Darius MacDuff was at his zenith in the midst of a raging battle. He never expected his home would one day become his
most treacherous battlefield...nor would his most lethal opponent come in the form of a shapely siren. Delicious deception,
her weapon of choice.
Rival Scottish Clans. An ancient relic.
One has possession. The other will stop at nothing to obtain it...
The honorable Clan
MacDuff has protected the coveted relic for centuries. When rival Clan MacAlpin discovers the eldest brother of the MacDuff
is to take a wife, their scheming materializes in the form of deceit as they kidnap Alick MacDuff's betrothed and send their
sister in her place.
Tegan MacAlpin has
no choice but to pretend to want to be bride to her blood enemy. But once inside Castle MacDuff she fears her ability to procure
the relic before Darius, Alick’s dangerously handsome and highly suspicious younger brother, discovers her treachery.
When all is said and done, will she remain loyal to her clan in hopes of claiming her long-sought freedom, or bend to the
bidding of a forbidden nemesis? In the end, it all comes down to a question of honor...
Robert closed his eyes. Tegan thought he’d fallen asleep when they popped open again. He could die any second and she’d
be no closer to finding the relic than she was when she’d crossed the enemy threshold. She couldn’t waste another
minute, given the unpredictable events from the time she’d entered the monstrous keep. “My uncle tells me the
MacDuff possess an exceptional heirloom.” It was out before she could sugarcoat it, but she didn’t care.
“Aye, the Cross of
St. Luke. I shall bless the union with it. No doubt it shall be my last.” Something flashed behind dull eyes and he
looked as though he might say something, but fell asleep. Or died.
“Holy stars,” Tegan breathed. “M’laird?”
No response. “Laird MacDuff?” Still, he didn’t answer. She shot from the chair
and leaned over him, checking for signs of life. Under such unfavorable lighting, she simply couldn’t be sure.
Should she summons aide, or let him pass peacefully into the devil’s
lair? It would be the humane thing to do. “M’laird?” She placed a hand on his cheek. Surprisingly warm,
for someone with such little flesh to pad rickety bones. Her hand moved to his throat. There, a trivial heartbeat; alive for
As Tegan pulled her hand away, the candlelight caught hold of something
flickering like a courtly bauble beneath the blinding sunlight. She peeled back his shirt, and gasped. A small key hung from
a thin black cord tied about his neck.
It couldn’t be a coincidence. If it weren’t protecting
something valuable, the old man wouldn’t keep it so near to his heart. This had to be the coveted key.
Tegan ever so carefully slipped the leather strap from his neck.
The key hadn’t quite reached her pocket before the door flew open. She stifled a scream when in whisked a turbulent
gust in the form of one enraged Darius MacDuff.
The scowl marring his face looked as deadly as his rumored skill
on the battlefield. The thick tassel of raven hair was tied back, the broad chest heaved with each exasperated breath and
giving him a dangerously savage appeal. He looked riled enough to challenge a herd of wild bulls and come out the victor.
“What the hell are you doing in my father’s chambers?”
over the mammoth chest, Darius quirked an amused brow. “It’s Talbors. No mister. And you really should permit
the old buzzard to guide ye. Many a wandering soul has been known to be gobbled up by these wretched winding corridors.”
A hint of a cutting smile lifted lips surely made for kissing. “Truly, ’twould be a shame to lose such a fine
lass to the menacing gloom that stalks Dunnington’s tedious hallways.”
He shrugged, adding, “Not to mention I’d hate to have to try and explain your whereabouts, or lack thereof,
to your uncle.” His eye twitched on the end of the startling sentence.
Jest or threat? Tegan couldn’t be sure. She cursed under her breath, wanting—no needing—to
rip her eyes from the egotistical rake, yet tempting the fates themselves by holding the predator’s haughty glare.
If he’d intended to frighten her, he deserved a prize and standing ovation for he’d undeniably hit his
mark. Though it wasn’t what he said, per say, rather the menacing way in which he’d executed his words.
Fear quickly transformed into anger and Tegan bit back a sarcastic retort. She’d love nothing more than to slap
the snide pretty off his arrogant face. With such an engaging personality, she couldn’t imagine why such dark, unfavorable
rumors surrounded the devil’s hand-servant. While her treacherous body might find the celebrated peacock fascinating;
her head absolutely despised the paunchy mule’s ass.
Expelling the sensible, inner counsel urging her to still her tongue, the stubborn, proud side of Tegan refused to
cower down to the rogue. This pig-headed mackerel was flirting with treason to blatantly discount the king’s niece.
She had every right to put him in his lowly place. She wondered if he looked down on women in general, then met his cheeky
gaze and felt sure he did.
Tegan held her chin high and threw Darius a solemn look she hoped would show the mighty tiger she was not his typical
field mouse; and therefore, would not be so easily dismissed. “If your intention is to scare me, m’laird, I’ll
have you know it’ll take much more than juvenile legends and any silly parlor trick you might think to play. Nevertheless,
I shall agree to Talbors’ escort if it will get me to my rooms any sooner.”
Darius appeared both miffed and pleased. “’Tis good to see not all rumors are true, m’lady. What
Dunnington doesn’t need is another listless wallflower to decorate its dwindling landscape.” His gaze held an
unmistakable challenge. One Tegan wasn’t sure she wanted to accept.
Her spine quaked from the caged power wafting off him and she cursed herself for letting her pride untether her tongue.
No doubt Lady Kathryn would have coward away from this man.
Darius continued, “Dunnington has been vexed with a chilling hollow. I believe such unbridled fire shall feed
the long burned out flame and reacquaint warmth within the keep.” He dropped his tone and added, “M’lady,
your timely arrival shall prove to be of great import, I’m certain.”
Her gullet shrank beneath his gimlet gaze. If she didn’t know better, she might think the man was onto her charade.
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