Romance in the misty Highlands...

FREE NOVEL: Stealing the Highland Bride

A feud that lead to love, a love wounded by war...

Rhona was supposed to give birth to her first child with her husband by her side. When the noble Laird Iain Cameron is brutally killed by the sinister Murdoch Mackintosh, Rhona and her clan find themselves at his mercy. Filled with desire for her, Murdoch makes her his wife and claims her child as his own.

Stewart Mackintosh was forbidden to fall in love with his brother's wife. All he ever wanted, was for his clan to thrive and peace to be restored. Now he is losing himself to a woman he shouldn't desire. But to be with her, Stewart must make the ultimate sacrifice to save Rhona and the bloodline of Clan Cameron.

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A few weeks later

“Could ye two have made me wait any longer tae have me bride?” Torion grumbled to Kai as they stood in the front of the small chapel in the castle.

Both Kai and Rae stifled chuckles. “It was nae me idea, but Cecily’s. She wants tae keep Adelaide safe, and she feels a responsibility towards her, after all that has passed.”

“Aye, but surely she can see how much I love the woman. I’ve gone bloody mad fer her.”

“Aye, that is true,” Rae agreed, and Torion threw him a dark look, making his cheerful brother laugh all the more.

“Soon it will be yer turn, Rae,” Torion said, and this time, Kai laughed.

“Och, I think the three of us are cursed tae love strong women so much we can barely see straight.”

“Nae me, surely,” Rae complained. “As if ye think that I could settle down.”

Torion’s lips twitched as he stared out at the full chapel. His little brother didn’t know of how love could sneak up on a person. It was full of close friends and servants, even the men of the Council were there, looking pleased that yet another McLaren man was marrying an English woman.

It will strengthen things,” one of the old men had told him, but Torion had merely scoffed at him. He would marry Adelaide no matter where she hailed from.

His hands were sweating, and he pulled on his coat, as well as the tartan over it. This was a big moment for him, a moment he had never thought possible. He stared at the chapel doors, awaiting his bride.

Kai touched his arm. “I was just as nervous as ye, when we were married again, lad. Dinnae worry, though. Ye are makin’ the right decision. She is a good woman through and through, although I did have tae question her mind seein’ as how much love comes out of her eyes when she stares at ye.”

Torion elbowed him in the chest, but his heart swelled, and his skin heated a bit. He looked at her just the same way, and he couldn’t believe just how lucky he was.

The doors opened, and then she was there, dressed in a dark, beautiful green, a McLaren tartan laid over one shoulder, clasped with a brooch, and thistles in her hand. His mouth fell open as she walked toward him, her hand in Cillian’s arm.

She was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen, her golden curls half-pinned up, the other half laying across her shoulders. She smiled more, the closer she got, her lovely green eyes looking even brighter as she finally stood in front of him, his hands reaching out for hers.

The minister began, but he could hardly hear him over the pounding of his heart in his ears. She, this woman with such a heart of compassion and kindness and love, a woman full of fire and passion, was marrying him. She loved him! He pondered that thought until the minister asked him to repeat his vows.

He watched Adelaide’s mouth as she did the same, and their hands were bound, tying them together for eternity. Then it was over. He had to be nudged by Kai, and then he realized that the minister had told him to kiss her. A little chuckle rippled over the small crowd, and he leaned forward, pressing his lips to hers. When she placed her hands on his cheeks, his whole body relaxed. This was so right, and he couldn’t wait to begin this new life.

It was time for the feast. He took her hand, and they left the chapel, people clapping and smiling at them as they went. When they reached the hall, the feast was prepared, and the room filled with eager guests and villagers. He quietly led Adelaide to a table, and when he sat down next to her, he drew her hand to his lips.

“Are ye happy, me love?” he asked.

“I do not think you know how happy I am, husband.”

He beamed. “Ye are happy tae live here in Scotland?”

“Aye,” she said with a wink, and then she leaned over to kiss his cheek. “I will live anywhere that you live. You have given me a future, my love, and you have forgiven my past.” Her eyes flicked to Cillian, who had a drink in his hand and was smiling as he spoke to a young lady. “You are everything to me.”

“Then let’s get the bloody hell out of here,” Torion said grumpily, annoyed when the music began, and the room filled even more, food started to be served.

She chuckled, waving to someone as she tapped his hand. “Good things come to those who wait. So, Cecily tells me.”

