The MacKinnon’s Bride (The Highland Brides #1)
by Tanya Anne Crosby
About The MacKinnon’s Bride
Descended of the legendary sons of MacAlpin, Iain MacKinnon refuses to bow to the English. When his young son is captured by a minion of the English king, the fierce Scottish chieftain vows to stop at nothing to secure the lad’s return. Retaliating in kind, he captures the daughter of his enemy, planning to bargain with the devil.
FitzSimon’s daughter has lived her entire life in the shadow of the man she called father–yet never would she have imagined he would forsake his only daughter. Even as Page blames her captor for welching on a contract with her father, she suspects the truth. But the shadows hold secrets … now only the love of her reluctant champion can save the MacKinnon’s Bride.
Warning: This title is intended for readers over the age of 18 as it contains adult sexual situations and/or adult language, and may be considered offensive to some readers.
Of all Page wasn’t certain which was worse to bear: the presence of the irksome giant beside her… the gruesome foot waving at her from under the blanket on the horse before her… or the sight of the MacKinnon riding at their lead.
Like some heathen idol he sat his mount, tall and magnificent in the saddle, his dark, wavy hair blowing softly at his back. In the afternoon sunlight, the streaks of silver at his temples seemed almost a pagan ornament, for the metallic gleam of his braid was almost startling against his youthful features. The sinewy strength evident in the wide set of his shoulders and solid breadth of his back only served to emphasize the fact that he might have killed her any time he’d wished, with no more than a swat of his hand—that same hand that caressed his son so tenderly now.
In truth, he’d not even spoken to her harshly. He’d been naught but gentle, and it mightily confused her.
In fact, he might have done anything he’d wished to her, and no one could have stopped him. Scarce a handful of men present were even as big as the MacKinnon, and only two were taller—the man at her side being one of them. She cast him an irritated glance. And yet she knew Broc would no more prevail against his laird than he would consider rising up against him in the first place.
None of them would.
Her gaze swept the lot of them. It was evident that each and every man wholly embraced the MacKinnon as their leader. Jesu, but it was almost comical the way they allowed him the lead of their party. Like dogs, they followed wherever he went—and if one man chanced to pass him by, Page was struck with wonder that that man would unconsciously look to his laird, and then slow his gait to allow Iain to pass once more.
The MacKinnon, on the other hand, seemed oblivious to this ritual. He forged onward, his attention fixed only upon his son, who sat before him in the saddle.
There was an undeniable air of authority about him, one he wore with unaffected ease, and an air of total acceptance from his men
And yet, he obviously did not oppress them, else the giant beside her would never be aiding her as he was. ’Twas evident by the way that he looked at his laird that he did so only because he meant to do him a favor. He seemed to think he was protecting the MacKinnon—and did so rather vehemently, Page thought.
Well, who would protect her from the MacKinnon? she wondered irritably.
Aye, she’d already determined that he’d not harm her, but what of her heart, and her soul, and her body?
She was drawn to him in a way she couldn’t comprehend, though she knew it was a dangerous longing. And still she couldn’t stop herself from yearning.
For what? The sweet promise of his whisper? The gentle touch of his hand?
His love? she thought with self-disdain.
She stole a glance at the MacKinnon, just as the wind whipped, lifting his breacan and tunic. Her breath caught, and her body betrayed her then. Her heart began to thump against her ribs.
Like warm spiced mead, heat slid through her, burning her flesh, and making her mouth go drier than sun-dried leather. The movement of the horse between her thighs quickened her breath, even as the sight of the MacKinnon awakened her body to life. Her hand fluttered to her throat, and then slid down the front of her gown; she paused at her breast, marveling at the sensations that stirred there.
Sweet Jesu. He was the only man who had ever made her feel…
She closed her eyes and lifted her hand, caressing the bared flesh at her throat, imagining his hand there instead…
He was the first man ever to have awakened her body to life… the first whose touch she’d ever craved… the first man who’d ever wanted her…
Aye, and she wanted him to want her, but it wasn’t his love she yearned for, she told herself. She was no dog to go begging for affection, but a woman whose body was not made of cold steel.
She wanted him, she admitted wantonly.
And she wanted him to want her.
Her eyes flew open, and her breath caught as she looked about anxiously, praying no one had spied her at her wicked musings. Her cheeks flamed with mortification.
Her gaze settled upon the man who had so easily and without trying invaded her every thought.
He was wholly unaware of her.
He rode with his son, oblivious to the reactions of Page’s treacherous body. Her brows drew together, and she nibbled the inside of her lip. What a fool she was!
He didn’t want her, she berated herself.
Whatever had possessed her to believe him when he’d said he did? The man riding before her could have any woman he so chose. And Page was no man’s choice.
Not even her own father’s.
Which brought her to wonder … whatever had Broc meant when he’d said that the MacKinnon felt compelled to save her from her da? She stole a glance at the behemoth riding beside her. But he willna be rid o’ ye so easily, I swear by the stone, she heard him say to her again, and she blinked. Her father? Her father wouldn’t be rid of her so easily? A feeling of unease sidled through her.
The one thing she knew for certain was that somehow, she needed to find a way back home.
She was desperate to find a way to escape.
About the Author
Tanya has written seventeen novels, all of which have graced numerous bestseller lists including the New York Times and USA Today. Best known for stories charged with emotion and humor, and filled with flawed characters, her novels have garnered reader praise and glowing critical reviews. She lives with her husband, two dogs and two cats in northern Michigan.