Home > You've Got Plaid (Prince Charlie's Angels #3)(8)

You've Got Plaid (Prince Charlie's Angels #3)(8)
Author: Eliza Knight

   “Fight!” Brogan shouted. “Dinna surrender!”

   But no matter how loudly he shouted, his fellow Jacobites continued to fall around him like the droplets of icy rain pelting against their faces.

   Another cannon fired, and the earth sprayed up around his shoulders. Bloody hell! That was close.

   Highlanders fell.

   They ran.

   The number of men around him in red coats increased, as did the stains of red at their feet. He found himself further separated from the fighting men he knew until he was surrounded by only men in red.

   Those who weren’t being murdered were being hauled away. Prisoners? The number of Highlanders around him dwindled as they succumbed to one of those two fates, or they retreated.

   There would come a point when he couldn’t take them all on his own. Brogan cursed under his breath, his feet retreating before he could even think to back away, his body going into self-preservation.

   Where was the prince?

   He turned around and around, fighting off redcoats as he searched the field, not seeing the prince or his white horse. Had he fallen? Where was Captain Shea, commander of the prince’s bodyguard?

   Dammit…where was he?

   Brogan Grant had joined the fight for two reasons. One, he loved Scotland and he didn’t want to see it destroyed by a bunch of red-coat-wearing bastards. Two, he truly believed that Prince Charles Stuart was the rightful heir to the throne.

   This was as much about Protestant king versus Catholic king as it was Scots versus English, an age-old fight that should have been resolved when Queen Elizabeth handed over the English throne to her Scottish nephew. But here they were again, fighting a battle that had begun before Brogan was even born.

   “Die, Scot scum!”

   Brogan whirled to find a pistol pointed right at his forehead, and behind that, the sneer of a pale face flecked with droplets of blood.

   There was no time to respond with any number of insults he could pluck from his head, because the dragoon was pulling the trigger.

   Fuck.

   Nothing happened. Brogan blinked, and so did the man, surprised that his pistol had not just blown a hole through Brogan’s head.

   “God has other plans, I see,” Brogan said, and thrust his sword through the man’s gut, twisting and then pulling it out.

   The dragoon fell, his pistol firing toward another dragoon who fell from the impact.

   Holy shite. Brogan had been spared. He stared skeptically up at the sky, questioning the move of a God he wasn’t sure he believed in, but didn’t waste time retreating from the advancing dragoons.

   As he ran, something caught his line of vision, a targe, the prince’s shield he’d been presented with before the battle by the Duke of Perth. The head of Medusa in its center was what drew his attention, for it was a unique piece. Worse, however, was that jutting from beside one of her slithering snakes was an arrow. Brogan stopped short, eyes scanning the surrounding bodies, but seeing none so bonnie as their prince. He scooped up the targe, breaking off the arrow.

   Targe in hand, Brogan charged toward the woods from whence they’d emerged before battle, searching for any men he could find that were from his own regiment or clan or a Jacobite. With several Grants in tow and a few newcomers, he ended up gathering six as he went, each of them unwilling to leave the battlefield despite the overwhelming color of scarlet flowing in the trampled grass—the blood of their fellow men and the living, breathing redcoats.

   They ran until they were all out of breath, cramps filling their sides, and then he stopped, staring at the men and realizing he was only familiar with a few of them.

   “I’m Brogan,” he said, through gasps of air, patting his chest. Saints but his sides were burning. When was the last time he’d slept? “We need to get to the prince.”

   One of his clan’s men spoke next. “Dugall Grant. Aye, we should check Culloden House.” Scrawniest among the Grants, yet somehow he’d escaped the dragoons’ blades. Brogan guessed that must have been because Dugall was quick, though he was sporting a swollen eye, and flecks of blood on his face indicated where shrapnel had sprayed into his skin.

   “Sorley MacLeod.” A man raised his hand, showing up bloodied knuckles. MacLeod eyed him the same way Brogan did most, with an air of arrogance and suspicion. Brogan liked him already. “I dinna think the prince would go back there.”

   “Keith Grant.” A distant cousin of Brogan’s, the man had a deep gash in his shoulder, the blood having soaked his shirt. “This bloody hurts. But I agree, we should check the house first, just in case any of his men might know where the prince would head next.”

   Brogan nodded to Dugall. “Tie up that wound on him to stop the bleeding. We dinna need a man to fall while we’re running.”

   “James Stuart.” The man to Keith’s left spoke, coloring a bit red as they all swiveled their heads toward him. “My mother used to work in the castle for the Stuarts. A relation. Anyway, I agree, go to the house.”

   “Are ye saying…ye’re a bastard?” Brogan couldn’t finish the thought, not wanting to ask outright if the man was related to the prince.

   “I’m a bastard,” James offered but said nothing further. He didn’t look much like Prince Charles or the king, but that didn’t mean anything. He could take after his mother.

   “Fin O’Malley. Not a bastard, not a Scot, though there’s nothing wrong with that. I, too, say we go to the house. And,” he indicated his shoulder, “I could use some help putting this bastard back in its socket.”

   “We welcome the Irish among us. Gladly.” Brogan stepped forward and gripped Fin by the elbow of his healthy arm and helped him to the ground. “This is going to hurt. Are ye ready?”

   “Ready as ever.”

   Brogan made quick work of bringing Fin’s arm forward and then up over his head, the loud popping noise nearly drowned out by Fin’s growl of pain.

   “Better?” Brogan asked.

   “Aye, thank ye.”

   Brogan helped him up. “Hold the arm close. We’ll make ye a sling when we get to the house.”

   Brogan nodded to the last of them. “And ye? What’s your name?”

   “Charles Stuart.” He winced. “My mother prayed I’d be as bonnie as our prince, but she didna rut with the king, if anyone is interested in knowing that. James is my cousin. I say the prince is likely no’ there, but we may be able to gather information, at the verra least a horse or two.” The top of his ear was bleeding, where he’d been nicked by a bullet from the look of it.

   “All right, to the house then. I agree he’s likely no’ there, but we may be able to find out where he is. We need to find him and protect him. As far as I can tell, he didna fall on the field.” He relayed how he’d found the targe with the arrow protruding from it, displaying it for them to see, and explained that there was no body attached.

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