Alec’s chest constricted. How long had it been since he last saw her? Three years? Would she remember him? Would she remember his kiss?
The maid rubbed her mistress’ cheek, and Heather wiped the same spot with a cloth. When the servant nodded, Heather hurried toward him.
Did she stuff a black scarf in her sleeve? His eyes narrowed.
“Laird Campbell, welcome to MacDougall Castle.” She extended a hand. “Yer timing could not have been better.”
“Mistress MacDougall.” He bent and placed a kiss on her knuckles. Calluses covered her once soft palm. He straightened and studied her blue eyes. “Why so formal?”
“It’s been years since we last met. I’m afraid that young lass ye knew grew up.”
The gorgeous azure depths of her eyes mesmerized him. “Aye, she grew into a beautiful woman.”
A flush spread over her cheeks and she withdrew her hand. “I understand we’ve ye to thank for our lives.”
“One of yer da’s men—a young lad—is who ye should thank. He saved Laird MacDougall from certain death.”
Something akin to caution flittered across her eyes. Had he not been watching closely, he would’ve missed it.
She crossed her arms over her waist. “My da’s fortunate to have many good men defending the castle.” Her eyes widened, and she reached out. “Ye’re hurt. Forgive me, I didn’t notice.”
Alec caught her hand and rubbed her skin with the pad of his thumb. “’Tis nothing to worry over.”
“If ye’ll permit me, I’ll tend ye and yer men so ye can be on yer way. I’m sure ye’re anxious to return home.”
Was she eager to be rid of him?
He hesitated. “We are ready to be home, but we’ll repair yer keep first.”
Her back stiffened. When she smiled, it didn’t quite reach her lovely eyes. “Thank ye. If ye will excuse me, I need to see to Da.”
Heather slipped past him. Her hips swayed as she stepped around a lass carrying blankets and hurried through the hall to her father.
Alec exhaled and raked a hand through his hair. He was needed out-of-doors. Rubbing the stinging cut on his chest, he marched past the injured. As he strode down the grey steps and into the bailey, his thoughts turned to the slender lad with the black scarf.
Why did he feel something was amiss? Why was the lad spirited away? And why did Heather make light of his fighting?
* * *
Bent on overcoming the belief he’s failed his aging father, Laird Alec Campbell concentrates on proving his worth to his people. He provides for them and leads men into battle, vowing never again to disappoint his clan or lose his heart.
Bound by a promise to her dying mother, Heather MacDougall secretly leads rebel warriors in her quest to keep her clan intact and hold off those who plot to overtake her father’s land. She fights to keep her secrets safe, while resisting the lure of the handsome young laird who challenges her defenses.
They can’t deny their passionate attraction, but can their love survive their secrets?
BUY LINK: Amazon