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Highland Wolf Pact:Compromising Positions(7)

By:Selena Kitt

"How's me bairn?" Laina grasped her shoulders, searching Kirstin's face  with the hungry eyes of a mother who had been without her babe overlong.  "Garaith's well?"

"Aye, he misses ye," Kirstin replied, smiling at the memory of Laina and  Darrow's dark-haired little boy. "But Beitris is taking good care of  him in your absence."

"I miss 'im so." Laina sighed. "I need t'return soon a'fore me milk disappears altogether."

"He'll be well enough t'travel soon." Kirstin assured her, glancing at  Darrow, thrashing on the bed now. He was clearly waking up.

"I'm well enough now," Darrow muttered. Kirstin smiled. It was good to  hear his voice. "If ye'd stop givin' me that witch's brew, I'd be on me  horse and... Laina?"

Darrow went up on an elbow, the sheet falling down his chest to his  waist, revealing the bandage that wrapped around his middle. He rubbed  his eyes, blinking.

"Where's Laina?"

"She's here," Sibyl assured him, pressing Laina closer to the bed so he  could peer at his mate. "You're feeling no pain because of that witches  brew, Darrow. But if you keep pushing yourself, you're going to pull  those stitches and bleed out."

"He's a wulver, not a man." Laina pushed him back on the bed in spite of  her words, covering him again with the sheet as she pressed a gentle  kiss to the top of his head. "He'll heal much faster than ye're used  to."

"I understand that, but he's a very lucky wulver, given his wounds," Sibyl reminded her softly.

"Raife." Darrow blinked up at the ceiling. "We need t'go. Where's Raife? And what's that MacFalon doin' in m'room?"

He tried to get up again, but Laina succeeded in keeping him down with another kiss, this one pressed to his lips.

"The tonic I give him for pain makes him wake confused," Sibyl explained  softly to Kirstin. Then she spoke loudly to Darrow. "Donal is the laird  of Clan MacFalon now, Darrow. He is honoring the wolf pact. We're safe  here. I don't want you riding a horse just yet."

"Where's Raife?" Darrow asked the ceiling, then looked at his mate, frowning. "Where's m'brother? Raife! Raife!"

He yelled Raife's name so loudly Kirstin thought he might tear his  stitches just from the force of the word. It seemed to echo throughout  the whole castle.

"Donal, do you know where Raife is?" Sibyl asked, standing and pressing a hand to Darrow's chest, helping Laina keep him in bed.

Donal gave her a pained look. "He will'na come, if'n yer in 'ere, Sibyl..."

"Why?" Darrow pushed Laina aside, glaring at Donal.

"He won't be in the same room with me," Sibyl confessed, tears coming to her eyes.

"He b'lieves ye left 'im fer Alistair." Darrow's gaze narrowed at her. "Did ye? Why did ye come 'ere, Sibyl?"

"She was tryin' t'save yer hide," Kirstin snapped, wagging her finger at  him. Then she looked around the room, putting a hand on Sibyl's  quivering shoulder. "All of ye. She was goin' t'exchange herself for  Laina, t'keep t'wulver pack safe."

"Alistair would never've let t'wulver woman go," Donal said softly. He  was speaking to Kirstin-she had the feeling that the rest of the people  in the room had heard this already. "His intention was t'kill all  t'wulvers."

"Why?" Kirstin asked, giving him a long, puzzled look. "The MacFalons've honored t'wolf pact fer years."

"He claimed t'was an order from King Henry, but given that Henry's sent  'is huntsman t'help us dismantle the wulver traps, I do'na b'lieve it."  Donal glanced around the room, from person to person, and Kirstin felt  the weight of his words as he spoke. "I think m'brother felt threatened  by t'wulvers. Especially after they kidnapped 'is bride."

"I wasn't kidnapped," Sibyl protested with a snarl that any wulver would have been proud of. "I ran away."

"Aye," Donal agreed. "But Alistair did'na wanna b'lieve that, ye ken?"         



"But why defy t'English King's wishes and break t'wolf pact?" Kirstin asked him. "I do'na understand..."

"He was m'kin, but I will'na make excuses fer 'im." Donal told her with a  sad shake of his head. "He was a cruel and duplicitous man."

