Too Scot to Handle
Book 2 in the Windham Brides series
Colin MacHugh is trying to come up to scratch as the brother and heir of a newly minted duke, but Polite Society isn’t keen on a former army captain acquiring even a courtesy title. At the suggestion of an aristocratic friend, Colin takes an interest in a charitable home for urchins. Miss Anwen Windham is devoted to the same institution, and as Colin and Anwen work together to save the failing orphanage, their interest in each other becomes passionate.
When the orphanage’s troubles take a criminal turn, everybody is suspect, from Colin, to the children, to Anwen. If Colin blows retreat and heads home to Scotland, the orphanage will surely fail. If he stays to fight the accusations coming at him from all sides, he could lose a future with Anwen–and his life….
Get it July 4
Enjoy An Excerpt
Anwen Windham has chosen the man she’ll marry, and has also chosen the moment when she’ll acquaint him with the fine old Windham tradition of anticipating the vows…
They hadn’t even set a date, much less dealt with settlements, announcements, or wedding plans, but Colin had purchased a special license yesterday, because surely, surely, they’d be married in the next six months.
He settled Anwen onto a sofa tucked under the lemon tree and further shielded by a pair of potted orange trees.
“If you run off now, Colin MacHugh, I will hunt you down and kiss you within an inch of your wits.” She toed off her slippers and tucked her feet up beside her.
Colin permitted himself one peek at her ankles, though it was a lengthy peek, as peeks went. Perhaps more of a longing glance.
“You stole my wits three weeks ago, madam, and I haven’t seen them since.”
She twitched at her skirts, so a hint of pale ankle showed below her hem.
Most women, especially in temperate weather, wore nothing beneath their skirts. That fact ricocheted around in Colin’s mind, as he studied a bunch of violets overgrowing their pottery three feet away. Violets symbolized modesty, but the soft, tangled greenery put Colin in mind of other soft, tangled textures in shadowy locations he ached to revisit.
“I kissed you within an inch of your wits three weeks ago?” Anwen asked. “Then what about last week, in the saddle room, and the week before, in the music room?”
Those memories had sprung up aching eons ago, and were as close as Colin’s next thought. He turned his back on Anwen, lest she notice that his breeches had developed an awkward fit.
“Those were lovely occasions. I have a special license, you know, in case you’d like to be married right here, in your conservatory.”
In the next five minutes would have suited Colin wonderfully.
“That is a lovely, lovely thought. I’ve had a lovely thought too.”
He risked a glance over his shoulder. The picture Anwen made on the sofa—another article of furniture designed to replicate female charms—was lovely, though with her feet bare, and one red curl brushing her shoulder, also erotic.
A man who found clouds, puddles, and sofa backs a trial was a pathetic creature.
“If your idea is about the orphanage,” Colin replied, plucking a lone violet, “you said we weren’t to speak of that for two days.” A fine idea. He wished he’d thought of it himself.
“My lovely thought is this: We have not announced our engagement, though we certainly have an understanding in eyes of our families. I’d like to consummate that engagement, Colin.”
He knew what consummation meant, had been dreaming of it for three straight weeks. He knelt before the sofa and tucked the violet into Anwen’s décolletage.
“Couples do,” he said, brushing the errant curl behind her ear. “Couples who are in love. It’s not a step to be taken lightly.” Oh, that sounded quite rational, quite awfully stupid. “Shall we plan an outing to Richmond next week, a wander in the woods? You’ll notice I’m not capable of arguing with your suggestion.”
She brushed a hand over his hair and Colin felt the caress in impossible places.
“I notice we have privacy right here, right now.”
He wrapped his arms around her and laid his cheek against her hair. “Right here, right now.” Colin searched his motivations for selfishness and found some. He desired Anwen in every way a man desires a woman, physically, madly, passionately. Another emotion crowded close behind the pawing of the male beast, though.
He wanted to please her, to cherish her, to give himself to her, in the most intimate way a man could surrender himself to his beloved. On that thought he rose, locked all available doors, pulled down three shades, and tugged off his boots.
He slipped the violet from Anwen’s bodice, set the flower aside, tossed a cushion onto the rug, and resumed his place on his knees before her.
End of Excerpt
This book will begin shipping in July 2017
Too Scot to Handle is available in the following formats:
July 4, 2017