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THE WRONG BRIDE
Highland Weddings #1
Releasing Oct 27th, 2015
The first in a wonderfully engaging series set in the Scottish Highlands, USA Today bestselling author Gayle Callen creates an unforgettable story of mistaken identity and irresistible attraction.
Shaken from sleep during the night, bundled off to the Highlands by a burly Scot, Riona is at first terrified, then livid. Hugh McCallum insists they were promised to each other as children to ensure peace between their clans. The stubborn laird refuses to believe he’s kidnapped the wrong Catriona Duff. Instead, he embarks on a campaign of slow-burning seduction…
At first, Hugh cares only what their marriage can do for his people. Now he’s starting to crave Riona for her own sake. But her true identity jeopardizes his clan’s contract. And unless she chooses to risk all to be his bride, he’ll lose the only thing he prizes more than the lands he’s fought so hard to save-the passionate marriage they could have together.
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From Gayle: Riona and Hugh are on the road, and some of my favorite scenes in historical romances are when they’re forced to share a room, something so forbidden in their society—and so fun to read!
How was Riona supposed to bathe like this, right beneath his knowing gaze?
As if reading her mind, Hugh said, “I’ll keep my back turned, but do be quick about it, my lady. I’d like my bath to be middling warm.”
She was too dazed for words—and then she realized she could not unlace her gown alone. “I need to call a maidservant,” she said, heading for the door.
For a big man, he moved with speed. He reached the door before she could.
“None of that,” he said.
He turned her about like she was a child’s doll and started unlacing. It seemed to take too long, and soon he began to grumble.
“Damned wet laces.”
She bit her lip, saying nothing, feeling every tug as if he stroked her skin. She’d never felt like this before, so aware of someone so close to her. No man ever had been. She knew she was not ugly, but her cousin Cat was vivacious and cast a long shadow that hid other women when she was about. And then there was Riona’s constant care of Bronwyn, nights when her cousin attended a soiree alone since Riona had to attend her sister.
But now … this Highlander thought he would marry her. He thought he had the right to put his hands on her, to undress her. Everything inside her wanted to rebel, but it was useless, and tears burned her eyes. The moment her laces loosened, she fled across the room, holding the bodice in place.
He watched her, hair loose about his shoulders, eyes as smoldering as the peat fire. Bare legs, big strong feet, and callused hands meant for war. He could do anything he wanted to do to her—would she really make things easy by disrobing in front of him?
For a long moment their gazes held, and something hot seemed to uncurl down in the pit of her belly. She couldn’t breathe deeply, couldn’t blink, and only when he turned away did she take a deep breath.
He went to the hearth and sank down in a chair, and without turning his head, said, “Aye, we’ll have a good marriage, my lady. I can already feel what’s between us.”
“Between us,” she echoed with disdain. “You are mistaken. There is hatred and anger inside me, nothing else.”
His head turned now, and she caught his profile, the heavy brows, the strong nose, the firm mouth.
“Your anger lights your eyes with a green fire that I find enthralling. I can mold that fire, my lady, see if I don’t.”
And he turned away again.
She wanted to scream at him, to deny everything he said, but he wanted that kind of emotion from her, and she wouldn’t give him the satisfaction. Keeping her gaze on his every move, she pulled off her gown and left it in a heap, followed by her petticoats and then her chemise. By now she was trembling, although the room was warm enough. Practically tripping in her haste, she stepped over the edge and sat in the tub, cursing that the water barely covered her breasts, no matter how deeply she sank.
She was naked in the same room with a man who was nearly so, a man who intended to force her into marriage. She grabbed a facecloth, lathered a poor amount of strange-smelling soap, and began to rub her skin. The feel of being warm and clean was glorious—if only she could revel in it. But she felt like a rabbit tiptoeing past a wolf, desperate to finish before she was noticed.
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After a detour through fitness instructing and computer programming, GAYLE CALLEN found the life she’d always dreamed of as a romance writer. This USA Today bestselling author has written more than twenty historical romances for Avon Books, and her novels have won the Holt Medallion, the Laurel Wreath Award, the Booksellers’ Best Award, and been translated into eleven different languages. The mother of three grown children, an avid crafter, singer, and outdoor enthusiast, Gayle lives in Central New York with her dog Uma and her husband, Jim the Romance Hero. She also writes contemporary romances as Emma Cane. Visit her website at www.gaylecallen.com.