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Highlander's Sinful Desire: A Steamy Scottish Historical Romance Novel, page 1

 

Highlander's Sinful Desire: A Steamy Scottish Historical Romance Novel
 



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Highlander's Sinful Desire: A Steamy Scottish Historical Romance Novel


  Highlander's Sinful Desire

  A Historical Scottish Romance Novel

  Maddie MacKenna

  Contents

  A Gift from the Highlands

  Scottish Brogue Glossary

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Chapter 24

  Chapter 25

  Chapter 26

  Chapter 27

  Chapter 28

  Chapter 29

  Chapter 30

  Chapter 31

  Chapter 32

  Chapter 33

  Chapter 34

  Chapter 35

  Chapter 36

  Epilogue

  Extended Epilogue

  Highlander’s Hidden Destiny

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Also by Maddie MacKenna

  About the Author

  A Gift from the Highlands

  Thank you very much for purchasing my book. It really means a lot to me, because this is the best way to show me your love and support!

  As a way to show you my gratitude, I have written a full length novel for you, called Highlander’s Untamed Bride. It’s only available to people who have downloaded one of my books and you can get your free copy by tapping the image below or this link here.

  Once again, I can’t thank you enough for your support!

  Maddie MacKenna

  Scottish Brogue Glossary

  Here is a very useful glossary my good friend and fellow author Lydia Kendall sent to me, that will help you better understand the Scottish Brogue used:

  aboot - about

  ach - oh

  afore - before

  an' - and

  anythin - anything

  a'side - beside

  askin' - asking

  a'tween - between

  auld - old

  aye - yes

  bampot - a jerk

  bare bannock- a type of biscuit

  bearin' - bearing

  beddin' - bedding or sleeping with

  bellend - a vulgar slang word

  blethering - blabbing

  blootered - drunk

  bonnie - beautiful or pretty

  bonniest - prettiest

  cannae - cannot

  chargin' - charging

  cheesin' - happy

  clocked - noticed

  c'mon- come on

  couldn'ae - couldn't

  coupla - couple of

  crivens - hell

  cuddie - idiot

  dae - do

  dinin' - dining

  dinnae - didn't or don't

  disnae - doesn't

  dobber - idiot

  doesn'ae - doesn't

  dolton - idiot

  doon - down

  dram - a measure of whiskey

  efter - after

  eh' - right

  'ere - here

  fer - for

  frein - friend

  fey - from

  gae - get or give

  git - a contemptible person

  gonnae - going to

  greetin' - dying

  hae - have

  hald - hold

  haven'ae - haven't

  heed - head

  heedstart - head start

  hid - had

  hoovered - gobbled

  intoxicated - drunk

  kip - rest

  lass - young girl

  leavin - leaving

  legless - drunk

  me - my

  nae - not

  no' - not

  noo - now

  nothin' - nothing,

  oan - on

  o' - of

  Och - an Olympian spirit who rules the sun

  oot- out

  packin- packing

  pished - drunk

  scooby - clue

  scran - food

  shite - shit

  sittin' - sitting

  so's - so as

  somethin' - something

  soonds ' sounds

  stonking - stinking

  tae - to

  teasin' - teasing

  thrawn - perverse, ill-tempered

  tryin' - trying

  wallops - idiot

  wee -small

  wheest - talking

  whit's - what's

  wi'- with

  wid - would

  wisnae - was not

  withoot - without

  wouldnae - wouldn't

  ya - you

  ye - you

  yea - yes

  ye'll - you'll

  yer - your

  yerself - yourself

  ye're - you're

  ye've - you've

  About the Book

  He saw the fire in her eyes and wished more than anything to play with it…

  Raised among the nuns of Saint Martha’s Nunnery, Lady Rowena Cran is determined to dedicate her life to God. When her estranged father announces her impending nuptials to a distasteful man of means and power, she enlists the help of her fellow nuns and flees under the cover of night.

  Taran Robertson, Laird of Frenich, is certain that a nun has no place among the English soldiers that ambush him while on his way to Scotland. Especially not one as beautiful as Rowena...

  Tantalizing and unstoppable, the passion that brews between them is tainted not only by secrets but also by the manhunt launched to find them both. With Rowena’s intended looking to retrieve her and Taran promised to another, all hope seems lost.

  But then, something else thought lost comes to light: a ring with a very familiar crest…

  1

  England, 1383

  Rowena pushed a wayward strand of blonde hair behind her ear as she cut one more cabbage from its stalk. She had gone to the abbey garden to gather herbs and found Sister Prudence straining to harvest cabbages. Rowena said, “The garden is ripening early this autumn.”

  Sister Prudence had paused. “Aye, and I have not had time to harvest it all.”

