of your brain, perhaps the fact that I am the niece of our departed king will.”
The man looked ready to argue with her. Perhaps to force her to prove who she said she was, but instead, with a narrowed gaze, he did step aside. But he didn’t leave. He followed close behind her as she made her way into the room. If she stopped suddenly, she was certain he’d run into her.
“Ye make a good shadow,” she said with a roll of her eyes, and ignored his low growl. The solar was empty. Flanking the hearth were two great chairs. A table in the center of the room was covered in maps and scrolls. Shelves along the walls were similarly filled with scrolls, books and various other pieces of parchment. A large desk was cluttered with more of the same. Other than the two of them, the room was empty. “Where is the earl?”
“Through that door.” Her shadow nodded his chin toward a door on the far left beside the hearth.
“I can handle seeing him on my own, sir, or are ye afraid I might have come here for some wicked purpose?”
He didn’t answer, which was answer enough.
“Fine.” Julia shrugged. “Follow me. Climb on my back and I’ll carry ye with me through the door. I dinna care.”
Cassandra by Madeline Martin
Cassandra trembled. She, who had waited for the honor of her role as Protector, who had learned how to best a man in combat and had trekked countless miles through the rugged Scottish terrain to find the stone, trembled.
She needed the stone.
He wanted her to forget.
His palm cradled her jaw and he stared deep into her eyes. His pupils melted into the vast darkness of his irises. Beautiful.
She lost herself in the intensity of his stare, of his desire. His thumb swept over her lower lip and freed it from her teeth. He shook his head in chastisement and gently lowered his mouth to hers.
His beard tickled over her chin as his lips touched hers, warm and surprisingly soft. He tasted of the roasted rabbit he’d eaten at dinner and the sweetness of ale. His mouth closed over her lower lip in a delicate, savoring kiss – this man whose name she did not know, who had something she so desperately needed. She ought to be fighting him, not kissing him.
And yet she tilted her head to return the intimate gesture when the tip of his tongue swept against her mouth. She moaned softly and he grew more daring with his kiss, deepening it with his tongue and stoking the fires of her lust.
He could not stop himself from kissing her, wanting her at his side, and yet he hated himself for it.
She sensed betrayal lingering in his thoughts, so easily read it was as though he spoke to her.
Yet the lust was as apparent, if not more so. His emotions in her soul, his voice in her mind – all of it served only to heighten her own desire. She put her hands to his chest and found them shifting higher of their own volition, toward that lump beneath his chain mail. To the Heart of Scotland.
The Protector’s Promise by Cecelia Mecca
“Sit,” he asked. Only the softness of his tone stayed her. “We are at an impasse, it seems. But can we not put aside our differences—”
“Differences?” She shook her head, astounded. “We are enemies, Court. You aim to hurt my people—”
“Who refuse the call for peace. The border has become unstable—you know it as well as I do. Those who remember how it was before the Days of Truce say it will only get worse. Black mal, increasing raids—”
“On both sides,” she spat back.
“It would be foolish not to prepare for the worst.”
She disagreed. “Surely you don’t ask me to condone an attack against my own country?”
“Surely you don’t ask me to disobey orders from my king?”
Marion opened her mouth and then closed it again.
What would I do in his position?
They glared at one another, Marion wanting nothing more than to reach over, grab the stone, and get away from here.
Away from him.
She pushed away the thought, stood, and marched over to the bedroll. A thin linen blanket and makeshift pillow made from grass and leaves were to be her only protection for the night. Trying to ignore the sound of her companion moving around camp, Marion closed her eyes and breathed deeply, taking in the smell of moss and . . .
He lay behind her, pushing her over and nearly off the bedroll. Without turning, she asked, “What are you doing?”
He shifted against her, pulling the blanket over his body. It was just large enough to cover them both, but . . . did he really think to sleep this way?
“Attempting to get some rest,” his deep voice answered.
“Surely not like this?” She shoved him with her backside, attempting to regain some of the space she’d lost when he lay down.
“Surely not,” he answered.
The Highland Guard and His Lady by Lori Ann Bailey
Something about the way Duncan looked at Leslee made her think she could be normal again, that a man might want her. But he would think her crazy too if he knew her secret. And he was the prince’s personal guard. He’d never come to Skye to live with her and she couldn’t stay here.
No, it was best if she kept her distance. She wanted to see the braw man more than was proper. As though conjured from her very thoughts, she caught a glimpse of him at the corner of the room. His focus landed on her and her pulse quickened.
As his regard lingered on her, she felt her cheeks warm. His mouth turned up and he leaned into the wall to watch her. The casual gesture heated her further as her thoughts turned to what it would feel like to kiss him. She’d watched him during dinner and the few times she’d come upon him, and she had the impression he did not share his smiles freely. The thought that he might be interested in her caused her breath to shallow, and she was about to tear her gaze away when he pivoted and left the room.
His abrupt departure left her feeling chilled. Had she imagined his interest? She focused on her meal and tried to block him from her thoughts, but that was unsuccessful when he reappeared a few minutes later.
Moving toward her, he stopped by her side as a slight fluttering started in her chest. “Good morn to ye, Lady MacKinnon.”
“Thank ye, and the same to ye, Captain Douglas.”
Leaning closer and kneeling beside her, his hand rested on her gloved one, and she shivered. He was so close she felt light-headed despite her seated position. He moved in, so that only she could hear as his warm breath washed over her ear. “If ye need a tour of the palace, I’ll be happy to show ye around.”
Her chest rose and fell as her body tightened. “I think I have it now, thank ye.”
“Are ye certain?” His brows rose like he didn’t believe her.
“Aye.” She swallowed.
“Ye look bonny when ye blush.”
She opened her mouth to say thank ye, but the words were lodged in her throat. He laughed, a comforting, pleasant sound, then he rose.
“Have a nice day, Lady MacKinnon.” He swiveled and was gone before she could reply, leaving her wondering what his intentions had been.
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