Highland Hellcat(8)

By: Mary Wine



Brina felt shock move through her. Kaie looked at her with eyes that were full of regret.

“I thought that maybe the feeling would pass, but it has done naught but grow and grow, until now, I feel as though I might burst with it.”

Brina was tempted to go to their father in spite of the anger that she knew arguing with him would bring.

“I’ll speak to Father for ye, Kaie.”

Her sister blew out a soft whimper. “Ye were right when ye pointed out that my timing could nae have been worse. Father will nae allow either of us to disobey him. He cannae risk losing face with the other lairds because his daughters won’t obey him.”

Hopelessness invaded the chamber, and Brina felt it keenly.

As the daughters of the laird, they were expected to do their duty just as any boy born on Chattan land. Without remaining strong, the clan might be overrun by another one, and that would mean death for the men and slavery for the women.

She was expected to take her position as a nun, to please the church and God so that the harvest would be good and disease kept away. Brina shivered again, because part of her envied her sister Deirdre for the courage that had seen her embracing what she wished. It would not end well, or at least the chances of her lover becoming her husband were slim at best.

Brina lay down in her bed and offered a prayer of hope for a happy future. She and Kaie seemed destined to make the best of what their father wanted for them, but Deirdre was bold enough to challenge him.

Brina wished that she had more faith in having her prayer answered.

***

If love was insanity, Deirdre was happy to commit herself to the illness. She hoped she never recovered. Melor Douglas cupped her head between his hands, holding it steady while he placed a kiss against her mouth. It was a demanding one that would leave her tender on the morrow. But for the moment she let passion turn the hard touch into something she enjoyed and returned. Melor pressed her down, moving his hands from her face to her chest, where he eagerly cupped the globes of her breasts through the fabric of her robes.

“Let us disrobe…” Deirdre threaded her fingers through his hair and whispered against his ear.

“Nay, I’m hard and needy of yer wet sheath. Hike yer skirts.”

Deirdre frowned, a prickle of worry crossing her mind. Melor had abandoned the sweet touches that he had used to lure her into his embrace, almost in the same moment that she had yielded her purity to him.

“Melor… stop… I will nae be the entertainment for yer men.” She smoothed a hand over the bulge of his biceps. “Send them away.”

He growled at her, his hands grasping her hips with more strength than she liked. His hold bruised, and she gasped with discomfort.

“Ye’ll do what I say, when I tell ye, woman, because I am yer master.”

“Ye are nae yet, no’ until ye see my father.”

Fear was beginning to wind through her, and Deirdre tried to fend it off. Melor was her lover, the man she had braved the night to be with, but he had yet to make good on his word to see her father.

She would be his wife.

It wouldn’t be the first time a Scot had married his mistress. Unlike the English, Scots often followed their passions such as she had. She was as much a Highlander as her brothers or Melor and the Douglas retainers who stood nearby to guard his back.

“I mean what I say, Melor Douglas. It is time for ye to keep yer word and ask my father for me.”

“Is that a fact?” He chuckled, but it was not a kind sound. His hands released her hips, and she stepped away from him.

What she witnessed on his face turned her cold, for there was no sign of the man who had seduced her with kind words and promises of a bright future.

“Ye need a lesson, Deirdre, one that will teach ye that I am yer master and what I want from ye, you will give without quarrel.”

Arrogance twisted his features into a visage that wasn’t nearly as pleasing as she had thought it to be. But she stood up to him, refusing to crumple at his feet.

“Ye promised me that we would wed.” She raised her voice so that his men heard her clearly. “It is the only reason I gave ye my innocence.”

He reached out and tapped her chin with the tip of one finger. “But ye cannae bargain with what ye do nae have any longer, Deirdre Chattan. Better learn that quick and maybe a few more things to keep me satisfied, or ye’ll find yerself discarded like the slut ye are.”

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