Title: A Bonny Pretender
Author: Aubrey Wynne
Genre: Historical Romance/Scottish Regency
She’s pretending to be someone she’s not…
Brigid MacNaughton can outshoot any lad in the Highlands with a firearm or bow and easily scare away the most amorous suitor. When she is packed off to London to “smooth her rough edges,” Brigid vows to turn this punishment into an adventure. She’ll master the rules of society, become the perfect English miss to placate her family, then return to the Highlands and her old life with a clean conscience—unattached. Until she falls in love with a quiet, self-possessed Englishman who believes her ruse. Brigid must decide whether to take a chance and reveal her true self or walk away from the one man who stirs her passion.
His entire life is based on a lie…
When the malicious Lord Raines dies, Frank becomes viscount and vows to fill his mother’s last years with joy. He embraces the title and rejoices in his freedom from a tyrant father. But his mother’s deathbed confession shatters his world. After a year of enduring loneliness and questioning the betrayal, he journeys to London to find a wife and learn more about his real father. When Frank meets Brigid, a beguiling and soft-spoken Scot, he’s instantly smitten.
If he divulges his scandalous parentage, will she still fall willingly into his arms?
Brigid threw her arms around her grandmother, pushing back the long auburn braid streaked with gray. “Thank ye, and I’ll keep it with me always.”
“Or until ye come home,” her grandmother reminded her. “Promise me one thing.”
“Think of this as an adventure. Observe, learn, and grow from it. I imagine ye’ll see some wondrous and some unpleasant things, but take it all in—good and bad.” She cupped Brigid’s cheek. “Dinna forget to see the humor in a situation and laugh often. Most of all, remember we’ll be waiting for ye, missing ye every moment of every day.”
Brigid nodded and gave her one more quick hug before going outside to join the others. Her grandfather wrapped her in his strong arms, and she wiggled her toes as they dangled above the snow. His deerhound, Angus, flopped its long tail against the flagstones.
“If ye need me, just send word. We’ll come fetch ye, mo chridhe,” Calum whispered gruffly in her ear.
She nodded against his wide chest, still muscled from years of hard work. The chest she’d slept on and cried on. A man who’d been both father and grandfather, who’d always made her feel safe and clever and loved. Breathing in the remnants of his last tobacco pipe, she willed herself not to cry until she was out of sight. It would start the whole group bawling and flood the entire glen.
“Give my sister and nephew a hug from me,” said her mother. “And two for poor Lissie. Tell her I canna wait to see her again.”
With both feet on the ground again, she peered up at the old tower with its rectangular keep. It loomed over the courtyard, casting them in shadow. Brigid had always considered the castle a grand, intimidating structure. Outside, the thick walls dominated the architecture with narrow slits for light on the lower floors and larger windows above. Memories of mock battles with her brothers came flooding back. Good memories. With more to come, she reminded herself.
With a final goodbye for everyone, and a special hug for Brownie, she climbed into the carriage. Oh, how she’d prefer to ride her pony astride instead of trapped inside this velvet-and-leather cage.
As they rumbled down the hill, Brigid squeezed her eyes shut. The mournful howl of a deerhound followed; her heart cracked. She opened the shutter and popped her head out the window. Brownie chased after the coach; her pitiful keening finally let loose the flood of emotion Brigid had held back.
“Fuirich!” she shouted at the hound. The bundle of gray fur came to a sliding halt and whined. I canna do this. I canna leave her behind, her mind screamed as tears soaked her cheeks. Just as Brigid opened her mouth to call the dog forward, Liam came barreling after them.
“Brownie, I’m ye’re master now.” The lad skidded to a stop and put his arms around the deerhound’s neck, burying his face in her wiry coat. “We’ve got to take care of each other until she comes back home.” He stood and pulled on the loose fur around the hound’s shoulders. Brownie rose and followed the boy, heads bent as they climbed back up the steep lane.
Brigid waved one last time and sank into the soft squabs. She swiped at her wet cheeks as the outline of her family became fainter and fainter.
Saints and sinners, get hold of yerself.
If Brownie and Liam could be brave, she had to follow suit. She reached into the pocket of her cloak, and her fingers wrapped around the worry stone. Her grandmother’s words were still fresh in her mind as her thumb moved in a circle over the smooth surface.
Think of this as an adventure. Observe, learn, and grow from it.
If there was one thing the MacNaughtons were known for, it was their love of a good adventure. Or brawl, if her brothers were involved. She thought of Kirsty, who poured over old fashion magazines and would love to be in Brigid’s place. Natural optimism took hold, a grin curving her lips.
“Weel, London, here I come. I hope ye’re ready for me.”
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What’s your favorite thing about the fall season:
I love the changing of the seasons. Our favorite time to take the horses on the trail is September and October. And did I mention pumpkins? And Halloween?
What inspired you to write this story:
This series was inspired by my grandfather’s clan, the MacNaughtons. The setting of the story is the actual area where the clan originated.
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