Taken by the Laird

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

Book: Taken by the Laird by Margo Maguire Read Free Book Online
Authors: Margo Maguire
Tags: Fiction, General, Romance, Historical
chose to press his cause, the law would have been on his side then, as it was now.
    Claire had actually wanted Brianna to find herselfa husband and make a happy and suitable match, as her own parents had done. Which made absolutely no sense at all, for Claire herself had managed to form a perfectly satisfactory life, alone.
    Brianna had gone to London under duress, feeling almost as lost she’d been in her early years. Somehow, she’d managed to persevere through that first season, puzzled and confused by the short-lived attentions of the young men of the ton who’d come to call on her, but then suddenly shifted their attentions to Lord Stamford’s daughters.
    Then she’d met her handsome, attentive Bernard. Brianna had been certain he’d loved her as she had him. And yet he’d given her up so easily. Their stolen kisses had signified nothing.
    That debacle had taught Brianna exactly where she belonged. At Killiedown with Claire. And now her aunt was gone. Brianna still could not credit that she’d lost her aunt so quickly, and that she was now mistress of Killiedown Manor. She was bereft of the one person she cared for most.
    Bree curled into a ball and wept. She’d never imagined this day would come, when she would have to go on without her beloved aunt. Claire would have objected to Stamford’s disgraceful trap. She would have stood up for Brianna and defended her against such an outrageous trick. There never would have been any need for Bree to flee Killiedown and end up where she was.
    She needed to get away from Glenloch before Lord Stamford made his way there, and equally important—before there could be any more encounters in the dark with Laird Glenloch. Just the thought of his sinful caresses made her body flush in embarrassing places. No wonder he was known in polite circles as a libertine. And then there were the terrible rumors about his wife, conjecture that he’d made her so unhappy in her marriage that she’d ended her own life.
    It was clear that Brianna would not make her escape from the castle by lying about and ruminating on her situation, so she dried her eyes and left the warm comfort of her bed. The clothes that were spread out by the fire were dry and warm, but for the coat she’d worn through the rain. It was made of a dense wool, so it was still damp and would need a few more hours by the fire to dry it.
    Brianna debated about putting it on damp and slipping away from Glenloch, but when a sudden gust of wind drove the rain skittering across the window, she knew she could not face it. She would just have to deal with Laird Glenloch until the weather cleared.
    She rearranged the coat so that it would dry evenly, then dressed in one of the two plain gowns she’d brought. She had neither a hairbrush nor hairpins, so she shook out her tangles as best she could, and simply tied her hair back with a narrow ribbon that she removed from the collar of her gown. Then she left the bedchamber in search of clean water to wash with, and some food with which to break her fast.
    Brianna harbored a remote hope that the laird might have left the castle on some sort of estate business, for she had no idea how she was going to face him after theintimacies she’d so mistakenly allowed. How could she expect him to believe her tale of unwanted advances by her employer’s husband when she’d allowed exactly the same from him—a complete stranger? ’Twas clear that he was everything she’d been warned against, and more.
    The long gallery outside her bedchamber was dark and shadowy, with numerous closed doors and arched entrances to other corridors. Brianna went to the staircase and descended, arriving in a cavernous entryway. She looked around the open area to get her bearings and noticed the drawing room where she’d entered the night before. The sounds and smells of breakfast were to her left, and she headed in that direction, toward the delectable aromas of kippers frying in a skillet, and bread in the

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