Loki (The Highland Clan Book 1)(10)

By: Keira Montclair

Alison came over and tugged on her father’s sleeve. “Papa, may I sit with you?”

Brodie let go of his wife’s hand and turned to his youngest daughter with a smile. “Of course you may, lassie.” He swung her up in the air and then plopped her down in his lap with a shriek. He then kissed her cheek and growled, “There’ll be no lads dancing with my sweet lass.” Alison laughed and wrapped her arms around her father. “I love you, Papa.” She had the look of her mother, while Catriona more closely resembled the Grants.

Loki couldn’t help but feel a little envious of Alison. Why was it so easy for his sisters to admit to their feelings?

Another giggling voice caught his notice, and he glanced up in time to see another lad pulling Bella onto the dance floor. He knew why the lads all wished to dance with her, so it did not surprise him. Bella wasn’t just beautiful, she was also as nimble on her feet as his Aunt Gwyneth. Still, it released an ache in him that traveled all the way to his soul.

His sire stood up and grabbed his mother’s hand, and with Alison in his arms, the three of them headed to the dance floor. Loki’s adoptive parents tickled Alison and played with her until she was quite hysterical. There they were for all to see—the perfect example of a loving family. His family. Soon, Catriona ran over to partake in their revelry. Braden was busy with his friends in the corner, eyeing up the lassies.

Where did he fit in? Did he? He ran his hand down his face and closed his eyes to rid himself of the vision of Bella with another lad. Of course he belonged. The Grants had been his clan for over fifteen years. The area near the musicians was full, but not so full that he did not notice when Bella was tugged out the front door by some lad he didn’t know.

He bolted out of his chair so fast, he almost knocked it over. He made his way through the crowd, trying to get outside as soon as possible without being too pushy. It was already dark outside and the cool air hit his face as he searched the immediate area for Bella. He blew on his fingers to warm them up, allowing his eyes to adjust to the darkness. They were not in the courtyard, but a light sound from Aunt Maddie’s garden caught his ears. He turned toward the sound, just in time to hear Bella shout out a loud, “Nay! Leave me be, Evan.”

His feet carried him in the direction of her voice, and when he came upon them, he could see she was struggling with the lad who had led her outside.

“Please, Bella. I just want a wee kiss. You’ve kissed the outsider before. If you do not kiss me, too, I’ll tell all the lads you showed me all you’ve got.” Evan tugged her closer as she tried to push him away.

“Leave me be, you big lout.” She shoved at him as hard as she could and tried to kick him, but it was no use. He would not release her.

That was all it took for Loki’s temper to explode. He rushed forward and grabbed the lad by the neck, then tossed him through the air. Moments later, he landed on top of him and started pummeling him with his fists.

“She’s mine, you rat bastard. You’ll never touch her again.” He punched the lad’s face again and split his lip, sending blood flying through the air.

Bella screamed and tried to grab his arm. “Get off him, Loki. Stop! You’ll kill him. Stop, please!”

Loki heard her, but an unknown force had stolen over him as soon as the words, “Leave me be,” had left her mouth. Hellfire, but someone had to show this Evan that Bella was off limits to him and every other lad on Grant land. What her sire wanted did not matter.

Other noises approached in the background—footsteps and shouts—but he still did not stop. Suddenly, he was grabbed from behind and tossed in front of a nearby tree with enough force that he went flying through the air and hit the ground hard as if he were a wee lad. Grunting as he landed, he was all set to fight back until he saw who had tossed him like he weighed no more than a feather.

Uncle Alex had grabbed him, and Brodie and Robbie were standing right behind him.

Bella’s father followed. “If either lad touched my daughter, I want him whipped. Nay, I’ll whip him myself.”

“Papa, please. Loki was trying to protect me.” Bella slipped over to Loki’s side and grabbed his hand to rub the dirt out of the scraped skin on his knuckles.

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