About the book
He would make it last forever, if she only gave him the chance…
Lucia Donaldson is tired of paying the price for men’s actions. Kidnapped simply for being the daughter of a Laird, she falls into the vengeful hands of a man who is Lucifer reincarnated. In more ways than one.
Raids and pillages by the Brodie clan have been the main problem on Jack’s mind for the past years. Until another one comes to be added to the pile: falling for the one woman that is out of bounds. And the one he kidnapped against her will.
The fire inside Jack burns Lucia’s doubts about their love away, and the man she thought a villain carves his name into her heart. When someone orders attacks on her dying father Jack realizes that only one person would kick a man that is already down. And he wears the colors of his own clan.
An owl flew over the village of Crannogan with an adder gripped in its talons. The snake hung limp like a fallen banner, its venomous fangs rendered useless in death, like spears and pikes clutched in the hands of corpses.
A little girl sat outside the thatched hut she called home, still awake while the rest of the village slumbered peacefully. If only her father had stirred and gone looking for her when he found her bed empty, he might have seen the omen and picked up his broadsword. But she was too young to recognize the winged hunter’s warning.
“Hoot, hoot!” She cupped her hands around her mouth and echoed the creature’s call.
A more precise call echoed back, but she could not see the owl anymore. Still, it pleased her to hear it. Scouring the darkness for any sign of the majestic bird, she giggled and cupped her hands around her mouth once more.
The sound drifted back to her, closer and longer than before.
She was about to hoot a third time, when a different sound cut off her childish excitement. Behind the wicker fencing at the front of the house up ahead, the dogs began to bark. She saw their slick, black bodies jumping up and down, trying to vault over the fence as they howled.
What’s got ‘em so cross?
Eager to find out, and with nothing else to entertain her, she got to her feet and crept over to the house opposite. Skirting down the side of the fencing, and keeping a safe distance from the growling dogs, she crouched low and squinted out into the gloom of the woodland beyond. Those trees were the physical border between the lands of the Dunmore Clan and those of the Brodie Clan. A place that neither side dared to tread, lest it ignite an all-out war.
Ma said nae to go near…
She hesitated, wondering if that was where the owl had gone. Looking up at the shadowed branches, she saw no sign of it. And yet, there was a soft, strange rustle, coming from the woods. Like boars or roe deer snuffling about in the undergrowth.
By now, the dogs were barking as if they were possessed, ramming at the fencing like they intended to charge right through it. The little girl eyed them, and started to feel a peculiar, chilling sensation creeping up her back. A prickle of fine hairs that warned of something terrible approaching.
I dinnae think there’s a guard tonight.
At her young age, she thought the men of the village only patrolled when her father was given the duty. As he was fast asleep in his bed, snoring so loudly that she hadn’t been able to drift off, she figured there was no one standing sentinel over the village tonight. Unless the owl counted as a guardian.
“What’s that?” she whispered aloud, as her intent stare picked up a hazy orange glow, flitting about between the trunks of the pines.
Is it Wisps?
Her mother had told her many a story about the Will-o’-the-Wisps that lived in those woods—spirits of the vengeful dead, who sought to lead people off the safe path and away to their doom. The little girl had often been suspicious that her mother was only telling her those tales so she wouldn’t wander off into the forest by herself. Now, she was starting to think her mother had been telling the truth.
Dogs bark when there are spirits about. They can sense ‘em.
It was another old wives’ tale that she had heard from her mother, but it was all starting to make sense in her young mind.
Terrified that she might come face-to-face with a ghost, or be led astray by the bobbing glow of the Wisps, the little girl tiptoed backward. She could not afford to be loud, in case they noticed her.
Nevertheless, she kept her gaze fixed on the tree line, as the floating orange light drew closer to the perimeter. More joined the first, and soon, the entire woodland was filled with the burning glow.
The little girl’s heart lurched into her throat as she backed all the way to her hut. She was just about to cross the threshold and rouse her father, so he could protect her from the evil spirits, when one of the orange lights passed across a face. It was only a flash, but the image would be seared into her memory for the rest of her days: a grizzled, monstrous creature, with flaming eyes and twisted lips, glowering at her.
Violently, the monsters exploded out of the forest. A whole horde of them, wielding broadswords bigger than her, and holding blazing torches aloft.
One charged straight for her, nostrils flaring like a bull, with eyes so dark and menacing they could only belong to a demon. With the last shred of courage she had, she opened her mouth and unleashed a chilling scream into the darkness.
