Happy Valentine’s Day! On this, the most romantic day of the year, I thought I’d share a scene from my upcoming release Promised to the Highlander. Fergus MacKay has met the lovely Nessia Stephenson who is intended for his brother. Fergus isn’t sure if he can stand to watch her become betrothed to another, but for honor’s sake he must.
I hope you like it. 🙂 And I hope you are having a magical day.
Promised to the Highlander, Excerpt
Once the party had satisfied itself with a light meal, they made their way to a small chapel toward the back of the castle. Fergus and William entered first and walked to the front to where Father Morris waited to perform his service. Fergus stood to the side while William turned and waited for Nessia to come forward with her father.
Fergus stood behind William and, from his vantage point, had a perfect view of Nessia’s face. Father Morris began the ceremony, a very brief one consisting of laying hands on the scripted gospels and a short committal from each person to accept and honour the betrothal.
Fergus watched her when it was her turn to speak. He noted her smooth skin and full lips. The chapel window cast yellow light across her black hair and, though it seemed impossible, made it shine even more. Fergus’s fingers twitched with the need to reach out and grasp a piece. How he longed to smell it. He had to work hard to shake his improper thoughts, William deserved better from him.
“Do you enter into this marriage contract of your own free will?” the Father asked.
Nessia’s eyes darted from William to Fergus and back to William again.
“Aye, I do.”
“Will you honour the terms of this marriage contract?”
Again her eyes went from brother to brother.
“Aye, I will.”
“And will you honour William as your betrothed until you exchange your marriage vows?”
This time, Nessia’s eyes locked on William and several beats went by before she spoke. Fergus’s heart drummed. Christ, what was wrong with him? How could he stand there hoping she’d say she wanted him instead? Those words would drive a wedge between he and William forever. Fergus frowned. She should not hesitate like this. He wanted to tell her to do her duty, but could say nothing only glare at her and hope she would speak the right words at once. Fergus did not breathe until she answered.
“Aye, I will honour William,” she said, her voice a breathless whisper.
The ceremony ended then and the couple made their way to the entrance of the chapel to receive congratulations from the witnesses. Fergus was last in line and watched his brother as he accepted good wishes from future family. William’s eyes were bright and his smile wide. Fergus’s heart swelled at the thought that it may turn out well after all. He could endure one night in her presence and on the morrow he’d leave before dawn. Once in Inverness, he’d be sure to find a loose wench, or three.
When Fergus reached the couple, his brother embraced him and whispered in his ear. “Thank you, brother. Jesus, aye thank you!”
Fergus smiled. What could he say? Enjoy bedding the lass who is a human cast of my nightly visions? When he turned toward Nessia he found the same wide-eyed stare she had bestowed upon him earlier. A knot crept it way into his stomach. He recognized attraction when he saw it. Christ, this could not go on. He had to put a stop to it now. Fergus took a deep breath, placed his hands on her shoulders and kissed her cheek, trying not to notice the intoxicating cloud of lavender hanging around her. He’d like to lay her on a bed of it and pleasure her until the springing time.
“Welcome to our home and to our family,” he said in her ear, the traditional greeting sounding foreign to his own ears. Her breath rushed out of her and onto his neck. A jolt of sensation raced down his spine and straight to his loins.
William didn’t wait for her reply and instead ushered her out the door and back to MacKay House for the celebrations to begin. Fergus stayed rooted to the spot for several minutes. He cursed under his breath. What the hell was he going to do?
He’d need to at least cool his fired blood before returning to the house. He’d known the lass for no more than a couple of hours and he already didn’t trust himself in her presence. He needed to stay the hell away from her that’s what he needed to do.
What kind of depraved man lusted after his brother’s betrothed?