Read Pleasured for Free Online Page B

Book: Read Pleasured for Free Online
Authors: Candace Camp
toward the front door.
    MacRae jerked his arm away. “I intend to find the men who started the fire tonight.”
    “Aye? I guess you’d best be about it, then, hadn’t you?”
    “You can hide behind your sister’s skirts all you want, Munro,” MacRae sneered. “But I know you’re involved.”
    “Don’t be a fool.” Coll loomed over him. “I never touched your storehouse. But you’ll have the devil’s own work finding the man who did. There’s no friend to Mardoun in this glen, only those who work for him and those whom he’s beggared for the sake of his profits. Now get out of my sister’s house, and if I learn you’ve been back here bothering her, I can promise you, you won’t be finding those men or anything else ever again. Now go!”
    Coll closed the door on MacRae’s retreating figure, then slammed the bar back into place. Coll turned to her, scowling. “Has MacRae been bedeviling you? Does he dare to come here?”
    “Pffft.” Meg made a dismissive gesture. “MacRae is a worm.”
    “More like a snake, I’d say.” His hand clenched around the spoon so tightly it snapped.
    “Och, Coll . . . now look what you’ve done.” Meg plucked the pieces of the spoon from his hand, shaking her head.
    “It’s what I’ll do to him if I find him nosing around you again.”
    “Fine. But I would like to keep my utensils in one piece, if you don’t mind. I’ve a great more fondness for them than I do for MacRae.” Her lips twitched. “And take off that apron. You look ridiculous.”
    He grinned back at her. “Nothing convinces people of the truth like making yourself look a fool.”
    “Ah, no wonder everyone thinks you’re sae honest,” Meg shot back, and reached out to pinch his arm. “Stop scaring me like this, Coll, I mean it. I could not bear to lose you.”
    “I know.” He sighed. “It’s just—what will happen to the men? I worry what mad thing they’ll get into if I am not there to persuade them otherwise.”
    “It doesn’t sound as if you kept them from doing it tonight.”
    “Nae, you’re right.” He ran his hand back through his hair. “I wish there was some other way to help them. I feel guilty, you ken, safe and secure, working at Baillannan, while they are getting run out of their homes.”
    “I know. But it isn’t your fault; it’s MacRae’s doing. And Mardoun’s,” she added darkly. That was just one more reason she needed to stop thinking about the man.

    It was a good idea, but easier said than done, Meg found. She awoke the next morning from a delicious and disturbing dream about the tall, dark-eyed earl. To make it even worse, her mind kept returning to the dream throughout the morning.
    In an effort to distract herself, Meg took her hat and gloves and went to tend the beehive. When finished, she strolled back through the dappled woods in a more peaceful frame of mind, but as she drew close to her cottage, she was brought up short by the sight of a stranger standing at her cottage door.
    The man was dressed in severe black and white, like the minister of a kirk, and his pale face looked as if emotions were foreign to it. As Meg watched from the edge of the clearing, the man knocked on the door again, then began to walk around, craning his neck around the corner of the house, even shading his eyes to peer into her window.
    “Good morning to you, sir.” Meg had the satisfaction of seeing him jump and whirl around at her words.
    But the face he presented gave little away, and he nodded to her without any seeming dismay at being caught snooping. “Good morning. Margaret Munro, I presume?” His crisp British accent identified him immediately as one of Mardoun’s entourage.
    “Aye. And you are?”
    “Blandings, miss. I have been entrusted by the Earl of Mardoun with delivering this to you.” He reached into the pocket of his jacket and pulled out a folded piece of paper, extending it to her.
    Meg’s brows rose and she came forward to take the note from him.

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