The St. I only hope he has a very fast horse. Once upon a time, a beautiful woman locked away her heart from all who might try to enter… Katherine Macdonald once tasted the bitter poison of a broken heart. To protect herself, Kat put her feelings into a deep slumber.

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Karen Hawkins 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 Devon reached across the space between them and drew his finger down her cheek.

The touch left a trail of delicate fire that lit a heated pathway down her neck to her breast and beyond. Because whatever it is, so long as it is not marriage, I will give it to you. It is not a pretty one, and you may never again wish to speak to me. I cannot help it; I grow bored after a short time, so I know I can never marry. I will not make a promise I know I cannot keep. You are very honorable.

And I will not pretend I do not wish for a more physical relationship than we have now. Honestly, I would give up Thunder just to spend one hour in a bed with you and nothing between us but tangled sheets and the dampness of our own bodies. He was so delectable, his gaze so blue, so intense. Better yet, honesty shone through him. For an instant, she thought she could see the truth shimmering over him like a light.

He raked a hand through his wet hair again, and she saw that his hand trembled the slightest bit. I was not raised at the castle like Malcolm. Our father really had little to do with my mother once I was born. It was especially difficult for Mama because she was the one he really rejected. At least, that was the impression he left us with. But Devon had an idea what even that gesture had cost her.

He wondered if he should take her in his arms, but her next words forestalled him. Once Father died, I got Malcolm. He was only twelve, but he stepped in and demanded that we be left alone.

We have never discussed it. His mother tried to stop him, but he ignored her and…he became my brother. Whatever I needed, he has been there for me. I am ever conscious of his kindness, which makes it difficult to say him nay. When I turned sixteen, my mother died. Malcolm wished me to live at Kilkairn. Against my better judgment, I did so. Besides, his mother resented me enough.

I cannot blame her for that. For so long, I had been on the outside of the castle. I thought being on the inside would be magical. I felt lost, and I think Malcolm sensed that. I had no money other than the dowry Malcolm was willing to settle on me.

I never have been. But Malcolm was determined that I go. But Malcolm won the day and we went. And it got worse before it was over. I believe Lady Strathmore was sincere in her attempts to dress me well and show me about, but I did not take. Every event was painful and punishing. And the clothes she chose…now that I know more about color and texture, I can see her mistakes and mine. By the second week of arriving in Edinburgh, I was miserable. Meanwhile, Malcolm had met Fiona and he was gone a good deal, wooing her.

I was left with Lady Strathmore and that…that was when I met Stephen. A rakehell of the worst water. He was unacceptable in almost every household, a fact I thought grossly unfair. He was glib, and he spoke to me. I eventually thought I was in love and I agreed…I-I absconded with him.

But apparently even that was too much for Stephen. It turned out later than he never intended to marry me, but merely wished to cause a scandal so that Malcolm would be forced to buy his silence.

Devon had to swallow a bitter lump of anger for the long-absent Stephen before he could speak. You believe it will keep you from making a similar error. And here is where I am supposed to assure you that I am untouched. I thought I loved him. I believed his assurances that he wanted to marry me and that he would do so as soon as Malcolm gave his approval. Instead he asked for a thousand pounds to return me home and to keep his silence. And then, for emphasis, all his brothers would take their turns.

That might serve to punish the bastard. I heard that he drank himself to death, though I was never certain. He took her hand in his. There is nothing wrong with that. You are not a bad person. You are not an evil person. You are not a confused person. You are a strong and beautiful woman. And there is nothing wrong with being passionate with someone you care about. And let me point out that I have never lied to you, nor have I asked you to wear fashions that do not complement your gorgeous body.

Do you have anything more to confess? Something of real import? I fear my voice would give out before I could cover half of them. After all, he had never transgressed the bounds of society.

And according to what you said about never staying interested more than a few months, there are going to be hundreds, perhaps thousands more. A deep loneliness gripped him. Was she right? Of course, Kat was close to his vision of perfection, and coming closer all the time.

She was smart, attractive, capable, strong, and passionate…He frowned. Was she getting closer to his image of perfect or was he merely beginning to mold his image of perfection until it looked like Kat? His own lack of strength in committing. His own tendency to hurt those who came to care for him.

Whatever he did, Devon did not want to harm Kat. So it was with the greatest effort that he stood and pulled her to her feet. It will be over soon. I enjoy your company too much to allow it to turn counterfeit.

He almost laughed. That must be what he looked like every time she pulled away from him. She was simply adorable. So natural and free. And he was beginning to like spending time with her a bit too much. Thank God he was leaving soon. But the thought brought as much of a twinge of pain as it brought relief. Perhaps, one day, one of them would realize exactly how special Kat was, and sweep her away. It was as if, in a moment of extreme clarity, Devon could see the future.

Bloody hell. That was exactly what would happen. What then? Then nodded. That would be my problem and not yours. Her plump breasts were so close, just a waistcoat and a shirt away from his bare chest, her hips held intimately to his. He was afire, hot and wanting, his thoughts breaking apart, dissolving before the onslaught of her soft mouth, her delicious body.


And the Bride Wore Plaid

Instead he pressed an unsteady kiss to her forehead. He closed his eyes as he slid inside her, the overwhelming heat sending a shudder all the way to his toes. She gasped at the fullness of him, but only for a moment. Soon she was murmuring in his ear, clutching at his shoulders, moving more and more frantically as the pressure inside built. Devon had to grit his teeth to keep from spilling into her.





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