by Laura Strickland
Disgraced in her father’s eyes, Isobel Maitland travels to Scotland, determined to purchase her sister’s happiness at the cost of her own. But when her coach is held up and she is abducted by a dangerous highwayman, she faces an unexpected choice: suffer the loveless union to which she has resigned herself, or marry this ruthless, Scottish outlaw who can ignite her desire with a single touch.
They call him Diabhal Dubh – Devil Black – and he spends his days terrorizing the countryside, trying to outdistance the memories that torture him. The King has decreed he must settle and take a wife. And when he steals the alluring woman betrothed to his enemy, Dougal MacRae sees a way to both answer the King’s demand and obtain the revenge he has sought so long …
Heat raced to Isobel’s cheeks, yet she met her father’s eyes unflinchingly. “I have accepted blame for my sins, Father, and paid for them.”
“Have you? I dare say you will continue to pay, all your life. MacNab wished his son to wed you, and not your sister. I had to put him off with Catherine—hinting at, though not admitting, the truth. Should I admit your shame to even so dear a friend?”
“Is it such a shame?” Isobel could not help but challenge.
Now Gerald’s gaunt face flushed. “I am surprised you can ask that, and it proves, perhaps, what a woeful job I made of your upbringing in your mother’s absence. I should have married again, given you and your sister a gentling influence. Your downfall—”
Isobel bit her lip in an effort to contain her simmering anger. “My downfall, as you call it, cannot be laid solely at my feet, Father. John’s friend was seven years older. He seduced me—”
“You allowed yourself to be seduced! And by the kind of man to whom no sane father would see his daughter wed. A rapscallion, a ne’er-do-well. John, God rest him, should never have brought the blighter here. But make no mistake, my girl. It is your fault you fell victim to him.”
Such had always been his opinion. Isobel sought words to refute without angering him. She had meant to speak on Catherine’s behalf, not her own.
“Send me to MacNab in Catherine’s place,” she asked.
“Do you not think I would, if I could? MacNab wants a virgin. Daughter, must I speak more plainly than that?”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Born and raised in Western New York, Laura Strickland has been an avid reader and writer since childhood. Embracing her mother's heritage, she pursued a lifelong interest in Celtic lore, legend, and music, all reflected in her writing. She has made pilgrimages to both Newfoundland and Scotland in the company of her daughter, but is usually happiest at home not far from Lake Ontario, with her husband and her "fur" child, a rescue dog. She practices gratitude every day.
Author website: www.laurastricklandbooks.com
Links to purchase the book: