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Highland Wolf Pact:Compromising Positions(37)

By:Selena Kitt


"Where is she?"

Kirstin heard his voice before she saw him. She was leaning back against  Lorien, his arm the only thing keeping her from falling face first out  of the saddle, drifting in and out of nightmares that would occasionally  jolt her awake with a start. It was full dark by the time their little  party reached the castle-they'd had to travel much slower than the  others-but a large bonfire had been lit out front to guide them in.

Donal's voice came to her out of a dream. She thought she must be  dreaming when he lifted her down from the saddle, scowling at the wulver  who held her close, and kissed her so long and deeply she could barely  catch her breath.         



"I do'na wanna wake up," she whispered against his shoulder as he put an arm under her knees and carried her into the castle.

"Shh." Donal's arms tightened as he took the stairs with her in his arms, two at a time.

Moira followed them, clucking over Kirstin as Donal put her on the bed.  Now she was sure she was dreaming, because nothing had ever been so  soft. She must be in heaven, in the clouds, warm under the sun.

"Sibyl!" Kirstin came awake, sitting bolt upright in the bed. "Raife!  Where is e'eryone? Donal, ye hafta keep 'em safe! You hafta-!"

"Easy, lass." Donal undressed her like a child. "E'eryone's safe as they can be."

"Sibyl's bleedin'." Kirstin tried to clear the fuzz from her head. She  was so tired. She must still be dreaming, she reasoned. "Someone  attacked Raife... they stabbed him. Donal, oh, 'tis all m'fault."

"Shhh." He eased her shirt over her head. Someone was knocking hard on the locked door. "'Tisn't yer fault. None of it."

He picked her up, completely nude now, and carried her over to a bath in  front of the big fireplace, placing her into the warm water. He looked  at her for a moment, dark hair floating, and she stared at him as if in a  dream. Surely, it was. He couldn't be here, touching her, undressing  her, leaning in to cup her face and kiss her like he thought he might  never see her again.

"MacFalon!" It was Raife, pounding on the door.

"Keep her 'ere," Donal told Moira, who knelt beside the tub with a  washing cloth. "Do'na let 'er outta yer sight. I'll be righ ‘back."

Donal unlocked the door and slipped out into the hallway, closing it behind him.

"Moira, 'tis all m'fault," Kirstin lamented, as the old woman began to  wash her hair. "I led them straight to t'den. I was such a fool. Are  t'wulvers all 'ere?"

"Oh, aye, lass," Moira assured, rinsing her hair with a bucket of warm  water. "Most of 'em have camped out on m'kitchen floor in front of the  fireplace."

Kirstin smiled at that, but it faded as soon as she remembered.

"He got away. He stabbed Raife, and took t'book, and he got away..." She covered her face with her hands.

"The wulver scouts brought 'em in an hour ago," Donal told her as he came back into the room. "We've got t'book."

"And the knife?" Kirstin gripped the edge of the tub, looking up at him  with big eyes. She'd been able to think of nothing else since, memories  of the witch flitting through her mind. "With Raife's blood?"

"Aye, m'love." He stroked her hair away from her face. "The wulver  scouts brought back four men. Geoffrey, William, and two others."

"Salt and Sedgewick." She shuddered, remembering the way they'd tracked  her in the woods, how they'd come up on her out of nowhere. She was  sure, now, that they'd been the ‘poachers' who they'd come upon in the  forest that very first day. They'd been Lord Eldred's men all along,  hiding and doing his bidding. "What about Lord Eldred and the witch,  Moraga?"

"Moira, lemme finish up 'ere," Donal said, taking the soap and washing cloth from the old woman. "Can ye bring us up some food?"

"Aye," she agreed happily, getting up from the floor and heading to the door.

"Did they catch 'em?" Kirstin asked again, desperate for an answer.

"N'yet." Donal shook his head, rubbing soap over the washing cloth and  pushing up his sleeves as he knelt near the tub. "I've got me men out  lookin'-and the wulvers are lookin' too."

