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The second in my Highland Brides series (a September release) is about Shona MacGowan, the hot-blooded daughter of Roderic the Rogue and the notorious Flame. Roderic was having trouble getting his haughty daughter married off, so I felt the need to help him. After all, once you create these characters, you feel a certain responsibility for their happiness. But that doesn't mean you can't torment them a little.
Shona bumped down the stone wall to fall on her behind with a thud and a muffled grunt. Damn that scoundrel they called Dugald! If it hadnt been for him, she would never have snuck off to the stables with Lord Halwart. She would never have found herself in a compromised position, and she would never have had to knee the man in the groin.
Now there was nothing to do but return to her room as inconspicuously as possible. Rising to her feet, Shona tucked her hem more firmly into her garter. But a snicker of sound made her swivel about.
Standing not fifteen feet from the wall was Dugald Kinnaird.
"What are ye doing here?" she asked, her tone notably lacking that ladylike quality she'd been tutored to employ in the company of men.
"I was just enjoying the weather."
"Tis raining," she said. She tried to remain civil. After all, if she kept maiming men, her options for a husband would soon be sorely depleted. "Why dont ye go enjoy the weather in the hall?"
"In truth, I prefer the view out here."
She bit back a barbed retort and donned her sweetest smile. "Tis not that I do not appreciate you company, sir," she said. "But I fear I've hurt my hand and—"
"Not your bonny hand," he said, and stepping forward, gently grasped her fingers.
His lips grazed her knuckles. A shiver, fine as gossamer, ticked up her spine.
Turning her hand over, he kissed her scathed palm. The shiver branched out, turning to a blaze that burned wild and bright through her torso.
Perhaps she'd misjudged him, Shona thought blearily. After all, her father had thought enough of him to invite him here. Besides, he was devilishly handsome.
Still she shouldn't allow him to kiss her.
But then again, her father had gone through a great deal of expense to find her a suitable husband. And a suitable husband was surely someone she enjoyed kissing. Therefore, it was practically her duty to test the water. Father would probably thank her.
That logic dealt with, Shona tilted her head, ready for the caress.
"Lass," Dugald murmured. "You should be more careful who you meet alone in the dark. Such beauty as yours might turn any man to violence."
For a moment Shona was caught in the lingering caress of his fingers, but suddenly his words penetrated her fuzzy thinking. "Ye were in the stables," she rasped. "Ye saw the whole thing, and ye did not come to my rescue."
"Your rescue?" He sounded genuinely surprised. "And why would I be doing that, lass? Twas poor Halwart who left battered and bruised."
Please drop me a line at P.O. Box 16, Rogers, MN 55374-0016.
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