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Excerpt from KILTS AND DAGGERS by Victoria Roberts
“Mister Murray, I don’t feel at ease discussing these subjects with you.”
“Then call me Fagan. Mister Murray was my father’s name anyway.”
Grace looked around and then softened her voice. “Now is that truly appropriate?”
“I told ye before. Ye’re a long way from England, lass. Lest ye forget, ye’re in the Highlands now. We do things differently here.”
She lifted a brow. “How could I forget?”
“Ruairi said ye’ll be staying with us for a few weeks. More to the point, I already call Ruairi’s wife Ravenna.” He turned up his smile a notch. “Ye and I are practically like family. Ye will call me Fagan, and I will call ye Grace, or I could always call ye bhana-phrionnsa. I’ll be kind enough to give ye a choice.”
“Ravenna may permit you to call her by her Christian name, but I certainly do not, Mister Murray. Although you do make me laugh, I’m afraid you and I are far from family.”
When Grace’s eyes smoldered, Fagan knew he shouldn’t get too close to the flame for fear of getting burned. There was still enough time to take his leave. Otherwise, he’d be verbally sparring with a lass in the middle of the great hall. Ruairi would no doubt have his head for causing mischief with his kin so soon after the wedding.
Fagan slapped both hands on the table and casually stood. Instinctively, he took another step back in case the lass suddenly had a strong urge to reach across the table and throttle him—or worse. Nevertheless, once she heard what he was about to say, the table wouldn’t provide enough space between them.
“Verra well then. I think bhana-phrionnsasuits ye quite nicely.” When Grace’s cheeks turned scarlet, Fagan smiled. “Donna say I didnae warn ye. Remember I did give ye a choice.” He winked at her and then turned on his heel.
He had a hard time trying to mask his smile. He turned around slowly and lifted a brow. “Aye?”
Grace flew to her feet, walked around the table, and closed the distance between them. She lifted her head, and by the way she was unsteady on her feet, he swore the daft lass was standing on the tips of her toes in a futile attempt to look him level in the eye.
“England and Scotland have been warring for centuries, Mister Murray, yet somehow Scotland has never won.” Lifting her skirts, she brushed his arm with her shoulder and took a few steps away from him.
That was until he called after her and stopped her dead in her tracks. “Cuine a chì mi a-ris thu, Grace?” When will I see you again? He made certain he said the words as though he spoke to his lover, which obviously had the desired effect because her whole body stiffened, and then she left him without a backward glance. Fagan’s mood was suddenly buoyant. He wasn’t exactly sure why he loved to unnerve Princess Grace, but he had one hell of a time doing it.