Highland Brides series book #8
January 28, 2020
Four Buchanan brothers have found their brides…only three more to go in this scintillating romance from New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands…
Lady Dwyn Innes feels utterly out of place among the eligible women who’ve descended on Buchanan Keep, vying for the attention of the last unmarried brothers. She isn’t long-legged and slender like her sisters, or flirtatious and wily like other lasses. Since her betrothed died, Dwyn has resigned herself to becoming an old maid. Yet a chance encounter with a stranger in the orchard awakens her to a new world of sensation and possibility...
After weeks away, Geordie Buchanan returns to find his home swarming with potential brides, thanks to his loving but interfering family. But one lass in particular draws his attention from the moment he spies her climbing a tree. Lady Dwyn is not nearly as plain as she thinks. Her lush figure and eager kisses delight him, as does her honesty. But the real test lies ahead: eliminating a hidden enemy, so that he and Dwyn can seal their Highland passion with a vow.
Geordie's story is a much sexier story than those in the past. Geordie and Dwyn's chemistry drips off the page when these two are around one another. So get ready for a rather steamy read!
It also has the usual humour and chaos that the Buchanans always seem to bring to the table as well.
Goodreads reviewers rated it 4.25 out of 5 stars!
I simply adore Lynsay Sands' highlander stories and always seem to get such a kick out of the imaginative situations she puts her characters into. And poor Geordie and Dwyn were truly put through the wringer here. I enjoyed the overall storyline quite a bit, with some exciting intrigue as the duo came under threat…well, mostly Dwyn, and the antics while all the ladies were vying for the bachelor Buchanans' attention.
Dwyn and Geordie's courtship, while rather unconventional, was filled with their undeniable attraction and a tenderness towards each other that was sigh-worthy. I had to laugh at Dwyn's constant, ahem, wardrobe malfunctions. But what I loved most about our heroine was her strength–and that she knew her own mind and was not afraid to express her thoughts. Dwyn was played off as an unattractive wallflower by the other women. But once Geordie saw her smile and saw how kind and spirited she was, she became the most beautiful woman in the world to him. *sigh*
Suspenseful, sensual, and with a fun thread of humor woven in, Hunting for a Highlander was another rock solid novel from one of my go-to authors, Lynsay Sands. Definitely recommended. Review by Harlequin Junkie
As usual with Sands’ stories, there’s a great mix of romance, mystery, and danger to keep you glued to the pages until the very end. Fans of this series will love HUNTING FOR A HIGHLANDER, and for anyone who’s just coming into the series, have fun picking your favorite brother from the bunch. With five of the Buchanan brothers getting their happily ever after, there are only two left, and I can’t wait to see what kind of mischief the next brother’s story brings.Review by Rosie @ Fresh Fiction.
I had such fun reading this book! It was witty and steamy and the characters were a delight. Yes, some serious things happened, but the humor made it all tolerable. Picture a castle full of randy males with Dolly Parton in their midst. This book is much, much steamier than the other books in the series – some of it was gratuitous, but that was okay with me. This is classic Lynsay Sands and I thoroughly enjoyed the read.
I hope you'll enjoy this well-written, witty, randy, and romantic read. I surely did. Review by BarbaraRogers @ A Library Thing.
Man, it was a delight to read this book! Dwyn and Geordie were a fantastic couple, there were sparks between them right away, but they also got along together as friends, and that's a good base for a romantic relationship, both of those elements together! I could really relate to Dwyn, she's not ugly, but she's not beautiful either. She does have lovely hair, and her breasts were mentioned at least once a chapter. So she's not confident in her looks, but she's straightforward, doesn't lie, and yeah, that lead to a few interesting situations! eview by Louisa @ Writing Crazy Me blogspot.
What a fabulous story we have here, I simply loved so many things. Now I wouldn’t say its my favorite of the series because the first few books still hold the trophies on that, however, I had such a fun time with this book and these endearing characters. One of the strongest traits in Lynsay Sand’s writing is how she writes such compelling characters that you just find so drawn to and I found myself falling in love with Geordie and Dwyn and honestly didn’t want to see their story end. They capture the heart so easily and even though I wished there could have been more plot built up (not as strong as some of the previous books) it was still a solid read and quite an entertaining ride. Given 4 stars by Addicted To Romance.
