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Authors: Hildie McQueen

Tags: #Captain, #Highlanders, #clan mcdougall, #highlands of scotland, #englishman

Highland Temptress

Highland Temptress

Highland Temptations (Book 2)

 

Hildie McQueen

 

Published by Pink Door Books--Smashwords Edition

 

 

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The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real person, living or dead, is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.

 

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Highland Temptress

By Hildie McQueen

 

 

Cailyn McDougall clutched the reins, ignoring the pain of her inner thighs. Her gaze remained transfixed straight ahead. Her horse raced to the seaside village, a day's ride from her Highland home. Urgency pounded through her veins. The sooner she found the infamous sea captain, the better her hopes of deterring him from bringing war to the McDougall clan.

Her escorts rode close, beside and behind. The four clansmen, who would gladly die for her, were also childhood friends she trusted implicitly.

At the outskirts of the village, she slowed and spoke to her cousin, Dugan, who pulled up alongside. "We'll stable the horses at Uncle Kiel's."

Rain began to fall, and Cailyn frowned at the damp bag of clothes she'd tied to the horse's saddle. She'd have to pay one of the maids at the inn to dry her garments.

A boy ambled toward them when they arrived at the inn, with an expectant look on his face. "Mister Kiel sent me to see about your horses," he told them, grabbing at the reins.

Cailyn dismounted and followed behind the lad. "Do you know where the captain of those ships offshore is boarding?"

"Here at this inn, Miss," the boy replied, his eyes wide. "The Red Pirate arrived last night."

Infamous for sailing the seas and remaining neutral during the English-Scottish war, Jamie Westcott would be a challenge, but somehow she had to deter him from going in search of his sister.

Cailyn handed the boy a coin and went back to the men. "Dugan, walk inside with me." She looked at the others. "Go about the village and find out what you can from his men, who no doubt are asking questions at the pubs. We must know what his plans are." She pulled at one of the men's plaid. "Do not wear clan colors while we are here. They know a McDougall was involved in Victoria's taking."

 

*****

 

At the Harbor Inn's pub, Jamie Westcott placed the mug of ale down on the table and leaned back. From the corner, with his back to the wall, he had the perfect view of the goings on inside the well-sized establishment. It belonged to a McDougall, which is why he came to be there. A serving girl sashayed over, with an exaggerated sway to her hips. A familiar invitation he did not have time for. He barely nodded when she placed his plate of food before him. Lips pursed in disappointment, she left.

His sister Victoria needed him. To find her was his singular focus. He'd just arrived at McDougall lands, and already the largest obstacle he'd come across since becoming a privateer loomed over him: He was English.

Anxious to find Victoria, he'd made a huge mistake. The show of force, with two battle ships anchored just offshore, made for wariness from the village people. They avoided eye contact; conversation was out of the question.

It became apparent that the McDougall clan, one of the largest in the Highlands, was not an easy target. Three separate entities, which at times could not even get along with each other. It would be difficult to find who had attacked his sister's home much less who killed her husband.

No matter, he'd bring war to the entire clan if he had to, but he'd not leave without Victoria.

The door opened and a large man entered. His impressive size and the sword strapped to his back told of battle experience. Behind him stood a smaller figure. At first, Jamie didn't catch the gender, but when the light caught her features, there was no mistaking.

Dressed in men's breeches topped by a flowing blouse, the woman's wet, dark hair hung in waves down her back, framing her angelic face. Bright blue eyes scanned the room before landing on him but for a moment. Unlike the bar maid, with her gait strong and assured, she made her way to the empty table just over from his, along the wall. The escort at her back lifted his hand in greeting to the husky Kiel, who hustled over to greet them.

Jamie did not have to strain to hear their conversation, as they did not make an effort to keep their voices down.

"Dugan," the innkeeper slapped at the large man's chest. "Ave'nt seen you here abouts in a while, finding yerself in need of a wench," the robust man laughed. He abruptly stopped and coughed and looked to the woman at the table. "I beg your pardon, Cailyn lass."

Cailyn
. The angel had a name that suited her.

"Not a problem, I'm used to men's lack of manners," she replied with a tingle of laughter in her voice. "It's a good thing I love your cooking." The woman reached for the jolly man and cupped his jaw. "How fare you uncle?"

"Well, Lass, well," the man preened at her attention. He called over his shoulder to the serving girl. "Mary, bring stew and fresh bread." He turned back to the duo at the table. "Ye must stay, the weather is about to turn for the worse. I will have rooms prepared."

Jamie ate his food, which was indeed quite flavorful. He pondered at such a place where women could travel with only a male escort and remain the night at an inn without a handmaid. Surely the Scots gave their women much more liberties than the English.

Although English-born, his mother was Scottish. While maintaining the rules of the elite, Elsie Westcott managed the household with a strong hand. The fine-looking woman also managed his father quite well, although the old man would never admit it.

Jamie's attention went back to the duo. Cailyn kept a steady conversation with the man across the table from her. They seemed more like siblings than lovers by their mannerisms, and the male eyed a bar maid when thinking his companion distracted.

Jamie had gotten both names. If he could find out their clan affiliations, then perhaps they could lead him to Victoria.

"Pardon," he got the woman's attention. "Are you from these parts?"

She nodded and looked to her table partner before replying. "Aye, just a day's ride away, why do you ask?"

