On leave from his Highland regiment, Captain Liam Lockhart comes to London on an urgent mission: to repossess the stolen family heirloom that could save his ancestral estate. He never dreamed it would involve surrendering his heart. But the beautiful and scandalous socialite Ellen Farnsworth sets his Highland blood aflame with a will as strong and reckless as his own. Though bound to Liam by a soul-searing passion, duty impels Ellen to commit a terrible betrayal.
Now, driven by passion, pride, and vengeance that know no bounds, this fearsome Highlander will reclaim not only his family's ancient treasure, but the one daring woman he was meant to love for all time.
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December 31, 2003
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Excerpt from Highlander Unbound by Julia London
A thick mist swirled around the sheepskin ghillie brogues that covered his feet, making it impossible to see where he was stepping. But stealth was imperative -- he could see the French camp through the trees directly ahead and wondered how they had managed to track him all the way to Scotland. Obviously, they were still searching for him, still intent on killing him, just as they had been on the Continent.
Liam crouched down behind a tree, observing them. They had stopped for the night, lying about a small fire, one of them roasting some small animal, blessedly unaware of the danger that lurked just beyond the tree line. God, but he wished he could see his men! His Scottish compatriots were just on the other side of the French camp, waiting for him. Liam stood, tried to move again, but the thick mist prevented it, and in fact, his legs felt as if weights had been tied to them, as if he were dragging them through water.
Suddenly, to his right, a flash of color -- a French soldier! Liam quickly reached for the dirk at his waist, but it was gone, dropped from the belt of his kilt. The soldier, returning from the call of nature, was startled to see him and fumbled for his pistol. His dagger, where was his dagger? There was no time to think -- Liam instantly dropped to his haunches, and in one swift movement pulled the ebony-handled sgian dubh from its sheath at the top of his stocking and lunged before the Frenchman could cry out.
They fell to the ground, Liam landing on top and knocking the air from the man's lungs as his pistol went flying into the mist. Silently and quickly, as if the man were a beast, Liam slit his throat as he had been trained to do, rolled off him and onto his feet, crouched down with his hands held before him, waiting for the next Frenchman.
What was that? A soft whistle -- the bastard Frog somehow had alerted the rest of them! Jesus God, where were his men? His breath coming in heavy grunts now, Liam took one step forward, felt something whisk across his ear, and unthinkingly swiped at it. Another step, and a movement to his left caught his eye. He jerked around, could not help but gasp at the sight of the two-headed troll that faced him, the same one that -- Could it be? -- had haunted his dreams when he was a wee lad.
He had no time to think; the troll started for him, swaying side to side to maintain its lumbering girth. Something was pushing at Liam's back, pushing him off balance, but he ignored it, focused only on the troll coming toward him, his hands outstretched, as if he meant to snatch him. His heart pounding, Liam gripped the bloodied sgian dubh and readied himself. Just as he was about to throw himself forward and tackle the troll, he felt a sharp jab to his bum, almost as if someone had wedged a boot --