I really liked this book. I think that Geordie and Dwynn are probably my third favorite couple in the series (Ross and Annabel are always going to be number one). The attacks and attempted murder stuff is all fine and predictable. The most I can say in relation to that stuff is that it doesn't drag the book down and it's nicely paced. As always, both our leads get injured a lot which lets the other person confront their feelings. That's a Sands trope I'm ready for. I hope you'll enjoy this well-written, witty, randy, and romantic read. I surely did. Review by Melissa @ Dear Isobel.
Video on the Most Anticipated Books of 2020 by BooksLikeWhoa.
Geordie Buchanan opened tired eyes as that call was followed by someone trying to make the sound of a horse whinnying. For a minute, he didn't know where he was. Early-morning sunlight was streaming down at an angle that managed to reach him where he lay against the trunk of a tree, one of several he could see growing in rows in front and to the side of him. Seeing them, he remembered that he'd made his bed in the orchard behind the gardens when he'd returned last night. There hadn't seemed to be much choice; after weeks away he'd arrived back in the middle of the night to find Buchanan crowded with people. The great hall had been overflowing with sleeping servants and soldiers, as had the kitchen, but it was his uncle sleeping in a chair by the fire that had told him just how full the keep was. The man only slept in a chair below when he had to give up his bed to guests. Geordie had assumed that probably meant his own bed had been given to someone too.
Geordie scowled at the annoying voice followed by another high-pitched attempt at a horse's whinny. The keep was apparently up and children were ready to play. He'd barely had the irritated thought when a young woman appeared halfway along the row of trees and turned her back to him to peer up into the branches. Geordie was just wondering if she was the person who had been calling out and whinnying when the sound came again from somewhere to the left and farther away.
The woman muttered what sounded suspiciously like a curse, and then bent down, reached under her skirts to grab the back hem of the long gown she wore and pulled it forward and up to tuck the cloth through the belt around her waist.
Geordie's eyes were widening at the tantalizing amount of shapely ankle and calf she was showing when she grasped the lowest branch of the tree and began to climb quite nimbly upward. She was quick about it, but had barely disappeared into the leafy haven the branches provided when two women appeared farther down the row of trees and glanced around.
Where the first woman hadn't noticed Geordie, these two did and sneered briefly as they took in the fact that he'd obviously slept out in the gardens. They didn't lower themselves to actually comment. Instead, they turned back the way they'd come and one said with annoyance, "She must have slipped past us and returned to the keep. Come on."
Geordie watched them go before allowing his gaze to return to the tree. He fully expected the woman to climb down now, but when several moments passed without any sign of her, he rolled out of his plaid, then shifted to his knees to begin pleating it. He obviously wasn't going to get any more sleep today. Besides, he had a sneaking suspicion that the lass was like a cat and now that she was up the tree, she couldn't make her way back down. He'd give her the length of time it took him to get properly dressed again, and then offer his assistance . . . if she hadn't fallen out by that time.
Dwyn looked out through the branches of the tree she was in, and over the rolling hills beyond the back wall of Buchanan. It was a beautiful area, she acknowledged, but not as beautiful as Innes. There she would have had a view of the ocean, not to mention a sea breeze to soothe her jangled nerves. The thought made her grimace. Before this trip, Dwyn had never met a person she didn't like. The people at Innes were always kind and friendly, at least to her. But the women she'd met since coming to Buchanan . . . Well, other than Lady Buchanan herself, there wasn't one other woman she liked. The other female guests here were a bunch of catty bampots, the lot of them, and they seemed to have decided to target her with their cruel taunts for some reason. The thought made her mouth twitch unhappily. Dwyn wasn't used to people not liking her, and wasn't sure what to do about it. These women were like no one she'd ever encountered. They were bored, and had chosen to entertain themselves by picking on her.
"Good morrow, lass."
