She made him wild.
Surely it was simply because he’d gone so long without female company. Madeline wasn’t even his usual sort. Given his choice, he would have said he favored a bonny Scots lass with fiery hair and a knowing gleam in her eye. Not a shy, proper English gentlewoman just learning the taste of her first kiss.
But beneath the shyness and reserve, she possessed a natural, earthy sensuality. He couldn’t help but think of what that might mean in bed—when all the rules and corsets were shed, and the dark freed her from propriety.
Damn. He was wondering about her again.
He was weary of that, the wondering. He’d been wondering about this woman for far too long. Day after bloody day, and night after freezing night. For years. It had driven him mad.
He needed to see her. Search her. Taste her. Everywhere. Hear the little noises she made in pleasure. Just once. Then the wondering would be replaced with knowledge, and he wouldn’t be haunted by her anymore.
He lifted her down from the rock and set her on her feet.
“Captain MacKenzie,” she said dreamily, “I wi—”
“Logan,” he corrected. “I believe it’s better to call me Logan now.”
“Yes. I suppose it is. Logan.”
“What was it you meant to say?”
She shook her head. “I’ve no idea.”
He’d take that as a good sign.
“I’d best go clean myself up and gather the men,” he said. “You can start preparing for the ceremony.”
“I suppose a week ought to be sufficient time,” she said. “Though I’d rather have two.”
He shook his head. “I’m not waiting a week.”
“A few days, then. At least give me that much. I . . . I’ve nothing suitable to wear.”
“I dinna care about the color of your frock, lass. I’m only going to take it off you again.”
She blinked. “Oh.”
Logan knew he had to make this happen soon. If he gave her time to think about it, she might decide she wouldn’t go through with it at all.
He cast a glance at the sun, fast sinking toward the green horizon. “You have three hours. We’re marrying tonight.”
Maddie had always been different from other girls, and she had always known it. For example, she was certain she was the only bride to ever write the following to-do list on her wedding day:
Three hours later, she was bathed, coiffed, and dressed—and sadly for both her and Rex, there was still no sign of Fluffy molting.
Now she stood in the gallery, overlooking the scene that was to be her Highland wedding.
It was a stark tableau. There weren’t any special decorations. Too early in the year for flowers, no ribbons on hand, and there hadn’t been time for anything else.
Outside, a spring thunderstorm had broken. Wind and rain howled, lashing the castle walls. In the high hall, candles blazed in every available holder. The flames danced and flickered, looking as anxious as she felt.
Servants lined one side of the hall. Captain MacKenzie’s men lined the other. Both groups were waiting on her.
And she wanted nothing more than to stay exactly where she was, forever. Or go hide with Fluffy under the rocks.
She jumped, startled. Logan had joined her in the gallery, sneaking up on her with his catlike steps.
Sneaking up on her with his gorgeousness, too.
He, too, had bathed. And shaved. Most of his brown hair had been tamed with a comb, but a few incorrigible locks fell over his brow in rakish fashion. Someone had brushed out his redcoat and polished the buttons. The gold braid and brass gleamed in the candlelight.
He’d been ruggedly attractive earlier today. Now he was magnificent.
Maddie felt unequal to him. Becky had done her best with the hair, but Maddie had no choice but to wear one of her usual dark-gray frocks. She hadn’t had anything else made in years. What would be the point? She never went anywhere, never entertained.
She certainly hadn’t been prepared for a wedding.
“I don’t feel ready for this,” she said.
He swept her with a quick, perfunctory gaze. “You look ready enough.”
Hardly what a bride dreamed of hearing on her wedding day. Not You look beautiful. Not You look lovely.
You look ready enough.
She glanced down at the half dozen soldiers lining the hall. “What do your men think is happening here tonight?”
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