The Unwilling Bride by Candy Ann Little BLOG BARRAGE! & GiveAway!
Title: The Unwilling Bride
Author: Candy Ann Little
Publisher: Kingdom Kastle Publishing, Inc.
Length: 107,000 Words
Sub-Genres: Historical, Inspirational/Christian
AVAILABLE AT: Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/The-Unwilling-Bride-ebook/dp/B004LLJ1RW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1328732374&sr=8-1
BOOK TRAILER: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFjmES8CB9g
Set amid political unrest in 1789, Caitlin Gallagher finds herself in an arranged marriage. She hates the idea of marriage and loathes the man that is now her husband. With all the turmoil in her life, she starts to doubt her faith. Can Caitlin find faith in God and love in the arms of her enemy? Dillon Cade’s quiet life is turned upside-down when he agrees to marry a young maiden to protect her. As he uses his newspaper to fight President Adams’ sedition acts and help Thomas Jefferson get elected, he must now also deal with an unwilling bride. Can Dillon tolerate her behaviour long enough to win her trust?
The clip clopping of horses’ hooves alerted Caitlin to someone coming up the drive. She dropped the leather bag over the balcony. It hit the ground with a dull thud. Hiking up her skirt to a length far too improper, she held it over one arm and straddled the railing. After both feet were firmly planted on the other side of the banister, she extended her arms trying to grasp the branch of the oak tree that tauntingly stretched before her.
Not quite able to reach the branch, she decided to make a jump for it. Mustering all of her determination she leapt into the air, grabbing hold of the large bough with both arms. She dangled precariously, trying to swing her feet up to the branch, however the long skirt wrapped around her ankles making the task difficult. The rough bark cut through her thin overcoat, scratching the soft skin on her arms and making the process of holding on even harder. Looking down and realizing the height from which she dangled gave her the resolve to grip even tighter, no matter how much it hurt.
Finally swinging a leg up high enough to reach the branch, she twisted her small torso around until she sat perched upon the limb like a bird. Cautiously standing up, she lifted her skirt once again. “This foolish thing is in my way.” She tucked the front hem into the sash around her waist. “There, that should hold it.” She needed both hands free to descend the tree. Tentatively placing a foot on the limb below, she carefully progressed through the coloured leaves on her path to freedom.
She’d just passed the middle of the tree when her slipper skidded, making her lose balance and topple. A scream pierced the air as she fell. The branches reached out, grabbing at her clothes and entangling her hair, but did nothing to stop her plunge downward. Squeezing her eyes shut, she prepared for the impact of the hard ground, but instead felt the softness of a body.
Someone grabbed her around the waist tumbling with her and easing the collision. Caitlin lay on the ground, breathless and unable to move. Her heart raced wildly while her entire body throbbed. I can’t be dead, she thought. I hurt too much. Opening her eyes she found her older brother frowning at her. His short brown hair stood up in spikes, and grass clung to the side of his face.
“Brogan.” She squealed with relief. “I’m so glad to see you.”
“What do you think you’re doing?” He scolded and stood up.
“I…was…umm…climbing a tree.” Her legs still felt wobbly, she didn’t dare try to get up.
“You could have been killed.”
“I’ve watched you climb that tree lots of times.” She didn’t like him taking that parental tone.
“I do not have skirts and slippery shoes.”
“I almost made it.”
“Almost! You could have been seriously hurt, or even killed. Honestly, Caitlin do you have any sense in that head of yours?”
“I have all the sense I need.” She rose from the ground, pulling her skirt down. “And do not lecture me.”
“Then perhaps you will listen to Father.”
“Brogan, no!” She pulled at his arm. “You cannot tell him or Mama.”
“Then tell me what you were doing.” He crossed his arms in front of his chest, staring.
Caitlin had no choice but to throw herself on his mercy, “Running away.” She plucked some leaves out of her hair.
“Trying to throw a rub in the way?”
“So what if I’m spoiling everyone’s plans. No one cares about spoiling my life.” She pouted. “And what are you doing over here anyway?”
“Keeping an eye on you. I knew you would try something foolish.”
“’Tis no more foolish than getting married.”
“Caitlin, marriage is not that unfavorable. Why must you be so dramatic?”
“I’m dramatic?” She glared at him. “’Tis easy for you to say, you are still unattached. How would you feel if Mama and Papa made you get married?”
“I can assure you I would not be pulling dangerous stunts.”
“’Twas my last resort.” Her quivering lip informed Brogan of the forthcoming tears.
“Now, Caitlin, do not be upset.”
