Read Kilting Me Softly: 1 Online

Authors: Persephone Jones

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Romance, #Paranormal, #Erotica

Kilting Me Softly: 1 (5 page)

BOOK: Kilting Me Softly: 1
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“Oh no.” She didn’t expect him to speak. Her nightmare visions of the confrontation she might have with Megan’s killer had never allowed for this. Especially since she believed she’d already confronted him.

“My little ghost returned from the grave.” He chuckled once more.

Dear Lord, he thought she was Megan.

Megan…dead and buried. Megan…robbed of life and love. Megan…no more.

The lion’s share of Morgan’s fear transformed into pure rage. It was bad enough he’d slain her sister. He wasn’t getting her, too.

“You.”
She shot a glowering stare at his gigantic form. “You murdered my sister! But not before you tricked her, beat her, raped her and tore her to shreds.”

“Sister?”

“Megan!” She declared. “Megan Keevy!”

Like a confused dog, he tilted his head this way and that. Did he even remember her? His green eyes, eerie and inhuman, searched over her trembling figure hungrily. “I did no such thing.”

Morgan searched her empty pocket for the absentee dagger and cringed. She knew it wasn’t there but the need for self-preservation had her searching for it in vain. “I know who you are and I know what you did.”

“You’re looking for my brother—my name is Conall.” The thing with the unkempt face and hands grinned unconvincingly.

Even in the midst of imminent bodily harm, she found room to be insulted by his counterfeit civility. It was nothing but a cheap ploy, a con like a serial killer might use to gain access to his victim. And probably just like the one he’d used to lure Megan to her death. Not to mention the same one he’d used to single-handedly transform her from a grieving family member into a cold-blooded murderer. The bastard didn’t belong in jail. He belonged dead.

“Liar.” Her heart crumbled at the thought of her fatal mistake. “You’re Ciaran McCade and you’re a fucking monster.”

“In the flesh.” He grinned, his mouth a frozen rictus of insanity.

His voice was like a bug in her head, burrowing into her brain. She wanted to rip her ears off and stomp on them just to be rid of it.

“Stay away from me—”

The bestial creature crept toward her without regard. “You left something behind.”

She’d like to leave something behind all right. His body in a thousand pieces. And this damned cursed place that brought her nothing but heartache.

“A dagger with blood all over it.”

No way he could have known anything about that. Dear Lord, had he been there? “I don’t know what you’re talking about but you better stay back.”

Conall McCade’s double circled her like a predator coming in for the kill. “Come come now. Or is that the point? You denied the poor bastard. And the knife? So ceremonial. So ritualistic. So
rough
.”

“So help me God.”

With another step, he was closing in on her. “It’s okay. Nobody gets it right the first time.”

“I said keep away!” Morgan stomped backward, maintaining the space between them as the clouds parted for the moon.

“Awww,” his voice purred to her in an all-too-familiar Scottish tongue. “Come on. Let me have a look at you.” He made a reach for her, his eyes a dirty yellow that made her weak.

Was he human at all? Her head shook at the realization of what was unfolding in front of her. The creature was changing. Into what, she didn’t want to know. Humans couldn’t physically transform. The human body couldn’t stretch or move like that. Not without severe injury anyway.

The man smiled in a mockery of what remained of its humanity. A strange random pop and crackle emanated from his joints and he visibly shuddered. Then the male spoke again in a voice that shook with altered pitch. “How good will you taste, I wonder?”

Morgan whimpered.

He appeared to sniff the air around them in wistful contemplation. “Linen, gardenia…and a hint of—”

Morgan read the discovery in his glowing eyes. He could smell her.
All
of her.

“Sex.”

She bit back a sob.

“I’ll make it fair.” The creature turned his broad back to her and exposed the ripped seams of his shirt. “I’ll give you a head start.”

Morgan turned in a full sprint and abruptly met the earth, her foot shin-deep in a hole. A large, bristled hand grabbed her and flipped her with one twist like she was a piece of meat on a spatula. When she looked back, he wiggled his clawed fingers at her in a maniacal wave. Struggling against his familiar shape, she had time to agonize over her fate. She would die here alone on the moors of Scotland, mutilated beyond recognition. Animals would cart off parts of her in their ravenous mouths to points unknown and there would be nothing left of her to bury. Not altogether unlike Megan. Even in death, they would be united by their fates.

The wolfen male moved with powerful ease behind her. Razor-sharp nails sliced long parallel slits down the back of her coat as she struggled against him. He had the advantage and there was little she could do to her assailant.

Still, she fought. By the grace of God one of her kicks landed a blow. She didn’t hesitate to deliver another but one lucky thrust proved enough. On her belly, she traversed the dark textured floor of the forest.

