Redeeming Vows (Page 56)

Redeeming Vows (MacCoinnich Time Travel Trilogy #3)(56)
Author: Catherine Bybee

“For you. Come back here in one month and dig.

If you’re being watched, wait until it’s safe.”

“What will I be digging for?”

Liz clasped Fin’s hand in hers and smiled.

“About three hundred and fifty thousand dollars.”

Chapter Twenty-Five

Unwilling to eat the food his falcon body or wolf form craved, Simon survived on stolen bread and water left in simmering pots. He spent the entire night and following day circling the camps in either wolf or falcon form. He’d stayed warm in animal skin and shifted easily from one shape to the other. His anger lifted, but not to the degree that he was ready to face the MacCoinnichs.

He sat atop the tallest tree. The moon lit the landscape below. With vision far beyond his human capacity, Simon witnessed more atrocities in the past twenty-four hours than he had in the entirety of his life.

Tatiana fumbled upon fallen trees as she made her way closer to Ian’s stronghold. He watched, wondering how far she would go. When he’d told Cian that something about the girl wasn’t right, he hadn’t lied. Yes, he wanted to strike out at his friend for being so cruel, but the girl had an air about her that upset his stomach and filled his mind with dread.

Simon dipped off his perch and landed several feet from the girl. He tucked his falcon wings close and watched.

She held her hand against her body and risked injury protecting it. As a falcon, his sense of sight reminded him of Superman’s x-ray vision. As a wolf, smell took over.

Simon flew to the ground and hit the dense foliage on four legs. He shook from head to tail and pressed his nose to the air. Burned flesh. He inched closer. Tatiana peered over her shoulder, hearing his approach. He kept to the shadows, avoiding her eyes.

Then the worse scent of all filled his brain with wicked memories.


The rotting flesh of the witch hovered over the girl like a plague. Simon had scented it the previous night before the witch gained consciousness. Fearful that she’d awaken and find him, Simon fled quickly, not looking back. He was a coward.

He should have done something to destroy her while she was vulnerable and weak. Cian would have. Fin, too. But Simon froze, unable to do anything but stare.

Fear rolled off Tatiana as she ran through the forest. Had Grainna hurt her? Was she fleeing to escape the witch?

The girl swiveled around, most likely hearing his approach. Simon didn’t try to stay quiet. There was no need. She couldn’t hurt him. She didn’t have a weapon.

Simon bounded forward, making his presence known. Tatiana met his eyes and stifled a scream deep in her throat. “Please, nay.”

She was petrified and attempted to walk backwards, her gaze never leaving his.

He considered shifting, letting her know she didn’t have to fear him, but he wouldn’t risk being discovered by someone who held Grainna’s scent.

Behind her, a rock she didn’t see blocked her path. Simon barked out a warning, scaring her further. Her ankle caught and tripped her to the earth. She landed on her injured hand, rent the air with a scream, and then passed out cold.

Standing over her in wolf form, Simon wondered what he should do. The camp wasn’t far. In fact, Tatiana seemed to be heading that way when he’d found her.

Having more strength as a wolf than human, Simon gathered the material of her dress with his jowls and dragged her along the forest floor. Her battered hand flopped on the earth, probably keeping her unconscious from the pain.

As the smells from camp reached his nose, Simon continued to tug and pull. He stopped before anyone could see him, moved several paces beyond the girl, and howled. Voices of alarm rose. He thought he heard his Aunt Tara call his name.

Men carrying torches moved in his direction.

“There,” someone shouted.

Simon bound into the forest, leaped over rocks and trees and then sprung into the air on wings.

Cian ran past his father and fell at the head of Tatiana, calling her name.

Ian followed his son.

Tara called Simon’s name, pleading for him to return.


“Lay her down here so we can see the extent of her injury.” Ian watched Cian handle the girl as if she were made of glass. So this was the one Simon spoke of, the girl who’d captured her son’s young heart.

“I saw a wolf drag her from the forest,” Logan said from the mouth of the tent.

Those inside froze. Simon. Why had he run?

“Keep watch. If ye see the wolf again, call me or Duncan, but do not harm it.”

“Aye, my lord. Though the wolf’s behavior,

’twasn’t normal.”

“Nothing appears normal these past few days.”

Ian didn’t concern himself with voicing his unease to Logan. Every one of his men felt danger in the air.

“Tatiana?” Cian stroked the lass’s cheek as he coaxed her from her unconscious state.

Logan left the tent, leaving only family behind.

“Todd, see that no one enters.”

Todd nodded and slipped away.

The girl stirred, bringing a sigh of relief from his son. She moaned.

“Be mindful of her hand, Cian,” Lora told him, already removing the soiled linen binding the obviously deformed bones.

“Cian?” Tatiana whispered. “’Tis ye.”

“Shhh, quiet. Ye’r safe now.”

The girl’s eyes opened wide. “The wolf?”

“He’s gone. Rest, lass.”

“Nay, I can’t. I’ve come to warn ye.” Her gaze swept the tent. She reached for Cian’s hand, pressed it to her chest and then turned her eyes directly to Ian. “Keep yer men close this night, m’lord.”

Ian stepped toward her.


“They are not safe. She is collecting bodies, hands.” The words left her mouth before she muffled a cry when Lora unwrapped the last of her bandage.

“Who do ye speak of?” But Ian already knew.


Everyone grew still.

“How do ye know of her?” Cian asked.

Tatiana looked down at her hand, and back to Cian.

“She did this to you?”

“Aye. I spoke against her. ’Twas the result.”

Ian squared his shoulders. “How do ye know her, lass?”

“She captured our caravan, killed those who didn’t comply to her desires. I became useful to her.”

“How so?”

Her gaze slowly shifted back to Cian.

Damnation. The lass used his son.

“I never meant to hurt anyone. I swear it on my life.” Cian backed away.