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Authors: Bertrice Small

Tags: #Fiction, #Literary, #Romance, #Historical, #General

The Border Vixen

BOOK: The Border Vixen
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Praise for Bertrice Small,

“THE REIGNING QUEEN OF THE HISTORICAL GENRE,”*

and Her Novels

 

“Bertrice Small creates cover-to-cover passion, a keen sense of history, and suspense.”


Publishers Weekly

 

“Small’s fans . . . know what to expect . . . a good story.”


Library Journal

 

“Ms. Small delights and thrills.”


Rendezvous

 

“An insatiable delight for the senses. [Small’s] amazing historical detail . . . will captivate the reader . . . potent sensuality.”

—*Romance Junkies

 

“[Her novels] tell an intriguing story, they are rich in detail, and they are all so very hard to put down.”

—The Best Reviews

 

“Sweeps the ages with skill and finesse.”


Affaire de Coeur

 

“[A] captivating blend of sensuality and rich historical drama.”

—Rosemary Rogers

 

“Steamy . . . a work of grand historical proportions . . . a must-read!”


Romantic Times
(top pick)

 

“Brimming with colorful characters and rich in historical detail, Small’s boldly sensual love story is certain to please her many devoted readers.”


Booklist

BOOKS BY BERTRICE SMALL

THE BORDER CHRONICLES
A Dangerous Love
The Border Lord’s Bride
The Captive Heart
The Border Lord and the Lady

 

THE FRIARSGATE INHERITANCE
Rosamund
Until You
Philippa
The Last Heiress

 

CONTEMPORARY EROTICA
Private Pleasures
Forbidden Pleasures
Sudden Pleasures
Dangerous Pleasures
Passionate Pleasures

 

THE O’MALLEY SAGA
Skye O’Malley
All the Sweet Tomorrows
A Love for All Time
This Heart of Mine
Lost Love Found
Wild Jasmine

 

THE WORLD OF HETAR
Lara
A Distant Tomorrow
The Twilight Lord
Crown of Destiny
The Sorceress of Belmair
The Shadow Queen

 

MORE BY BERTRICE SMALL
Darling Jasmine
Bedazzled
Besieged
Intrigued
Just Beyond Tomorrow
Vixens
The Kadin
Love Wild and Fair
Adora
Unconquered
Beloved
Enchantress Mine
Blaze Wyndham
The Spitfire
A Moment in Time
To Love Again
Love, Remember Me
The Love Slave
Hellion
Betrayed
Deceived
The Innocent
A Memory of Love
The Duchess

NEW AMERICAN LIBRARY
Published by New American Library, a division of
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street,
New York, New York 10014, USA
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Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices:
80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

First published by New American Library,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

 

First Printing, October 2010

 

Copyright © Bertrice Small, 2010

All rights reserved

REGISTERED TRADEMARK—MARCA REGISTRADA

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA:

 

Small, Bertrice.

The border vixen/Bertrice Small. p. cm.

eISBN : 978-1-101-46445-8

1. Scotland—History—1057-1603—Fiction. I. Title.

PS3569.M28B69 2010

813’.54—dc22 2010022361

 

Set in Goudy

 

Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

 

PUBLISHER’S NOTE

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content.

 

The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher 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.

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A note for my readers:
Aisir nam Breug
is pronounced:
Asher nam Breg.

For Aneta, who keeps me sane

Prologue

SCOTLAND, 1536

M
ad Maggie Kerr could outride, outrun, outfight, out-drink, and outswear any man in the Borders. These were not, however, the virtues a gentleman looked for in a wife. But if a man liked a tall lass with dark chestnut brown hair, hazel eyes, and a fat dower, then perhaps Mad Maggie could be considered acceptable—for those reasons and the fact she was Dugald Kerr’s only heir, and Dugald Kerr controlled the Aisir nam Breug.

The Aisir nam Breug was a deep, narrow passage through the border hills between Scotland and England. No one could recall a time when this transit had not been managed by the Scots Kerrs at its north end and the English Kerrs at its south end. Payment of a single toll gave the traveler the guarantee of a safe trip from one side of the border to the other. Merchants and messengers, bridal parties, and other voyagers all used the Aisir nam Breug. Warring factions did not. It had been an unspoken agreement for several centuries that the Aisir nam Breug could be used only for peaceful travel.

Management of this resource had made the Kerr family wealthy over the years. They did not, however, flaunt their wealth, but their home, set upon a low hill, was more a small castle than a tower or manor house. And the village at the foot of that hill had an air of comfortable prosperity about it that was unique in the Borders. They were loyal to the king and always ready to aid a neighbor. The Kerrs of Brae Aisir were considered both honorable and trustworthy.

But the old laird was certainly in his final days. He was the last legitimate male in his line, with a stubborn girl just turned seventeen as his only heir. And despite her reputation, which had earned her the sobriquet of Mad Maggie, Dugald Kerr needed to find his granddaughter a husband—a man who would be strong enough to hold the Aisir nam Breug for the son he would sire on Mad Maggie. It would not be an easy task, but the laird of Brae Aisir knew exactly the kind of man who could tame his lass. Finding him was another matter, however, and this man would also have to win her respect, for Maggie was proud.

“He must be able to outride, outrun, and outfight her,” Dugald Kerr declared to David, his younger brother, who was the family’s priest.

“I suppose yer right, Brother,” David Kerr said with a small smile, “but ’twill nae be easy finding such a man. I shall have to pray mightily on this.”

The laird gave a snort of laughter. “Aye,” he agreed, “ye will.”

“How will ye go about it, Brother?” the priest inquired.

“I’ll give a feast and invite all the neighbors. Then I’ll announce my intentions to them. I know Maggie frightens many of them, for she is outspoken and headstrong, but surely the lure of the Aisir nam Breug will tempt them to overlook these faults.”

“She’s nae as bad as she pretends,” Father David said. “Yer household runs smoothly because of her. She knows how to direct the servants and care for the sick. She’s nae fearful of hard work. I’ve seen her myself in yer fields, and working with the women salting meat for the winter, and making jams.”

“She’d rather hunt the meat than prepare it,” the laird said with a chuckle.

“Aye, Brother, she would,” the priest agreed. “But she can do what a woman with a large household needs to do. She will make the right lad a fine wife. But I don’t believe you’ll find that lad among the Borders, Dugald.”

“I must begin my search somewhere,” the laird of Brae Aisir said.

Chapter 1

BOOK: The Border Vixen
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