The MacGregor Brides

By: Nora Roberts

MacGregors - book 5

When a man reaches ninety years of living, he is tempted to look back on his life, to evaluate, to consider his triumphs and his mistakes. Often he might think, "What if I had done this instead of that?" or "If only I had that to do over." Well, I don't have time for that kind of nonsense.

I look forward, have always done so. I'm a Scotsman who has lived most of his long life away from the land of his birth. America is my home. I have made my family and raised my children here. I have watched my grandchildren grow. For nearly sixty years I have loved one woman, lived with her, admired her, worked with her. And worked around her, when there wasn't any other way. My Anna is all that is precious to me. Between us—well, we've had a hell of a time.

I'm a rich man. Oh, not just in dollars and possessions and property, but in family. Family comes first. That's something else that always was and always will be part of my life. My Anna and I made three children between us. Two sons and a daughter. My pride in them is nearly as great as my love.

I have to admit, though, that it was necessary, at one time, to nudge these three strong individuals along, to remind them of their duty to the MacGregor name, to the MacGregor line. I regret to say that my children were a bit slow in this area, and their mother worried. So, with a little help, they married well. By well, I mean they found the mate of their heart, and those union  s gave Anna and me two more daughters and another fine son to dote on. Good stock, strong blood to match a MacGregor. Now I have eleven grandchildren—three of them honorary MacGregors, though they be Campbells by name. Campbells, God help us, but good children they are despite it. They all have been the joy of our later years, Anna's and mine, as we watched them grow from babes to adults.

Like their parents, they're slow to do their duty, to understand the richness of marriage and family. It worries their grandmother day and night. I'm not a man to stand by and watch my wife fret, no indeed, I am not. I've considered this carefully. My three oldest granddaughters are of marriageable age. They are strong, intelligent and beautiful women. They're making their way in this world well, on their own. Such things—so Anna has taught me—are as important for a woman as for a man. With Laura, Gwendolyn and Julia I have a lawyer, a doctor and a businesswoman on my hands. Bright and lovely, are my girls, so the men I'll pick for them to build their lives with must be rare men indeed. I'll not have them settle for less than that. I've got my eye on a fine trio of lads. All come from good, strong stock. Handsome lads, too. Ah, won't they make lovely couples and give me pretty babes?

One at a time is the plan. It's best in such matters to give each one my full skill and attention. So I'm starting with Laura, she's the eldest after all. If I don't have young Laura smelling orange blossoms by Christmas, my name isn't Daniel MacGregor.

Once she's settled down, I have just the boy in mind for my darling Gwen. Julia might be the toughest nut of the three, but I'm working on that.

Just a little push is all I'll give them. I'm not a meddler, after all, just a concerned grandfather in the winter of his life—and I intend for it to be a very long winter. I'm going to watch my great-grandchildren grow.

And how the devil am I to do that if these girls don't marry and get me babies, I ask you? Hah. Well, we're going to see to that—so Anna won't fret, of course.

Part One - Laura

Chapter 1

Contents - Next

It took six rings of the phone to reach a corner of her sleeping brain. By the eighth, she managed to slide a hand out from under the blankets. She smacked the alarm clock first and slammed the cheery face of Kermit the Frog to the floor. It was the third dead Kermit that year.

Her long, unadorned fingers patted along the glossy surface of the walnut nightstand, finally gripped the receiver and pulled it under the covers with her.


"It rang ten times."

With the blankets over her head, Laura MacGregor winced at the booming accusation, then yawned. "Did?"

"Ten times. One more ring and I'd have been calling 911. I was seeing you lying in a pool of blood."

"Bed," she managed, and snuggled into the pillow. "Sleeping. Good night."