But the monster was quick. He grabbed her by the ankle, immobilizing her long enough that he could mount her flailing body from behind.

“I’m going to enjoy doing to you what you did to my brother.” The monster growled with sadistic glee and let out a howl that threatened to steal the wind right out of her. That sound, that horrid, soul-stealing sound…

Twigs snapped and leaves rustled all around them. She no longer felt the oppressive weight of the creature’s body on top of her. Getting to her feet, she spun around and prepared for a second offensive.

“Get away!” Morgan shrieked, but again something caught her, this time by the arms. It pushed her aside with such force that she lost her balance and fell to the ground again. Her fingernails dug into the cold earth when a growl from above rendered her immovable. Quaking with fear, an inner voice compelled her to get up. Rising to her knees, she spun like a top in the thick black night, desperate to orient herself.

Unexpectedly, the salivating, golden-eyed creature’s double entered the small clearing with a leap that defied human possibility. Men did not move in such ways. Yet there it was. There was one explanation but she refused it at once.

“Ahhh!” Morgan let out a cry and scurried like a crab to the base of a rock.

Had grief driven her mad? Was she seeing double? There, before her eyes were not one but
two
Ciaran McCades. She hadn’t suffered a head injury and she defied the possibility that she was insane. That left one logical conclusion. Morgan saw two of them, because there
were
two of them.

“Run, Morgan!” someone somewhere shouted.

Without understanding how, she was on her feet and running. A burst of adrenaline coursed through her and her blood raced to her extremities as she made record distance between herself and the melee. She looked back for a split second and nearly stumbled into another hole. But she had to look again.

Large, hairy and staggering on two feet, they grappled like bears. These weren’t like any bears she’d ever seen. Extended snouts ornamented with elongated fangs stretched wide in open-mouthed snarls and growls. Claws scraped and swiped at each other from hands that did not belong to men. Even when she realized what they were, her mind would not accept it.

Suddenly, something in the night sky caught her attention. From out of nowhere, a strong wind rushed past her. It tangled in the trees like a flock of birds, moving the branches as though they were strings on a harp. It was as if the wind had words and the wooden monoliths were speaking for them, whispering through their branches like reeds. But the wind was isolated, acting in a way that wind could not, taking shape, taking life. It was speaking to her in urgent warning.

Run, run, run!

Chapter Four

 

Safely on the other side of her inn room door, Morgan drew the bolt and locked it. Wheezing and gasping for breath, she watched the door as if it might blow off its hinges and explode into a thousand metal shards at any second. Dissatisfied with the steely fortifications, she braced the wood and wicker chair against it. Racing around the room, she went to the windows, checked the locks, pulled the curtains shut. Uncertain what to do next, she paced like an animal and tried to calm herself.

I’m okay, I’m okay, I’m okay…

Morgan shook her head in utter dismay. All the preparation, time and money spent searching for answers to find herself in this crazed night terror of a dream. She could have sobbed, but something within her held it together.

Disbelief.

Twins. She almost laughed. It never occurred to her to consider such a thing. Without permission, her mind drifted to what she’d witnessed in the forest. Perhaps she was mistaken. Stress could make a person see things.

But that?

Best-case scenario, they would kill each other and she could leave without suspicion.

One thing was certain, she wasn’t going to stick around to find out. In a frenzy, she threw her clothes back into her bags. Never comfortable with putting her things in drawers when she traveled, it wouldn’t take her long before she could call a taxi. Making a mad dash into the bathroom, she gathered her various toiletries and threw them in her overnight bag. Leaning into the shower, she grabbed her body wash, razor and shampoo.

The room went black and she gasped. An icy chill snaked up her spine. She prayed the monsters hadn’t followed her. Moving at a snail’s pace, she inched her way to the window and forced herself to pull back the curtain enough to peek out. Someone had cut the power to the building.

Then she heard it.

A noise from the window. Morgan gripped the only thing she could use as a weapon, her disposable razor, and prepared to do battle. The billowing curtain at the far end of the room indicated she’d left a window unlocked but she knew better. She’d locked them all.

Her heart thumped wildly. Someone was in the room with her. He met her with a quick grab and covered her mouth, putting a forceful squeeze on the hand that held the razor, causing her to drop the pitiful means of defense.

“Don’t scream or he’ll hear you.” The Scottish accent was strong in her ear.

Morgan concentrated on breathing, doing her best to stay sane through the command. Her mind spun its wheel in attempts to catch up, still waylaid by how he’d managed to get in. When she envisioned her room on the second floor, she didn’t like where her conclusions took her. Pondering it brought back the image of the crazed man, the bizarre phantom wind and the horrid brawl in the woods.

