Love of Her Lives
by Sharon Clare
eBook ISBN: 9781440554254
Beth Stewart thought she lived a normal life until a warrior from her past life shows up to rescue her. Unfamiliar with the twenty-first century, Calum must determine who plots against Beth while playing a game designed to awaken her repressed passion and keep them on the run together.
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Colm knocked the front door shut with his foot. “You could have been killed, woman! What the devil were you thinking?” He slipped Bethany off his shoulder to the polished pine floor and steadied her with a grip to her forearm.
Bethany’s cheeks burned with fury as she shook him off and yanked back her rain–soaked hood. “What was I thinking? Did you not read Mr. Winterbottom’s letter to the Dundee Advertiser?” Her legs clenched so tight, she was in danger of rupturing a good pair of stockings. “Winterbottom wrote: ‘These women who fight for the vote are a blight on this great country of ours!’ Those are fighting words, Colm. Make no mistake.”
“So Winterbottom accuses you gentle women of violence and destruction, and you prove him right? Where’s the logic in that, Bethany? Will you next be setting fire to our own church?”
“So you did read it.” She lifted her chin and stiffened her back. “I did not support those women who set fire to Whitekirk, and you know it.”
“Aye, but how can you abide such desecration? You know the government will not give in to violence. You are women. Fight your battle with words.”
She couldn’t believe her ears. Her own husband implying that being a woman was some sort of handicap. “How dare you accuse me of violence? We were provoked!” She quickly eyed the hallway for something to throw. Damn him. That would only prove his point. Jerking up the hood of her cloak, she headed for the door.
Colm left his overcoat swinging on the coat rack, crossed the floor, and gripped her elbow. His sky blue eyes were about as soothing as a bellyache. “You’re not going back out in that weather. We both could use a hot bath.”
She tugged her arm free. “Find yourself a placid wife to warm your bath, Colm.” Snapping the latch back, she ran out into the gloaming, knowing full well he’d follow her.
“I’ll not have you keeping company with Moira any longer,” he called from the doorway. “That lass is nothing but trouble.”
“Oh!” She was too mad for words. Colm had carried her over his shoulder all the way through town. Arrogant, barbaric throwback of a man! The wind slapped her face with a gust of rain as she hurried out the gate and across the cow trail. “And pissy weather too.” Embedded in the earth ahead of her was the sickle–shaped stone, slick and glistening, that marked the bottom of the footpath up the Argyll Mountain. She skirted it and hit the trail. If she hurried, she might lose him. If not, she’d say things she might regret later.
Colm should know better than to blame Moira as if Bethany didn’t have the mind to fight the cause on her own. The toe of her shoe caught in her gown. She stumbled, but caught her balance in time. One of the border collies, Dickens, beat the ground past her and kept on up the trail. Oh, to run like Dickens.
It hadn’t been Moira’s idea to throw stones at the Dundee building. It had been Bethany’s. And a few broken windows were hardly violent. They had to do something after that newspaper printed Winterbottom’s letter.
“When women demand equality with men let us laugh at their madness! Let us inform them that equality is impossible — men are emotionally stronger and intellectually more capable.”
Oh, how her blood boiled at the arrogance. Bethany had recruited Moira, and together they’d climbed onto the roof of an adjacent factory to launch their assault. She’d never intended to hurt anyone and had been truly horrified when her pebble pinged off the head of a policeman. When the constable turned the fire hose on them, she and Moira hid behind a chimney refusing to come down.
As she climbed the mountain trail, the crack of their front door slamming shut cut through the howling wind. She jumped just a little then carried on. Colm must have gotten his boots back on.
“Bethany, stop your running!” Her husband’s voice boomed like thunder over the mountain.
So he thinks to chase me down again. The police had not been able to dislodge the two women from the rooftop, but Colm had. He’d climbed the fire escape and taken his wife down over his shoulder. Oh, the humiliation. She hoped she’d bruised him well.
He was afraid she’d get hurt. Bethany glanced over her shoulder to see him gaining on her. By the look of violence on his face right now, he was the only threat she need fear. Not that she’d give him the satisfaction of fearing him.
The rain had made the trail slick, and she knew she should move slowly, but she wanted to reach level ground before their next shouting match. The sounds of 300 bleating ewes just ahead meant she was close.
“I told the chief constable I’d keep you out of it, and I meant it.” He pressed on at alarming speed. She picked up her gown and ran up the steepening trail.
“Damn it, Bethany, have a care. I’d no time to feed the sheep. For the love of God, lass, stop your running now!”
If he ceased his chasing, she’d have no need to run now, would she? Reaching the plateau, she skidded to a stop and stood panting while her heart galloped in her chest. She was vaguely aware of the sheep turning their collective heads. Colm had stopped twenty feet down on the trail, his face burning with anger not exertion.
She faced him with hands planted on her hips. “I am not afraid of prison,” she yelled through the wind.
“You damn well should be,” he yelled back.
“I will gladly go to prison before I abandon the fight for women’s enfranchisement.” She took a second to gulp a deep breath. “If you think to force me to cease this cause,” one more deep breath, “then you are no husband of mine.”
“No husband? What sort of husband doesn’t protect his wife? Do you wish to cut my balls off too, so you can be married to a eunuch?”
It was just like him to overlook her point. “This isn’t about your balls, you bloody man!” The sound of bleating sheep grew closer. Glancing over her shoulder, she flinched to see them moving toward her at a quick advance. Dear God, they looked agitated. She took a step toward her insufferable husband.
“Bloody hell, woman, get down here now!” Colm roared.
And succumb to his command? Why couldn’t she have married a more agreeable man like Moira had? She dug in her heels and spoke through gritted teeth. “Stop using that tone with me. I am not your chattel to command as you wish.”
A sheep’s nose butted the back of her knee. Her leg gave way as a famished ewe knocked her in the hip. Dickens barked incessantly at her heels. Her arm reached, sought, grasped — nothing.
Colm sprinted up the incline like a blur.
All the anger of her day fused with terror as she plunged over the cliff. Oddly, as she tumbled, she hoped to land on her padded behind. Foolish thought.
She hit the ground with a sickening crack and ferocious pain.
Colm’s cold cry cut across the mountains.
Her protector. Her sweet Colm.
He needn’t bother sounding so distressed. She wasn’t hurt. She thought about that a moment. Why was she no longer in pain?
Oh! She didn’t look good, not good at all. So much blood. From her head? Why could she see herself so clearly?
“Bethany, my heart, my love. Can you hear me? Can you speak?” Colm was by her side, his shirt ripped from his body, pressed against her head, and quickly becoming saturated in her blood. Rain pelted down around them gathering into red rivulets that bled out from under her body.
No pain. No cold. No wet. The gruesome scene unfolded below her.
Below her? She watched it all from the treetops which made no sense at all. Unless …
Dear God. This was death.
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