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~ TAKEN ~

Dunbartonshire, Scotland, Summer—1603

 

At ten and six, Reid MacGregor only had one person occupying his mind, and she stood at his boot tips preparing him for the dive into Loch Lomond.

“Think ye a bit of treasure might be worth one kiss?” Reid snapped a wink at the lass tying the leather straps at his neck. He ignored the gagging noises Eoin and Fergus made behind them.

Torchlight filled the cavern with a yellow glow and showed the blush tinting her fair skin. She pulled the laces tight. A wee bit too tight. “’Tis just like a MacGregor to bargain without means of payment.”

Mary-Robena Wallace had always been quick of wit, especially when it came to tossing barbs at Reid. She didn’t give him the answer he wanted, but neither did she tell him no.

Anticipation and excitement tickled his stomach. He’d never actually kissed a lass, save for Nanna, and that wasn’t the kind of kiss he wanted to share with Robbie. Nay, he wanted the kind of kiss the kinswomen gave the warriors when they returned from battle. The kind of kiss that involved a wee bit of tongue.

Reid squirmed inside his leather suit, swallowed, and slipped a gloved finger between the ties and his neck to make room for the knot in his throat. But Robbie slapped his hand away, flipped her red-blonde braid over her shoulder, and then picked up a pail of tar off the cavern floor. She smeared the thick black pitch around his wrists and then his ankles, sealing the leather suit to his iron boots so water wouldn’t seep in. The pungent smell of turpentine burned his nostrils as she circled the warm tar around his throat.

Not once did Robbie attempt to hide her dimples as she glued his hair to his neck. He would have to soak in animal fat for a sennight to remove the sticky substance. But it would be worth it if he found evidence of the treasure Robbie’s grandda assured them was in the depths of Loch Lomond. Robbie had mapped out a grid based on her grandda’s theories, and they’d covered more than half the area where he believed a Spanish lieutenant might have hidden treasure he’d stolen from Cristóbal Colón’s new land. In the past three months, they’d found little, save for a boot and a piece of armor.

Robbie’s brother, Fergus, checked the iron weights hanging from the base of the wooden bell-shaped diving barrel then released the crank and eased the wooden vessel into the water until it disappeared from view. “Why would ye be wantin’ kisses from my sister anyway? Robbie has yet to get her titties.”

Emerald eyes flashed just as Robbie slopped a dollop of tar at her brother. “Ye should learn how to hold your wheesht. Grandda will take a switch to your duff for saying such things.” The tips of her ears shone bright red when she looked into the gapping bodice of her wool kirtle and sighed.

Reid wanted to console her, to tell her she would get her titties soon, but he wasn’t that adder-bitten.

Fergus wiped the tar from his round face and turned the crank that lowered the barrel into the water. “All I’m sayin’ is the MacGregor can have any maiden this side o’ the loch. Why would he choose the likes o’ ye?”

Robbie stared at the cavern floor, no doubt hurt by Fergus’s words, but Reid saw something Robbie’s brother didn’t. Robbie was smart. She knew more about the diving barrel at ten and three than the boys combined. And Reid, Eoin, and Fergus were all three years her senior.

The quartet had been friends for forever, but lately when Robbie had occupied Reid’s mind, he no longer saw her as just Fergus’s sister. He saw a blossoming beauty—a caterpillar before her change. He chuckled inside at the comparison, thinking himself besotted and not really caring that Fergus and Eoin thought it, too.

Eoin skipped a rock across the water’s surface. “I can think of at least a dozen things I intend to purchase with the Spaniard’s gold. The first of which will be a pistol to protect the keep from those murderin’ Colquhouns.” His cousin drew up a wad of snot and spit it in the water Reid was about to enter.

“Think ye can blow your hawkers onto the rock?” Of all the habits Eoin had, the way he constantly chucked his snot irritated Reid the most.

Eoin responded by drawing up another lunger and launched it into Robbie’s pail of tar. The wretch had good aim, if nothing else.

“Keep it up, and I’ll drag your arse down with me.”

