The only mistake Lady Adelle Thornber ever made turned into a scandal that rocked London and saw her banished to Scotland, the reluctant bride of a reclusive baron. But Lord Henry MacAulay isn’t what she expected: he cares deeply for his barony and for her.
As the sole heir to the Roseheath title and werewolf alpha, Henry knew that he had to take a mate someday. He just didn’t expect to find her in a disgraced noble’s daughter forced into marriage with him. But as he falls more deeply in love with Adelle, he can’t bring himself to tell her what he really is. But when he can, it isn’t his werewolf nature that may tear them apart.
“Stay,” Henry murmured against her ear. His breath sent a shiver racing across her skin and her body heated, suddenly too constricted in her stays and gown. “I missed you last night. I wanted to be here.”
She wanted to offer a tart retort, but she was distracted when his tongue traced the shell of her ear. “Don’t sneak up on me,” he murmured. “I would love to wake up and see your face, but I don’t care for surprises.”
Speaking of surprises, Adelle decided to tell him about what she had seen during the night, before he could distract the thoughts out of her head. “Henry, I know this sounds mad, but are there wolves at Roseheath?”
He immediately stiffened and pulled away a little. The color drained from his face for a second, and Adelle knew she had hit a nerve. “I saw one last night,” she continued. “Looking up at my bedchamber window. I could have sworn it was looking right back at me.”
“Are you sure you weren’t dreaming?” he asked.
If Henry hadn’t reacted the way he had, Adelle might have given that idea more credit. But Henry knew something was happening on the estate. “Yes, I’m sure,” she said. “I know I saw a wolf, or at least a massive dog, and I heard howling last night.”
He ran a hand through his tousled hair, a shaky smile lighting up his face. “Roseheath does have a modest population of large dogs,” he admitted. “They’ve been here for generations. I think they may have crossbred with wolves once.”
It made sense, yet it didn’t. “There haven’t been wolves in Britain for hundreds of years,” she said.
“During the war with France,” he clarified, an edge to his voice. It wasn’t anger, but ... fright? Was Henry afraid of the dogs, or what would happen if Adelle thought he might be lying?
“Napoleon brought wild half-wolf wild dogs to Scotland,” she said flatly.
“That’s how the story goes. Well, not him, but the French.”
“This is one of the most sparsely populated areas of Britain. Why not London?”
“I don’t know. That’s the story I was told when I was a boy, and there isn’t any more information about them that I could find.” Henry leaned back against the pillows and pulled Adelle with him, her back against his chest. “As long as you stay inside at night, they won’t bother you, Adelle. I promise. It’s a small population and they’ve never harmed a soul in all the years they’ve been at Roseheath.”
She turned around to face him. His eyes were hooded and when she raised the candle she saw how dilated his pupils were, something she had only seen with him. A warm thrum of arousal pounded through her veins, gathering between her legs at the sight. Her other questions about the wild dogs fled from her mind. The sheet had slipped down in their tussle, revealing his bare hips, and her breath caught in her throat at the sight.
“Stay with me.”
He kissed her with an urgency that quickly made her forget why she had come here in the first place, his tongue exploring her mouth as if it was his right. Right now all that mattered was this room and the naked man in the bed, who didn’t seem to have any intention of letting her go.