Home > You've Got Plaid (Prince Charlie's Angels #3)(9)

You've Got Plaid (Prince Charlie's Angels #3)(9)
Author: Eliza Knight

   “I saw him head this way with his guard,” James said. “’Tis why Charles and I ran, so we could protect him. But we lost sight of him in the fray.”

   “We’ll go search Culloden House first.”

   Without horses, their travel was going to be difficult. But perhaps they’d find a few spares at the prince’s headquarters that they could borrow. Hell, steal was a better way of putting it because they certainly weren’t going to be returning them anytime soon.

   Without another word, the men set off, running without pausing despite the cramps in their muscles, the icy rain freezing their blood, the minor injuries they’d suffered, and the burning ache in their lungs.

   As they drew closer to the prince’s headquarters, muffled shouts sounded from the inner courtyard. Bloody hell, were they too late? Had the dragoons beaten them here?

   Brogan let out a curse and picked up his pace, the men following suit.

   Expecting to see the place swarming with redcoats, he was surprised to see that despite the shouts from behind the low curtain wall, it looked deserted. The ostentatious stone building was perched on a hill, looking rather grand for what used to be a military fortress. Its windows were black and splattered with rain, the gates wide open as if expecting its occupants’ imminent return, or as though someone had simply thrown them wide—or forced themselves inside.

   A woman’s scream rent the air, followed by a man’s guttural bellow.

   “Shite!” Brogan burst through the gate with his men behind him to discover not a woman, but a lad, in loose breeches and a worn, thin shirt and frock coat. The youth’s overly long red hair was fisted in the hand of a bastard dragoon in what looked to be a struggle to the death for the both of them.

   Poor house servant had likely been accosted by the dragoon while trying to escape. There did not appear to be any other redcoats around, but Brogan wouldn’t put it past them to fall from the sky like rain, sneaky bastards.

   Neither the lad nor the dragoon seemed to notice the seven warriors who’d entered the courtyard, and though Brogan only paused for a brief moment, it was enough to assess that the lad could likely handle his own. He opened his mouth to scream again in a sound that could perforate a man’s eardrums, and then reached back to grab at the dragoon’s hand where it yanked mercilessly in his hair. The dragoon’s other hand tore at the front of the lad’s frock coat.

   As Brogan ran forward to free the boy from the clutches of the devil, metal glinted from the lad’s hand as he swung it from his hair toward the dragoon’s neck, slamming it hard. Rivulets of red spilled over the lad’s rain-soaked fingers, and everyone stilled. The dragoon’s eyes widened in pain and shock, and the lad—who looked a hell of a lot more like a lass—stilled, staring in horror at the man’s face as the life seeped from his eyes.

   Brogan sprang forward then, his hands around the imp’s waist, pulling him—or her—away from the dragoon’s body as it slumped all the way forward, falling face-first into the mud.

   The sprite whirled on him, but thankfully, the weapon that had been miraculously pulled from his or her locks was not stabbing toward him. Brogan frowned, hands around a waist that felt most assuredly feminine.

   “Hush, now,” Brogan tried to soothe. “I’ve got ye now.”

   “Get off me, ye fecking bruiser.”

   Brogan was stunned by the lass’s language, and an odd sense of familiarity struck him regarding the mud-smeared face. Too busy studying the vibrant blue eyes, he didn’t notice the fist aimed at his head until she slugged him in the face.

   Brogan let go of the imp and touched his cheek.

   To her credit, the blow did sting, though it wasn’t anything that could have warned him off if he were her enemy.

   “Dinna hit me, I’m trying to help ye.”

   The lass dressed as a lad snorted. “I dinna need your help.” She shoved away from him with long, slim, feminine fingers.

   “I know ye’re no’ a lad,” Brogan said.

   Fury filled the face of the sprite. “Tell that to my cock.”

   Brogan’s lip twitched, barely a smile before it was gone. “Show me.” He couldn’t help teasing even in this moment of life and death, for he was more certain than ever that the little imp standing in front of him was in fact a woman.

   “Sir, that is…” She swallowed. “Are ye some kind of…lad…buggerer?”

   One of Brogan’s men behind him coughed, trying to suppress a laugh. “Grant, let the lad go. I definitely do no’ want to see his cock.” The other men in their party snickered.

   “He’s no’ got a cock.” Brogan grinned, though it lacked any humor. “He’s too bonnie to be a lad, dirt and all.” His eyes skimmed down to where her chest was bound beneath a loose-fitting shirt. “My sister used to do the same thing,” he said as if he could read her thoughts. “Are ye a spy, then?”

   “A spy? This is ballocks.” She shoved against his chest with enough power to make a lesser man wobble. A frown marred her dirt-smeared brow when he didn’t budge.

   “I’ll no’ tell anyone your secret. But ye’re no’ safe running around the countryside. A lass is always safest at home.”

   She narrowed her eyes at him. “Ye’re an idiot.”

   Brogan choked in shock. “Ye’re a bit full of yourself.”

   Her chin jutted up a notch.

   “Are there any other dragoons in the house?”

   “No’ that I saw.”

   Brogan frowned, trying to decide if he should believe her or not. If she was a spy, she had no reason to tell him the truth. There was every possibility that the man she’d killed had been her partner and they’d gotten into a dispute.

   “Who is he?” He nodded his head toward the fallen dragoon.

   “How the hell should I know?”

   “Does your mother know ye speak like that?”

   “Awfully presumptuous of ye to think she’s still alive.”

   “Ye’re right, after witnessing ye easily kill a man,” he mocked.

   Her eye twitched, and she bared her teeth, making a hissing sound that he certainly wanted to step away from, but refused to back down in front of his men. This lass was utterly addled and full of fury, it would seem.

   “I’ll ask ye again, what is your business here?” Then he softened his voice, adding, “Ye’ve nothing to fear from us.”

   * * *

   Fiona narrowed her eyes but tried not to feign too much interest so as not to draw their unwanted attention. “Allow me to pass. I want no trouble.”

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