The Wrong Bride (Highland Weddings #1)
by Gayle Callen
The first in a wonderfully engaging series set in the Scottish Highlands, USA Today bestselling author Gayle Callen creates an unforgettable story of mistaken identity and irresistible attraction.
Shaken from sleep during the night, bundled off to the Highlands by a burly Scot, Riona is at first terrified, then livid. Hugh McCallum insists they were promised to each other as children to ensure peace between their clans. The stubborn laird refuses to believe he’s kidnapped the wrong Catriona Duff. Instead, he embarks on a campaign of slow-burning seduction…
At first, Hugh cares only what their marriage can do for his people. Now he’s starting to crave Riona for her own sake. But her true identity jeopardizes his clan’s contract. And unless she chooses to risk all to be his bride, he’ll lose the only thing he prizes more than the lands he’s fought so hard to save-the passionate marriage they could have together.
Riona Duff was startled out of a deep sleep, groggy and uneasy. For a moment she didn’t know where she was. A single candle burned in its holder on the bed table, so she could see the wavering glow of light illuminate the canopied bed and part of the door.
This wasn’t her room. Where was she?
And then she remembered—she wasn’t in London anymore, the city where she’d spent the majority of her life. She’d gone north to York with her uncle’s family while her own parents and sister traveled to the south of France to improve her sister’s fragile health.
Something creaked, and she froze, for it sounded like a door. The one beside her was firmly closed, so that meant—
A large, male hand suddenly covered her mouth.
Riona’s eyes went wide and she screamed, but the sound was muffled. She smelled horses and sweat and her own fear. Though she tried to buck and slide away, she was hampered by the bedclothes, and then the man’s other arm across her body, pinning her down. Her heart seemed to be dancing in her chest, racing with terror and making her light-headed.
“I’ll not harm ye,” he said softly, gruffly.
He spoke with the Scottish accent that still lingered in her father’s speech even after so many years in England.
“Just do as I say,” he continued, “and I’ll free your mouth if ye promise not to scream.”
Her eyes darted frantically about, and though she could see the outline of his shaggy head, the candle was behind him and his face was a mass of shadows. He loomed over her like a mountain, a stranger who’d dared breach her bedroom from the balcony. He could want—anything.
He gave her a little shake that made her squeak with fright.
“Do I have your word, lass?”
Having no choice, she nodded. The hand slid away, but the arm across her body did not, a heavy, threatening weight that made her feel fragile.
“What do you want?” she choked out, her voice trembling. “I’ve nothing of value. They’ll catch you if—”
“Silence.” Though soft, his voice was deep and full of a threatening growl. “Ye’re coming with me.”
He took her by the arm and pulled her upright, her arm like a twig in his massive fist.
“But—where are you taking me?” she demanded, aghast.
Drawing her closer, he gave her another shake. “I’ll answer all your questions later. But not another word from ye until we’re away.”
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