If you have been joining us over the last fourteen weeks of “Medieval Mondays” you have gotten a taste of 14 different medieval romances, including my own newest release, A Wee Highland Predicament. Now it’s time for the final installment. I have included all the previously revealed snippets as well as the scene’s conclusion below
Lucas made a wide circle around the camp in order to approach the lass from behind. As soon as he reached the tree, he put a hand behind her head and the other over her mouth.
Just as he’d feared, she awoke instantly. Her head snapped back against his right hand as his left hand smothered her cry of alarm.
“Be still, lass. My name’s Lucas and I’m trying to rescue ye from these sleeping eejits. If ye start shrieking, ye’ll give us away.”
She nodded her understanding, curls bobbing around her face.
He let go of her, sliced her bonds with his dirk and helped her stand. He put a finger over his lips, and guided her silently away from the camp.
When they were well away from the Galbraith’s, he stopped for a moment. “The faster we can get away from them, the better it will be for both of us. My horse is hidden just a bit farther north from here. Ye’re just a wee thing and we’ll get to him sooner if I run with ye on my back.”
She looked affronted. “I can run.”
“In those?” He pointed to the dainty slippers on her feet.
She frowned. “No, I don’t suppose so.”
“I thought not.”
He turned away from her, kneeling on one knee. “Put yer arms around my neck.” When she’d done that, he reached back, put his hands behind her knees and stood, pulling her knees forward around his hips. She was as light as he expected.
She gave a shocked gasp. “I’m not in the habit of wrapping my legs around strange men.”
“Are ye in the habit of getting yerself kidnapped?”
“Nay, of course not.”
“Then it’s a night of firsts for ye. We’ll celebrate later. Hang on.”
He started running, reaching the place where he’d tethered Captain in no time.
He stooped to lower her to the ground. “All right, my fair wee lassie, up ye get on this beastie’s back now.”
He lifted her into the saddle, swung up behind her and headed northward, leaving the River Caron behind.
“Where are we going?”
“As far away from those thieving Galbraiths as we can get before they awaken.”
“I could work that much out on my own. But which direction?”
“North? I can’t go north. We need to head back to Edinburgh.”
“Is that where they snatched ye?”
“Then don’t ye suppose that’s where they’d expect ye to go? And when they wake to find ye gone, that’s the direction they’ll search?”
“I guess so.”
“Then wouldn’t it make sense to go a different direction?”
“Aye, but I have to get back to Edinburgh.”
“Which raises the question, what’s a wee lassie from the Highlands doing in Edinburgh? Ye can’t be more than fifteen.”
“I’m eighteen,” she said, indignantly. “And I was there—at court—with my family.”
“And who is yer family?”
“I’m a MacLennan. Laird MacLennan is my brother by marriage. I’m Ailsa MacLennan. What clan are ye from, Lucas?”
Lady MacLennan’s sister? By all the saints, the Galbraiths had managed to find a valuable prize. From everything Lucas had heard about Laird Fingal MacLennan, he tended to be overprotective to a fault. He must have let his guard down in the royal court. Well, their loss was his gain. There was no love lost between the Grants and the MacLennans and this wee morsel would bring the Grants as much ransom as she would the Galbraiths. Of course she didn’t need to know that, so he’d have to tread carefully.
“My mother was a Macrae.” That was perfectly true. Furthermore, the MacLennan’s and the Macraes were on reasonably good terms.
“Well thank ye, Lucas Macrae, for saving me from that lot.”
“’Twas my pleasure. But how did they manage to capture ye anyway?”
She remained silent.
“Ailsa, I asked ye a question? How did ye end up as a prisoner of the Galbraiths?”
“That isn’t important. Ye need to take me back to Edinburgh now.”
“Nay, lass. There were six of them and only one of me. If we run into them again, I couldn’t keep ye safe.”
“Nay, no buts. I’ll not argue with ye about it. We’re going north.”
“Fine. Take me to the nearest village. Ye can leave me there and I’ll find someone else to take me back to Edinburgh.”
“Ye’re a bossy wee thing aren’t ye?”
She looked over her shoulder at him and frowned. “Ye sound like my sister, Gillian. I’m not trying to be bossy, but my family—”
“Will not thank me for leaving the laird’s sister-in-law on her own in some godforsaken village in the lowlands.” They probably wouldn’t thank him for ransoming her either, but that was beside the point. “Do ye know what could happen to ye? I give ye my solemn word that ye’re safe with me. It’s better if I just take ye home.”
