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A Kiss in Spring (Kiss the Wallflower, Book 3) (Ebook)

A Kiss in Spring (Kiss the Wallflower, Book 3) (Ebook)

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A broken carriage wheel at the base of the Scottish highlands is the last thing Sophie Grant needs on her trip to Scotland. Determined to make the most of her stay in the quaint village of Moy, she discovers some delightful attractions, including the Laird Mackintosh, who lives nearby.

Upon an invitation to the Laird's home, Sophie is thrust into a world of decadence, privilege, and wealth–everything she never had. Laird Mackintosh is tempting and beguiling with his scandalously hot kisses. However, Sophie knows he's hiding something–something that could change everything.

Brice Mackintosh is torn between his family’s expectations, and his newfound feelings for Sophie. What started out as a game, a distraction before he fills his obligations is turning into more. But when the truth surfaces, Brice worries that he may lose the only woman he's ever loved.

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Highlands Scotland 1805

Sophie Grant dozed halfway between asleep and awake as the carriage continued on north, heading toward a small fishing village near the Isle of Skye. She’d never been to Scotland before and after this arduous journey, she doubted she’d ever go again.
How far away could this little seaside village be? Even so, they’d been traveling for what felt like months, but was in fact only weeks. Granted, they had stopped most nights, and during some breaks, had extended the journey to take in the local attractions or simply to rest both themselves, their driver and the horses.
She settled back into the squabs, luxuriating in the plush velvet seats and highly polished equipage. At least her little sojourn was more comfortable than taking the post. Her new brother-in-law, the Marquess Graham had insisted she use one of his carriages and had sent both a coachman and manservant to ensure her and her maid’s safety.
So far they had very little to complain about, except the never-ending road or that the farther north they traveled the colder it seemed to get.
Sophie had thought spring in Scotland would be warmer than this, but apparently not.
A loud crack sounded and the carriage lurched frighteningly to one side. Sophie slipped off the seat and landed with a thump on the floor, her maid, sleeping on the opposite seat came crashing down on top of her and supplying Sophie with an elbow to the temple.
Distantly she could hear the coachman and manservant talking outdoors before the door swung open and the driver was there, taking in their disheveled appearance.
“Are you hurt, Miss Sophie, Miss May?” he asked, reaching in to help her maid climb off Sophie and regain her footing.
Sophie untangled herself from her dress and managed to slide toward the door and then step out onto the uneven, pothole-filled dirt road.
“Well, I think we can at least say why our wheel has broken in two.” Sophie glanced at the sad wooden wheel lying beside the carriage, several spikes missing completely, possibly on the road behind them before the wheel collapsed under the carriage’s weight.
“We’re not far from the town Moy. I can leave you here with Thomas and go and fetch a new vehicle or we can all walk to town and I’ll return later to pick up Thomas and collect your belongings.”
“We’ll walk with you, Peter. If you’re happy to wait here with the carriage, Thomas?” Sophie asked, not wanting him to stay here alone if he did not feel comfortable.
“I’m armed, Miss Sophie. I’ll wait here until Peter returns. Town is not so far away, I can see smoke from some chimneys already.”
Sophie looked north up the road and true enough, there were little swirls of smoke floating up in the air behind a small rise in the road. “Oh, we’re not far at all.” She reached into the carriage and looked for her reticule. Finding it on the floor, she picked it up and turned back to their little group. “Shall we?”
The walk into the village took no longer than half an hour and soon enough they were walking past the few cottages the village sported. A small sign pronounced the town to be Moy. A few of the locals came out to stare and some welcomed them with a friendly smile or wave.
“Do you think there is an inn in town, Miss Sophie? That carriage wheel will take some days to repair,” her maid, Gretel asked, looking about the town with a less-than-pleased visage.
Sophie took account of the sleepy village, fear that there would be no inn washed over her. “I hope so. We need to secure rooms for some days and wait out the repairs. We’re in no rush after all, and the carriage being Lord Graham’s, I’d prefer to wait for it to be fixed than leave it here. But there doesn’t seem to be a lot of people living here.”
“I’m sure all will work out, Miss Sophie. Do not worry,” Peter said, throwing her an easy smile.
They came to a crossroad and thankfully spied what looked like the local inn. It was made of stone and a thatch roof. A carriage sat parked to the side, and a young stable lad placed luggage at its back.
Sophie hoped that it was a place travelers could stay, or they would need to leave Marquess Graham’s carriage here and travel on without it. If there was a carriage they could procure, in any case.
Peter led the way into the taproom, which had some men seated at the bar drinking ale. A barman with a long, graying beard came up to them and leaned upon the counter. “What can I help ye with?” he asked, taking each of them in before turning back to Peter.
“We’re after two rooms if you have them available. Our carriage has broken a wheel outside of town and I’ll need a cart to collect our luggage, if you please.”
The barman rubbed his bearded jaw. “Ach, we can help ye with that to be sure, but I only have one room left, we’re not officially an inn, but we can help ye out since our guests overnight are leaving as we speak. If you’re willing, sir, I can put you up in the stables on a cot.”
Peter nodded. “That will be fine. We’ll need two cots as I have left a manservant with the carriage.”
