Never Seduce a Scot(132)By: Maya Banks
He met Tavis’s gaze. “You will always be welcome on Montgomery land. Eveline will be happy to see the family she loves, and ’tis my hope to provide the grandchildren you so hope to enjoy.”
“You are a good man,” Tavis said hoarsely. “I would have never imagined that we would be sitting here speaking of visitations and grandchildren. You’ve taught an old man much about being the better man. It would have been easy to resent and punish Eveline for a marriage forced upon you and alliance with a man you hate. And yet you treated her kindly.”
Graeme withdrew his hand. Dread had left his heart. No longer did he feel the weight of hatred or the thirst for revenge. When he looked at Tavis Armstrong, he didn’t see a man he’d hated for the better part of his life. He saw a man who loved his daughter and who wanted to forge a better future for her and her children.
“Tonight we celebrate the safe return of my daughter,” Tavis announced. “We’ll have a feast prepared and rejoice in a new alliance. ’Tis a new dawn in our clans’ history. In the morning, my sons and your brothers will ride to avenge the wrong done to both our clans by the McHughs.”
“Do you feel well enough to come down for the evening’s celebration?” Robina Armstrong asked Eveline.
Eveline smiled and nodded. “Aye. I want to be with my husband and my family. ’Tis a joyous occasion. I’ll not allow Ian McHugh to frighten me any longer.”
Her mother smiled and hugged Eveline to her bosom. “Come, then, let’s find you something stunning to wear. I have something that should suit you.”
An hour later, Eveline’s hair was partially upswept in a jeweled comb, while the rest was left to flow down her back. She wore a gown the colors of an autumn sunset. Russet, amber, and golden hues were woven into the fine material. Each stitch was intricately set. Eveline shone like a thousand suns. Not even the bruises on her face could disguise her beauty.
“The men await,” Robina said. “Let us go before they grow impatient. They wait on us to begin the festivities.”
Eveline descended the stairs behind her mother and when they entered the hall, she looked upon her husband standing by the hearth and was taken back to the time when she’d first laid eyes on Graeme Montgomery.
He’d been standing, just as he was standing now, and she’d felt the vibrations in her ears from his low, rumbling voice. She’d been fascinated by him from the very start.
He turned, his gaze settling on her as she stood across the room. There was deep satisfaction in his eyes, and then he started across the hall in her direction.
Her mother smiled and left her side to go to her husband. Graeme stopped a foot in front of her and held out his hand.
“You look beautiful, Eveline,” Graeme said.
She slid her hand into his and let him lead her to stand before the fire while they waited for her father to begin the seating.
Teague and Bowen were a short distance away, conversing with Brodie and Aiden. When they saw her, however, they broke away and came to stand with her and Graeme.
Bowen leaned in and kissed her cheek. “ ’Tis wonderful to see you looking so lovely, little sister.”
Eveline’s face warmed and she returned his affectionate gesture with a kiss to his cheek. “Thank you.”
Teague then leaned in and kissed her other cheek. “You’re a fierce lass, Eveline. I’m glad you’re on our side.”
She laughed as joy and happiness filled her soul.
Graeme glanced around the rapidly filling room, and then he looked up at Tavis. Tavis made a nodding motion with his head and Graeme led Eveline to the raised high table. He seated her at the head of the table, where by all rights her father should have sat. She frowned when he turned her sideways in the chair so she faced the rest of the room.
Then to her utter amazement, he knelt before her, drawing her hands into his.
“Close your eyes, Eveline,” he said, softness in his eyes.
She obeyed without question, closing her eyes and turning the room to darkness. It was an unsettling sensation, not being able to see or hear, but Graeme’s hands were tightly around hers, and she knew she’d never come to harm when he was near.