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Authors: Spring Stevens

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BOOK: A Warrior's Perception
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Andra ran like a woman possessed back to the gathering, back to Crimm, back to the safety of his side. She slowed her pace as she rounded the last shrub and with head held high she went straight to Crimm. She smiled softly as he met her gaze. He instantly knew something was wrong. He frowned as he noted that her cape was gone and she looked a little frazzled.

Before Crimm could speak she did,

I'm tired. Can we go home?

Crimm held his breath as he looked upon his little sister; she was in distress and was almost begging to leave. He knew she was by far able to take care of herself if the situation should arise, but now he worried. Did she know enough about men to keep her from
her head in a heated kiss?

He noted her red, obviously crushed lips and her flaming cheeks. The mist in her eyes told a scary tale. He knew the look; he knew the passion in her eyes. He had the same look when he was lying with a woman. Many a woman had confessed that he looked like an angel when he was making love to them, that they wanted nothing more than to drown in his misty eyes sure that they would go to Valhalla for loving him.

What happened?

he growled as he took her arm.

Nothin'! I just want to go home,

she answered sternly.

Crimm turned to walk with her and his eyes fell onto a sight that made him quiver in his boots. His heart caught in his throat as he felt Andra tremble under his fingers.

Oh bloody hell! Kagan! How the hell did he end up with that damn cape?

Andra darted behind Crimm's back as Kagan stepped into their path. The fury of a thousand hells was clearly written across his dark expression even though he had a smile curling on his lips.

Crimm stood his ground as he slightly bowed his head,


It is good to see ye my friend, but it is with heavy heart I came to find ye,

the laird stated as he handed the cloak to Crimm. Kagan's devilish grin appeared as Crimm frowned down at the cloak.

Ye almost failed me. Had I na ventured forth when I did yer oath would ha'e surely been broken this night. Seems yer sister has an undeniable desire to find a lover to take to nest.

Kagan made the announcement as if she were not in their presence.

Andra steamed and stepped out from behind her brother,

Ye liar! Ye'r a cold blackguard. An insufferable beast! An arrogant, self-indulging, perverse, womanizing coward.

Hold yer tongue sister!

ordered Crimm.

The laird still held his grin as he lazily looked upon Andra. Her nostrils flared as he spoke to Crimm and stared into Andra's eyes,

Take her home and lock her in her chambers. I will arrive in the morn to assure myself that she is still intact.

Still intact! If I had'na kneed ye … ye blasted parts, I would still be in yer arms with yer hands blatantly roamin' my body!

she hissed as she stepped closer to the man whom she wanted to kiss again.


Kagan demanded softly to the woman who stood before him.

To the damned one with yer orders!

She dared to defy,

Who do ye think ye are? Laird or na, I am ‘na yers to command!


gritted Crimm through clenched teeth,

Still yer tongue least he should cut it out. He is yer betrothed and commands ye with the right bestowed upon him!

Andra's jaw dropped as she stared into Laird Kagan's gray steel eyes,

Nay! Nay it is ‘na true.

Aye, dear Ell'andra, it is true by my oath and by yer father's for nigh three years now.

The devil smiled in triumphant and bowed to her as the color drained from her cheeks and the world tilted on its axis. The short trip back to the carriage was nothing less than a whirlwind as she tried to swallow the bitter news of her promised hand.

She sat in utter silence as the wooden carriage carried her homeward. Crimm said nothing and showed no sign of emotion as she contemplated her fate. Would she be beat, throttled, starved, or have to suffer his laird's punishment again? Her head suddenly ached and her eyes misted. She would run away before he arrived. She would jump the ledge, ride out across the hillside where?

The carriage came to an abrupt halt in front of Shinonoble Keep and she quietly slipped inside. She retreated to her room, sullen and downtrodden, but not completely broken, not yet, not ever! She would be damned before a man would best her in anything. He would not do to her what he had done once before. Her face lit on fire as she recalled the scene in the stables.

Her throat ached in rage as she heard Grace's voice echo in her mind. The floodgate opened as she remembered every detail of that night and she groaned under its weight. She needed a plan, a fail proof plan to rid herself of the laird.