Eoin shrank back, and mayhap even turned a shade greener. The sop still wasn’t overly fond of water.

Robbie stepped closer and tied a rope around Reid’s waist. The bones in his legs liquefy. She smelled the same as the rest of them, like fish and tar, but when she exhaled, he caught a whiff of the rowan berries she’d eaten on the way to the cavern.

He raised her chin with the tip of his gloved finger and dropped his gaze to her heart-shaped lips. “What say ye, Mary-Robena Wallace? If I surface with proof of the Spaniard’s gold, will ye grant me a taste of your sweet lips?” Da said similar words to a bar wench in a tippling house just before he set out to sea, still Reid felt ridiculous repeating such drivel.

Robbie’s entire face flamed red. Her smile split, exposing teeth too big for her mouth. “Bring me the gold, MacGregor, and I’ll give ye your kiss.”

Heat whipped through his insides just before she pushed him into the pool of frigid water. The slap of cold to his face was quickly forgotten when the weight of his iron boots pulled his legs taut. The rest of his body followed, dragging him downward into a black abyss. The darkness didn’t bother him overmuch, but he’d never been terribly fond of the drop.

Eyes closed, cheeks puffed, he waited for his feet to touch the bottom. Robbie had measured the distance and cut the rope accordingly. The loch bed would come.

Eventually.

Several dives back when Eoin nigh drowned, Reid had learned not to panic, regardless of the pressure popping in his ears, regardless of the tightening in his chest, regardless of the rapid beat of—

His feet connected to the silt floor. A rush of bubbles tickled his face.

Moving his arms side to side, he searched for the diving barrel. Robbie’s calculations were never wrong. In six steps, he found the sides of the wooden drum.

Lungs already burning, Reid swam between the weights hanging from the bottom of the diving barrel and slipped into the hollow. His movements echoed inside the drum. He sucked in cool air but knew better than to dally. Robbie had explained to him last summer how a person’s exhales would quickly turn the air to poison, so he stole a second breath and dove back into the water.

Surrounded by total blackness, he searched the mud and rock for jewels, trinkets, cups, coffers. Any evidence would satisfy Robbie and earn him his kiss.

His pulse remained steady, beating a staccato in his ears. He moved further away from the safety of the barrel, determined to find proof to take back to the surface. Of course, anything valuable would be used to buy their way back into the king’s good graces. Three months had passed since King James had issued the proscription against Reid’s clan.

He returned to the diving barrel often, sneaking bits of air a breath at a time. Mayhap he was being selfish, but he cared little about what his uncle would do with the treasure. All he could think about was that damn kiss.

For nearly a half-hour, he searched the loch bed a square patch at a time. Then something caught his thumb.

Something smooth. Something manmade.

Mayhap the hilt of a sword or a tool. He inspected the area for more and felt the square edge of a large coffer. He wrapped his arms around it, but the strongbox was massive. The Spaniard’s gold was inside. He knew it. Twisting his body, he pulled his knee to his chest and then rammed his iron boot into the rotted wood.

It gave way.

In a mad rush, he stuffed his fingers between the splintered wood and felt something circular.

A coin.

Satan’s stones! Robbie’s grandda wasn’t soft in the skull.

The excitement of his find invigorated him. He could practically hear the blood racing through his veins. Unfortunately, he could also feel the squeeze of his lungs.

He needed air. Now!

Reid wrapped his hand around what he hoped was gold, then pushed water behind him to return to the vessel. He stood inside the drum and filled his lungs with air. One breath, two, then three. He was greedy with the remaining air. Part of him already celebrated his victorious quest.

The MacGregors would no longer be forced to take false names, and the border raids could cease altogether. Da could return to his rightful place as chieftain at Kilchurn Castle, and Reid wouldn’t have to stomach another day watching Eoin flaunt his status with the warriors on the training field. Being the appointed chieftain’s son had swollen Eoin’s head to annoying proportions.

