The Clan MacLaren series, book 1
by Nancy Pennick
Lady Juliet Kingston did not expect to find love in the Scottish Highlands. Sent by the king to marry a laird’s son, she had no expectations until she met the strong and stubborn Ross MacLaren. He won her heart, erasing her feelings for the man she left behind. Her happiness is short-lived as the threat of war becomes real, and she is reclaimed by her former love.
“In two days, we will be wed.” He took her hand. “Do ye think ye may come to love me?”
Love? No one had ever spoken so directly to her. “Um.” She sank her teeth into her bottom lip. “I just met you.”
“Aye, I ken.” He placed his hand around the back of her neck. “And so, I ask permission to kiss ye.”
“Kiss me?” Juliet’s mouth went dry. She wished she still had the glass of sweet wine in her hand. You are going to marry him. You have kissed John. You know what it is like. “Yes, you may.”
He leaned in closer. The other hand went around her waist, bringing her to him. She felt his breath on her cheek, and the scent of ale was pleasant. His lips touched her face so lightly she jumped.
“I willna hurt ye,” he whispered.
Juliet’s heart fluttered as she looked into his eyes. Green pools of summer, ones she could dive into and never come out. She nodded and placed her hand on his chest, feeling the hard muscle beneath the coat. She opened her mouth slightly to tell him she was all right, but instead found his lips on hers.
Ross tightened his grip on her, pulling her so close she fought for breath, yet she did not want him to stop. His lips felt soft against hers as he pushed her mouth open wider. She felt the tip of his tongue on hers. John had never kissed her like that. John!
Juliet pulled back, head spinning. Ross did not let go, still holding her close. He rested his chin on the top of her head, nuzzling her hair. “Ye taste of summer and honey.”
“I think you should give credit to the wine.” Juliet tried to laugh but could only think of the kiss. She wanted another.
“I will take ye to yer room.” Ross offered his arm. “Because if I dinna, we may have to marry tonight.”
“I feel so guilty, Eva.” Juliet looked up with tears in her eyes. “I am betraying him and our love.”
“No, you are not. John is in England. You are here, betrothed to another. I understand you love John, but you must forget him.” Eva put the finishing touches on Juliet’s hair for the wedding ceremony.
“No, you do not understand,” Juliet wailed. “I feel guilty that I could betray him so easily. I think I could fall in love with Ross. If that is true, was I ever really in love with John?” She covered her face. “I am a horrible, shallow person.”
Eva pulled Juliet’s hands away from her face. “You are kind and loving, Juliet. You would not hurt a flea.” She patted the hand she held. “Maybe Ross was meant to be. He is quite handsome if I may say so.”
“It is not just his looks. He is kind and gentle. He has made sure I have not been alone for the last two days. He spent most of that time with me, showing me the land, introducing me to the people and talking about his life.”
“That is an extraordinary man.” Eva pulled the wedding dress from the wardrobe. “You are lucky.”
“And John? What do I do about him?”
“Be grateful for the time you spent with him. He is part of your past. Ross is your future.”
After a great career in teaching, Nancy found a second calling as a writer. Born and raised in Northeast Ohio, she currently resides in Mentor, OH. Ohio is her home, but she loves to travel the U.S. Now Scotland is on her bucket list as a place she’d like to visit. Nancy is married and has one son.