Rogue of the Highlands: Rogue, Book 1

Free Rogue of the Highlands: Rogue, Book 1 by Cynthia Breeding

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Authors: Cynthia Breeding
he finally answered her. “’Tis no use to think about that. The law is clear.”
    Surprising him again, Jillian shrugged. “I don’t think making a law that says the clans must disband makes everyone believe it though.” She slanted her gaze at him. “Am I right?”
    He hesitated once more. If he answered honestly, he could find himself a possible prisoner for suspected treason rather than an earl. But could he lie to the lass? Those beautiful, dark green eyes were studying him for a truthful answer. He sighed. “Aye, lass. For what it be worth, our people still consider me their laird.”
     
    The din from the crush was deafening. People had to turn sideways on the steps to the ballroom on the second floor of Lord Tindale’s home to avoid improper contact.
    Jillian lost sight of Ian. He had gone to get her some ratafia , but that had been some moments ago, and she saw Violetta Billingsby press through the crowd toward him.
    She hoped Violetta wouldn’t be the one he chose for his wife. Jillian suspected the girl liked the power of flirtatious victory more than she cared for the man involved. She had already broken several suitors’ hearts. Ian’s didn’t need to be one of them.
    Jillian brought herself up short. Ian was a grown man, quite capable of taking care of himself. Why should she care whom he chose? But still, the way he had looked at her yesterday afternoon and reached out to touch her hand when she told him of her father… She recalled the strength of his warm touch that had sent heat throbbing straight to her belly. A man with that much expertise—no, kindness . That was what it was. Simple kindness —deserved someone other than Violetta. Someone more like Lord Sherrington’s rather serious daughter who, even now, stood against the far wall and pushed her spectacles up the bridge of her nose.
    “A shilling for your thoughts, my lady,” Wesley said from behind her.
    Jillian nearly jumped. Her stepson had a rather stealthy way of approaching her, although how she would have heard him with the noise around her, she didn’t know. But he kept popping up unexpectedly, especially when she was alone.
    “I can assure you, they’re not worth more than a farthing,” she said.
    “Try me,” he answered and stopped a passing servant to remove two glasses of wine from the tray. He handed one to her. “Go on.”
    “I was simply thinking who might be a good suit for Lord Cantford.”
    “I doubt that he’ll need your help with that , my lady,” he said wryly.
    Jillian hoped she wasn’t blushing. “No, of course not. I just meant that Prinny expects him to choose a wife by the end of the Season.”
    “Ah, yes, to beget the heir. I have forgotten how obsessed the English are with preserving their titles.”
    She winced. She had been a failure in that department. But Wesley had been found and he was here. “And you, my lord, should be thinking of doing the same.”
    He looked startled and then he grinned. “I intend to spread my wealth around a bit before I settle down.”
    Jillian frowned at him. “My lord, your speech is indecent.”
    “ Excusez moi . It was crass of me.”
    He didn’t sound like he meant it. Even though the man was several years older than she was, he was legally her stepson and the new marquess. Prinny would no doubt expect her to explain the proper English way of doing things.
    “Wesley. Perhaps French culture is a bit less stringent than ours, but have a care. To take advantage of a debutante—or even be suspected of such— will find you at the altar whether you wish it or not.”
    This time he laughed out loud. “I have no intention of trifling with these silly girls. Virgins bore me.” He sobered and his gaze dropped to her neckline. “I like women with experience.”
    Jillian gasped, one hand going involuntarily to her throat and covering her bosom. “You are out of line, my lord.”
    “Am I?” He looked into her furious eyes and then gave a short bow. “ Pardon

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