The Wolf of Kisimul Castle

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Her outstretched hand hit the tower of spiced cakes sitting on a table by the exit into the courtyard. Arching upward, she watched them topple. With it came the realization that she was not being taken to the chapel. “I said put me down.” She sucked in sporadic inhales as he carried her slung over one massive shoulder.

He pulled his sword as they neared the dogs and lowered her feet to the ground. With a furious look, he raised his sword with the hand that wasn’t anchoring her to him. For an instant Mairi wondered if he’d slaughter the dogs, but he sliced through their ropes, freeing them. “If ye don’t walk, I will carry ye,” he said.

“Who the bloody hell are ye?” she asked, her rose crown hanging before her eyes. She slapped it back and quickened her steps to prevent him from dragging her. On the other side of the garden gate, in the thick wall surrounding Kilchoan, sat two men on horses in a dense stand of young trees. They wore green plaids, making them hard to spot. A white horse with roses in its mane stood to the side of the pebbled road next to an unconscious man tied to the trunk of an oak. This was definitely not a foolish prank or loyalty test. She turned to Alec, a thousand questions on her tongue. What was happening? Who was he?

“Why did ye kiss me?” fell from her mouth. Of all the questions, she’d chosen the most foolish of them all.

“Ye kissed her?” the warrior with red hair asked, his eyebrow rising high. The other man scrunched his face. “That wasn’t part of the plan.”

“The plan changed,” Alec said.

“But the plan never changes,” red hair said, scratching his chin. “Unless it involves dogs.” As if on cue, the three freed dogs ran up to the horses, tails wagging. Some watchdogs they were.

“I can’t believe he bloody kissed her,” the other man said, a grin spreading across his lips.

Without another word, the large warrior hoisted her up onto his black horse and climbed behind her. He pulled her up against his hard chest. “I have a right to know who is stealing me away,” Mairi said, twisting to peer up into his face. A glint sharpened his steely blue-gray eyes. “Who are ye?” she whispered.

Without warning he clicked his tongue, and his horse took off, making her turn forward to grasp the pommel. His lips, the ones that had made her question meeting Geoff at the end of the aisle, came up next to her ear. “I am Alec MacNeil, the Wolf of Kisimul Castle, and ye are Mairi Maclean MacInnes…my new wife.”