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Daring is an early-1800s Scottish romp that matches a ruthless devil against an irrepressible angel in a battle that begins in Edinburgh and takes the unlikely pair to a secluded castle in the Highlands.

Connor Buchanan, DARING's hero, is the most powerful man in Scotland, known as both a protector of the innocent and a heartless scoundrel. Maggie Saunders, meanwhile, is a thief. Well, she isn't really a thief, as she was born and raised the daughter of a duke and has a perfectly good reason for breaking into Connor's bedroom and leaving her stockings dangling from his tree.

At first sight, Connor thinks Maggie looks like a princess. On closer inspection, though, he finds that she looks like trouble-serious trouble.

Because one minute Connor is celebrating his success at a posh party and planning to seduce her and in the next, he finds himself involved in a crime and acting as a personal bodyguard, not only to Maggie but also to her poodle and her interfering old butler. He isn't sure how it happens; but suddenly, instead of performing his usual duties, he's whisking the intrepid Miss Saunders to his Highland hideaway, where she promptly turns his life into a muddle of midnight escapes and heartwarming mayhem. Here's an excerpt:Maggie frowned in suspicion. "You didn't hurt him, did you?"

"I didn't lay a blessed finger on him. Can we go now?"

Maggie didn't argue with him. She glanced back thoughtfully over her shoulder at the trellis that lay in pieces on the ground. His lordship was obviously in control of the situation and took his promise to protect her to heart. Which made her feel a little better about being alone with him.

It still didn't answer her concerns about the attraction smoldering between them, the sparks that ignited whenever she looked into his face. And it didn't alter the inherent danger in entrusting her life to a man who took what he wanted, who possessed the predatory instincts of a lion, and who from the start hadn't exactly made a secret of his sexual interest in her.

While he was guarding her, Maggie would have to be on guard against him.

Look for Daring, a March 1998 release from Pocket.

Jillian Hunter can be reached at: P.O. Box 3074, Long Beach, CA 90803.

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