Reid’s mind raced full circle, leading him back to the one thing he’d been dreaming about since the day Mary-Robena Wallace batted her cinnamon lashes at him—that kiss.

With the hand not fisted around his small treasure, Reid located the horn Robbie had fastened to the top of the drum. He inhaled and blew three times, anxious to rise to the surface.

Would she kiss him, or would he have to kiss her? And how did one go about starting a kiss? Was he supposed to smash both his lips to hers? Was he supposed to suck her top lip and she his bottom? Or was it the other way around? And when exactly was he supposed to use his tongue? He struggled with all the options while he held tight to a crossbar over his head and waited.

Nothing happened.

“Raise the barrel,” he yelled and emptied his lungs into the horn again.

But no one turned the crank. No one gave the rope around his waist a swift tug as was their signal. Nothing happened.

Unable to prevent his panic, Reid inhaled through his nose in short, quick draws. How long did he have before the air turned to poison?

He blew on the horn again and counted to sixty.

Still, nothing.

He put the coin in his mouth, slipped out from beneath the rim, and reached for the rope attached to the top of the barrel. Hand over hand, Reid pulled himself toward the surface. His iron boots felt like boulders beneath him. Even if he thought he could get them off, the water would leak into his leather suit, and Nanna would make him drink that wretched tonic to prevent him from passing a fever onto his half brother and sister.

His head grew light, his body weak, but anger kept his arms pulling him upward. He would put the itching weed in their plaides and toads in Robbie’s bed. Nay. Spiders. Robbie hated the wee creatures.

Light rippled above him, still meters away. He felt the tearing in his chest. His body demanded he breathe, but he bit on the coin and pulled himself toward the surface.

Seconds later, he burst out of the water and gasped for fresh air, nearly choking on the coin lodged between his back teeth. He spit the gold piece into his hand. “God’s legions! I’ll tar and feather each one o’ ye cockgnats.”

Before he could push the hair from his eyes, two massive hands clutched the shoulders of Reid’s leather suit and yanked him out of the water. “’Tis good to see ye’ve not lost your spirit, son.”

“Da?” Reid was only slightly surprised by Da’s appearance. While the clan thought Calum MacGregor a coward for not fighting the Colquhouns, Reid always knew Da would return from sea and to his rightful place as chieftain. Eoin would be furious. “Did ye come back to lead the clan?” Reid asked hopeful.

“I came back for ye and none too soon.”

Reid followed Da’s gaze to a man slumped over against the rock wall. Reid recognized the Colquhouns’ blue and green plaide. At his feet lie Fergus, sprawled out on the cavern floor with a wound opening him from gullet to navel.

Christ! Fergus! His thick fingers clutched the butt of a club and blood soaked the green and red crossbarred garment he wore so proudly. His round face was grey, save for the bright red blood pooled in his mouth. He was dead.

Tears blurred Reid’s vision as salty bile crawled up his throat. Why? Why Fergus? He pinched his eyes tight, bent over his knees, and vomited onto the cavern floor.

A high-pitched scream knifed through his ears.

Robbie.

Reid’s heart pounded against his ribs. Wiping his mouth, he scanned the cavern, but the hollows were empty. “Where are the others? Eoin and Robbie?”

“They ran. Come, we must make haste.” With one hand fisted around his bloody basket sword and the other clamped around Reid’s wrist, Da pulled him out of the cavern and into the dying light of dusk. A massive black mare stood at the mouth of the cavern, saddled and waiting.

Another scream ripped down the knoll.

Reid’s heavy feet froze in place. “Robbie,” he whispered and looked up the hillock where the mist spread over the ancient standing stones. Wind slowly pushed the haze aside and exposed two Colquhoun warriors garbed in blue and green plaides. One of them held a torch while the other scabbit pinned Robbie to the ground with a foot on her back.

“No!” Reid yelled and broke free of his da. He ran toward the enemy, forcing the muscles in his legs to bear the heavy weight of his boots.

The Colquhoun pulled an iron rod from the torch; its tip glowed like a tiny sun.

