Read BULL: MC ROMANCE (Forsaken Riders MC Romance Book 6) Online
Authors: Samantha Leal
Alisa yawned as she awoke reluctantly. A sharp pain surged to her head and she brought her hand to her neck, sleepily hoping to rub the pain away. It wasn't often that she woke up with a stiff neck, but this was one of the worst she'd had in a while. But why would it hurt so much? Had she slept wrong?
She tried to recall the night before. The last thing she remembered was reading the romance novel, set in ancient Scotland. She must have fallen asleep at her desk, that would explain her stiff neck. But why was she lying down now? Had Carl somehow moved her to the bed? Since when did he have the stamina?
She forced her eyes open and found herself gazing at a bright blue sky, with streams of light leaking through gaps in translucent green leaves. They rustled sweetly in the gentle breeze as birds chirped pleasantly above her head.
Leaves? That wasn't right. Alisa sat up quickly, a little too quickly for the crick in her neck, and hissed in pain. She looked around frantically for some clue as to where she was and how she had gotten there. There was a ragged blanket over her, and one that she had apparently been using beneath her head. She looked around in confusion. Why was she outside, and where was she? Who had put the blanket over her?
She took a deep breath and tried to analyze her surroundings and assess the danger she might be in. It looked like she was in some kind of a camp. There were people milling about, a large group of them. She didn't recognize anybody, but nobody seemed to think that she was out of place. Everybody went about their business as if nothing strange were happening. Nobody asked her who she was or how she had gotten there.
“Good morning, Lady Alisa,” one woman, who looked like she was dressed for some kind of historical Scottish reenactment, said as she passed. She was dragging a young child behind her by his chubby arm. He craned his neck to watch her as she stared at them.
Alisa was too shocked to reply, but the woman was already gone, too consumed in her morning ritual to wait for her greeting to be acknowledged. The boy trailed along after her, and they disappeared into the hustle and bustle of the busy camp.
She had to be dreaming, she thought. Her eyes wandered the camp. Topless, fiercely muscular men roamed, tartan kilts draped around their waists. Women and children, dressed the same as the woman who had acknowledged her, with tartan skirts and brass buckles clasped over their breasts, were sprinkled throughout the hectic scene. Most were preparing meals as children wound between their legs, laughing when they were scolded.
What on earth was happening?
“M'Lady,” a deep, rumbling voice said from behind her in an intoxicating Scottish accent. She whipped around, ready to utilize the self-defense classes she had taken in college.
She was taken aback when his broad, handsome face broke out into a smile nearly as bright as the morning sun itself. She had to pause for a moment, leaving her fists clenched in the air, ready to strike but quivering and unsure. He was dressed in traditional Scottish attire, his lean, powerful muscles proudly soaking in the morning rays of sunlight. His chestnut colored hair was long, the bright rays of sunlight glinting off of it and creating reddish-gold slivers that gave him an ethereal beauty unlike anything she had ever seen. She wasn't sure whether to swoon or to scream.
She rose quickly, which was a mistake. Her leg was asleep and the crick in her neck seared with pain again. She stumbled over the blanket, nearly falling to the ground.
“Easy lass,” he laughed, catching her easily by the arm and righting her.
“Who are you?” she asked. “And how do people know my name? What's going on?”
“The charm seems to have worked better than I thought it would,” he said thoughtfully.
“What charm?” she asked.
The man she faced laughed again, a hearty, musical sound that left his kind green eyes dancing. “I know you don't remember now, but you will in time. I promise, no harm will come to you. We needed you here, so here you are. The spirits told me it would be so.”
“Spirits...?” she asked, her voice trailing off quietly as he led her by the waist, toward a large bonfire.
“My name is Blane,” he said without answering her. “This is the Wyndham clan. You'll understand everything in due time, lass. I promise.”
Alisa was suddenly wrenched awake by the sickening smell of bacon and eggs, wafting by her nostrils. She sat up groggily; although she had slept she felt not at all rested.
“Rise and shine, sweetie. I brought you breakfast.”
Carl was peering down at her, waving the plate in front of her face. She pushed herself up from the desk and rubbed her temples. It had all been a dream. But it felt so real!
She took the plate from him and sighed.
“Thank you,” she mumbled. Carl beamed and left the room, letting the door close itself behind him.
Alisa pushed the plate away and peered down at her desk top. The book was opened to the first page, to an illustration of the highlander and his love interest with their hands clasped. She stuffed the tartan into the pages and sighed deeply. That would teach her to read so late into the night. What a vivid dream.
She felt too sluggish to start her day. Fortunately it was her day off, so she didn't have anywhere to be. She left her breakfast on the desk and shuffled into the guest room. Carl wouldn't think to look for her in there. She plopped face-down onto the bed, letting the cool pillows soften the blow. She still had the crick in her neck, the same one she had suffered from in the dream. Funny how those things can enter the subconscious, she thought, a little uneasily. She closed her eyes and was tugged immediately back into a deep slumber.
“Breakfast, lass,” Blane said gently, his voice rumbling in her ear. Wait a minute, she realized. Blane Wyndham? Lord Blane from the tale of the tartan cloth? No wonder she was having such a strange dream. The coincidence didn't account for the dream's vividness, but at least it explained a thing or two.
“Breakfast?” she asked, realizing her stomach was rumbling immensely. The nauseated feeling she'd had with Carl was gone, and Blane waved a tantalizing plate of hearty food in front of her.
“Thank you,” she said softly, taking it from him.
He grinned at her, a mischievous glint in his eyes, before bowing out of the tent that she had woken up into.
