Don't Tie the Knot

By: Bianca Blythe
Most weddings might be joyous occasions, but Lord Hamish Montgomery’s older brother is marrying...a commoner. Never mind that his brother is engaged to an earl’s daughter, and they’ll lose their family’s estate if he marries someone else. Hamish will just have to find a way to stop the wedding.

Georgiana Butterworth is startled when a handsome Scotsman breaks into her bedroom and brandishes money. Evidently he’s mistaken her for her newly engaged sister and is trying to bribe her into not marrying his brother. Georgiana knows one thing: she won’t permit this man to ruin her sister’s chance for everlasting happiness.

Hamish may be determined to stop the wedding, but Georgiana is intent to make certain the wedding happens, no matter what she has to do to distract him.





Chapter One





Montgomery Castle

Scotland

May 1816





WHEN THE BUTLER PLACED the day’s letters on the silver tray, Hamish didn’t hesitate to set aside his ruling pen and sort through the mail. He had been tardy once, and he’d spent the rest of his life making up for his onetime indulgence in laziness.

No matter how responsible Hamish was now, he could never change the fact that he’d entered the world eight minutes too late, by which time his twin brother Callum was already comfortably swaddled and crowned heir to the dukedom.

A scarlet seal Hamish didn’t recognize graced the outside of one of the letters, and he unfolded the paper over his drafting board. Likely one of his brother’s creditors was asking for money. Callum seemed determined to make his gaming hall the most luxurious in London, if the bills were anything to go by.

Dear Lord Hamish Montgomery:

Mr. and Mrs. Butterworth of Norfolk happily invite you to share the most joyous occasion of their lives when their daughter, Charlotte Butterworth, is forever joined in matrimony to Callum Montgomery, the Duke of Vernon, at the end of the month at St. George’s Church in London.

Hamish blinked.

The letter’s brevity did not lessen its impact.

The name Charlotte Butterworth appeared entirely different from Lady Isla McIntyre, Callum’s intended.

God in heaven.

“He’s getting married in London,” Hamish said, conscious his voice was faint.

“Indeed.” The butler’s carefully cultivated disinterest was normally reassuring, but Hamish frowned.

“London, England.” Hamish stressed the last word. “Perhaps there are other Londons.”

The butler hesitated, as if valiantly searching for another London. “There is a small settlement by that name in Upper Canada, My Lord.”

For a moment, hope bloomed in Hamish’s chest.

Canada.

That was certainly a better alternative to the ton-replete capital. His lips twitched. Wasn’t Canada just a flatter Scotland? Not Hamish’s preference, though some people might favor the fact that a misstep in Upper Canada was unlikely to send them hurtling to the bottom of a cliff.

A pained expression appeared on the butler’s face. “I am afraid it is unlikely His Grace has chosen precisely that London in which to marry. St. George’s is a fashionable church for weddings. I believe it is located in Hanover Square.”

Hamish waved his hand dismissively. “No matter. Upper Canada would be too far, even though it is more likely to be inhabited by sensible people.”

London, England was certainly not inhabited by sensible people.

At least not in the regions around Hyde Park that the ton delighted in frequenting, as if the artificial Serpentine might in any manner rival the brilliance of even the smallest, most unassuming loch in the Highlands.

“Is my brother under the impression that there are no appropriate women in Scotland?” Hamish asked. “Or that he is not all but betrothed?”

No woman could be more suitable than Isla McIntyre. She was accomplished, beautiful, and above all, a McIntyre. And Callum’s marriage with her is the only way we can keep Montgomery Castle.

The pained look on the butler’s face appeared again. “I would not want to muse over the duke’s reasonings.”

Hamish nodded. “Aye. Quite right. It’s the sort of thing that would give one a headache.”

Not for the first time, Hamish wished the title were his. He would do a far better job of acting honorably than his brother—he always had. If he chided himself for his one-time tardiness; it was not because he craved the attention and accolades that accompanied the title. Perhaps it would matter to members of the ton who adored balls and thought a title would give them an advantage when seeking out dance partners.

Hamish had never suffered from a dearth of female interest. Apparently, there was something about his broad shoulders, dark hair, and chiseled facial features that caused lassies to exclaim excitedly in his presence. His brother also did not suffer from lack of attention from women. Unfortunately, Callum did not devote attention to his duties.

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