“Och, the lass who has been thwartin’ me at every turn?” he asked, and she laughed again.

“I rather enjoyed it myself.” Adelaide turned to him, stroking a finger down his cheek, making him shiver. “I liked to see you want me just as much as I want you.”

He sighed and kissed her. “Well, you will be seein’ that forever, Adelaide.”

“I hope so.”


Adelaide wasn’t sure if she’d ever laughed as much as she had at her wedding feast. She had met practically every villager in the nearby villages, it seemed, and she’d finally spent time with Cecily’s sister Helen and her husband, Cory, who lived not far away. Rae had danced with her time and time again until Torion grumbled with jealousy, after which he had danced with her too. They had even invited Mae and her father, and she spent time regaling them with all the tales of their adventures. Cillian seemed happy and spoke to people, but he did keep to the shadows.

He looked better every day, and she knew that he would cause quite a ruckus when he went to England to claim the title as the new, young, and very handsome Earl of Seton. The McLaren brothers had forgiven him, but she knew it would take time for all wounds to heal over.

By the end of the feast, her belly was full, her limbs were warm from perhaps too much wine, and her smile was ever-present. They were saying their goodbyes, and Torion was clasping her hand, pulling to bring her up to bed.

“Perhaps one day we will get a house near the castle, if ye like,” he told her as they walked slowly down the passageway.

“The castle is surely big enough for all of us for now,” she told him, leaning her head against his shoulder and yawning.

“Dinnae say that ye are tired, me love,” he said in a faux, warning tone.

“I am tired but in only the best way. I have never had so much… life surrounding me, Torion. My burden is lost, and I am simply me. I have so much love around me that I don’t know what to do with it.”

They entered his room, and he shut the door behind them. She stopped speaking when she saw a beautiful sight before her. The room was covered with candles from the desk to the washing table to the trunk. They were encased in glass, so they would not fall over. The bed was massive, covered in furs, and a fire was in the hearth. Someone must have put a spiced log on the fire, for the room smelled warm and happy and sweet.

“Torion, I—”

She spun around and found herself in his arms. He smiled down at her, looking so handsome, it hurt. His dark eyes flashed, full of love.

“Dae ye like it?”

“Yes. I love it.” She leaned up on her tiptoes to kiss him.

“Come with me, then,” he said, leading her to the edge of the bed where he began to unpin the tartan and untie the laces of her bodice.

She let him, using her own hands to remove his tartan and jacket. They worked in silence until they were bare before one another. With a grin, he leaned down to kiss her shoulders and then her breasts. When he pulled one taut nipple into his mouth, she gasped, her fingers curling in his hair.

“Damn it, woman, how have ye have kept such perfect breasts from me? I saw them that one day in the tub, and I have thought of little else since.”

“We were imprisoned afterward! And you had to fight a battle!”

He picked her up and laid her on the bed, his body crawling over hers. “Aye, and yet these breasts were never too far from me mind.” He lowered his head again to lay more kisses upon them before he descended further, to kiss the place that ached most for him.

“Torion,” she breathed, and she pulled on him to rise back over her. “I want you,” she whispered, and he placed his hips between her legs.

“And I ye,” he said. “I ken we have already been together a few times, but it has been some weeks since I’ve had ye last.” He winked as he held himself above her. “It will be fast, but then the next time, I want it tae take longer.”

“We have a lifetime for that, Torion,” she said, lifting her legs to wrap around his waist, making his eyes widen. “But now, I want this.”

“And here I thought ye a frightened flower, without an ounce of boldness.”

“Oh!” she gasped with fake outrage. “And I thought you cold as ice.”

When he slid inside her, they both let out a moan of pleasure, and she shuddered a little in his arms. He grinned, caging her with his arms and beginning to move his hips.

“Is that true? Did ye think me cold?”

“Yes,” she managed to stammer, the pleasure already growing inside her.

“And what dae ye think now?” he breathed, kissing her cheek, and flicking a tongue against her ear.

“That ye are the best man I know and as hot as fire.”

That spurred Torion on, and she wrapped her legs tighter as he plunged deeper and harder, getting to the heart of her. She let go then, yelling out his name as her pleasure came, and she shook beneath him. When he came with a roar, he held tight, thrusting once more into her before he relaxed, and he stayed where he was, looking down at her. He laid a soft kiss on her lips before he slid to the side.

When she was recovered, she said, “I know the nickname you have for me.”

“Och, dae ye?”

