Title: MacLaren’s Bride
Author: Debra Dier
Genre: Historical Romance
A Determined Highlander and his Reluctant Bride
Meg Drummond was known as the Snow Queen, a challenge to the gentlemen of the ton, for it was said she could freeze a man with a single glance of her green eyes. No one knew the icy castle walls were built to protect the vulnerable girl within. Meg didn’t trust easily, not after witnessing the fiery destruction of her parents’ marriage. Since she was a child she had only ever thought of one man in terms of happily ever after, and he had never returned her regard.
After leaving the Highlands, Meg managed to change from an awkward hoyden into the elegant lady her English mother expected her to be. Though she allowed her estranged father to believe she would marry an Englishman to spite him, she had no intention of ever allowing any man close enough to hurt her, until Alec MacLaren charged back into her life. She has loved the charming rogue since she was a child. Yet can she trust the wicked Highlander with her heart?
A hero of Waterloo, Alec owed Meg’s father his life. Although he had no desire for an arranged marriage, Alec kidnapped and married Meg out of his debt to Robert Drummond. Once he held Meg in his arms he realized there just might be something more to this marriage than he had expected. A suspicious tragedy had made him Earl of Dunleith. Alec doesn’t realize a murderer lurks in the shadows waiting to take everything from him.
After years of war Alec longs for a home and family. He knows he must break through the wall of ice surrounding Meg’s heart, gain her trust, and awaken her desire to truly make her his bride.
Meg retreated, backtracking as he advanced, trying desperately to maintain her poise. Her years in London had taught her how to deal with all manner of men. Yet this was Alec. Nothing had prepared her for Alec. “I assure you there is nothing left of the wild girl you knew.”
“You were a lovely girl.” He looked at her in a way that made her feel he was studying a painting he found fascinating. “But you’ve grown more handsome than I could have imagined.”
Hope kindled inside of her at his soft words. Foolish woman! Only a fool would be swayed by a man’s false declarations. “Oh dear, I do believe I may swoon from such flattery.”
Alec laughed softly. “I’m going to enjoy getting reacquainted with you.”
“I’m not at all certain I want to become better acquainted with you.” She bumped into a bedpost at the foot of her bed. He approached, as though he were enjoying himself.
Before she could escape, he gripped the thickly carved post behind her with both hands and leaned toward her, trapping her. “Step away from me.”
He leaned closer. “Do you wish to pack a bag before we leave?”
“I’m not going anywhere with you.” She spoke slowly, distinctly, a governess teaching a reluctant student, a governess who was having a great deal of trouble finding enough air to shape her words. All the air evaporated around him, as though he were a flame, devouring everything in his path.
“Lord in heaven, Meg. You could freeze a man to his marrow with that look. A proper English Ice Princess, that’s what you are.” He studied her a moment, as though he were trying to piece together a puzzle. “You have me curious about something.”
His breath fell softly against her face as he spoke, warm and moist, filled with a scent that held a subtle sweetness, like a freshly cut plum. She pressed back against the bedpost, trying to increase the distance between them. How in the world was she supposed to think when he was this close? “What?”
“How many men have you left petrified in your wake? Frozen from one glare?”
No one realized the walls were built for protection. No one had ever been able to breach her ramparts. But the men who had tried were not Alec. A lush male heat reached across the sliver of air between them, teasing her, beckoning her to lean toward him. She pressed her spine into the bedpost. “I believe I asked you to leave.”
“I have to admit, all that ice is tempting.”
She swallowed hard. “Tempting?”
“It makes me want to melt it.” Alec slid his arm around her waist, slipped his other hand into her hair and cradled the nape of her neck. Before she could utter more than a gasp, he hauled her against his chest. In the next heartbeat he captured her lips beneath his.
Debra Dier is the award winning author of sixteen critically acclaimed romance novels and short stories. Her work has earned her a place in the Writer’s Hall of Fame.
Debra was born and raised in Niagara Falls, New York. Although she always knew she wanted to do something creative in life, well-meaning family members talked her into doing something in a much more practical light. She received a BS in Information Systems Management and headed down a career path that included writing computer code and designing computer systems. It wasn’t exactly what she had in mind when she thought of a purely creative career. For some mystifying reason, she was put on a fast track in this career and became a manager of other programmers and analysts in a large corporation at a young age. It was then she decided to try her hand at writing something other than computer code. After her first novel, Surrender the Dream was published, she took the plunge into writing full time. She has never regretted that decision.
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