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Authors: Cathy MacRae,DD MacRae

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The trick was to figure out a way to get Chinese martial arts and weaponry, along with healing arts, into medieval England, and the 9th Crusades provided the vehicle. During this period, the Silk Road, which was a means for many cultures and peoples to mingle, was dominated by the Mongols as they and the Muslim Mamluks fought for superiority in the region. When Edward (Longshanks), son of Henry III, came crusading after arriving too late to aid Louis IX of France in the capture of Tunis, he headed toward the Holy Land. Edward negotiated an alliance with the Mongols to fight the Mamluks in the region.

While seeing some success in places like Tripoli (modern day Lebanon and Syria) and Acre (Northern Israel), Edward withdrew due to pressing needs back home. The 9th Crusade wasn’t a loss per se, but rather the campaign ran out of steam as its principals were needed elsewhere.

The backstory for Highland Escape gives us Sir Everard Braxton, a English knight, who proved instrumental in the campaign in Tripoli and was in turn rewarded with a small barony in the borderlands. It was common for second sons who wouldn’t inherit and other knights to go on crusade for the opportunity to earn land and wealth in the Holy Land, or purchase land for themselves with the spoils back home. Some would say such a title and holding wasn’t much of a reward, as the borders were a dangerous and tumultuous place, particularly at this time. Longshanks would want men he knew to be loyal and strong at the border.

Having won victory at Tripoli, it wasn’t a stretch for Braxton to have freed Mamluk prisoners. Zhang was a bodyguard to a rich merchant who plied the Silk Road who met with a foul end. Attaching himself to Braxton in exchange for his freedom, Zhang provided the means of cultural transfer to the borders of Northern medieval England. His time in captivity would have changed his perspective on training, much like US POWs in Viet Nam changed how military training is done today. Anna and her brother Edrick became beneficiaries of his experience.

Braxton used diplomacy rather than war to keep the peace on his piece of the border by marrying the daughter of the local Scottish laird. While this made him a peacekeeper in his territory, it set up an impossible situation for his daughter, who was despised for her Scot’s blood south of the border, and for her English heritage north of it. This provided enough conflict for Anna to become someone other than a pampered English noblewoman.

We hope you enjoyed Anna’s story and the rich history behind it.

Acknowledgements

We’d like to thank our critique partners and those who had input in this book: Vonda Sinclair, Dawn Marie Hamilton and Cate Park. You are the best!

Thanks and much appreciation to our wonderful editor, Simone Seguin, and fantastic cover artist, Rae Monet.

About the Authors

Cathy and DD MacRae have been critique partners for several years and worked together to create the book you just read. Cathy has authored 4 books in her Highlander’s Bride series (with a 5th one on the way). DD writes both contemporary and historical romance books, one of each scheduled to be released in the next year.

Other Books by Cathy MacRae

The Highlander’s Bride series
:

The Highlander’s Accidental Bride
(book 1)

http://www.amzn.com/B00BMFPT12

The Highlander’s Reluctant Bride
(book 2)

http://www.amzn.com/B00J1PNPPC

The Highlander’s Tempestuous Bride
(book 3)

http://www.amzn.com/B00P89UHME

The Highlander’s Outlaw Bride
(book 4)

http://www.amzn.com/B00UD9JMBQ

Kinnon’s Story (working title) (book 5)

coming 2015

http://www.cathymacraeauthor.com

Read an excerpt from

Kinnon’s Story

(working title)

by Cathy MacRae

1380, Châteauneuf-de-Randon, France

Kinnon Macrory stared into the face of death.

’Tis nae fair. After all the battles I have survived, to arrive at this.
He would have sighed at the injustice of it, but he was, quite frankly, afraid to make an unnecessary move.

The black mask surrounded dark topaz eyes, a burnished coat, and a fine set of strong, glistening white teeth revealing themselves from beneath snarling black jowls. The Alaunt’s ears lay flat against his skull in warning, and his hair stood up along his neck and shoulders. As did Kinnon’s.

Shite.

He lifted his eyes carefully from the reddened hand laid across the dog’s neck. The slender fingers could have belonged to a nobleman’s daughter, but the nails were short and the skin rough.
Amazing what the mind registers when death is imminent
. Kinnon’s gaze wandered further. The owner of the hand wore a serviceable gown, patched areas meticulously sewn, sleeve cuff turned back on itself, almost hiding the frayed edges. A smudged apron covered the front of the gown, the bucket of milk at her feet announcing her job before he arrived. And came face-to-face with death.

“Do ye mind calling off yer beast?” He offered a winsome smile, splaying his hands at his side, a small bag of coins in his left palm. The young woman stared at him, giving the bag only a brief glance.

He tried again. “
Chien
?”

The young woman’s gaze did not waver—clear, cold blue eyes bore into his. Wisps of black hair curled damply against her temple, attesting to her work ethic and the warmth of the day. Her thin nose sat atop full, red lips that neither smiled nor frowned at him.

The dog growled, a deep menacing sound originating from his enormous chest that warned Kinnon from making a further move—if he wanted to keep his throat intact.

Kinnon did.

His heartbeat kicked up. The impressive muscles in the dog’s forelegs rippled, his claws gripped the ground, his hindquarters bunched, ready to launch himself at the least provocation. Savage power quivered beneath the thin hand of a milkmaid Kinnon could have easily tossed over his shoulder without so much as a grunt of effort. Endless moments passed as he roundly cursed the man who sent him to this farm on an errand better suited to one of the camp lackeys.


Se calmer
, Jean-Baptiste,” the young woman murmured as the dog leaned forward.

“Jean-Baptiste?” Kinnon couldn’t help himself. “Ye call this beast John the Baptizer?”

The woman gave him an inscrutable look, but the edge of her lips quivered, threatened to smile. “He has changed
la religion
of more than one man.”

Kinnon’s eyebrows shot upward and he shifted his weight against a sympathetic ache in his loins. “Aye. I can believe that.”

He took measure of the enormous beast, its shoulder almost even with the woman’s waist, his possessiveness clear. With his mistress’s soft command, the dog settled, but his eyes did not waver, his threat remained unmistakable.

“I was sent to ask ye for what supplies I could buy.” Kinnon gently flipped the small bag in his hand. The movement and clink of coin drew the woman’s attention.

“You brought coin?” She snorted and hefted the milk bucket in one slender hand. “Most simply take what they want.”

Kinnon moved instinctively to take the burden from her but froze at the snarling response from Jean-Baptiste. His startled gaze darted to the milkmaid, gaging her next action. Cool blue eyes met his, and this time, the young woman smiled.


Merci
, but I can manage. If you would like to keep your
virilité
intact, please take a step back. Jean-Baptiste and I do not like to be crowded.”

Kinnon let out his breath and took the required step back. “Aye. And I thank ye.”

She raised her eyebrows. “For what?”

“For not letting yer beast change my religion.”

* * *

Highland Escape

Copyright © 2015 Short Dog Press

This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, business establishments, locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be copied, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or shared in any form (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the prior written permission from the author except for brief quotations for printed reviews.

The scanning, uploading and distribution of this book via the Internet or any other means without the permission of the author is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials.

Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Epilogue

DD’s Note to the Reader

Acknowledgements

About the Authors

Other books by Cathy MacRae

Excerpt from KINNON’S STORY

Copyright

BOOK: Highland Escape
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