Lost garters and cases of warm champagne pale as prenuptial disasters when compared to the pandemonium described in this boisterous collection by four popular authors. Brenda Joyce brings us "The Light of Day," the tale of a young woman from a wealthy family who prefers to run away with the jewel thief plundering her family's safe than to marry the immanently suitable man her parents have arranged for her. Pierce Braxton finds the jewel of his heart in Annabelle Boothe, and she discovers that he's the man for her.
In "The Love Match," Rexanne Becnel introduces us to Jinx Benchley, who is as determined to stop her brother from eloping to Gretna Green with Lady Alice Stirling as is Alice's brother, Harrison, the Marquis of Hartley. Harrison fears his sister's money is the true attraction and plans to challenge Colin Benchley to a duel. His reputation as the "murdering marquis" sends Jinx on a headlong, cross-country chase to locate her brother and warn him of the danger. Hard on her heels is Lord Hartley, who is convinced that Jinx is in cahoots with her brother. Refusing to let each other of their sight because of their utter lack of trust for each other, Jinx and Harrison find themselves fighting the mystifying lure of forbidden passion.
"A Weddin' or a Hangin'" by Jill Jones takes us to present-day Scotland where clan politics and feuds still run deep. Meredith Macrae, visiting from her North Carolina home after inheriting property from her late uncle, the former Macrae clan chieftain, discovers that the Sinclair of the Clan Sinclair is not possessed of horns and a tail as her clansmen would have her believe. Instead, Ian Sinclair is just a man struggling to maintain Duneagan, his family's ancestral castle, while continuing to produce a profit from the distilling of Scotland's finest single-malt scotch and mediating disputes among his clansmen who relish a good fight as much as a good draught. Brought together both by mutual attraction transcending centuries-old hostilities and to fight against commercial interests seeking to destroy the village for tourism's sake, Meredith and Ian find that a weddin' can overcome even the most bitter of enmity.
Barbara Dawson Smith's "Beauty and the Brute" delivers readers to the Scottish Highlands, as well, but in the year 1827. Stranded in a blizzard with her aging maid and her coachman, who broke his ankle when their carriage skidded into a ditch, Lady Helen Jeffries is confronted by a hulking beast of a man. Living up to his name, Alexander the MacBrut, laird of the Clan MacBrut, is unable to resist the charms of the lovely English sprite he rescues from the storm. Not only does he defrost her frozen toes and fingers, the MacBrut thaws Lady Helen's maidenly shyness. Caught in flagrante delicto by none other than Helen's father, the Marquess of Hathaway, Alexander finds himself forced into marriage with an English bride. Alexander believes that, like his own mother, Helen won't be able to adapt to the harsh Highland winters or her harsh Highland husband and will leave him--and the baby she is expecting. But Helen's sunny disposition and gentle persistence succeed in thawing his resistance, forever binding together the beauty and her brute. Scandalous Weddings entices the reader to join in the whirlwind courtships with a cup of hot tea and a few undisturbed hours! --Alison Trinkle [via]