“He stole his enemy’s bride out of vengeance, but now he wants her for his own.”
Mackenzie Stewart’s in Scotland for a much-needed vacation. During the castle tour, Mackenzie becomes completely enamored with a painting of one of the previous lairds. Two gentlemen come up behind her and, begging her pardon, they kidnap her, dragging her through time.
The men are sorcerers attempting to end a feud that has plagued their lands for years. Their patron has begun to dabble in the black arts, and between his irrational thirst for power, and his dark secret, the sorcerers are frightened. They believe Mackenzie can break the Stewart curse. They try to convince her to play along with their crazy scheme: marriage to the evil John Campbell.
Before Mackenzie can protest, her carriage is halted and the door thrown open. For a split-second she is arrested by the same beautiful piercing blue eyes that belonged in an oil painting.
Mackenzie then finds herself the victim of a second kidnapping!
Her new captor, however, does nothing but tempt her body and her temper. Believing her to in fact be the betrothed of his mortal enemy the Campbell, Connor originally sets out to capture his enemy’s betrothed. He never thought he would be so attracted to her that he’d want to keep her.
Highland Destiny can be purchased directly through New Concepts Publishing here or by clicking the image.
She glanced toward the dress and the corset-looking undergarments with dread. Hopefully Bronwyn would help her get dressed when she returned. There were a lot of ruffles, she’d seen wedding dresses with less ruffles. But ever brave, Mackenzie wandered toward the bed and picked up the dress, then froze. Yes! Her purse had been salvaged along with the dress! Lip gloss here I come! Mackenzie grabbed her purse and dug through it til she found her compact. She opened it and reached for her lip gloss. She stuck her tongue out at her naked face, and sighed, wishing for mascara—she loved mascara; she would miss mascara. Her sigh turned into an exclamation of joy as she saw her cell phone. Then she immediately felt like an idiot; of course there was no service. Besides, who would I call? she thought, her lips twisting into a grimace, Merlin?
The knock at the door barely captured her attention as she tossed her purse on a chair, not sure she wanted anyone to discover it yet, and resumed trying to scrunch her curls by the fire. They’d be a tangled mess if left to dry on their own. She’d thought it would be Bronwyn, back with the wine, to help her into the pile of clothes on the bed. She was wrong.
“Why are you not dressed?” Connor’s demand had Mackenzie jumping and turning wide, startled eyes to him.
The anger emanating off him was palpable, but rather than being afraid, his high-handed manner infuriated her. Fury was good, it distracted her mind from the uncomfortable emotions that were surfacing at his freshly-shaved-looking-hot-in-a-kilt-self. And he must have bathed as well, because he smelled amazing. He smelled clean; of soap and man, and something else. Something spicy and exotic. She tore her mind from his scent and focused on the black glare he was directing at her. She knew he didn’t like to be disobeyed, but this wasn’t something she could help. It wasn’t her fault that she didn’t know how to put all those clothes on. She bit her lip, thinking that while he may not like to be disobeyed, she didn’t like to be bossed around, especially not by some 18th century highland laird.
So instead of telling Connor that she’d just been waiting on Bronwyn to help her get ready, Mackenzie got annoyed…and bold.
“I’m not going.” Chin tipping defiantly, she crossed her arms across her chest. She knew she was being stubborn, but she didn’t really care.
“You’re damn well going down to dinner.”
“No.” It sounded petulant even to her own ears. His eyes narrowed.
“You’ll come to dinner, and you’ll do it dressed properly, or you’ll dine alone with me and ye won’t be dressed at all.”
“You wouldn’t,” Mackenzie dared.
His voice was flat as he said, “Try me lass,” but he injected a leer into it when he followed with, “I’d enjoy stripping you of your garments.”
The memory of his hands sliding her strap off of her shoulder earlier was still fresh in her head, and she did not doubt he would do as he threatened. So Mackenzie glared at him and snapped, “Fine.” She stalked to the bed and lifted the gown off the bed and looked at the long white nightgown-looking thing with ruffles on the sleeves and at the neck, thinking that it might not be too hard for her to dress herself. But Connor still stood in front of her door, arms crossed and feet planted. Mackenzie stared at him expecting him to leave, or at least turn around, or something, but he looked immovable as a statue. She raised her eyebrows and looked at him expectantly, waiting; she refrained from tapping her foot. But his eyes dared her right back. Her eyebrows snapped down in confusion, and then back up as her eyes widened and she grasped his dare.
