Heart of a Scot Book 2
One forbidden kiss sets them on a path from which there’s no return.
In a desperate final attempt to force her cruel betrothed to call off their arranged marriage, Arieen Fleming deliberately creates a public scandal. Aware she’ll likely be shunned by Society and remain unmarried, she kisses a dashing swashbuckler at a masked ball. What she doesn’t anticipate is her powerful fascination and sensual reaction to Coburn Wallace.
Coburn Wallace is a man who enjoys life and women to the fullest. As cousin and second-in-command to a laird, he has no need or desire to marry and produce an heir. When a beautiful female pirate demands he kiss her, who is he to refuse such an unexpected gift? Upon learning Arieen’s been disowned and is destitute, he’s seized with an inexplicable urge to protect her even as his honor demands he marry Arieen for his unwitting contribution to her ruination.
Arieen has no choice but to accept Coburn’s offer, and though they can’t deny their overwhelming, mutual attraction, dare they hope for more? Can attraction blossom into love in a marriage neither wanted?
This heartwarming Scottish historical by a USA Today bestselling author will bring a smile to your face. You won’t be able to turn the pages fast enough as you read Coburn and Arieen’s romance.
If you enjoy reading enemies to lovers and marriage of convenience love stories brimming with mystery and suspense, a dash of humor, and gripping emotion then you’ll adore Collette Cameron’s mesmerizing HEART OF A SCOT. Buy TO REDEEM A HIGHLAND ROGUE and settle into your favorite reading nook with your beverage of choice for a rousing Highland adventure you can’t put down.
Though this book can easily be read as a stand-alone, most readers prefer to read the series in order.
Shivering, his arms wrapped tightly around his shoulders, Coburn Wallace huddled beneath the broken cart abandoned behind the rickety tenement he and Mum had lived in until three weeks ago. His empty stomach gnawing at his spine, from his damp and dirty hiding place, he watched the wynd for her return as he did every day.
Days and nights of loneliness, hunger, cold, and terrifying fear.
He’d almost been caught filching a roll the day before yesterday, and didn’t dare return to the baker he’d been stealing from.
His bonnie mum with her fiery hair and eyes the color of the sky after a storm had always come back in the morning before. Usually with something for him to eat. She’d kiss his head and wrap her thin arms about him, telling him how much she loved him.
“I promise ye, my braw laddie,” she’d vow. “We’ll be away from here someday soon. To my brother Artair’s keep in the Highlands, where the fresh air smells of heather and there’s always plenty to eat.”
He couldn’t remember a time his stomach had been full, or he’d been clean. A time he wasn’t afraid, and didn’t lay awake at night, a broken knife clutched in his fist, as he listened to the wretched sounds echoing through the thin walls.
“And I can have all the Scotch pies and oat cakes I want?” he asked.
“Aye, my jo’,” Mum said, pressing her rough palm to his cheek. “And clootie dumplin’s and cock-a-leekie soup and black bun…so many good things.” She’d wiped a tear from the corner of her eye with her knuckle. “My brother was right. I never should’ve left. Never should’ve trusted yer…”
Coburn couldn’t remember him at all. He’d deserted them before Coburn’s second birthday. Lower lip trembling, he sucked it into his mouth and closed his eyes, remembering his sad-eyed, sweet mum.
After mentioning her husband, she’d always summon a falsely cheery smile and ruffle Coburn’s hair. “Never mind. Ye’ll see, my jo. We’ll be away from here soon. I ken Artair will come for us, one day.” Her expression would grow desperate, her features gaunt. “Surely, he must. If no’ for me, then for ye.”
She’d promised that for years.
Uncle Artair never came.
“How will he find us?” Coburn had asked one time.
“I’ve written him.” That was all she would say. Not how often. When the last time was. How he’d know where to look for them.
“Nae! Leave me alone.”
Coburn’s eyelids popped open at the pitiful cry. He tried to edge farther into the corner, praying the ugly men didn’t see him, too. Today, they grasped two little girls by the arms as they dragged them struggling and crying to the ominous looking hack. Four days ago, it had been two boys a bit older than him and another girl.
They weren’t the only vermin who preyed on the orphans and street urchins. Covering his ears against the girls’ pathetic cries, he squeezed his eyes tight, and pressed his face against his bent knees.
Mum. I’m so scared. Please come home soon.
“I wrote my brother again,” Mum had said that last morning, an ugly new bruise on her cheek and a cut on her lower lip. She never answered when he asked her how she came by them. “If anythin’ happens to me, ye must stay here so Artair can find ye, Coburn.”
Coburn had thrown his arms around her thin waist, hugging her with all of his might. “Nay, Mum. Dinna say that. We’ll be together always.”
“I hope so, my braw lad.” She kissed his forehead. “I hope so.”
Paler than usual, she’d crawled into the filthy bed they shared and had fallen into an exhausted sleep without singing to him like she normally did.
The next day, she hadn’t returned in the predawn hours. She’d forbidden him to leave their tiny room without her, and made him keep the door locked at all times.
He’d pushed the only chair in the room underneath the tiny, grungy window. Standing upon its cracked seat, the uneven legs wobbling, he watched for her.
Two days later, the landlady turned Coburn out onto the street. The sour-faced, and even fouler smelling wretch, confiscated his and Mum’s meager belongings, claiming the rent was late.
“Where are ye, Mum?” he muttered into his knobby knees, tears wetting the torn fabric. “Why did ye leave me alone?”