The Highlander's Accidental Marriage (Marriage Mart Mayhem)
door, tall, imposing, and sinfully handsome. His tight breeches outlined every muscle in his well-developed thighs above shining Hessian boots. His snug dark blue jacket exhibited broad shoulders for which no tailor had to add padding. A wicked smile beneath mirthful blue eyes had her heart pumping as he held out his arm for her to take. She licked her dry lips and moved forward as if going to her doom.
    I am in so much trouble.
    The cool spring morning air refreshed her, body and soul, after hours in a sick room. Sarah inhaled the pleasant smell of leaves and foliage dampened by two days of rain. Bright sunlight reflected off the carriage, raising her spirits even further. In just a few days she would see her beloved twin again. And possibly her new niece or nephew. She was foolish to worry. Everything would be just fine.

    “W hat do you mean we won’t make as many miles today as we planned?” Sarah stood outside the carriage door, her hands on her hips. They’d just finished their tea at a lovely inn, and she was ready to ride another five or six hours to get closer to Sybil.
    “The stable only had two fresh horses, so we won’t be able to travel very fast, or we will wear them out altogether and be left on the side of the road.”
    She walked in a tight circle staring at the ground at this latest delay. Only two horses pulling the carriage would make for a much slower pace. But it was still better than waiting here for more horses to show up and be made ready.
    “I will continue to ride Niels to lighten the load, but we still won’t go as far as we could have with four horses.”
    Grumbling under her breath, Sarah climbed into the carriage with Braeden’s assistance. “Dinna talk under yer breath lass, ’tis not proper.”
    She gritted her teeth. Braeden had been teasing her all morning about what was, and was not, proper. He might think this was all a joke, but if word traveled back to London about this trip, her reputation would be in shreds.
    Then I wouldn’t have to worry about being pressured into marriage.
    Except, it could ruin her sister Mary’s chances of a decent match. Although, when she’d left home, an American, Mr. Marcus Pensworth, had been paying Mary a bit of attention.
    The morning passed rather quickly. Once they returned to the carriage after luncheon, Sarah slid her manuscript out from her satchel and leaned back, prepared to read. The rocking of the carriage, the meal she’d consumed, and the lack of sleep the previous night took its toll, however, and soon she was being shaken awake. “Lass, we’re at our stop.”
    She blinked and stared directly into a pair of now familiar sharp blue eyes. Her heart began to thump and she licked her lips. How long had he been watching her sleep? Had her mouth hung open? Was she drooling? Oh Lord, why did he keep staring at her with that teasing smile on his lips?
    “Come along, lass. I am ready for my dinner. ’Tis been a long day.” He held out his hand and helped her from the carriage.
    The Beresford Inn was a lively place with raucous laughter coming from within, which grew even louder as the door swung open to allow two men to leave. Once they made their way through the throng they stopped at the bar where the man behind it shoved one tankard of beer after another to the men lining the area.
    “Can I help ye, lad?” The bartender wiped his hands on a large apron surrounding his corpulent middle.
    “Yes. The lady and I would like dinner. Do ye have a private dining room?”
    “Nay. We had so many patrons tonight we had to open it for everyone. ’Tis cockfight night, always a crowd. I can get ye a seat, though. Will ye be needin’ a room?”
    “Two rooms.” Braeden held up two fingers. “And I need fresh horses for the morning. Do ye have a stable?”
    “Aye. I can fix ye up. Let me get my wife to help the lady.”
    “Thank you.” Braeden took Sarah by the elbow and maneuvered her around the crowd to a quieter area near a fireplace.

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