By Diana Cosby
If he could, Alexander would rid himself of Lord Monceaux’s sister this instant. But the rebels needed the coin her ransom would bring. And he’d given his word to protect her, so that he would.
Alexander pulled her to the stairs. “Stay quiet,” he threatened and nipped at her neck in cover to any who observed their departure.
At the bottom of the steps, she rounded on him, by the stubborn glint in her eyes, ready to argue anew. Before she could rail at him, he heaved her over his shoulder.
Her scream blended with the rowdy cheers of the men below as he hauled her up the rickety steps. They reached the top of the stairs and thankfully out of view of the very drunk and non-discriminate crowd below.
She clawed at his shoulder. “Do not rape me!”
Exhausted, his head throbbing from fatigue, he set her down inside the hall, but kept a secure grip on her wrist. Of course she was terrified. He’d abducted her from her home, dressed her in a wanton’s gown and hauled her into a tavern filled with the basest of men. Most noble women would have fainted as they’d stepped inside. That she’d but trembled at the sight of the dangerous men raised his respect for her another notch.
“Lass,” he said softly. “I am going to —”
She tried to rip her hand free, her chest heaving. “Let me go!”
Alexander softened his grip. “I only want sleep.”
His quiet words spilled between them as she eyed him with distrust. With the strength of a saint, he kept his gaze focused on her face and away from the tempting swells below.
She wiped her lips with the back of her hand as if she found his lingering taste offensive. “You let them think me your whore!”
He gave a somber nod. “Aye. Had they known different, they would have taken you. Or tried.”
Her hand went to her throat. “But you are their enemy?” As if realizing the peril of her condemnation, a flush stole up her cheeks.
“The lot below would not be caring,” he said, matter of fact. “As long as they believe you are with me, they will not harm you.”
“Is that supposed to reassure me?”
“’Tis up to you.”