Marti Talbott's Highlander Series, Book 1 (ANNA - CHAPTER II, page 1 of 16)

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Clymer rode hard to the MacGreagor keep to tell Kevin what had happened. He knew his laird would be enraged, but not as enraged now as he would be when he saw her. The beating of a defenseless woman was a specific insult to all MacGreagors, and Kevin's worries about an English bride not fitting in would be trifle now.

As soon as he was spotted riding swiftly up the road toward the village, one of the guards let out a long, low whistle and others hurried to lower the drawbridge across the moat. A crowd, all dressed in his same colors, began to gather as Clymer slowed his horse, crossed the bridge, covered the width of the courtyard, and then halted his horse near the steps of the Keep.

Standing on the landing outside the door of his home, Kevin knew something was wrong or Clymer wouldn't have come back alone. He held his breath and watched as his warrior took the steps two at a time to reach him.

He was nearly out of breath, but Clymer wasted no time before he blurted it out, "She has been beaten."

Kevin's head jutted forward. "What?"

"She wants to die, Kevin. She said 'tis the only gift she has to give."

He spread his legs apart, crossed his arms and prepared himself to hear the details. "But she is still alive?"

"Aye. Thomas felt her stomach, but he dared not touch her ribs. She is able to stand, but we do not know how bad she is hurt. She is very brave. She only shed one tear, but her face, Kevin; they hit her in the face."

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