"It's Raife they want." She met his eyes-oh how she'd missed looking  into those blue-grey eyes-pleading with him. "Donal, ye hafta keep 'im  safe. He's t'one they want. If they capture 'im, if they get a drop of  'is blood … "

"Shh." He turned her chin to him and kissed her quiet. His first kiss  had been like something out of a dream, not possibly real. This kiss was  like coming home. She wrapped her soapy, wet arms around his neck,  feeling grateful tears slipping down her cheeks.

"They've told me e'erythin'," Donal assured her when they parted. "I  should've listened t'ye from the beginnin' about Lord Eldred, lass. If I  had..."         



"Ye couldn't've known."

His face darkened in a scowl. "We'll find 'em. We'll find 'em both and we'll bring 'em t'justice."

Kirstin searched his face, seeing new lines there, dark circles under  his eyes. He smelled of whiskey, and there was a good four days' stubble  on his face.

"I missed ye," she confessed. "Did ye miss me?"

"Did I miss ye?" he repeated, blinking at her as Moira carried in a tray  weighed down with food. She put it on the little table in the corner.  "I had e'ery available man at m'service out lookin' for ye. I've been in  me cups for days. I can'na sleep. I can'na eat. I can'na breathe  wit'out ye, lass. Did I miss ye? What d'ye say. Moira, did I miss 'er?"

"He put a huge reward out fer yer capture," Moira informed her. "Alive, a'course."

"Ye did?" Kirstin raised her eyebrows in surprise.

"He also had Gregor flogged," Moira told her, pouring cups of mead.  "An'banished. If any man dares ever harm a wulver on MacFalon land  again, they'll be put t'death. Publicly."

"Painfully," Donal agreed, glowering.

"D'ye need anythin' else?" Moira asked, looking at both of them, a small smile playing on her face.

"Jus' tell 'em not t'disturb me," Donal replied, his gaze raking Kirstin's nude form. "Unless it's urgent."

"Aye." Moira grinned, opening the door. "Ye better lock in behin' me, though, jus' in case."

"I will," Donal said, nodding as she went out.

He paused in his bathing of her to go lock the door and Kirstin smiled  at that. They were good at locking out the world. She remembered the  time they'd spent in the first den, laughing, eating, making love,  swimming in the cold spring and drying themselves in front of the fire.  She'd known, even then, that their time was limited.

"Is she 'ere yet?" Kirstin asked softly as Donal came back to tend to her.

"Who?" His hands moved over her under the water, big, rough, calloused, they scrubbed her far better than any washing cloth.

"Yer bride," she reminded him.

"I'll not be marryin' anyone else but ye, lass." He leveled her with a cool look. "Not now, not e'er."

"Ye didn't answer me."

"Nuh." He sighed." She's not 'ere yet."

"But she will be..."

And what then? Kirstin wondered.

"I can'na stop 'er from comin'-her party will be welcomed 'ere." Donal  scowled. "But I will'na be marryin' her. I intend t'be married t'ye by  then."

She looked at him in the firelight, the shadows playing on his handsome  face. What woman wouldn't want this man? Lady Cecilia Witcombe would  take one look at him and fall instantly in love. Why not? Kirstin had.

And she wouldn't blame her.

"Donal, ye can'na start a war," Kirstin told him. "We were all deceived.  King Henry wants t'wulvers dead. All of us. Includin' me. He'll ne'er  let ye marry a wulver. We hafta go into hidin' somewhere..."

"If t'English king wants t'go t'war wit' Scotland, then let 'im see if  he can take t'border against the Scots and t'wulvers." Donal's eyes  flashed and she gasped when he roughly scrubbed the cloth over her back.

"I do'na want any more war," Kirstin whispered, feeling tears stinging her eyes. "N'more bloodshed."

"Och." Donal sighed, tossing aside the cloth and reaching for her. His  front was soaked from bathing her, his white shirt see-through, clinging  to his thickly muscled chest and abdomen. "I'm sorry, lass. I jus' … I  will'na let ye go again. I'll fight fer ye. I'll die fer ye."

"No fightin'," she said, frowning. "And mos' definitely, no dyin!"

"Jus' do'na e'er leave me again." He pulled her close, burying his face  in the wet skin of her neck, his stubble hard and prickly, making her  squirm, but she didn't let him go.