"Can love prevail over centuries of clan distrust and feuding?"
Reviewed by Audrey Lawrence
Posted December 29, 2018
As the beloved daughter of the powerful Laird Cameron, Janet
is used to being treated with respect and this drunken
dragoon at the dance did not appeal to her in any way. Used
to getting his own way, Lieutenant Wilfred Cummings grabs
Janet and leaves her no choice but to respond with a slap in
his face. Any gentleman would have long since backed away,
but Cummings, although an officer is definitely not a
gentleman and vows his vengeance against Janet and her family.
Hearing her screams of distress, Laird Robert Grant comes
and offers quick assistance. Despite noticing his handsome
looks earlier at the Samhain Gathering, Janet knows to stay
well clear from him. Their families had centuries of
distrust against the other. Can she really trust her
family's enemy to help her escape?
If you like Highland romances, there is lots here to please.
THE HIGHLAND RENEGADE is the fifth novel by the talented Amy
Jarecki in her highly regarded A Lords
Of The Highlands series. As such, this latest
addition is sure to please her many fans, both new and old
alike, with her strong character development and historical
sense of the time. Robert Grant is a laird worthy of the
name as he struggles with his growing love for Janet and his
need to get revenge on those who are stealing his cattle.
His prime suspect is none other than the Cameron clan and
For her part, Janet is a very engaging and strong-willed
heroine who shows a keen spirit and sense of honour, despite
all the challenges she faces. Set in 1712 Scotland, Jarecki
instantly whirls you right into the lively activities in
Inverlochy right from the first page and on to the dramatic
situations facing Janet.
In the spirit of her earlier novels in the series, Jarecki
creates a captivating Scottish romance; yet, this time
between long-standing rival clans. THE HIGHLAND RENEGADE
will delight historical romance fans who will appreciate
Jarecki's sense of the times, historical accuracy and vivid
scenes. To me, the characters are realistic in their
motivations and instincts, even if their decisions, actions,
and reactions are not always the best. For his part, Robert
Grant is a very appealing and quintessential hero who
realizes his role and responsibilities, despite his
occasional need to stir the stick over his missing cattle.
Now faced with a common enemy, can the rivaling clans forego
their hatred and feuding?
If you enjoy a stirring romance, intriguing characters and a
fast-moving plot with danger a plenty, then get your hands
on THE HIGHLAND RENEGADE! A truly captivating read to relish!
Fans of Hannah Howell and Diana Galbaldon will love this
sexy, Scottish historical romance from the bestselling
author of The Highland Chieftain.
She is the daughter of his sworn enemy.
Famed for his fierceness, Laird Robert Grant is above all a
loyal Highland clan chief. But when redcoats capture his
rival's daughter, he sets aside their feud and races to her
rescue. Aye, Janet Cameron is beautiful, cunning, and so
very tempting, but a Cameron lass is the last woman he
should ever desire.
He is her one hope of happiness.
Janet refuses to meekly surrender, not even when surrounded
by foes. She takes every chance to escape, first from the
English soldiers and then from the wickedly handsome Robert.
Yet with each day they spend together, his unexpected
gallantry chips away at her reserve little by little. As
danger and treachery loom, can she trust him enough to
choose love over vengeance?
The Highlands, late October 1712
The sign on the alehouse door caught Janet’s eye as Kennan
carried her across the muddied street.
Samhain gathering, 7 o’clock, Inverlochy Hall, Friday,
No spurs. Weapons must be checked at the door.
Her stomach fluttered at the thrill. The best part of the
fete was the gathering after the livestock auction. There’d
be a feast of roast pork, music, and dancing.
A great deal of dancing.
Two drovers brushed past them, nearly knocking Janet’s hat
from her head. The enormous red plume adorning it batted her
in the eye.
“Watch yourselves, ye maggots,” Kennan growled as the two
men pushed inside. Her brother could be overly protective,
though he was as lovable as a puppy. Strong, too. He didn’t
miss a step, not even when the drovers practically ran them
over in their haste for a pint of ale. If Kennan felt any
strain from Janet’s weight, he showed no sign of discomfort.
