Lady Evelyn’s Highland Protector by Tara Kingston
A Highlander’s vow…Scottish spy Gerard MacMasters never expected to be playing bodyguard in his mission to catch a killer. Stunning English beauty, Lady Evelyn Hunt, has witnessed a merciless assassin’s escape—now, she’s in danger, and it’s up to him to keep her alive. Yet, he is drawn to the tempting woman. Passion flares, but he knows better than to fall for her. He’s already lost one woman he loved—never again will he put his heart on the line.
She shields her heart…After a crushing betrayal at the altar, Lady Evelyn wants nothing to do with love. Kissing a gorgeous rogue is one thing, but surrendering her heart is another matter. When she stumbles upon a mysterious crime, nothing prepares her for the dashing Scot who charges into her life. The hot-blooded Highlander may be her hero—or her undoing.
About the Author:
Award-winning author Tara Kingston writes historical romance laced with intrigue, danger, and adventures of the heart. A Southern-belle-out-of-water in a quaint Pennsylvania town, she lives her own happily-ever-after in a cozy Victorian with her real-life hero and a pair of deceptively innocent-looking kitties. The mother of two sons, Tara’s a former librarian who first discovered her love of the romance genre when she sneaked more than a peek at her mother’s old-school romance paperbacks. When she’s not writing, reading, or burning dinner, Tara enjoys movie nights, traveling, cycling, hiking, DIY projects, quality time with her family, and cheering on her favorite football team.
Truth be told, Lady Evelyn Hunt rather enjoyed being a fallen woman. While others might well wring their hands over such a dizzying tumble from grace, she’d discovered an unexpected benefit of scandal—the invisible scarlet letter she wore was the key to her independence. After all, with no good name to protect, she had nothing to lose.
As her traveling companions gushed over the wares in a milliner’s cramped and cluttered shop, she debated whether to put that freedom to good use and make her escape. She’d endured the noisy, pungent train ride from London to the Highlands with nary a whisper of complaint. After all, it wasn’t every day one embarks on a journey to stand as a bridesmaid while her dearest friend weds a dashing Scotsman. She would not have missed Sally’s wedding, not for all the quiet chambers in the world. But now, as the walls closed in and her friends’ voices blurred, she eyed the door with a keen longing.
Fanning herself with one hand, she pulled in a gulp of air, deep as her corset allowed. Drat, she should’ve loosened the stays. A fashionable silhouette was desirable, but then again, so was the ability to inhale.
Her pulse hammered a defiant beat against her eardrums. What harm would there be in leaving this little shop, if only for a few minutes? It wasn’t as if she required a chaperone. With her reputation damaged well beyond repair, she was free to explore the city without benefit of an escort. On the other hand, her dignity would suffer a devastating blow if she collapsed in an incoherent heap on the milliner’s floor.
Edging past the hatmaker’s dour-faced assistant, Evelyn slipped out the door. Relief rushed in. Fresh calm filled her. Free of the crush and the relentless chatter, she could once again focus her thoughts. She could breathe.
A shadow fell over her.
Strong, warm hands settled over her shoulders.
A stranger towered over her. A handsome man, dark-haired and broad-shouldered.
“Unhand me, sir.”
His hands fell away. A hint of a smile danced on his full mouth. “Is the devil nippin’ at yer heels, lass?”
Good heavens. In her rush to take her leave of the shop, she’d nearly collided with the fellow, hadn’t she? So much for avoiding damage to her dignity.
She was tall, too long-limbed to fit the feminine ideal, but she had to cock her chin to meet his intent golden-brown eyes. “My apologies.”
“’Tis no harm done.” A lock of dark hair dipped over his forehead, and he shoved it away. “Do take care. The next man ye run into might take advantage of the opportunity to find a lovely lass in his arms.”
The man certainly had cheek, didn’t he? A reply sprang to her lips, hovering there unspoken as his hint of a smile gave way to a ridiculously appealing grin.