The author of Guardian Angel offers a novel of passion and romance set in the Scottish Highlands. Proud, beautiful Judith Hampton journeys from her English home to meet the father she has never known. But even her escort, the powerful Laird Iain Maitland, cannot prepare Judith for the truth about her father--and the devastating secret that might change her life forever.
Ever since they met as children at the annual summer festival on the border of their two countries, Judith Hampton of England has been fast friends with Frances Catherine Kirkaldy of Scotland. Despite the enmity between the two lands in this period (the late 12th century), Judith is determined to attend the birth of Frances Catherine'sstet both names first child and find her father, a Scottish laird she has never seen (when they finally meet, it is not in the fashion she had anticipated). En route to her friend's Highland home, Judith charms her escort, Frances Catherine's brother-in-law Iain Maitland. So she is baffled when Iain withdraws into his role of clan laird. Equally confusing is Frances Catherine's claim that after years with the Maitlands, she is still an outsider. But Judith determinedly forges friendships and reexerts her charms over Iain, leading to a lively, unconventional wedding. Woven into Judith's story is an intriguing, almost heretical message for a romance novel: a woman needs more than the right man to have a full, happy life. That Garwood ( Guardian Angel ) can argue this point and still deliver a delightful tale is an accomplishment. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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July 04, 2011
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Excerpt from The Secret by Julie Garwood
From Chapter One Iain Maitland was a mean son of a bitch when he was riled.He was riled now. The black mood came over him the minute his brother Patrick told him about the promise he'd given his sweet wife, Frances Catherine.If Patrick had wanted to surprise his brother, he'd certainly accomplished that goal. His explanation had rendered Iain speechless.The condition didn't last long. Anger quickly took over. In truth, the ridiculous promise his brother had given his wife wasn't nearly as infuriating to Iain as the fact that Patrick had called the council together to render their official opinion on the matter. Iain would have stopped his brother from involving the elders in what he considered to be a private, family matter, but he'd been away from the holding at the time, hunting down the Maclean bastards who'd waylaid three unseasoned Maitland warriors, and when he'd returned home, weary but victorious, the deed had already been done.Leave it to Patrick to take a simple issue and complicate the hell out of it. It was apparent he hadn't consider any of the ramifications of his rash behavior. Iain, as the newly appointed laird over the clan, would now be expected to put his duties to his immediate family aside, his loyalty, too, and act solely as the council's advisor.He wasn't about to meet those expectations, of course. He would stand beside his brother no matter how much opposition came from the elders. He wouldn't allow Patrick to be punished, either. And if need be, he was fully prepared to fight.Iain didn't share his decision with his brother for the simple reason that he wanted Patrick to suffer the uncertainty awhile longer. If the ordeal proved painful enough, perhaps Patrick would finally learn to use a little restraint.The council of five had already gathered in the great hall to hear Patrick's petition when Iain finished his duties and made his way up the hill. Patrick was waiting in the center of the courtyard. He looked ready to go into battle. His legs were braced apart, his hands were in fists at his sides, and the scowl on his face was as fierce as the thunderstorm brewing overhead.Iain wasn't at all impressed with his brother's bluster. He shoved Patrick out of his path when he tried to block his way, and continued on toward the steps to the keep."Iain," Patrick called out. "I ask you now, for I would know your position before we go inside. Do you stand beside me on this issue or against me?"Iain stopped, then slowly turned around to look at his brother. The expression on his face showed his anger. His voice was deceptively mild, however, when he spoke. "And I would know, Patrick, if you deliberately try to provoke me by asking such a question?"Patrick immediately relaxed his stance. "I meant no insult, but you're new as laird and still to be tested in such a personal way by our council. I hadn't realized until just now the awkward position I've put you in.""Are you having second thoughts?""No," Patrick answered with a grin. He walked over to his brother. "I know you didn't want me to involve the council, especially now when you're battling to get them interested in forming an alliance with the Dunbars against the Macleans, but Frances Catherine was determined to gain their blessing. She wants her friend to be welcomed here."Iain didn't remark on that explanation.Patrick pressed on. "I also realize you don't understand my reasons for giving my wife such a promise, but someday, when you've met the right woman, all of this will make perfectly good sense to you."Iain shook his head in exasperation. "Honest to God, Patrick, I'll never understand. There isn't any such thing as the right woman. One's just as good as another."Patrick laughed. "I used to believe that, too, until I met Frances Catherine.""You're talking like a woman," Iain said.Patrick wasn't insulted by his brother's comment. He knew Iain couldn't understand the