An excellent word!
I used it with pleasure in The Laird Takes a Bride, the second book in my Penhallow Dynasty series. Here, my hero Alasdair, who’s been forced into marriage with my heroine Fiona, has come grumpily into her morning-room with the express purpose of picking a fight:
“It’s stupid to quarrel about taste. I prefer furnishings that are less ornate.” Fiona pulled away the tartan shawl that had remained tucked over her, revealing a simple day-dress made in a singularly beautiful shade of lavender that even in his peppery temper Alasdair had to acknowledge as strikingly flattering to his wife’s pale complexion, dark-lashed blue eyes, silvery-blonde hair, even her slim figure. Why, she almost looked —
She almost looked —
For a moment there, he had thought her lovely.
Don’t be daft, man, he told himself harshly. Such sentimental thoughts were a trap, the chain around the ankle that jerked and tightened and dragged you down into the depths.
His dog Cuilean lifted his head and fixed those intelligent eyes on him, ears pricked as if questioningly, and Alasdair said shortly to Fiona:
“Is that a new gown, madam?”
There was a silence, during which Alasdair fought within himself. Why was he being so churlish? He ought to tell her how bonny a dress it was. But it felt like he would be giving away something he wanted — needed — to hang onto.
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