“Get back!” her father’s voice bellowed, as he tore out of the hut and leapt in front of her, broadsword in hand. He swung the blade, just as the forest beast swung his, the clash of metal jarring in her ears.
Overcome with terror, the last thing the little girl saw before she fainted was the monster’s chest, emblazoned with a dark red fist clutching a trio of arrows, surrounded by a golden circle that looked an awful lot like a belt.
The crest of the Brodie Clan.
Violent thuds, like the pounding of war drums, boomed through Jack Creighton’s skull. Bang, bang, bang. Still half-asleep, the Laird of Dunmore sat bolt upright in his bed.
“Laird, ye need to wake yerself!” a voice yelled, sending Jack’s heart racing to a frantic beat.
Cursing under his breath, he threw back the covers and ran for the door, rubbing his eyes to try and coax the last bit of sleepiness from them. Drawing back the bolt, he wrenched the door open to find his man-at-arms, Kendrew Murray, hopping like a hare on hot coals.
“It’s bad, Laird. There are folks streamin’ into the castle, carryin’ all they can. I’ve got some lads showin’ ‘em to any rooms what’re empty, but it’s a mess.” Even in the meagre glow of Kendrew’s tallow candle, Jack could see the wild whites of his friend’s blue eyes.
Jack put his hand on Kendrew’s shoulder. “Would ye calm yerself and tell me what’s goin’ on? I cannae understand a word of what’s flappin’ off yer tongue.”
Kendrew took a shallow breath. “Raids and skirmishes, Laird. The villages up at the border, they’ve all been hit. I’ve got lasses and bairns screamin’ down there, that their lads are dead and their houses got razed to the ground. There’re others wailin’ that they were robbed. Anythin’ worth takin’, them bastards nabbed it. And then there’s others sobbin’ their hearts out that their lasses were forced.”
Rage spiked abruptly through Jack’s chest. “Who did it? Did anyone catch a good look at ‘em?”
“There’s a wee lass who saw ‘em attack, up by Crannogan Woods. Damn near died of fright when I tried to comfort her, but Moira took her to one side and managed to get some sense out of her. The lass said she saw a fist full of arrows.”
Jack’s mood darkened. “The Brodie Clan. It’s got to be.”
“Aye, I’d say so. A few others said they thought they saw the colors an’ the crest of the Brodies, but the lass was the only one that saw it clearly.”
“I thought they’d been too quiet of late,” Jack muttered. Those cretins were the thorn in his side that he just could not get rid of.
That stubborn auld dobber willnae see sense ‘til all his men are dead or I teach him a lesson he’ll nae forget in a hurry.
For as long as he could remember, the Dunmore Clan and the Brodie Clan had been locked in a stalemate. Nichol Donaldson, the Laird of Brodie, would send his men to pillage and kill and thieve. In retaliation, Jack—and his father before him—would launch a softer attack, having his men steal livestock and torch empty houses, or catch Brodie men and lash them to the back of their horses with their backsides bare, and slap them back to where they came from.
“It isnae goin’ to end, is it?” Jack hissed, feeling his fury rise like a rash, up his throat. “He willnae listen to reason, and he willnae stop. I cannae understand the man, when it serves neither of us to keep this stupidity goin’.”
Kendrew’s breathing had returned to normal. “He’s envious of ye, Laird.”
“Then why nae share in our prosperity, instead of tryin’ to scupper it at every opportunity?” Jack clenched his hands into fists. “We could trade between us, and all have a piece of fortune, but he willnae have it!”
After his parents’ death six years ago, Jack had worked like an ox to ensure that his clan prospered under his leadership. He had increased the yield of crops and livestock. He had improved sanitation, and the living conditions of his people. He had even gone to other clan chiefs and held a parlay to repair any rifts that his father had torn asunder. All of them had attended, except one. Nichol Donaldson.
“I fixed every mistake my father made. Dunmore Castle has never fared better, and the people have never been happier, but that bampot is determined to rile me up and ruin everythin’ I’ve built here.” Jack shook his head in exasperation. “He’s taken it too far, this time. I’ll nae hear of Dunmore Clan lasses bein’ forced, and I’ll nae tolerate bairns and lasses screamin’ ‘cause their lads are dead. This isnae what I promised me clan, and it isnae what I promised me ma, afore she passed.”
Kendrew squared his shoulders. “What do ye want us to do? Should I round up the lads and take ‘em to hit the Brodies back?”
“Nay, Kendrew.” Jack’s mind raced with ideas. “That’s what Donaldson wants us to do. He’ll take any excuse to attack us harder, next time. What I need to do is make sure there isnae a next time.”
