In this saucy battle of the sexes, New York Times bestseller Karen Hawkins pits a hard-headed Scottish lord with an unusual family curse against a headstrong heiress who has a solution for every problem...except her own wayward heart.
When Lord Gregor MacLean learns his childhood friend, Venetia Oglivie, has been abducted by a fortune hunter, he rides off to Scotland in hot -- and very annoyed -- pursuit. Venetia's soft heart has gotten her in major trouble this time: if he doesn't rescue her swiftly, the scandal will ostracize the provocative wench!
The only sensible member of her family, Venetia is sure she can fix any problem, even this one. So when an irate Gregor catches up with her, arrogantly expecting a hero's welcome, the sparks between them begin to fly. Then an unexpected snowstorm traps them at an inn, and Gregor discovers his feelings for the lovely Venetia are far warmer than he realized -- fiery enough to burn down the inn! Now if he can only convince Venetia that his motive for marriage isn't duty... but desire.
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August 20, 2007
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Excerpt from To Scotland, With Love by Karen Hawkins
Aye, I believe in the MacLean curse. If ye'd seen the blinding white lightning and heard the roar of thunder over MacLean Castle on a clear summer morn as I have, ye'd believe it, too.
OLD WOMAN NORA FROM LOCH LOMOND TO HER THREE WEE GRANDDAUGHTERS ONE COLD EVENING
"Argh! Bentley! Where are you?"
The yell echoed through the morning air, over the loud clops from the horses and carts that were just beginning to stir in Mayfair, London's most fashionable district.
Startled, Gregor MacLean stepped back from the ornate door of Oglivie House and glanced up at the open third-story window.
It was far too early for drama. Well, it was too early at most domiciles. At Oglivie House, drama was never out of fashion.
Gregor bit back an impatient sigh and stepped forward, rapping the knocker hard. The Oglivies were silly, extremely emotional, and far too given to excitement. Nothing could have brought him to this door except their one and only daughter, Venetia. Calm, logical, and rarely indulging in unseemly displays of emotion, Venetia easily offset her parents' sad tendencies. In fact, during his years of friendship with Venetia, Gregor had discovered only one flaw: a disturbing inclination to become overly involved in the lives of others.
"Bentley!" Mr. Oglivie's voice rang out louder than before, a hint of a sob at the end.
Gregor rapped on the door yet again. The quicker he collected Venetia for their morning ride, the quicker he'd be away from the brewing madness.
The door flew open, the usually impassive butler gasping a relieved sigh. "My lord, I am so glad -- you can have no idea -- it's been a horrible morning and -- "
Gregor walked past the incoherent butler. At Oglivie House, something as small as the chef quitting or a misplaced bracelet resulted in scenes worthy of the stage, complete with ranting, raving, accusations, and weeping. He knew from long experience that the best way to deal with such distractions was to ignore them. "I've come to take Miss Venetia for our morning ride. I assume she's ready?"
Overhead, a thump rattled the crystals on the chandelier.
Gregor frowned up the stairs before saying uneasily, "Is Miss Venetia awaiting me in the breakfast room? We should make haste to reach the park before the fops arise and clog the pathways."
Bentley's brow wrinkled. "But, my lord, Miss Oglivie isn't -- "
A loud crash sounded from upstairs, followed by an unmistakable yell: "Bentley! Order the carriage!"
Gregor cut a hard glance at Bentley. "What were you saying about Miss Oglivie?"
The butler's eyes teared up alarmingly. "She's missing, my lord, and we don't know where to find her."
"What?" The word snapped through the air.
Bentley wrung his hands. "Yes, my lord. Miss Oglivie apparently left the house quite early this morning, and no one knows where she went." The butler glanced warily up the stairs, then leaned forward to add in an undertone, "She left a note for Lord Oglivie and he has been in a taking since he read it."
"Do you know what the note said?"
Bentley shook his head regretfully.
How odd. It was quite unlike Venetia to --
A door slammed above, then Mr. Oglivie appeared on the landing and ran down the stairs. Though usually the most elegant of men, he wore a long white night rail, his robe loose and streaming about him, his feet bare, his hair in a white, unkempt fluff around a precariously tipped nightcap.
"Bentley!" Oglivie waved a crumpled paper over his head. "Did you not hear me? We must -- Venetia cannot -- she might be -- Oh, no!" His voice caught and he sank to the bottom step and dropped his head in his hands. "What shall I do? What shall I do?"
Gregor eyed Venetia's father, unmoved. Oglivie had once taken to his bed for a week over the loss of his prize poodle, certain his dog had been abducted for ransom.