Have I ever given you reason to fear me? Have I ever threatened your life or caused you any harm? You talk of handfasting when you know how I feel. You bully me at every turn. She knew she needed only to stand there, and he would come to her and put his arms around her.

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Have I ever given you reason to fear me? Have I ever threatened your life or caused you any harm? You talk of handfasting when you know how I feel. You bully me at every turn. She knew she needed only to stand there, and he would come to her and put his arms around her. She remembered the feel of those arms. Her eyes flew open at the touch of his fingers on her back, pulling her gently to him.

He made no further move. He just stared at her intensely, his eyes probing hers. Was he trying to see the truth? How you delude yourself! The only magic is the pleasure that comes when two people want each other with equal intensity.

The devil has nothing to do with this. And a kiss or two I might steal. He stared hard at her and then suddenly exploded. Jameson was bad enough, but now one of my kin has been with you! One of your kin indeed! Savage brutes! But what difference does it make who attacks me, you or someone in your family? Sheena backed away, appalled to realize what she had done. But the fact is, you brought me back here and said I canna leave, yet you have done naught to protect me. Am I to live each day in fear of every man here, including you?

It was his fault. He and Colen both had brought her here without explaining her presence to the others. Punish him because you are laird and he isna. Are you any less guilty than he is? I told him so. There is only one solution here, Sir Jamie. Nay, there is another solution. After an eternity, he spoke very quietly. Did his arrogance have no end?

I have no intention of agreeing. Anger fled, replaced by uncertainty. Was there some way he could force her? What has changed your mind?

And since you havena taken your life over it, you must have found it to your liking. You think that will make me agree to marry you? Her screams became louder. Do you hear? And she knew that was just what he meant to do, make her suffer. His cold fury proved that. There had been no heartfelt declaration, no talk of love.

Lust was ruling him, and, in the end, lust would make them both suffer. They were there all night, and the next morning, they followed her to the hall. They were there to guard her. They stuck to her for two days. He was too calm. Aye, indifferent described him perfectly. Could she hope it was over, that he had given up? Or was he keeping her in suspense? If he had some plan, what was he waiting for? Her eyes riveted on Alwyn. Her kin, here? All of them outside the castle? But she was inside!

They would attack, not knowing she was there! His meaning was not quite clear until she looked at Jamie. He was smiling at her, such a self-satisfied smile. Sheena gasped. Alasdair MacDonough—I believe you know him? He had much to say about the betrayal of his bride-to-be. All manner of horrible visions flashed through her mind…her kin slain, her father, her brother…. He left her then. Suddenly it was all clear.

He had not changed his mind, he had only been waiting, waiting for the one person who could force her to marry him—her father. Jamie leaned over the parapet, getting the best view of all the horses at his gate, some burdened with two, even three men. It did indeed look as if every male Fergusson alive was at Castle Kinnion. Jamie was amused. His message to Dugald had been clear enough, stating that he was in possession of the jewel of Tower Esk. If the old man could afford to ransom her, he was to come alone to Castle Kinnion.

He certainly was not alone! But then, the only plaids Jamie could see were Fergusson plaids. No other clan was involved—yet. But Jamie doubted it. If he had thought it would come to bloodshed, he would never have sent the message. Jamie saw Dugald moving to the fore, his son beside him. He was glad the boy was there. If Sheena wanted to disobey her father, the lad could help persuade her not to. I must say I like this meeting better than our last encounter. Then Colen spoke from behind him.

You gave no objections then. I didna think you would be bringing outside influences into it. Jamie sighed. Colen had managed to prick his conscience, and he was very near to having second thoughts. But, well, Sheena felt something for him, he was sure of it. Nor would he have pursued her against such terrible odds. Come now, man. I could kill you now if that was my intention.

He gave another signal, and the gate opened. He was no longer asking Dugald to come inside. He was leaving the older man no choice.


A Gentle Feuding

William scanned her face, pleased that he had shaken her so deeply. But if I canna have you, then aye, I would see you go to him to end this feud, for it kills MacAfees as well as Fergussons. Think about that, Sheena. She began to tremble. God, would her father really do that to her? Make her marry their terrible enemy? Dugald loved her.


The great laird is waiting. Colen was right beside her, growing just as angry as she was. A man stood there, a handsome man of lean build. He was looking up, drawn by her voice. What had been an expression of open curiosity turned to awe when Sheena took the last few steps and stood before him. She was a vision of dark-red-haired fury. Sheena was struck with acute embarrassment, knowing this man had heard her tirade.


Thank the Lord, Jamie had guessed right. Sir William despises you. He tried to rape me, and when that failed, he lied to you about me. Anything to hurt you, because of his sister. There was nothing he could say. He caught her to him and kissed her hard.

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