NEWLY MINTED LAIRD SEEKS WIFE, PREFERABLY RICH
Laird Diocail Gordon has just inherited his uncle’s run down castle and rag-tag clan. He knows the sorry sight of the castle would send any woman running, but is determined to find a wife to help return his home to its former glory.
Widowed lady Jane Stanley is determined to return to England, even if she has to tromp through the Scottish Highlands on foot to get there. Her travels lead her straight into the midst of a troop of dangerous Highland warriors. The mysterious, brawny laird forbids his men to harm her, and the spark between them is immediate. The only way Diocail can keep her safe is to take her home with him, but will the miserable state of his clan douse her newly ignited Highland flame?
They both fell silent again as they consumed more of the food and faced a topic neither of them had any experience with. Not many a man did. It was why men wed, and women too, because together a man and woman might combine their knowledge to make a successful home. He’d been taught the logistics of defense and negotiation needed to foster relationships with other lairds.
But how much fare to put on the tables?
He had no idea or even how to go about making sure there were ample hands to prepare the food. Diocail felt his brain throbbing as he contemplated all the things needed to run a kitchen, and those were only what he knew about. What truly nauseated him was that he knew damned well how lacking his knowledge was. He knew how many men to ride out with, how many horses, and his education continued on to include how many blacksmiths it took to make sure those horses were shoed, how many stable lads it took to make certain those animals were fit to ride, how much feed and what sort was needed to maintain a horse’s strength.
A hundred details, and a kitchen was no different. No wise man made the mistake of thinking it an easy thing to keep running smoothly. Their current circumstances were proof of that surely enough.
“Ye need a wife, one raised with the education to see this place set right. No’ that any decent girl would have this house as it is,” Muir added. “Try to contract one, and she’ll run home to her father the moment she sees the condition this castle is in. But ye need one. A wife, that is.”
“I hoped to have a bit of time before getting down to that part of being laird,” Diocail groused.
“Best set yer secretary to sorting through the offers in Colum’s study.” Muir didn’t offer him any respite.
“Do nae hold out any hope,” Diocail replied. “There is a decade of letters sitting there. Any offers are long past their time of opportunity.”
His new lairdship was proving to be far more challenging than he’d ever thought it might be. Somehow, in all the times his mother had spoken to him of the day he’d take over the Gordon clan as laird, she had never mentioned just how complicated the duty was. There was building to consider, horses, men, training—and the list went on. All things he’d been taught as a man.
Now there was the kitchen, and God only knew what else went along with running one
Well, not God.
He let out a grunt. Here was something he knew less about than the Lord above.
And, more precisely, a lady and the duties she would have been trained to do.
There were reasons a laird wed a woman from a highborn family, and one was that she would come with an education as diverse as any given to a laird’s son. Running a kitchen was more than turning bread; it was knowing how much bread to set out to rise in the morning so that the supper table was full and how much grain was needed to make it through the winter and how many hands were needed to produce it all. His head began to ache. He didn’t know what went into bread, much less how much was needed to see an entire castle through a day, but as laird, his duty was to make certain the tables were laid with fare.
Nor did he know anything at all about helping a lady settle into the place he hoped she’d make into a home.
Muir was correct; she would run back to her father before sunup.
Diocail took another swig of the whisky, wishing it would dull his senses.
But all it did was warm him enough to make him conscious of the draft coming through the holes in the roof. He tipped his head back and discovered stars peeking at him where tiles were missing, likely from the winter storms. Colum was a bastard for leaving his people to such circumstances.
Laird of the Gordons. Diocail’s mother’s dream.
And his nightmare, it would seem.
About the Author
Acclaimed author Mary Wine has written over 30 works of Scottish Highland romance, romantic suspense and erotic romance. An avid history-buff and historical costumer, she and her family enjoy participating in historical reenactments. Mary lives in Yorba Linda, California with her husband and two sons.