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To Win his Highland Wife

Written by Elisabeth Hobbes

Chapter Eleven

Hamish opened his mouth to call out but closed it. Annis Gowen had not disguised herself without reason. Even more intrigued, he slipped back to where they had been sitting and lay back as if he had never left. When Annis emerged a little unsteadily from the bushes, he pretended to yawn and opened one eye.

“I’m sorry. I shouldnae have…” Annis began.

Hamish waved a hand, cutting her words off abruptly. “Ye’d better stop drinking now, lad, before you say something you’d regret. Time to get some rest.”

Annis nodded and turned to walk away towards the camp. She was forgetting to swagger, and her hips moved from side to side with slow sensuousness that made Hamish hot with desire. How had he ever mistaken her for a man? His scalp prickled. He couldn’t let an undefended woman sleep in the open surrounded by drunken men, even if she was in disguise.

“Follow me,” he instructed as he pushed himself to his feet. “There’ll be space in the castle hall where you can find a place to bed down.”

He strode off and sensed Annis walking unsteadily a few paces behind. She looked about ready to drop. He shook his head ruefully. The blasted girl had just become his responsibility.

He found her a corner of the Long Hall, quiet enough to be undisturbed but within earshot of people if she needed to call for help.

“Where do you sleep?” She yawned, glancing around and then back at him with wide, trusting, seductive eyes.

It was on the tip of his tongue to tell her where his room was, but Hamish paused. If Annis came to his room Hamish would find it hard to resist admitting he knew her secret and hoping for a repeat of her hesitant caress—and whatever followed. The fury in her voice as she had predicted how he would use a woman scratched at his conscience

“Lad, I dinnae know what I’ve done to make you think…” Hamish began.

“I was only asking from politeness. I don’t care.” Her voice deepened, and she folded her arms across a chest Hamish couldn’t tear his eyes from. Her expression became surly and she was once again a brazen youth squaring up to him. Hamish’s worry eased. As long as she didn’t pick fights with anyone she would be safe.

“Why did you come here?” he asked. “Are you hoping to win Fiona MacNeish?” Devilry made him add, “If you’re after a woman, Angus can show you where to buy the best whatever your price.”

“I am here for a man not a woman!”

Hamish watched in delight as Annis’s brain caught up with her words and she flushed. “Not for that. There is someone I have to see.”

Hamish smiled. “Get some rest and try to stay out of trouble overnight.”

He left, and by the time he reached the door and turned back, she was already curled into a ball and wrapped beneath her brat.

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Elisabeth Hobbes

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