Dwyn blinked at that greeting, and then leaned forward to peer down through the branches at the man who had spoken. He'd positioned himself right below her, and Dwyn's eyes widened as her gaze slid over him. He appeared big from this angle, all shoulders, but she couldn't tell how tall he was from her position. He was handsome though, his eyes a fine pale blue, his nose straight, his mouth having a larger lower than upper lip, and his hair was long and dark, with a bit of wave to it.
"Can I help ye down, lass?"
His words startled her out of gaping at him, and Dwyn shook her head. "Nay, thank ye."
"Nay?" He looked surprised at the refusal, and then frowned around at the orchard briefly before tipping his head back to look up at her again. "Are ye sure, lass? I'm pleased to help ye, do ye need it."
"Nay. I'm fine. Thank ye," Dwyn murmured, and followed her refusal with lifting her head to gaze out past the wall again, hoping he'd take the hint and leave.
He didn't take the hint. Dwyn realized that when the branch she was on began to tremble a bit and she glanced down to see that the man was now climbing up. Her eyes widened incredulously, and then she sat back abruptly as he swung himself up onto the branch directly in front of the one she was on. It was actually a little lower than the large branch she was sitting on, but even so, Dwyn had to tilt her head back to look up at his face.
"Good morrow," he said again, offering her a smile. "Whinnie, is it?"
Dwyn had just started to smile in response when he asked that and the expression died before it had fully formed. "Nay. My name is Dwyn."
"Oh. My apologies. I thought they were calling Whinnie."
"They were," she said grimly, but didn't explain, and silence fell between them briefly. Dwyn did her best to pretend he wasn't there. Actually, she was mostly pretending she wasn't there either, but was back home at Innes, walking the shores with her dogs, Angus and Barra.
She turned reluctantly to peer at him.
"Who is yer clan?"
"Innes," she murmured, turning away again. "Me father is Baron James Innes."
"Innes is on the North Sea, is it no'?" he asked with interest.
"Aye, between the river Spey and the river Lossie. 'Tis beautiful lush green land," she added with a faint smile. "Innes is really situated on a large inlet off the North Sea called Moray Firth, and between that bordering it on the north, the Spey river on the west and Lossie river on the east, but curving down around the bottom o' Innes, 'tis nearly an island."
"It sounds lovely," he admitted.
"'Tis," she assured him. "And as Da says, having the water nearly surrounding us aids greatly with defense. A good thing, since Da's more a thinker than a warrior. Which is why we're here, o' course. For all the good 'twill do."
Geordie's eyebrows rose at that. "I do no' understand. Just why are ye here at Buchanan?"
The question brought her gaze around with surprise, and then she scowled at the man. He'd seemed mostly nice up until that point. "There is no need to be cruel, sir. I ken I've no' a chance with all the other women here being so beautiful, but ye need no' point it out quite so boldly."
He seemed confused by her words and said, "I did no' realize I was being cruel. I've no idea why any o' ye are here."
She considered that briefly and then supposed it wasn't perhaps something that Laird Buchanan would talk openly about. Still, gossip usually traveled quickly in keeps, and she was surprised that he didn't know. Dwyn wished he did though. It was all rather embarrassing to have to explain. But it looked like she was going to have to. Dwyn drew in a deep breath to begin, and then paused when the action made her breasts rise perilously in the low-cut gown her sisters had insisted she wear. Grimacing, she pressed a hand to the tops of the round mounds to keep them down as she quickly blurted, "The other women are here hoping to catch the eye of one of the still-single Buchanan brothers and lure them into marriage."
"What?" he barked, his eyes shifting swiftly up from her breasts to her face with disbelief.
There was no mistaking his reaction as anything but shock, she decided. He truly hadn't known the purpose of the visitors presently filling the Buchanan keep. Perhaps he was one of the soldiers who usually patrolled the Buchanan lands so didn't spend much time at the keep to hear the gossip.
"Surely ye jest?" he asked now.
Dwyn smiled wryly as she shook her head. "Nay. There are at least seven beautiful women presently wandering the keep and grounds, waiting for the three still-single brothers to return to Buchanan and select a bride."
