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Table of ContentsTitle Page

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Teaser chapter

Teaser chapter

Teaser chapter

Copyright Page

Chapter One

Tell me you did not tell that barbarian Scot that he could “court me.”

Jemma Ramsden was a beautiful woman, even when her lips were pinched into a frown. She glared at her brother, uncaring of the fact that most of the men in England wouldn’t have dared to use the same tone with Curan Ramsden, Lord Ryppon.

Jemma didn’t appreciate the way her brother held his silence. He was brooding, deciding just how much to tell her. She had seen such before, watched her brother hold command of the border property that was his by royal decree with his iron-strong personality. Knights waited on his words, and that made her impatient.

“Well, I will not have it.”

“Then what will you have, Sister?” Curan kept his voice controlled, which doubled her frustration with him. It was not right that he could find the topic so mild when it was something that meant so much to her.

But that was a man for you. They controlled the world and didn’t quibble over the fact that women often had to bend beneath their whims.

Curan watched her, his eyes narrowing. “Your temper is misplaced, Jemma.”

“I would expect you to think so. Men do not have to suffer having their futures decided without any concern for their wishes as women do.”

Her brother’s eyes narrowed. She drew in her breath because it was a truth that she was being shrewish. She was well past the age for marriage, and many would accuse her brother of being remiss in his duty if he did not arrange a match for her. Such was being said of her father for certain.

Curan pointed at the chair behind her. There was hard authority etched into his face. She could see that his temper was being tested. She sat down, not out of fear. No, something much worse than that. Jemma did as her brother indicated because she knew that she was behaving poorly.

Like a brat.

It was harsh yet true. Guilt rained down on her without mercy, bringing to mind how many times she had staged such arguments since her father died. It was a hard thing to recall now that he was gone.

Her brother watched her sit and maintained his silence for a long moment. That was Curan’s way. He was every inch a hardened knight. The barony he held had been earned in battle, not inherited. He was not a man who allowed emotion to rule him, and that made them night and day unto each other.

“Lord Barras went to a great deal of effort to ask me for permission to court you, Jemma.”

“Your bride ran into his hands. That is not effort; it is a stroke of luck.”

Her brother’s eyes glittered with his rising temper. She should leave well enough alone, but having always spoken her mind, it seemed very difficult to begin holding her tongue.

“Barras could have kept Bridget locked behind his walls if that was his objective. He came outside to meet me because of you.”