The Sins of Rory MacLeod
MacLeods of Skye Book 2
by J R Salisbury
Genre: Historical Romance
Left jilted at the altar by his bride, Rory MacLeod, the Duke of Skye and chief of the MacLeod clan finds himself becoming the subject of unsavory gossip.
Marriage to a respectable young lady of impeccable breeding is the only way Rory can hope to silence the gossips.
Licking his wounds, he returns to London for the upcoming session of Parliament and Season. He brings with him his sister Lily. It will be her first season and one which Rory intends to find a bride of his own. He doesn't have to look far.
Victoria, the Duke of Hargrove's daughter, catches more than his eye the moment he meets her. She is everything his duchess needs to be. She is smart, beautiful and devoted to Rory. Not even his darkest secret can sway her.
The bliss of married life is ripped apart by betrayal of the worst kind. His sister is kidnapped and forced into a marriage with only one purpose. Money. Even worse is who is behind it all.
With his own reputation and that of his family and clan at stake, Rory must carefully negotiate his sister's return without the world finding out about his secret. Not only could it bring shame to everyone he holds dear, it would mean his ruination and worse.
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"Oh? Who is it?"
"Aye. My father's mother. When my grandfather died many years ago, my father built a cottage for her. At her request of course. She didn't want to reside inside the castle walls. I suppose you could say she wanted her freedom. So my father built the cottage, and she's lived here as long as I can remember."
"I don't know. She's content living out here, and it's not as brutal as it may sound. A few of the women come visit her every day. My brothers and I try and visit her as much as possible."
"Ow, you wound me, lass. I try my best. She'll be happy to see I've married and am happy. Seanmhair will love you, and she'd love to tell you the history about Castle MacLeod."
"How far is she?"
"About a mile."
Rory led her along the lakeside path. Before long, he could see smoke lazily dancing its way in the air. They were close.
A cottage finally came into view. The small structure sat in a small clearing, the loch to one side and the forest on the other. He didn't see anyone around, but knowing his grandmother as he did, he knew she'd be close by if she wasn't inside. On a day like today, she'd be outside taking advantage of the beautiful weather.
He dismounted his horse and walked toward Victoria's mare. He helped her down. As he was about to tie the animals off, the door to the cottage swung open.
His grandmother appeared. Despite her advanced years, she walked without assistance. Even if she did need help, Rory doubted she'd allow anyone to help. Typical MacLeod trait.
"It's true. You've taken a wife."
"Yes, ma'am. How did you know?" Rory asked as he leaned down to kiss her on the cheek.
"Donnan told me when he came to tell me of his and Rose's babe. Said you found a beautiful bride in England, and he was right. She's quite bonny, Rory."
He smiled. "Seanmhair, this is my wife, Victoria."
"'Tis very nice to meet you, Victoria," she said, extending a hand to his wife.
"It's a pleasure to meet you."
"Come, let's sit down and talk for a bit." She pointed to a group of chairs nearby. "'Tis too nice a day to be inside. Might as well enjoy the sun while it's out. I spend far too many days inside because of the rain and cold."
As they were sitting down, Rory's grandmother offered them some cider. He watched as the old woman disappeared back into her cottage.
"Why does she choose to stay here? Was she banished from the castle?"
"Nay, she wasn't banished. It was her choice. I think she thought she'd be in the way, which is far from true. My father respected her request and had this place built."
"But she was a duchess."
"Aye, but she's happier here. You'll see."
His grandmother reappeared carrying a tray with a pitcher and three glasses. Rory immediately got on his feet to assist her.
"I don't need you fussing over me. I can still manage a tray and anything else I choose."
As she poured the cider, she looked at Rory. "I understand there's a magnificent stag wandering the grounds. I believe he's the same one we saw last year."
"He is. I haven't been hunting much. No time."
"It's more of a sport these days. You have men to do that for you."
He smiled. "Aye, that's true, but I still like the thrill of a hunting party and the chase."
"You and your brothers ought to take Will and a group of men and try and bag him."
"Hunting a stag is not Will's idea of a way to pass a day."
She nodded and pointed a gnarled finger at him. "You're still his chief and brother-in-law. If you tell him, he'll have to go. Besides, it'd do him some good."
"You should do it, Rory. You haven't done anything except work and worry about your sister for weeks," Victoria said. She picked up her glass and took a sip. From the look on her face, Rory knew she hadn't expected hardened cider.
"You should listen to her, Rory. You used to love to hunt and fish. Until you became duke and chief."
"I know, I know. You're right. I'll speak with Mac. See if we can't get a hunting party put together."
"How is Lily?" his grandmother asked.
"Right now? She's broken, and quite unhappy."
"The man has shown his true colors, I understand, and they’re not those of the sweet young man who used to visit with me whenever he came to visit Castle MacLeod."
"I didn't know him until now, but he makes my skin crawl. I hate it for Lily," Victoria said quietly.
