Emma rode hard, praying as she went. The rain started a short time later. It wasn’t long before it was pouring buckets and not long before she was soaked through, her wool cloak doing little to keep her dry. She kept going wiping the rain from her eyes and holding back her tears.
The MacClennan village came into view over a small rise. She hurried the horse along and once in the village she headed for the keep. No one was about, though when she reached the keep a young lad popped out of a nearby cottage.
“You be a Macinnes,” he asked.
“I am,” Emma said.
“I’m to tend the horses.”
He looked around and Emma knew he wondered where the others were but he would not ask. It was not his place to question. She handed her mare’s reins over to him and hurried up the few steps to the keep.
She paid no heed to her appearance, though knew she had to look a sight soaked through as she was and her hair dripping wet. She rushed into the great hall relieved that there weren’t as many warriors or villagers there as she had expected but her greeting was exactly what she had expected.
“The plain one leads the way,” Angus MacClennan shouted from the dais with a raise of his tankard in welcome. “We were worried the storm would delay your arrival, though it appears it got you good. You look like a drowned cat.”
She ignored Angus’s thoughtless remark seeing that he was far into his cups and would be of no use to her and demanded, “Where is Rogan?”
“It’s not your place to be asking about him, lassie, he belongs to your sister,” Angus said standing, though swaying. “I made that clear to your da.”
Emma noticed that though Angus had white hair and some wrinkles he had fine features and his body was well-honed for a man of his years. She had heard his wife had been a beauty and a lovely woman and he still grieved her loss these past three years now.
That did not however give him cause to be rude. She would not be put off by this man; her sister’s life was at stake. “I would speak to you but you are too far into your cups to be of help. I will speak to your son now.”
The wooden floor began to tremble and Emma turned to see a small group of warriors march into the room. Their leader wore a dark brown cloak, the hood pulled down over his head concealing his face.
“Rogan, Emma Macinnes demands to see you,” Angus shouted.
The cloaked warrior threw his hood back and stopped right in front of Emma. “Where is my intended?”
Emma never had her legs turn weak at the sight of a man, but this man caused her legs to tremble until she thought she would collapse. He towered over her and muscles ran thick and hard beneath his shirt and across his chest. His dark brown hair fell away from his face and just passed his shoulders. However, it was his face that made her breath catch. Never had she seen a man with such stunning features. Even the scowl he wore could not diminish his exceptional good looks.
“Answer me, lass.”
He did not shout like his father had but there was a command to his tone that she imagined all obeyed without question… as did she.
“Heather was taken by a band of rebels.”
His hand shot out and grabbed her arm so tight that it squeezed the rain water from her sleeve. “Where? When?”
“About four hours ago just when we made to stop at a small clearing along the road. My sister Patience went after her with our warriors who were able. Those who suffered injuries wait for my return. You must get your warriors together and go with me now.”
His dark eyes remained fixed on her and she could see that he was giving thought to her words. Her heartbeat quickened fearful that she had gotten no immediate reaction from him. When he did speak she grew angry.
“You will tell me everything about the attack while you dry by the fire and eat. Night falls within the hour and the rain already hampers our vision. My warriors and I will leave at first light.”
Emma tried to free her arm but she could not budge it, his grip was much too strong. “That is too late. We must leave now.”
He released her arm, though remained beside her. “That would be foolish for us to do. You will do as I say and then stay here and rest while I go and bring your sister home.”
She was not only angry; she was shocked that he was not running from the keep ready to rescue Heather. She could not hold her tongue. “Since you are a coward I will go find my sister myself.”
Gasps echoed throughout the hall but Emma ignored them and turned to leave. Before she could take one step a strong arm locked around her waist and swung her around slamming her against a steel-hard chest.
“No one accuses me of being a coward and lives,” Rogan said his nose pressed against hers.
Fear rushed through her, turning her stomach and shivering her flesh but she refused to pay heed to it. It didn’t matter that this powerful warrior threatened her; it only mattered that her sister was rescued and returned home. “Then kill me and be done with it or let me go so that I can do what you won’t.”
He let out a roar that Emma swore shook the rafters, then he grabbed her, tossed her over his shoulder and headed out of the room.
Hope you enjoyed this brief excerpt from Book One of the Macinness Sisters Trilogy. No release date has been set for this book, but look for updates on the trilogy coming soon.