“Let her alone!” Reid clawed up the base of the hillock not caring that they saw him. Terror gripped his insides. He shook. He cried.

Robbie stared at him, her mouth stretched wide, but her scream was silent when they laid the rod across her cheek.

“No!” he roared, just as the Colquhoun stepping on her back started toward him, sword drawn. Reid would kill him; he didn’t care that the man was twice his size. He would rip the flesh from his bones and burn it. “Ye bastard! I’ll—”

The remainder of his curse was forced from his lungs when two hands yanked him off the ground and laid him belly down over the neck of a monstrous steed.

“I’m taking ye to a better place, son. A land that knows less hatred.”

“But what of the clan? Of Nanna?” What of Robbie?

“I cannot save those who dinnae want to be saved.”

“Ye can save Robbie!” Reid kicked his heavy legs and flailed his arms, but he remained trapped in Da’s grip. “I cannae leave her behind.” Reid sobbed as Robbie’s cries lessened behind them, drowned out by the thunderous hoof beats pursuing them.

CHAPTER ONE
~ REUNION ~

Early Fall—Eleven years later

Robbie gasped for air. Not because the devilishly braw man squatting over her stole her breath, but because her lungs were on fire from the dive.

She held tight to the rock ledge and wiped her eyes enough to study him. Clean black hair, long lashes, thick brows—one of which was currently raised—strong jaw and perfect lips far too sensual for a man.

“Holy Loki!” Recognition nigh stopped her heart in her chest. She would know those silver eyes on a troll. The last person she expected to await her when she rose from the dive was…“Reid MacGregor.” Alive and in the flesh—sun-baked flesh.

She’d prayed for his soul when she hadn’t been cursing him to Hell and back. She’d thought him dead all these years. It was easier to accept than the fact that he and his da had abandoned the clan.

Wherever he’d been, it hadn’t been on a battlefield. Not one scar marked his clean-shaven face, and his nose was arrow straight. She didn’t know any man who hadn’t had his nose broken at least twice.

Starting at his pinkie, he rolled a coin from knuckle to knuckle, then caught the piece of gold between his thumb and index finger. “I’ve come to collect my kiss.”

She gawked at him, recollecting their bargain, but she needed no time to form her opinion. Ye pompous, craven-born scut. I would sooner kiss a bluidy sow than the likes o’ ye. Robbie could practically feel her tongue forking inside her mouth, but just as she might have tossed a barb or two—or three—at him, Reid hauled her out of the water and onto the cavern floor with a thunk of her iron boots.

The man might be as strong as an ox, but she took great satisfaction in knowing she nearly met his height.

“God’s legions, Robbie. You’re all legs,” he jested with a twinkle in his eyes and pushed the hair from her face. A darkness stole his merriment in an instant when his gaze settled on the scar—the brand that marked her as a MacGregor.

The same brand she’d lived with since the day he left. She cupped her cold cheek and turned away. She hadn’t hidden her scar in years and damned him for making her do so now. “Leave.”

“Robbie, I’m—”

She waited, thinking he might beg her forgiveness, but no words followed. “Leave. Go back where ye came from.” With trembling fingers, she bent and released the latches on the boots then poked her frigid feet into the same pair of brogues she’d worn since she was ten and six. She refused to think about what could have been and peeled the laces out of the tar at her neck. She stripped out of the leather suit which left her standing in her thread-bare kirtle. Blood stained the skirt where she’d cleaned a rabbit a sennight ago and tar clung to the bodice, making her look like a filthy beggar.

Robbie peeked over her shoulder to assess Reid’s finery.

He wore no plaide. Instead, he was garbed in violent colors; a purple surcoat clung to his broad shoulders over a white lèine shirt. Tight black breeks tucked into shiny black boots rolled to a perfect crease at the knee. Two red sashes painted more color into the ensemble—one at his waist, the other at his knee. What purpose they served she knew not, lest it was to hide his weapons.

S’truth, he looked like a giant jester. He belonged at the border faire, not here. She would never admit it aloud, but she envied his obvious good fortune. Why would he return to this bleak land, if he’d found prosperity?

