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.He fought the urge to allow his hands exploration of her breasts, close as they may be, sensing she might not be aware of how well her kisses and soft panting undid him.Yet he did not stop either.She felt so good, so lush and vibrant until, like a slap to the face with icy water, she broke away.He opened his eyes and saw shock and fear and confusion take turns expressing in her eyes.Her parted lips glistened, were red, from their kiss.Damn his body but it wanted more.He wanted to return his mouth to her, to taste her more deeply, to touch the flesh.He felt a catch in his chest as she withdrew another inch.He reached for her, an entreaty.But she jerked back.Ashlon dropped his head back and rolled his eyes heavenward.What had he done? He was no scoundrel, but the kiss proved such a vigorous endeavor it left him no strength to move after her.She retreated and stood.“Apologies,” he mumbled again and bore his eyes into hers.“Won’t happen ‘gain.” Ashlon closed his eyes and his last remarkable thought was that he’d just offended an angel.Then he succumbed to sleep.Breanne exhaled loudly.He slept.She couldn’t keep drugging him so, or he’d never be awake long enough to give her answers let alone be on his way from here.She ran a hand over her brow and sat in the nearest rickety chair.He’d kissed her.Or had she kissed him? Both, she decided.And what a kiss it was.Sweet St.Bridget that experience placed her only other kiss in stark relief.The difference amazed her.This man’s lips were like a charm, spinning into her body, caressing depths she didn’t know existed.Compared to it, Quinlan’s kiss became sloppy, rigid, and forced.How could a stranger’s mouth, one he was barely aware of due to the herbs’ effects, feel so natural and yet surreal all at once? So startling and magickal?She didn’t have an answer and didn’t soon want one.Any man having such an effect over her was dangerous.With a touch he’d make her witless and vulnerable to his very whim.She didn’t trust it, or him.The remainder of the week was all she’d give him.If he wasn’t well and off within this very week, she’d be forced to give him over to Niall.She’d have protected him well enough, as Heremon’s sight had seen her to, and she refused to feel guilty.He was not her responsibility after all.Heremon was.Once he gave clarification, assuming he saw nothing and caused nothing, regained good health, what was left to protect?Breanne opened the closet door, apparently unfound by Niall’s men, and dragged the man into it.She couldn’t manage getting him onto the table, so moved the long narrow piece to the far wall.His belongings sat in a pile, undisturbed since the last she spied them.Jutting rectangular emeralds on his sword’s hilt glowed in the candlelight.Breanne touched her fingertip to one.It was a finely wrought weapon.It’s seams were flawless, the design equally strong and elegant.Unusual to place the emeralds in such a way, as though they stood rather than lay on the metalwork.The man’s breathing became a snore.Breanne chuckled, watching him.In sleep, his face showed an innocence that reminded her of Danny, young and impetuous.But, she couldn’t recall a trace of innocence in his awaked countenance.Signs of the boy in the man, she supposed and brushed a wavy lock off his forehead.“What have you done here?” she asked him but wasn’t sure which one of them she referred to.She left the sack of food, the skin, blankets retrieved from the cave, and closed the door.Before leaving, she wrote him a brief note and slipped it under the disguised door.Four more days and she could return her attention to the normalcies of life.Spinning, learning, husband hunting.Breanne sighed but it didn’t help alleviate the new heaviness in her heart.She looked back at the stone cottage and walked away.Chapter Seven“Please, Breanne, be seated,” Niall said when she knocked on the open door.He closed the door and took the chair across from her, the one her mother had mutely sat in only three days ago.“May I ask the reason for this summons, my lord?” she asked, coming straight to the heart of her worry.“With Heremon’s death and burial, my time has been consumed.”“As has all of ours, my lord,” she said, trying to sound understanding, docile, but needing to move from chitchat.He placed a hand up, stopping her from further interruption.“I intended to speak with you sooner.Regardless, we have much to discuss and I ask that you hold your tongue until I finish,” he said in a scolding tone.Breanne lowered her gaze but her chin raised a notch.She doubted she wanted to hear anything else from this man.In mere days, he’d turned her world inside out with his demands.First, forcing her to choose a husband, then protracting a solemn swear of secrecy.Now what?“It should first be known by you that Shane MacSweeney proclaimed intention of pursuing your hand in marriage.When Ula and I spoke with you previously, I failed to mention his name and I only do so now so that you may appreciate the seriousness of which I called you here for.” His large belly forced his thighs to sit wide and bulged when he leaned forward.Breanne frowned.She didn’t comprehend what the man was attempting to tell her, but she kept silent, as he wished.Prodding his temper would make her request all the more difficult to ask.“MacSweeney met with me this morning and begged off.” Niall paused and pierced her with a severe look of disapproval.“My lord, I—“His hand shot up again, quieting her.“Better that he did.A fine gallowglass he may be but a fine husband, I can’t imagine [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]