USA Today bestselling author, Karen Ranney's first book in the wildly romantic new Scottish series.
One Man's Love is a love story much in the tradition of Mary Jo Putney.
Karen Ranney is a rising star of romance. She hit the USA Today bestseller list with the acclaimed After the Kiss.
Karen Ranney is one of the most emotionally intense and popular authors on the Avon romance list. Reviewers have compared her to Mary Balogh and Mary Jo Putney.
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March 31, 2001
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Excerpt from One Man's Love by Karen Ranney
Im giving you a command, Colonel, one almost as vital as your mission. Stamp out this damnable insurrection. Execute every one of those miscreants if you must, but deliver the Highlands to me in peace.
The Duke of Cumberland's words echoed in Alec Landers's mind as he neared Fort William. Behind him rode five handpicked men who'd accompanied him from Inverness. Their conversation mingled with the jangle of harness, the clop of horses' hooves on the thick grass, and the moan of wind, forming a backdrop for his thoughts.
On the crest of a hill not far from his new post, he stopped and raised his hand. His men halted, remaining in position. Not one of them questioned his delay or why he dismounted and walked a few feet to the edge of the road. It would never have occurred to them to do so.
He stood staring down at the scene before him, memory furnishing the quiet moment with details.
For six years, from the time he was five until his eleventh birthday, their coach had stopped in exactly the same place. His mother would lean out of the window beside him in order to view her childhood home. Gilmuir sat like a welcoming beacon, a wondrous world that might have been created solely to grant her every wish. She would begin to smile in a different way than she did in England, as if she, too, threw off all constraints.
What would his mother think now, all these years later, to discover that Fate, or a vengeful God, had sent him back to her native country? A foolish question to ask because he'd never know the answer.
For most of the year this land was covered by a stark, inhospitable greyness, a monochromatic hue that announced it was Scotland. But now heather and thistles and wildflowers bloomed riotously over the hillsides, casting shadows among the green grass and clover. Loch Euliss was deeply blue, surface waves stirred by the sudden fierce wind.
A storm loomed, as if to greet him. The sunlight, diffused through the curtain of clouds, bathed the castle in an otherworldly light. It was a strange welcome to this place of memory.
The promontory was a place ideally suited to repel invaders. But the builders of the castle had not been prescient about English cannon or the anger of the Empire as they extracted revenge against the recalcitrant and rebellious Scots. Gilmuir had evidently
been bombarded into submission and now nothing more than a roofless shell.
Will Gilmuir last forever, Grandfather?
As long as the sea, Ian. As long as the sea.
But it hadn't. Instead, it had fallen and now lay broken and shattered, a skeletal companion to the newly constructed Fort William.
Cumberland himself had chosen Alec among the cadre of officers in Flanders to accompany him back to Scotland to quell the rebellion. For his ability to stay alive in battle and for his greater capacity to remain silent and obedient, Alec had been given command of Fort William.
He'd wanted to protest, to give the duke some rational refusal of the post, but it would not be wise to tell Cumberland of either his heritage or his reluctance. The first could get him hanged; the second would only result in the duke's displeasure.
A mist was blurring the horizon, tinting the mountains blue. The glen was heavily forested on the westem side, but on the east was cropped as cleanly as if sheep grazed on the grass. Below him, in a secluded corner of the glen, was the village he knew almost as well as Gilmuir. A clachan, the Scots called it. He had been a visitor to many of those houses, almost a third son in the place Fergus and James called home.
The stones of the cottages were tinged with green, moss having added its own hue over the years. Each was alike, a long rectangular structure intersected in the middle by a door and flanked by two tan windows. The thatching on the roofs had matted over the years until they appeared like crisp brown crusts on freshly baked bread loaves.