New York Times bestselling author Karen Ranney returns with the third heart-stirring novel in her latest series, a tale of deceit, desperate measures, and delirious desireRose MacIain is a beautiful woman with a secret. Desperate and at her wits' end, she crafts a fake identity for herself, one that Duncan MacIain will be unable to resist. But she doesn't realize that posing as the widow of the handsome Scotsman's cousin is more dangerous than she knew. And when a simmering attraction rises up between them, she begins to regret the whole charade.Duncan is determined to resist the tempting Rose, no matter how much he admires her arresting beauty and headstrong spirit. When he agrees to accompany her on her quest, their desire for each other only burns hotter. The journey tests his resolve as their close quarters fuel the fire that crackles between them.When the truth comes to light, these two stubborn people must put away their pride and along the way discover that their dreams of love are all they need.
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She had debated finding lodgings before calling on the MacIains. But the carriage driver said he might be able to help her in that regard, so she needn’t worry. The only thing that concerned her was her dwindling resources.
He must agree. He simply must. If it didn’t, she was faced with having expended the funds on the voyage with no results to show for it. Even worse, she would have wasted the time it took to come to Scotland.
No, that wasn’t the way to think about the situation. First of all, surely Mr. MacIain would recognize her as a long-lost relative. After all, the three branches of the MacIains had originated from the same family. She knew that because Bruce was forever repeating the MacIain family tree. He was absurdly proud of the fact that he had been descended from Highland warriors.
Her own family history was not so illustrious. Her great-grandfather had nearly starved in Ireland and found passage to the New World and a new life. Evidently, being an Irish laborer held no esteem. But her great-grandfather worked hard, put away his money so that his son had a small inheritance when he died, a habit that set his descendants on the road to prosperity.
Good fortune, however, had a way of turning on its head. She knew that only too well. She also remembered her great-grandfather’s words, repeated by her father often enough: “Opportunity must be met with effort.” That’s exactly what she was doing in Scotland. She had made the effort, because Mr. MacIain had provided the opportunity.
She steadied herself before the door, adjusted the string of her reticule, fiddled with the bow of her bonnet. She fluffed out her skirts and peered down to check if there was dust on her shoes.
Perhaps she should have found accommodations first and prepared herself better for this meeting. She should have washed her face, at the very least, put on a little pomade because her lips felt chapped. But she was very much afraid that if she had seen a bed, she would’ve fallen atop it and not awakened for a few days, at least.
Before she rested, however, she had to meet with Duncan MacIain.
He must agree. He simply must. She dared herself to grab the knocker and let it fall, hearing the echo of the sound inside the house.
She had envisioned the man she was about to meet so often, especially after having read his letters to Bruce. He would be a distinguished individual, perhaps the age of her father if he’d lived. He’d be a sober and responsible person who would immediately feel the bonds of family. He would agree to her terms not only because they were fair, but because she represented the American MacIains.
She didn’t mind if he was avuncular with her, if he lectured her as to the dangers of her trip here. He would, perhaps, put her in the care of his wife, who would cluck over her like a mother hen, ask all sorts of questions about her journey and issue her own share of warnings.
How long had it been since she’d been cosseted? Never by her mother since she’d died at her birth. Her father had done so, but he’d died years before.
She shook her head at herself, let the knocker fall again, and arranged her face into an amenable expression. She had quite a bit of experience at that. She could smile through almost anything, and had.
USA Today and New York Times bestselling author, Karen Ranney began writing when she was five. Her first published work was The Maple Leaf, read over the school intercom when she was in the first grade. In addition to wanting to be a violinist (her parents had a special violin crafted for her when she was seven), she wanted to be a lawyer, a teacher, and, most of all, a writer. Though the violin was discarded early, she still admits to a fascination with the law, and she volunteers as a teacher whenever needed. Writing, however, has remained the overwhelming love of her life.
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