“I’ll take everything,” she said and nuzzled his ear. “Every last inch.”

A hand on his arm kept him from sweeping her up in his arms and running back to Wintersea. “May I have this dance, Your Grace?”

Liam turned to find one of the village shopkeepers standing beside him. “As long as my duchess doesn’t mind.”

“I would never mind you dancing with Mrs. MacDuncan, but you,” Bella placed a possessive palm on Liam’s chest and gave the woman a quasi-stern look, “you better return him to me before the end of the night, young lady.”

The elderly Mrs. MacDuncan giggled. “No worries, Your Grace. I only had an eye for the grandfather. Can’t feel up the lad I’ve seen in nappies.”

Bella snorted. “Have fun, you two.”

Liam raised a brow. “Oh, we will.”

To his shock, Mrs. MacDuncan patted his arse, and then gave it a little squeeze. “Fine man you’ve grown to be.”

He glanced over his shoulder at Bella. Her eyes were wide as she covered her mouth with one hand. “Just you wait,” he mouthed to her.

The minx blew him a kiss in response.

Yeah, life with Bella would be amazing.

Chapter Seventeen

“Do you mind if we take the train today?” Liam asked while they ate breakfast in bed. He’d served her, of course. Had even gone down to the kitchen and prepared the meal himself. Which meant it had tasted like shite and he had to get Mrs. Pottelsman to sort it all out.

“Are you taking me somewhere far away?” she asked, excitement lighting up her face.

“To a local festival,” he said, purposefully vague. “Don’t Google it. I want you to be surprised.”

She managed to wrap her arms around his neck, without jostling the tray in her lap too much. “I love surprises.”

“Do you now?” He loved the feel of her breasts pressed against him. The soft curves that made him to want to nibble every sweet inch.

“I love your accent, too.”

“Why is that?” He had to know.

She blushed. “Because it gets thicker when you’re turned on.”

“Aye. It gets longer as well.” He winked.

She giggled, rolling her eyes playfully. “That’s not what I meant.”

“Then I’m guessing you’d nae be interested in a quick tumble, Duchess. A shame, since ye look mighty tempting this fine mornin’.”

Her blush grew rosier. He’d never seen a woman get that red, or flustered, as she sighed and looked everywhere but at him.

“I’d very interested,” she said, finally gazing at him.

He could see his image in her golden eyes. His hair was mussed and his jaw was covered with dark stubble, but that was to be expected. What wasn’t expected was the expression on his face. The sublime mixture of desire, playfulness, and emotion that might have resembled love, if he still believed it in.

Then she tilted up her chin, and kissed him. He closed his eyes, kissed her back, and forgot about everything—including the tray as it went crashing to the floor—but how she physically made him feel.


The train pulled into a station brightly decorated with flowers, flags, and plaid material. Swarms of people milled around, talking and buying things from vendors who had carts set up near the platform. They looked happy, excited, and proud.

Bella’s eyes couldn’t help but widen at all of it.

She turned excitedly to Liam as he returned from the bathroom and entered their private room, practically bouncing in her seat. “Is this festival for the whole town?” she asked, and then her jaw dropped.

Liam wore a purple, green, blue, and red kilt, with a wide belt, a pouch made of fur and leather in the middle, and a white, button-down shirt. His boots were polished, and his socks matched the material of the tartan.

“You’re wearing a kilt,” she said, stating the very obvious.

“I’m wearing the Chief’s tartan. I’m the head of my clan.” He tilted his head at a cocky angle. “Most of the men attending today will be wearing something like this.”

“So, you’re finally wearing a kilt for me,” she said with a little clap.


She wondered if he wore anything underneath it at all.

He leaned forward and dipped his head. “I ken what you’re thinking, lass. And it’s true.”

“What’s true?”

The sexiest smile she’d ever seen curved his lips. “I’m not wearing a bloody damn thing.”

Oh. My. Gosh. He was joking. He had to be joking. “What if the wind blows your kilt up?” She licked her lips as she ran her gaze over him once more. She had a feeling she would be doing that all day.

He shrugged and then straightened. Then he did something that she never in a million years thought she’d find sexy. Or maybe because she’d never thought she’d ever seen a man doing it. Hitching up one side of his kilt, he turned around and cast a glance over his shoulder. “How do my legs look, lass?”

His legs? She could barely tear her gaze away from his tight, muscular bare butt. “You weren’t kidding,” she breathed.

“If I wore anything under it, then it would be a skirt.”

“We can’t have that, can we?” She had to look away. Only, she didn’t want to look away. She didn’t have to look away. Liam and his bare behind were hers. If she wanted to bite or smack one of his cheeks, she could and he, the lusty man, would probably order her to do it again.

He let the material fall, and her lips drew up into a pout.

“I wasn’t done looking,” she complained as he held out his hand. She took it and stood on her feet.

“I assumed you wanted to go the festival today,” he said, and she didn’t miss the gleam in his dark eyes.

“I do.”

“Then you were done looking.”


He grunted. “Really, Bella, a duchess should have more control.”

She grabbed his butt and squeezed. “Not this duchess.”

He wrapped his arms around her. “Thank the Lord above.”

“Can I get one to wear?”

“If ye want.”

“You’re really laying it on thick, you know. You don’t have to be more Scottish than you already are.”

His face grew dark. “I’m not pretending, but if my accent offends you, then I’ll be careful with it,” he said in clipped tones.

Letting go of his bottom, she laid her head on his chest. She could hear the steady beat of his heart. “I was flirting with you, not making fun.”

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