When Lady Elizabet Harding’s family is targeted by the notorious Highland Highwayman, she finds herself wounded and an unwelcome guest of the charming outlaw who’d ruined her reputation earlier that day. Elizabet only wants to get even for her family’s downfall, but the more time she spends with the scoundrel, the more complicated her feelings become.
By day, Laird John MacGregor graces the court of Charles II. By night, he exacts revenge on his enemies – one of whom is betrothed to the fiery heiress who has, quite literally, fallen into his arms. The daughter of one enemy and promised to another, Elizabet should be the last person John wants. Yet even as she exasperates him, she is all he has ever desired for himself. When her life is put in danger, he will do anything necessary to protect the women he never expected to love…even if it means they cannot be together.
“Did you not promise you’d protect me?” she asked.
He stared at her, his expression unreadable. Finally he nodded. “Always.”
She took a step closer. “I have fought, and pleaded, and run off to live with a highwayman,” she said with a wry smile. “All to no avail. Short of murdering the man, a step I’d prefer not to take, I don’t have any options left. I may not have a blade to my throat, but if I have to marry that man, I’ll be miserable for the rest of my days. I’ll pray for death. I can’t allow myself to be shackled to him, to let him use me at his whim whenever he wishes. But I can’t leave my family to suffer, either, no matter how much they may deserve it. So what am I to do?”
He looked at her, his eyes searching hers for what felt like a very long time. Finally, he lifted a hand and brushed his fingers across her cheek.
“Well,” he said. “It seems as though I must go beg an audience with the king.”
Relief flooded her, and she released a slow sigh of relief. “Considering the circumstances, it probably isn’t appropriate to thank you. But…you do have my gratitude. I know I’ve forced this on you. And I have no desire to inflict myself on you any more than necessary. Your life needn’t change. You are right about my father. I have no doubt he brought much of this on himself. But I had no part in his schemes. And neither did my mother. I merely wish to save my family without condemning myself to a life of misery. Lock me away in some country estate, if you wish. I will not complain.”
John stared at her, no sign of what he might be thinking showing on his face.
His silence unnerved her. She pressed on, unable to stop the babbling commentary.
“I simply mean, if there is someone else…or if you wish to seek…companionship…”
His eyebrow rose, and she cleared her throat. Things seemed to be going downhill quickly but try as she might she couldn’t make it stop. “I mean only to say I know I am not your choice, so if you choose to spend your time elsewhere, I’ll not stand in your way.”
“Will ye no’?” he said, his voice thick with amusement.
It irked her. How dare he find this funny? “No. I won’t. I have no expectation of truly living as man and wife. I desire only your name. Nothing more.”
He shook his head. “Oh nay, my lady.” He ran his hands up her arms and pulled her close. “If ye wish us to marry, ye will be my wife in every way. You will honor me.” He gently kissed her cheek. “And obey me.” He kissed the other cheek. “And keep my home in order.” His hand trailed down to rest against her neck, his fingers brushing against the pulse at the base of her throat. “And bear my heirs.”
Her heart hammered in her chest, but before she could say a word he bent to brush his lips across hers. “And ye will warm my bed every night without fail.”
She couldn’t breathe. Her head spun. He’d barely touched her, and she seemed on the verge of fainting. The thought of what sensations he might draw from her within their marriage bed sent a tremor of anticipation down her spine.
His mouth hovered over hers. “And you will enjoy every moment of it, I promise ye that.”
ENTER TO WIN An eCopy of How to Lose a Highlander (The MacGregor Lairds #1)! THE GIVEAWAY IS OPEN FOR SEVEN DAYS AND THE WINNER WILL BE NOTIFIED SHORTLY AFTER THE CLOSING DATE.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Michelle McLean is a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl who is addicted to chocolate and goldfish crackers and spent most of her formative years with her nose in a book. She has a B.S. in History, a M.A. in English, and loves her romance with a touch of suspenseful mystery. She resides in PA with her husband and two amazing children.