"The best you can do for her now is support and love her."
MacLeods of Skye Book 1
It's not until he returns to Skye for his mother's birthday when Donnan begins to lose control of his life. And it's all because of a woman, the one woman he's loved since childhood. The woman he desires above all others - that is should he ever think of taking a wife.
Rosalind, strong willed and opinionated far more than most, she is determined to find out what it is Donnan is hiding. Never before had they kept things from each other, but Rosalind is convinced he's keeping something huge from her.
Everything changes in the blink of an eye.
Stowing away in the back of Donnan's coach, Rosalind changes their lives forever. The adventure begins...
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"He shot and killed the man and left him on the side of the road," Kent was saying to their eldest brother, Rory.
Still he didn't turn around. He didn't have to hear Rory's voice to know he was in the room. Not only did he feel his brother's presence, he heard his footfalls as the two men neared.
"Is that correct, Donnan? You killed a man?"
Donnan quietly poured himself another glass of whiskey and turned to face the pair.
"Would you rather I brought the man home for supper?" he drawled. "Aye, it's true. All of it. He was a highwayman, an Englishman. He would have killed us if I hadn't taken his life." He lifted the glass to his lips and downed its contents again.
"No, of course not, and you're probably right. The bandits would have probably shot and killed all of you if not for your quick thinking, Donnan."
Rory MacLeod studied his younger sibling for a moment. He knew it did no good to get into a war of wits and words with Donnan. His brother did as he pleased, always had. Though Kent may not approve of his methods, Rory had to admit it was smart thinking on Donnan's part to carry such a tiny pistol.
Donnan MacLeod was known by his reputation first. He'd always been daring as a child, but now, as an adult, he feared no man. Rory wondered when his brother had the time to attend to his business affairs, as his brother preferred whiskey, cigars, and women to the more serious matters in life.
"So you see, I saved us all." Donnan was back at the decanter, pouring himself another glass of whiskey. "On to other subjects. I'm here, I drug myself out of Edinburgh, so Mother's party can proceed."
"No one spends the summer in London or Edinburgh, Donnan. So there was no reason for you to be there other than your vices," a female voice said from the doorway.
Looking up, the men found themselves greeted by their mother, Lady Edana MacLeod. Her long, dark blonde hair was now streaked with gray. She glided into the room, as graceful as she always had been. As though she owned the castle, a true laird's wife, or in this case, widow. That, and she was a duke's widow.
"Mother," Donnan said, kissing her cheek.
"Guests have begun arriving, Donnan, and I will not have any of my sons embarrassing me. Do I make myself quite clear?"
"Yes, perfectly," Donnan replied, stepping away to finish his whiskey.
"That means you will not overindulge in what you seem to prefer in life. I have invited several young women, along with their parents. I intend to have one or more of my sons either married by the end of summer or at least betrothed. Do I make myself clear?"
"Perfectly," Kent said as he eyed his younger brother with contempt.
"Donnan, did you hear me? You will not embarrass me. You need to settle down and make something of your life."
"Perhaps, Mother, I should just leave in the morning, if I'm such an embarrassment. I will not be forced into a marriage. So save your lectures of the finer points of matrimony for my brothers, for I shall not listen to such dribble."
Having said that, Donnan poured one last glass of the family whiskey, and downing it in one swallow, slammed the glass down, turned, and stormed out of the room. Mother or no mother, she was not going to dictate his life, nor choose his mate. Her tactics might work on Rory and Kent, but he was having no part of it.
Taking the stairs two at a time, he ascended the grand staircase. He ignored the portraits of MacLeods who lived before him, knowing none of them would have allowed a woman to speak in the manner in which their mother spoke to him.
Donnan headed toward his suite of rooms in the wing opposite Rory's. He stormed down the hall, a man on a mission. Except the only mission he had at the moment was to get away from his aggravating family.
He flung open the door, startling James, who was busy putting things in their place like Donnan preferred.
"May I get you anything, my lord?"
"Yes," Donnan growled, tearing his cravat from his neck and flinging it on to a chair as he opened the neck of his shirt. "Bring me a bottle of whiskey. Make sure one is kept in here. If I must suffer through this, I'll not do it sober."
My careers in public relations in and around the entertainment industry, photography, editing, artist management, modeling and special event planning all elevated my passion for writing, not to mention gave me a treasure trove for story lines.
I write women's fiction; contemporary romance (as Jamie Salisbury) and historical romance (as JR Salisbury) which is ever evolving. I am fortunate enough that writing (and marketing of said product(s)) is my full-time job, although I always have one or two other projects going at the same time.
I now live in a suburb of Atlanta. Some of my other interests include photography, equestrianism, reading, and of course, travel.
I sincerely hope my writing will entertain, enlighten, and inspire others to pick up the pen and pursue their own dreams. I love to be contacted by readers, writers, and history buffs.
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