"Seven?" he asked.
"And their escorts," she added. "Of course, a new woman or two seems to arrive every day so there may be eight or nine by the nooning, or sup."
When he just sat there seeming lost in thought, Dwyn left him to it and turned to peer out at the hills again. He obviously meant her no harm, and it was nice to talk to someone who was not nattering at her to sit up straight, and stick out her chest, or alternately pointing out her faults and making fun of her. Honestly, she'd never realized women could be so cruel until this trip.
"Why would these women seek out the brothers for marriage?"
Dwyn glanced around at that question, and noted that the man appeared completely flummoxed by the news she'd imparted. Shrugging, she said, "Presumably because they're all without a betrothed and their fathers wish to make an alliance with the Buchanans," she said, and then frowned and added, "Although I do know at least one of the women is betrothed. Apparently, Laird Wallace is willing to break the contract in favor of a Buchanan son, should one of them be interested."
"Why?" he asked again, this time sounding even more amazed, and she could understand his shock at this news. It was uncommon to break a betrothal. The family would lose the dower that had been promised in the contract.
"Because the Buchanans are becoming quite powerful what with the sons each marrying so advantageously. The siblings are all very close, and each now has their own castle and warriors." She shrugged. "What man wouldn't want to be a part of that and have that kind of power at his back?"
"Hmm." He was silent for a minute, displeasure on his face, but then glanced at her and raised his eyebrows. "And yer one o' these seven beautiful women?"
Dwyn grinned with amusement. "Hardly."
That made his eyebrows rise in question. "Then why are ye here?"
Dwyn drew in another breath that nearly dislodged her breasts from her gown and covered her chest again with irritation. Holding them down with one hand, she tugged her neckline up with the other as she reluctantly admitted, "Well, that is why me father brought me. He has no sons to pass the title down to, and me own betrothed died ere coming to claim me. Father is hoping to make a match to help protect us from our neighbors, the Brodies, who want to add Innes to their holdings, but . . ." Giving up on stuffing her breasts any farther back into the gown, she let her hands drop with disgruntlement as she finished, "I fear he will be disappointed. The Buchanans are no' likely to even notice me among so many beautiful women."
"Why?" he asked, but she didn't think he was really paying attention when he asked the question. His wide eyes seemed to be transfixed on her overflowing bosom.
Smiling wryly, she said, "Because I am overlarge and very plain in looks, sir." When he continued to stare at her chest, she added dryly, "'Tis why my sisters stuffed me into this ridiculously small gown. They are hoping that the Buchanans will be too busy ogling me breasts to bother to look at me face."
He wrenched his gaze up at that, his face flushing slightly, and murmured, "My apologies, m'lady. It was no' well done o' me to—"
Dwyn waved his apology away on a sigh that had her nipples peeking up over the neckline, and she muttered impatiently and returned to trying to tame her breasts and force them back into her gown. Honestly, this was going to be an embarrassing stay if her breasts kept popping out like this. Fortunately, the dress she'd worn when she'd arrived here yesterday had not been quite as tight as this one and she hadn't been spilling out at every turn. Obviously, she needed to change when she returned to the keep.
"No need to apologize," Dwyn growled now, more annoyed than embarrassed. "This was my sisters' plan, after all, and it would seem it works. Perhaps one of the brothers will be so enamored of me breasts that they won't notice me face. Men do seem to like breasts," she added thoughtfully. "I think it must reassure them that their bairns will be well fed or something."
Geordie restrained the laugh that wanted to slip out at her words. It wasn't a bairn he was imagining suckling at her nipples as he looked on them. Damn, but the good Lord had been generous with her bosom. Shaking his head, he forced his gaze back to her face and examined her features.
Dwyn Innes was not a beauty. At least, not an obvious beauty. She had a nice face, a straight little nose, a mouth that was neither full and luscious, nor small and mean, but somewhere in the middle, and her eyes too were neither too small nor large. They were perhaps average, but the color was a beautiful clear blue that actually seemed to sparkle when she was amused, he'd noticed.
