About the Book
Title: Highland Deception
Author: Lori Ann Bailey
Scotland, August 1642
Maggie and Lachlan must fight their growing attraction, battling suspicion and intrigue as religious and political turmoil threaten to tear their clans apart.
He has sworn he will never marry.
Lachlan Cameron is honor bound to see a wounded lass to safety, although he has well learned women are deceivers, and this lovely maid harbors a wealth of secrets. But Maggie's free spirit and charms enthrall him while he works to discover if she is innocent…or a spy scheming with his enemies to destroy his clan.
She has sworn she will never fall in love.
Maggie Murray fled her home to avoid a political marriage to an abusive man. Salvation comes when the Cameron laird, unaware of her identity, protects her as she escapes. His kindness slowly warms her, and she’s tempted to confess her real name. But his strong sense of honor would force him to return her to her father…and torment at the hands of her scorned betrothed.
Lori Ann Bailey has a romantic soul and believes the best in everyone. Sappy commercials and proud mommy moments make her cry. She sobs uncontrollably and feels emotionally drained when reading sad books, so she started reading romance for the Happily Ever Afters. She was hooked. Then, the characters and scenes that ran around in her head as she attempted to sleep at night begged to be let out. Looking back now, her favorite class in high school was the one where a professor pulled a desk to the center of the room and told her to write two paragraphs about it and the college English class taught by a red-headed Birkenstock wearing girl, not much older than she, who introduced her to Jack Kerouac. After working in business and years as a stay-at-home mom she has found something in addition to her family to be passionate about, her books. She lives in Northern Virginia with her real life hero, four kids that keep her on her toes, two dogs determined to destroy her house and two cats secretly plotting the demise of those dogs.
Maggie rose, pulled her skirts up, and waded into the water while Lachlan remained close on the beach, but she noticed he stayed watchful of their surroundings. The cool water was refreshing. She sighed then turned to take in the full view of him. “Would ye force a woman to do something she doesnae wish, if it got ye something ye wanted?”
Lachlan’s gaze returned to her. “Not unless it was for the good of the clan.”
An image of Conall flashed in her head, and she shuddered as dread washed over her. It was the answer all men in his position would give.
“But I would listen to her reasons,” he continued. “Sometimes women see things we dinnae.”
She breathed out. Even though her reservations about revealing her identity lingered, it was nice to know he was willing to listen. Would her reasons be sufficient to appeal to him as a man? She thought he might listen, because he didnae seem the type to force his sister into an abusive marriage. He’d let her go out on her own.
As squealing children ran by, cold droplets speckled Maggie’s legs, and she made a small shriek as the liquid sent chills through her. One of the boys heard her and turned then splashed her again. Suppressing a giggle, she reached down to cup a handful of water and toss it back. She dropped her skirt, and it fell into the water.
The lad laughed, and they continued back and forth. A stream of water hit her headpiece. She scooped up and aimed, but he ran just out of reach and took off to join the friends who were calling to him. Pulling the wet headpiece off, she ran her fingers through her hair, and when she looked back at Lachlan, he had a boyish sideways grin on his face. Well, it wasn’t that innocent. He suddenly looked as if he wanted to devour her.
Her chest tightened, and her core clenched. Something about the way he looked at her made her want to taste him, too, and she didn’t even know what that meant.
“Come here, lass.” His deep voice washed over her and sent waves of excitement coursing through her.
Swallowing, she sauntered toward him. His arms snaked around her waist and pulled her flush to his chest as his lips crashed down on hers, causing tingles to erupt on her skin and need to ignite in her core. The kiss was warm and slow, strong and possessive. She melted into it.
When his tongue delved into her mouth, she returned the caress and rose up on her toes to get closer and her arms gripped onto his hips. Being in his arms held a strange appeal she wanted to spend more time exploring, learning why her body turned into a wobbly mess when any part of her brushed up against him.
Water spattered her cheek, and the kiss broke. The boy and his friends laughed, and she looked at Lachlan.
He had not been spared, either. Drops of liquid streamed down the side of his face. He looked dazed. She would have expected him to be annoyed with the boys, but he continued to study her as if she were the only person in Scotland. Fighting back the blush this time, she licked her lips. She wouldn’t be ashamed of wanting him.
“Ye know I want ye, lass.”
“Aye.” She wanted him, too.
His hand rose and caressed her cheek. It trailed down until one finger was left tracing her lips. She gasped. She started to quiver with anticipation, then he backed away. “Tonight,” he said.