"I find myself at a loss in finding land to purchase here, in Scotland. Would you know of where a half-born could find out about such things?"

Bright cobalt eyes met his before sliding to her companion again. She shrugged, an elegant gesture, and put a piece of bread down before speaking. "McDougall lands are not for sale. I wouldn't know about other clans."

When she didn't elaborate, he finally spoke again. "Would you know who I could speak to, then? "

This time the man spoke, his tone less inviting. "Why would an Englishman wish to buy land?"

"My mother is Scottish and brought to me the love of this country. I wish to settle here," he lied.

"Interesting." Cailyn pushed damp curls behind her shoulder, fingers sliding across the skin at her neck. The unaware, yet sensuous gesture, brought him to lock eyes on the spot where they'd trailed. "I'd say you should go further south to the lowlands. Lowlanders are much more attuned to the ways of the English. Otherwise, you could find yourself in the middle of a clan clash or two up here."

"I see," he replied. "Is your clan in battle?"

The man scowled at him, eyes narrow with mistrust. "Not yet."

Point taken.

Jamie went back to his meal, not hurrying, in hopes of learning more from their continued conversation.

Unfortunately, they rose too soon from the table. The woman headed for the stairs, and the male moved to a table closer to the kitchens.

Jamie had not found out much in almost two days. His men had not fared any better. The Scots were a mistrustful people when it came to anyone not part of their clan. Made sense, the war so newly ended. Tomorrow he'd ride to the closer of McDougall lands, and begin his search openly.

He waved the bar maid over and paid for his food. Afterward Jamie made his way up the stairs to his room.

At the top of the stairway, Cailyn stood with the serving woman he'd seen downstairs earlier. She handed a bundle to the maid. "Please see about getting these dried out." She looked up at Jamie, but did not acknowledge him. "Thank you, Mary."

The maid started at his presence, her eyes darting between them. "Will you be all right, Miss?"

Cailyn's lips curved into a lazy smile, her eyes meeting his. "Of course. Good night, Mary."

The maid scurried away, and Cailyn turned to go. Jamie stopped her. "Are you sure of your safety, Miss? Most people fear me," he mocked.

She looked at him over her shoulder, straight in the eye. "Ah, yes, the infamous Red Pirate. I've heard you kill babies and throw them overboard to feed the sharks, after which pushing the mothers in, as well." The laughter in her voice caught him off guard, and he found himself at a loss for words.

A smile curved her lips. "Already losing at the battle of wits, Captain?"

"You shouldn't be alone with me, Miss," He warned, leaning closer with a menacing look. He expected her to back away. Instead, she laughed.

"I can take care of myself, Captain Westcott. Raised by warrior brothers who are well-known for their battle skills, no Highlander would dare lay a hand on me."

His eyes raked over her figure. "Not laying hands on you, I find that a pity," he murmured, glad to see her color deepen. "I'm sure many have dreamt of doing such a thing."

Blue eyes lifted to him. Daring him. "Would you?"

Intrigued, Jamie could not hold back a smile. "Only if you allowed it."

"Hmm." She cocked her head to the side, as if trying to decide what to say next. "I think I would. Allow it." She closed the distance between them and raised her arms around his neck, then pulled him down, her eyes on his the entire time. "Would you like to kiss me, Captain Westcott?"

 

****

 

Cailyn hoped her inexperienced attempt at seducing the handsome, but worldly captain, would work.

Her only experience with men had been a hurried and painful endeavor with her cousin, Dugan, when they were barely into adolescence, and later only twice with the man she'd been handfasted to.

"I may not wish to stop at a kiss." Jamie Westcott's deep voice brought her out of her musing. Cailyn peered into his startling green eyes, then down to his mouth, which curved at the regard.

His lips pressed against hers, a kiss that promised a venture into a place she'd never explored. Powerful arms wrapped around her waist and drew her against a solid chest. Cailyn wrapped her hands around his tight shoulders, not satisfied, needing to taste more of him.

When his tongue probed at her lips, she gladly parted them and allowed the heated invasion. He tasted of ale and sea, a heady combination that made her cling to him tighter.
Not enough!
Her brain screamed.

Captain Westcott's hands slid from her waist to clamp onto her ass. Holding her in place, he crushed his stone-hard bulge into her. "If you don't plan to part your legs for me, then we must stop this game, Miss." He murmured the breathless words against Cailyn's ear, sending shivers down to where he ground against her.

He nipped at her throat. Sshe moaned and raked her fingers through his silky reddish-brown hair. Warm lips trailed down to her shoulder, while he fumbled with the doorknob behind her, managing to open the door and maneuvering her through it.

In a haze at the intensity of the sensations slamming through her, Cailyn heard the click of the door closing, right before the big man slammed her against it and picked up her legs, wrapping them around him.

The friction between her heated core and his hardness brought a surge of want unlike anything she'd ever experienced, and Cailyn sucked his tongue deeper into her mouth.

He groaned and pushed into her with fluid motions, until she released his mouth to crie out.

Was she prepared to surrender herself to a total stranger? What if her plan to keep him here until late the next day failed? Doubts battled with want. The large bed that loomed in the room drew her gaze.

Without warning, Jamie lowered Cailyn to her feet. His motions less-than-gentle, yet he held her shoulders to ensure she was steady. He panted, mouth slightly open, his eyes now an emerald green. "I am not a man to take a woman who is not sure of what she wants."

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