Kendrew frowned. “Call me a doaty, Laird, but I dinnae ken what ye’re sayin’. Are we nae fightin’ ‘em back this time?”
“Donaldson has proven that retaliatin’ disnae make a bit of difference, so I need to be cleverer.” Jack scratched the stubble on his chin, still making up his mind about what would be the best course of action. “I need to see what he’s done. That’ll decide it for me.”
Striding past Kendrew, Jack did not need the glow of a candle to find his way. For twenty-six years, he had called this castle home, and his brown eyes were keener than a fox’s, even in darkness.
His bare feet padded softly through the labyrinth of arching hallways, where torches flickered sporadically in their sconces, lighting his path. Most of the wooden doors he passed had been flung open, where the castle inhabitants had clearly rallied to the desperation of the villagers flooding in.
“Why did ye wait so long to wake me, Kendrew?” Jack said tersely. When it came to his people, he wanted to be the first one to welcome them into the safety of his castle. Yet, it seemed he was close to being the last.
Kendrew hurried to catch up to Jack’s long strides. “I dinnae want to disturb ye ‘til I knew what was goin’ on. Moira only just got the wee lass to talk, else I’d have come sooner.”
“If there is a next time, ye wake me first, d’ye hear?” Jack scolded.
Kendrew nodded, looking sheepish. “Aye, I will.” He paused. “Do ye ken that ye’re nae… properly dressed?”
“Eh?” Jack looked down at his long, white shirt… and nothing else. He had been in such a rush to greet the villagers who had suffered that he had forgotten what he was wearing. Or not wearing.
Rolling his eyes, he ducked into the nearest room with its door open, and found a stray kilt lying on a chair. Plucking it up, he headed back out into the hallway, and kept walking as he wrapped it around his waist. Fortunately, he had the sense to pick up a pin as well, to fasten the tartan into place. The last thing the poor villagers needed to see, after what they had been through, was the sight of their Laird’s kilt falling down.
Soon, he exited a curving stone stairwell and stepped out into the crowded courtyard, where his people thronged together in confusion. Those who lived at the castle seemed to be trying to help those from the outlying villages, but nobody seemed to know where to put them.
Jack headed for a plinth in the center of the courtyard. With his strong arms, he pulled himself up and curved his large hands around his mouth.
“Everyone, heed me!”
The entire courtyard froze and heads turned in his direction. “I’ve just heard what happened, else I’d have been here to help ye sooner.”
A ripple of curiosity drifted through the crowd.
“I ken that a lot of ye are scared, and ye’ve had a fright this night,” he continued. “Dinnae fear, ‘cause there’s room for ye all here, ‘til we can see what’s been done to yer villages.”
In the ensuing silence, his heart wrenched to hear the sound of whimpering children and sobbing women. The menfolk tried to comfort their families as best they could, but Jack knew there had to be many out there who no longer had families.
“Where’s me guard?” Jack peered into the mass of people, and his soldiers immediately marched forward, forming a uniform line. “I want ye to take five families, or lone folk, at a time. Put ‘em in the banquet hall. Castle folk, I need ye to fetch yer spare blankets and give ‘em to me men. Once ye’ve got ‘em, lads, ye share ‘em up between everyone.”
“When the banquet hall is full, put families in the gallery, and in the smaller feasting hall, and then in any empty rooms ye can find. If there’s anyone without a place to sleep after that, I’ll make sure to find somewhere, even if it’s me own bedchamber.”
“I wouldnae mind a night in his bedchamber,” he heard one of the young women whisper. An artillery of stifled giggles followed, but Jack carried on regardless.
“I need all the cooks to start makin’ whatever’s fastest. Ring the gong when it’s ready, and all ye villagers can line up to get yerselves somethin’ hot to eat.” He offered a warm smile to everyone. “It’s goin’ to be cramped for a while, but we’ve been through worse. And the day after tomorrow, we’ll venture out to see if we can get ye back in yer own homes.”
A cheer rose up from the crowd, until their thunderous gratitude rattled in his ears. It was a sound he liked to hear, especially in times like this, but he could take no pleasure from it.
He raised his hands, and they all fell silent again. “This is the least I can do, but I promise ye, I’ll bring these skirmishes and raids to an end. The Brodie Clan have torched their last village.” He hesitated, realizing that what he was about to say might come back to bite him. “I vow to ye, here and now, that this war between the Brodies and the Dunmores will be over by the month’s end. I’ll do what me father couldn’ae. And with it, I’ll secure the peace ye all deserve.”