  Rowena had taken the knife from her, saying, “Let me help you, Sister.”

  “Thank ye, lass. Me strength fails me.” Sister Prudence held a sack open for Rowena.

  “It’s my pleasure,” Rowena said, as she caressed Sister Prudence on her shoulder. “Please, save your strength for the cooking! You’re the best cook of all of us!”

  Rowena moved to the next cabbage plant, sliced off the head and tossed it into the sack. She said, “And the way you are able to make enough for us and feed the poor folks. It’s impressive.”

  Sister Prudence shrugged as if it was nothing. She said, “Times have been hard. Since the last wave of pestilence, so many people are goin’ hungry. Never have we had so many askin’ for food these days.”

  Rowena nodded. “It seems to be a problem everywhere. Even my father . . . who, as you know, is used to getting what he wants . . . has complained that he cannot find enough laborers to work his fields. So many have
died. And those who survived have been moving to the cities. They don’t want to do farm work for the magnates anymore. They want to learn a trade and make more money. Who can blame them?”

  Once the cabbages were harvested, Rowena moved to the rows of herbs and flowers. She prayed a quiet prayer of gratitude for its bounty. Sister Prudence admired the beauty of it. She said, “Rowena, the garden is lovely. You seem to have a knack for the medicines and cures.”

  “I do love that part of it.” Rowena said. “It’s amazing to me that God has endowed these plants with such healing powers. We have so much to learn about them. It makes me very happy to know that this little part of a dying rose,” Rowena held up the hip of a spent rose blossom, “can help ward off sickness.”

  Sister Prudence shook her head in wonder. “Aye, tis’ a miracle.” She walked with Rowena down the garden row. Rowena picked some yarrow and then some echinacea for tea and tucked it into her heavy sack of vegetables. “Ye’ve learned all about this from Mother Lenora?”

  “Yes,” Rowena said. “And from the books in the library. At night, when you and the other Sisters are sleeping, I like to tiptoe off to the library and study the books on medicine there. But you must promise, do not tell anyone about that, especially Mother Lenora.”

  Sister Prudence chuckled, “Rowena, we all ken about yer midnight library visits!”

  Rowena exclaimed, “No! You can’t know! How long have you known?”

  “We’ve ken since ye were a child. Mother Lenora let ye dae it. She thought it was good for ye. She liked that ye loved to study.”

  Rowena giggled. “And to think all this time I thought I was so clever. None of you ever mentioned anything to me about it! I don’t believe it!”

  Rowena examined the plants and thought about why she loved learning about them so much. She said, “I suspect I love it because my mother died giving birth to my baby brother. She was in terrible pain for hours. The midwife came. And the physician. Nothing they did helped her. Her suffering haunts me even now. And the horror of the pestilence. I suppose I would like to find a way to cure people. Help ease their suffering.”

  Sister Prudence said, “We all felt so sorry for ye. Ye were such a young lass. Ye were what, twelve, when ye came to here to us?”

  “Yes. I miss my mother still. But my father. He could not be consoled. He never showed his grief in public, though. He had to keep up the façade, you know, being the Right Honorable Earl of Kensley, Alfred Cran, and all that.”

  Sister Prudence chortled. “I guess when ye’re one of the most powerful noblemen in all of England, it’s important to keep up yer appearances.”

  Rowena’s thoughts drifted back to those early days of her time at St. Martha’s abbey. Her father had insisted she come to St. Martha’s for her education. “I suppose,” she said. “It was seven years ago, and I was very spoiled, I now realize!”

  “Of course ye were. Ye were Rowena Cran, Laird Kensley’s only daughter!” Sister Prudence laughed.

  “And I still am,” Rowena said absently, her thoughts focused on some mint plants. It seemed nothing could kill mint. Why was that, she wondered. What made a plant like mint so vigorous, while other plants and animals can be so vulnerable to disease? To injury?

  Church bells began clanging from St. Martha’s Nunnery. The bells called the abbey nuns to the morning’s third prayer service. “I love the sound of the bells,” Rowena said, as their song echoed in waves off the rolling hills of Jarrow, in Northumberland. “We’d better get going, or we’ll be late for service. We still need to clean up a bit!”

  As Sister Prudence and the novitiate Rowena scrambled up the hillside to the abbey, Rowena said, “It’s funny, I hardly remember much about my life before my mother died.”

  Sister Prudence said, “Yer life was nae doubt the envy of any little English lass.”

  Rowena said, “I remember the day my father told me I was coming here.” He had taken Rowena by the hand and led her out for a walk in the garden at his estate at Middle Kirk Manor. He said he had decided to send her to St. Martha’s Nunnery, in Northumberland.