Little thought was needed for her to answer her own question. He’d come back to claim the chieftainship. “Eoin leads the clan now. Ye’ve no place here.” She tucked herself inside her arisaid, wrapping the wool tight around her and fighting the need to shiver. Her jaw ached from the effort it took to keep her teeth from chattering. When she tried to step passed him, he grabbed her arm and drew her close.

He was warm. So warm.

Silver eyes rimmed with sapphire blue held her gaze. “I did not return to lead the clan. I came for you.”

For me? Blast him! Robbie reared back and slapped him hard. Her next two heartbeats seemed to pass painfully slow. The stinging crawled into her hand as Reid rolled his head atop his shoulders and wiped a drop of blood from his lip. He said nothing, but his gaze fell, and the rise and fall of his chest increased the longer they stood in silence.

“Ye have no honor, and ye dinnae deserve me. Ye are a coward the same as your da.”

“Da was not a coward,” he defended, but not in a harsh voice.

Trembling, Robbie jerked out of his grasp. “Nay? What other name would ye give a man who flees his people, knowing his enemy intended to seize his lands?”

“’Tis not true. Da did not flee. He went in search of a better place.” Denial darkened Reid’s pale eyes.

She assessed him from the top of his head to the tips of his polished black boots. “Well, I suspect he found it.”

“He did, and I want to take ye there, Robbie.”

Galled by his assumptions, she retrieved the torch and stomped toward the mouth of the cavern. Blast him to Hell and back! The man had dung for brains if he thought she would just leave with him. Too many people depended on her. The same people he’d left behind.

She rubbed her stinging hand against her skirt and demanded her quivering legs to carry her far away from Reid bluidy MacGregor. Turning her back to him, she exited the cavern into a night black as pitch.

A dark-skinned demon stepped into her path.

She dug her heels into the dirt. Her breath turned into a lump in her throat. She held the torch in front of her, more as a weapon than a means of light.

The man blocking her way wore a heavy fur and was like no one she’d ever seen. He was bald, save for a single black tassel of hair atop his head. His skull was marked with black symbols, and his face was pierced with bits of ivory. Or were they bones?

Grandda had told her stories of the savages from the New World, but the man before her didn’t resemble the image she’d conjured up from the tales.

He reached out to touch her hair.

Robbie reared back, her pulse quickened in her throat and nigh burst through her neck.

Sak kan woman?” His black eyes shifted from her face over her shoulder.

“Aye.” Reid positioned himself beside her. “This is Mary-Robena Wallace. Robbie, meet Yaxkin. He is known by his people as Running Spirit, but I call him Jax.”

Running Spirit? What breed of man bore the name Running Spirit?

This man, Running Spirit…Yax…Jax, cocked his head and studied her. He raised her skirt off the ground and bent to examine her feet, then without warning he squeezed her small breast.

“Ack!” She jerked backward and was about to shove her torch up his nose when Reid latched onto the savage’s wrist.

“Nay.” Reid calmly eased him back. “’Tis not their way.”

Jax shrugged. “Sak kan woman, too bek´ech.”

She blamed curiosity for why she remained in their circle and turned toward Reid. “What is a sak kan woman?”

Sak kan means white serpent.” Reid’s mouth lifted at the corner into a crooked grin. “The Mopán people call me White Serpent.”

Jax pointed at Reid. “White Serpent.” Then he pointed at Robbie. “White Serpent’s woman.”

“Nay.” Robbie held out her hand and shook her head. “I. Am. Not. White Serpent’s woman.”

Jax’s smile deepened the lines at his eyes. “Then I call you C'ak'is Ak'.

The heathen insulted her. She could tell by the way Reid laughed. “What did he call me?”

“Fire Tongue.”