But she knew better. The wool of her riding habit alone most
likely weighed a stone.
Janet straightened her tricorn bonnet, shifting the feather
out of her line of sight while Kennan gently deposited her
on the footpath. “Those men must have a terrible thirst,”
He glanced toward the door, busy with people entering and
exiting. “Thirst or not, a month of droving is no reason for
a man to be careless. What if I’d dropped you in the mud?”
“But you didn’t.”
Kennan took her hand and led her inside. Janet had attended
the fete at Inverlochy during Samhain annually as far back
as she could remember, but she’d never seen the town this
crowded. “Every year there are more people at the harvest.”
He scowled at another brash drover heading for the bar. “And
more bloody scoundrels. Stay close to me.”
Any other week, Inverlochy was a quaint and quiet town, but
right before Samhain, clans and kin descended from the hills
or sailed from the Hebrides to peddle their livestock and
goods. It was only fourteen miles from the Clan Cameron seat
at Achnacarry, and Janet and her kin visited two or three
times a year to purchase supplies. Though not large, the
town boasted a haberdasher, a dressmaker, and a tanner who
made saddles as well as shoes.
At the center of town was the alehouse. The only
establishment that served meals, it catered to all manner of
fellows. A lady must never enter unaccompanied, lest she be
mistaken for a harlot. Judging by the way her brother had
clamped his fingers around her hand, Janet need not worry
about being mistaken for a woman of easy virtue, though she
wouldn’t mind if Kennan weren’t quite so protective. After
all, she did have an ulterior motive for visiting the fete
without her father. Da hadn’t before missed the Samhain
gathering, though much had changed since he’d taken a new bride.
Needless to say, Janet was relieved to enjoy a wee respite
from Achnacarry and her imposing stepmother, awkward as
things had become.
“I wonder where all these people will stay,” she said as
Kennan pulled her deeper into the crowd.
“Tents, the alehouse, the loft in the stables.” He raised
his voice to be heard.
Through the haze of pipe smoke, Janet looked to the rafters,
doubting the wax had been cleaned from the chandeliers since
her visit six months past. “Aye, Mrs. MacNash couldn’t
possibly take in the half of them.”
Kennan grasped Janet’s elbow and led her to an area near the
back where respectable-looking patrons gathered.
“Fortunately, we have a long-standing booking at the
“Thank heavens.” She scanned the faces of the rugged
Highlanders dressed in kilts and with their plaids pinned at
their shoulders. Gazes shifted her way. Interested gazes.
Brows arched. A ruddy man winked. Janet’s cheeks burned as
she tried not to smile.
With luck, she might meet someone who struck her fancy. Her
stepmother had already started mumbling about finding Janet
a husband, and in no way did she want that woman meddling in
her affairs. Judging by the eel-eyed way the new Lady of
Lochiel looked at Janet, dear Stepmother would hog-tie the
first poor sop who happened past their lands and force her
stepdaughter into a life of misery.
Please, Lord, help me to find someone I like. If
there actually was a man out there with whom she could fall
in love. At the age of two and twenty, she hadn’t given up
hope, but she had grown anxious. And unfortunately,
according to Her Ladyship, Janet was unduly particular.
“If it’s not the Camerons!” a familiar voice called from a
table in the corner. “Och, I haven’t seen the likes of you
since we were wed. Come, share our table.” Dunn MacRae,
chieftain of his clan, stood and beckoned them.
Janet’s heart soared. One of her dearest friends, Lady
Mairi, daughter of the Earl of Cromartie and Dunn’s lovely
wife, waved like a finch. Returning the gesture, Janet
hastened to follow her brother to the table. The two men
shook hands while she slid onto the chair beside her friend.
“I’m so happy to see you. I was afraid I would be following
Kennan to and fro for the entire sennight.”
“What about John and Alan? Did your younger brothers not come?”
“Nay, they are both away at university.”
“Then I agree, spending all your time with one brother for a
sennight would be miserable.” Mairi grasped Janet’s hand,
grinning and stretching the splay of freckles across her
nose. “I’ve ever so much to do. I would be delighted to have
you accompany me.”