“Yes. You said it to me weeks ago, but you have not said it since. Why on earth are you calling me trouble?” she asked.

He laughed, his chest rumbling against her back as he pulled her close, kissing her shoulder. “I call ye trouble because ye came in and destroyed everythin’ I thought I had built, with one kiss.”

“But you make it sound bad.”

“Nay, love. I needed it. Ye are the best kind of trouble, and I wouldnae trade anythin’ we’ve had for the world.”

“I suppose I ought to have a nickname for you. Perhaps Smug or Brute.”

He laughed again. “Ye see? Ye’re bloody trouble.” She wriggled against him, and he groaned. “Just what I meant. Dinnae dae that, if ye daenae wish me tae take ye again soon.”

“This?” She wriggled again, and then turned in his arms. “If I am to be named thusly, then I plan on being troublesome for the rest of our lives.” She pressed a hand to his cheek.

“Good, trioblaid.” He turned to kiss her palm. “Good.”

The End.

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The Stolen Highland Kiss (Preview)


September, 1651
Richmond, England

Lady Adelaide Cavendish struggled to keep the chill out of her skin as she walked down the passageway of her father’s prison. Granted he was an earl, so he had been given more palatable lodgings in comparison to street thieves and cutthroats, but still she shivered as she followed a greasy-lipped warden with a toothpick in his mouth to his rusted door. The doors were made of iron and locked tight with heavy keys.

This was not the way she had imagined her life being. Adelaide jumped when a prisoner called out to her, stretching his arms out between the spaces of his gridiron door, widening his eye in a grotesque manner. She gasped, staring at him for only an instant before she hurried on, pulling her shawl around herself more tightly.

Adelaide had always considered her father to be the best of men. Growing up, and even more so since her mother passed, he had been so loving and kind to her, giving her everything she could have desired. He had wanted a good life for her, and he’d done his best to strive for it. They’d been doing well enough, but when he received the title of earl… well, everything seemed to change.

She couldn’t exactly describe what had come over him, but it was something akin to bloodthirstiness. He had been hungry for the title, status, and wealth, but as soon as he had achieved it, he’d turned into a different person. She had no longer recognized him and she she’d tried her best to pull him back. But then she’d seen how he’d treated his cousin Cecily, and things slowly became clear. He was not her father anymore, not the person he had used to be. He was someone else entirely, solely focused on getting more.

And while it had stunned her to find out that he had killed his own cousin, Cecily’s brother Anthony to get the title, Adelaide had not been entirely surprised. But when she’d seen him nearly kill Cecily as well as her now-husband Kai by locking them inside of a room and setting it alight, all the love and hope she’d still had for her father had died instantly. This was not her father, she had to keep repeating to herself. The man she had so loved longer existed. And so, as she tugged her shawl out of the grasp of yet another prisoner who had reached out to her with a few lascivious words on his tongue, she resolved that this would be the first and the last time that she would visit him in prison.

I have a life of my own, I shall not hang on to the past. Father has created scandal enough.

She was an earl’s daughter and yet the whole of London knew what her father had done, staining her reputation as well. She lived in shame.

“Here we are, My Lady,” the warden said, jangling his keys in the air and giving her a toothy grin. “Ye will find him calm and content. He’s been a good prisoner these past months.” The man whistled low and shook his head. “A murderer, what a thing to have amongst us. The rest of this lot are petty thieves, but at least they get a bit of sunlight during the day.”

She nodded, not wishing to spend a moment longer in that hellhole than she had to. With another grin, he unlocked the door, and opened it with a clang. He dragged it back, scratching along the stones of the floor. Adelaide put a handkerchief to her nose when a strange smell hit her. As they were paying for better lodgings, Adelaide could not imagine what the poor were subjected to. She stepped inside as the guard moved out of the way and stuffed the handkerchief into her sleeve, in an attempt not to embarrass her father in these conditions.

Foolish girl. I am much better off without him.

“Father,” she said, surprised to see him rising with difficulty from the chair in front of his ramshackle desk. He still wore one of his ridiculously colored suits, this one a deep blue, but it was dirty and stained. His hair was greasy, his beard getting long.

The door shut and locked behind her, the warden telling her to knock for her to be released. A grin from her father at her arrival showed her yellowed, dirty looking teeth. She had been sure to provide him with all the necessary items to tend to his appearance and cleanliness, but they must have been pilfered instead.

