Adventures of a Scottish Heiress

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New York Times bestselling author Cathy Maxwell delivers another passionate romance that is sure to delight her dedicated fans and increase her readership. Frustrated by the constant line of fortunehunting suitors outside her door, and fed up with her titlehungry father, beautiful heiress Olivia Harrell runs off to Scotland in the hope of learning more about her Scottish roots. But what she finds is not quite so thrilling as what finds her or, rather, who: Ian Campion, a powerful soldierturnedmercenary sent by her father to track her down. Though Ian fools himself into believing it is the reward he is after, he soon learns that Olivia may be the only one who can tear down the walls built around his heart at the same time teaching her what it truly means to know passion .


Adventures of a Scottish Heiress

Chapter One

August, 1816

Ian Campion was bloody tired of being poor.

Making his way through the foul and narrow streets of the rookery known as the Holy Land for the Irish inhabitants who lived one on top of another there in unrelenting poverty, he wondered how he could have ever believed he could create a better life for his family here than the one they'd had in Ireland. He hated the closeness of the buildings, the crushed spirit of the people, and thesoot in the air from the hundreds, no, thousandsof smoking chimneys.

Of course, the last time he'd lived in London, he'd been on his way to becoming a man of means as a student of the law at Lincoln's Inn. The streets he'd walked had been vastly different then. His future had been full of promise until he'd returned to Dublin and destroyed everything withhis pride and arrogance.

His dark thoughts were interrupted when a half dozen children in ragged clothes dashed past him on the chase for a rat one of them had spied. Their mothers sat on the front stoop sucking down gin and laughing wildly at some joke one of them had shared. The women fell silent, their expressions speculative, when a party of barefoot, unkemptsailors newly off their ship swaggered by on their way to one of the area's many brothels. Meanwhile, in the entrance of a supposed butcher's shop, pick-pockets, lazy and in good humor from working richer areas, haggled with the "butcher" over fencing their stolen goods.

Ian walked through the party of sailors. They had the good sense to move out of his way, as he knew they would.

He was a big man, a hard one, and willing to use his size to his advantage. The wide brim of the hat he wore low over his eyes added to his dangerous air. His hand rested on the strap of the leather knapsack he'd stolen off the body of a dead French soldier during the war over a yearago. In it was everything he owned, including theflintlock pistol that could get him transported if it was found on his person. The English weren't comfortable with the idea of an Irishman walking their streets with a gun.

Not that they would need the gun as a reason to see Ian gone.

A whore sitting in a window across the street called in greeting, "Well, look who has finally returned home." She leaned forward, her breasts practically tumbling out of her bodice. "Hey, Campion, are you going to give me a go this time?"

Ducking into the narrow, open doorway of a corner building, Ian ignored her, as he always did. He didn't consort with whores. There was no time in his life for women or other pleasurable pursuits -- not while he had a family to support.

The rickety stairs groaned under his booted tread. Sound carried through the thin walls. A baby cried for milk. A man and woman argued, an argument that came to an abrupt end with the sound of a fist hitting flesh. A door slammed and there was silence, then crying. Ian stepped out ofthe way as a heavy-jowled man, his eyes red from drinking, barreled past him down the stairs.

Three more flights up and Ian reached home to the flat he shared with his two sisters and their children. But what he saw made his heart stop.

The door to the flat had been broken off its hinges. It hung cockeyed and loose, the wood splintered.

Alarmed, he charged in, his fists clenched and ready to do battle. However, instead of a deadly crime, he ran in on the sight of the little ones, Johnny and Maeve, at the table saying their grace before supper. His sudden, angry entrance startled his sister Janet, who stood over them. With a startled cry, she dropped the wooden platter shewas holding. The supper sausages hit the floor, but the children didn't care. They leaped from their chairs, their arms wide.

"Uncle Ian!" they shouted in unison. Johnny tackled Ian's knees while Maeve stretched her arms for him to take her up, which he did.

"You're prickly," Maeve laughingly complained, rubbing her fist against his beard stubble. "And you have a cut, too." Maeve, no older than five but a sweet, gentle soul, traced the line above his eye where Tommy Harrigan's beefy knuckles had split the skin open.

"It's nothing but a nuisance," he assured her and then addressed his nephew, "Johnny, you're growing so fast you're about to knock me over." He'd been gone less than a month, but children change rapidly at this age.

His words only served to make the lad determined to do more damage. There was nothing for Ian to do but set Maeve down and give her brother the quick wrestle he so dearly wanted.

Janet broke them up. "Here now, that is enough. Welcome home, brother." She gave him a kiss on the cheek at about the same time Ian's other sister Fiona, the oldest of the three of them, walked in the door. They were all dark-headed, the girls with eyes so blue they sparkled like jewels, while Ian had the sharp, silvery gray ones ofhis father.

"Ian," Fiona greeted him with undisguised relief. "I am so glad to see you home."

"What happened to the door?" he asked.

"Later," she whispered as she gave him a sisterly kiss. "After the children have eaten."

He pulled out the cloth pouch he wore on a cord around his neck. Taking it off over his head, he tossed it to Janet ...

Adventures of a Scottish Heiress. Copyright © by Cathy Maxwell. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Excerpted from Adventures of a Scottish Heiress by Cathy Maxwell
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