Mary Queen of Scots is on the throne, and the frontier between England and Scotland is a powder-keg
More interested in raiding into Scotland with the rest of her clan than womanly pursuits like embroidery or finding a husband, Alexandra Graham is a feisty English heiress who rides and fights as well as any man. But when a daring rescue goes wrong, she ends up in the dungeons of Scotland's most forbidding castle, prisoner of the notorious Earl of Bothwell and at the mercy of the queen's justice.
As deputy warden responsible for keeping the law on the queen's borderland, Michael Cranstoun is a Scottish laird with a reputation for fair-mindedness and the looks of a viking warrior. But when he meets the beguiling Alexandra, both his life and his honour are at risk - not to mention his affections.
With more than just the border separating them, Alex and Michael are on opposite sides of an ancient divide, and destined for different paths. But a shared love for horses draws them together and kindles a passion that respects no boundaries, endangering more than just their hearts...Please note:
- This novel was written by a Scottish author, and therefore uses British English spelling and grammar :)
- This is a complete story with a HEA - no cliffhangers!
- However, if you enjoy the story, read more about Mary Queen of Scots and the intrigues of her court in A Love Beyond, amzn.com/B06XXCX5MQ
Drawing close to the banks of the Liddel Water where he was to meet Alexandra, Michael halted his horse in the cover of some trees, entranced once again by the sight of the girl on her black stallion.She has come!
He breathed a sigh of relief. After all his doubts and worries, here she was once more, still wearing her boyish cap and rough clothes, the stallion displaying his quality and presence, even at a distance.
Today, however, the pair looked less like dancers and more like warriors about to charge into battle, with a pent-up energy that pervaded every move. It was a spellbinding sight, more so now that he knew that those long legs which wrapped so lithely around the horse's sides belonged to a rather lovely lass, rather than a scruffy youth.And she's alone.
He didn't know whether to feel pleased or offended by that. For the lack of an escort implied that she didn't see him as a manly threat to her propriety. But it also meant that it would be easier for them to talk without hindrance.
With a smile playing on his lips, he pushed his horse forward - just as Alexandra turned her mount up the valley and raced off at a flat-out gallop.
For a heartbeat, Michael hesitated - and then he too was flying up the river meadow, chasing after this elusive woman who sat a horse better than any man he'd ever known. Her horse is fast, too.
Mist, Michael's poor beast, had already travelled sixteen miles that morning since leaving the lodging at Gretna, and was carrying a heavier load. It was an unequal race. I may have to content myself with catching her up once she stops.
For the black stallion ran as if the very hounds of hell were chasing him, his tail streaming behind him like a lure and the rider on his back crouched low over his neck as if to protect herself from the wind.
Somehow, she must've sensed Michael's presence - or heard the heaving lungs of his straining horse as Mist struggled to close the distance between them - for Alexandra turned her head and looked over her shoulder, spying the grey horse and his rider following in her wake.
It seemed for a moment that she checked her stallion as if to slow him, for his stride changed - and that was her undoing. The black stumbled on a hidden ditch, sending his rider flying over his head and tumbling onto the ground ahead.
Heart in his mouth, Michael closed the distance between them at breakneck speed, praying under his breath to Mary and all the saints.
For Alexandra lay pale and unmoving, and Michael feared the worst...