Never Love a Highlander

By: Maya Banks




Hesitantly, she pressed her lips to his. Just barely a touch, but it was like a streak of lightning. Hot. His toes even tingled as if they’d been dipped in fire.



It took every bit of his restraint not to roll her onto the bed and kiss her senseless. His newfound patience and desire to not frighten the daylights out of her was one of his more stupid decisions.



She drew away immediately, her eyes wide, a touch of pink suffusing her soft cheeks. Then she slid one hand up his chest and over his shoulder, staring warily at him the whole while as if she expected him to bite her for daring to touch him. Jesu, but he was nigh to the point of begging her to touch him.



Her fingers wandered to his neck and then she put her mouth carefully to his again. This time she remained there as she tentatively explored his mouth. With her tongue. Sweet mother of God, this was killing him.



She stirred restlessly against him as she pressed closer, her mouth hotly fused to his.



A surge of lust rolled through his body, but he held back, not wanting to destroy the sweetness of her offering. She was an innocent for all her warrior ways and attempts at acting like a man. She deserved all the gentleness and wooing he could muster, though God only knew he’d deserve sainthood before this was over with.



“ ’Tis not unpleasant, this kissing,” she whispered.





Never Love a Highlander is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.





CHAPTER 1





The weather for her first wedding had been a splendor of nature. An unseasonably warm day in January. Quite balmy with nary a breeze to ruffle her carefully arranged hair. It was as if the world stood still to witness the joining of two souls.



A snort rippled from Rionna McDonald’s throat, eliciting a raised eyebrow from her soon-to-be husband.



The weather for her second wedding? Gloomy and dank with a winter storm pushing in from the west. Already a brisk chill had set in and the wind blew in fierce, relentless sheets. As if the world knew just how uncertain she was about the man who stood beside her, ready to recite the vows that would bind him to her forever.



A shiver skirted up her spine despite the fact that they stood in front of the huge fire in the great hall.



Caelen frowned and stepped closer to Rionna as if to shield her from the draft blowing through the furs at the window. She took a hasty step back before thinking better of it. The man made her nervous, and not many people intimidated her.



He frowned harder, then turned his attention back to the priest.



Rionna cast a quick glance around, hoping no one had witnessed that particular exchange. It wouldn’t do for people to think she was afraid of her new husband. Even if she was.



Ewan McCabe, the oldest McCabe brother and the first man she was supposed to have married, stood by his brother’s side, his arms crossed over his broad chest. He looked anxious to be done with the whole thing.



Alaric McCabe, the man she’d very nearly wed after Ewan got himself married to Mairin Stuart, also looked impatient and kept glancing toward the stairs as if he might run out at any moment. Rionna couldn’t blame him, though. His new wife, Keeley, was above stairs recovering from a wound that had nearly ended her life.



Third time was a charm, right?



King David wasn’t standing for the occasion. He sat regally by the fire, looking on with approval as the priest droned on. Around him, also sitting, were the many lairds from neighboring lands. All waiting for the alliance between the McDonalds and the McCabes. An alliance that would be sealed upon her marriage to Caelen McCabe, the youngest–and last–McCabe brother.



It was important to denote last because if anything went amiss with this wedding, there were no more McCabes for her to marry, and at this point, her pride couldn’t withstand another rejection.



Her gaze skittered from the king and assembled lairds to her dour-faced father who sat away from the assembled warriors, an unmanly, sullen pout twisting his features.



For a moment their stares locked and then his lip turned up into a snarl. She hadn’t supported him in his bid to keep his position of laird. It was probably disloyal of her. She wasn’t sure that Caelen McCabe would be a better laird, but surely he was a better man.