But if she were still unmarried by war’s end . . . What the bloody hell are you thinkin’, MacKinnon?He was thinking of bedding her.Nay, ‘twas more than that. He was thinking of wooing her.Och! For God’s sake, he was thinking of marrying her.Are you mad, MacKinnon. You barely ken the lass. Even as he rejected the notion, some part of him decided it was not so daft as it seemed. They were both from the Highlands. She was bonnie, strong, and spirited, qualities that would surely pass to her children, while he had the skill to protect her, provide for her—and show her what the passion in her Scottish blood was for.Aye, but she was a Protestant and came from Loyalist roots, while he was Catholic and sprang from a clan that had stood by the Stuarts. Then there was the fact that he was bound to this war until its end. And had a price on his head. And was without a roof to shelter her.A lass would be silly to pass up such a match, MacKinnon. Bloody grand idea.
Her gaze met his, her green eyes glazed and filled with shadows. "I-Iain?" Iain understood those shadows only too well. She was in shock. She had witnessed the full horror of war. Worse, she had killed a man. Like a young soldier after his first battle, she was struggling to cope. 'Twas an anguish no woman should have to bear.His rage broke like the tide against the shore, and before he could think, he pulled her hard against him, held her, stroked her hair. "You foolish, brave woman! Why do you no' obey me?" "What the bloody hell is he doin'?" Connor asked from somewhere behind them. Morgan answered, "I think he's punishin' her." "If he tries this on the men, they'll mutiny.
Why should I give up revenge? On behalf of what? Moral principles? And what of the higher order of things, in which evil deeds are punished? For you, a philosopher and ethicist, an act of revenge is bad, disgraceful, unethical and illegal. But I ask: where is the punishment for evil? Who has it and grants access? The Gods, in which you do not believe? The great demiurge-creator, which you decided to replace the gods with? Or maybe the law? [...] I know what evil is afraid of. Not your ethics, Vysogota, not your preaching or moral treaties on the life of dignity. Evil is afraid of pain, mutilation, suffering and at the end of the day, death! The dog howls when it is badly wounded! Writhing on the ground and growls, watching the blood flow from its veins and arteries, seeing the bone that sticks out from a stump, watching its guts escape its open belly, feeling the cold as death is about to take them. Then and only then will evil begin to beg, 'Have mercy! I regret my sins! I'll be good, I swear! Just save me, do not let me waste away!'. Yes, hermit. That is the way to fight evil! When evil wants to harm you, inflict pain - anticipate them, it's best if evil does not expect it. But if you fail to prevent evil, if you have been hurt by evil, then avenge him! It is best when they have already forgotten, when they feel safe. Then pay them in double. In triple. An eye for an eye? No! Both eyes for an eye! A tooth for a tooth? No! All their teeth for a tooth! Repay evil! Make it wail in pain, howling until their eyes pop from their sockets. And then, you can look under your feet and boldly declare that what is there cannot endanger anyone, cannot hurt anyone. How can someone be a danger, when they have no eyes? How can someone hurt when they have no hands? They can only wait until they bleed to death.
Feeling the slight tremor of his fingers against her skin, Daisy was emboldened to remark, “I’ve never been attracted to tall men before. But you make me feel—” “If you don’t keep quiet,” he interrupted curtly, “I’m going to strangle you.” Daisy felt silent, listening to the rhythm of his breath as it turned deeper, less controlled. By contrast his fingers became more certain in their task, working along the row of pearls until her dress gaped open and the sleeves slipped from her shoulders. “Where is it?” he asked. “The key?”His tone was deadly. “Yes, Daisy. The key.” “It fell inside my corset. Which means… I’ll have to take that off too.” There was no reaction to the statement, no sound or movement. Daisy twisted to glance at Matthew. He seemed dazed. His eyes looked unnaturally blue against the flush on his face. She realized he was occupied with a savage inner battle to keep from touching her. Feeling hot and prickly with embarrassment, Daisy pulled her arms completely out of her sleeves. She worked the dress over her hips, wriggling out of the filmy white layers, letting them slide to the floor in a heap. Matthew stared at the discarded dress as if it were some kind of exotic fauna he had never seen before. Slowly his eyes returned to Daisy, and an incoherent protest came from his throat as she began to unhook her corset. She felt shy and wicked, undressing in front of him. But she was encouraged by the way he seemed unable to tear his gaze from each newly revealed inch of pale skin. When the last metal hook came apart, she tossed the web of lace and stays to the floor. All that remained over her breasts was a crumpled chemise. The key had dropped into her lap. Closing her fingers around the metal object, she risked a cautious glance at Matthew. His eyes were closed, his forehead scored with furrows of pained concentration. “This isn’t going to happen,” he said, more to himself than to her. Daisy leaned forward to tuck the key into his coat pocket. Gripping the hem of her chemise, she stripped it over her head. A tingling shock chased over her naked upper body. She was so nervous that her teeth had begun to chatter. “I just took my chemise off,” she said. “Don’t you want to look?” “No.” But his eyes had opened, and his gaze found her small, pink-tipped breasts, and the breath hissed through his clenched teeth. He sat without moving, staring at her as she untied his cravat and unbuttoned the layers of his waistcoat and shirt. She blushed everywhere but continued doggedly, rising to her knees to tug the coat from his shoulders. He moved like a dreamer, slowly pulling his arms from the coat sleeves and waistcoat. Daisy pushed his shirt open with awkward determination, her gaze drinking in the sight of his chest and torso. His skin gleamed like heavy satin, stretched taut over broad expanses of muscle. She touched the powerful vault of his ribs, trailing her fingertips to the rippled tautness of his midriff. Suddenly Matthew caught her hand, seemingly undecided whether to push it away or press it closer. Her fingers curled over his. She stared into his dilated blue eyes. “Matthew,” she whispered. “I’m here. I’m yours. I want to do everything you’ve ever imagined doing with me.” He stopped breathing. His will foundered and collapsed, and suddenly nothing mattered except the demands of a desire that had been denied too long. With a rough groan of surrender, he lifted her onto his lap.