The Night Before The Wedding

Avon
January 2008
ISBN: 978-0060799311

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To win the woman destined to be his bride . . .

Catherine Depford is the wealthiest heiress in London, and she is all but promised to a proper English lord . . . so why is she having dreams of a Scottish warrior claiming her for his own? She can't imagine that her heated fantasies would come true . . . until she locks eyes with the stranger of her dreams in a crowded ballroom.

A Scotsman will do anything

Highland chief Gabriel MacBraedon has come to London in search of Catherine, the woman an ancient curse dictates to be his bride. But he can't very well sweep the English beauty into his arms and carry her off to Scotland in the dead of night. Or can he? Nothing is impossible when a Scotsman's passion is making the rules . . .

 

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AWARDS AND REVIEWS

Nominated for Best Historical K.I.S.S. Hero in RT's 2008 Reviewer's Choice Awards!

"This is the kind of book that makes people fall in love with romance novels. Sensual, eloquent, extremely well written - Outstanding!!!" 5 STARS! - The Romance Readers Connection

"THE NIGHT BEFORE THE WEDDING by Debra Mullins is a story of love, trust, learning to believe in the unbelievable and, ultimately, following the desires of one’s heart. Every page is filled with action and adventure, love and romance. There isn’t one dull moment in this book, and the only disappointment was that it had to end. THE NIGHT BEFORE THE WEDDING is true reading magic." - Kay James, Romance Reader at Heart

"Debra Mullins can write truly engaging romances, and most will find the same here. Catherine and Gabriel don’t seem like suitable mates in the beginning because their feelings for each other are because of some unseen force pushing them together. But through some hardships, they figure out their love for each other is as real as it can be. If you enjoy sexy Highlanders and two characters who are constantly at odds with each other, but still have time to kiss each other like there is no tomorrow, THE NIGHT BEFORE THE WEDDING is the one to read." - Katie, Romance Junkies

"This is a fun and exciting historical romance with appealing characters and an unusual situation to be overcome. Gabriel and Catherine are both likable characters with a lot of chemistry, but each would have married someone else, given the choice at first. They feel an incredibly strong attraction to each other, but each doubts that the marriage will be successful. These are two very strong minded and attractive characters. The welfare of the people takes precedence, and their attraction and liking for each other only grows. I loved the other characters as well, particularly little Fay, who is destined to be the next Bride. I also felt for Mr. Depford and his fear that his daughter may become as mad as her mother. This is one involving love story that you will not be able to put aside until the last page." - Maura Frankman, The Romance Studio

 

Excerpt from The Night Before The Wedding

“A broken vow when peace was sworn,
The price shall be a daughter born
Of Farlan blood to wed our chief--
Each generation, no relief.”

Mist rolled along the ground and clung to the stones of the castle like wraiths in the light of the half moon. Fires burned in the central courtyard, drums pounded, and pipes wailed as two clans gathered in silent distrust. One clan chief knelt on the ground, his head bent beneath the threat of a gleaming sword.

A frail old woman raised her hands to the skies, one hand clutching a dagger. The wind whipped up with a vengeance, sending the woman’s garments flapping about her slender limbs. Her silvery hair danced and tangled like a living thing, though she never moved, never blinked. In a voice vibrating with the power of the Ancient Ones, she chanted.

“The dagger is her mark of grief,
The girl who’s born to wed our chief.
By eighteen years, the girl shall wed
Else madness comes and sees her dead.”

Someone cried out. A young woman fell to her knees on the damp ground, gripping her upper arm as her red hair snapped madly around her. Her kindred rushed to her, and when they pried her hand away, they beheld an angry red mark on her skin, in the shape of a dagger.

The old woman didn’t notice. She kept keening her words up to the skies, to the moon and the heavens and the powers that lived all around them.

“Should MacBraedon break this pact
His clan shall suffer for this act.
Only the dagger will bring him sons;
Should he wed another, there will be none.
When lightning flashes and stones run red,
When MacBreadon wakes Farlan from the dead,
Only in this darkest hour
Shall my words then lose their power.”

Lightning crackled, singeing the earth nearby. Without even flinching, the old one thrust the dagger point-first into the ground at her feet, burying it to the hilt. The earth shuddered and thunder boomed, and with a harsh gasp, she crumpled to the ground like a discarded toy to lay panting, completely spent, her eyes still wide and dark with power as she gazed at the heavens.

Her clansmen rushed to her and lifted her fragile form from the ground. The mists swirled and danced, laughing in their silent way, and the world shimmered with magic.

Then he was there, stepping through the foggy tendrils as the scene with the old witch faded away, his shoulders broad and his muscled body bare but for the plaid that wound around him. His sun-kissed brown hair reached nearly to his shoulders, ragged yet masculine, emphasizing the strong bones of a warrior’s face. Blue eyes appeared to look right at her, searing through all pretense to her very soul.

“Catherine,” he said, reaching for her. “You are mine.”

Catherine Depford jerked awake to find herself standing beside her empty bed, her palm extended as if to accept the clasp of another. With a cry, she covered her face with her hands.

Again. It had happened again.

This was the third time since her eighteenth birthday only a week ago. She dreamed of Scotland, over and over again, even though she had never been there.

Her body burned with unfamiliar hungers, puzzling and shameful. It was the man in the dream; he brought forth these shocking feelings. Just his presence, just knowing he was reaching for her. That he wanted her.

Even though the dream had faded, even in the cool anticipation of dawn, her body still throbbed.

Chilled, she moved closer to the low fire smoldering in the grate, limbs trembling with fatigue. And fear. But she dared not seek her bed again. If she slept, she might dream.

She sank down to her knees before the soft red glow of the hearth, folding her arms around her for security as much as for warmth. She had hoped and prayed that the Farlan curse would spare her. That her mother’s words that horrible day had been false. But the evidence spoke to the contrary.

Dreams of a place she had never been—-always the same dream, always the same man. Voices whispering to her on the wind, words and chanting no one else could hear. All those times she had found herself standing outside her father’s London townhouse, staring to the north, with no memory of how she’d gotten there.

No, she had not been spared.


Copyright © 2008 Debra Mullins
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