Patrick MacGregor is a wanted man. His clan of MacGregors has been declared outlaws. Their lands were taken from them many years ago. Patrick has not had a home since he was ten years old, when the Campbells came and killed his parents in front of him. He escaped with his siblings and has lived on the run for twenty years.
Patrick’s cousin, Alisdair, the chief of the MacGregors, could never resist a challenge. Patrick can’t believe what he is doing. He is competing in the archery contest at inveraray Castle, the Highland stronghold of Clan Campbell. His plan is to win the contest then reveal himself as Alisdair MacGregor so everyone knows who the best archer in the Highlands is and get away while Patrick and his brother distract everyone by making the giant tent collapse on top of everyone.
While Patrick is waiting for the signal, he is intrigued by a small lass walking in his direction. Nearby, a man is bragging about how he is betrothed to Elizabeth Campbell who has a stuttering problem and has had two other betrothals that were broken and how easy it was to pretend he was interested in her because she was so desperate that he only had to give her compliments and she “lapped them up like a grateful pup”. When the lass looks devastated and horrified, he realizes that she must be Elizabeth Campbell. She tries to say something but stutters and then slips and falls in the mud. All the men laugh at her and say that her feet are just as tangled as her tongue. Patrick is disgusted by the men and helps her up. She is so embarrassed that she doesn’t even look at him and walks hurriedly away. Because he helped her, he almost gets caught by her brother Jamie who recognizes him but he and his clan get away.
Elizabeth Campbell has a huge tocher or dowry but she actually owns land in her name also which is rare for a woman. She is on her way to see her cousin, the Earl of Argyll, because he summoned her. From his letter which tells her that he is giving her more land, she can tell that it is just another way to tell her that he is going to betroth her to someone again. Her last betrothal was a disaster. Her betrothed made her believe that he loved her but learned the truth when she overheard him bragging about how desperate she was. She is now 26 years old which is considered too old not to be married.
Her carriage is attacked by outlaw MacGregors but is saved by a man named Patrick Murray. A lot of her guardsmen are badly wounded or dead so she travels back to Castle Campbell with Patrick Murray and his men to get help. He saves her life again when a wolf tries to attack her by killing it with his bare hands. She finds herself very attracted to him.
Clan MacGregor has learned that the Earl of Argyll is giving Patrick’s parents lands to Elizabeth Campbell who since the day of the archery games, they have called Patrick’s Campbell because of his gallantry almost getting them caught. They want the lands and plan to have Patrick get close to her and convince her to marry him. They set up the attack on her carriage but nobody was supposed to have been hurt. His brother Gregor, who is wild and savage from living on the run too long, acted rashly, almost killing Elizabeth in the process. Patrick came to her rescue which was the original plan but he wasn’t planning on his brother trying to kill Elizabeth and her stabbing him in the stomach. He had to threaten to kill his brother so he would let her go. Now, he is finding himself falling for her for real. Will she ever forgive him for tricking her?
Once again, Monica McCarty had my emotions in turmoil. She is such a great writer to be able to make my heart go out to these characters. It’s crazy how she pulls me into the story and makes me emotionally attached to the hero and heroine.
I’m definitely going to read the last book of the trilogy. In fact, that’s what I’m going to do right now.