Home > You've Got Plaid (Prince Charlie's Angels #3)(6)

You've Got Plaid (Prince Charlie's Angels #3)(6)
Author: Eliza Knight

   “That is no’ necessary.” She set her basket down and held out her hands. “I am unarmed.” She eyed their alleged leader and said the one line that would prove who they were. “God Bless the King.”

   “And his bonnie son,” the soldier replied.

   Good. She didn’t smile, though she might have under different circumstances. Instead, she reached for her sleeve, and now the large man put his hand to the hilt of his sword. She pulled out the silver coin she carried with her, tucked into a secret pocket of her leather bracer, a token that every Jacobite would recognize. On one side was the royal arms of Scotland and on the other was the face of Prince Charles. Jacobite coins in one’s possession could get the bearer killed. But they were also a currency that those loyal to the prince understood well. Not until she was certain who these men were would she dare to flash the emerald, which was now secured on a chain around her neck and tucked into the bodice of her gown.

   “Catch,” she said smoothly, tossing the coin in his direction, not that surprised when he caught it in the dark.

   “I canna see it.”

   “Ye know what it is.”

   “Aye.”

   “Then ye know we are no’ enemies.”

   He grumbled something inaudible in response and there were a few gasps among the men. He tossed the coin back, and she returned it to the slit in the leather bracer up her sleeve. Then he held out his hand.

   “The message.”

   “I’ve got nothing to hand to ye, sir,” Fiona said. “Ye need to listen.”

   This was something she’d learned a long time ago. If the package to be delivered by and for rebels was something she could memorize, then she did so. It was less risky for all parties involved that way, especially her. However, there were plenty of other, more conspicuous deliveries she had to make which required incredible caution, especially when they were potentially mixed with the Royal Mail.

   The group seemed to be holding their collective breath, waiting.

   When he didn’t step away from his men, she said, “Are ye in charge of this regiment?”

   He turned and eyed the men behind him, who nodded. Why in the world did he need their affirmation?

   “Aye,” he grumbled.

   “Then if ye would, please be so kind as to step away so I might make good on my delivery, for I will only whisper it in your ear.”

   “And what if your delivery is a knife through my heart?”

   Fiona laughed, the sound tinkling and innocent, one of her other weapons. She’d learned long ago, surrounded by her father’s men in the great hall, that her laugh not only brought smiles to others but also acted as a siren’s call of sorts.

   “Sir, I’ve no weapon in my hands as I’ve shown ye, and given your size…” She moved her hands in front of her indicating the distance from his feet all the way up to his head—showing him both her empty hands as well as complimenting his physique, though she could barely see it. “I canna imagine that ye have much to fear from me.”

   “Perhaps it is those ye travel with.”

   “I am alone.” She kept her voice steady, devoid of any fear or inflection that might cause him to worry. “I come with a missive from Himself.”

   “God?”

   She rolled her eyes. “I canna decide if ye’re toying with me, sir, or if perhaps ye were no’ meant to have the position that has been bestowed upon ye.”

   He snickered quietly, but she could hear it all the same, and then he stepped away from his men, and she took several steps backwards, with him following.

   “What if I’m no’ a part of the regiment ye think I am?” The low rumble of his voice, edged with something akin to teasing, skated over her spine in a way she dared not identify as pleasant.

   “Are ye no’?”

   “Nay, but I am curious how ye’d get out of it.”

   “A lass never divulges her secrets.”

   “Except the ones she’s duty bound to reveal.”

   “Aye, but those are no’ secrets to keep to myself, but wish to be disclosed to the right ear.”

   “Hmm.” He stared at her silently for a moment and then demanded, “Tell me.”

   They were two dozen or so paces away from the men now. “I must first know your name.”

   “Why?” He sounded irritated.

   “It is a requirement.”

   “Whose?” He crossed his arms over his chest, showing her, even in the dark, just how broad and strong he was.

   Fiona wasn’t intimidated. Even the biggest men could be bested if put to her test. “Mine.”

   “And if I dinna wish to give it?”

   She shrugged. “Then I canna perform my duty and we’ve wasted enough time already.”

   “I am wasting your time?” It came out as an exasperated question, and also somehow a statement. The man was perplexing.

   “Aye.”

   “Hmm.”

   Fiona was done playing games. “Name.”

   “Brogan Grant.”

   “Thank ye for that. Now lean close.”

   He did as she instructed, bending until his head was close to hers, and she was all too aware of how close his lips were to her mouth. Fiona drew in a silent breath, holding it, then with her finger on his chin, turned his face away.

   She leaned in closer until her lips were a mere whisper from his ear, and she breathed in his woodsy, masculine scent, again feeling that strange tingling along her spine.

   Get on with it, Fiona.

   “The chevalier’s army is lagging behind, but shall be with ye shortly.” Rather than calling him the prince, she used his nickname.

   “Whose army?” He turned toward her as he spoke, his breath on her face, and she lurched back both shocked at how close his mouth had been to her skin and that he was daft enough to question who she spoke of.

   “Your prince.”

   “We were told to turn back.”

   “I can only give ye the message I received. He was no’ aware of your orders to return, only that he was to meet ye there and was delayed.”

   “I have to follow orders.”

   Fiona sighed. Why did men have to argue so much? “I understand.”

   “Will ye give him a message for me?”

   “Aye,” she said wearily.

   “Tell him that we’ve been told to turn back. No sense in meeting us in a place we will no’ be.”

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