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 Duncan promised me he would be here for our
child s birth.
 And if he could, he would. Lizzy passed a
concerned look to Lora when Tara s abdomen
clenched in yet another contraction. This one less
than ten minutes from the last.
****
 What do you mean, you can t hear them? Todd
whispered to Ian who sat like him, back against the
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wall of Grainna s fortress.
 They ve been cut off.
 Grainna? Todd asked.
 Could be.
Todd thought of their options, sheathed his
sword, and reached for his gun.  I ll go in first,
bullets should slow them down. Cover me.
Ian eyed him. Todd knew he wasn t used to
taking orders.
With a nod, Ian conceded.
They inched their way to the edge of the
courtyard. Half a dozen armored men gathered.
Todd placed his fingers in the air and silently
counted down from three.
He came in low, taking careful aim and fired off
two rounds before the enemy realized they were
under attack.
Ian sent a ball of fire at a man fleeing the yard.
Horses reared with the noise of the gun, and in a
panic pulled free of their tethers and bolted.
Several men in the yard fled along with the
animals. One larger and more skilled than the
others pulled his sword, charged at Ian, and caught
him from behind.
A warning from Todd kept the blade from
making a deadly strike. Ian tumbled to the ground
and rounded on his heels. The man lunged on him
fast and hard, knocked him to the ground again.
Ian hit the earth dazed. Todd saw the man lift
his sword, prepared to plunge it home. Todd put two
bullets in him before he could.
Ian moved out of the way of the falling body,
kicked his way to his feet. Back to back, Ian and
Todd circled the yard.
Two more stood with swords at the ready. Todd
took aim, the gun jammed. His enemy sneered and
advanced. Todd had no time to reach for his back up
weapon. Sword in hand, he prayed Finlay s torture
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over the last months would keep him alive.
Behind him, Ian clashed blades with his
attacker. Todd listened to the fight, but kept his eyes
on the man in front of him. His eyes glossed over,
and his look turned fierce.
The first time his sword met that of his
opponent, Todd knew he was in a fight for his life.
Not that he didn t before now, only this man
thrusting his blade, pulling back and heaving again,
didn t show any sign of letting up. Keeping his
stance, Todd pushed against his foe, matching his
attack and wearing him down.
Unlike Fin, he couldn t predict his enemy s
movements. The enemy lunged twice, then brought
his sword down from above his head, clashing his
blade into Todd s. The sword s weight started to pull
at his shoulder. His strength started to fade. A deep
burning ache began low in his back, working its way
to his shoulders.
He thought of Myra, ducked his opponents blow,
circled around, and dodged a direct hit.
Behind him, Ian s grunts and his attacker s
filled the yard. From the gut-wrenching sound, Todd
knew someone was mortally wounded. He refused to
look and see who went down. Lucky for him, his foe s
eyes glanced behind him. Todd took the opportunity
and thrust his blade through the man s chest.
Surprise filled the man s expression before his
eyes went blank. Fearing Ian lay dying behind him,
Todd swiveled and peered into his father-in-law s
smiling face. His opponent lay dead at his feet.
****
Duncan dodged the bow. A ball of fire thrust
through his fingers at the two sending arrows into
his path. Their shock at his display of magic gave
him the advantage. One man ducked under the ball
of flame, the other met it in a cry of anguish.
Behind him, Fin crossed swords between the
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Catherine Bybee
horses. The screeching cry of the falcon above caught
his attention. His enemy attacked.
Fin took a blade in the shoulder. Blood spouted.
Rage bubbled over, and the ground rumbled with
Fin s fury.
The horse of the man fighting Fin reared and
tossed the rider to the ground. Fin jumped from his
mount and dove upon his enemy with deadly force.
Duncan and Fin watched as the remaining
opponents fled for their lives.
 Look, Fin pointed to the sky. The falcon
circled.  Can you hear Tara?
Fear crept up Duncan s spine.  Nay, nothing.
Simon no longer appears to be controlling the
falcon.
 What do you think happened?
Duncan s jaw set tight. He couldn t be sure. He
simply knew he needed to return to the Keep as if
the devil himself was at his heels.
Their father and Todd met them at the
crumbling gates. Their enemies lay dead or running [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]