Taken by the Laird

Taken by the Laird by Margo Maguire Read Free Book Online Page A

Book: Taken by the Laird by Margo Maguire Read Free Book Online
Authors: Margo Maguire
Tags: Fiction, General, Romance, Historical
swallowed a draught of brandy, enjoying the burn at the back of his throat. He considered how the thief might be getting away with his brandy and how his losses must be affecting the free traders in Falkburn. While Hugh could afford a decrease in profits, his people could not, and he felt a pang of regret at leaving it so long. He should have come up to Glenloch and put things to rights much sooner.
    But then he would not have encountered Bridget MacLaren. He wondered if she’d fallen asleep yet. She’d be lying naked in the bed, for it was quite obvious that everything she owned was soaked through.
    His body reacted markedly with the thought of her, despite the release he’d just experienced. She was the most fascinating creature he’d encountered in many a long month, with her dirk and her men’s clothes. Her tale of running from a nobleman’s advances was perfectly believable, but Hugh was not yet ready to absolve her from taking part in the operation that was stealing his brandy. He decided he was very much going to enjoy finding out the truth of the matter.
     
    Mortification still burned Brianna the following morn when she awoke. She wanted to deny that she’d engaged in such shameless behavior with the master of Glenloch, and that she’d enjoyed it. She wished shecould deny the sensual power Laird Glenloch wielded over her.
    And yet she could not. She pressed her legs together to squeeze out the sensation of his touch, but it only made it worse. Her breasts still tingled where he’d nuzzled and sucked them, and her mouth felt swollen and bruised from his kisses.
    Bernard’s tame kisses had never created such a maelstrom of sensations, and she wondered if that had been part of his appeal—he’d never caused her to lose control.
    She turned over and jerked the blankets up, over her shoulders. Glenloch was just a man, a roué whose only skills were those of a master seducer, a gambler, a sporting pugilist. Not a single one of his traits was admirable. She could—she would —resist his advances until she could get away.
    But it might be some hours before that happened, for it was still raining. Brianna heard it dribbling down the windowpane, along with the howl of a stiff wind that chilled her in spite of the warmth of her room and the soft down of her covers.
    She could not face it just yet.
    If only Claire still lived, Brianna would not be in this predicament. Her aunt had been a beautiful, vital woman who’d swooped down on Stamford House nine years before to rescue Bree from a miserable existence with her guardian. Claire had been abroad at the time Brianna had been orphaned, and unaware of her niece’s situation. But she’d rectified it the minute she returned,flouting convention to take Stamford’s ward away to Killiedown.
    And there they’d lived until Stamford’s demand that Bree join his family in London for her first season. Brianna never believed those seasons had been provided for her benefit, else Stamford would have allowed her to wed Bernard, for he was a perfectly acceptable young man.
    As recent events proved, Stamford was only interested in making a close alliance with a powerful family. And who was more powerful than the man who would become the Duke of Chalwyck?
    It was a marriage that would never happen. Bree would move heaven and earth to stay out of Stamford’s—and Rotten Roddington’s—clutches until she reached her majority and was able to make her own decisions.
    Brianna could not remember her mother at all, and her father was just a vague memory. But she recalled each and every miserable moment she had spent in Stamford House. Her subsequent years at Killiedown had been sheer heaven, and Bree would have been content to stay there forever.
    And yet Claire had insisted that she comply with Lord Stamford’s demand to return to London for a season. Brianna sensed that there was more to Claire’s agreement than the fact that Stamford was Bree’s legal guardian, and if he

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