The Queen's Highlanders #2
September 20, 2022
Dragonblade Publishing, Inc.
Available in: Paperback, Audio, e-Book
The Highlander and The Lady of Misrule
Will the Lady of Misrule fall to the assassin’s poison during the twelve days of Christmas?
Greer Buchanan, a Scottish soldier for King James, arrives in London as it prepares for the festive twelve days of Christmas. Tasked by his king to stop Queen Elizabeth I from being assassinated, Greer heads to Whitehall Palace only to be misdirected to the Bear Garden where a rescue effort is underway.
Lucy Cranfield, a lady of Queen Elizabeth’s court, is determined to save the weak, which includes the dogs sent into the bear fighting ring. With her family name tied to a traitor, she keeps it hidden when she enlists a Highlander to help her elude the guards during her freedom raid on the dog kennels. With two puppies in tow, she leads him to Whitehall to meet with the queen’s Master of Security.
Greer discovers that Lucy belongs to a family of traitors, which moves her to number one on his potential assassin list despite her daring rescue and easy smile. When the assigned Lord of Misrule is mistakenly poisoned during the Christmas feast, Lucy is chosen to fill his vacant spot as the Lady of Misrule. With an assassin walking the corridors of Whitehall, Greer and Lucy fight the growing fire between them so they can focus on uncovering the true assassins in Queen Elizabeth’s court before they strike again.
Suspicion turns against them, and their passion grows into a tempest, as they run out of time to save the queen and themselves.
The Queen’s Highlanders
The Highlander & The Queen’s Sacrifice
The Highlander & the Lady of Misrule
The Highlander & the Counterfeit Queen
When a queen's lady in disguise decides to free the dogs from the horrible Bear Bating kennels in Tudor England, she just might find help from a lost Highlander.
Lucy turned, waving her arms as she waded through the mass, hoping her heavy skirts would keep any of the dogs from biting her legs. Step after step, she dodged massive heads and thick tails. Would they turn on her, devouring her as she tried to liberate them? Her sister, Cordelia, would say she deserved it for risking herself so outrageously to free the hounds.
Lucy fell against the stonewall after tripping over a bulldog, but she reached the door, swinging it open. The surge of yelping, barking beasts rushed around her like water from a shattered damn. They hit her skirts and legs, pushing her forward with the flow. Her arms flailed as she hurtled toward the ground. Eyes squeezed shut, it took her a moment to realize someone had caught her.
Greer Buchanan pulled the woman toward him, turning them both so that they moved out of the violent rush of hounds. The dogs raced off behind a circular building that looked like an arena.
The woman wore laborers’ clothing and smelled of strawberries. The hair that had escaped her linen cap was golden, and her skin lay smooth against high cheekbones.
The dogs could have torn her apart. “What in bloody hell are ye doing, lass?”
She turned blue eyes up to him. “Put me down,” she ordered. When he didn’t immediately, she began to kick and twist in his arms.
“Let her go!” a boy yelled.
A heartbeat later, a cutting pain broke across Greer’s forehead, followed by an explosion of icy snow over his face. He dropped the woman, and she landed with a thud.
“Holy hell,” she said.
“Mo chreach,” he yelled, wiping the ice and snow from his face.
“Run!” the woman yelled, and three children ran off across the field, the boy in the lead. The woman pushed back onto her heels and straightened, her gaze going back and forth between him and the kennel she’d liberated. “You’re bleeding,” she said.
He wiped at the sting. “Bloody snowball had a rock in it,” he said, but the lass had already run back into the kennel.
Greer yanked a rag from the belt that held his woolen plaid in place and wiped at the blood on his forehead. Aye, she was mad, and her lad had a most accurate aim.
Going to the door, he pulled it open. The woman nearly ran into him.
“Here,” she said, thrusting a smallish dog into his arms while she held onto a second tan-coated pup.
“Ho there! What’s going on?” a man dressed in guard’s livery called from around the corner of the now empty kennel.
“Holy Mother Mary,” the woman whispered.
“Bloody hell,” he murmured as he and the lass stood there looking guilty enough to march directly to the gallows. Three other guards followed the one in charge, and all Greer could do was hold the pup against him as it tried to lick his face.