“Will you help me?” She pleaded. “I can hide in the rattler and you can make an excuse to leave. Then you can drop me off outside of town.” Her heart felt light once again as a new plan dawned. “If I do not get away now I will never be free again.”
“Where will you go?”
“Anywhere away from here.”
“How do you plan on supporting yourself?”
“I will find a job,” she said irritably. “Why does everyone insist that I cannot care for myself?”
“Because you can’t,” he stated matter-of-factly. “And pulling a dangerous stunt without thinking about the consequences is proof of your immaturity.”
“I’m immature! Why you scatter-witted nincompoop. I knew the risks and accepted them in order to gain my freedom. Just like Dwayne did.”
“Our older brother willingly gave his life for the fight of Ireland. I have risked my own life several times in the pursuit of freedom, but you cannot pull dangerous stunts, just to get your own way. ‘Tis not the same thing.” He sighed, “You are too head strong for your own good. Take my advice and for once in your life just go along with the plans.”
“Would you advise Ireland to stop fighting and go along with England?”
“Nay. Only you, my dear sister.”
“Why do I get such counsel?”
“’Twill save all involved a lot of headaches.” He plucked a twig from her tangled curls. “Now, go get your bags and I’ll distract Mother and Father so you can sneak back into the house.”
“And if I refuse?” She challenged, not ready to give up yet.
“Please, Caitlin, trust me on this.”
“Why?” She crossed her arms. “Everyone keeps talking about trust, but no one will explain a thing.”
“You will be apprised of all the factors in due time.”
“You know more than you’re telling me.” She crossed her arms.
“I must abide by our parent’s wishes, even if I don’t agree with them.”
“Will you promise to tell me what you can?”
“I’m sorry, Cate. It has to come from Father. Now, be quick and get in the house. Dillon is here for dinner and you need to dress.”
The sun stood high in the sky warming the fragrant air that swirled around the occupants in the garden. The tinkling of water from a large fountain spouting crystal liquid into a small pool served as the backdrop for the couple. The red, gold, and yellow color scheme of autumn further complemented the choice of cream satin for the bride.
She stiffly smiled as they went through the ritual, reciting the sacred words and praying. When it came time for the ring, she slipped her glove off and gasped when Dillon slid the huge diamond on her third finger. After a few words of instruction the preacher pronounced them man and wife and told Dillon to kiss his bride.
Caitlin felt the heat from his body as he stepped closer, placing an arm around her waist. A smile played upon his lips, “Are you ready, my sweet?”
“Make haste and get it over with,” she groaned. The corners of her mouth turned down, but her head obediently tilted up. She closed her eyes bracing for the kiss, however both were unprepared for the spark that charged between them when their lips met. Caitlin’s eyes flew open and she would have backed away if the steel arms around her waist hadn’t tightened, keeping her anchored to that spot. He kissed her tenderly at first, gently moving his mouth above her own, producing sensations that were overwhelming and exciting. A soft moan escaped as her mouth responded to his lips.
The gnawing in the pit of Dillon’s stomach grew like wildfire causing his desire to quickly burn out of control. He deepened the kiss forcing Caitlin’s mouth open and greedily tasted the treasures inside. His kind, gentle lips turned fierce with longing and passion. Pulling her soft body even closer against his hard muscled chest produced emotions that rampaged through his soul, tormenting his body.
Caitlin hesitantly complied at first, but soon found her own hunger quietly abiding behind the reluctant facade. She wound her arms around his neck inching as close as possible. All other feelings fled leaving behind a craving that only his touch would quench. Eventually, confusion emerged from somewhere deep in the crevice of her heart, reminding her that Dillon was her enemy.
Managing to find some strength in her feeble limbs, she pushed at his rock hard chest breaking the mysterious spell they’d fallen under. A shaky hand flew to her mouth touching the warm wetness left behind. She was thankful he didn’t immediately withdraw his hands from her waist or she’d have toppled over. His kiss seemed to suck the strength from her body and mind. She felt a little embarrassed. Having never been kissed like that before, she didn’t know if her reaction had been appropriate.
Dillon vaguely heard the crowd cheering as his senses slowly returned. Remembering they were still in front of their wedding guests, he wondered what they thought of such a passionate display. He’d only meant to give her a little kiss to seal the vows. How had it turned into an ardent demonstration of emotion?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Candy-Ann Little grew up in a small town in Ohio, but now resides in Michigan with her husband and two teenage kids. She is a substitute for paraprofessionals and teacher assistants in the public schools, mostly working with the autistic program and kids with learning disabilities.
She also enjoys helping with church activities. Her favorite things to do besides writing is reading, cooking and baking.
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