“He can smell your fear and if you let it overpower you, he’ll find us and kill us both. Do you understand?”

The man standing behind her relaxed his grip so she could stand up straight, but he didn’t let go. Leaning against the wall, he kept his hand on her mouth and a firm arm wrapped around her, holding her body against him like a second skin. She remembered the hard planes and shapes of his form, all painfully familiar. And apparently he remembered her too, because something below his belt stirred against her backside. “Not that he’ll be smelling anything for a while. I knocked the shit out of him when I thought he’d hurt you.”

Conall.

In defeat she sank into him, but her mind railed against her, angry at her body’s unchecked reaction. He was solid, strong and powerfully built but she hadn’t wanted her body to yield to him with such ease. She tried to ignore where he’d chosen to hold her, under her bust, his forearm like a shelf for her breasts, naked under her sweater and tender from his touch. With her back pressed against his chest she felt his rapid pulse, his woodsy scent filled her lungs, his warm hand directly under her nose had a faint scent she recognized. It was her own. And then there was the matter of his cock prodding her in just the right place.

“Show me a sign you understand.”

Morgan nodded and he released her, true to his word. She spun around and took a step backward, her body like a coiled spring, tensed and on the alert, minus a weapon but more than ready and willing to spar. In the darkness, she could barely see him but she knew who he was beyond a shadow of doubt.

Conall.

Palms up and panting with labored breath, he approached, making a slow and steady attempt to engage her. She could scream. Nothing could stop her from it. And yet something in the truthful way he’d spoken to her coupled with his state of disarmament kept her from tearing into him. She could always scream if she didn’t like what he had to say.

“Are you hurt? Did he mark you?” In a one fluid movement, he lowered to a squat and examined her leg. “I almost died when I saw him reach for you.”

She didn’t remember falling. However, by the telltale signs of caked-on dirt and bloody scratches on her shins and knees, she had. Unnerved by his unauthorized perusal of her body, Morgan jumped out of his reach and slapped his hand away. “Get away from me. You’re supposed to be dead!” With a small leap and roll, she went across the bed like a trained commando. Safely on the other side of it, she maintained her defensive stance. Though now her back was to the open window, the curtain still swelling in and out like a living, breathing thing.

“The dagger isn’t real silver.”

Morgan found she could not answer, staring back at him in wild-eyed disbelief. Shaking, she remembered purchasing the jewel-encrusted knife at the gift shop in London. The clerk swore it was real silver. The fact that she’d put her life in the hands of a fake was more than her mind could handle. “I killed you!”

“No. But I almost wish you had.” Conall pulled down the neckline of his sweater and showed her the punctured skin, clearly sore and somewhat bloody but not life-threatening in the least. And it should have been. She remembered the blade sinking deep into his flesh, blood gushing out. “If that was Cupid’s arrow, I’m a dead man.”

Her feet threatened to give out beneath her. She whined pitifully. He should be dead. The blow would have killed anyone. Anyone human, that is.

Suddenly it occurred to her that he shouldn’t have been standing there for another reason. She’d tied him to the bed. Yet he’d come to her rescue. “How did you get loose?”

“I changed.”

She took a moment to try to decipher meaning in what he’d said but came up dry. “Changed clothes? You’re not making any sense and by God, you’d better start.”

Speaking of that. “Why aren’t you naked?”

Conall shared her look of confusion. “What?”

“If you turned into a—” She couldn’t say it.

“A werewolf.”

Or listen to him say it. “Then why don’t your clothes look like coleslaw? You should be naked.”

He had the audacity to smirk, the arrogant bastard. She squinted, underscoring how serious she was, and the look of amusement disappeared like chalk drawings in the rain. When he didn’t offer an explanation quickly enough, she pointed at him. “Why?”

“I took them off.” Conall shook his head as if embarrassed to admit something so obvious.

Damn it to hell, she hadn’t thought of that. “How convenient.”

“I changed, Morgan. We changed. You saw us. I know you saw us in the woods. You saw…” Defeated by frustration, he let his voice trail off.

“You’re insane. He’s insane. You’re
both
insane.”

He ran his hand over his face. “Morgan, I didn’t kill your sister.”

Morgan shook her head and waved her hand at him, begging him to stop.

“The man you saw in the woods tonight, the man who attacked you, is my brother Ciaran, my twin brother.
He
killed your sister.”

Her eyes blurred with tears. She didn’t have the strength to debate his claims. All she wanted to do was run.

Conall approached with caution and spoke softly. “He’s not well. He’s never been. All my life I tried to keep him out of trouble but he took off to America. Disappeared. I tried to find him but it was no use. Everywhere I went, he’d done something, hurt someone. Please, Morgan, listen to me.”