And then there was her hair. Dwyn had it pulled back tightly from her face and set in a bun at the back of her head that was as overlarge as her breasts, but it was a beautiful pale gold with darker highlights that he would have liked to see down and flowing around her face. Geordie imagined that now, but in his mind she wasn't wearing the gown with its plunging neckline. Instead, she was naked, lying in the grass below the tree with her long hair spread out around her lush body.
Geordie shifted uncomfortably on his branch as his body responded to that imagining, his cock now waking from rest and beginning to poke up at his plaid. Leaning forward slightly, he rested his arm across his lap to hide it and then stilled as he realized the pose placed his face closer to hers, just inches away, in fact. Close enough to kiss, he thought suddenly, and then reached quickly for her when she jerked back in surprise and nearly tumbled backward off her branch.
"Careful, lass," Geordie warned, his voice coming out a husky growl. Releasing her once the risk of her falling passed, he straightened and suggested, "Mayhap we'd best climb down now."
"Aye," she agreed, her face a little flushed, and then without another word, she placed one tiny slippered foot on the branch next to his leg, braced one hand on the large branch she sat on and began to push her bottom off it.
That shout from below startled both of them, but Dwyn physically started and he saw the way her eyes widened in alarm as her foot slipped from the branch and she began to fall. Geordie didn't even think, but leaned down and caught her about the waist, then dragged her back up and onto his lap. They both froze then, neither seeming to even breathe as another pair of females appeared under the tree and stopped to look around the orchard with obvious exasperation. They were both tall and pretty with dark hair and appealing features that were presently somewhat vexed.
"Oh, where has she got to now?" the lass in a pale pink gown muttered with irritation.
"No doubt, hiding," the second woman, dressed in a pale blue gown, responded on a sigh. "Ye ken how shy she is."
"Aye, well, she must work past that, Aileen, if she ever wishes to marry. Hiding is no' going to get her a husband."
"Oh, let her have some peace, Una," the lass named Aileen said wearily. "The single Buchanan brothers are no' here at the moment anyway, and we have harassed her enough what with taking in her gowns until she can hardly breathe, and constantly pinching her cheeks trying to give her some color. Besides, that bitch Lady Catriona and her friend Lady Sasha have both been tormenting our sister horribly. I do no' blame her for wanting a moment to herself."
"Aye," the lass named Una agreed grimly, and then growled, "They are calling her horse face now, did ye hear?"
"What?" Aileen said with dismay.
"Aye, and they have taken to taunting her by calling her Whinnie instead o' Dwyn too."
"I thought I heard them call her Whinnie, but then decided I just misheard and they were saying Dwynnie."
"Nay," Una assured her. "And they follow it up with whinnying sounds too. I'd like to scratch their nasty eyes out for picking at her."
"They are like she-wolves scenting the weakest in the herd, separating them and then attacking," Aileen said sadly. "I wish Dwyn would fight back."
"She is too nice for that," Una said, somehow making nice sound quite disgusting. "And do no' even bother suggesting it to her. She'd just make us feel bad for being angry at them and say they were obviously unhappy to act so and needed our sympathy."
"Aye," Aileen agreed with a faint smile, following when Una moved away from the tree. "I swear she'd have sympathy for the devil did she meet him."
"Probably offer him mead," Una muttered as they disappeared from view and their voices began to grow fainter.
Dwyn remained completely still at first as the voices faded away. She'd barely dared breathe once her sisters had appeared beneath them, but now that they were leaving, she realized she couldn't move anyway. Her back was pressed tight to the chest of her savior, the arm around her waist like a band of steel under her breasts, holding her in place . . . And pushing her breasts up out of her top again, she realized with dismay. There was more than a little nipple now on display in the oversmall gown, although Dwyn didn't think that had been the man's intent. She didn't even think he probably realized what was happening. Did he?
Dwyn turned her head and tipped it so that she could glance back at him. Much to her relief, his head was turned, his eyes pointed in the direction her sisters had taken as he waited to be sure they left. Just as she noted that though, he glanced down toward her and then froze, the arm around her waist tightening briefly and sending her breasts farther out of her gown until the nipples were almost completely on display.
