Excerpt - "Alternate" The Dark Highlander "Lite"
From Karen Marie Moning
Excerpt of the "Alternate" version of The Dark Highlander "Lite" from the special hardcover edition of Into the Dreaming!
He turned his back to her and busied himself retrieving beans from the freezer and shaving them to a fine grind. Not the imported cofaidh he’d grown fond of in Edinburgh, but it would do. He let the silence between them spin out, curious to see what she would do with it. Would she haver away, filling the space betwixt them with nervous chatter?
“As I was saying, I’m Elisabeth Zanders,” she said after a long moment, with a false note of brightness.
Aye, she would haver. “I caught your name the first time, lass.”
“And as you know, Gwen asked me to come,” she chirped.
Dageus nearly dropped the carafe at that. He knew no such thing. He placed the carafe carefully on the counter before turning to face her. “Indeed,” he said slowly. Gwen had sent her? Was he dreaming?
She nodded encouragingly. “I’m here to help you,” she said gently.
To help him? Och, by Amergin, the gods were smiling on him! This was the last thing he would have expected of Gwen!
But of a sudden, a recent conversation he’d had with Gwen when she’d last visited him, made more sense. She’d mentioned several times that she disliked him being alone so much. She’d worried that it wasn’t good for him. She’d seemed to be hinting around at something, but had left without disclosing what had been on her mind, as if the subject had been too uncomfortable for her to broach. This was it then. She’d devised a solution to his loneliness. And yet another way to keep the thirteen in check. With a whore, bought and paid for. Although he’d ne’er have expected it of her, it was, he admitted, a tidy solution. He rubbed his jaw, pondering the fascinating development.
“With your problems,” she continued, with another of those little nods.
“Um-hmm.” He eyed her leisurely from head to toe, digesting his bonny fortune. Thinking how he would savor peeling off layer after layer of her clothing.
“I know you might find it difficult to relax with a perfect stranger—”
“Not at all, lass,” he said silkily.
“—but I think you’ll find I’m a good listener.”
Listener? He’d liked his women making noise and a lot of it, not listening.
“So I thought we could start tomorrow, and just get comfortable with each other today.”
Still trying to assimilate that the lass had been sent by Gwen to share his bed, Dageus turned back to the coffee maker and finished preparing it in silence.
It felt odd to him, he realized. Although he desired her intensely, and had only moments before been planning her seduction, he didn’t care for her speaking of such things so casually. It chafed his pride. It chafed what remained of his heart.
But not so much that he’d send the lass away. Nay, nowhere near that much.
“I see no reason to wait until tomorrow,” he said, coming to a swift decision. His entire body was tense with wanting. He’d been four months without a woman, and this one turned his blood to fire. Once he’d bedded her he’d wager she’d not again speak so casually of “helping him”. Nay, he’d tup her ‘til she melted into a dreamy-eyed lass, and free that wild-haired creature he suspected lurked just beneath the proper surface. Then he’d help her. To a full measure of carnal bliss. And she’d stay with him because she wanted to—not because she’d been paid to do so. Dageus might be certain of little else of late, but he was unequivocally certain of his expertise with the lasses.
“Are you certain? I mean, you feel comfortable with me already?” She beamed up at him, looking inordinately pleased by the thought.
“Och, aye, lass,” he said, feeling inexplicably irritable. “More than comfortable enough to tup.”
“Toop?” she echoed blankly, her smile wobbling a bit.
“Er…” Dageus rummaged about for another word from her century that she might be more familiar with, and seized the vernacular he’d picked up recently. The word had confused him at first, being used for such a variety of reasons. “****,” he clarified.
The smile fell right off her face. She blanched, and all the color drained from her cheeks. “F-f—Oh! Who said anything about th-that?” She snapped so abruptly straight in her chair that it clattered against the stone floor and nearly toppled over.
He blinked, startled by her reaction. “You did.”
“I did not!”
“You did too,” he said patiently.
“Oh, absolutely not!” she practically shouted.
Thank you so much! Love it.
Scottish Lass Wannabe
Dageus without tooping is like a day without sunshine ...
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