  Rowena remembered what her father had told her that day in the garden years ago. She had to learn the manners expected of a noblewoman of rank and refinement. How to weave, to spin, to manage servants, to tend to the sick and injured. He had said, “All of these are skills expected of an English lady of your stature. Some day you will be a wife. A mother. Remember, God is always there for both of us.”

  Rowena had clung to his words through the years.

  To Rowena, Mother Lenora and the abbey sisters looked old and frightening. But when Rowena met Sister Prudence, she brightened up. Sister Prudence had a sweetness about her that was rather grandmotherly and sisterly at the same time. Something about the way her green eyes twinkled when she smiled and the faint brogue in her speech endeared her to Rowena. Sister Prudence made Rowena feel like she could tell her any secret and she would never tell a soul.

  When they arrived at the abbey kitchen, Rowena gently dropped the big sack of vegetables on the floor. It was heavy, but her years of living at the priory had made her strong and sinewy.

  She found bread dough covered with a cloth. A bowl of cherries sat next to it.

  Sister Prudence followed Rowena into the kitchen. She said, “Me dear child, thank ye! Some of these will go into the potage right after prayers, and just in time for our hungry visitors.”

  Sister Prudence then plucked a ripe, red cherry from a bowl on the table. She put a finger to her lips and said, “Shhh.” With mischievous eyes, the nun placed the cherry in Rowena’s hand. Rowena grinned at the treat and gave Sister Prudence a warm hug and peck on the cheek.

  “Your secret’s safe with me, Sister!” Rowena said, popping the cherry into her mouth.

  The nun said, “Me dear, it has been such a pleasure havin’ ye with us these last seven years. It’s hard to believe ye will finish yer tutelage here next year. Have ye decided yet what ye plan to dae?”

  “I think so, Sister. May I confide in you? I’d like your advice about something,” Rowena said. From the moment Rowena arrived at St. Martha’s, the nuns had taken her in as one of their own. They adored the little girl. They taught her good manners, how to weave, and how to speak French. Rowena was not the only girl the nuns had ever schooled. Mother Lenora saw that Rowena was especially interested in the healing arts and had worked to teach her all she could. But Rowena and Sister Prudence had a special closeness between them.

  “Of course, me dear. Let’s talk on our way to chapel or we’ll be late!” Sister Prudence handed Rowena a damp cloth. They wiped the garden dirt and debris off their hands. Rowena offered an arm to Sister Prudence as they walked to the chapel.

  As they walked arm in arm, Rowena said, “You know, I’ve been thinking of becoming a nun but I’ve had some doubts. Yesterday at morning prayers, I thought I heard God’s calling. I believe He wants me to follow the path and take the vows to become a novice. Yet, I still have some reservations about it. I cannot explain why. It is nagging me. If you can tell me, Sister, I need to know. Did you have doubts when you decided to follow the path?”

  Sister Prudence smiled. “Aye, Rowena. I had me doubts at first. But once I took me vows, me doubts disappeared. Lookin’ back I ken it was the best decision I ever made. However, the fact that it was right for me does nae mean it is right for ye. Tis’ a deeply personal decision. Tis’ good that ye are mullin’ it over carefully. Have ye talked it over with yer faither?”

  Rowena said, “Some. He knows I’m thinking about it. I haven’t yet told him that I’m close to a decision. I plan to tell him when he next visits me.” I hope he will be happy about it, she thought.

  Sister Prudence squeezed Rowena’s arm. “He will want to ken that.”

  “I only hope I make the right choice,” Rowena said, a bit of doubt still sounding in her voice.

  “Trust in yer heart, child. God speaks to us in the still small voice that we hear in our hearts. He will
not steer ye wrong,” Sister Prudence said.

  Rowena bit her lip. “Yes, I believe I have heard that voice. But please, Sister, promise me you will keep it secret for now. I must tell my father when he is here next before I tell anyone else.”

  Sister Prudence gave her another hug. “Of course I will, dear! I ken ye will make the right choice.”

  Rowena said, “Thank you, and thank you so for your years of friendship, Sister. I am eternally grateful to God for sending me here. I have learned so much, and I love you all!”

  Near the chapel door, Rowena waited in line behind Sister Prudence and the other nuns to dip her hands in the holy water. As she waited her turn, she quickly re-pinned her long hair. She caught a glimpse of herself in a reflection off a piece in a stained-glass window. In her old life, people would often tell her she had inherited her mother’s beauty. As an adolescent, Rowena had enjoyed hearing those compliments, but now Rowena no longer cared about such things. Besides, she didn’t feel especially attractive with her cheeks rosy and dewy with sweat from working in the garden.

 
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