The main characters
of HIS WICKED PROMISE,
Egan and Glenda, first appear
WICKED WAYS. Egan is
the best friend of Cameron from
WAYS, and Glenda is the widow
of Cameron's brother.
I really hadn't
planned on writing a spin-off
WICKED WAYS, but both
Egan and Glenda were such tortured
characters that I just couldn't
leave them dangling. I just HAD
to give them a happy ending.
I'd actually finished writing HIS
WICKED WAYS and proposed
the idea of a spin-off to my
editor, who liked the idea. I
had to go back and do some fine-tuning
to set up Egan and Glenda's story.
WICKED PROMISE is Book
#2 in a mini-series. First
in the series is HIS
WICKED WAYS. It's my
third book set in Scotland.
weeks NYT extended bestseller
weeks on the USA Today list
black brows arose. "Is there something
you would like to discuss with
"Aye, there is." His
invitation was just what she needed,
yet somehow the words she sought
"Then do not
be reticent. We've known each other
for years now. There should be
no secrets between us."
"And indeed 'twould
seem there are none." At last she
drew upon some wellspring of courage
inside her. "I must know, Egan.
That morning at the loch. You--you
saw me, didn't you?"
"The loch? I
know not what you mean." He chose
to deliberately misunderstand.
Even as he regarded her with a
decided gleam in his eyes, she
fixed him with a glare.
"I think you
do. You saw me" --she floundered-- "you
saw me . . . "
"Oh, God." She
looked away. The breath she drew
was deep and ragged. "You did,
Her dismay made
the veriest smile curl his lips. "What
if I did? Is that so terrible?"
Her eyes swung
back to him. "You said you did
"Nay." His tone
was smooth. "I told you I had only
just arrived." His eyes snared
hers. "Would that I could see you
so again," he said softly.
Glenda felt her
face grow hot. "Do not say such
"Because it is
"Why is it wrong?" His
smile vanished. "You are free," he
pointed out. "So am I."
"I am not free.
I am . . . " She stopped short.
"A widow," he
finished for her. "You are no longer
"Oh, but I am.
I am wed in my heart as surely
as the day I left here a bride.
And that is all that matters." If
she was deliberately cruel, she
couldn't help it. Whatever it was
that was happening between them,
it must end!
Only now it was
his turn to be deliberately cruel. "Is
it? I find I am curious, Glenda.
You and Niall were wed for many
years, and now that he is gone,
surely the nights are endless.
Do you not feel very alone?"
What was this? How could he know
the heartache she felt without
Niall? The way the nights stretched
long and lonely and empty--especially
those nights since Daniel's wedding.
For the space of a heartbeat, it
was as if he delved deep inside
her mind, her very heart.
She drew herself
up to her full height. "What would
you know of it? You are not married."
"Nay, I am not.
But that does not mean I will never
wed. That does not mean I don't
harbor the same desires as other
chin came up. "Aye, I know about
men's desire," she said stiffly. "I
know about your desires.
Indeed, we have known each
other for many years. And in those
years, you've hardly led a celibate
life, have you?" She tapped a finger
against her lips and pretended
to consider. "Ah, I have it! I
believe Anna was the first I knew
of. Then there was Mary, and Louise--she
was madly in love with you, you
know. Ah, and the most recent .
. . Patsy. You were with her the
night of Daniel's wedding, were
came together hard. He stared at
her, wondering how the devil he
was supposed to respond. He disliked
knowing that she was aware he'd
been with other women. God's teeth,
but it made no sense that he should
feel guilty! He owed her no loyalty.
He owed her nothing, for she had
been another man's wife.
Nay, he'd not
been celibate. But if he had not,
it was because he'd had to find
a way to somehow forget about her--if
only for a time! But he couldn't
tell her that! Instead he said
only, "I am not a monk, nor did
I ever pretend to be."
The sound she
made low in her throat made it
abundantly clear she quite agreed.
With a swirl of her skirts, she
whirled and started toward the
Egan was already
there, planted squarely before
her. "Do not be so hasty, lass.
It occurs to me perhaps we should
from him to the door. "What are
you doing, Egan?"
"Ah, I think
you know very well what I'm doing." Softly,
deliberately, he said, "There is
much between us. Perhaps we should
tend to it here and now."
deep in her breast. "There
is nothing between us." Her gaze
flitted away. Her voice sounded
nothing at all like her own. She
had to force the words past the
dryness in her throat. "I feel
nothing for you, Egan, save what
I have ever felt these many years."
"And what is
that? I confess, I'm eager to hear."
took her by surprise. From somewhere
she summoned the courage to meet
his gaze anew. "I--I admired you," she
stated without thinking.
