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Colin Mac Brodie was the biggest rogue in all of Scotia.
He was also the key to Seana's greatest desire; Broc Ceannfhionn.
Since they'd been wee ones together, Seana had loved Broc, had dreamed of someday being his wife. She wanted to take care of him, as he had done for her so oft as a child.
She would never forget the day she'd first spoken to him, the same day Colin Mac Brodie had broken her heart.
But Seana wouldn't fool herself.
Broc had merely felt sorry for her that day. She knew that. How could he not have? She'd been a lame child, scarce able to walk. But, since then, the years had been kind to her. With much determination, and the help of her da, she'd strengthened her leg and now the limp was scarcely noticeable in her stride. She'd had nothing to offer Broc before now, and had begun to fear the day might never come. But now she was strong and able and ready to be the wife she knew he needed and deserved.
He was a kind and good man, and Seana thought she might be able to make him a good home.
She only needed a bit of help to convince him.
Why was she such a bloody coward?
Colin couldn't hurt her anymore.
Well...She peered at him out of the corner of her eyes, her gaze acknowledging the strong lean lines of his body. He could hurt her, but not even Colin Mac Brodie was so cruel a man to hit a woman.
Still she was a coward.
"Milksop," she muttered to herself, "worse than a bloody Sassenach!" And she frowned in wholehearted disapproval at the feet that stood planted so firmly upon her mother soil.
She had come to this wedding not to celebrate, for whilethese were not her enemies, neither were they her friends. Nay, she came to speak with Colin Mac Brodie. It galled her that she should need his help, but she was not so proud that she was willing to lose the man she wanted for the sake of her pride. Everyone was getting married, it seemedthe MacKinnon, Meghan, and soon enough Alison MacLean. It was only a matter of time before Broc should wed, as well.
Now was the time to act.
So what was she waiting for?
Seana frowned as she contemplated the answer.
Her gaze wandered to the happy bride and lingered wistfully upon her. Meghan had been the envy of every woman in Scotia, with her beautiful dark hair and her perfect face. If aught at all, the Brodie women had been cursed with loveliness, Seana thought, not madness as had been the rumor. Och, but there was nothing in Meghan's eyes that betrayed madness at all, and Seana truly believed the eyes were windows to the soul.
As kind as the years had been to Seana, they'd been even more so to Meghan Brodie. Though it was difficult not to envy Meghan, for she was everything Seana was not, somehow Seana could not. While Colin's sister was beautiful, she'd lived as lonely a life as Seana had, except that Meghan had had the love of her grandmother and the friendship of MacLean's youngest daughter. Seana had had her da, of a certain, but her da had never been her strength. Rather, Seana had been his.
Speaking of which...She turned her face up to the sky to gauge the hour. It was growing late and her da was like to be hungry by now.
If she didn't bring home some nourishment for him, he would not eat, she knew.
For most, the gaiety was only just beginning, but if Seana didn't make her way home soon, her da would be asleep for the night and without supper. Nor did she relish the thought of making her way through the woodlands when night had deepened the shadows of the forest to black. She was not afeared, of course, but practically, it was simply too dark to keep to the path.
Meghan's celebration had been a grand one. Her brothers had denied her naught, despite that it had come about so suddenly. The festivity had begun early in the day and would continue until the wee hours of the morn, she knew, until the men were drunk enough to kiss the ground and their women were forced to drag them home by their feet. She would have loved to have brought her da, but her da would no longer leave their home, so Seana was forced to come alone, and to bring him home her tales.
Och, but she was a coward!
Belonging to neither the MacKinnon nor the Brodie clan, and having lived practically alone most of her life, Seana had few friends, fewer yet who were so close to Broc as Colin. In fact, she doubted anybody knew Broc better than Colin didthough Colin was certainly his own best friend, and none other's. Still who better to teach her how to win the man she loved than the man who knew him best?
And neither did anyone know better what attracted a man to a woman than did Colin Brodierotter that he was!
There was no way around it...she needed help, and Colin was the only one she thought could provide it. She'd tried all her wiles with Broc; nothing seemed to work. Broc remained blissfully unaware of her interest, if not of her presence. He was such a sweet clod of a man, Broc was, and the thought of him, as always, brought a gentle smile to her lips.
She shook her head in disgust as she considered her options...short of asking him outright to wed with her, she had tried all else she knew to do.