Another cheer exploded into the chilly night air, but one look down at Kendrew told Jack that he might have made a promise he would not be able to keep. His friend was staring at him as though he had just said he would take the English throne.
Jack leaned toward Kendrew. “Dinnae fret yerself, lad. I’ve an idea brewin’…”
A melancholy wind whistled through the cavernous hallways of Brodie Castle, echoing the pensive mood of the young woman who strolled alone through them. To Lucia Donaldson, the only daughter of Nichol, there was no warmth here.
“What to do today, while Papa is away?” Her full, pink lips cracked into a smile.
I wonder where he went?
She continued on along the corridor and took a winding staircase down to her favorite part of the castle—the library. A substantial collection, acquired in more prosperous times, though her father still purchased her a new book when he could.
Once there, she took a moment to pause and drink in the delicious scent of all those pages, filled to the brim with magnificent worlds, and lives, and loves, and tragedies.
Lucia crossed to the far-right corner of the library. Glancing back over her shoulder, to make sure she was truly alone, she peeled back the heavy, velvet drape to reveal a secret doorway behind.
What adventures shall I enjoy? Let’s find out.
Taking the key from around her neck, she slid it into the lock. Her stomach fluttered with excitement as she heard the soft click that announced it was unlocked.
Opening the door as quietly as possible, she slipped into the darkness beyond and closed the door behind her. She waited for a moment, to hear the sound of the drape swishing back into place, before she carried on down the secret stairwell.
At the bottom of the stairwell, she used her key once more, to open another door. She felt a rush of cold air swell over her, prompting her to pull her woolen cloak tighter around her chin.
I think to venture further today.
She locked the secret entrance that was solely for her use, not knowing what purpose it used to serve.
Lucia ambled along the expansive lawns at her leisure. When her father was away, he rarely came back until evening, so she knew she would have plenty of time to do as she pleased. And, when evening came, she would be able to spend an equally lovely time in her father’s company.
Before long, she came to an imposing yew tree, that stood close to the shoreline of the castle’s pretty loch. Four years’ ago, a black iron fence had been placed around it, to protect the precious treasure that lay beneath the tree.
“Good morning to you, Mama,” she said quietly.
The chilly breeze rustled the branches, as though answering her.
“The leaves are turning red, Mama. They will be dropping soon, and then the snow will come.” She dabbed at her cheek with the edge of her cloak, to wipe away a tear that had fallen without her realizing. “I hope you will be warm enough, down there. It is always bitterly cold in the castle…”
It comforted her to speak to her mother as though she were still alive, though Lucia had been without her for four years now. Many of the castle servants, who saw her having her daily talks, whispered that she must be quite insane, but Lucia did not care. After twenty-three years of being without friends, no mockery could penetrate the thick, invisible hide she had created for herself.
She pressed her fingers to her lips and blew a kiss to her mother’s grave, as though she were blowing dandelion fairies into the wind.
Feeling lighter and heavier at the same time, Lucia continued on with her walk. These daily wanderings cleared her mind, and increased her appetite for delicious food and delightful books. No matter how sparse things were, her father made sure she never went without.
Heading down to the shoreline of the loch, she quickly looked back to make sure no one had seen her. It was not as though she had no say in where she went, but there were some places that she was forbidden. Naturally, that had only made her want to go there even more.
She stooped to pick up a smooth, flat rock. Bringing her arm back, and keeping the rock curved between thumb and forefinger, she twisted her body and let loose the skimming stone. Hitting the water, it bounced once… twice… thrice… and sank into the blue depths with a disheartening plop.
Shuffling along the loch, she reached a rarely trodden path in the trees that lined the shore.
Casting one last look back at the stark majesty of Brodie Castle, with its slanted turrets and worn gray stone, she disappeared into the woodland.
I cannae fathom why Papa is so afraid of me coming here. It is exquisite.
The forest deadened every sound around her and muffled her footfalls. The trees creaked and strained like elderly men trying to rise from an armchair. Nevertheless, she adored the unusual quiet.
“In here, it is as though I am quite alone in the world,” she explained to the pines and the hawthorns and the sprinkling of oaks. A collection of trees that, by rights, should not have resided with one another. And yet, they were the most peaceful neighbors she had ever encountered.
Far more peaceful than neighbors of Brodie Castle.
She sniffed at the thought of those Dunmore brutes. Her father had offered to sit down with the young Laird of Dunmore, who had taken over when his own father had died.