Care not. He has done a grievous wrong left only scandal in your wake. There is not one person in London who does not know you are the daughter of a murderer. There is no hope for you now.

“I am glad to see you, Adelaide. I have sent you many letters, why have you taken so long to come? It has been more than three months, my dear.”

Adelaide shifted on her feet, pulling at her shawl as if it could protect her from the slight twinge of guilt. Of all the letters he had sent her, none of them, except for the most recent one, had moved her in the slightest. She just wanted to be done with the visit, but she did not say that.

“I needed to make sure that all was set right, Father. You left a mess in your wake. Not forgetting that I now must reconcile with the fact that my father is a murderer. There is no one on the streets of London who will look upon me as they once did. Your deeds, they have stained me as well.” Adelaide was annoyed that a tear had slipped down her cheek as she had talked, and she furiously wiped it away.

Her father took a step closer, and she took a slight step back. She had no wish to be close to him, to remember the father of yore that she’d loved. He held out his arms as if to embrace her.

“Please Adelaide, you must know that it was all for you. All that I did and planned; it was for your future.”

Adelaide shook her head and took another step back. He was using the voice he used to use when she’d believed him to be the best father that ever lived. She would not fall for it again, not when she now had evidence of the blood on his hands. The callous way he’d killed a member of his family and then treated cousin Cecily thereafter.

She spoke firmly. “Do not say it was for me. It was for your own selfish gain. You only wanted to that title.”

It surprised her to say it as strongly as she did, and he reacted to it as well, lifting both brows, his lips parting.

“Now,” she said, looking away from him and reaching into her reticule to pull out his stained and folded letter. She dragged it out and shook it in the air. “I am here because you begged me to come.” She would never admit to him her desire to see him one last time before she put all that behind her. “So, what is it that is so urgent, Father? Why did you need to see me?”

He recovered quickly enough, even brandishing a smile as he put his hands behind his back. He stepped closer, looking to the left and the right before he did, as if he expected someone else to be in the cell besides the two of them.

“I brought you here,” he whispered, “because I am in danger.”

She snorted but then put a gloved hand to her lips. Of course, he was in danger. If he was not an earl, then he would have been hanging from a noose by now. If things changed, then he certainly would be, and Adelaide knew that he deserved little better than that.

“Danger? Of what, from whom?”

He cleared his throat and leaned close to her. She could smell the stench of him, but she concentrated hard to focus on his whispered words. “They might come to kill me, you know. For my sentence is uncertain at this time, and the earldom is unprotected. Anyone would be interested in taking advantage of such a situation. Anyone who would stand to gain by my death.”

Adelaide let out a breath, and she folded the letter again and shoved it back into her reticule. “Is this what was so urgent, Father? If it is going to happen anyway, then why would someone wish to kill you to make the process happen faster? And as you cannot act on your duties as an earl from prison, it is just a matter of time before the earldom is given to the next in line.”

Her father leaned back, stiffening. “That I know, and I will regret it forever. But there is something I simply must tell you, Adelaide, something no one else knows.”

She bit the inside of her cheek to remind herself to be patient. Soon, she would be back out of the prison and free again. This was her last act of duty towards him. Then her father would be out of her life forever.

It is for the best.


“I will be giving over my title, as you know, to my distant cousin Thomas Frenzby.”

“Yes, I know.” Adelaide clenched her gloved fists, trying yet again to keep her patience intact. This was not news to her. “What of it?”

“I was able to win the title after Anthony’s death, but it was by a very small margin, in terms of our blood ties to the Ridley family. But now that I am going to give it up, Thomas is the last man I wish to have the title. It must be kept from him.”

“Why?” she asked tiredly.

“Because my son is the real heir.”

Adelaide nearly dropped the reticule that was in her hands, and she pressed her hand onto the side of the stone wall to keep her balance. “A son? I have a brother?”

He nodded and turned away from her, going to sit on the edge of the desk, looking slightly nervous. “Yes. I never told you, for he is an illegitimate child, and I never wanted his existence to tarnish your reputation in any way.” He then folded his arms across his chest, looking more serious than before. “However, he is the legal heir to the earldom, and I fear that if Thomas finds out about his whereabouts, then he will kill us both so that he can take the title for himself… Just as I did.”

Adelaide was so angry that she could feel the tears pressing at the backs of her eyes. Yet again, more lies, more danger lingering in the background. What was the problem with the men, or at least those in her family? All bloodthirsty, eager for power and status over goodness and morality.

