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Wed To The Warrior (Kilts & Kisses #3)
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Other would-be suitors called me “challenging”.
Marriage has never been in the plans for me. Not with my reputation for being “headstrong” and “disobedient”. That is, until Lord Callum Bruce barges into my world and scatters those plans all over the place.
But Lord Bruce is a brute of a man. A battle-hardened soldier and fierce, dominant Highland lord. Well, that and completely beautiful, which is so very, very unfair.
When he tells me I’m to be his wife, I flee. But there’s no running from the most dominant, gorgeous, sinfully tempting man I’ve ever met.
Not after I’ve had a teasing taste of those perfect lips. Not when I’ve felt those rough hands on me. Not when deep down, I want him to chase me.
…Not when deep down, I want him to take all of me.
The first kiss was a mistake. The second was stolen. But the ones after that, I’ve run out of excuses for.
I’ve scared nine would-be-suitors away. But something tells me, number ten isn’t going anywhere.
Passionate about plaid? Step into something wild, filthy, and tropey as all get-out. Hot, alpha af, and 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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My breath lets out in a whooshing sound, and I let my shoulders drop. Sweat dampens the small of my back, and as I set that last bucket down, I push my long, honeyed blonde hair out of my face. A smile plays across my face as my eyes flick over the steaming hot surface of the big metal tub of water, and eagerly, I start to shed my dress.
Peace. At. Last.
For a life lived in my father’s castle, surrounded by servants, and maids, and cooks, and cleaners, and… well, people waiting on hand to do just about anything that would need doing, being alone for me is always a bit strange. But today, I can’t even describe how welcomed it is.
It’s also completely silent but for the birds outside and the highland winds blowing lazily through the big open windows of the tower—further insulation between me and the real world I’ve escaped here to get away from. My dress, slightly damp from the exertion of lugging close to thirty buckets of piping hot water up four flights of stairs, drops to the floor. My undergarments are next, and I blush, turning quickly to look around, even though I am quite alone.
Exactly how I wanted it when I decided to flee here.
“Here” is Aerie Doon Keep—a ramshackle, crumbling, leaning, and utterly adorable little outpost tower way up in the highlands. Aerie Doon was probably at some point a guard tower or lookout post of some kind. Somehow, it ended up belonging to my grandmother, Catherine—both my namesake and my favorite relative. And when she passed, apparently, she left the place to me. I’ve been using it as an escape and secret hiding place when I need to get away ever since. And today?
Well, if ever a day where a girl needed running away to a secret place where no one can find her, it’s today.
For a second, just before I step into the hot water of the bath, my mind flicks back to the conversation this morning over breakfast back at my father’s castle—the one where I was informed that a man had come forward with a request for my hand in marriage.
Now, men asking my father for my hand in marriage isn’t a new development. Neither is my father agreeing to one of them. Dad’s always weeded out the bad apples, of course, but that doesn’t mean a single one of them has stuck around after one conversation with me. So much so that I’ve developed a bit of a reputation.
…Apparently, I’m “headstrong” and “difficult.” Apparently, most highland lords looking for a bride want sweet and docile. Apparently, what they want in a bride is someone to smile pretty, speak only when spoken to, and to cow to their every whim. Someone to warm their bed, keep their opinions to themselves, and bear their heirs.
I know: how does a girl possibly say no to such a lovely offer?
I roll my eyes, stepping into the tub and shivering at the sizzling heat.
There have been nine requests for my hand in marriage that made it past my father’s high standards of men he’d allow to marry his only daughter. And every single one of them have lasted exactly one cup of tea and one meeting with me, if even that, before they rescinded their offer. And I was perfectly content to keep that record going, and to keep my reputation as an “outspoken girl” very much alive and well. That is, until today, when my father told me about offer number ten.
…And offer number ten is no ordinary offer.
You see, because the tenth man to ask for my hand in marriage is no ordinary man and no ordinary snooty highland lord. The tenth man to ask for my hand in marriage is hardened, and rough, and fierce. He’s huge, and muscled, and sculpted from years fighting in the wars in the Holy Land. He’s a soldier, and a warrior—a man gruff of voice, fierce of gaze, and imposing of size. A man who knows exactly what he wants, and a man who takes what he wants. So much so that I’m pretty certain that the tenth man who “asked” for my hand in marriage didn’t so much ask as tell.
His name is Callum Bruce, and unlike the other men who came looking to lock me down, we’ve met before.
…Oh, have we met.
My face burns as hot as the steamy water I’m standing in, and slowly, I lower myself into the scalding hot water as the fierce, wicked memories come flashing back. Sinful, filthy memories that send little bolts of lightning through my body to places they ought not to go.
A month ago, we were strangers. A month ago, at my best friend Una’s wedding to Lord Ballentyne, I’d only heard of Callum Bruce through reputation. Then we met. Then our eyes locked across a room, and I felt a fire inside of me I’d never felt before. Then I found it impossible to look away, or to stop my heart from racing.