the highland laird's bride
Publication: Harlequin/Mills and Boon (June 2016)
At the gates of a Scottish keep...
Lioslath of Clan Fergusson has defended her clan and her orphaned siblings against countless enemies. So when Laird Colquhoun, the man responsible for the death of her father, arrives at the gates of her crumbling keep, she’ll fight him all the way!
It’s soon clear Bram’s famed tactics of seduction and negotiation won’t work on this guarded, beautiful woman. But when the sparks between them turn to passion, and they’re forced to wed, Bram must do whatever it takes to win over his new bride…
Emotional, romantic, all of the adjectives that a reader wants to see within a romance novel. - Romancing the Book
Scotland — 1296
‘You were expecting me.’
Lioslath of Clan Fergusson stopped pacing the darkness of her bedroom and adjusted the knife in her hand. From years of training, she knew simply on the utterance of his four words where Bram, Laird Colquhoun, stood in the room, and the precise location of his beating heart.
She knew it, even though her back was to him and she’d been caught pacing. Defenceless. Or so he thought.
The laird was right; she had been expecting him. Expecting him as one views a storm on the horizon. Ever since he and his clansmen, like black clouds, crested a nearby hill. Since he alerted her young brothers, who raced to the keep, giving them precious moments to lock the gates. All the while the storm of Laird Colquhoun and his clansmen gathered strength and lined up outside the keep with arrows and swords like lightning about to strike.
But they hadn’t struck. And it had been almost a month. Which meant weeks of her climbing the haphazardly rebuilt platform to look over the gates; weeks of hearing the Colquhoun men below her even before she climbed the rickety steps.
It had been almost a month, and still they didn’t strike. Although she barred the gates, though the villagers shunned him, Laird Colquhoun hadn’t struck like the harshest of Scottish storms. Rather, he and his clansmen enclosed the keep. Surrounded, she felt choked by his stormy presence, suffocated by the battering wait.
But this morning, she knew the wait was over when she spied the carefully placed food at the outside entrance of the secret passage. Her captor had discovered her tunnel. She knew, despite the fact she locked the gates, the storm would get inside.
When he hadn’t come during the day, Lioslath expected Bram of Clan Colquhoun this night. She was no fool.
But she hadn’t been expecting his voice. Deep, melodious, a tenor that sent an immediate awareness skittering up the backs of her legs and wrapping warmth around her centre.
So she didn’t immediately turn to see him, even though a man was in her bedroom. Forbidden and unwanted. She didn’t pretend maidenly outrage as she had carefully planned, to provide a necessary distraction and give her an advantage before her attack.
It was his voice. It was...unexpected.
It didn’t fit here, in the dark, in the intimacy of her bedroom. It didn’t fit with what she’d seen of him so far.
Arrogant, proud, superior, Bram rode through her broken village to her weather-worn gates thinking himself a welcome benefactor with his carts of overstocked gifts. Or worse, as laird of the keep bestowing treasures to his people.
Since Laird Colquhoun began the siege, he’d been an abrasive force, from his vibrant red hair to the length of his strides as he walked amongst his men. His voice booming orders; his demands to open the gates. His constant laughter. Everything about him she instinctively rejected.
But not now.
Now his voice reverberated with some power, some seductive tone she’d never heard before. She felt his voice. And it shouldn’t have felt like this. Not to her. She calmed her wavering heart.
Never to her.
Allowing the cool night air into her lungs, she turned and immediately wished she stood elsewhere.
The full moon cast light through the window and holes in the roof, but his back was to the light and Bram remained in darkness.
She knew the darkness would give his voice an advantage. She adjusted the knife, careful to keep it close and ready. Her plan might have changed, but not her intent. Bram of Clan Colquhoun was expected, but he was not wanted. He had arrived too late for that.
‘Get out,’ she said, without menace. Dog hid in a corner. She needed not to alert him to her tumultuous feelings; she needed to remain calm and keep to their routine. For years they’d hunted together. Dog knew what the knife in her hand meant: for him to lie in wait for her signal—and surprise their prey. ‘Get out of my room and away from the keep. Weren’t the closed gates and the hurtled dung enough deterrent? Leave, Laird Colquhoun. You never should have come.’