True Highland Spirit
Morrigan McNab learned to survive with a sword in her hand. Taking command, she is determined to protect her impoverished clan, no matter the cost. When an elusive French knight offers gold to fight against England, she joins the call to arms. Sparks fly on the battlefield as a forbidden passion smolders between Morrigan and Sir Dragonet. Yet Sir Dragonet holds a secret that will destroy the hope for a life together, and will make them rivals on a dangerous quest for a mysterious relic. As they fight beside each other against the English, and against each other to find the treasure, their love becomes a greater force than either can control.
The door swung open, and Morrigan vaulted to her feet, drawing her sword. She froze at the sight. In the doorway stood the minstrel, the tip of her sword at his throat.
“I beg your pardon, sir. I am disturbing you. I shall take my leave.” The wide-eyed minstrel took a step away from her blade.
“What are ye doing here, minstrel?” Morrigan growled, but she lowered her sword as he posed no threat. “Are ye lost?” The last thing she needed was to be bothered by a traveling minstrel, one who like most strangers assumed by her man's clothing she was a lad.
“It is clear I must be, for I was told this tower was not in use.”
“’Tis not. Why do ye seek it?”
Jacques the minstrel gave a slight smile and a shrug. “I wish only for a place to rest before I leave on the morrow. If you have decided not to run me through, I will indulge my most terrible curiosity and ask why you, too, are in this abandoned place.”
Morrigan sheathed her sword and motioned to the pitch blackness of the open window. “I was enjoying the view.”
“The view?” The minstrel strode to the window and gazed out into the inky darkness. “Ah yes, the view. It is an uncommon sight, no?”
Morrigan’s lips twitched upward into a half smile, half smirk. The more she tried not to smile, the more she failed at the endeavor.
“My choice of ballads was not to your liking?” asked Jacques.
Morrigan shook her head and searched for a safer topic. “I enjoy a livelier tune.”
The minstrel leaned against the wall and put up one foot against the stones. He swung around his lyre and plucked a jaunty tune, singing bawdy lyrics. Morrigan smiled in spite of herself. As long as he kept his musical selections to risqué tavern songs, she was on solid ground.
“Ye are skilled, minstrel.” Her eyes ran down the polished, wood lyre in his hands. It had clearly seen some travel, but underneath was a beautiful instrument, its tone clear and sure. “I used to play, years ago it was.”
“Did you now? Here, let us see what you can do.” Jacques handed over the instrument and grabbed a crate to sit next to her.
Morrigan plucked each string, the notes clear and pure. It was indeed a fine instrument. Finding the position for her left hand was difficult. She had grown since the last time she held a lyre and the position she remembered was off. The note she played was flat and sour.
“Ugh. I dinna remember.”
“Your fingering is off is all.” Jacques reached around her with his left hand and demonstrated the correct fingering.
Morrigan flushed at the weight of his arm on her shoulders. He was warm and smelled of wood smoke from standing near the hearth. She stole a glance at the minstrel who leaned close to her. His hair was black and straight, with a tendency to fall over one eye. He was clean shaven, and despite his itinerant lifestyle, he obviously took care of himself. His eyes were a clear, deep blue, so bright she had never seen the like.
“…and those are the main chords,” Jacques finished.
Had he been talking? Heat raced up Morrigan’s spine. What had he said? Something about chords?
“Try the first one,” he prompted.
“Um…” Morrigan took a wild guess and grimaced at the sour tone.
“Here, let me show you again.” The minstrel leaned closer moving her fingers into the correct positions.
Morrigan ignored the tingling sensation his touch put on her hand and focused on the lyre. She would not make a fool of herself. Plucking the strings, she thrilled in having found the right note.
“You are doing well,” encouraged Jacques.
Morrigan turned her face toward him. He was close. So close she could see faint flecks of silver in his blue eyes. Her heart did an odd flutter and skipped along merrily. His lips were full and drew her closer. She leaned toward him without thinking.
“Ah, well…” Jacques stood abruptly and pushed his hair back out of his eyes. “I… you…” He narrowed his eyes and stared at her as if seeing her for the first time. “Who are you?”
Morrigan stood and took pity on him. She removed her cap, letting her dark brown hair fall down to her waist.
“Mademoiselle!” His eyes went wide, gleaming blue.
Morrigan simply nodded, her lips twitching at his reaction.
The minstrel looked up at the heavens. “Merci!” He shook his head and gave her a wry grin. “It becomes clear now to me. No lad could be so pretty.”
Pretty? No man had ever called her pretty, at least none who had the courage to make it known to her. She was the laird’s sister… who dressed as a man and carried a sword. People feared her. There was power in that.
This was a different kind of power. The air crackled around her, she was in control. She took a step toward him. He looked delicious and smelled intoxicating. She was light-headed, like she hit the whiskey a bit too hard. Her heart pounded against her rib cage, demanding to be set free. She paused, unsure what to do next. Surely this moment called for bold action. But what?
He took a step toward her, his eyes glowing brighter, never leaving hers.
“Am I to know your name?” he asked, his voice soft.
"Forester’s third 14th-century Highlands romance unites a French knight and a formidable Highland lady. ~Publisher's Weekly Starred Review!"
"A fast-paced adventurous plot with political and religious intrigue to from the perfect backdrop for a delightful romance. ~Romantic Times
"Overall, every detail and character made the book what it is; unforgettable, entertaining and well worth the read." - Romance Fiction Suite 101
"This book took one creative turn after another and broke the mold. The characters are engaging and the story is a lot of fun." - All About Romance
"Forester's ability to place the reader right into the middle of the melee was perfect. For all those who have a Highlander fetish, this is the book for you! I look forward to more unbridled adventures through the majestic Highlands with Amanda Forester!
" - Readaholica Anonymous
"TRUE HIGHLAND SPIRIT by Amanda Forester is an exciting fast paced historical romance set in 1355 Scotland. It is a Scottish romance at its best. With both a plot that is emotional,and full of passion and characters who are strong,determined,sexy,fierce and will capture your heart from the first page to the very last page." - My Book Addiction Reviews
"Amanda Forester scores another highlander hit with True Highland Spirit." - Book Savvy Babe
"This has humor, a warm romance, intrigue, action and a fine message. What's not to like? I recommend this especially to all the historical romance fans." - Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf
"This was definitely another great read by Amanda Forester." - Romance Book Junkies
"I have anticipated this third book in the Highlander series and it was worth the wait!" - Booked Up
"Forester's characters draw you into the story, and her skillful storytelling anchors you in medieval Scotland. She deftly combines Edward III's invasion with legends of Templar treasure and holy relics of great significance to spin an enchanting tale of greed, love, and redemption that will make you sigh and wish "if only."" - Historical Novels Review
"Amanda Forester is one of my favorite Highlander romance writers out there" - Books like Breathing
"If you enjoy Highland romance with a good message then you should check out this series." - Reading Between the Wines
"I'm already drooling for another of Amanda's books and hope it comes before I expire from lack of a fantastic story." - Yankee Romance Reviews
"Forester continues to write stories that have enough mystery to keep a reader guessing while also balancing that perfectly with the romance. I'm looking forward to reading the next in the series." - Under the Covers
"This was a lovely read with a solid story and some truly spectacular moments that made me chuckle and grin." - One Good Book Deserves Another
"All in all, TRUE HIGHLAND SPIRIT is a wonderful read, which I highly recommend." - Book Lover and Procrastinator