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Highland Wolf Pact:Compromising Positions(13)

By:Selena Kitt





Now that they were here, silvermoon in hand. Kirstin wondered if it had  been such a good plan. Raife scowled at the interruption, which wasn't  an unusual expression for him lately, but it was a dark scowl. His mood  had shifted suddenly from somber to wary as Sibyl approached. Kirstin  felt as if she was watching some priceless vase toppling back and forth,  waiting to see if it would fall or right itself again, unable to do  anything but observe.



"You, too, Donal." Sibyl smiled at the laird, remembering him only when  he greeted her warmly, and Kirstin saw instantly that this was a  mistake. Raife's scowl deepened as he glanced between the two of them,  and she saw the green of jealousy move into his eyes.



Sibyl went on, not realizing, holding out the plant leaves as a peace offering.



"It's silvermoon," Sibyl announced happily. "Moira said it's always been  used at the wolf pact ceremony, to bind things, and I thought-"



"Ye thought what?" Raife's lip curled in anger. "Ye'd come down 'ere on  sacred ground and violate t'wulver's ancient first den t'bring me some  leaves?"



"Well, I..." Sibyl hesitated, glancing back at Kirstin. "I was told... a wulver woman usually brings them..."



"Ye're nuh a wulver," Raife reminded her coldly, straightening and  crossing his big arms over his chest. "And ye do'na have business 'ere."



"Raife," Kirstin protested, seeing the crestfallen look on Sibyl's face.



"'Twas a kind thought, Sibyl." Donal reached out and touched the Englishwoman's arm. "Thank ye. Leave it on t'altar."



"I brought the new spring mead instead," Raife told Sibyl as she brushed  by him to put the leaves on the altar next to two cups and an uncorked  bottle. "We do'na

need the silvermoon."

Sibyl didn't answer him. She walked by, head held high, moving toward  Kirstin, who was the only one who saw the tears she was blinking back.  She also saw the look of pain flash over Raife's face as he looked at  his mate's retreating form. Kirstin thought, for a moment, that he might  say something to bridge the gap between them.



He did call out, but it wasn't what Kirstin expected.



"Why don't ye put the silvermoon on Alistair's tomb?" Raife reached out  and grabbed the leaves in his big fist that Sibyl had so carefully  pulled, stalking over to where Sibyl stood next to Kirsten. "Or mayhaps  ye'd like t'give't to the other MacFalon brother?"



Raife whirled to glare at Donal. Kirstin had heard them talking, even  chuckling together, before the two women had come in. Now Raife looked  at him like he wanted to tear his limbs off.



"Here, Donal, mayhaps this'll bind 'er to ye better than I could cleave  'er to'me." Raife tossed the leaves up in the air toward Donal and they  floated down toward the dirt.



"Raife!" Sibyl called as he brushed past her, staring, aghast, as he  stalked around the corner, headed toward the exit. She turned to Donal,  her cheeks almost as red as her hair. "I'm so sorry. He's... just..."



"Raife." Kirstin sighed, shaking her head and looking after him.



"Do'na concern yerself, Sibyl." Donal shook his head too, sighing. "The  man's more stubborn than most. And most men're stubborn."



"Should ye go after 'im?" Kirstin wondered aloud.         

     



 



"I've tried." Sibyl shook her head. "He won't talk to me."



"Banrighinn, I'm so sorry." Kirstin put a soothing hand on her shoulder.



"I should go back and tend Darrow." Sibyl stooped to carefully retrieve  the silvermoon Raife had cast aside, her head bent. Kirstin's gaze met  Donal's and they exchanged a knowing, sympathetic look. Sibyl stood,  putting the leaves into a pocket in her plaid, turning to look at them  with a sniff, blinking quickly to clear her eyes. "Mayhaps Moira will  have some idea how the silvermoon might help his wound."



"Mayhaps," Kirstin agreed as Sibyl went by her.



Donal was still looking at Kirstin, and his gaze made her feel warm all over.



"Are you coming, Kirstin?" Sibyl called, reaching for the torch she'd brought in.



"Oh... aye." Kirstin sighed, turning to follow her, but Donal's hand on her arm stopped her.



"I beg yer pardon, banrighinn," Donal called to Sibyl, his gaze never leaving Kirstin's face.



