MadMan MacKeefe Series
A Scottish Highlander kidnaps an English noblewoman as he searches for a stolen Book or Hours to try to save his mother’s life.
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Click to listen to an excerpt of the audiobook of Onyx.
Onyx’s wildcat crawled up onto Lovelle’s lap and curled up in a ball and closed its eyes.
“Oh!” she said, surprised, pulling back a bit. She didn’t like animals, and cats were at the top of her list. Especially the kind that were wild, and predators of nature and not meant to be pets, like the one that just claimed her lap.
“The cat likes ye,” Ian pointed out.
“Aye, and Dagger’s cat hates e’eryone but him,” added Aidan.
“Really?” she asked, wanting the thing off her lap but not wanting to touch it. Then Onyx appeared, coming out of the darkness with two rabbits in his hand. He held them by their hind legs, and his bloody dagger dangled from his fingers.
“Make yerself useful and skin and gut these,” he said, throwing them down in front of her in the dirt. The cat jumped off her lap and bit one around the neck and started carrying it away, though the rabbit was twice its size.
“Put it down, Tawpie, I dinna mean ye,” said Onyx, “I meant her.” He pointed at her, and to her horror, she realized he wanted her to do it. The cat dropped the rabbit and slinked away with its shoulders hunched and its head down as if it were looking for prey.
Lovelle had often helped in the castle’s kitchen, but she’d always let the servants do the gutting and skinning, or plucking the feathers off a goose.
“What’s the matter?” he asked, obviously testing her. “Ye want te eat, but yet ye willna hunt, gut, or cook the meal?”
“I’ll do it,” said Aidan, reaching over for the rabbits.
“Nay!” He walked forward and pushed the dead animals closer to her with his foot. “She’ll do it if she wants te eat.”
Lovelle closed her eyes and released a deep breath. She was starving, but she couldn’t do what this man was asking.
“What’s the matter?” asked Onyx. “Too good for a chore like this?”
“Dagger, let me,” said Ian, but Onyx just shook his head. He leaned forward and stabbed his dagger into the ground just next to her foot, making her flinch.
“Jumpy tonight, arena ye?” he asked. “Do tell me ye’ve gutted a rabbit afore, me lady?”
“Of course,” she lied, reaching out for one of the rabbits, then bringing her hand back quickly, noticing the horrid look on its face and wide, gaping mouth . . . and the blood.
He hunkered down next to her, his mouth close to her ear. “Like I said, ye are a bad liar. Now, mayhap ye jest need a little help.”
Onyx only meant to scare the lass so she wouldn’t give him trouble or try to escape during the night, but when he pressed up behind her and took her hands in his, and guided one to the rabbit and the other to his dagger, he felt as if she were scaring him instead. What was it with this Sassenach that had him excited every time he got near her? Probably the fact that most lassies were repelled by him, but this one showed no fear.
“All ye need te do is start by cuttin’ off the rabbit’s feet.” He guided the dagger toward the dead rabbit’s feet, and noticed her eyes closing, and that she was holding her breath. The scent of rosewater and soap filled his senses, and the softness of her long, unbound hair rubbed up against his face.
She was so fresh and clean. So alluring. He knew he probably smelled like woodsmoke and the earth, and he felt as if he had no right to be holding her so close and touching her like this.
A wave of desire shot through him, and he wondered how it would feel to kiss her right now. Her lips were full and lush and her cheeks rosy. Her skin was so smooth and unblemished. And from his position hunkered down behind her, he could see the tops of her breasts. Her chest moved in and out as she breathed heavily, probably from anticipation of having to skin a rabbit – something he was sure she’d never done in her life.
The desire he felt for her was driving him out of his mind. He’d only meant to show her how to prepare their food for dinner, but instead of focusing on their meal, he was focused on another hunger instead. And though it would be so easy to push her down on the ground, spread her legs apart and drive into her soft, sweet, tight wetness right now, he knew he couldn’t do it. His mother’s life depended upon what happened right now between them. He couldn’t risk the fact Lady Love would tell her men he’d defiled her when they returned. One wrong move and it could seal his mother’s fate forever.
He dropped the rabbit and the dagger and backed away quickly.
“Aidan, Ian, ye do it,” he said, turning away so they didn’t notice the bulge beneath his plaid.
“Aye, ye look like ye’re in need o’ a woman, no’ a meal,” said Aidan.
“Still feeling thet pent up frustration from no’ beddin’ yer share of the trio, I see,” added Ian.
Too late. They knew what he was feeling, and were probably having similar feelings being around such a bonnie lassie as well. Ian and Aidan laughed heartily, and picked up the rabbits to do as instructed.
“I could show ye how te do this, me lady,” said Ian, flashing Lovelle his smile that always drove the lassies mad. “After all, Dagger may be . . . busy fer awhile,” he said with a smirk.
“Leave her alone,” called out Onyx, walking toward the stream to take a quick dip in the water and cool the fires of desire threatening to consume him.