Border Fire

Border Fire by Amanda Scott Page A

Book: Border Fire by Amanda Scott Read Free Book Online
Authors: Amanda Scott
Tags: Romance
whether you have ever before run away from home.”
    “I am not running away now,” she protested.
    “That depends on one’s viewpoint, I suspect,” he said. “However, I am reasonable enough to accept that as fact for the sake of the greater argument.”
    “You are making my head spin. What greater argument?”
    “The devil. Remember him?”
    “Aye, I do, and I am not at all certain that we ought to be discussing him so openly. Doubtless he hears every word we say.”
    “Oh, aye, but he and I are well acquainted, lass, and so long as you and I have right on our side, we need not fear him overmuch.”
    “Are you so certain then that we do have right on our side?”
    “Aye, of course. We’ve saved me, have we not—for the moment, at least?”
    “And are you certain that was the right thing for me to do?” she asked bitterly. When he chuckled again, she shook her head, feeling a need to clear it, then answered her own question. “Of course, you would think so. You must think me a dunce even to ask you such a question.”
    “Aye, it was a daft one to ask me. I cannot think of many things that a sensible man would consider more right than preserving his own life. I am certainly not ready to exchange mine for the great unknown beyond it.”
    They had reached the safety of the trees, and looking back, she saw Hugh’s party approaching the postern gate. In the distance, she heard their shouts and then heard someone pounding on the postern gate with a sword hilt or some other heavy implement. Moments later, they disappeared inside.
    Neither she nor the reiver said anything for several moments, and she knew that he was listening, just as she was, for sounds of imminent pursuit. When none came, she felt him relax.
    Quietly she said, “It seems that your mischief worked its magic, reiver.”
    “So far,” he said, “but we’ll still ride for the dike, I think. If your brother misses us before morning, he will head for Kershopefoot Bridge, believing that we’d do as you suggested we should.”
    “I suppose he might, at that,” she agreed with a sigh.
    “He will. I did not mean that as criticism, however,” he added. “I know that you meant only to set me on the most direct route, and I thank you for your kindness—indeed, for your many kindnesses. Is there any place away from Brackengill where your brother might believe you had gone this evening?”
    The abrupt change of subject caught her by surprise. “Why?”
    “Well, I was just thinking that you might not want to ride to Scotland with me, so if there is somewhere nearby where you might have gone to take supper with friends, just as he went to Bewcastle…”
    When he left the sentence unfinished, she sighed again. “Even if there were such a place, and people there who would agree to lie to Hugh to protect me, the fact of my having done such a thing without his leave would only infuriate him.”
    “He seems to infuriate with devilish ease,” he said with audible annoyance.
    “Most men do,” she said. “Of course, I expect that you will tell me you are a man of mild temperament.”
    “Oh, aye. They do say that I am the placid one,” he replied. “Of course, that’s by comparison with my cousin, who is famous for his temper, so some might call that description a wee bit deceptive.”
    “What is your cousin’s name?”
    He chuckled. “Now, lass, do you think I am going to make you a gift of my particulars before we even cross the line? I am not such a fool.”
    “I do not think that I want to go to Scotland,” she said, more to hear what he would say in reply than because she believed that he—placid or not—would give her much choice.
    Nor did he. “You will go where I say, lassie. I am not an insensitive man, and I ken well that you will leave much behind. However, if we put our heads together, we may yet think of a way to get you home again and still keep that pretty head on your shoulders. Until we do think of such a way, however, you

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