Greer Buchanan had already deduced that the portly man on London Bridge had sent him the wrong way to Whitehall Palace. As a Highlander, in dress and speech, many of the English thought nothing of lying to him even when he used his mother’s advice on being polite.
“Thank goodness you’ve come,” the woman said as the guards halted before them, short swords drawn. Tears filled her eyes, and her gloved hand shook as she pointed after the hounds. “I was but walking this way and all your dogs barreled out.”
Fok. Her statement made him the obvious culprit.
“Who are you?” a frowning guard asked him as two of the men ran into the kennel.
“Greer Buchanan,” he answered, “with a message from Lord Moray on behalf of King James to your queen.” The dog squirmed in his arms.
“’Tis empty!” the second guard yelled, running back out. “Look!” He pointed toward the pack breaking off into three groups around the fishponds.
“Did Lord Moray send you to steal the queen’s dogs?” the leader said, nodding to the pups in their arms.
“I’m not stealing dogs,” Greer said. “I was trying to find my way to Whitehall Palace when the noise drew me here, and I came to the aid of the lady.”
Tears slid down the woman’s cheeks. “These two poor pups were being trampled. I persuaded this man to help me save them.”
“Whitehall ‘tis on the other side of the Thames, Scot,” the guard said, turning outward at the sound of squawking.
“Holy hell,” the woman whispered next to Greer. They all watched as the lad who’d hit him with the rock-laden snowball ran out of another animal kennel behind a flock of roosters that he’d apparently freed. They were squawking and flapping their wings as they scrambled in a haphazard race to escape the lad’s flailing arms.
“Did you see the lad release the dogs too?” the guard asked, looking between them with suspicion.
“Oh yes,” the woman said. “I saw the boy clearly.” She gave a dramatic shiver. “About fifteen years old with red hair.”
The guard looked back to where the roosters were running, a few stopping to peck at the ground. The boy had run off, and Greer didn’t see the two young lasses.
“I think he had dark hair,” the guard said.
Greer shifted the puppy who continued to try to lick his face as if he was coated in honey.
“Oh no,” the woman said loudly. “I saw him up close. Red hair when seen in the light. And his eyes…” She shook her head. “Unnatural. One was blue and one was brown.” She touched her face to the right of her lip. “And an unusual, dark mark right here on his face.”
Greer hadn’t seen any of that on the boy and yet she met the guard’s gaze without blinking. The woman was a masterful liar.
“Would you like to write my description down?” she asked. “Or I could draw something and return it to you if that would help you find the villain.”
Before the guard could answer, the woman’s gaze diverted, and she let loose a scream that made both puppies yelp and the guard jump.
“Damnation, woman!” the leader of the guards yelled. “What is it?”
She pointed toward the circular arena. “I saw Blind Bess! The fiend opened the bear cages! They’ll eat us alive!” She placed her hand on Greer’s arm as if she might swoon.
“Edgar, Gabe, get the poles!” the lead guard yelled, running off. “We can’t let the bears get
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5 Stars! “I adored Lucy and Greer's characters and how the two work together to find out who the assassin is and at the same time, fall in love! Add in the fact that it's the twelve days of Christmas and my interest was fully captured from the first to the last page.” Carole on Goodreads
***** “A lovely mix of mystery & romance, there are strong characters & with the author’s gift with the pen this was a captivating read, which I devoured in a couple of sittings. I loved both Greer & Lucy & loved their journey to a HEA but it was the mystery that made this book even better, plus throw in two pups & I was one very happy reader.” Janet on Goodreads
5 Stars! “Wonderful, fast paced romance with a highlander, Greer, ostensibly bringing Queen Elizabeth a gift from the king in Edinburgh, also looking for an assassin Chaos attempted assassinations, treason but genuinely funny throughout the novel during Twelve Night of Misrule. Well written and enjoyable.” Kathy on Amazon
***** “I love the History that Heather shares in each of her books. Lady Lucy meets Greer while she is trying to rescue dogs and help hungry children. Her heart is full of kindness for others. Greer is a Highland Warrior who is sent to find out who is trying to poison the Queen! Can a Highlander find love with an English lady? Get ready for the intrigue, trying to protect the ones they love.” Patricia on Amazon