Fri
Jun 16 2017 11:06am

May McGoldrick, Sabrina York, Lecia Cornwall, Anna Harrington Excerpt: Say Yes to the Scot

May McGoldrick, Sabrina York, Lecia Cornwall and Anna Harrington

You are formally invited to the Highland wedding event of the year. These four lasses are about to meet their matches in an original digital anthology featuring stories from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Sabrina York, Lecia Cornwall, Anna Harrington, and May McGoldrick.

HOW A LASS WED A HIGHLANDER by Lecia Cornwall
In this retelling of The Princess and The Pea, Laird Alex Munro of Culmore has just five weeks to find a bride and marry her...or else the clan will be cursed with ill luck. Cait MacLeod finds herself caught in a clan feud, and when she tries to stop a deadly raid, she ends up as Alex Munro’s prisoner. With timing running out, is this couple meant to be?

A MATCH MADE IN HEATHER by Anna Harrington
She was the laird's daughter. He was nothing more than a penniless, nameless Scot with nothing to offer but his heart. Fate tore them apart, but now he's back in her life with status, money and a title. Can they let go of past hurts and find love?

A MIDSUMMER WEDDING by May McGoldrick
Their marriage was two decades in the making. The young, educated woman and her highland, pirate husband, betrothed when they were still children. But on the day of their wedding, Elizabeth Hay and Alexander Macpherson are in for a surprise.

THE SCOT SAYS I DO by Sabrina York
Catherine Ross's world is turned upside down when her brother gambles away every penny they own. But to make matters worse? He’s lost everything to none other than Duncan Mackay, the rugged Scot who Catherine loved for years—but he never noticed her, and now she positively loathes him. But her brother’s in danger of going to Newgate, and the despicable Duncan has a plan– she can claim back the money and save her brother. If she marries him…

Get a sneak peek at May McGoldrick, Sabrina York, Lecia Cornwall, Anna Harrington's Say Yes to the Scot (available June 20, 2017) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.




How a Lass Wed a Highlander by Lecia Cornwall

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It would be dark soon, and wild things came out in the dark. Cait felt a shiver run up her spine. Were there still wolves at Culmore?

She heard a sound behind her, the crack of a twig snapping, the rustle of leaves, and she felt her throat close. The sounds of movement came closer, and she stood very still, and wondered if she should hide . . . But more than anything, she wanted someone to find her. She took a breath. “Here,” she said. It came out as a faint croak. “I’m here,” she tried again. The startled birds took flight from the trees, ascending in a black, squawking cloud, sending down a shower of leaves. What did they fear?

She spun and saw Alex Munro standing behind her.

With a cry, Cait raced across the space that separated them, ignoring the undergrowth that snagged her skirts. She was so relieved someone had come—that he had come—that she launched herself into his arms and burst into tears. Alex caught her, held her close to his chest, and she felt the security of strong arms around her. He used his thumb to wipe a tear from her cheek, though it was pointless with so many more falling. He tucked her head under his chin and let her cry.

“I’m lost—” she said when she could speak. “Or I was. You found me. You came for me.” She stood on tiptoes and kissed his chin, his jaw, his cheeks.

With a groan, he turned his head and met her mouth with his.

It was a long while before Alex realized that the birds had returned and the sun was nearly gone. Above the trees, the evening star had appeared. He was lost in the feel of Cait in his arms.

She slid her hands around his neck, tangled them in his hair, demanding more. Alex knew he should stop, but her lips were silken and salty with her tears. They shaped themselves to his so perfectly. Desire stirred, and the need to do much more than kiss her became unbearable. Seduction, indeed . . . but who was seducing whom? He broke the kiss and trailed his lips along her neck, over her delicate collarbones, kissed the pulse point in the hollow of her throat. His hands roamed too, over her back, her waist, her hips. He found her breast and cupped it, and she sighed and arched into him. He captured her mouth again, and let his tongue tangle with hers. He could have her, he thought. She was willing, and he could lay her back on a soft bed of moss and ferns and take his pleasure, give her pleasure. He felt the heat and shape of her breast under her gown, felt the nub of her nipple, hard and needy. He pressed his erection against her hip, and she made a soft breathy sound. In the glow of early evening she was beautiful, desirable, and he wanted nothing more. He was hard, ready for her, and she wanted him, too . . .

But it was wrong.

He shut his eyes and swore silently. She moved against him and moaned, but he gripped her arms and held her away for his own sanity. “It will be dark soon. We’d best get back.”