My fate cannot be in the arms of that rogue!

Chapter 4

Morning arrived and Andra dressed in black, from her black veil to her black satin slippers. Her silver jewelry was embellished with onyx stones the color of the night’s sky. She was fit to attend a funeral and fully expected it to be her own by the end of the day. Her gown outlined her figure leaving little room for imagination as it fell from her shoulders revealing the bronze skin of her neck, the swell of her cleavage, and the defiant rage in her heart.

She waltzed down the stairs to find Kagan awaiting her arrival at the bottom. She rolled her eyes and sidestepped him, going to the table that had been set in the center of the massive ballroom. Sitting in silence, she began to eat, painfully aware that four sets of eyes were scrutinizing her every move.

Her father gripped his chair with white knuckles. Crimm chewed furiously at his meat and Aran, her other brother stared in awe at her. His deep curiosity of her behavior was evident on his face. Kagan drummed his fingers on the tabletop as he sat down and eyed her. She laid her silver-wear down and choked the remainder of her bread down before she rose from her chair.

Stealing a glance at Kagan, she swallowed hard. He wore a loose fitting tunic that did nothing to conceal his muscular body. A body that she really wanted to get her hands on. She swallowed again and bit her tongue making herself stop the fantasy that was threatening her defiance.

If ye will excuse me, I ha'e things to attend to,

she stated.

Sit down!

ordered Kagan. The anger in his eyes perfectly matched the rage in his voice.

She looked at her father with pleading eyes,

Father, are ye goin' to let him speak to me like that?

Sit child,

he said quietly refusing to look at his daughter,

As ye'r betrothed orders.

Andra pushed her chair back in defiance and slammed her fist down onto the table. The three male Duncans looked to Kagan as he stood preparing to pounce on his prey. Her heart tightened in her chest and rage filled her eyes; they had decided her fate and she did not even get a say in it.


he commanded in a voice that shook the massive old stone walls of Shinonoble.


she hissed in retaliation.


he replied in harnessed anger.

Make me,

she screamed as she ran for the door with skirts in hand.

She flew around the corridor and down the hall to the back entrance through the kitchen. Jumping the steps like a gazelle, she blindly headed for the stables. She caught sight of the black steed that she knew belonged to Kagan. With a broad smile and sure she would escape the devil that she knew was on her heels, she flung the stall door open and mounted his broad back. He snorted in excitement as she urged him from the stall and out of the stable.

She saw Kagan out of the corner of her eye as Demon bolted under her. Her smile vanished as Kagan whistled and Demon came to a halt at his master's command. She fumed as she slid off of the warhorse and quickly tried to find an escape route. Disappointment etched itself across her brow. With wide eyes, she stared at his horse. Not one horse in the whole of the highlands had ever denied her wishes! It just figures that the animal would end up being like his black-hearted master!

His voice slammed into her mind and teased her defiance,

Demon will'na succumb to ye'r desires so ‘tis pointless to run.

Appropriate name for the devil’s horse!

Gi'e me a second's head start and ye will see that he will obey me!

  She smiled as venom poured from her eyes.

It is high time ye do as ye are told and start actin' like a lady that is betrothed to a McKregan!

His eyes were unwavering as was his stance.


she whispered through gritting teeth.


he ordered sternly as he grabbed her arm and jerked her to his side.

Keep this up and ye will meet a demon the likes of which ye will na survive.

I already met that demon and he donna scare me! Let me go!

He pulled her reluctant body back to the keep and into the kitchen. The cooks and maids dared not look upon the laird and quietly went about their business as Andra begged them to help her. They silently shook their heads in fear and offered no compassion to their young mistress.

Why ye doin’ this? I am na virgin and donna want to be wed to ye! Ye are a callous
and ye lack the morals of a sea urchin!

Kagan gritted his teeth; no woman had ever dared to deny him.

Ye will refrain from speaking to me in that manner woman or ye will suffer my punishment!

BOOK: A Warrior's Perception
5.07Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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