Bartholomew Yancy never expected to inherit an English earldom and had no intention of marrying. Now, the Earl of Ramsbury and last in his line, he’s obligated to resign his position as England’s War Secretary, find a wife, and produce an heir. Only one woman holds the least appeal: Isobel Ferguson, an exquisite Scotswoman. Brought to Scotland to mediate between feuding clans, he doggedly woos her.
Disillusioned with men pursuing her for her attractiveness, rather than her unusual intellect, Isobel has all but abandoned any hope of finding a husband in the Highlands. Not only does she believe Yancy no different than her other suitors, he’s a notorious rake. She’s been told he’s practically betrothed. Therefore, his interest in her cannot possibly be honorable, and so she shuns his attentions.
When Isobel is mistakenly abducted by a band of rogue Scots, Yancy risks his life to rescues her. To salvage her compromised reputation, her brother and father insist she marry him. Yancy readily agrees, but Isobel—knowing full well she’s fated for spinsterhood by refusing his offer— won’t be coerced into marriage.
Isobel whipped around and wound up planting her face squarely in a very masculine chest.
She leaped backward reflexively. Her heel caught on the cloak’s hem, and she tilted at a precarious angle.
Her possessions dropped to the floor as she flailed her arms.
Lord Ramsbury surged forward, grasping her shoulders as her feet left the ground.
Eyes locked on his, she seized his coat lapels, frantically trying to stay upright.
His eyes widened when he teetered toward her.
Lord Ramsbury’s solid form toppled onto her and mashed her into the rough wood. Eyes closed, she didn’t move, waiting for sharp pain to stab her.
She tentatively moved her fingers and toes.
Nothing broken then.
She tried to pull in a breath, but his weight bore down upon her chest.
Gads, how much did his lordship weigh?
She opened her eyes. Silky, whisky-colored hair tickled her nose.
His clean virile scent, with a hint of sandalwood, floated upward. He smelled wonderful, and she had the oddest urge to nuzzle her nose in his hair.
She sniffed instead.
Did he twitch the merest bit?
Lord Ramsbury’s chest squashed her breasts nearly flat, and his lean hips nestled between her thighs. For certain her backside and shoulders would sport a bruise or two.
Lifting her head, she winced. She wriggled her fingers, attempting to poke him. Why didn’t he get off? A gentleman would, but he had already proved he didn’t deserve that title.
She squirmed a bit then stilled instantly when a peculiar hardness pulsed against her womanhood.
What in the world?
Had his pocket watch fallen from his waistcoat and wedged between them? Isobel jostled harder, trying to dislodge him and his timepiece.
“Don’t.” He ended on a strangled groan.
He was injured.
But how could he possibly be? Splaying her fingers, she cupped his firm ribs, shoving with all her strength.
“Don’t. Move.” His warm breath caressed her neck.
Booted feet jarred the floor beneath her.
Jocky gasped. “Miss Isobel, my lord, are ye—”
“Yancy, I want to sho—” Ewan gaped at them.
Isobel tried to peek over the earl’s shoulder, which now vibrated suspiciously. She jabbed harder with her fingers.
He quaked more.
Was he ticklish? Turning her hands into half-claws, she scratched at his sides unmercifully.
A rich-timbred chuckle whispered against her skin.
“Get. Off. Me.” She clenched her teeth as his dratted watch poked her again.
All at once, she froze. She knew exactly what prodded her nether regions. She had been raised around animals, for pity’s sake. How could she have been so stupid to think his watch had slipped free?
No, his thing twitched against her.
“I do hope you have a damned good reason to be sprawled atop my sister, Yancy.”
Award winning, Amazon best-selling, and multi-published historical romance author, Collette Cameron, has a BS in Liberal Studies and a Master’s in Teaching. A Pacific Northwest Native, Collette’s been married for thirty years, has three amazing adult children, and five dachshunds. Collette loves a good joke, inspirational quotes, flowers, the beach, trivia, birds, shabby chic, and Cadbury Chocolate. You’ll always find dogs, birds, quirky—sometimes naughty—humor, and a dash of inspiration in her novels. Her motto for life? You can’t have too much chocolate, too many hugs, or too many flowers. She’s thinking about adding shoes to that list.