In a haze of pain, Annis was only partially aware that Hamish had carried her from the square and she was now lying on a soft bed of heather. She kept her eyes closed, hoping that would help the aches diminish, but it made no difference. Hamish lifted her arm and began to bathe it slowly and carefully as he had before. The cold water stung where she had been struck and she whimpered, pulling away.
She half opened her eyes and saw concern on Hamish’s face. He pushed the hair from her forehead and laid a cloth over her eyes.
“Lie still,” he ordered.
She obeyed and, with her vision obscured, she had nothing to do but concentrate on the feel of Hamish’s hands moving over her limbs. Wherever his hands pressed and stroked, the pain diminished, replaced by another sensation almost as agonising in its intensity.
When Hamish bent over her and removed the cloth from her eyes, she slipped her hands around his neck.
“Hold me,” she whispered.
He drew her close. His touch soothed her aching muscles and bruised flesh. Annis had forgotten the joy and comfort that came of being close to another person.
When she turned her head, his face was filled with passion that mirrored hers. He received the kiss she offered, but his lips were soft, barely skimming hers.
“You won’t hurt me if you kiss me properly,” she murmured against his cheek.
She ran her fingers through his hair and held him firmly, pressing her mouth over his until his lips hardened and he met her with equal passion.
Warmth spread through her and she arched her back, opening like a flower in spring and wanting to be as close to him as possible, but he pulled away.
“I cannae do this to you.”
She could have sobbed with the intensity of thwarted lust. He had kissed her so tenderly and had drawn back where many men would force themselves. Such a man was rare.
“You’re doing nothing to me that I don’t want you to do.”
“I want you so much it is eating me alive,” Hamish said. His voice was ragged and Annis had no difficulty believing him. “But I won’t be like Malcolm McCrieff.”
“You’re nothing like him. He made promises and lied. I want no pledges from you.” She took his face between her hands. “Women have desires just as men do, only we are censured for admitting to them and ruined if we act on them.”
She raked her hands down his spine and felt the proof of his arousal grind against her hip.
“I’m wild with the need for you, Hamish Lochmore. I’m already ruined and I want one night in your arms.”
She saw the doubt in his eyes melt, consumed by flames of desire. Hamish eased her leather jerkin off, tracing the outline of her breast and belly. She reached down to caress him and he guided her towards his hardness. When their lips met again, it was with the fervour of knowing that whatever happened afterwards, for that night they belonged to each other alone.
Log in or create an account to read the next chapter of "To Win His Highland Wife"
Every month we select a new title from one of our authors so that you can discover new stories, locations and genres for free.