Janet Chapman Secrets of the Highlander

ISBN 13: 9781416505297

Secrets of the Highlander

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9781416505297: Secrets of the Highlander
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He is the father of her child, but the secrets they are hiding are tearing them apart....

Megan MacKeage escaped the smothering protectiveness of the Highland MacKeage clan to work as a scientist on the Canadian tundra. But when fellow researcher Wayne Ferris breaks her heart by rejecting her, Megan returns to Maine alone.... Then she meets the town's new police chief, Jack Stone -- the man she knew as Wayne Ferris. Instead of the quiet scholar he posed as, he's an aggressive private eye who's willing to fight for what he wants, just like all the overbearing men in her clan. So why is Megan still feeling a dangerous attraction? And though Jack claims he followed her here because he loves her, can she ever trust a man with so many secrets?

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About the Author:

A native of rural central Maine, Janet Chapman (1956 – 2017) lived in a cozy log cabin on a lake with her husband, three cats, and a stay young bull moose. The author of the hugely popular Highlander time-travel series, she also wrote numerous contemporary romances.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Ï»¿

Chapter One

Megan MacKeage slipped out the front door of her home and strode across the footbridge guarding the entryway. Discovering she no longer was able to button her coat, she pulled it against her rounded belly and headed to the stable. It had been almost two weeks since anyone had last seen Gesader, and Megan didn't buy her sister Winter's explanation that the semiwild panther was merely hiding from the throng of people that had descended on Gù Brath eight days ago.

The social chaos had started with her and her sisters' birthday party four days before Christmas and wouldn't wind down until after the new year. The annual two-week-long celebration had become a tradition since Heather's birth thirty-three years ago -- which had been followed by six more babies over the next ten years, all girls, all born on the winter solstice. As Grace and Greylen MacKeage's seven daughters had grown up and started traveling their own paths, the once-intimate gathering had expanded when the girls returned every December to Pine Creek, several towing husbands and an ever-increasing number of children in their wake.

Two weeks was too long for Gesader to stay away, Megan fretted as she pushed open the huge stable door, and walked to Goose Down's stall. "Hey, big boy," she crooned, giving the huge draft horse's nose an affectionate pat. "How would you like to help me search for

Gesader?"

She lifted Goose's bridle off the peg under his nameplate and opened the stall door. "The snow is only up to your knees and there's no icy crust, so the trek should be easy." She slipped the bit in his mouth and tucked the bridle straps over his ears. "I haven't seen that black devil since before the solstice and I'm worried about him, even if no one else is." She led Goose into the aisle, hooked him in the cross ties, then leaned her forehead against his large, warm cheek. "What if he's hurt?" she whispered. "What if he got tangled up in a coyote trap or gored by a buck he was trying to bring down?"

Goose's only answer was a long-winded sigh. Megan headed to the tack room and wrestled the heavy saddle from its stand. "You have to help me sneak off without being seen, Goose, because I don't need any more lectures from anyone, telling me what I should and shouldn't be doing." She grunted, pulling the saddle free. "I'm pregnant, not incapacitated."

"They only lecture because they love ye," a rich-­timbered voice said behind her.

Megan spun around with a gasp, dropping the saddle. "Kenzie," she sputtered.

She'd met the imposing highland warrior six days ago at Winter and Matt Gregor's wedding. Kenzie was Matt's long-lost brother, Matt had explained when he'd proudly introduced Kenzie to everyone who had gathered in the high meadow on Bear Mountain for the wedding. Or to be more precise, his thousand-year-old brother. For Matt was also known as Cùram de Gairn, a powerful drùidh who had traveled a thousand years forward in time to seduce an equally powerful wizard -- who just happened to be Megan's baby sister, Winter -- into helping him right a terrible wrong.

No one had been surprised by Kenzie's mysterious appearance, considering that Megan's father, Laird Greylen MacKeage, as well as her uncles Morgan and Callum MacKeage and Michael MacBain, were also time travelers.

Megan's mind reeled at the realization that the magic she had known since birth appeared to be spiraling out of control lately. Or maybe her head was spinning because she'd stopped breathing again -- which seemed to happen whenever she found herself around Kenzie Gregor.

"A lass in your condition shouldn't be lifting heavy saddles," he said, his golden eyes dark with reproach. He picked up the saddle, set it back on its stand, then turned and walked out of the tack room. "Nor should ye be riding."

Megan stared at the door he'd disappeared through, taking deep breaths as she counted to ten. But when she heard Goose plodding back to his stall, she lost what was left of her patience. She ran into the aisle, swiped the reins out of Kenzie's hand, and led her horse back to the cross ties.

"I am quite capable of deciding what I should and shouldn't be doing," she said, striding back to the tack room.

Kenzie's golden eyes lit with amusement as he arched a brow at her glare.

"I understand you've barely been in this century a week," she said. "But you'll soon discover that things have changed in a thousand years. Twenty-first-century women -- pregnant or otherwise -- don't want men lecturing them. We can take care of ourselves."