"It's been awful." Sibyl's voice shook and she cleared her throat,  blinking back her tears. "But Darrow's healing nicely and the wulvers  are safe. That's the important thing."

"Aye," Donal agreed. "Thanks to ye, Lady Sibyl."

"And if we can keep Darrow in bed," Sibyl said, giving him a long,  quelling look. "Mayhaps he'll be ready to travel within the month."

"The month?" Darrow exploded, struggling against Laina's hold-she was a  woman, but she was a wulver, after all. "I'll be ready t'go in two days!  Less, if ye stop makin' me drink that godawful-"

"Laina, keep your mate in bed, please." Sibyl crossed her arms and glared at him.

"Mayhaps I should show Kirstin to a room?" Donal suggested, smiling as  Kirstin glanced over at him. "I thought I'd have Moira find 'er a more  suitable wardrobe?"

"She's a wulver and a Scot, MacFalon." Darrow glared at him, eyes narrowed. "D'ye expect 'er t'wear more'n 'er plaid?"

"I notice yer wearin' a plaid, Lady Sibyl," Donal noted with a smile,  ignoring Darrow's obvious hostility. "In spite of the closet full of  English clothes me brother had made fer ye."

"Sibyl might have been born English, but she's been chosen by our pack  leader as his mate," Kirstin reminded him-reminded all of them. "She is  banrighinn now."

"Banrighinn?" Sibyl stumbled over the Gaelic word.

"Queen." Donal translated quietly, looking at Sibyl with soft eyes.

"Aye," Laina agreed. "Banrighinn."

"I'm no one's b-banrighinn," Sibyl muttered, flushing. "Besides, Raife won't even talk to me, let alone mark me."

Kirstin saw Sibyl look longingly at the intricate tattoo that decorated  Darrow's shoulder. A matching one was inked on Laina's hip and thigh,  marking them as one another's.

"Raife's a stubborn fool," Kirstin snapped, putting an arm around Sibyl's shoulders.

"Kirstin!" Raife's voice boomed as he appeared in the doorway, his big  frame filling it completely. His face was a thundercloud, his brow low  and drawn. There were new worry lines on his face, and his eyes were as  dark as a night sky. "What're ye doin'ere?"

"I came t'tend the wounded," Kirstin said simply, feeling Sibyl shrink against her side at the sight of Raife.

"There's only one wounded, and from t'sound of 'im yellin' fer me, he's  jus' fine," Raife snapped, pointing at his half-naked brother. "I want  m'pack back in the den. Darrow, are ye well enough t'travel?"

"Aye, brother." Darrow's voice sounded strong as he pushed the covers  back, sitting up and swinging his bare legs over the side obediently. He  clearly thought he was ready to follow his leader, but bright red blood  bloomed on the sheet Sibyl had tied as a bandage and he winced.

"No, Darrow," Laina soothed softly, trying to press him back onto the bed.

"Raife, he's not well enough to travel!" Sibyl cried, fleeing to  Darrow's side in order to look at his wound. Kirstin could see, when she  slid the bandage aside, that some of the stitches had been pulled by  his motion. "Please, don't move him! I beg you."

"He's a wulver," Raife growled, glowering at his brother. He wouldn't  even look at Sibyl, even if he was speaking counter to her words. "If  he's awake, he can travel now."

"He was run-through with a sword, you man-beast!" Sibyl hissed with anger.

Kirstin saw rage flicker in Raife's eyes. The whole room sizzled with  the heat of their argument-and it was clearly not the first time they'd  had it. Donal was already stepping in, trying to make peace.

"Ye can all stay as long as ye need." Donal put a hand on Raife's arm. "We've plenty of room."

"I'm grateful fer yer honorable treatment and hospitality." Raife  straightened, frowning, glancing down at Donal-Raife was a head taller,  and Donal was a big man. "But we need t'get home."         



"Don't be in such a hurry ye lose one of yer own," Donal said softly,  watching as Laina and Sibyl worked to re-bandage Darrow's now  openly-bleeding wound.

"In other words, don't be a bull-headed fool," Kirstin translated, glaring at Raife, arms crossed over her chest.

"Kirstin..." Raife snarled in her direction, eyes narrowing, a warning.  Then he spoke to Donal. "Can ye make room for one more of m'charges,  Donal? I hate t'ask, but she's clearly taken it upon herself t'impose."