“How many times have I told you to watch that Highland tongue of yours, Rosalia? It makes you sound daft. I will not tolerate your deliberate attempts to thwart your chances with an English gentleman. You are a score and one. How many chances do you think you have left? No one shows interest in you. Did you notice your waistline is much larger than the other women in attendance? I will not tell you again—do as I say or suffer the consequences.”
Ciaran watched the English dragon scamper off, but not before she pinched the woman in the arm. Stains of scarlet appeared on the woman’s cheeks. When her heightened color subsided, her features were arresting. Loose tendrils of tawny hair softened her face. She had more curves than most, but she was a wild beauty.
For a brief moment, her azure eyes met his. He attempted to ease her embarrassment by offering her a gaze that was as soft as a caress. She offered him a small, shy smile and inclined her head in a small gesture of thanks before she walked off in the wake of the fiery beast.
“Och, I pray fer a son,” said Aiden, a suggestion of annoyance hovering in his eyes. “We need women as that on the battlefield—aye, brother? Her venom alone would bring a mon to his knees.”
Ciaran shrugged dismissively, but his eyes still followed the woman.
* * *
Lady Rosalia Armstrong of Mangerton was crimson with resentment and humiliation. She prayed no one heard her mother’s tongue. When she looked up to ensure no one was in earshot, he stood there, devilishly handsome. He exuded masculinity. She did not know who he was, but his profile spoke of power and ageless strength. Even in a crowd, his presence was compelling.
The muscles rippling under his silk doublet had quickened her pulse. She found it impossible not to return his captivating smile. That was the moment she realized he overheard her mother’s words. She became keenly aware of his scrutiny and knew he pitied her. Rosalia had to step away from his observant eyes.
To be continued...