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Highland Wolf Pact:Compromising Positions(41)

By:Selena Kitt

Or had Raife's blood already been spilled?

"Ye lie." Donal brought the sword, one-handed straight at the man's  side, but Eldred blocked it, taking another step back. "Yer the lyin'  dog 'ere."

"You won't make it back to the castle to see for yourself." Eldred was  breathing hard as he lifted his sword to strike a blow that Donal had to  ward off one-handed. "More's the pity. They'll all be dead by the time I  ride your horse back to Castle MacFalon, and my wulver army will be  ready to march."         



"Ye talk t'much." Donal jabbed his sword at the man, who side-stepped, but just barely.

"But first, I'm going to rape your little she-wolf." Eldred laughed in  triumph as Donal charged him, and Kirstin knew, it was a mistake. Eldred  was baiting him, and it had worked.

Kirstin screamed. This time on the outside. It hurt so much she thought  she was going to pass out, but she managed to struggle to her feet, the  knife in her hand. Her scream had alerted the huntsman and he turned far  enough around to see her holding the dirk up high.

"Ye touch me, and I'll be the last dog ye e'er lie wit'." Kirstin  brought the knife down sideways, overhand, into the soft flesh at the  side of the man's throat.

Eldred gurgled. He didn't say anything, but blood filled his mouth as he  sank to his knees, his sword falling to the forest floor. Donal didn't  hesitate. He ran the man through. Eldred gave one last, strangled cry,  and then fell, taking Donal's sword with him as he collapsed into the  dirt.

"Are ye a'righ'?" Donal pulled her against him with his good arm and she cried out, feeling dizzy and nauseous for a moment.

"Aye," she agreed, mustering enough energy to smile at him. "Would ye  look'a'that? I saved ye this time. Now it's ye who owes me yer life."

"Ye have m'life, lass." His arm tightened around her as he pressed his  lips to hers, and murmured, "Ye've had it since the moment I met ye."

Donal called Kestrel so he could put her on the horse. But first, he  broke off the fletched part of the arrow, and pulled it through the exit  wound.

"'Tis gonna hurt," he warned before he did it.

Kirstin saw stars and thought the world had gone gray for a moment.

"I'm sorry, lass," he murmured, doing the same with the arrow that had found its way into his shoulder.

He mounted behind her, but only after he'd resheathed his sword and tied  Eldred to the back of his saddle with a length of rope, like he'd  promised.

She heard the man groan and she looked at Donal with wide eyes.

"He's not dead?"

"He will be," Donal said grimly as he took Kestrel's reins.

Kirstin didn't look back, but there was something quite satisfying,  knowing the man who hated and wanted all wulvers dead was being dragged  behind them through the dirt.

They didn't talk about it, but she knew Donal was thinking the same thing she was.

It wasn't until they arrived back at Castle MacFalon that they knew for sure.

Lorien met them on horseback, and Kirstin felt Donal's good hand move to his sword as the wulver rode up.

"'Tis the witch," Lorien told them, pointing to the center of the field,  where a shapely woman had been lashed to a tall post. "And I see ye  found Lord Eldred."

"What's left of 'im." Donal's jaw tightened as he looked at the woman  struggling against her bindings. His hand wasn't on his sword hilt  anymore. Lorien was clearly not enchanted. Nor were any of the other  wulvers in the yard. "Not much of a threat anymore, is she?"

Donal rode toward the post, drawing close-but not too close.

Moraga looked up, fire and hatred in her eyes, and she screamed at them in Gaelic.

"What's t'matter?" Kirstin asked, narrowing her eyes at the woman who  had once sent an enchanted blade after her. "N'blood fer yer magic,  witch?"

Moraga snarled like an animal. Her dress was dirty and torn, face streaked with dirt.

"Mayhaps ye wanna use his?" Kirstin jerked her thumb behind her and the  witch turned her head and saw him for the first time. Lord Eldred was  still recognizable by his clothes, if nothing else.

"Noooooooooo!" The witch wailed, railing against the post, trying to  escape her lashings, but whoever had tied her had done their job well.  Besides, she had three MacFalons, two of which were Aiden and Angus, and  four wulver warriors standing guard. The woman wasn't going  anywhere-except the dungeons.

