Lord Keeper

Lord Keeper by Tarah Scott Read Free Book Online

Book: Lord Keeper by Tarah Scott Read Free Book Online
Authors: Tarah Scott
breath and began the tale.
    Twenty minutes later Maude gave into the laughter she had obviously been grappling with from the beginning of the story, and Victoria wondered if all MacPhersons were afflicted with some sort of mental deficit.
    “You mean he just rode off with you?” Nellie asked, wide-eyed.
    Victoria tensed with the memory of her failure to secure freedom. “’Twasn’t so easy for him.”
    “What do you mean?” Maude asked.
    “I spurred his horse on.”
    “You incited the beast?” Maude asked in astonishment.
    Victoria nodded. “I did not wish to go with him.”
    “I do not understand,” Nellie said. “If the laird asked me to go, I would, and without a peep.”
    “ Nellie ,” Maude said.
    “Well, ’tis the truth,” the girl replied. “Not a woman alive would refuse him.”
    “Enough,” Maude said.
    “Faith, but the man is mad,” Victoria muttered.
    “Mad?” The housekeeper’s brow rose in question.
    “What man kidnaps a woman and expects her to swoon at his feet?”
    Surveying the confused expressions of the two women, Victoria realized they thought Iain MacPherson was that man.
     
    * * *
     
    Iain approached the cottage where his captive slept. Dawn was still an hour away, but thoughts of her had lingered through the night, pushing aside the good sense that told him it was better to leave her sleeping.
    He eased open the door and peered into the shadows. Embers cast faint light and the bed lay in near darkness. Iain slipped inside and crept across the room to the bed. Dark hair spilled across slim shoulders and onto the white cover. His body hardened. She should be in his bed. Christ, but the English were too proper.
    Glancing up, he caught sight of a patch of ivory chemise sticking out from beneath the dress hanging over a chair at the table. He looked back at her and realized the bare shoulder was but a sample of the rest. Images of the supple body hidden by a thin blanket flooded his mind and he whirled, headed for anywhere away from her.
    Iain found Thomas, feet propped up on the table in the great hall. “I am leaving,” Iain informed him.
    Attention on the apple he was peeling, Thomas nodded.
    “Is everything ready for my departure?”
    Thomas nodded again.
    “I expect you to watch everything closely.”
    Again, a casual incline of Thomas’s dark head.
    Iain scowled at the lack of attention. “Have you nothing to say?”
    Thomas’s casual shrug was the final straw.
    “What is wrong with you?”
    Thomas still didn't look up from the apple. “I believe, mon ami , you are cheating.”
    “Cheating?”
    The apple was finally peeled. Thomas quartered it and popped a slice into his mouth. He looked up. “You have learned her name?”
    Iain crossed his arms over his chest. “I do not need to.”
    Thomas lifted a piece of apple in salute. “Every woman likes to hear her name, particularly in the dark.” He slid the apple into his mouth with a loud slurp.
    Iain regarded him. “You have been acting strange since I returned. I do not know what you are up to, but take heed. Watch things while I am gone, but do not get too close.” He turned and strode to the door. Hand on the handle, Iain looked over his shoulder. “Why do you say I was cheating?”
    “It has been some time since you went to say your farewell to the lady this morning.”
    “Why not? She is mine.”
    “But she has not yet said yes.” Thomas observed him with mild curiosity. “Unless I am mistaken?”
    “Nay,” Iain pulled the door open, “but I can be quite convincing.”
     
    * * *
     
    The chirping of birds brought Victoria to a slow awareness of unfamiliar surroundings. She pulled the blanket closer around her shoulders. Muted sun filtered through the window, and the clouds looked as if the smallest breeze would bring them plummeting to earth. Was that an indication of what lay outside the cottage walls? She bolted upright. Her keeper could appear any moment to find her still in bed.
    Ten minutes

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