Binding Vows (Page 36)

Binding Vows (MacCoinnich Time Travel Trilogy #1)(36)
Author: Catherine Bybee

“Ahh, lass, like roses.”

His attention brought a flush to her face.

“I see I’m no longer needed here.” Myra’s face turned red. “Have a wonderful ride.”

Tara choked on a laugh. The word ride had so many meanings, and with Duncan sniffing her hair, it was hard to keep her mind on the horse instead of on erotic thoughts about him

Myra’s eyes grew large. She laughed a nervous little sound and covered her smile with her hand. “I mean time… Have a wonderful time.”

When Tara grinned, Myra’s face turned scarlet before she scurried away.

Duncan watched his sister’s haste. “What would she know of that kind of riding?”

Tara’s laugh grew deeper. “About as much as me I’m afraid.”

“How much is that?” His frown grew deeper.

“Enough to know the word ‘riding’ can have more than one meaning.” She watched her words sink in.

“I doubt my sister knows any such thing.”

“Men are so naïve,” Tara said under her breath.

“Myra hasn’t been exposed to the ways between a man and a woman.”

“So, you assume she knows nothing?” They faced each other now. The squire holding Durk’s reins took a step back.

“Of course she knows nothing. She’s innocent.”

Anger dipped into his voice.

Tara rolled her eyes. “Let me ask you something. When you were innocent, how much did you know? How much had you been told or figured out on your own?”

Duncan started to squirm, clearly not comfortable with the direction the conversation had turned.

“Uhh huh, I thought so. I’ll let you in on a little secret.” She leaned in for effect and lowered her voice. “Women talk! Even us virgins. We also have hormones urging us toward certain needs. God made us that way so the world would repopulate. Or, don’t you pay attention in church?”

His astounded look made her break out in laughter. “Come on, cowboy. We have somewhere to be.” She took in the massive horse she was supposed to ride. “How do I get up on this thing?”

“Twenty-first century women,” he muttered, but the words came out with a tinge of humor.

“My Lady?” He made a grand gesture of bending down so she could put her foot in his hands to hoist herself up.

Enjoying the game, Tara replied, “My Lord.” A short bow and two attempts to get up into the saddle had Tara halfway there. “Now, how do I make it go?”

She wiggled her butt, making sure she was secure on the animal. “I just kick, right?”

Before he could respond, she dug her heals into Meg, who responded with a jump, lunge, run combo.

Duncan chased the horse and rider down as Tara hung on for dear life.

He caught up to Tara and poor Meg quickly.

When he pulled up alongside, he took her reins, slowing the horse to a walk. He coaxed, “Easy.”

Slightly frightened and exhilarated at the same time, all Tara could manage was, “Wow!”

“You might be thinking a bit more than ‘wow,’ if she had tossed you on your arse. Don’t scare me like that again. Next time ask, before you do.”

Tara nodded. “Check, ask before I kick. Got it.

Now what, boss?”

Flashes of her falling off the horse raced in his mind and translated to her. She had frightened him taking off as she did. Instead of commenting on her observation, Tara calmed her beating heart and waited patiently for his next command. She smiled at his gruff expression until his bottom lip wavered.

Soon he smiled back.

“Why don’t you let Meg follow me?”

“How do you know…? Ohh…” Meg started after him without provocation. “All right, this is easy,”

Tara agreed after a few minutes.

“Riding is not difficult, after a bit of practice.”

She couldn’t help herself. He did walk into it.

“What riding would you be referring to, laddie?” She added a bit of his accent.

His blush hit before his laughter.

“Sorry, I couldn’t resist.”

“I’ve never met anyone like you, lass.” They rode side by side.

“Is that a compliment?”

“Aye, I think it is.”


Tara pulled up the skirt, freeing her ability to move more comfortably.

“You’ll have to pull your dress down when we get closer to the village,” he reminded her.

“I know. But I didn’t think you would mind.”

He traced her leg with his eyes. “Nay, I don’t mind.”


They fell into a steady pace in silence before Duncan asked. “What do you think of my family?”

Glad to have him asking easy questions, she gave her answers freely. “Your mother is amazing.

Strong, beautiful…you have her eyes. Wise. I really admire a woman who can be a mom and a wife and do both well.”

Duncan smiled, obviously pleased with her praise. He listened when she went on.

“She hardly has any time for herself. She’s either planning meals, directing the help, counseling villagers or handling any number of other tasks. Not to mention caring for Amber and Cian, who are both still very needy. Not Cian so much, but Amber still needs extra attention. Lora knows exactly when she’s needed. It really is uncanny how she always knows what to do.” She took a breath and continued.

It was as if she stored up all the days of not talking, and she finally had the opportunity to express herself.

“Your dad can be a bit frightening. His power over everyone is eerie. He deserves everyone’s respect, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not used to seeing people bow down to anyone. His sense of justice is really honed. I guess it would have to be with so many people to watch over.”

“My father is deserving of his title.”

“I couldn’t agree more. You’ll follow in his footsteps. The men respect you like they do your father.”

“I’ve fought by their sides many times in the past.”

Tara ignored the chill running down her back at the mention of fighting. “Fin, now Fin’s a player.”

“What is a player?”

“A ladies’ man. I’ll bet he has women falling all over him wherever he goes. I guess that’s why you were both sent to the future. The virgins didn’t stand a chance.”

Duncan laughed at her assessment.

“Now Myra,” Tara went on. “She’s like your mom. A hopeless romantic. I know arranged marriages are common for this time, but I tell you, she’d wither and die in a loveless marriage.”