They both remained still for a moment. Dwyn was blushing fiercely and struggling to find something to say to ease her embarrassment when he suddenly lowered his head and pressed his lips to hers. Dwyn stiffened in amazement as his mouth brushed over hers once, then twice. When he nipped at her lower lip, drawing on it and tugging gently, she opened for him. The moment her lips parted, he released the lower one and covered her mouth again with his. This time she felt his tongue slide out and Dwyn gasped with surprise as it snaked in to fill her mouth. That reaction melted away, replaced by a warm rush of excitement though, as his mouth slanted over hers, his tongue thrusting and exploring.
Dwyn found herself responding, or trying to. She hadn't a clue what she was doing, and at first tried to keep her own tongue out of his way as her mouth moved under his, but he merely chased it. When his tongue rasped against her own, Dwyn moaned and stopped retreating to thrust back. Her hands came up to clasp his arm under her breasts, her nails digging into his skin as she kissed back with all that she was worth.
This time it was him who moaned, and for a moment the kiss became most demanding and hungry. It was as if he was trying to devour her, Dwyn thought faintly, and found she wasn't at all alarmed at the prospect. Tearing one hand from his arm, she reached up to slide her fingers around his neck, her body straining and twisting in his hold to press closer, and then he suddenly broke the kiss and lifted his head.
For a moment he just stared down at her, his heated gaze sliding over her flushed face and then down over her exposed breasts. Dwyn followed his gaze, noting that the circles of dusky rose flesh had contracted and darkened around the small buds that had hardened and were now rising out of the center like flowers seeking the sun.
She'd just noted that when the man holding her abruptly shifted his hands, caught her by the waist and turned Dwyn to set her on her branch again. The moment her bottom landed on the hard wood, he grabbed the front of her gown and tugged it up to cover her properly. He didn't let go of the cloth at once though, but froze, still holding the material, the backs of his fingers warm against her nipples, which were responding most oddly to the unintentional touch.
Panting breathlessly, Dwyn stared at his dark hands against her pale flesh. But then he groaned, drawing her gaze up to see that he'd closed his eyes and appeared to be in some distress.
"I— Are ye all right?" she asked shakily, her gaze shifting from his pained expression to his fingers still inside her top and back. "Did ye hurt yerself lifting me? I know I am heavy. Did ye—" She paused, her own eyes widening slightly when his suddenly flashed open. He was looking at her like she was sweet meat and he hadn't eaten in days, Dwyn thought faintly, and then he abruptly removed his hands and was gone. She blinked at the empty branch in front of her, and then leaned forward and looked down in time to to see him land lightly on his feet on the hard-packed ground. He snatched up a sack that lay against the trunk and walked away.
Dwyn watched until he was out of sight and then sat back with a shaky sigh. Well, wasn't that . . . She shook her head slightly and reached up to press her fingers to her still-tingling lips. That had been . . .
"Oh, my," Dwyn breathed. She'd just had her first kiss, and it had been quite wonderful. At least, she'd thought so. She didn't think his walking off like that was a good sign though, and wondered what it meant. Perhaps she shouldn't have let him kiss her. Not that she'd had much choice, she assured herself. It had been somewhat unexpected, and her precarious position in his lap—
Oh, give over, her mind argued at once. She hadn't wanted to stop him, not once his tongue was in her mouth. Then she'd wanted him to continue to kiss her, and still did, she acknowledged with a grimace. Truly, she wished he was still there, holding her in his lap, his mouth moving on hers, his arms around her. But she wished he'd done more. She wasn't sure what exactly, but . . . Her hands rose and closed over her breasts almost protectively. They had tingled and hardened as he'd kissed her, and were oddly sensitive now, the brush of her palms over them even through the material of her gown making them tingle all the more.
Lowering her hands quickly, Dwyn turned to peer out over the land beyond the wall and tried not to think about the odd sensations now swirling through her body. Or who the man might be. And whether he might repeat the experience should they encounter each other again while she was here.
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