“I do not know what you expect me to do about it, Father. It seems I am at the whim of three men, even though I have done nothing wrong to deserve such a thing.”

To his credit, he looked slightly ashamed as he replied. “I had been searching for him for a long time. His mother was a Scottish woman. I left her, like the cad I am. However, the thought haunted me from the moment I left, and so I began to search for him. I only learned of his whereabouts after she wrote to me on her deathbed. My son has lived and in Scotland his whole life and has been imprisoned for being a part of a group of men that tortured Scottish soldiers. Now that my name is so public, I fear that all these secrets will come to light, and I cannot afford that. I beg you, my sweet Adelaide, to find Cillian and to help him get out of prison so that he can take over the earldom.”

“Cillian,” she repeated, the fact of having a brother strange to her mind.

“Of course.” Her father approached her, and this time she allowed him to take her hand. “Please say you will find him. Be careful, though, for Thomas is unscrupulous. Saving Cillian will help you to stay alive as well.”

A shock of fear ran through her. Why should she be a target? She was merely a victim of all that had occurred, and she had no real home any longer. She no longer had any real place to go to, unless if she accepted Cecily’s invitation to join her in Scotland and live with her and her husband. And indeed, that was what Adelaide planned on doing.

“I’m not sure I want to get entangled in this, Father…”

“It’s the last thing I’ll ever beg of you. It’s too late for me, Adelaide.”

Adelaide hesitated. She no longer wanted to do anything connected to London, her father, or the damned earldom.

But still, he is my father… I can give him this much and then put everything behind me by starting anew in Scotland.

“I shall help you one last time, Father. I will go to Scotland.”

“Thank you, my daughter, thank you for granting me one last wish.” He dug out a piece of paper from his waistcoat pocket, excitement all over his face. “Here. Cillian is held prisoner at this castle in Scotland, or so he was when I last heard of him a few months ago. You must go to my study at the house as soon as you leave me. In the second drawer, there is a false bottom. Underneath there is the proof and all the information you will need to show that he is my own blood, and that he is deserving of the title of earl when the time comes. You must show it to the proper authorities.”

He shoved the piece of paper into her hand and closed her fingers over it. He looked fearful; his eyes wide as she backed away from him.

“You will do this?”

“Yes,” she said, not sure why she was agreeing, but she was glad she could finally take her life in her hands instead of just sitting and watching as people stared at her in horror. “I will do it, and I will go to see Cecily in Scotland as well.” And probably stay there for good.

“Good. Thank you, Adelaide. I knew that I could trust you to handle such an important task.”

She nodded and turned towards the door, knocking hard on it. When she heard the screech of the lock in the door, she looked back at her father.

“I wish you well, Father,” she said, meaning it but knowing that she would not see him again. A lonely tear ran down her pale cheek.

“And you, my dear. What a beautiful life you will lead. I just know it.”

She hurried out the door as it opened, and she was glad when she heard it clang shut. Looking down at the small paper in her hand, she felt slightly excited that she finally had somewhere to go and something to do, yet she also feared what danger she might get herself into.

Chapter One

One month later

Adelaide couldn’t cry when she had heard of father’s death almost a month before, and she still hadn’t. Instead, she felt numb. A few days after her father had warned her of what was to come, she’d been sent a message from the prison authorities. Her father had been found dead in his cell, hanging from a rope.

Naturally, everyone thought it had been his doing, once again dragging the family name through the mud. ‘Good riddance’ and similar phrases had been uttered when she had passed acquaintances in the street, and they hurt like daggers.

Shortly thereafter, Thomas Frenzby had been declared the new Earl of Seton, and Adelaide had not been able to go to Scotland to begin the search for her half-brother. It had been the same for her father’s cousin Cecily when her brother had been killed by Adelaide’s father. She’d had to stay on until everything was set right. Adelaide remembered how Cecily had planned to go visit her sister Helen in Scotland but had been prevented from doing it, only to practically be imprisoned by her father.

Adelaide had planned her father’s funeral and met with the solicitors. She had met Thomas and had played the role of hostess to him for a couple of weeks, and she had even helped to plan the feast to celebrate the new Earl of Seton, getting Thomas to agree that Cecily and Kai should be invited. Cecily was family after all. Cecily’s sister Helen and her Scottish husband Cory would not able to join them, for they had a young one to care for. But last week, Cecily had written to confirm their arrival with her brothers-in-law Rae and Torion as well. Afterwards, they would all return to Scotland together for Adelaide to remain as long as she wished.