“And what did he do? He refused my dear papa, even though it was the only way to forge a treaty between our two clans! He must be a warring sort of fellow, I imagine. A thug who enjoys the thrill of a fight… and stealing our sheep.”
As far as she knew, her father had been magnanimous in refusing to retaliate. Yet, month after month, livestock went missing, houses and huts were torched, and grains were pilfered from the Brodie stores.
And it isnae as though the Dunmore clan needs such things.
The Dunmores were prospering far better than the Brodies. She figured it must have been a matter of pride for the Laird, or maintaining the tradition of his father—she did not understand the workings of men’s minds.
If there were Ladies ruling instead of Lairds, I do believe there would be complete peace throughout Scotland.
She cast a pointed look at a rabbit that had stopped to stare at her. “Dinnae tell Papa I was thinking that, or he might well burn all my books and give me naught to read but the Holy Book.”
Talking and singing to herself quite merrily, she whiled away a couple of hours on her walk through the seemingly endless woods, though she was careful to never leave the faint path.
“I wouldnae want the Wisps to lead me astray, or the fae to carry me off to their winged king.” She grinned. “Or, perhaps I would, depending on the king.”
Whenever she came into these woods, she could not help but be reminded of her departed mother. After all, her mother was the one who had ignited Lucia’s love for literature and music. Most evenings, when she was a child, they would sit in the library and Lucia would be wide-eyed in wonder, listening to her mother read incredible tales of mythical creatures, brave heroes and heroines, and fierce women who could do anything they set their mind to.
“I miss you, Mama. I try not to be, but I am so lonely without you. I love Papa dearly, but it will never be the same.”
Blinded by the blur of her salty tears, she stumbled on through the woods, going further than she had ever been before. Indeed, she was so unaware of where she was headed that she did not realize she had broken through the tree line until a hazy shape appeared before her.
Blinking furiously to clear her vision, she staggered back as she saw what lay just up ahead.
“Where am I?” she whispered.
In front of her, there was nothing but devastation—the black husks of huts and homes that had been turned to ash.
“The Dunmores must have done this,” she murmured. “This must be one of our villages.” The woods had disoriented her, leaving her with no idea of which direction she was facing.
A movement caught Lucia’s eye. Her heart leapt into her throat as she turned her gaze toward it, trying to figure out what she had seen. Truly, it had looked like a moving shadow, but clearly there was no one alive here.
She put a foot forward, to investigate further, when a streak of black bolted out from the remnants of a hut. Lips pulled back, fangs bared, its dark fur singed, and its eyes mad with rage, the beast barreled toward Lucia.
With her petrified scream piercing the air, Lucia turned tail and fled back through the woods, vowing never to disobey her father again.
Now, she understood why he had forbidden her from coming here. There were some sights in this world that not even the imagination could conjure. Sometimes, terrible things had to be seen to be believed.
The silver-gray horse charged across the heathland, hurtling toward Dunmore Castle. The stallion’s powerful muscles set the rhythm as Jack let the cold morning air wash over him. His thighs burned from gripping the saddle, and sweat beaded upon his spine, making his loose shirt stick to his skin, but there was no freer feeling in the world than this.
I’ll do it tonight. There isnae time to be wastin’.
Unable to sleep with his castle in upheaval, he had taken his horse, Thistle, out for a ride, to try and organize his thoughts. To begin with, he had simply enjoyed the liberty that it offered him.
However, when the sun had risen, it was as though something else had awakened in his mind, roused by the dawn. A solution, to land the ending blow to this incessant fighting with the Brodie Clan.
Relieved that he could keep the promise he had made to his people, he had ridden a while longer before making his way back home. For he knew he would have little opportunity to indulge in this kind of peaceful exercise, once he put his plan into action.
No sooner had he ridden through the castle gates, than he was accosted by a harried-looking Kendrew.
“Where’ve ye been, Laird? I been bangin’ on yer door for the last half an hour, tryin’ to wake ye.” He swept a hand through his russet hair. “I almost called a group of us together to batter yer door down, thinkin’ ye were dead in there or somethin’.”
Jack smiled. “I’ve found us an answer. I’ll tell ye all about it while I’m havin’ me bath. Speakin’ of which, can ye have Moira draw one for me?”
Kendrew grimaced. “She’ll bat me over the heed and tell me to draw it meself.”
“Either way, I’m in need of one.” Jack got down from the saddle and handed the reins off to the waiting ostler. “For what I’ve got in mind, I dinnae want to be stinkin’ of horse.”