“To the dressmaker?”
“Indeed, that will be our most important stop.”
Janet nearly squealed. “We might need a whole day just for
“Oh, this will be fun. Though I must drop the woolens I’ve
knitted at the Highland Benevolent Society first.”
“Bless your heart, dearest. ’Tis very kind of you to always
be thinking of the unfortunate.”
Dunn flagged a barmaid. “Ale, bread, and pottage all around,
if you please.”
The woman, looking haggard, gave him an exasperated nod.
“Aye, sir, but it will be some time. We expected half these
An icy chill crept over Janet’s skin when the door opened
with a whoosh. All eyes shifted to soldiers dressed in
scarlet. Not a one smiled as they sauntered inside with
muskets slung over their shoulders and daggers at their
hips. The laughter transformed into intense silence.
People scuttled away while the officer leading the retinue
turned in a full circle, his heels clomping against the
floorboards. “I am Lieutenant Winfred Cummins, in charge of
keeping the peace at this uncivilized, pagan gathering.”
Low murmurs of dissent rumbled through the hall. Janet knew
him, unfortunately. He oft came into Achnacarry when his
regiment rode out on “peacekeeping sorties.”
He stopped and glared directly at her. “All disturbers of
the peace will be escorted to Fort William and face the
magistrate. There will be no malicious maiming of cattle, no
poaching, no begging without a license, and all persons
caught with a blackened face after dark will promptly be led
to the gallows.”
Janet drew her hand to her chest, leaned toward her friend,
and whispered, “I have no idea why he’s looking our way. He
should be speaking to the drovers at the bar.”
Mairi opened her fan and held it over her mouth. “He’s
looking at you, lass.”
Janet slipped lower in her chair. “Heavens, no. That man is
“You know him?” Mairi asked while the soldiers shouldered
through the crowd.
“Aye, as does everyone who lives within twenty miles of Fort
William. He’s notorious.”
“I do not doubt it.” Her Ladyship snapped her fan shut.
“When a dragoon dons a red coat, it seems his mind is
“You have a way with words, wife,” Dunn said.
Again Janet’s attention was drawn to the opening door. A wee
gasp whispered through her lips while butterflies swarmed
through her stomach just as they’d done when Robert Grant
had ridden his enormous black horse into the stables earlier
that day. She clenched her elbows to her sides, making the
queasiness stop. The man was too unnerving. Especially
today. He was unshorn and unkempt, and his hawkish eyes
shifted across the scene as if assessing everything.
Janet brushed a hand over her curls. “That man is simply
barbaric.” Barbaric and nerve racking. Every time
their gazes met, he made her too self-aware. Curses to his
braw looks, Mr. Grant was diabolical. And why was it that
the most handsome of men always behaved like complete brutes?
“Aye, Grant looks as though he’s been mustering cattle in
the Highlands for months,” Her Ladyship agreed.
Kennan snorted. “That brigand is mad—looks it, as well. As
we were arriving, he had the audacity to accuse my kin of
thieving his cattle.”
Dunn looked to the bar, where the big Highlander had
shouldered in beside the other drovers. “Grant is a mite
mistrustful of neighboring clans. He has cause, after all.
But he’s a good man.” When Kennan guffawed, MacRae clapped
him on the shoulder. “Though he’s wrong about the Camerons.”
“What do you mean, sir?” Janet leaned in. “I do not believe
Mr. Grant to be a good man at all.”
“Och, you’ll find a heart of gold under that rugged
exterior, lassie.” MacRae winked. “I’ll tell ye true,
there’s no man I’d rather have fighting beside me in battle.
Robert Grant’s loyalty may be hard to win, but once earned,
you will not find a man more steadfast and true.”
Mairi gave Janet a nudge. “I thought you found him a wee bit
She snatched her fan from her chatelaine and cooled her
face. “Pleasing to the eye, mayhap, but I could never be on
friendly terms with a Highlander who accuses my father of
“Thievery, did I hear?”
