Viking Fire

Viking Fire by Andrea R. Cooper

Book: Viking Fire by Andrea R. Cooper Read Free Book Online
Authors: Andrea R. Cooper
Tags: Romance, Contemporary
“Let the woman and child ride with you.” The voice, tinted with familiarity in her mind, was clouded behind raspy coughs.
    She nodded woodenly. Guilt made her look to thank the man for his help with the fire, when Bram’s azure eyes held her. He smiled and his teeth lit his darkened face. She realized he held her hand, but while she wanted to keep holding on, pride made her jerk away.
    “Someone must not want us dead.” He winked.
    Her handmaid pushed a colored flask into Bram’s empty hand. “Drink this to rid your cough.”
    He downed the liquid and then handed back the flask. “Tastes like cedar and sand.”
    “Never mind.” Elva waved her hand. “Sit and rest before you ride back.”
    “I am fine.” He mumbled and then fell to his knees. “Well, maybe a rest will do me good.”
    Bram coughed three more times, then vomited black mucus. Then his coughing stopped. He breathed in and the muscles in his face relaxed. “Thank you.”
    Elva nodded and then stalked away to assist others.
    Shivering from a gust of wind, Kaireen moved away to gather her sister and niece. Despite nearly dying, she could not keep a smile from her face. She mounted and waited for her sister to hand her Megan and then to mount as well. Her niece, Megan, sat before her in the saddle, her sister behind her.
    Bram strode forward. “Take care.” He scratched her mare behind the ears. “This fire did not rouse from natural causes.”
    She frowned at him. Megan whimpered against her.
    He leaned forward, his hand brushing her knee. And she tried not to think about his hand on her bare skin. The fire had damaged this gown beyond repair and her shift did not give her much cover. “The hearth in the bedroom was the only one with logs.”
    “Perhaps a spark started the blaze upon the roof.” Kaireen shrugged.
    “No, the fire was strongest in the front of your sister’s dwelling. The wind carried the flames sideways to the others. I wager this fire was created by the hand of an enemy.”
    Who would want to kill her sister? Her mind rummaged for answers, but found none save the spy.
    “Take them to your father. We must offer them safety.”
    She opened her mouth to state she knew what needed done, when he whacked her mare’s rump.

Chapter Sixteen
    Rhiannon hung her mistress’ gown on the edge of the window. A cloth covered the stone sill, allowing her to air the gown for tonight’s supper and not dirty the material.
    She fingered the velvet gown. It took her hours produce the color for her mistress. Glancing around her, she then snatched up the dress. Held the emerald material to her as if it was hers.
    She sauntered to the polished bronze looking glass and admired her reflection. She did not see the lines on her face or the grey hair stretched tight into a bun underneath her head covering.
    As if accepting a compliment, she bowed her head with a smile. She did not see her eyes grown cold from years of unhappiness and hatred. She returned the gown to the window. Longingly, she brushed her hands on the front of the gown. Velvet, soft like fur, but shorter. The color deepened as she stroked the material.
    She stepped back. Her hand drew out the tattered envelope tied to the underside of her skirts. She kissed the broken seal. The seal of her clan, O’Neill.
    Curse her husband Angus who sent her into the mist. So long she had waited.
    Now in this letter she had her means of revenge, and the promise of enough gold to buy as many fancy gowns as she wished. Have her lord and lady kiss her feet.
    For seventeen years she had been a servant here. When she arrived and told them of her plight, she wanted the Laird and Lady to rise up against her husband. The Laird refused and wanted her gone. His wife argued that it would be Christian to take her in. He agreed, only if she would become a slave. Rhiannon refused and left. No other clan would take her in. Swallowing her pride for the moment, she returned to take her place as a member of the lower

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