TO LOVE A HIGHLANDER (book I in the Scandalous Scots series)
A TEMPTING PROPOSITION
As one of the bastards born to the Stirling court, Sorley the Hawk has never known his mother or father. It’s a burning quest he has devoted himself to uncovering at any cost. But as a roguish warrior who serves at the pleasure of the King, his prowess-both on the battlefield and in his bedchamber-is legendary. So when a flame-haired Highland lass sneaks into his quarters with a tantalizing proposition, he can’t resist taking her up on her offer . . .
AN UNQUENCHABLE DESIRE
Lady Mirabelle MacLaren will do anything to keep from marrying her odious suitor, even sully her own good name. And who better to despoil her than his sworn enemy, the one they call “Hawk?” As they set about the enjoyable task of ruining her reputation, Hawk and Mirabelle soon learn that rebellion never tasted so sweet.
About Sue-Ellen Welfonder
Sue-Ellen Welfonder is a Scotophile whose burning wish to make frequent trips to the land of her dreams led her to a twenty-year career with the airlines. Now a full-time writer, she’s quick to admit that she much prefers wielding a pen to pushing tea and coffee. She makes annual visits to Scotland, insisting they are a necessity, as each trip gives her inspiration for new books. Proud of her own Hebridean ancestry, she belongs to two clan societies: the MacFie Clan Society and the Clan MacAlpine Society. In addition to Scotland, her greatest passions are medieval history, the paranormal, and dogs. She never watches television, loves haggis, and writes at a 450-year-old desk that once stood in a Bavarian castle. Sue-Ellen is married and currently resides with her husband and Jack Russell terrier in Florida.
Sue-Ellen’s social media:
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“You are a minx and were one the moment you drew your first breath.” Sorley looked her over, not caring if his gaze burned her. She set him aflame. “A man would have to be stone cold dead no’ to want you.”
“Is that why you have terms?” She touched his cloak. “Because you desire me?”
“I’d see you safe, no more.” Sorley gripped her wrist, removing her hand from his mantle before she drove him to doing something he’d regret. He was a breath away from ravishing her. “I’ve told you, I dinnae touch virgins. Leastways no’ where I’d need to if I agreed to your request.”
“But you have.”
“No’ completely.” Sorley shook his head again, hoping he had the strength to keep his own conditions. “I’m willing to help you cause a stir. I will come to you in the hall, plying you with my attentions, kissing and touching you. Before all, I will seduce you. Sir John will see and-”
“That won’t help.” Mirabelle frowned. “I’m not sure he’d care about kisses and a flirtation.”
“Aye, he will. He’ll do so because you must appear to enjoy my kisses, to welcome everything that happens between us. When he’s livid, I’ll lead you from the hall.” Sorley set his hands on her shoulders, roused already just by how she looked up at him from beneath her thick, gold-tipped lashes. “What he’ll have witnessed by then will be more than a ‘flirtation,’ I assure you. I will put my hands on you, even slipping them inside your bodice.
“You must dress accordingly, wearing a gown that dips low enough for me to have access.” He held her gaze as he spoke, wondered if she knew what such words did to him. “If I deem it necessary, I might lower my head and nuzzle your neck, perhaps even light kisses across the upper swells of your breasts. So you needn’t worry. You will be scandalized, the talk of the court. When we leave the hall, no one will doubt where we are going and why.”
She made a soft noise. Her gaze slipped to his mouth, lingering there just long enough to send a hot tide of desire straight to his loins. When she met his eyes again, a shock of heat swept the rest of him. He could take her now, slaking his savage need for her.
“So when we reach your bedchamber, you’ll-”
“We’ll no’ be going there.” Sorley ignored the regret that punched through him. “It’s enough for Sir John to think so. In truth, I’ll escort you to your own quarters, leaving you at the door. We’ll part ways there and no one will be the wiser. Above all, your virtue will still be intact when you waken the next morning.”
“This is your stipulation?” She gave a slight shake of her head, as if she hadn’t properly heard him. “A deflowering that isn’t one?”
“It is part of my terms, aye.”
“There are more?”
“Two, unless I think of another. I’d know when your father isn’t likely to dine in the hall. I’ll no’ distress him unduly. By the time he hears, he’ll be ready to learn the truth about Sir John.” Sorley slid his arm around her, resting his hand on the curve of her hip. “You can then tell him what happened. That you are still a maid, as pure as aye.”
“You are most thoughtful.” She sounded annoyed.
“I try, my lady.” Sorley bet she’d be even more vexed by what he meant to do next.
Before he could let that worry him, he caught her to him, claiming her lips with a fierceness he knew would stun her. He gripped her nape, thrusting his fingers into her hair while keeping his other arm wrapped tightly around her waist, holding her crushed against him. He kissed her deeply, pure masculine triumph whipping through him when she pushed her hands up between them, digging her fingers into the front of his cloak as she clung to him, her body melting into his, capitulating.
She leaned into him, tilting her head, parting her lips so he could kiss her more thoroughly. She even flicked her tongue against his, seeming to enjoy his devouring kiss, welcoming the stroking of his tongue over hers, the heady intimacy of the soft, warm breath they shared.
Sorley’s heart hammered, the pounding at his groin an almost unbearable torment.
She clenched her hands against his chest, the sweetest tremor rippling through her. “Oh, dear saints….” She breathed the words against his mouth, sweeping one hand up his chest and over his shoulder to twine her fingers in his hair. “I never knew….”
The reminder of her innocence hit Sorley like a fist to his ribs. He tore his lips from hers and looked down at her, breathing hard.
“That, my sweet, is why I kissed you.” He moved back, took a few more steps, putting an arm’s length of space between them.