Her shoulders tensing, Janet hid her cringe behind the fan
as Winfred Cummins moved to their table and blocked the view
of Mr. Grant. Honestly, Janet liked most people, but today
the alehouse seemed to be filled with the most churlish
gentlemen she knew.
“It seems some of Laird Grant’s cattle were stolen. Some of
Clan Cameron’s went missing as well,” Kennan explained.
“Is that so?” Flicking a bit of lint from his doublet, the
lieutenant appeared unimpressed and disinterested.
The barmaid pushed in and placed four tankards of ale in
front of them. “Your pottage will be along shortly.”
“My thanks.” Dunn reached for a drink and sipped. “So,
Lieutenant, what news?”
Cummins shifted his gaze to Janet while she clasped her
hands in her lap and stared at her fan, heat spreading up
her face. “Things have been quiet,” he said. “Though I’m
skeptical they’ll remain so with so many miscreants in
town.” He didn’t bother to look at Mr. MacRae, to whom he
was speaking—the lieutenant continued to ogle Janet as if
she were on display in a shop window.
“Miscreants? Hardly,” said Mairi.
At last Lieutenant Cummins shifted his attention and arched
an eyebrow at Her Ladyship. “Whenever large numbers of
Highlanders gather, there’s bound to be trouble.”
Casting her inner revulsion aside, Janet squared her
shoulders and inhaled. “I certainly hope not. I came to
Inverlochy to enjoy the Samhain celebrations, not rue them.”
“And that’s where you err, miss,” said Lieutenant Cummins.
“You Highlanders refuse to cast away outdated and pagan
fancies. This gathering ought to be called the harvest fete,
or something more civilized.”
“That would be quite dull, indeed,” said Mairi.
“I agree.” Emboldened by Her Ladyship’s support, Janet
nodded. “There’s a certain tradition in our Celtic heritage
I think should never be lost, no matter who is on the throne
or what religion is in vogue.”
The lieutenant shifted his leering eyes to her again. “Do
you speak blasphemy?”
“Hardly.” This time, Janet wasn’t about to feign meekness
and look at her lap. She narrowed her eyes and stared at him
directly. “I speak the opposite. I speak of freedom.”
Kennan pushed his chair back. “Pay no mind to my sister. She
is a strong-willed lass, passionate in her convictions.”
A wry grin played on the lieutenant’s lips. Still wearing
his tall grenadier hat, he was a man of average height and
acceptable appearance with gray eyes and a big mole on his
right cheek. He leaned across the table and lowered his
voice. “I should like to observe such passion at the Samhain
dance—it would certainly liven up a dreary evening.”
“Aye, Lieutenant Cummins?” Janet continued to hold his
stare, refusing to show any sign of the abhorrence roiling
inside. “It is my opinion that the dancing at Samhain shall
be the most vigorous in the Highlands.”
“I hope you are right.” He straightened before he bowed.
Mairi leaned in. “‘Most vigorous’?” she whispered.
Janet sniffed, wildly fluttering her fan. “What should I
have said? I could not sit idle and allow him to degrade our
“But vigorous?” Mairi giggled.
“Aye, Sister.” Kennan gave a pointed look. “I agree with Her
Ladyship. Keep mum when in the presence of that man—or any
dragoons. They have a knack of turning anything you say
Janet grasped the handle of her tankard. “I intend to stay
away from all soldiers.” Cummins most of all.
As she sipped, she watched Mr. Grant follow a barmaid out
the back toward the bathhouse. Over his shoulder, the brawny
Highlander cast a tortured look Janet’s way. A look filled
with hunger. Had Janet blinked, she would have missed the
glance from her father’s sworn enemy. Oddly, the shudder
coursing through her far exceeded the brief duration of his
glimpse. How could a man impart such heated intensity within
a mere heartbeat? Good glory, she could scarcely breathe.
Oh, to be in the barmaid’s shoes. Janet would douse the
laird under his bathwater until he admitted the Camerons
hadn’t stolen his miserable beasts.
Robert Grant without his clothing.
Janet gulped, her skin afire.
Perhaps she’d best confront him on the matter some other time.
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