Lady Alanna McNabb is bound by duty to her family, who insist she must marry a gentleman of wealth and title. When she meets the man of her dreams, she knows it’s much too late, but her heart is no longer hers.
Laird Iain MacGillivray is on his way to propose to another woman when he discovers Alanna half-frozen in the snow and barely alive. She isn’t his to love, yet she’s everything he’s ever wanted.
As Christmas comes closer, the snow thickens, and the magic grows stronger. Alanna and Iain must choose between desire and duty, love and obligation.
But it’s Christmas in the Highlands, and there are bound to be a few surprises.
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Alanna tightened her grip on her hood, fighting the storm for control of it. The wind bit through the thin leather of her gloves, made her fingers useless stumps. Her feet stung inside half boots meant for much lighter outings than this, and the cold crept through her cloak like a thief. She had never been so cold.
How much farther? She couldn’t recall how far she’d come. She’d walked out through the orchard, up into the glen, past the loch and the ruins of old Glen Dorian Castle. She’d climbed a steep path and had stood for a moment, breathless, to look at the view. The hills had been spread out around her, and the waterfall tumbled down into the glen, silver lace against the brown landscape, like a bridal veil.
She’d turned away from that thought, refused to look, walked on when she should have turned back. Had the clouds been gathering even then? She’d left the roar of the falls behind her as she’d reached the moorland. The wind had been brisk but benevolent, cleansing.
It wasn’t kind now. It had turned angry, sharp tongued, and merciless. Panic flared in Alanna’s breast, a small flicker of useless heat. Surely if she looked hard enough through the snow she’d see Dundrummie Castle in the distance, and be safely home in a few minutes. If not, someone would come out to look for her. She scanned the white world hopefully, seeking the dark figure of a rescuer, but she was entirely alone. She suppressed a gasp of dismay.
How foolish—she’d purposely left the castle without telling anyone she was going out. Mama would have stopped her, saying there was too much to do before Lord Merridew’s arrival. Eleanor would have insisted that someone accompany her, just in case of—well, this. Her younger sister, Sorcha, would have wanted to come too, and she would have babbled incessantly, when Alanna wanted to think. Of course, thinking was no use at all. There was no way out of it—the wedding, she meant. Or the storm.
Oh, she was cold. The snow had reached the top of her boots, slipped inside to freeze against her ankles, gnawing her skin with sharp, icy teeth. How much farther? Surely such a sudden, terrible rage would blow itself out quickly enough and die away, like a tantrum. She listened for a change in the whine of the wind, a softening, but it screeched on. She blinked, felt the weight of ice on her eyelashes, rubbed it away and pushed back the urge to cry, since tears would only freeze.
About the Author
Lecia Cornwall lives and writes in Calgary, Canada, amid the beautiful foothills of the Canadian Rockies, with four cats, two teenagers, a crazy chocolate Lab, and one very patient husband. She is hard at work on her next book.
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