She leaned against the post of his bed and started to explain. “Keeping wounds clean makes a big difference. Staying healthy so your body’s defenses have a chance to heal helps, but the biggest power against infection are antibiotics. You’re going to have to wait until the 1800’s before any of that will be available.”
“We’ll have to stay healthy and avoid cuts,” he said. She laughed at his conclusion. “Don’t make me laugh. I’m still mad at you.”
He forced his smile into submission. “As you wish.”
They stared at each other, silent.
“I’ve missed you, Tara.”
He sat across from her. His lazy smile melted her resistance. The sight of his rippled chest muscles made certain parts of her body clench. Her desire for him increased, growing with each moment. “I’ve missed you, too.”
His hand, heavy and strong, reached for hers. “I hope you know if I could have done things differently, I would have.”
His touch made her heart beat faster. His words reached out and touched her soul. “I know. Your mother explained everything to me.” She let her thumb stroke his fingers. “It didn’t change the outcome. I needed some time.”
“Have you had enough time?”
Her eyes moved from their joined hands to his sexy mouth. From there, she sought his gaze. “It takes a lot of energy staying pissed-off at you.”
“Am I forgiven?”
“I haven’t heard an apology yet.” She was half joking.
“Is that what you’ve been waiting for? An apology?” He moved closer. She didn’t have any room to back away. Not that she would have.
“It wouldn’t hurt.”
He inched closer.
She moved in.
“I’m sorry to have caused you such grief, Tara.
I’m not sorry for keeping you from Grainna, or for keeping you alive.”
“I should be thanking you I suppose,” she said against his lips.
He used her words. “It wouldn’t hurt.”
“Thank you, Duncan, for saving my life.” She looked down at his smiling lips.
A lifetime could have passed in the moments before her lips met his.
Her mouth opened in silent invitation, which he accepted greedily. Their kiss was a homecoming.
Much more than a meeting of their lips.
Her hands reached into his hair, hair she had dreamed of running her fingers through daily since they met. Even when she was angry at him she couldn’t get him out of her mind. Every resistant bone in her body melted when he angled his head and deepened their kiss.
Duncan lowered her to his bed. Butterflies with wings the size of dragons filled her belly. Her hands drifted to his back and she pulled him on top of her so his weight pinned her in place. The long length of his body felt delicious against hers.
Tara dug her nails into his flesh. A moan of pleasure escaped him.
When his hand slid up her side, molded to her breast, a sob of pure pleasure burst from her throat.
The door flung open and banged against the stone wall.
They sprung apart.
The sensation of Duncan’s lovely body heat, the sheer weight of him, suddenly disappeared. His absence left a cool breeze drifting across her bare br**sts.
Stunned, they gaped at the open doorway where Lora stood inside the frame with wide eyes.
Amusement rapidly replaced her look of worry.
Tara recovered first. She pushed Duncan back, attempting to adjust her clothing. “Ah…” What’s her name? “Mrs. Mac Coin…”
Duncan’s laugh didn’t help.
Lora took the lead and added to Tara’s stress.
“You can call me, hmmm…” She tapped her chin with a finger. “Let me see… what is the term you use? Mom. Aye, you can call me Mom, if this is what I should expect to discover when entering a room with you two within.”
Unnerved, Tara scrambled to her feet. She felt like a teenager caught in a compromised position in the backseat of a car by her parents. “Duncan had a… Well he was, ah, hurt.” The word came from Duncan’s thoughts. “Aye hurt. I ah…came here to help him.” Yes, that’s right. “He could use any salve you might have to keep his…”
Wound, Duncan said in his mind.
“Thank you.” She turned to Duncan’s smiling face. “Wound, from getting infected.”
Tara fled Duncan’s room without further word.
Outside, Tara leaned against the closed door trying her best to catch her breath. She heard Lora.
“I never dreamt, in my wildest dreams, I would be happy to walk in on this…”
Tara shook her head and walked away before she heard more.
At the evening meal everyone noticed the difference between Duncan and Tara. Amber spoke up first. “They’re not mad at each other anymore?” she asked her mother.
Duncan and Tara hid their grins. Fin sent a ‘you owe me’ smile to his brother.
Lora slid her hand under the table to her husband who had been given every detail about the encounter she had witnessed.
Myra’s eyes darted back and forth between Tara and her brother. Her eyes widened in question, but she made no comment.
All in all, the meal was more pleasant than any since Tara had arrived. Even Cian had gotten over his infatuation with Tara enough to talk about joining in the practice of fighting the next day.
Especially with Duncan being hurt so bad.
Balance had been restored.
Myra pounced on Tara’s bed long before the c**k crowed, her eyes ablaze with excitement.
“I do not want all the details, he is my brother, but I do want to know what happened?” She didn’t give Tara time to talk. “I overheard my mother say she walked in on you both…” Myra grinned.
She may have been twenty-one years old, but she acted like a teenager, bouncing on the bed. Tara sighed and pushed herself up, shook the sleep from her head. Tara told her the bland facts withholding from Duncan’s sister the gist of what she was asking.
“Duncan was hurt.”
“It was a nasty abrasion that needed to be cleaned. I’m not sure those chain garments they wear are the best thing. I think they cause more harm than—”
Myra cut her off. “I don’t care about that.”
“Right, well, you know, Duncan and I were ahh, involved before he brought me here?”
“How involved?” Myra waited.
“Let’s just say your brother is an expert kisser.”
“Duncan?” She wrinkled her nose at the thought.