Home > You've Got Plaid (Prince Charlie's Angels #3)(12)

You've Got Plaid (Prince Charlie's Angels #3)(12)
Author: Eliza Knight

   Brogan didn’t like the feeling of unease when plans weren’t met. When plans weren’t made. Chaos was not an environment in which he thrived.

   Having been abandoned by his mother at such a young age, simply dropped on the castle steps of his father when he was barely out of leading strings, it was a difficult thing for him not to have every moment of his day, week, month planned out.

   Perhaps this was also why men often looked to him for advice, because Brogan knew what was going to happen. Or at least he mapped out how things were going to go. There were always several scenarios completely played out in his mind. He made himself aware of battle plans, inserted himself when necessary, and moved on. Probably why the six men behind him had followed him here. Brogan exuded authority. Funny, since it was stability that he craved, not that he’d admit that to anyone. And today that stability had been shattered.

   Which made this meeting with the mysterious woman kind of ironic. The same woman out delivering messages… As if Fate were taunting him with his need for permanency.

   Brogan frowned fiercely into her eyes, so deep a blue they were nearly violet. There was a smattering of freckles across her nose and cheeks that were mostly covered in dirt, giving her the look of a playful sprite, which he knew her to be anything but. Despite the mess she tried to make of herself, she was very beautiful, and he’d be hard pressed to find himself thinking her a lad on any day. What other idiots had actually fallen for the ruse? He doubted the dragoon she’d felled had. In retrospect, the bastard had been tugging at the front of her frock coat in quite a lascivious manner.

   Who are ye?

   She’d had the Jacobite coin. She had knowledge. She had costumes.

   There were many women who traded messages via a secret route in order to get them to their loved ones, to share information. Hell, nearly every Jacobite woman did. But they did not all traverse the roads. They did not all risk their lives. Except for one.

   A phantom messenger. Brogan had always believed she was a rumor, a story for the men to gain hope at night. Or perhaps like most rumors, the tale was steeped in some truth. The Phantom as a series of women passing gossip had somehow morphed into one beautiful, seductive lass. Her lips were full, red, even when pinched with anger.

   Bloody hell. Was she the Phantom?

   Could an ordinary woman stab a man in the neck as expertly as this one had?

   Brogan didn’t have much patience when it came to women. Often found them shrill, diabolical even in their machinations. A fair number of women had wanted to bed him, hoping he accidentally got them with child so they could benefit from the coin in the Grant coffers, for it was well known that his da had given him a yearly stipend, not that it meant anything now that he was fighting on the opposite side. Before his father’s turn to treachery changed things, Brogan had been careful. He often chose to have his bed partners when pretending to be someone else—and he never allowed his seed to penetrate a woman’s body. He still felt the same way now, coin or no.

   This bastard wasn’t going to father more bastards.

   That was something he had in common with this lass, pretending to be someone they weren’t. Why was she hiding from her true self?

   Why did he care?

   He didn’t.

   Finally, he spoke. “We’ve both a mission to complete, lass. I need to find the prince, and I’ve a feeling ye know where he is. Ye’ve a need to get on the road and go back to where ye belong—home. Behind a locked door. Preferably with your da giving ye a good whipping for putting yourself in such danger. Ye know ye could have died just now? That bastard”—he pointed at the body—“could have killed ye.”

   “I’m well aware of the dangers. More so than ye, even. And what an intelligent melon ye’ve got on your shoulders. Ye’ve nailed my mission on the head. Let me go, and I’ll head home right now.” The sarcasm in her voice dripped like sap from a tree.

   “I dinna trust ye, if truth were to be told.”

   “Well, ye just did tell the truth, and since we’re being honest, I dinna trust ye either.” She glanced behind him at the rest of the men, her gaze settling on Sorley. “Him, however, I trust just fine. And perhaps the rest of them, too, silent as they may be.”

   Brogan growled in irritation. “Why?”

   She smiled. “Instinct.”

   Cheeky wench. “Fine. Tell Sorley where the prince is then, and I’ll escort ye back home.”

   “I’ve a better idea.”

   “What?”

   “Ye can go bugger yourself.”

   Brogan reared his head back, a bit stunned once more by her crude language. “Ye’ve a waspish tongue.”

   “I’m no’ ashamed. Just because I’m a woman doesna mean I canna speak my mind.”

   Brogan ran his tongue over his teeth, curbing his own retort when he wanted to give her a lashing that would blister her ears.

   “Ye know I’m a Jacobite, lass. Ye know we just fought in the battle. Why are ye being so difficult? I delivered the last message ye gave me to the men who needed to hear it, and we waited for the return of the regiments afore we went to battle.”

   “I’m being difficult because ye’re no’ listening to me. While ye may believe it is my place to be sent back into my family’s home, ye dinna seem to understand that I’ve spent more time on the road likely than ye have. I’m no’ some fancy-dancy lady that swoons at the slightest mention of a sword. I just killed a man. Do ye no’ bloody understand it yet, mate? I’m no’ who ye think I am.”

   He gritted his teeth as she leaned up toward him as though she were upbraiding one of her servants.

   “Here’s the thing, princess. Neither of us can remain here arguing in plain sight. This jackanapes is only the first of many dragoons who are going to come here looking for the prince or any other Jacobites they’ve not killed or rounded up. What’s it going to take to get ye to leave?” And why did he bloody care?

   He could just leave her. Walk into the house as he had planned, take the horses, and not think about her for the rest of his life. Except he couldn’t. Somehow, she’d put her claws in him.

   Both of them stilled at the sound of a horn in the distance.

   “If ye want to help me so much, why do ye no’ just come with me? I’ll take ye to the prince myself when we’re done.”

   The men behind him were growing antsy. Brogan turned to face his men, who waited anxiously for what he would decide.

   “Fine. Let’s get some supplies and saddle up the horses.”

   With a nod to the men, they slunk across the grass to the back entrance of the house, in case any more surprise visitors came in through the front. To be safe, they closed the gates and barred them tight. In the back of the house, they found the door bolted. At least someone had taken precaution there.

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