It was like throwing cold water on her. Her eyes widened, and she stared at him. He watched as a blush that had nothing to do with arousal colored her cheeks.

She lowered her hands and stepped back, gathered herself. Finally she looked up at him with those hazel eyes swirling with colors, her lips red and kiss-swollen. “Which way?” she asked, her voice husky.

He took her arm and started walking. He could still feel the imprint of her mouth on his, could still taste her. Desire stirred again, and he clenched his fists, willed it away, but it wouldn’t go. It was a damned uncomfortable way to walk.

 


A Match Made in Heather by Anna Harrington

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“Arabel,” he called out.

She stopped, hesitating. Then faced him. All of her was suddenly rigid, even holding her breath as she steeled herself for whatever he was about to say.

Her unease hit him like a punch. That she would be this wary of him when all he’d ever done was love her—Christ.

As he stared at her, he realized that everything had changed between them, and the soft summer air now crackled with electricity. With the same rising tension that preceded an oncoming storm. Poised on his tongue was the demand to know why she’d turned on him all those years ago. Why she’d allowed her family to set McTavish and the grooms on him—

“Why were you talking to those men?” she pressed before could find the words to broach what needed to be said. What had been ten years coming and still hovered over them like a specter.

“I’m getting estimates for repairs to the house.”

Her shoulders relaxed visibly. “I saw you . . . You were very patient with the boys.” She smiled, but a melancholy stole the pink from her cheeks. “You’re going to make a wonderful father.”

His chest tightened. “I hope so.”

“I know so.” Then, much softer, she added, “I’ve always known that.”

A hard pinch low in his gut ripped his breath away. The pull of her was too strong to ignore, even now. “And I always wanted to have children with you, Arabel.”

She looked away, blinking hard against the breeze that stirred her ginger curls gently against her cheeks. “I wanted that, too.”

He replied quietly, plunging a knife into both their hearts, “But not enough to choose me over your family.”

For one heartbeat, he felt her freeze. All of her stiffened, and even her breath hitched. Only the stray curls moved, dancing against her face on the warm breeze.

She whispered, “That’s why you want to take Highburn away from me, isn’t it? So you can get your revenge against my family.” Her voice lingered softly on the afternoon air, but each word was a piercing accusation. “And against me.”

“Yes,” he admitted. After all, that was why he was still here rather relinquishing the property as he should. Wash his hands clean of it. And of his past with Arabel.

But he couldn’t. He was still drawn to her, even now. Like a moth consumed by the very flame it craved.

“I won’t let you have it,” she told him with quiet determination.

He shrugged a shoulder, feigning indifference. “I don’t think you have a choice.”

When she turned back to look at him, the glistening of unshed tears in her eyes struck him like a punch to the gut. “Just as I didn’t have one ten years ago,” she said softly. “I couldn’t leave my family when they needed me. Not even for you, Garrick.”

He clenched his jaw. She’d opened a dam with her turn of conversation, and he welcomed it. It was ten years in the making, and now that she’d opened the floodgates, he refused to hold back. “It was then or never, you knew that. The only chance we had to start our future together.” He advanced slowly until he stood so close that he could smell the sweet scent of her lingering on the soft summer air, that fragrance of heather and the highlands that filled his senses. So painfully close but not daring to touch her. “But you refused me.”

“I refused to elope that night,” she countered. “I never refused you.”

He bit back a bitter laugh. “No difference.”

“Every difference,” she corrected.

“Damnation, Arabel!” The words were forced out between teeth clenched so tightly that the muscle in his neck jumped. “What you and your family did to me—”

“Ten years!” she cried, drawing her hands into fists at her sides. “Not once did you try to contact me to find out how I was, to let me know how you were, or where. Not once—” She choked on the angry words.

Garrick stared at her, her pained anger cascading into him and mixing with his own. He should have cursed at her or yelled at her. At the very least laughed at what she was suggesting—that he should have contacted her, the woman who had rejected him and the future he wanted to give her.

But when he saw pain in her eyes equal to his own, he couldn’t bring himself to attack.

“What good would it have done?” he asked instead, unable to keep the resignation from his voice. “By the time I was in a position to contact you, a year had passed. I was certain that by then your family would have arranged your marriage to Ian Campbell.” Bitterness mixed with hot jealousy inside him. “The man they’d wanted for you all along.”

