Highland Devil (Murray Family #22)

By: Hannah Howell


Gybbon gently stroked her face and tucked the few stray locks of her hair that had come loose from her braid behind her ears. “Time to go inside.”

They slipped in with only one lone kitchen maid noticing them and then went up the stairs. By the time they reached the top of the stairs, Gybbon had his arm around her waist. They had reached her door when he suddenly pulled her into his arms and kissed her.

Mora let herself sink into the kiss and enjoyed the heat it stirred within her. She knew what he wanted and she was uneasy. A large part of her wanted it, too, but she was neither a widow nor a tavern maid and she knew she should not. There had been no words of love or even need. No promises she could cling to for a future.

Then she thought of all that had happened. What good were promises to her when she had a man determined to kill her? She was filled with a grief and anger that had little place to go and his kisses eased all that, gave her a moment to forget them. He was evidently a man who liked to wander and she was one who ached to settle. So what harm was there in allowing herself to just forget all of it in his arms?

He looked at her and she was certain there was a question in his eyes. A strong reckless and rebellious part of her rose up to answer that question and she opened her door. His eyes widened when she tugged him into her room. Delighted by his surprise, she curled her arms around his neck and kissed him with all the fierce desire she had fought to keep under control….

Chapter One

The way her cousins burst into the house startled and frightened Mora. She paused in doing up her cloak. “What do ye want?” she demanded as she pushed Andrew behind her.

“We want ye gone,” answered Robert, the eldest.

“Why? I have a right to stay here and hold the house for my brothers’ return.” She felt a chill at the look that crossed Robert’s face.

“We can hold it for them. Now that your parents are dead, ’tis nay right for ye to stay here alone. How will ye fare with no one bringing in some coin?”

“The goats give me milk and I will have cheese to make and sell. ’Tis nay a bountiful living, but it will serve.”

Robert looked at his brothers and nodded toward the back door. All three went in that direction. Mora tried to stop them, but Robert paused long enough to backhand her in the face, and she fell. She was just scrambling to her feet when she heard the first goat scream. Keeping an eye on Murdoch, who rushed out the door and tried to stop what his brothers were doing, she grabbed the bag she had packed for young Andrew, handed it to him, and hurried over to a window to lift him out.

“Run with the goats if any get away. Go to Aunt Maggie.”

“But ye should come, too,” Andrew said. “We were supposed to stay together.”

“Go. I will come when I can. Go!”

She watched him run to the woods and a moment later saw several of her goats bolting into the woods as well. Pleased her cousins had not killed all the animals, she turned around and saw a badly battered Murdoch leaning against the side of the door frame, watching her.

The elder three brothers came stomping back into the house, and she tensed. “Ye shouldnae have killed my animals. Glad some of them kenned the danger and fled.”

“Ye willnae be able to gather them all back anyway,” sneered Robert as he walked toward her. “Now we have taken care of your parents and your cursed goats.”

Shock turned her blood cold and she said in a voice softened by horror, “It wasnae thieves. It was ye who killed my parents. Ye probably took what they had earned for their goods as well.”

Robert laughed. “Of course we did. And it showed they had a good day at the market. They had no need of it and ye willnae either. And, curse it, where is that wee brat Andrew?”

“Ye expect me to tell ye where he is when ye have just admitted to killing our parents?”

“Aye, and if ye dinnae, we can easily make ye want to tell us anything.”

“I think people would frown on ye torturing your own cousin, especially if that person is a newly orphaned girl.”

“Nay when they are told ye are a thief and a killer.”

“What nonsense is that? I have stolen nothing and killed no one.”