Adelaide was very grateful that Thomas had agreed for her to leave for Scotland. The feast would be taking place that very night, and Cecily was expected to arrive within a few hours. They would be leaving in a few days and Adelaide couldn’t have been more eager to leave. She felt rather uneasy around Thomas, but finally having Cecily there would make everything a little bit easier.

It was not just the fact that her father had warned her about his distant cousin being an unscrupulous man. There was something strange about his air whenever she was around him, and he seemed to always be looking at her in a rather inquisitive way.

Sitting in her father’s study, she thought about the documents that lay hidden away. They were proof enough that her brother Cillian was the blood heir. She took them from their hiding place and folded them away before tucking them into her bodice. Thomas could not find them, and she needed to take them on her journey to Scotland with Cecily to begin her search for her brother.

Now is the best time to take them, afore the castle becomes busy with guests and eyes everywhere.

Suddenly, the door to the study opened, and in walked Thomas. She bit back a gasp, but he just smiled at her, lines forming at the corners of his eyes. He was fifteen years older than her twenty years, and rather handsome, as many of the young society ladies whispered behind their fans at balls. With black hair and cold, blue eyes, he stood tall, over six feet, and he had an athletic build. He seemed to be greatly enjoying his newfound wealth and status.

Thankfully, he did not look suspicious about finding her in the study. She brushed her hand across the desk and then stood.

“It normal that you should mourn your father. No wonder you wish to come into his old space and touch his things. You are feeling sad that you are leaving soon? Leaving your house for a time?”

She nodded but smiled. “You are kind to allow me such liberties, and you are right. It feels good to remember him just a bit more before I leave and you make this place as much your own as possible. I shall leave you to it and make sure that all is prepared for the feast.”

She passed by him, so close that the skirt of her dress brushed against his leg, and he turned towards her. “Wait for a moment, if you will, Adelaide.”

She paused and faced him, her heart fluttering a little with fear. Did he mean to question her about other reasons why she might be inside her father’s study? Did he mean to ask her about the bulge of documents hidden inside her bodice?

She held her breath as he gestured to a chair by the fire. “Would you sit? I shall pour us a drink.”

Uneasy about the request but preferring that to him questioning her about why she was in the study, she nodded and went to sit down.

“Good.” Grasping the bottle of wine from a table in the corner, he poured them each a glass and handed one to her before sitting down across from her. Raising it in the air, he said, “To your good health.”

“And to yours.” She smiled before she took a sip. “So, what is it you would like to discuss with me?”

He grinned at her, and Adelaide could understand why the ladies were flocking to him, eager to become a countess, but as for herself, his smile only reminded her of her father’s words. She knew that Thomas had something to do with her father’s odd death, but she had no proof, and she would never confront him about it until she was in a position of safety.

He got comfortable in the chair, leaning back so that his legs stretched out before him, clad in tight, fine breeches. “I thought perhaps you might enjoy remaining here at the house once the feast is over.”

She clutched her glass tightly, eager to finish it one gulp, but she did not want to appear suspicious in any way. “Stay at the house?”

He nodded. “I know you are to go to your cousin’s home in a few days, but I thought you might like to remain here as hostess instead. You have already done your duties so admirably, I should hate to lose you. The house could be entirely under your control. You could take care of the household, and you would have a respectable place to say.”

Even though Thomas had said a lot of words, Adelaide was only focused on one of them. “Respectable?”

He paused in the middle of his speech and nodded. “Yes.” Then he frowned when she did not reply. “Surely you know your reputation because of your father, the murders he committed, and the odd circumstances of his death. It is rather shameful.”

Adelaide winced, amazed that the man could say things so starkly when they had only occurred a month before. She had not wished to see her father anymore, but that didn’t mean she was not mourning his death.

“Yes, I know of it,” she replied through gritted teeth.

I do not need your help to remind me of what sort of reputation I have, sir.

“Well then, you understand how good an idea it is that you should find a way to make yourself respectable. You can go to your cousin’s, of course, but that is only a balm and not a solution for your future. For eventually you will return, and you will still need to find a solution. So, I have a proposition for you.”

Adelaide swallowed, and she felt cold all over. She was glad to be sitting down because she could feel the room begin to spin. A dark ball of dread knotted in her belly, and she tried her best not to reveal her inner feelings on her face.