She blinked rapidly but couldn’t stop the tears visibly threatening at her lashes. “I could have told you that I didn’t marry. You could have returned to Scotland.” She hesitated before adding in a whisper, “And to me.”

“A groom turned penniless soldier with no prospects except dying in battle. A man your family would never have accepted. A man everyone knew wasn’t good enough for you.” The man who would always come in second to your family. With a defeated shake of his head, he repeated quietly, all the fight leaving him, “What good would it have done?”

She didn’t answer—couldn’t answer. After a moment’s pause, she turned away and walked slowly backed toward the house.

But Garrick was certain that the anguish he saw in her tear-filled eyes would haunt him until the day he died.  

 


A Midsummer Wedding by May McGoldrick

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“It’s your wedding,” the young queen said. “So why do I feel as if I’m sending you to the gallows?”

Elizabeth Hay stood at the open window of the White Tower, looking across the busy courtyard toward the chapel. A hum of voices drifted up to her as worry tightened its grip on her throat. The brilliant morning sun was shining down on the castle’s Inner Close. Along the walls yellow flags with the red lion rampant alternated with the queen’s new flag of blue and white. The shadow of a bird drew Elizabeth’s eyes to the sky. A hawk soared high above the castle walls. Elizabeth wished she could grow wings and fly above it all, her senses so sharp that she could know who came, who left, who made promises, and who broke them.

Instead, the painful tightness grew into a knot, spreading into her chest until she could not take a full breath.

“Elizabeth,” the queen persisted. “I’m worried about you.”

The young woman turned to face Queen Margaret of Denmark, now the wife of James of Scotland. Known not only for her elegance and beauty, but for her kindness, Margaret’s concern showed plainly on her troubled face. Crossing the room, the queen took her hand, seated Elizabeth beside her on a bench by the window, and waved away the attending lady’s maids.

“You’re crying.”

“Am I?” Elizabeth managed to say, unaware of the tears slipping down her cheek.

“Perhaps we haven’t pursued every option. If you honestly don’t want to marry this Highlander, I will insist on a postponement.”

“Nay, that’s not it,” she began, faltering. How could she explain to the queen how she felt? Everyone assumed she was simply nervous about such a momentous step, worried over losing the life she was accustomed to, uncertain about the future. But there was so much more that Queen Margaret didn’t know, so much that had transpired these past few days.

The young queen produced a silk kerchief and patted away the dampness on Elizabeth’s cheeks.

The chapel bells began to toll. And now there wasn’t even a moment to explain.

The time had come for her to go. Elizabeth stood and motioned to the other women to help her with the veil.

“I can halt the ceremony,” Queen Margaret offered once again, putting a hand on her arm. “I can speak to my advisors right now.”

“Nay, Highness. You’re very kind. I know you’ve done all you can to help me. But the hands have been dealt, and fortunes decided. Come what may, I must go.”

 

 

The Highlander waited in the Inner Close by the door to the Chapel of St. Michael. A congregation of nobles already stood inside, talking in hushed tones. Above their heads blades of golden light from the slits of windows cut brightly through swirling clouds of incense.

Clan chiefs and lairds across Scotland knew that this union had been two decades in the making. Many wondered if the marriage would ever be consummated. It was an old story. A lass of three, a lad of seven—pawns in a contract when a fleet of ships was transferred for extensive tracts of land. As the years passed, anyone familiar with the two had hoped the families would find other means of satisfying the old promises, for it had become obvious to all that the couple were completely ill-suited for each other.

And no one had hoped for it more than the two young people themselves.

Macpherson frowned and edged into the shade of the doorway. Everyone in Scotland knew how different they were. Elizabeth Hay had been educated and brought up in the courts of Italy and Denmark. Now a close companion of the queen, she was well traveled, fluent in several languages, and a talented musician. In addition to being a friend of the queen, she served as the indispensable right hand of her father, the well-known architect Ambrose Hay.

And he, himself? To the seagoing men of Scotland and England, he was Macpherson of Benmore Castle, the Black Cat of the Highlands, commander of a dozen ships that raided rich coastal towns and wreaked havoc on British, Dutch, and French traders. His chosen profession had made him a wealthy man. In seaside villages from Antwerp to Dublin, mothers evoked his name when they wanted to strike terror into their unruly whelps on dark nights. He was a Highlander. Wild, free, and dangerous. And for a wife, his closest allies believed, he would take a woman made of the same hardy stock. Not some delicate Lowland flower. Certainly not Elizabeth Hay.

And yet here he was, sweating as the bells tolled.