“No. Get out or so help me God I’ll scream so loud my mother will hear me,” she vented in unintelligible sobs.

Her eyes cleared enough to see him leaping over the bed in one jump. Morgan opened her mouth and gasped in amazement but there was no time for analysis. He was on her in a flash, both of them falling to the floor as he worked to get a hold on her.

“You could have been killed!” Conall growled.

“I don’t care!” It was true. Her panic was at its zenith. Morgan didn’t care if there were five hundred Ciaran McCades or if what she’d seen in the woods tonight had been something from a Hollywood movie. She didn’t want to think on it any longer.

“Well, I do and God help me, if it takes all night, I’ll make you care!”

Fueled by her earlier success, she kicked her feet and made contact with Conall’s body. Desperate not to be the only one in agony, she hoped she hurt him. No sooner had she crawled away did he catch her and pull her back. This time, he pinned her legs with his own, making escape all but impossible. The ease of her recapture wounded her pride as he took both her wrists in one hand and fumbled behind her where she couldn’t see. Not that she needed to. She knew what was coming next.

Morgan caught a glimpse of the sash she’d worn earlier that night and realized he brought it with him. It wasn’t to simply return it. “No—no—please!”

Growling, he wrapped it one-handed around her wrists and tied it tight. His other hand clamped down on her mouth. “Shut up. You don’t want to talk, we won’t talk.”

She found the meat of his hand and bit down on it.

Hard.

Conall bellowed in pain. A stinging whack to her backside had her screaming in his hand, the sound garbled with a mixture of blood and saliva. With one rough pull, Conall hiked up her skirt and revealed her bare ass. A wave of heat rushed to her face as he gripped her hip and brought her naked skin back against his engorged cock. His kilt made it all the easier to claim her. Morgan braced herself for impact, knowing the fury of what was coming. Unable to move, she glued her eyes shut and clutched a nearby table leg with bound hands.

Feeling his fingers part her pussy lips she braced herself for his entry. With one forceful thrust, he plunged his cock inside her. A searing pain took her breath and burned her from the inside out. “That’s for the dagger.”

Conall pulled out, the head of his cock teasing her pussy lips. “This is for denying me my dying wish.”

As she reeled from the force of his first thrust and anticipated the next, her mouth opened when he buried himself in her depths.

“And this is for leaving me.” His voice, a hoarse whisper, introduced the most forceful thrust yet as he fucked her from behind. “And why the hell didn’t you tell me I was the first man you’d ever been with?”

Oh hell no. This was not the time to be tender and apologetic. Damn him.

“N—” Morgan faltered as he withdrew and returned his cock to her pussy over and over. Ablaze with euphoric sensation, her entire body went rigid, unable to move or speak, her mind blank and empty. Try as she might to think, she could not. No images, no memories, not even the night’s events would come to her and aid her in diversion. Only him. This male creature inside her who filled and emptied her, breathed in time against her, held her, used her like an instrument of his will and took her completely for his own.

“My name is Conall McCade.”

His words were a combustive force, joining two unharmonious realities. One was full of pain and sorrow, the other, bliss and the promise of release. In favor of the latter, she shook her head and tried to block out his powerfully seductive voice.

He twisted a handful of her hair in his hand as he brought her ear to his mouth. “I have a twin brother who murdered your sister Megan last year.”

Hot tears ran down her cheeks.

“Like you, I’ve been searching for him. He is a werewolf. As am I.”

“No. You lie. You lie.” She cried out at the reality crashing down all around her, his body behind her, pulling her harder and harder against him, faster and faster. “It isn’t true!”

“I’m sorry, Morgan—I’m so
fucking
sorry—”

Morgan knew what was coming. She could feel the rumble of his words rippling like tremors along her spine as their bodies slammed against one another.

“I’m gonna make you come, Morgan, and then I’m gonna come. I’m gonna come so deep inside you, you’ll never be rid of me.” Without warning, shockwaves took hold of her entire form, her orgasm an electric storm that shook her body from head to toe.

“Ahhh fuck!” Conall shouted. In rapid thrusts, he drove his body against her like a hammer to an anvil, relentless in his attempt to destroy her opposition. Pulling her hard against him, he sheathed himself to the hilt, her limp body flush against him. His warm come filled her and mixed with the juices of her release, signaling the end of their mating.

They fell together and lay in a heap, his cock twitching in her pulsing core, as they caught their breath. Fused in flesh for a small, peaceful eternity she slept, diminished with defeat. When she opened her eyes, Conall was stroking her hair, coaxing her back to consciousness. With heavy-lidded eyes, she watched him move his large frame to a standing position and bring her with him. This was no dream though. He was there, hand extended to her. Real and tangible.

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