“Oh?” she asked, taking a sip of wine.

“Yes. I thought perhaps you might like to stay in the house not just as a housekeeper but as something far more dear and far more distinguished. You could stay in the house as my wife.”


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The Sins of a Highland Beast – Extended Epilogue


Even a character, a scene, or anything. You could say no if nothing bothered you.
Even a character, a scene, or anything that you enjoyed.

One month later

The wedding was a lavish affair. Lana had tried to avoid most of the unnecessary things, but Alba and Evelyn had insisted that it was, in fact necessary; all of it. After the quiet ceremony, attended only by their close family, Lana had walked into a great hall that was filled not only with clansmen and women, but also food, drink, and flowers decorating every column and every bare space on the tables.

The cooks had outdone themselves, serving enough roasted meat for an army.

I suppose there is an army in here, though.

Lana recognized a few men from her own clan there, men in high positions that held plenty of influence. Nothing had been decided yet about the future of the Hay Clan, and Lana knew it was none other than the three Murray brothers–Tate, Magnus and Scott–who had invited those men there. It would be good to have them on their side, she knew.

All that mattered to her, was that Deirdre was finally there. She had given up the habit for now, and she didn’t yet know what the future held for her.

“Ye look so bonnie, Lana,” Deirdre said, taking Tate’s seat next to as he was absorbed in a conversation with Kian and Macauley at the other end of the table. “Ye look happy.”

“Ach, Deirdre.” Lana smiled at her, taking a good look at her now that they were sitting close. Every day, she seemed to be getting more mature. She had had a lot of responsibility suddenly thrust into her hands, what with the clan being in her care now, but she was handling it beautifully. “Ye ken… the older ye get, the more ye resemble Maither.”

Deirdre only knew their mother from portraits, the few that still remained in Hay Castle. But Lana remembered her, though faintly.

“Ye think so?” Deirdre asked.

“I dae,” Lana said. “Yer husband will be very lucky.”

“I told ye, I dinnae ken if I wish tae marry,” Deirdre said. “It’s nae so bad, the life o’ a nun.”

“I ken,” Lana assured her. “But it’s nae so bad, bein’ married either, after all.”

“Ye only say that because Tate is yer husband,” Deirdre said with a short laugh. “If it had been Laird Cummings…”

“Well, then I suppose I would have done me best tae become a widow,” Lana said, surprising even herself with that confession. For a moment, Deirdre gaped at her in disbelief, before she burst out laughing.

“Are ye enjoyin’ yerselves?” Tate asked, sliding behind Lana and placing his hands on her shoulders. Lana leaned into his touch, still craving it, even though they had already had plenty of each other. It turned out that neither she nor Tate were willing to wait a month for their wedding to share a room once more. Besides, no one seemed to be batting an eyelid at them being together.

“Aye, very much,” Lana said. “But I would enjoy meself more if we danced.”

Without a word, Tate offered Lana his hand. She took it, and the two of them joined the people who were already dancing, gliding effortlessly into the crowd.

There was only so much Lana could dance, though, before she began to have other thoughts in her mind. She pulled Tate aside, to a dark corner where no one else could see or hear them, the rest of them too busy with the feast to take any notice.

“I think it’s time we go tae our chambers,” she said. “Dinnae ye think?”

It was all it took for Tate to grin and take her hand, leading Lana out of the great hall through a back door, so that no one would try and stop them. They rushed past the kitchens and around to the garden, before using another small entrance to head back inside the castle.

They ended up by the drawing room, and from there, it was only a flight of stairs to their bedroom, where Tate closed the door firmly behind them. He wasted no time before he pressed Lana against it, his mouth landing on her neck with a groan.

She had thought she was the one who was eager, but now Tate was proving her wrong.

“I’ve been waitin’ all day fer this,” he said. “I’ve been thinkin’ about bein’ inside ye ever since I woke up this morn and ye werenae there.”

Lana moaned at Tate’s words, tipping her head back to bare her neck to him. She, too, had been thinking about him all day, eager for the moment they would be able to slip out of the feast so that they could finally be alone.

Hasty hands all but tore Lana’s clothes off her body, much to her chagrin. Under any other circumstances, she would have chastised him for it, but she was too aroused now, unable to think about the state her clothes. Tate quickly peeled back layer after layer, until she stood there in front of him, fully nude and dripping with want.

