Highland Storm

Highland Storm by Tanya Anne Crosby Read Free Book Online

Book: Highland Storm by Tanya Anne Crosby Read Free Book Online
Authors: Tanya Anne Crosby
stranger a look of disdain as she caught her cloak, relieved to find that he meant to keep his distance.
    God’s truth, it had never suited her overmuch to be told what to do. Her father would never have done so—nor would her brothers, save Lulach—and Lulach, not until the day he’d sold his soul to the Scots. But, aye, she was bloody cold—cold enough that her teeth were banging like drums behind her shivering lips.
    Clenching her jaw to keep her teeth from chattering, she scooted backward, and tried to stand as the man’s mail-clad companion came skidding to a halt. Belatedly, Lianae realized that her ankles—and the bruises thereon—were exposed and she drew her feet beneath the folds of her gown, concealing them from prying eyes. She was far less concerned about her cleavage than she was about her bruises. The cleavage could prove to her advantage; the bruises would merely decry her weakness—not that it made any difference to a man who answered to his todger. The newest Scot to arrive was also dressed in David’s livery, and she eyed them both with no small measure of contempt.
    It was all because of David mac Mhaoil Chaluim that she was in this untenable position. Before David, she and her family had lived a quiet, peaceful life, dutifully tending their manor. No matter that her lineage had been disparaged and that her kinsmen’s’ arses no longer stood a chance to warm that stupid stone at Scone, they’d all been quite content to live their lives in peace. Now Graeme and Ewen were both at large and Lulach had his nose so far up the Earl of Moray’s arse that Lianae doubted he could smell aught more than dung.
    “Ouch,” she cried as she tried to rise. Pain shot through her right ankle—though not because of the bruises. This ache was new.
    What a craidhneach she was coming to be!
    Wretched though she might be, she somehow found her way to a standing position, dragging the cloak up with her and swinging it about her shoulders.
    Blood tinged the snow beneath her toes, but Lianae pretended not to see it. Her knees felt scraped as well, though she daren’t complain about that either as she drew the heavy cloak around her shoulders, brushing off the snow, and praying to any God who would listen that these men would give her no cause to run.
    She had a dagger strapped to her thigh. She kept it with her always, and no one ever knew it was there, unless she undressed before him, and that she had yet to do for any man, although the earl had come dangerously close on the morning he’d murdered her sister. If Lulach had not stopped him and convinced him to wed her first, she would have plunged her dagger into his back whilst he’d tried to put his manhood in a place it did not belong.
    “Well, now,” said the new arrival. “What have we here?” In his hand, he brandished a great sword that was nearly as tall as Lianae.
    In one swift motion, Lianae reached behind her, beneath the hem of her dress, plucking her dagger out of its sheathe. She held it before her and warned both men. “Your worst nightmare if ye dare to touch me.”
    For a moment, both men remained silent, staring at her stupidly, and then, the black haired demon with the braided hair and the woad on his face and neck, dared to laugh out loud and Lianae shot him a baleful glare. “Rude mon! Most wee ones outgrow the need to paint pictures on themselves by the time they reach the age of five. Di’ ye never outgrow it, or are ye one of those cod biters I’ve heard tell about?”

    C od biters ?
    It took Keane a full moment to discern what it was she was talking about—and more, why any man would wish to bite a pillow. And furthermore, aside from his own kinsmen, he had never met any man who’d ever painted their flesh, save for a handful of priests, and, to the best of his knowledge, they didn’t own any pillows. They slept on bare cots. A man could only bite a pillow with his arse in the air, and—
    Cameron beat him to the realization,

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