Lady of Two Lairds
Author: Sedonia Guillone
Genre: Menage a trois; Historical
MSRP: 8.49 | You pay: 5.49
Trade paperback: 11.99
Cover art: Les Byerley
Trade paperback from Amazon
Leda MacGregor has harbored a secret love for the handsome laird Duncan since she was sixteen. When he blames her for his wife’s death, she turns to his brother Ian for comfort and finds her heart capable of loving two men.
Ian MacGregor finds his heart captured by Leda, his childhood friend. He desires her more powerfully than any other woman he has ever known. However, he is torn between the desire of his heart and the course his life must take. When he is finally free to love Leda, she is torn from him by a cruel deception.
Duncan MacGregor learns the powerful force of forgiveness from Leda and over time, grows to love her and desire her in a way he never thought possible. When his brother breaks her heart, he takes her for his own. When fate brings Ian back, he still loves Leda…
One woman. Two ruggedly handsome highlanders. She loves them both. Fortunately, they are willing to share her…
Publisher’s note: This book is previously published.
Leda sighed deeply, snuggling against him, her hands splayed across Ian’s back. Suddenly, her contentment was replaced by the acute awareness of hard muscles underneath her touch. A flush spread on her cheeks and throat, and her breathing grew slightly husky. His touch weakened her. Sudden spirals of heat coursed through her, whispering into her breasts and down below, into her sex. She stilled, her hands resting on his back, which now rose and fell more heavily, too.
To her disappointment, Ian slowly disengaged from the embrace. The golden hue of his irises had darkened and his lids were heavy. He moved away slightly and cleared his throat. His customary mischievous grin came to his lips, although it seemed forced, and his eyes looked troubled. “Does Fanny still have her stash?”
It took her a moment for his question to register through her haze. She pulled her wrap more tightly around her, wondering if she’d imagined the tension of the previous moment. A fleeting memory of the time she and Ian had found the whiskey bottle years ago while playing hide and seek in the kitchen made her smile. “I don’t know.”
Mischief glinted in his eyes. “Wait here.” He disappeared into the butler’s pantry where Leda heard him opening cupboard doors. He reappeared in a moment, holding up the bottle of golden liquid in a triumphant gesture. “Same place as always.”
His handsome grin spread across his face, causing Leda’s heart to flutter. She watched him go to a cupboard and pull out two glasses, which he set down on the table next to her.
“This’ll warm you right up, Leda.” He opened the bottle and poured a shot into each glass. “Fanny won’t miss a few drops.” He handed her a glass and held his up. “Here’s to better days in the future.”
Leda saw a shadow of sadness darken his face and eyes, but only for a moment.
He grinned and clinked his glass lightly against hers. “Cheers.” He tipped his head back and drained his glass in one swallow.
Gingerly, she took a sip of hers. She had never liked the acrid sting of whiskey and only ever took it medicinally. In spite of her distaste for it, the drink slid through her veins like liquid heat, leaving her body in a slightly languid state.
Ian put his glass down and refilled it. “Come on, Leda. You’re falling behind.” Humor touched his voice.
She smiled and took another tiny sip. Ian downed his second glass and set it back down on the table.
Leda waited to see if he poured another one for himself. Instead, he leaned one hand on the table, standing so close to her that part of her thigh pressed against his hip. Immediately, she began to tremble and took another sip of her whiskey, a larger one this time.
Ian’s face was level with hers and he gazed at her. His hazel eyes had darkened again as he studied her. “I’ve never seen you with your hair down like that, not since we were bairns,” he said softly. His gaze traveled the length of her braid where it hung down, sloping over her right breast.
Her heart began to gallop and she felt naked, in spite of the wrap over her nightgown. “No,” she murmured. “I suppose not.”
Ian levered his weight off the table and pressed in a bit closer. He brought with him the scent of the whiskey he’d drunk, mingled with shaving soap. “May I ask you something?”
Her heart quickened. “Of course.”
“Has anyone come to keep company with you? Any suitors, I mean.”
His question made her heart lurch. Never before had he shown any interest in her social state. “For me? No.”
Ian raised his eyebrows. “You’re kidding. I thought surely there would be several lads creeping ’round.”
Heat ignited in her belly and flushed straight up her neck and into her cheeks. The pulsing between her thighs resurged. “You’re the one who’s kidding, Ian. Me? Suitors? Come now. No one wants a lass who runs around in trousers and Wellies.”
Understanding flicked across his features. “Ah, that’s right.” The way he looked at her made her heart thump loudly. Since she had grown to womanhood, Ian was the first man ever to look at her with that soft shine that she’d seen in Duncan’s eyes whenever he looked at Cait, even in the presence of others. The room began to tilt and her head swam.
