Title: A Merry MacNaughton Mishap
Author: Aubrey Wynne
Genre: Highland Romance
Two feuding clans, one accidental encounter, a wee bit of holiday enchantment…
Peigi Craigg has tended to her family without complaint since her mother’s death. But now they ask too much. The English landlord has offered her uncle, the Craigg chieftain, an escape from debt and starvation. The price: Peigi must become the earl’s mistress. If she refuses, the remainder of their clan must leave the Highlands. If she agrees, her hope of a husband and family of her own are lost. Calum MacNaughton rescues a man from an icy drowning, only to find he’s a member of the rival Craigg clan. The man swears to repay Calum for saving his life and broaches the possibility of peace between the clans. Months later, the Craigg reappears with his most precious possession, hoping to settle his debt before the new year. Now Calum has until Twelfth Night to convince her to stay. Read free in Kindle Unlimited! A MacNaughton Castle Romance Novella - A Merry MacNaughton Mishap Book 1 – Deception and Desire Book 2 - An Allusive Love Book 3 - A Bonny Pretender (Note: This story was first published as part of the Bestselling Boxed set Stars are Brightly Shining, November 2019
“Have ye completely lost yer wits, or do ye think I’m ready for Bedlam myself?” Peigi stood with her hands on her hips, challenging the men in front her. “I willna be yer sacrificial lamb.”
Her uncle and father exchanged looks, one of anger and the other regret. Oh, she knew the next chapters to this book. First cajoling, wheedling, attempt at guilt, and then the anger and commands. With a deep breath, she crossed her arms and stood firm.
Uncle Archibald, the clan’s new chieftain, stepped forward with his arms open and a placating smile on his face. “Now, Peigi, my sweet lass, just hear us out.”
“I heard ye just fine. The earl is willing to hire the lot of ye on—if I agree to be his mistress.”
“Nay, he agreed to a handfasting,” he added. “It would all be fine and proper.”
“But no’ legal. Our bairns would be considered bastards in England and unable to inherit.” She turned to her father, heat rising in her face as she clenched her fists. “And ye agreed to this?”
Malachi shook his head. “Och, no, Daughter. No’ unless ye were willing. But the mince pies ye baked softened him to our cause, and we are desperate…”
Lord Fulton, the English earl who owned most of the surrounding property, had wanted the Craiggs to oversee his estate. Since he didn’t wish to spend much time at his newly inherited property, Fulton preferred to employ the chieftain as steward. But Archibald Craigg had eliminated that possibility after his first tirade directed at the younger nobleman. It seemed the son didn’t like being compared to his father. Her uncle had tried unsuccessfully to placate both men. But Fulton’s pride had been hurt, and the older Craigg would not see reason. Instead, the earl had employed the MacNaughtons and had no desire to cancel the arrangement just because the elder Craigg was dead.
“It was more than the pies, lass. He thinks ye’re quite bonnie and—”
“Do ye hear yerself, Uncle? My poor mother is scratching yer name on her list.” She looked up at her mother’s portrait that so resembled her. The auburn-haired beauty looked down on them with smiling green eyes. “Ma, do ye hear what they want yer only daughter to do?”
“Ye wouldna be the first lass to have an arranged marriage for the sake of the clan. And if ye were a Sassenach, there would be no argument when yer father told ye what to do.” Uncle Enoch’s wide chin stuck out from his broad, ruddy face. He’d always thought her father had indulged her. Archibald then said, “As the chieftain of this clan, I demand ye marry the man.”
“This is no’ an arranged marriage. Ye’re asking me to be a whore, and I willna do it.” She stomped her foot, catching her heel on a stray thread from the worn and faded rug. She kicked it off, frustrated. “Now, I have work to do in the kitchen.”
With that, she picked up her skirts and stomped from the room. At twenty, she was well aware it was time to find a husband. But by the saints, she would be a wife not a kept woman.
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What I love most about the holiday season:
The music and the attitude of people. Everyone seems to be happier. And of course I have to read at least one new Christmas story.
Why is your featured book a must-read to get you in the holiday mood?
Anyone who enjoys Highland tales and culture will enjoy this seasonal tale. The Scots didn’t celebrate Christmas for hundreds of years. Hogmanay is their day to let loose (New Year’s). I loved including many of that holiday’s traditions in the story.
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Bestselling and award-winning author Aubrey Wynne is an elementary teacher by trade, champion of children and animals by conscience, and author by night. She resides in the Midwest with her husband, dogs, horses, mule, and barn cats. Obsessions include wine, history, travel, trail riding, and all things Christmas. Her Regency romances and A Chicago Christmas series have received numerous awards and thrice nominated as a Rone finalist by InD’tale Magazine.
Aubrey’s first love is medieval romance but after dipping her toe in the Regency period in 2018 with the Wicked Earls’ Club, she was smitten. This inspired her spin-off series Once Upon a Widow. In 2020, she will launch the Scottish Regency series A MacNaughton Castle Romance with Dragonblade Novels.
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