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Highland Wolf Pact:Compromising Positions(38)

By:Selena Kitt





"I'm so tired." She sighed, trying to keep her eyes open, but it wasn't easy in the warm water, in the heat of the fire.



"Let's get some food in yer belly."



He had her stand, shivering, while he rinsed her with a warm bucket of water.         

     



 



"I'm sorry," she said when he had her step out and wrapped her in a cloth that had been warming by the fire. "For leavin' ye..."



Donal chuckled. "When I saw ye, I didn't know whether to kiss ye or spank ye."



"Ye could do both..." She bit her lip when his gaze swept over her as he patted her dry.



"Do'na tempt me," he growled, wrapping her with a dry cloth and leading her over to the table.



"It must've been a shock, the wulvers ridin' up to the gates … " She sat  across from him at the table, the smell of the food hitting her, and  suddenly, she was ravenous.



"The scouts on t'walls said the entire wulver army was headin' our way."  Donal chuckled, watching as she started eating, not bothering with  utensils. "I'd been in me cups for days. No one could find ye... and I  was …  well, let's jus' say, I missed ye."



She smiled, chewing on a bit of buttered roll.



"But when ye have an entire den full of wulvers ride up t'yer gates, it  tends t'sober ye'up," he told her, handing her a napkin to catch the  drip of gravy on her chin.



She giggled at that, trying to picture it, her whole pack riding up to Castle MacFalon and begging entry.



"But ye took 'em in?"



"They're yer kin," he said simply, which made her heart swell. Then he  said something that made tears come to her eyes. "And mine. A'course I  took 'em in."



She was so hungry, she felt faint. Donal watched her eat the salt pork  Moira had brought up with her fingers, tearing off thick pieces of dark  bread in between bites. He hadn't taken his eyes off her since she  arrived, like he thought she might disappear, just an apparition. When  Kirstin's belly was full, she sat back with a satisfied sigh. She was  still exhausted, and could have fallen asleep right there in the chair,  but she didn't want to close her eyes.



She didn't want to stop looking at the man across from her.



"What're we gonna do?" she wondered aloud.



"I'm goin' t'take ye to bed." Donal stood, pulling her up, into his  arms. The cloth he had wrapped around her dropped to the floor, leaving  her nude. "And I'm ne'er lettin' ye outta m'sight again, lass."



"Ye know what I mean," she whispered, and he nodded, but he didn't answer her with anything but a kiss.



* * *



Kirstin woke sometime in the middle of the night, not sure where she  was. Then she heard Donal's soft, even breathing beside her, felt the  weight of his arm over her, and knew. She was home. Sighing happily, she  snuggled back against him under the covers. There was no place on earth  she wanted to be more than in this man's arms.



Her mind drifted as she started to fall asleep again. Her body was  exhausted, but her mind was on overdrive. Every time she woke, it was  with a panicked thought or new fear. Donal helped dispel those, although  even now, she had a sinking feeling, like there was something she was  forgetting, some little bit of information she'd forgotten to relay that  would be the downfall of everything.



She knew it was ridiculous. There were MacFalon and wulver sentries on  the castle walls. There were more out looking for Eldred and Moraga. In  fact, they'd probably captured them already and put them down in the  dungeons with Eldred's four trackers, she told herself. The castle was  quiet, asleep. The windows were dark, so it was still night. Kirstin  closed her eyes and drifted again, comforted by the sound of the man  sleeping behind her.



She'd almost drifted off, finally content, when her eyes opened wide, staring into the fading embers of the fire.



Gayle.



That was what she'd forgotten. Eldred's little spy.



Her heart felt like it was beating in her throat. Could the little maid let him in? Get him a message? Or …  worse?



She didn't want to think about worse.



She considered waking Donal and telling him about the maid, but she knew  he'd get up and wake the whole damned castle looking for her. Besides,  she wasn't sure she was still here. Moira had brought up the food, and  she hadn't seen anyone else, but maybe …  maybe the maid had left, afraid  she was going to be discovered? She didn't want to worry Donal for  nothing.