Moraga sobbed, real tears, screaming Eldred's name over and over.

"Donal, I'm feeling nauseous," Kirstin confessed, although she wasn't  sure if it was her wound or the witch's display that had done it.

"Aye." He kissed the top of her head. "Let's get ye t'Laina and Sibyl, so they can patch ye'up."

He slid off his horse, glancing back at Lord Eldred's body, now bent and  broken from being dragged behind the horse. It was a horrible sight and  Kirstin turned her face into Donal's chest as she slid off the horse  into his waiting arms.         



"Send what's left of 'im t'King Henry." Donal tossed Kestrel's reins to Angus.

"Donal," Kirstin warned, shaking her head, feeling dizzy. "Do'na start a war."

"When he finds out what t'man was plannin', he'll give me an honorary  knighthood," Donal scoffed, and Lorien laughed. Donal grinned back, then  leaned in closer to whisper in her ear, "Or mayhaps m'choice of a  bride."

She thrilled at his words, in spite of the pain in her shoulder, the  nausea in her belly, and the dizziness in her head. She lifted her face  to his, smiling, and let him kiss her. For a moment, she didn't feel  anything but pure bliss. She didn't hear the witch screaming, she didn't  feel the pain of her wound.

There was only Donal. The only man in the world. In her world. She felt  dizzy with him, filled with him. She was his, and he was hers.

Finally, completely.

"Uhhhh, MacFalon … " Lorien interrupted, clearing his throat.

"What?" Donal snapped, annoyed at being interrupted. Kirstin clung to him, close. She was so dizzy she could hardly stand.

"Yer bride … " Lorien replied, glancing over at Angus. "She … "

"Aye?" Donal prompted, looking between the two of them.

And Kirstin knew. She just knew, by the way they looked at her, with that little bit of guilt in their eyes.

Aiden rocked back on his heels, clearing his throat. Then he pointed at  the front of the castle, where a carriage was parked, led by four big  horses.

Lorien sighed and announced, "Yer bride's arrived."

And with that, Kirsten fainted.

* * *

"I'm goin' to run ye through wit' an arrow e'ery month, jus' t'keep ye  in bed wit' me." Kirstin snuggled down under the covers, resting her  head against Donal's shoulder-his unbandaged one. Thankfully, their  arrow wounds were mirror images of each other, so they fit together, as  always, perfectly.

"Ye do'na hafta shoot me t'keep me in bed wit' ye, lass." Donal chuckled, kissing the top of her head.

"I'd usually say yer betrothed might object," Moira called, grinning  over at Laina as she readied their breakfast on trays on the table.  Laina had been called in to play nursemaid-because Moira was so  shorthanded and Raife insisted Sibyl stay in bed and rest for the  bairn's sake, even if there'd been no more bleeding-and she sat at their  bedside, tearing cloth to make dressings. "But Lady Cecilia Witcombe's  been spendin' s'much time wit' the handsome Lorien, I do'na think she'd  care a bit."

The mention of Donal's intended still made Kirstin wince, no matter how  much he reassured her that he was, never, under any circumstances, going  to marry the woman. They'd both been laid up in bed for almost a week  with their wounds. Donal's was healing quite nicely, but Kirstin had  broken out into a fever on the second day and was just now, finally,  starting to feel human again.

Which made her laugh to herself, because that's all she was now-human.  Her wulver side had been banished by the mix of herbs Sibyl had  prepared. Kirstin still felt a little bad about stealing it and secretly  taking the mixture. Laina had been beyond angry when she found out, but  now that they had two instances of proof that the "cure" was  permanent-and Darrow had been informed of its effects-Laina had come to  her senses and had decided to stay a wulver, in spite of her deep desire  to control her change. At least, until Sibyl could develop something  that wasn't so permanent.

"Too bad yer not a wulver anymore," Laina grumbled, pulling back the  covers to check Kirstin's bandage, as if she'd read Kirstin's mind.  "Ye'd mend faster."

"I'm glad I'm not a wulver anymore." Kirstin winced when she pulled the  dressing away. She was going to have an ugly scar there, she knew.  "How's Sibyl?"