He reached up and brushed his fingertips along her jaw line. His touch made her shiver pleasantly. “Those articles do hide your beauty, Leda.”
His gaze moved over her face and hair, as if he had never seen her before.
He nodded. “Aye. You’re features are very soft. Very feminine.” The gold in his eyes darkened. “You even had me fooled.”
She swallowed past a sudden lump in her throat. “Wha– what do you mean?”
Ian moved his hand to her hair, smoothing his palm over it, and fingering the top portion of her braid. “I mean, you’re very lovely.” His hand came to rest on her hair, cradling her head gently. His eyelids hooded his eyes, which had grown dusky.
“Thank you, Ian.” Her voice escaped in a whisper. She was barely able to speak, the way her heart thrashed about in her chest.
He continued to gaze at her. “You’re twenty-one now. Why haven’t you had a coming out?” You deserve one as much as any other lass.”
“Cait wanted me to have one. I always refused.”
Ian looked puzzled. “Why? You could have new dresses. You’d be stunning. I guarantee that in the same day you’d have at least four or five lads after you.”
The thought was so ridiculous to her, she giggled.
He frowned. “I mean it, Leda. Don’t you want someone?”
The question stunned her into silence, and she wondered fleetingly if Ian had seen inside her and knew of her secret love for Duncan. She looked at Ian, whose hand rested on her hair. The tenderness in his gaze so contrasted with the baleful glare Duncan had given her the other day it sent flutters through her stomach and heart. Ian was now the first man who’d ever held her in his arms and told her she was lovely. He awakened the hunger that had slumbered inside her since she’d realized her love for Duncan would always be unrequited.
Yes, I do want someone , she wanted to say. Someone who’s kind, compassionate, handsome, who finds me lovely and tells me so. I want you. She suppressed a gasp. How could she feel this way when she’d pined after Duncan for the last five years? The answer was simple. Ian was being kind to her. He was her best friend.
The words teetered on her lips. She did not dare speak them, even though they were true. Ian was as unattainable for her as Duncan had always been. Like his brother, Ian was a gentleman. He studied at Oxford and played cricket. He traveled to foreign lands. Although she, too, was a MacGregor, Leda knew her place. She was no higher in status than a crofter. Her privileges came from Duncan’s good graces, as repayment to her mother for nursing Malcolm.
She caught her breath. “Only … if he’s … like you.”
Ian looked momentarily startled. Something strange flashed in his eyes, something that appeared to be sadness. He chuckled. “You can do far better than me.” He removed his hand from her hair and leaned against the table, his palm resting on the surface, not far from her thigh.
“Why would you say such a thing, Ian?”
He chuckled again and looked down at the floor. “I say it because you deserve more than I could ever give you.”
Leda heard the criticism in his tone and her heart ached. Immediately she thought he meant his status as the non-holding brother, the man who had to carve his way in the world and prove himself because he did not inherit the estate.
Emboldened, she reached out and placed her palm against his cheek, which was smooth but for the hint of growth that he would shave off in the morning. With gentle pressure, she bid him to look up at her. “Now it’s my turn to tell you you’re speaking nonsense.”
She gazed into the greenish gold of his eyes. To her chagrin, he looked very sad. He put his hand over hers, gently pulling it away from his face and shook his head. “It’s not nonsense, Leda. I know it to be true.”
His hand was warm on hers and sent a flush of pleasant heat tingling in her arm. She loved his touch, which made her feel as heady as the whiskey.
“You’re sweet and good-hearted,” he said. “As well as bonny.” His eyes studied her. “You deserve a prince.”
“I don’t want a prince. You’re every bit as wonderful as a prince.” Her voice escaped in a whisper. She was melting under his gaze. She realized, with a lurch of her heart, that they were discussing … being together.
“You’ve always believed in me, haven’t you, Leda? That’s why I’ve always felt so safe with you.” He moved in closer, so close she could feel the heat of his body. His breathing had gone ragged. “I’ve been so blind, little swan. So blind.” He reached up and touched her cheek. “How could I have not seen you?”
Leda caught her breath softly. Her heart pumped madly and she could hear her blood rush in her ears. Her vision blurred and she felt drunk.
Ian leaned his face to hers and pressed his lips into her cheek. Her eyes fluttered closed at the sweet, sensual warmth that radiated into her skin. With his fingertips, he caressed her other cheek.
He rested his lips on her skin for several heartbeats before lifting his face away and gazing into her eyes.
The sound of a man clearing his throat resounded through the kitchen. Leda’s heart thumped and her gaze whipped in the direction of the doorway.