She heard the crack of a twig behind her, the sound of a footstep, and reacted. Instead of grabbing the sark, her fingers closed around the cold brass handle of her puffer pistol. She swung around, leveling the gun in the direction of the noise. All she could see was the gigantic shadow of a man so tall and heavily muscled he made her heart jolt in a moment of sheer panic. She was strong, but even the strongest woman was no match physically for a fierce Highland warrior—and this one certainly qualified. Squeezing the trigger, she heard the wheel lock click, smelled the burning, and then a few seconds afterward, the kick of the blast sent her stumbling back.
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She heard the crack of a twig behind her, the sound of a footstep, and reacted. Instead of grabbing the sark, her fingers closed around the cold brass handle of her puffer pistol. She swung around, leveling the gun in the direction of the noise. All she could see was the gigantic shadow of a man so tall and heavily muscled he made her heart jolt in a moment of sheer panic. She was strong, but even the strongest woman was no match physically for a fierce Highland warrior—and this one certainly qualified.
Squeezing the trigger, she heard the wheel lock click, smelled the burning, and then a few seconds afterward, the kick of the blast sent her stumbling back. The brigand let out a vile curse and slid to his knees, cradling his stomach. Her recent instruction paid off, her aim true. He had his head down, but vaguely it occurred to her that his clothing was far too fine to be that of a brigand.
The rich, deep sound of his voice resonated, probing the farthest reaches of her memory. The blood drained from face, from her body. Her heart constricted with a dull throb. Her eyes shot to his face, taking in the hard square jaw rough with dark stubble, the wavy jet-black hair, the firm nose and wide mouth.
But hard—too hard. Then she looked at the eyes beneath the steel of his knapscall. Crystal clear, as blue as the summer sky, they bored into her with an intense familiarity that could not be denied. Her chest tightened to the point of burning. The shock was such that she could have been seeing a ghost. But this was no ghost. The prodigal son had returned. Duncan Dubh Campbell had finally come home. For one ludicrous moment her heart leapt and she stepped forward.
At one time, she would have given anything to see his face again. At one time. She jerked back. Her heart twisted as the memories came flooding back. Not one word for ten years. Only the first had hurt. The other nine had been spent alternating between hatred and self-recrimination.
Duncan Campbell was the last man she ever wanted to see again. Her first instinct was to rush and help him, but she forced herself not to move. Her mouth fell in a tight line, refusing to think about the blood rushing between his fingers as he tried to staunch the bleeding that flowed into a crimson pool at his side.
She shook off the fear and found her voice. All of the sudden she realized why. Dear lord, she was naked. Her cheeks burned more with anger than with embarrassment as she quickly yanked a dry sark over her head.
She flinched, not missing the heavy sarcasm in his voice at the pointed reminder of a night she longed to forget. Anger burst inside her. Her fingers tightened around the pistol she still held in her hand. Were it re-loaded, she just might shoot him again.
Her gaze met his just as intently and she smiled coldly. If Duncan Dubh—aptly named, though it should be for his black heart and not his hair—had a weak point in the steely armor that surrounded him, it was the nature of his birth. But they knew well how to hurt one other, that skill had been honed to perfection years ago. The smile that curve his mouth was about as warm as the icy mountaintops of the Cairngorms that surrounded them in the dark of winter. But he had. She stared into the face that was at once heartbreakingly familiar and completely different.
The youth had become a man. If anything, the passage of time had only served to make him more attractive—something she would have thought impossible. The black hair and blue eyes had always been a striking combination, but with age his boyish features had become more sharply defined and chiseled. He wore his hair shorter now—the soft waves that had fallen to his jaw had been cropped to just past his ears.
The deeply tanned skin had been weathered by the elements and nicked by war, yet it only served to make him more brutally masculine—imposing, almost dangerous.
Despite his undeniable appeal, nothing stirred inside her. She sucked in her breath, stunned by the aching familiarity. By the reminder. Her heart pounded in a hard panic as the force of everything she had to lose by his return came crashing down on her.
I thought I betrayed you? Nothing flickered on his expression. He sagged backward, falling from his knees to the ground, but she made no move toward him. Any compassion she might have felt for shooting him paled beside the danger his return could bring. Her eyes narrowed. You should never have come back, Duncan, the only thing waiting for you is a noose.
Shelves: monica-mccarty , frustration-alert , bitch-slap-coming-through This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Ah, quite disappointing ending of a great trilogy! Jeannie was so so irritating for the better part of the book, cant even begin to tell you. Her loyalty to her traitorous father and husband was very applaudable but for that, what she did with Duncan was simply appalling!