Robbie growled between her clenched teeth, then stomped away. “S’help me Odin. If I had a blade…”

* * *

“I suspect my Robbie is not fond of her new name.” Reid walked alongside Jax, following a grumbling Robbie at a distance up the hillock and into a blinding mist. Nay longer was Mary-Robena Wallace a wean to be certain. In truth, she’d aged quite nicely. Reid fiddled with the gold doubloon he’d found years ago and wondered how much groveling it would take to convince Robbie and her grandda to come with him.

Picturing her long legs on the Yucatán’s white sandy beach made him ache in places a man didn’t need to be aching given her obvious disdain for him. If he could get her on the ship, he would take her back to Rukux and away from this cold barren place. He would show her a new land. A warm land filled with exotic fruits and food aplenty. But he was far from deluded. It would take more than a ripe guava to get her stubborn arse on the Obsidian.

He would have to tell her about the gold.

“Fire Tongue scrawny.” Jax’s blatant opinion interrupted Reid’s musing. “Too thin. Not like Black Dove.”

Jax’s woman was full of figure, so Reid couldn’t argue the comparison. He’d seen skeletons with more flesh than Robbie. He’d caught a glimpse of her sharply defined collarbone before she covered herself with her arisaid, not to mention the hollows beneath her high cheek bones. Robbie’s grandda needed to spend less time with his experiments and more time putting meat in the kettle.

Reid hesitated on that thought. When he and Jax first arrived, they’d gone to Kilchurn Castle only to find the keep had been taken over by scores of Colquhouns. Cautiously, they’d climbed the bailey wall protecting the stronghold and paid visit to Argyle Wallace’s small cot-house, but Robbie’s childhood home had new occupants.

What other name would ye give a man who flees his people, knowing his enemy intended to seize his lands? Robbie’s words echoed through his head. He knew she was wrong. Da had tried to save them, but they’d called him a coward and accused him of madness. S’truth, it was madness to think Da could have saved the entire clan.

Argyle Wallace had been one of Da’s accusers. Only now did it occur to Reid that Robbie’s grandda might have passed. He’d been feeble eleven years ago, always complaining about his aching bones. Her mam had died when Robbie was a wean, and her da died fighting the Colquhouns not long after. She had no one else. If Argyle was dead, how long had Robbie been on her own? And where was the rest of the clan?

Jax shivered beside him, causing the bones in his ears to rattle. “We steal White Serpent’s woman and go back to the Yucatán. Too cold here.”

“Aye, Scotland is not—”

Nok ol.” Jax’s hand flattened against Reid’s chest.

He narrowed his eyes, searching for the enemy. His instincts sharpened instantly. The first of which was to protect Robbie. He strained against Jax’s hold, but stilled as he watched the flame of her torch bob up the hillock then dissipate into the fog.

The mist prevented him from seeing more than ten feet in any direction, so he tuned his ears to his surroundings.

The hoof beats of multiple riders circled them. The rattle of harness jingled, then the smell of horseflesh thickened beneath his nose. A horse’s whinny didn’t hide the whisper of blade hissing from its sheath.

Positioning himself back to back with Jax, Reid retrieved his basket sword and waited for the enemy ghosts to show themselves. He’d never been one for warfare, but few surpassed his skill as a hunter. However, the land in Scotland was different than the jungle he’d grown accustomed to. Still and all, he’d cut his fighting teeth on this land.

The tip of a sword broke through the mist before the Scot holding the weapon came into focus. Three other men materialized on horseback behind them, each wearing the plaide.

“Lay down your weapons and state your name.”

After overhearing a few vagrants blathering in Skelmorlie where Reid had anchored the Obsidian, he knew the edict against the clan was strictly enforced. Any man bearing the name MacGregor either renounced it or suffered pain of death.

“Duncan Montgomery,” Reid lied, giving the name of a Scottish laddie employed on the Obsidian.

The bastard raised Reid’s chin with the tip of his sword. “Ye dinnae look like a Montgomery.”

“This one is no son o’ Scotland to be certain,” another man added behind him the same time Jax disappeared from Reid’s rear guard. His Mopán friend had earned the name Running Spirit for a reason. Jax would hold his enemy’s heart in his hand before the wretch realized it no longer beat inside him.

