Never Seduce a Scot(3)By: Maya Banks
“Damn it all, Graeme, quit playing the laird for once and just tell me if ’tis true so I can depart from Rorie’s presence before I upset her more.”
“She’s already upset,” Graeme pointed out. “Obviously, for the same reason you’re stomping down the hallway bellowing my name.”
Teague went deathly silent. His body was tense and his jaw bulged. “So ’tis true, then.”
“Aye, ’tis true.”
Teague bit back an oath before storming out of the room, his footsteps pounding all the way down the hall.
“Well,” Rorie breathed. “That went well, didn’t it?”
Tavis Armstrong’s roar could be heard throughout the keep and well into the courtyard where his men were training. Many dropped their swords while others were quick to raise theirs in defense, wary of what danger had presented itself.
Eveline didn’t hear her father, but she felt the vibrations against the stone in the floor and knew that something was amiss in the great hall. Too much movement. Too much force. It was as if a herd of sheep had suddenly run roughshod through the keep.
Her expression unchanging, she peered around the corner just at the stairwell, her curiosity piqued by whatever it was that had the keep in such uproar.
Her father stood, face flushed with rage, a crumpled missive held tightly in his fist. Beside him stood her two brothers, Brodie and Aiden, arms folded over their chests, but even from this distance, Eveline could tell they fair bristled with the same anger demonstrated by her father.
Her gaze drifted to the man standing in front of the laird, a man who looked as though he wanted to be anywhere but here. The evident bearer of whatever ill tidings had been brought by the missive her father held.
She cocked her head to the side as she studied him. He was the king’s man. He bore the royal crest and on his right hand, he wore a ruby ring that signified his status as the king’s messenger.
It greatly chagrined her that her father was angled so that she couldn’t see his lips, but she could readily see the mouth of the messenger—when it finally snapped closed.
When he opened it again to speak, she focused intently, determined to see what it was he would say to her father.
“His Majesty’s will be done. He has decreed the wedding take place within the fortnight. You have until then to prepare. ’Tis here that the wedding will take place and the king is sending a representative to see that all is as it should be.”
Wedding? Eveline perked up at that. Surely a wedding couldn’t be what had her father so upset. And whose wedding? The king was sending a representative? It all sounded terribly important and exciting. Certainly it would provide her new and interesting people to watch.
But then her mother, who’d evidently been eavesdropping, rushed into the room, and Eveline winced at her daring. Her father was always reprimanding her mother about inserting herself into situations where she didn’t belong. Not that it did any good and not that her father would every truly remain angry with her mother for long, but this was different. This was the king’s representative and an offense to him was an offense to the king.
“Tavis, you can’t allow this!”
Eveline could barely make out the words as they passed her mother’s lips. Her face was tear-stained. All over a wedding? Eveline frowned. None of this made sense.
Tavis put a restraining hand on his wife’s arm and then turned just enough that Eveline could see him angrily bite out to her brother Aiden, “Take your mother away from here.”
Robina Armstrong shook her head fiercely, resisting Aiden’s grip. “This is madness. He can’t feed her to the wolves that way. ’Tis not right! She’s not able to perform her marriage duties. This is a travesty, Tavis. It cannot be allowed to stand.”
An uneasy sensation prickled down Eveline’s spine. She was starting to have a very bad feeling about just what had her family in such an uproar. Wedding? Her mother in tears? Unable to perform marriage duties? Feeding to the wolves? Who were the wolves?
The king’s messenger frowned, obviously not liking the hostile environment he’d landed himself in. “The king has decreed it so. Graeme Montgomery and Eveline Armstrong will marry.”