In protecting the King of Scotland, Graeme Cameron will do whatever it takes to ensure Robert the Bruce’s safety. He and his comrades become the victim of circumstance and are now exiled. As they hide, they realize others are worse off than they and hire themselves out as mercenaries.
Kerrigan Campbell is desperate to find her laird and protector’s son. Then she hears of the legendary king’s guard and seeks them out. She runs across their leader in the midst of a battle, but he’s not what she expects. When she and Graeme find an abandoned bairn, he bids her to help him locate its mother and in return he’ll recapture her laird’s son.
Graeme has many a challenge before him – how to keep he and his friends from being executed for doing their duty, aiding the sweet lass in recovering her charge, finding the bairn’s mother, helping their king defeat England’s army, and gaining a pardon for their involvement in the king’s misdoings. There’s one challenge that thwarts him and that’s Kerrigan. She’s conquered his heart and more…
How handsome Graeme looked holding the bairn in such a protective way. In her mind’s eye, he looked akin to a husband that cradled his child. Such longing dismayed her, knowing she would in all likelihood never have a husband or children. At least not during these uncertain times.
Kerrigan sighed and turned back to peer at her friends. “Shhh, they’re asleep.”
“I am not sleeping and heard you enter. You dare bring others here? You promised …”
The bairn made his presence known and bawled loud enough to alert any passersby of their location. Kerrigan was about to take the babe from him when Philippa ran forward and took the bairn into her arms.
Everyone spoke at once, and with the babe’s wails, his shouts, Finley’s grumbles, and Annag’s shrieks, the cave’s roof would surely fall upon them. Kerrigan held up her hand for silence, but no one paid her any heed.
Graeme grabbed her wrist and pulled her outside. He sauntered until they were a good distance from the entrance. When he stopped, running more like, she was out of breath. She waited for him to begin his tirade, certain he was about to yell at her. There had to be a way to soothe his hostility, and she did the only thing that came to mind … What she usually did when she angered Laird Moray.
“My lord,” she said, and set a hand on his bicep. She gentled her hand and gave her most sorrowful expression, but she couldn’t help thinking how strong he was. His muscle bulged beneath her fingers. “I can explain. Will you not give me a moment?”
He gripped her upper arms and brought her toward him. Kerrigan thought he was going to harm her, perhaps shake or thrash her, but as her body collided with his, his lips pressed hers. He kissed her. Kissed her well and good.
She’d never been kissed as ardently before, and even as she thought that, his manly lips moved over hers and caused her to open her mouth. The coolness of his tongue glided over hers and caused her to groan at the sensuality of it. Kerrigan held tightly to his arms, confident she’d fall when he released her.
It ended too soon for her liking and he pulled his mouth away. Yet he didn’t release her. She held still and wished for a few more moments of being held by him. His hard body pressed against her, and he didn’t seem to want to let her go.
“I didn’t think you would return.” His words, whispered against her lips, caused a tremble through her body.
“I promised I would. Is this the cause of such a welcome?” Kerrigan’s heart sank when he released her and he turned abruptly. He motioned to the trees, and his comrades jumped down and made obtrusive calls.
“Ah, I enjoyed the performance, Graeme,” Liam said.
“You make a handsome couple,” Heath said.
Brodin shoved Graeme’s shoulder. “I thought ye said no one would know of our location. I told ye, you shouldn’t trust her. All lassies are the same, aye, deceitful.” He wasn’t as jovial as his comrades.
She stepped back and was about to walk way, but Graeme sidled next to her and took her hand. He gazed at her, then back to his comrades.
“I do trust her.”
Brodin bellowed with a harsh laugh. “You only say that because ye like kissing her.”
“I’d say more than like,” Liam said, with a wide grin. “Besotted. Aye, completely and rightly so.”
“I say that because it is the truth. I’m sure there is a goodly reason why she would bring others. Explain, Kerrigan, why you risked our wrath by bringing those people here.” Graeme began with a mollified voice, but by the time he finished, his words hardened.
He folded his arms over his chest and frowned.
She took a moment to gaze at them, standing around her in similar positions. They towered around her akin to tall unbent pines, making her feel as small and defenseless as a field mouse. Somehow she regained her composure and frowned back.
“I had to bring them. Finley, the old man, was Laird Moray’s trusted manservant. He risked his own safety to help me when Moray died. The old lady is his wife. I could not leave them in the village what with the English king’s army threat.” She took a step toward Graeme and pointed at his chest. “You,” she said, and jabbed Graeme with her pointy finger, “told me to find a means to take care of the bairn. The woman is a wet-nurse. How else are we to feed the babe? You can trust Finley and Annag. They shan’t tell anyone of the cave. I doubt they even know where they are. Have no worry of that.” By the time she finished, her breath hitched.
“Damn me, the lass is downright ornery when she gets her arse in a hitch,” Liam said.
“Aye, we’ll leave ye to deal with her, Graeme,” Heath said, and motioned to the others to follow.
Brodin gave a dark look to her as he passed.
She stood next to Graeme, afraid to look at his face. So she looked at her feet and barely saw them as night pitched the sky. It was dark this night with scarcely a sliver of moon to show any light and as black as their mood.
“I shouldn’t have done that.”
She chanced to look at his face. “Aye, next time you wish to know something, don’t yell at me. All you need to do is ask.”
He shook his head. “Nay, I meant kiss you in front of the others.” Graeme turned and moved the branches aside and stepped inside the cave.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kara Griffin is the author of the highly acclaimed Pith Trilogy and The Gunn Guardsman series. Both series has received tremendous praise from reviewers and readers. She has been writing for over 17 years, publishing over 15 novels, and has a true passion for writing historical stories filled with love, friendship, and honor.
She’s been married for over 27 years and has raised 3 daughters, who are on their own paths to love. Her first grandchild arrived early this summer, a wee hero who is the joy of her life. Family is extremely important to her.
Author’s website: http://karagrif66.wixsite.com/authorkaragriffin