Mad, Bad, and Dangerous in Plaid

By: Suzanne Enoch



“And then we’ll find ye a nice, deep bog to rest beneath,” Arran said finally, clearly understanding the direction of the pronouncement.

Rowena’s cheeks warmed. “That’s quite enough,” she hissed. “My friends are not accustomed to threats and violence. And if you want to be seen as gentlemen,” she went on, stopping just short of jabbing a finger in Ranulf’s direction, “you can’t bellow at people who haven’t done anything wrong.”

Ranulf lifted an eyebrow. “I can be a gentleman,” he rumbled in his deep Highlands brogue. “I have eyes, as well. Ye have a great number of Sassenach men with ye, piuthar. I dunnae think they’re all here to witness my wedding. I’m nae acquainted with most of them, fer one thing.”

“That isn’t—”

“And they’d best keep in mind that ye’re my only sister,” he pressed, “and that I’ve nae spent this long looking after ye to see someaught … unacceptable happen now.” Releasing Charlotte’s hand, he took one long step forward. “Nor do I mean to let ye ferget yer heritage, however prettily ye choose to talk,” he continued in a much lower voice. “Are we clear, Rowena Rose MacLawry?”

It took a great deal of will to look up into his stony blue eyes. “Aye. Yes. I understand.”

“Good.”

Ha. This from men who wagered over the quantity of whisky they could consume. Well, her brothers and Lachlan had best behave themselves, too. Because she had a good idea that her new friends were not going to be the problem. After all, they’d all had governesses and tutors and dance instructors. They all knew how to conduct themselves at balls and formal dinners and house parties. And whether Ranulf realized it or not, she was very close to preferring that life to the one with which she’d grown up. It wouldn’t take much more to tip the balance. In fact, the right man could do it fairly easily. With a flounce of her skirts she continued on to where Arran and Mary stood a little apart from the crowd at the front doors.

* * *

Lachlan MacTier took a step backward to avoid having a trunk set on his toes. “Did ye know she was bringing half of London north with her?” he muttered at Bear beside him.

“Nae,” Munro growled back. “Ran said his Charlotte’s family and a few of Winnie’s and the Hanovers’ friends are to attend the wedding. Nae this horde.” His brows lowered. “They’re all so … pretty. And breakable.”

“Aye.” Lachlan gazed after a tall, spindly lad with high shirt points and blond hair that looked so smooth and shiny it could likely reflect the sunlight. “Breakable.”

Whatever Bear said, this frilly lot didn’t look like the sort of folk Lord Glengask would befriend, much less invite beneath his roof. And given that bit of speech a moment ago, this seemed to be the youngest MacLawry’s idea. Lachlan shifted his gaze sideways. Black-haired Winnie MacLawry slid her hand around the arm of one of the taller fellows, smiling as she said something and gestured at the grand gray and white sprawl behind them.

She’d invited these people—or at least a good share of them. Did she truly feel connected enough to the Sassenach after only three months in England that she needed to bring London back with her to the Highlands? Or was the lass who had traipsed after him for nearly two decades in her pigtails and too-lacy skirts trying to make him jealous?

Perhaps he was rating her estimation of him too highly, but then perhaps he wasn’t. Both Arran and Bear blamed him for her flight to London in the first place. If gifting a lass with a pair of fine riding boots on the occasion of her eighteenth birthday could cause her to leave her lifelong home and her family, then he supposed it was his fault, but it all seemed very silly and overly dramatic. She’d thrown a tantrum, and now she was home. Nothing else had changed, except for the way she talked, apparently.

“I hope we dunnae have to remember all their names,” Bear muttered.

“They’re nae all men, Bear,” he pointed out, offering his friend a brief smile. “And here we are, two strapping bachelors standing aboot while we wait fer yer brother’s wedding.”

“Ye’re nae a bachelor, Lach.”

“I am a bachelor, and I’m fairly certain of that fact. I’ve nae wife, and nae a woman in mind fer one.”

“Maybe so,” the big man mused after a moment, then angled his chin at his sister. “But does she know that?”

“Fer Lucifer’s sake, Munro. It takes two to make a marriage, and I’ve nae made anything of the kind with yer bairn of a sister. Leave off. It’s bad enough with her writing me poetry all the time. Dunnae ye begin it again, too.”

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