Macpherson glanced impatiently at the White Tower. Doubts ate away at him. She wasn’t coming. This marriage was not going to happen.

A doorway opened across the Inner Close, and Queen Margaret glided over the stones of the courtyard, attended by her entourage. But he had no eyes for her. His gaze was fixed on the veiled bride at her side.

The young laird muttered another curse under his breath and scowled at the woman drawing near. The hell he’d gone through to be here at this moment. Had she suffered, at all? The embroidered veil hid any view of her face.

He did not speak until the queen and the rest of the bride’s escorts filed past them into the chapel.

“M’lady,” he growled.

“Highlander,” she replied, coming to stand before him.

“Blast me,” he cursed, taking hold of the veil and tossing it back away from her face. “You lied.”  

 


The Scot Says I Do by Sabrina York

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Duncan glanced at Peter, who had dropped back down on the divan and covered his face with one arm. He was no use to either of them at this point. Besides, this business was between himself . . . and Catherine. He gently pressed her into the king’s chair, took one next to hers and scooted it around until he faced her. “You and Peter have no home now.”

“Not even The Wilds?”

“Not even the stables.” He tried to be as sympathetic as he could. This was difficult for her. Shattering. And it would only get worse. “For you, things are not so bad. You’re a lovely girl. You can marry well.” He ignored her snort. “But for Peter . . .” He let it hang there like a razor sharp icicle clinging to a roofline as a melt approached.

“But Peter?”

“He has other debts.”

“Oh no.”

“Small ones, but substantial enough for his creditors to ask for retribution.”

They both knew what that meant. Debtors’ prison. A truly nasty end for a feckless lad. But Duncan had the inclination to allow Peter to languish there—at least for a while—to teach the boy a lesson.

“Newgate would kill him,” Catherine whispered.

“It’s not all that bad.”

Her gaze snapped to him. “And how do you know?”

He lifted a brow. He had no intention of telling her that he’d visited and reprieved more than one foolish friend.

“Poor Peter.”

“He did bring this on himself. He gambles like a fiend.” A fiend who thinks he can never lose.

“Can’t you help him?”

Duncan swallowed an outraged laugh. “I believe I already have.”

“I mean, help him more?”

“Buy out all his debts? Return his wealth and property to him? Pat him on his head and charge him to go forth and risk it all again? What kind of fool do you think I am?”

“A heartless one.” She stood and whirled away, which gave him cause to follow.

But honestly, he was not the heartless one here.

When she spun back, he was right behind her—and they were far too close. The tips of her breasts brushed against his chest and he nearly swallowed his tongue. She flinched as well, as though the touch had been like a bolt of lightning. She gazed up into his eyes, hers wide and damp. Her lips parted and her pink tongue dabbed out to wet them and his knees nearly failed him.

Damn, she was so beautiful. So glorious. He wanted to kiss her now, ravish her. Claim her. He wanted—

“I cannot bear the thought of marrying one of my suitors,” she said, and he was brought back to the moment, his intent, with a powerful lurch.

“There may be a solution.”

She tipped up her delicate chin bravely. “And what might that be?”

So simple. So perfect.

“Marry me.”

Her jaw dropped and he fixated on the sight of her open mouth. If that was not a demand for a kiss, he did not know what was.

He pulled her into his arms, reveling in the warmth, the curves of her slight form, and lowered his head.

She tasted like heaven. Sweet bliss. Just like he remembered from that day when he’d pulled her from the loch and forced her to breathe again. Her scent infused him, enamored him, enraged a long-banked fire within him.

She would be his.

He would have her.

Finally.

Catherine Ross would be his bride, just as he’d dreamed of for so many years. Just as he’d fought and scrabbled and worked for. His life’s “ambition had come to him, and the moment was so sublime . . .

Until she pulled away and stared at him, with an odd mixture of shock and fear limning her eyes.

She hauled back her delicate fist.

And punched him in the jaw.

By the time he’d recovered from the shock of what he could only interpret as her refusal of his suit, she’d whirled away and flounced off to her chambers—God only knew where—in the upper reaches of the enormous mansion.

But this was only the first salvo in his campaign to win her.

And win her, he would. 

***
Copyright © 2017 by May McGoldrick, Sabrina York, Lecia Cornwall, Anna Harrington.
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Learn more about or order a copy of Say Yes to the Scot by May McGoldrick, Sabrina York, Lecia Cornwall, Anna Harrington, available June 20, 2017:

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