Tate fell to his knees in front of Lana and her hands found their way to his blonde hair, tugging gently at the strands. She pulled him closer to her, until his lips pressed against her most sensitive spot, making her arch her back in pleasure.

She would never get tired of this, and it seemed like Tate would neither . He loved pleasuring her, enthusiastically bringing her to the edge time after time, and this time, it wasn’t any different. His tongue dipped inside her, making Lana’s head fill up with nothing but cotton and her ears buzz with the rush of blood. Tate’s hands curled around her rear, pulling her even closer, forcing her firmly onto his mouth.

Lana canted her hips forward, selfishly taking her pleasure. Warmth built quickly deep within her, and she knew she wouldn’t last long, but she also knew her climax would be only one of many that night. She could tell by now when Tate was insatiable, and so she knew they had a long night—and perhaps an even longer day—ahead of them.

Her pleasure crashed over her like a wave only moments later, and she held tightly onto Tate’s hair as she moaned his name. She was glad that everyone else was in the great hall and that the sounds of the feast would drown out the ones she was making, as there was no way she could stop them now.

“Inside me,” she commanded, panting as she pulled Tate up to his feet. “Let me feel ye, Tate, please.”

Never one to disappoint or leave her waiting, Tate tore off his own clothes without any regard for them. Lana could have sworn that she even heard some of the fabric rip, but she didn’t care, not when those strong hands grabbed her hips and spun her around.

“Brace yerself,” Tate said, and as Lana arched her back, she also braced her forearms against the door for leverage.

Tate’s hands travelled down the expanse of her back slowly, his fingers following the curve of her spine. Then he moved them back up, circling her body to cup her breasts and squeeze as he pressed his manhood against her, rubbing the length of it on her folds. It was a terrible tease, and no matter how much Lana tried to get him to slip inside her, she couldn’t maneuver her hips the right way.

“Tate,” she said, her voice a high-pitched whine that brought a furious blush to her cheeks. She didn’t know she could even sound so needy, and she didn’t particularly like it, but Tate seemed to. A growl erupted from his chest, and he finally pushed himself inside her, filling her.

It was a relief and a joy at the same time. It was as though she had been deprived of water and had just found a cooling stream, comfort washing over her. Tate didn’t try to tease her anymore. His thrusts were as demanding as they were satisfying, hitting a spot deep inside her that drew moan after moan from her lips.

“So bonnie, Lana,” Tate whispered in her ear, lips brushing against the sensitive skin of her neck. His teeth grazed over it, and Lana gasped, shaking from head to toe as Tate picked up his pace, pushing deep into her as his fingers dug into the flesh of her hips, leaving small marks.

Lana wished she could see Tate, because she was certain that he, too, looked mesmerizing. He always did when they made love, strands of his hair falling to his eyes, that icy blue of them boring into her when their gazes met. She had never seen a man as handsome as him, and she couldn’t get enough of him.

But she didn’t want to move from the position in which he had put her. His length hit all the right spots like that, curving just slightly against her walls in a way that made her gasp with pleasure. She didn’t know why they hadn’t tried it before, but what she did know was that it would be far from the last time they ever coupled like this.

Her climax came once more just as Tate spilled into her with a shout of her name, the telltale warmth spreading inside her. He gave her a few more, short thrusts that only intensified her pleasure, and then his head fell against her back, strands of his hair sticking to her sweaty skin.

“We should get married more often,” Tate said, and Lana couldn’t help but laugh, the movement making him slip out of her. Lana didn’t want to move, but the position was getting uncomfortable, and there was a chill in the room she hadn’t felt before, for obvious reasons, so she reluctantly made her way to the bed, away from Tate.

Naturally, he joined her within moments. Curling around her back, Tate pulled the covers over the two of them and held Lana tightly in his arms, his hand coming to rest low on her stomach. “Ye wanted a bairn, did ye nae?” he asked. “I think it’s time we dae anythin’ in our power tae have one.”

“Or a few,” said Lana, smiling to herself. She would be more than happy to try, but for the moment, she was content to rest in Tate’s arms, to be surrounded by him, his warmth, his scent, leather and ink and the wine he had had at the feast.

“Lana,” Tate said after a few moments of silence.


“I love ye.”

He said it so softly, so quietly, that a few tears prickled at the corners of Lana’s eyes. There was so much behind those three simple words, and nothing she had ever heard had sounded as sincere.

“I love ye, too, Tate,” she said. “I’ll love ye always.”

The End.

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