Lord Grayson’s Bride
A Scrolls of Cridhe novella
She can’t allow his love for her to destroy him...When Nicholas Spencer, Earl of Grayson, returns to claim the woman he loves, Lady Josephine Knightly isn’t willing to forgive him for abandoning her six years ago. But neither can she resist the man he’s become.
Two days after Josephine signs the marriage contract she discovers a nasty secret that will destroy her family. The only way to protect them—to protect the only man she’s ever loved—is to disappear...or die.
Nicholas won’t make the same mistake twice and let Josephine Knightly go. She loves him. He felt it in their one kiss before he left, and in the single kiss she allowed since his return. But she’s doing everything in her power to sabotage the marriage even before it’s begun. Nicholas doesn’t care. If Hell is where he must live to have her, then she must stand by his side in the fire.
Award winning author Tarah Scott cut her teeth on authors such as Georgette Heyer, Zane Grey, and Amanda Quick. Her favorite book is a Tale of Two Cities, with Gone With the Wind as a close second. She writes modern classical romance, and paranormal and romantic suspense. Tarah grew up in Texas and currently resides in Westchester County, New York with her daughter.
Tell my fans a little bit about yourself and your books.
I’m Tarah Scott and I write Scottish romances. Sometimes I moonlight and write a little suspense. I live in New York, about an hour north of the city that never sleeps. I have a sixteen year old daughter, so I stay on my toes.
How would you introduce your books to someone that has yet to read them?
I like lots of adventure in my books. Swashbuckling, windswept adventure. I write a bit on the edgy side and very sexy.
What inspired you to start writing? What age did you start?
A friend once told me that I didn't choose writing. Writing chose me. I suppose that’s true. I didn't start writing until I was nearly forty. Stories started rolling around in my head so much that I couldn't sleep at night. I finally gave in and wrote a scene, then shared it with someone. I got such great encouragement that I just kept going.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
Schoolwork with my daughter! Who knew I would be going back to high school?
What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
Write—a lot. Read a lot. Write more. Get some solid feedback, then write more. If you can imagine yourself doing anything but writing, do it. If not, then write.
What’s your favorite scene/line from your works?
My favorite scene is always from the book I’m currently writing. The book I’m currently working on is a Scottish medieval entitled Claimed. In Claimed, Sir Talbot St. Claire has been forced to abduct his betrothed because she is trying to marry someone else to avoid marriage to him. Upon bringing her back home he says to her “What man knows peace when he takes a wife?” Talbot has only just begun to get a taste of what it is to fall in love.
What's the hardest thing about writing? The easiest?
The hardest thing about writing is character development. It’s easy to make things happen. Hard to make them matter.
What are you currently reading?
I’m currently reading George RR Martin’s A Clash of Kings.
What are you currently working on?
Claimed, a Scottish medieval.
What books did you read as a child?
Oh boy, I read everything from Nancy Drew to Edgar Rice Burroughs.
How has your life changed since you began writing?
I don’t have much of a life. When I’m not writing, working, or spending time with my daughter, I’m writing. It’s a bit of an obsession.
Do you listen to music while you write?
Seldom. I get distracted with the stories I hear in the music.
What do you want readers to take away from your books?
A little joy. A little pleasure. Maybe a few tears. Lots of laughs.
You’re stranded on a desert island. What books do you take with you?
My full Kindle. That counts as a book, right?
What book(s) do you wish you would have written?
Oh, so many. The Green Mile by Stephen King. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice, Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. The list goes on. However, I am satisfied to have read these masterpieces. They give me something to strive for.
Favorite book character?
Sydney Carton from A Tale of Two Cities. No man ever loved a woman more than he loved Lucy, and no man ever achieved greater redemption.
What is your dream vacation destination?
The Scottish Highlands—of course!
Do you have any interesting dreams or goals?
My dream is to write more and more.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?
Truth is Stranger than Fiction
Where can fans find you?
Josephine took a step backwards before catching herself. Facing Nicholas alone was far more frightening than being caught half naked with his rival. He seized her free wrist, his fingers like manacles, and she gave a startled cry. He stared for a long moment, the dark rage now mingled with a sadness she too often saw in his brown eyes these days. Pain twisted her heart, but she kept her gaze emotionless.
He released her. “Do you hate me so much, Jo?”
His question shocked her—then she realized this reaction was exactly what she’d wanted. She still clutched her bodice in an effort at modesty and started to turn aside to slip her arms back into the sleeves, then stopped. What better way to remind him of her infidelity than to remain half naked?
Josephine gave a careless laugh. “A man can take as many lovers as he likes, and we women are to accept it, but when a woman wants the same privilege, you men take it personally. Once we are married, what’s to stop you from taking a mistress?”