"Marriage still seems to be the norm, though," he countered. "Which implies it still takes two to raise a bairn." His gaze dropped to her belly, then moved around the barn before returning to her. "Yet I don't see a husband out here helping you."

Megan's cheeks flushed with heat. No matter how civilized Kenzie looked with his modern clothes, clean-shaven face, and short haircut, he still had the mind-set of an ancient. "I don't care if you're older than time itself; you have no right butting into my business."

She spun on her heel and led Goose outside to the mounting stairs. But before she could brush the snow off the steps, large hands suddenly lifted her onto Goose's saddleless back. And before she'd finished yelping in surprise, Kenzie had vaulted up behind her.

"Where are we off to, then?" he asked with a resigned sigh, taking the reins from her hands.

Megan went perfectly still. "We're not going anywhere. You're going back to the house, and I'm riding up TarStone Mountain to look for my...my cat."

Ignoring her dismissal, her unasked-for escort reined Goose toward the slopes crowded with skiers enjoying their holiday vacation.

Having had plenty of experience dealing with ancient-thinking men, Megan realized he wouldn't be ditched easily. So she might as well take advantage of his willingness to help her -- as well as of the heat that radiated from his overlarge body like a blast furnace. And who knew, maybe some of his brother's magic had rubbed off on him, and Kenzie might be able to conjure up Gesader.

"The other way," she said, reaching in front of his hand to pull on the reins, turning Goose toward the narrow tote road that ran up the forested side of TarStone. "Gesader is likely hiding in the woods. He doesn't much care for crowds."

Kenzie urged the Percheron onto the unplowed logging road. "Most cats would be snuggled up in front of a fire this time of year, instead of tramping through snow deeper than they are tall."

"Not Gesader," Megan said, deciding that riding bareback was much more practical than using a saddle. Be­tween Goose's warmth beneath her and Kenzie's heat enveloping her, Megan felt like she was snuggled in front of a fire. Or else her hormones were acting up again. "If you're from tenth-century Scotland, how do you speak English so well?"

Kenzie reached around her to her open coat collar. "I've been practicing for several years. Ye should button up," he said, trying to fasten the top button.

She pushed his hand away. "I can't. My belly's getting too big. So you knew for several years that you were coming to this century? Is that what Matt needed Winter's help for? The terrible upset he caused to the continuum that nearly killed all the trees of life -- that was just to bring you here?"

Kenzie pulled her back against him by wrapping one arm around her expanded waist. "More or less. Gesader is an ancient Gaelic word. Why did ye name your cat Enchanter?"

Megan made a production of repositioning herself, and leaned forward to take hold of Goose's mane again. Kenzie Gregor was a virtual stranger, yet he was acting as though they'd been best buddies for years. "My sister named him, as he's really her pet. I've only been back in Pine Creek four months. But with Winter spending so much time with Matt this fall, Gesader seemed to prefer my company to hers. And he's not a house cat, he's a panther."

"Maine has panthers?" Kenzie asked curiously.

"No. We have lynx and bobcat, and there have been rare sightings of mountain lions, but no panthers." Megan smiled. "Our cousin Robbie MacBain brought Gesader forward in time three years ago as a tiny cub. Robbie's our resident guardian who's in charge of keeping Pendaär in line. Or he was, before Pendaär lost all his magical powers." She shrugged. "Now I suppose Robbie must guard us from Winter and your brother. He's the logger married to Catherine and is baby Angus's father."

"Aye, I remember. He carried ye upstairs to bed last night when ye fell asleep in your chair." Kenzie chuckled. "And Pendaär is the cranky old priest who's always the first to sit down at the table and the last one to leave, who keeps eyeing me as if he thinks I'm wanting to steal the whiskers right off his face."

Megan laughed. "That's Pendaär, though everyone calls him Father Daar around the moderns. He was a powerful wizard before he passed on the magic to Winter. He was the one who brought my father and uncles to this century nearly forty years ago. But Daar sort of...

he often bungled his spells, and he ended up bringing three other MacKeage men here, as well as six MacBain warriors and all their warhorses."

She turned to look at Kenzie. "The MacKeages and MacBains were at war at the time, but Michael and Papa declared peace years ago. The MacKeages settled here in Pine Creek when they purchased TarStone Mountain. They built Gù Brath, got the ski resort up and running, then decided to find wives to rebuild their clan."

Kenzie shook his head. "But your poor father sired seven daughters instead."

Megan shot him a scowl and faced forward again. "Another thing you'll discover about the twenty-first century, Mr. Gregor, is that having a bunch of sons is no longer important. Thanks to modern technology, being female is more often a strength than a weakness. Women can do anything men can do." She shot him a smirk over her shoulder. "And most times, we ...

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9780739491584: Secrets of the Highlander

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ISBN 10:  073949158X ISBN 13:  9780739491584
Publisher: Pocket Star Books, 2008
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9781476752662: Secrets of the Highlander

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