His eyes began
to gleam. "Ah. So you admired me."
Oh, how dare
he appear so pleased! "Not in that
"In what way
then?" He remained undaunted.
Not so with Glenda. "You--you
are a man of honor. A man of pride
and respect, of strength and valor.
I-I admired that," she said breathlessly. "Indeed,
I still do."
"And that is
Her pulse skidded.
In truth, she'd revealed far more
than she'd meant to. "Aye," she
said unsteadily, somehow managing
to sound more desperate than forceful. "What
more did you expect?"
He did not answer,
not directly. "This journey," he
said softly. "The two of us alone" --he
shook his head-- "'tis not the
same as before, Glenda."
There was that
in his tone which made her heart
begin to hammer . . . that . .
. and the way he looked at her.
"I know not what
you mean." Her mouth was so dry
she could barely speak.
I think you do. I know you fight
it, lass. Indeed, I have fought
Damn him, she
thought. Damn him! He was so sure
of himself, while she felt scattered
to the winds of a storm. Nor could
she meet his eyes. The air was
suddenly close and heated and intense. He was
so intense. Her gaze slipped to
his mouth . . . ah, dangerous territory,
that! Her regard finally settled
on the bronzed column of his throat.
"You are wrong,
Egan. There is nothing between
us." She despised herself, for
now her denial was even weaker
He stepped close,
so close her breasts brushed the
front of his tunic. "Of a sudden
you are reluctant to look me in
the eye," he observed. "Indeed,
if that is true, then look me in
the eye and tell me so."
Egan saw the
way she swallowed, sensed her struggle
as she finally lifted her gaze.
And as their eyes tangled, he saw
the leap of fear, heard the labor
of her breath, felt the rise and
fall of her breasts . . . and knew
her anxious panic.
Dear God, was
he elated? Or as terrified as she
For Egan had
just discovered that she could
not tell him, would not
tell him . . . for it was not true.
He'd wondered if she felt what
he did, and now he knew. Oh, she
could talk of honor and respect
and admiration, but he was not
fooled. She'd not be so skittish
if there was nothing, as she claimed
It was too soon.
Deep in his soul, he knew it. But
if he could not have her lips,
he would at least have this. He
raised a hand, intending to trace
the delicate line of her mouth,
just for an instant.
Her lashes fell,
hiding from him what he craved
so desperately. She turned her
head away in the heartbeat before
he would have touched her.
"Do not, Egan.
I beg of you, do not."
Her voice was
so low he had to strain to catch
the words. Her plea hung between
them, like stale smoke in the air.
Egan's hand dropped
slowly to his side. He stared at
her, while she stared into the
shadows across the room. Time stretched
into eternity. Neither of them
It was Glenda
who broke the tense, ringing silence. "I'll
see that there is food ready when
you leave in the morn."
His jaw tensed. "I'll
not be leaving."
Her eyes flashed
to his. "I beg your pardon?"
"I'll not be
leaving in the morn," he reiterated
A moment's hesitation.
Though spite was not his way, a
part of him relished her uncertainty.
"What," she said
faintly. "The next day then?"
"Nay. Not then
or the day after, or even the day
rekindled her fire. "Explain yourself,
if you please."
Cameron charged me with your care--with
your protection--and I will see
"There is no
"There is every
need, since I was--"
"Aye, I know!
Charged with my care! But I now
discharge you of that obligation."
was to Cameron, not you, Glenda.
Even were it not so, I have an
obligation to myself to see that
you are safe."
"I am quite
safe, and I am hardly alone. I
have Bernard and Milburn, and Nessa
I am staying."
Her mouth opened
and closed. Egan was not about
to back down, and perhaps she knew
it. Still, it seemed she would
have the last word.
"One night, Egan.
You may stay this one night, and
that is all."
She swept past
him with nary a glance, the set
of her small shoulders stiff with
proud defiance. Egan waited until
the echo of her footsteps had faded,
then finally moved to close the
Did she truly
think he would leave her in this
place, such as it was? Why, the
very idea was laughable!
I have Bernard
and Milburn, and Nessa and Jeannine.
Egan shook his
head in amazement. Did she really
believe those four would insure
her safety? A woman who was half
crippled and another who was daft!
A man who was half-blind and deaf
and would not hear if an entire
army crashed through the gates--and
another who apparently was as fond
of bathing in his ale as drinking
And did she truly
think there was nothing between
He could not
help but shake his head in disbelief. We
shall see, sweet lady, he thought
to himself. We shall see.
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