“Aye. Home.” He meant his home, but again, she didn’t need to know that.
“Brathanead is at least four days ride from here. Perhaps ye could just take me to Castle Carr? The Carrs are our allies and we stopped there on our way south. If we ride the rest of the night we could be there by sunset tomorrow.”
“Nay, we can’t go to Castle Carr. The Carrs and the Macraes are not allies. I wouldn’t be welcome there.” That wasn’t completely true. There was no formal relationship between the Carrs and the Macraes but neither were they enemies. But this young woman was not likely to be well-versed on clan politics. The Grants and the Carrs had allied themselves nearly eighty years ago through marriage, but that bond had weakened over time. Still, none of that really mattered. Nothing under God’s blue heaven would make Lucas hand this little treasure over to anyone. He was returning home without a betrothal. William wasn’t going to be happy, but the ransom Laird MacLennan’s sister-in-law would bring might go a long way to soothing his ire. “The best plan is for me to take ye home.”
“Ye may think it’s the best plan, but I don’t. If we can’t go to Castle Carr, and ye won’t take me back to Edinburgh, I’ll go by myself.”
He snorted. “Have ye taken leave of yer senses?”
“Nay. I’m sure I can do it. It’s not that far. I insist ye let me go back to Edinburgh.”
He could see this was going to be a never-ending argument unless the lass herself decided it was best to stay with him. He’d go along with her and see what happened.
“Well, if ye insist.” He dismounted and lifted her off the saddle. “There ye are. Off ye go, now. Edinburgh is that way.” He pointed in the direction from which they had come.
“Ye want me to walk?”
“Nay, lass. I want ye to ride north with me. But if ye insist on going to Edinburgh alone, it’ll have to be on yer own two feet, because Captain and I are heading north.”
“Ye won’t lend him to me?”
“Nay, I won’t.”
“Why? I’d see him returned to ye.”
Lucas laughed, mirthlessly. “Now that’s a promise ye can’t make. Because as sure as we’re standing here, ye’re going to run afoul of someone—most likely those Galbraiths—and Captain will be taken as a prize too. So nay, where I go, he goes.”
She frowned and huffed and he had trouble hiding his amusement. Where Moira’s pouting and fits of pique grated on his last nerve, Ailsa MacLennan was adorable. Perhaps it was the smudge of dirt on her nose, or her wild curls, but it was hard to take her seriously. Still he schooled his features. “Be on yer way, lass. I’ll keep an eye on ye until I can see ye no more.”
As she stood there, her frown deepened. “I need to go back to Edinburgh,” she said, sounding as if she were trying to convince herself.
“Then go on.”
“I can do it, just watch me.”
It took every effort not to laugh at her. “I’m watching, but ye haven’t moved yet.”
“Nay, but I’m going now.” She turned and walked several paces away from him before stopping.
“Is something the matter?” Lucas feigned innocence.
She looked down. “Aye, it’s my slippers.”
“What about them?”
“They aren’t really suited for walking.”
“Nay, indeed they aren’t.”
She turned back to face him. “I could walk back to Edinburgh if it weren’t for my shoes.”
And the half dozen Galbraiths looking for ye. “No doubt. I’d say ye face a wee predicament. No horse to ride and no fit shoes to walk in.”
“I suppose I should let ye take me home…because of my shoes.”
“Aye, that would seem to be prudent…because of yer shoes.”
She sighed, walked back to him and allowed him to lift her onto Captain’s back. Once mounted behind her, he nudged the stallion into a walk.
This might prove to be one of the most interesting trips home ever.
Sometimes a bad boy can be a good man.
Lucas Grant’s brother is going to be furious. Lucas was supposed to secure a betrothal with a wealthy heiress to save his clan from financial ruin. After meeting her, he cannot marry the detestable woman.
As he flees Edinburgh to escape her, he happens upon six men who are holding a lovely Highland lass captive. He can’t just leave her to whatever fate awaits, so he rescues her.
Well, perhaps rescue isn’t the right word…
When he learns the feisty lass he stumbled upon is Ailsa MacLennan, he sees another way to help his clan. He’s going to hold her for ransom.
But when she steals his heart, what will the ransom be?
Buy Links: A Wee Highland Predicament is available exclusively on Amazon. Read for free on Kindle Unlimited.
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