The barman stood, and Sophie found herself looking up at the towering gentleman. He was as tall as he was wide, his fiery-red hair and stature perfect for the position he held. “No trouble, sir, that can be arranged.” He bellowed out for a woman named Bridget and within a minute a young woman bustled into the room, her hair askew and her apron covered in cooking stains. She smiled at each of them and Sophie smiled back.
“Show these ladies upstairs and have Alfie set up two cots in the stable. We’ll also be needing the cart hitched.”
“Of course, Father,” she said, opening a small door in the bar and coming out to them. “If ye will follow me, my ladies. I’ll show ye to your room.”
“We’ll be in the stable, Miss Sophie. I’ll have Thomas bring in your luggage when we return with it.”
“Thank you, Peter.” Sophie followed the young woman up a narrow flight of stairs, stepping to the side when another young woman carrying a bucket and dressed in similar clothing to Bridget passed them on their way down.
They made their way along a passageway before coming to a room at the very end. The young woman unlocked the door with a key and swung it wide open.
“Here is ye room, my ladies. I’ll have hot water and linens brought up straightaway. There is a private parlor downstairs if ye do not wish to eat in your lodgings, but ye do have a small table and two chairs if ye wish to.”
Sophie walked into the room, taking in the double bed that looked clean and inviting. The curtains were new and there were flowers on a small table. A fire burned in the grate and the room was warm and welcoming.
“This is lovely,” she said, stripping off her shawl and throwing it on the bed along with her reticule. “For an inn that doesn’t trade in accommodation, it is very well-kept and presentable.”
The young woman blushed at the compliment and her chin rose slightly with pride. “Aye, we’re very lucky. The inn is owned by our local laird Brice Mackintosh but run by my father. His sister is responsible for the recent refurbishment of this room. ’Tis the only one we have since the building is so small. The few patrons we get here always appreciate a clean bed and good meal.”
“That they do,” Gretel said, sliding back the curtain to look outside. “May we order an early dinner? We’ve been traveling all day and I have to admit to being quite famished.”
“Of course,” the young woman said. “We’re serving roast chicken and beef stew this evening, which do you prefer?”
At the mention of food Sophie’s stomach rumbled. “I’ll have the stew please, and a pot of tea if possible.”
“I’ll have the same, thank you,” Gretel said, pulling off her shawl and laying it on a chair by the fire.
The young woman bobbed a quick curtsy and started for the door. “I’ll be back shortly, my lady.”
“You may call me Miss Grant.”
“Aye, of course. I shall return, Miss Grant.” The door closed behind the young woman and Sophie stripped off her gloves, placing them on the mantel as she warmed herself before the fire.
“What a lovely inn and so accommodating. Certainly a much more pleasant place than some of the English ones we’ve stayed in.”
Gretel nodded, coming to sit at the small table. She pulled off her gloves before yawning. “I’m dreadfully tired. A nice meal will be just what we need, along with a good night’s rest.”
The warmth from the fire slowly penetrated Sophie’s bones and she shut her eyes, reveling in being warm and out of the jarring carriage. “I think we’ll be here for several days. Perhaps there is a carriage-maker in the town who can repair the wheel, but I’m doubtful. I should say it will have to be brought up with the post from London.”
“But that could take weeks,” Gretel said, her eyes wide with alarm. “Although the lodgings are very comfortable, whatever will we do for all that time? Is there anything about to look at? I think I could count on one hand how many cottages were here.”
Sophie walked to the window and stared out at the street, spotting a blacksmith and a small shop of some kind, but from where she stood she couldn’t make it out.
“We’ll ask tomorrow what there is to see and do here. I’m sure we can pass the time well enough, and anyway, we’ve been on the road for so long, a little break from travel will do us good.”
Gretel nodded. “I’m sure you’re right.”
A light knock sounded on the door before it opened and Bridget entered, carrying a tray of tea and biscuits, along with a small bowl of cream and jam. She placed it down on the table. “The tea has just been poured, so perhaps let it sit for a little while before taking a cup.”
“Thank you, it looks delicious.”
“I’ll bring dinner up in about ten minutes. Cook is just finishing it up now.”
Sophie smiled at her, seating herself at the table. “Thank you, that is very good of you.”
“You’re welcome, Miss Grant.”
When they were alone once again, Gretel went about putting cream and jam onto the biscuits along with preparing the tea for them to drink. They sat in silence for a time as they ate and enjoyed the refreshing drink, both lost in their thoughts.
“The young woman said that the inn is owned by the local laird and his sister. Perhaps we can visit with them. I’ve never met a Scottish laird before. He may live in a castle,” Sophie teased. “I know how much you enjoy old houses.”
Gretel nodded as she took a rather large bite of her biscuit. “I’ve always thought that Scottish lairds lived in castles, so I would expect nothing else,” she mumbled.
Sophie chuckled. “I think I understood what you said, but really, Gretel, maybe smaller bites in the future.”
Gretel smiled, her eyes bright with laughter. “Of course,” she mumbled yet again.
Sophie poured herself another cup of tea. Being stuck in this sleepy but quaint town would surely be diverting enough to while away their time until the carriage was repaired. The landscape alone was beautiful, the forest and surrounding rugged hills drew the eye and beckoned one to explore. Maybe if they hired a local guide, they could picnic at a location the locals enjoyed.
Yes, they could have ended up stranded in much worse locations than Moy and they would make the best of their time while they were here.

Main Tropes

  • Stranded Heroine
  • Hot Highlander
  • Regency Romance
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