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'Lady Dalmahoy, get off your horse please.'

'No,' she struggled, needing the momentary protection her steed provided.

'Then you leave me no choice.' He summarily deposed her of it bring her to her feet in front on him.

'You should not be touching me,' she admonished breathlessly.

'You would not listen.'

'You should not be attempting to give me instructions.'

'Yet I did,' his eyes taunted teasingly.

'Eskine ... such insolence is punishable,' she breathed.

'I am not one of your subjects, nor of your tribe,' he reminded her.

'Yet, I could pierce you with my sword,' she threatened.

'You won't kill a defenceless man, Lady Dalmahoy,' he challenged.

She swallowed nervously. She knew his own sword was in its sheath on his horse, still he could be harmed with a knife ... he had to be.

Guardedly her right hand lifted rather tersely to behind his collar. There was no weapon. Both her arms patted down his hips. Touching his taut, sexy buttocks was unavoidable. Her cheeks burned a fiery red. Hastily her hands ran down both his sturdy legs, searching and found no weapon. Her eyes lifted to his again.

'I've waited so long to feel your hands on my body,' he groaned huskily, trapping her palms on his chest.

She sobered, stepped back hastily.

'Grisell ...'

'Being with you is tantamount to treason Eskine. I could be killed. There are zealous men waiting to step into my position.'

He raked his fingers through his hair. 'I want you to have dinner with me.'

'Are you mad!'

'Yesterday, you were riding for two hours unguarded and undetected. In the very, very early hours of previous mornings, these last weeks you have walked without protection or detection.'

'You had me followed!' ... why didn't I know it. Truth be told, she had sensed the unwelcome company. She'd just assumed it was her dearest uncle protecting her unobtrusively. And Eskine was the reason for her pre sunrise walking sprees and wayward thoughts. She could not stop thinking about him.

He grinned annoyingly, 'what do they say about keeping your enemies closer?'

'You are the enemy,' she reminded him, yet her heart remonstrated vociferously.

'Nevertheless, you shall dine with me or I will kidnap you and there will be a bloodbath on your hands.'

She visibly balked. Not that she was going to allow herself to be unresistingly kidnapped. She was an unquestionable warrior; brave, bold and fearless. She had killed many an enemy in battle, but she could never be accused of killing innocent lives, neither could she bear to bring harm to her beloved people. She cared for them more than her own life.

'Very well Eskine,' she relented. 'It will have to be a very late dinner and I can only spare you an hour, not a second more.'

He bowed graciously. 'May I assist you back onto your horse?'

'Don't touch me!' She hissed, caught her saddle and easily threw herself onto the back of her mare.

'You are an infuriating man, Chief DeMartino,' her eyes narrowed, her lips puckered together.

'At your service, Lady Dalmahoy,' he grinned wicked.

Gently, her ankle nudged her horse and it sped away post haste.

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