It’s the last Wicked Wednesday in August and I had to give it to Cree from my Silent series. He’s a badass Highlander warrior who meets his match in a voiceless woman. I’ll be posting all about the trilogy in a few days since the first two books will be released late September in e-book & print.
Dawn unlatched the door and lightning struck just as she swung it open. It pierced the distant ground and electrified the sky outlining the dark figure bearing down on her cottage while another figure followed behind him.
She dropped the bucket outside and hurried back into the cottage leaving the door open not doubting in the least that if she didn’t, Cree would break it down. She rushed Dorrie out of the chair and brazenly took a protective stance in front of her.
“Oh my God, he’s here isn’t he?” Dorrie said her voice trembling. And she reached out and grasped Dawn’s hand tightly as if by holding onto her she could save her from Cree’s wrath.
Dawn kept her eyes on the open door. She did not rescue Dorrie only to see her returned to the stocks. How she would prevent it, she did not know. She only knew that she would stand her ground against Cree, for she did not believe Cree would do her harm.
Dawn heard Dorrie gasp behind her when Cree bowed his head to enter the cottage, the door not tall enough to accommodate his height and his shoulders so wide that they scraped the door frame. His leather tunic dripped rainwater as did his black-as-night hair and his face wore such a threatening scowl that it had Dorrie inching closer to Dawn.
Dawn raised her chin determined to see Dorrie kept safe and then Elwin entered the cottage and Dawn’s resolve suffered a blow. He was here to take Dorrie to the stocks and how could she, one voiceless woman, stop the large warrior from doing so?
“I do not know what you think you are doing,” Cree said in a tone so cold that a chill circled the room. “But she,”— he pointed to Dorrie— “goes back to the stocks now. And you will answer to me for your insolence.”
Dawn did not know what made her do it, perhaps it was all she had suffered through lately, or perhaps she was simply tired of constant threats and no longer cared what happened to her. Whatever the reason it didn’t matter, her hands were moving before she could stop them.
She turned slightly, pointed at Dorrie, then to the door and then she tapped her chest hard and pointed to the door.
Cree’s eyes narrowed. “Are you telling me that if Dorrie goes to the stocks so do you?”
Dawn gave a hard nod.
Cree walked over to her and Dawn moved quickly to shield Dorrie completely.
“You dare give me an ultimatum?”
Dawn nodded again and her hands started moving fast… too fast.
“Damn,” Cree said annoyed and grabbed her wrists. “Slow down, I cannot understand you.”
“Dawn, are you all right?”
Dawn peered past Cree’s wide shoulders and was stunned, though relieved to see Lila.
Cree released her wrists and turned. “Tell me what she says.”
Lila bowed her head and approached as Dawn sent her a nod to let her know that she was fine. Lila stopped beside Dawn, her eyes turning wide at the sight of Dorrie standing behind her friend.
Dawn didn’t wait, her hands started moving and Lila started interpreting. “Dorrie has been punished enough—”
“One day in the stocks is not punishment enough.” Cree’s brisk interruption had Lila inching a bit further away from him.
Dawn slapped her chest and began gesturing and Lila hesitantly interpreted. “Let me finish.”
Cree looked ready to strangle Dawn and this time Dorrie and Lila both inched further away from the couple.
“What is she saying?” Cree asked, Dawn’s gestures appearing as if she was chastising him.
Lila was quick to talk. “She says that Dorrie cannot be left out in a thunderstorm. She will get sick and die.”
That brought tears to Dorrie’s eyes.
“She says that Dorrie did not harm her that badly that she deserves to die and she, Dawn, could not live with knowing that she had been the cause of her death.”
“I am sorry, so sorry,” Dorrie said. “I truly did not know anyone would harm Dawn. I did not know the warrior who approached me, though he made it seem like I did and he told me his name and still I didn’t remember him. He was insistent that I give Dawn the message and he promised me,”— she hesitated a moment— “a night of fun if I did.”
Dawn gestured again and Lila spoke. “It is not her fault. You cannot punish her for this.”
Cree took a step closer to Dawn and brought his face to within an inch of hers. “I can punish her for no reason at all if I so choose.”
Dorrie started crying.
Dawn poked him in the chest and then made a gesture.
Lila remained silent and Cree did not take his eyes off Dawn when he threatened more than ordered, “Tell me what she said.”
Lila did as she was told, though her voice trembled as she said, “She wants to know if you have a heart.”
His dark eyes turned so cold and empty that Dawn grew frightened and took a step back. She didn’t get far. His hand snapped out and grabbed hold of her wrist.
Cree didn’t take his eyes off Dawn as he spoke. “Sloan, take Lila home and Elwin take Dorrie to her cottage and she is not to leave it until I say otherwise.”
“I won’t, my lord, I won’t,” Dorrie said her head bowed as she slipped past Cree.
Lila hesitated, fear for her friend’s fate evident in her wide eyes. Sloan stepped forward and tugged at her arm for her to follow. She reluctantly went with him, though her eyes never left Dawn until Sloan shut the door behind them.
Cree yanked Dawn closer planting her hand hard against his chest. “You want to know if I have a heart… I don’t. There is nothing there. It is empty. I feel nothing and care for no one. And it would be wise for you to remember who you deal with… a heartless warrior.”
Dawn could not believe that Cree had no heart, perhaps a silent one, one that never had the chance to be heard… voiceless like her. But her hand felt no thump, no beat, no life and she shivered.
“Damn it,” Cree growled angry that she had paid his words no heed and angry that she was chilled. “Didn’t I tell you to get rid of these rags?” He grabbed her blouse and ripped it down the middle. He did the same to her worn skirt and then ripped the torn garments off her body, leaving her to stand naked, except for her boots, in front of him.
Dawn was too shocked to move, though not too shocked for her body to quiver and it wasn’t from feeling chilled.
Cree stepped closer, his leather tunic brushing the tips of her nipples and hardening them in an instant while gooseflesh prickled her bare skin.
“My word is law and you will obey it.”
There was nothing left for her to do but nod.
Exciting things coming in September so stay tuned!