Kendrew raised an eyebrow. “Give me half an hour, since I’ll need to get a bandage for me heed.”
Jack grinned at his friend, and watched him hurry away, before making his way up to his bedchamber.
Half an hour later, as promised, Jack sank into a soothing bath of steaming hot water. The moment the liquid enveloped him, he felt his muscles relaxing, and all of the doubts he had been having about his plan drain away.
“So, dinnae leave me waitin’.” Kendrew perched on a stool in front of the bedchamber door, to stop any of the castle ladies from trying to peek in. It had happened a few times and Kendrew chased them away, shooing them like chickens in the yard.
Jack draped his muscular calves over the side of the tub, so the rest of his tall, broad frame could fit more comfortably, and dunked his head under the water. Resurfacing, he slicked his fair hair back from his face and rested his neck on the rim.
“We’re goin’ to kidnap Donaldson’s daughter,” he said, as though it were a simple task. “He’s shown afore that he isnae willin’ to speak with me, but I will make him. The time for bein’ gentle and fair is over. Instead, I’ll hold his daughter hostage until he agrees to stop attackin’ me people. It’s the only way to make him pay for what he’s done on Dunmore land.”
Kendrew gasped. “Och, that isnae like ye, M’Laird.”
“Which is exactly why it’s the only thing we can do,” Jack replied. “Donaldson willnae be expectin’ somethin’ like that. He’ll certainly nae be expectin’ men of mine to take his daughter from his castle. He thinks he’s safe there, and that’s goin’ to be his biggest mistake… after refusin’ to put an end to this.”
Kendrew nodded slowly. “Aye, it’s sneaky, I’ll grant ye that.” He scratched his head thoughtfully. “But there’s a big problem with yer plan, Laird.”
“How are we goin’ to get into the castle?” Jack had already thought of that, for his morning ride had done wonders for his creativity.
“Aye… that,” Kendrew admitted.
Jack splashed some of the hot water on his face, to slough away the last of the sweat. “When I was a lad, I used to fish in their loch without ‘em knowin’. Me father dinnae ken, neither.”
He stretched out his stiff limbs, feeling them come back to life. “Anyway, one summer, it was feverishly hot, so I decided to take a swim. I’d swum near enough to the middle of the loch when I saw two people comin’ out of the castle. Only, they came out of a small, hidden door on the western side of it. Durin’ that summer, I never saw anyone else come out of that door except them.”
“Who were they?” Kendrew leaned forward, his eyes wide.
Jack sighed contentedly. “One of ‘em was a bairn, and the other was an older lass. Judgin’ by their fancy clothes, I’m sure they were Donaldson’s wife and daughter.”
“So, it’s a secret entrance?” Kendrew immediately looked more excited about the prospect.
Jack nodded. “I dinnae ken where it leads to, but if only the Lady and her daughter were usin’ it, it isnae goin’ to lead to the servants’ quarters.”
“When should we do it?” Kendrew seemed to remember his duty and leaned up against the door.
Jack gazed toward the window opposite, where rainclouds were rolling in. “Tonight, under cover of darkness. I’ll be leadin’ it, but I need ye to inform the men: Duncan, Hammond, and Donnelly. Oh, and dinnae go wearin’ any Dunmore colors.”
He knew he was taking a risk by trespassing into Brodie territory himself, lest it incite more bloodshed, but he could not ask his men to do something so dangerous without him. Moreover, he was the only one who knew what Donaldson’s daughter looked like, and he did not want the wrong woman being taken.
“I’ll gather the lads, and tell ‘em what we’re doin’.” Kendrew hesitated. “I’m guessin’ ye dinnae want this gettin’ around the castle?”
Jack nodded. “Aye, we need to keep it quiet. Donaldson might guess who’s taken his daughter, but we dinnae want to make him certain.”
“And this door is where?” Kendrew was a masterful swordsman, and one of the bravest warriors Jack knew, but he could be a little dense sometimes.
I blame all the knocks he’s taken to the head from Moira’s broom.
“Never ye worry about that. I ken the place,” Jack replied. “Now, if ye dinnae mind, I’m goin to have meself a moment’s peace afore dealing with that lass.”
He closed his eyes and let his worries fade. There would be plenty of space for those when he had Donaldson’s daughter in his custody.
By this time tomorrow, he would either have made the best decision of his Lairdship, securing harmony for his people, or he would have shattered any hope of peace between the clans forever.
Did you like this preview? Please, don't forget to leave me a comment below!
Want to see how this story ends?
Rescuing the Highlander's Healer is live on Amazon now!