Just then a man vanished from atop his steed with a grunt followed by a boyish scream.

“Cease! Cease!” Robbie burst into their circle. Torchlight exploded on the scene and shone down on a frightened lad sprawled on the ground. Jax held the boy by his throat with one arm, while his other raised hand was poised with lethal intentions.

“’Tis the devil,” the boy choked and squirmed like a beetle trapped on its back.

“Please.” Robbie turned to Reid. “’Tis Shane.” Her voice trembled, and her torch cast shadows beneath eyes filled with fear.

Shane was still in the nursery when Reid last walked these lands. ’Twas no doubt the lad was wishing for Nanna’s skirts right now. “Release him, Jax. He’s my half-brother.”

Grinning, Jax pulled Shane to his feet, wrapped thick arms around the lad and squeezed. “White Serpent’s brother, my brother, too.”

“Brother?” Their presumed leader cocked his head and studied Reid further. “Who the devil are ye?”

“’Tis Reid MacGregor,” Robbie supplied, her wide green eyes fixed on the man still holding a blade on Reid. Her delicate brows drew tight in the middle, and she held the corner of her bottom lip between her teeth.

When he realized she was fretting over his well-being, he warmed inside and out. His smile couldn’t have been more ill-timed.

“Reid MacGregor, aye.” The Scot sheathed his sword and spit a wad of mucus at Reid’s boot tips. “’Tis been a long time. To what honor are we privy to your return, cousin?”

“Eoin?” Recognition took hold. Reid’s cousin was no longer a gangly grunt. S’truth, the man had grown into a bull.

The warble of a fake bird sounded in the woodland. ’Twas a signal, one he’d used in his youth to call upon his kinsmen just before a raid. It seemed the MacGregors were still reaping mayhem across their borders. Years ago, they’d run the raids to repel their enemies from Kilchurn Castle, but Reid suspected the reasons were altogether different now.

Much had changed.

However one thing stayed the same. Eoin still held the same confident demeanor he had in their youth. His cousin didn’t seem the least bit concerned with Reid’s return.

“Join us. ’Twill be like old times.” Eoin cocked a crooked grin and ran his narrowed gaze over Jax. “Bring your friend. He has proven to be resourceful.”

Reid looked at Robbie and wished she would walk away with him. He wished he didn’t have to prove himself according to their code. “I did not come here to pillage. I came for…”

Robbie glared at him and shook her head. A warning.

One he did not take. “…Robbie.”

Silence followed. Every man atop his steed stared at Eoin.

The man drew up another hawker and blew this one over his shoulder. “And what makes ye think my Robbie would be goin’ anywhere with ye?”

My Robbie?

Reid’s gut fell to his toes. He immediately searched Robbie’s hand for a ring, but she wore gloves. He thought he’d prepared himself for every possibility, even her death. He’d vowed to not interfere should he find her married with bairns. If she’d given herself over to the Church, he swore he wouldn’t take her from the cloister. However, finding Robbie wed to his cousin had not been a scenario he’d prepared for.

He should leave. He needed to think. “I have gold.”

If his offer tempted Eoin, the man hid his reaction. He scrubbed his beard, lingering a moment in thought, then pulled the slack from his steed’s reins. “We’ve gold as weel. We just have to steal it.”

He turned to Shane. “Lend your brother your horse.”

“Aye, m’laird.” Shane immediately complied and awaited further instruction.

“Gather the clan at Leckie’s old estate and put the fattest calf on the spit. Let them know their lost son has returned, and we’ve reason to celebrate.” Eoin pulled Robbie onto the back of his steed. “Let’s ride.”

 

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ISBN-13: 978-1461149163
ISBN-10: 1461149169
ASIN: B0050VQCH4

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Caribbean scot

ISBN-13: 978-1461149163
ISBN-10: 1461149169
ASIN: B0050VQCH4

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"Kimberly Killion does it again! Vivid characters, compelling conflict and delicious sensuality blend with high adventure to make Caribbean Scot a must-read. Don't miss it!"

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