"Why do people keep calling me that?" Sibyl sighed, rolling her eyes as  she turned back toward them. "Can't you see that he doesn't want me to  be his... whatever it is..."



Sibyl looked at them, her gaze moving from Kirstin's face to Donal's and  back again, then flitting down to see the way Donal was holding onto  Kirstin's arm.



"I'd asked Lady Kirstin t'come to the catacombs so that I might show 'er  somethin'..." Donal's hand tightened on Kirstin's arm, a slow, steady  squeeze. She felt the blood rushing through her, suddenly hotter than  she remembered. "Might ye find yer way back t'Castle MacFalon on yer  own?"



"Unaccompanied?" Kirstin shook her head in protest. "But-"



"Absolutely!" A slow, secret smile started at the corners of the  redhead's mouth. The way she looked at them made Kirstin blush. "Don't  you even think of coming with me, Kirstin. I'm heading straight back to  the castle with this silvermoon. I know the way-and so does the horse.  You two don't worry about me."



"Thank ye." Donal winked. "We'll be back to the castle in time fer dinner."



"Oh, you both take your time!" Sibyl backed toward the passageway. Her  smile was almost a grin, now, her eyes sparkling with a life Kirstin  hadn't seen in them since she'd arrived at the castle. "All the time in  the world! I'll tell them not to expect you any time soon."



"Sibyl!" Kirstin protested, her cheeks flaming now, and she was glad for the darkness of the environment. "Please."



"I won't say a word." Sibyl mimicked locking her lips with a key. "I'm  good at making excuses. You two... just... enjoy yourselves!"



"Oh fer heaven's sake," Kirstin muttered as Sibyl gave them a wave and  ducked down the passage where Raife had recently disappeared. She  glanced up at Donal, seeing the laughter in his eyes, and couldn't help  breaking into a smile. "What did she think we were goin' t'do, make a  fire and strip naked t'dance 'round it?"



"I would'na be averse to either of those things." Donal laughed when she  punched him in the upper arm. He rubbed it like she'd actually hurt  him. "What man would say no to a pretty woman offerin' t'strip and dance  naked in front of the fire fer 'im?"



"'Twasn't an offer." She nudged him with her shoulder.



"Och, that's a shame." He grinned.



She felt the heat in her face and decided to change the subject. "So-what is it ye wanted t'show me?"



"This." He waved his hand around at the MacFalon tomb. "And the ruins of  t'first den, a'course-but it seems Sibyl beat me to it?"



"Aye, we went to the spring to get the silvermoon," Kirstin admitted. "But we had to be quick. I'd love to really explore."



"Good." He smiled, hands behind his back, rocking onto his heels. "I thought ye might."



"So this is where ye buried yer brother?" she mused, moving forward toward the newest tomb.



"Aye." Donal sighed.



"I'm so sorry." Kirstin put her hand against the cool stone. "'Tis not easy t'lose a sibling, e'en if-"



She couldn't finish, wouldn't hurt him with the words.



"Ye can say it, lass." Donal moved in behind her, his voice close to her ear. "I hold no delusions 'bout me brother."         

     



 



"I'm sure ye had a lot of good times, when ye were young." She gently  stroked the stone, wondering what Donal had been like, when he was a wee  lad. She could imagine him, bright-eyed, mischievous, always laughing.  Not so different from now, mayhaps.



"Aye, some. He changed when I was... vera young." Donal pressed his hand  to the front of the tomb, his fingers overlapping hers. "But after our  mother passed-she died of a fever, soon after she weaned me, and the  healers could'na cure her-Alistair became an angry child. Bitter.  Cruel."



Kirstin sighed. "It's so hard t'lose a mother."

"Me father said Alistair was born with a black streak in his heart only  our mother could lessen. Alistair was her shinin' star. They loved each  other overmuch." Donal gave another sigh, dropping his hand from the  tomb's cold surface. "Me father said Alistair was always proud to show  off t'her-whether t'was his skill wit' sword or bow, or jus' a boast  about 'is ridin' and wrestlin'. She indulged 'im."



"She sounds like a lovely woman," Kirstin murmured, turning to face him.



They were very close in the dimness. She saw the way his gaze moved over her face in the light of a torch.

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