“Shouldn’t I commit the crime before you make me pay for it?” he said.
“I saw you dance with Rebecca Evans the other night at Lady Graham’s soiree. For all I know, you’re already guilty.”
The hurt in his eyes deepened. “You know better than that.”
She lifted her chin. “Do I?”
“Would you really sabotage our marriage before it’s even begun?”
She gave a careless laugh. “Lord, you are dramatic.”
“This isn’t a childish jibe like dancing too many times with another man,” he said. “Or flirting shamelessly in front of me. You let Beaumond touch you.”
Josephine repressed a shudder of revulsion. Allowing the marquess to touch her had taken all her powers of determination. She hadn’t even been able to conjure the desire for Nicholas that plagued her in order to arouse herself when Lord Beaumond opened his trousers. But Lord Beaumond it had to be, for Nick would never forgive her for fraternizing with the man who seduced his sister.
“Let the past go, Nicholas. Your sister recovered from her affair with Beaumond. She married well and has two children she dotes on.”
“You didn’t console her in those terrible months after he tossed her aside as if she were an old rag,” he said more to himself than her, and she knew he was remembering eight years ago, when Deanna had fallen prey to Lord Beaumond’s charm at the age of eighteen. The affair carried on for two months before Nicholas discovered a letter from his sister that gave away their liaison. “We feared for her life,” he said in a bitter voice.
But Josephine remembered all too well. When Beaumond appeared at the house party yesterday, Josephine knew God—in His perverse amusement—had answered her prayers. She had accepted guilt as her ever-constant companion, and bowed even now to the reminder that allowing Lord Beaumond to seduce her was a sin not only against God, but her family and the only man she had ever loved.
Josephine waved her hand dismissively. “Young lovers are dramatic. God knows, we were.” The words were out of her mouth before she realized it, and she hurriedly added, “But never mind that. Forget the duel. Lord Beaumond is right, if you got lucky enough to kill him, you would hang.”
Nicholas’ gaze bore into her. “Would you shed a single tear if I was hanged?”
“Of course,” she snapped. “I have known you since I was a girl. I care about you.”
“But you don’t want to marry me.”
Josephine turned, afraid he would see in her eyes how very much she did want to marry him. She sauntered to a table where bronze figurines of a poet and his muse sat on a marble table. “Why should I want to marry anyone?” Jo traced a finger along the poet’s toga-clad body. “Marriage means I go from being owned by my father to being owned by my husband.” Her fingers tightened around the fabric she still pressed against her breasts. Being owned by Nicholas would be heavenly. Something inside her shattered and she found herself forcing back tears.
“Your father never treated you like chattel,” he said. She heard the clink of glass and realized he had gone to the sideboard and was pouring a drink. “He adores you and your sister.”
“You call being bartered off to a rich earl adoring?” she retorted.
A moment of deadly silence drew out between them. “A rich earl who loves you,” he finally said. “Me.”
Josephine’s heart constricted. He did love her...and she loved him. But love was the very thing that could destroy them.
“Papa accepted your offer because it came from the great Earl of Grayson,” she said. “Along with more money than anyone else was willing to offer, of course.”
“Did it occur to you that I made sure he couldn’t refuse my offer?”
She swung to face where he leaned a hip against the sideboard. “Oh, indeed, it did. When I refused your offer, you bought me. I am not at all surprised that you defend my father. You two are much alike.”
Yes,” he said, his voice hard. “We both know how to get what we want. I am not sorry, Jo. I won’t live life without you.”
“And you had the resources to buy me.”
“Don’t you think your father accepted my offer because he knows I love you?” Nicholas said. “That I will care for you…protect you?”
“From myself, you mean,” she retorted.
“Don’t act as if it hasn’t been necessary. Today is a perfect example.”
In a flash, she closed the distance between them. He slammed the glass down onto the sideboard and straightened as she went up on tiptoes in an attempt to get nose-to-nose with him.
She was still forced to tilt her head up, but narrowed her eyes, and said, “I had the situation with Lord Beaumond perfectly well in hand.”
A muscle in his jaw jumped. “So I saw.”
“I lived without you for six years, Nick—and quite well, if you must know. Yet you act as if I cannot take care of myself, or worse, as if no other man has ever loved me.”
“No doubt you left a string of broken hearts from Inverness to Edinburgh. But none of those poor devils knew you. God knows, if they did, they would have put as much distance as possible between themselves and you.”
“How dare you?” she breathed. “I suppose you know me, but still manage to love me?”
“Aye,” he replied. “I love you more than life itself.”
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