Kirsten was used to moving around at night without waking anyone. She'd  extracted herself from a wulver pile often enough to be able to move  silently when she wanted to. Donal slept through her slipping out of bed  and getting dressed in a clean shirt, plaid and boots. She left him  still sleeping as she unlocked the door and slipped into the hallway.         

     



 



The maid's quarters were off the kitchen, and that's where Kirstin  headed. She crept silently down the stairs, heading across the hall. No  one was awake yet, she was sure of it, although looking at the windows,  they were lighter than they had been a few moments ago. Perhaps it was  nearing dawn, after all. She was so exhausted and had missed so much  sleep, her internal body clock was off.



Kirstin heard voices at the other end of the hall. She cocked her head.  Her hearing was keen and she recognized them both. It was Moira and  Sibyl talking. Kirstin's heart leaped in her chest. Was everything all  right? The memory of her banrighinn bleeding filled her mind and she  padded down the hall, heading toward the light coming from a room at the  end of it.



"Thank you, Moira," Sibyl said. Her voice was soft, low. "I didn't know who else to ask … "



"Ye can ask me fer anything, lass," Moira assured her. "Where's yer husband?"



"Raife insisted on going to check on the sentries." Sibyl sighed. "Darrow went with him."



Kirstin stopped outside the door, listening. She should have knocked, but she didn't.



"I'm sorry to bother you," Sibyl said again. "You're so busy, with all the wulvers to feed, in addition to the MacFalons."



"Aye, 'tis a handful." Moira agreed with a sigh. "And I'm short maids.  Gayle and Shona ran off and I haven't had time t'go into t'village  t'hire anyone new."



Kirstin blinked in surprise. So Gayle wasn't at the castle anymore. That  was a relief. She almost turned around and went back upstairs. Bed was  calling, and she was admonishing herself for eavesdropping, when Sibyl  said something that stopped her cold.



"Moira, do you have a good hiding place here in the castle?"



"Fer what, lass?" Moira chuckled. "T'family jewels?"



"No, for this."



Kirstin couldn't see her, even through the crack in the door. She leaned  in closer, wondering what in the world Sibyl could want to hide.



"What's this?" Moira asked.



What, indeed. Kirstin held her breath, waiting.



"It's the cure."



She thought her heart would stop beating entirely. The cure? The cure? Could it be?



"Fer t'wulver curse?" Moira asked. She sounded as shocked as Kirstin felt. "Ye did it?"



"Yes, thanks to the silvermoon, and the book, and you." Sibyl sighed.  "Laina wants to take it and I …  I'm afraid she'll find it, if I keep it  anywhere near me. She knows I have it. And she knows it works. The  problem is, it works too well."



"What d'ye mean?" Moira asked. "How d'ye know it works?"



"Because I tested it," Sibyl told her. Kirstin gaped at the door,  blinking in surprise. Who? But Sibyl went on to say. "The old midwife,  Beitrus. She volunteered. Said she'd lived a long life, so if it killed  her, she was ready to go-and if it turned out to be permanent, well, she  didn't need to change anymore … "



"Ye let her take it?"



"No, of course not," Sibyl scoffed. "I told her no. I wanted to come up with a safer way to test it. But …  she did it anyway."



"Wha' happened?" Moira asked. Kirstin leaned even closer, eager to know herself.



"Well, she's still alive," Sibyl said. "And …  it worked. She can't change anymore, even at will."



"Oh no … " Moira clucked at that and Kirstin's heart sank.



"Laina keeps trying to take it," Sibyl explained. "And I can't do that. I can't possibly let her."



"Let me hide it fer ye," Moira said. "I'll keep it safe while yer here, at least."



"Thank you so much."



So Sibyl had done it. She'd found the cure for the wulver curse-but it  had turned out to be permanent. Kirstin could hardly believe it. There  was a substance that existed that could keep her from changing when she  went into estrus. But it would keep her from ever turning into a wulver  again …



She couldn't think of anything but Donal, sleeping upstairs, and the woman who would arrive any day, expecting to marry him.

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