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The Highlander’s Forbidden Bride (Kilts & Kisses #5)
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Being arranged to marry a Highlander lord is hardly uncommon.
Lachlan McDougall is a lot of things: powerful, ruggedly handsome Highlander Lord, fierce ex-warrior, my soon-to-be-husband…
…And my best friend’s dad.
I grew up in their castle, under his eye. But secretly, I’ve wanted him since before I even knew what the word meant. On the surface, I’m marrying him for political reasons: to stop a war and save his lands.
On the inside, though, binding myself to Lachlan McDougall is a fantasy I’ve dreamt a thousand times.
I know this is wrong, and a sin. But once I lose myself in those dark, piercing eyes, and once I feel his big, powerful hands on me, and once I taste those beautiful lips?
…Well, it turns out, I might not be the only one with a forbidden little secret.
In two days, I’ll be married to a man who I’ve married a hundred times, in my head. The man who’s taken me to bed ten times that number in my dreams.
Twice my age, a scandal waiting to happen, and my best friend’s father.
…I’m in so much trouble.
All the tropes, all the growly af alpha goodness, all the over-the-top fun, and of course, WILDLY historically inaccurate.Warning: not responsible for lost or ripped bodices. Reader beware.
As with all my books, this one is safe, with no cheating, and a HEA guaranteed.
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“I’m going to marry you.”
The words hang like smoke in the darkness of his study, simmering down to linger on my skin like sweat. There’s a quickening in my chest, my heart skipping a beat as my pulse throbs through me.
I’m going to marry you.
The man sitting across the room from me is half in shadow, as am I, with the only light coming from the snapping, crackling fire spitting in the hearth. But even in pure darkness, I’d know his face. I’d know it because the man who’s just told me he’s marrying me—told me, not asked—isn’t just any man. No, this man is the one who’s been at the center of my thoughts for, well, longer than is appropriate. Though to be fair, none of the thoughts I’ve had about Lachlan McDougall have really ever been appropriate, regardless of how old I was.
And it hasn’t just been “thoughts.” “Thoughts” makes it sound so innocent, so frivolous. But the “thoughts” I’ve had about Lachlan have been anything but innocent.
…They’ve been downright sinful. Lewd, wicked, filthy thoughts. And dreams. And fantasies. For years.
In the flickering light of the fire, my blue eyes dart across his rough, hardened, chiseled, handsome face. It’s the face of a warrior. The face of a lord. The face of a man who’s seen the world and made it home with the demons on his back. My eyes flit to his, holding there for a second and getting lost in those dark browns before I lose my nerve and look away, my gaze dropping to his lips.
God, those lips.
They’re no better than looking into his eyes. Those lips do little to quell the fire blazing inside of me, the fire that’s been started by those five simple words.
I’m going to marry you.
His large hand reaches out, his tunic rolled to the elbows and his forearms rippling as he grips his flagon of wine and brings it to those very lips I’m staring at. He takes a sip and puts the cup back down, his tongue briefly flicking over those lips and sending a heated throb through my core.
…I think I’m in trouble.
Lachlan’s hand comes back up, his fingers raking across the silvered hair at his temple, cut short. He clears his throat, and I know his eyes are on mine, but I don’t trust myself to look back into them. Not with his words bringing to life every single wicked, sinful little fantasy I’ve ever had of him. Which, if I’m being honest, is a very large number.
In my fantasies, the fact that he’s more than twice my age doesn’t matter. That he’s my best friend’s father doesn’t matter. That he was once married—though it was annulled—to my horrible mother. At night, in the darkness, and when I’m alone with my wicked thoughts, none of it matters.
…Or perhaps all of it is why I’m drawn to him like a moth to flame. Maybe everything that’s wrong about desiring Lachlan McDougall is the very reason I crave him. Except fantasy is just that. It’s fantasy. It’s pretend. Fantasy is the line I couldn’t cross to actually be burned by that flame. Fantasy lets me live out every wicked desire without the scandal. Or without the repercussions. Or without the scorn of my best friend’s eye.
Except, suddenly, this isn’t fantasy anymore.
The word croaks out of dry, parched lips, and I swallow, blushing at my awkward stumble over the simple word. Lachlan smiles thinly, pushing his flagon across the table towards me and nodding for me to take a drink. I do, quickly, drinking a heavy gulp that catches when I realize I’m drinking from his cup—the very cup those lips have tasted.
I sputter slightly, but I catch myself, putting the cup back down and swallowing.
“Would you like to try again?” he purrs, with a slight hint of mirth in his deep, thundering baritone.
Lachlan smiles, those white teeth flashing and that handsome jaw pulling back as I absolutely melt under it.
“I apologize for springing this on you,” he says gruffly. “But it couldn’t wait any longer. It’s Darcy, your mother.”
I make a face.
I’m sure it’s a sin to dislike the woman who brought you into the world as much as I dislike Darcy. But then, it’s probably up there with disliking the child you brought into the world as much as she clearly dislikes me. Honestly, when I was younger, I used to fantasize that she wasn’t my mother. That somewhere, in some far-off land, there was a kind, sweet, queen or princess of some kind who Darcy had kidnapped me from. Because there was no way a hateful, lying, conniving demon of a creature like Darcy could actually be my mother.
Except, sadly, the world isn’t always a fairytale. In fact, it rarely is. And the sad truth of it is that you can’t pick your parents. My father I never knew, and Darcy rarely if ever spoke of the late Lord Campbell. When she married Lachlan though, it was here that became home, with Lachlan’s daughter Catriona becoming the sister I never had. And Lachlan becoming the… well, he was the warmth I never knew.