Fine she thought, and pursed her lips. Enjoy the show.
Mackenzie slowly unzipped her shorts and stepped out of them. Her shirt slipped over her head, and she stood in her sheer white lace bra and matching bikinis. By modern standards, it wasn’t that sexy, if anything it was boring in comparison to Jenna’s collection. But he stiffened and she felt slightly braver. She heard his swift intake of breath and never letting her eyes drop, even as she felt the heat creep up her cheeks, she unclasped her bra, and tossed it on the floor with her shorts and shirt. Mackenzie figured she might as well go for broke, took a deep breath and slipped out of her panties.
So she stood there naked, daring Connor to look away from her eyes, to look down. And he did. Boy did he ever. Every inch of her naked body felt touched by the heat of his gaze, as if it were his hands on her skin instead of his eyes. Those blue eyes lingered on her belly ring, and when they dropped lower, his eyebrows shot up. She thought it might be because she had recently waxed, but couldn’t be sure. Yet he never said anything, his eyes just continued down. Then once his eyes had finished their appraisal of her figure and were locked back on hers, he looked smug the jerk, she lifted the nightgown-looking garment up over her head, and tied the ribbons at her breasts in a bow. It fit snugly, emphasizing the curves it didn’t hide. Covered in a modest, but sheer shift, Mackenzie felt only slightly better as she looked at the rest of what she would wear. Did the gown go on first, or the stays? And how on earth would she ever lace herself up? Mackenzie bit her lip and ventured a peek at Connor from the corner of her eyes. He was smirking at her, and much as it rankled, she didn’t have a choice; she’d have to ask him for help.
“Umm…what goes next?” her hand encompassed the clothes on the bed.
His smirk became more pronounced, “Are you asking for my help?” He was making fun of her.
“I, uh, no. Of course not! I only meant that perhaps you could send Bronwyn back in. She was supposed to help me get dressed…” Mackenzie stammered out her excuse, but lost steam at the look in his eyes. He looked like he was trying not to laugh. He’d reached her in two strides.
“But I’m already here.” His voice was like velvet.
Connor had spoken softly, practically purred, but Mackenzie still heard the implicit threat…or was it a promise? Damn that man’s sultry voice! She shuddered as he lifted the stays to her body, his fingers brushing her collarbones. He gripped her shoulders, turning her to face away from him, and began to tighten them. The first tug of the strings brought her back hard against him. Her eyes were wide as she turned her head to look up at him.
“Hold the bedpost.” Connor was definitely amused.
Mackenzie turned and put both hands on the bedpost, bracing herself for the next pull. He was finished quickly, although his hands lingered at the small of her back. Mackenzie pressed her hands to her ribs, just under her breasts. Every breath was much shallower than usual, since she was strapped into this corset thing. However, it wasn’t as tight or uncomfortable as she’d thought it would be. It was just really stiff. Connor lifted the grey gown above her head while Mackenzie brought her arms through the sleeves, and he let the gown settle around her until it fell to the floor, brushing the tops of her feet. The laces on this gown were in the front, but Connor’s hands were on them before Mackenzie could lift hers. He tied them at her breasts, and when he tucked the ties into the gown, his large hands brushed the tops of her breasts. The shiver of excitement that ran up her spine was echoed in Connor’s eyes.
Mackenzie stood perfectly still like that, with his hands at her breasts, but not actually touching her. They were both frozen for a few seconds before Connor’s head descended slowly to hers, his lips briefly brushing hers. The kiss was so soft, that if it weren’t for the unmistakable heat, Mackenzie wouldn’t have been completely certain that his lips had touched hers. Her lashes fluttered as her eyes opened and focused on Connor’s face. Her breath caught in her lungs as all the amusement faded from his eyes. He looked at her hungrily as if she were a sweet to be devoured. As if he could mold her will to his own with that look. As if she would let the heavy drowsy feeling coming over her take charge. The naked desire caused her legs to turn to jelly. She swayed toward him and he caught her lips in a fierce kiss that crushed her body to his, and his lips to hers.