“I was so afraid you'd never be back,” he said as he left. The flap of the tent swayed in his wake, and she was left alone. She looked down at the plate of food, traditional highlander meals typically consisted of mostly meat, and she wasn't disappointed to see a steaming, cooked fish waiting for her to dig in. She ate, taking in her surroundings. She'd always had mental images of what highland camps might look like, but she had to admit, they had looked nothing like her dream.
“Lady Alisa! It's really you!” a woman exclaimed, running into the tent and looking her up and down. “I've missed you so much!”
The woman embraced Alisa and beamed radiantly.
“I can't believe m' eyes! Wait till I tell Toby I seen you right in the flesh!”
“Hi,” Alisa said, pasting on the smile she used for library patrons that made her uncomfortable.
“Oh there I go, running me mouth. I know you don't remember yet but I'm so excited I can hardly stand it! My name is Aggie. You'll know soon enough. We used to be pretty close, you and me. Playing jokes on the boys. You'd help me out with little Keddy. He'll be so excited to see you!”
Alisa smiled helplessly. She didn't know this woman or her child but her enthusiasm was difficult to dismiss. She wanted so badly to be able to say, yes, she remembered little Keddy, but there was no recollection. And why should there be? She was just dreaming.
“We're going to be able to see you and Lord Blane married after all, Lady Alisa! I'm so pleased.”
Lady Alisa? No, no, she could have sworn the woman in the myth had a different name. Wasn't she Lady... Suddenly Alisa paled as she realized her mother had never disclosed the name of Lord Wyndham's bride. That had made the tale all the more mysterious, and she had secretly imagined herself in the role of the noble woman, betrothed to a handsome, cheerful man with a wicked sense of humor. That was probably why she was having the dream that she was having at the moment. There was no way it could be anything more than that.
“It was a pleasure to meet you," Alisa said politely as the woman excused herself. There had to be a reasonable explanation, and now she had it. It was simply vivid because she had been so stressed out over wondering whether or not her husband was cheating on her. Everybody had strange things happen to them when they were stressed out, didn't they? It was just the way the mind worked. She would just have to take things as they came and hope for the best.
“There you are," Blane's deep voice rumbled from behind her. She turned around, surprised that he would be able to find her so quickly in the deep forest where she had disappeared, hoping to get her bearings without anybody else who claimed to know her approaching her. She saw the pattern of the tartan on his kilt looked exactly the same as the one that her mother had. She had to give herself some props, it was a very vivid and detailed dream. She was proud of her mind for retaining so much detail, despite the fact that she hadn't heard the highlander tale from her mother in nearly 5 years.
“Here I am," she said, gesturing down at herself. For the first time, she became acutely aware of what she was wearing. Normally, she would be wearing jeans and a T-shirt or a blouse, baggy enough that men would not be staring at her breasts, but tight enough that she didn't feel sloppy. Now though, her breasts were pushing the boundaries of her white dress, the brass buckle clasped between them and glinting brightly in the sun. There was a shawl draped over her shoulders, but she shivered despite that.
“Oh lass, you do your best but you were never one for the cold."
How would he have known that? She had moved to California simply to avoid all cool weather. It had been a cheerful move for her and Carl, and her mother had even accompanied them, claiming she needed to keep an eye on things. She had never trusted Carl at all.
Her thoughts were broken by Lord Blane's muscular arms wrapping themselves around her much smaller body. He was warming her up in his way, she somehow knew, and it warmed her heart. It felt familiar and comfortable, and her awareness of his firm kilt against her backside ignited a hot longing deep within her. She leaned against him, a reflex that she quickly felt embarrassed about.
She didn't know this man, and acting as if they had been the same lovers from the tale would only get her into trouble. She didn't know what kind of trouble, but she was still married somewhere out there, and she for one planned to stay faithful, whether her husband was planning to do the same or not.
“I don't know you," she said, pulling away and turning to face him. She would have to ignore the longing. Her eyes narrowed in frustration. “I would appreciate it if you would try not to touch me like that."
His expression darkened with pain, which made her feel a pang of guilt, but she was a strong woman who was not generally tempted to feel sorry for men when they were feeling sad that she didn't enjoy their advances. He pulled away from her, a little bit too quickly, as he mumbled his apologies.
“You're right, I shouldn't have done that. At least not yet. I hope you can forgive me. Anyway lass, you should probably try to stay out of trouble in these parts. I have heard there are some people lurking around, prowling in places where they shouldn't be. It's pretty dangerous here," Lord Blane said, fixing his fiery eyes on hers. She almost lost herself in them before shaking her head and breaking his spell.
“Don't worry, I can take care of myself," she said, jutting her chin up regally. She didn't remember ever using that particular expression, at least not with the regally tilted chin, but it came fairly naturally to her. Maybe she was falling into the role of the woman Lord Blane seemed to think that she was.
“I've no doubt that you can, lass," he said with a twinkle in his eye. “I would advise you to be careful around here, that's all."
He gave her a small grin and turned on his heel to walk away. She watched him go, his muscular back glimmering golden in the early morning sunlight. She felt annoyed for admitting to herself that she felt safer with him on her side. He was ridiculously attractive, and she sighed to herself as she watched his broad figure grow smaller and smaller as he made his way back to the camp.
She had found the environment a little bit too stifling, and had sought out an area where she could spend some time by herself. Everybody there seemed to know who she was, and were not particularly surprised by the fact that she existed. Although they were surprised to see her, they were beside themselves with joy, and she found it very strange. All she could figure out was that she was dreaming about the myth that was connected to the tartan cloth that her mother had given her. The same one that she had been touching as she slept on her desk. It was the only reasonable explanation.
She slowly moved further away from the camp. She couldn't risk being bombarded the way she had been all morning already. For a dream, it was extremely exhausting. She only remembered having dreams where the trivial parts were scanned over and blurred together. It was strange to her that she should have to deal with the least important parts of the day, rather than the actual climax of the dream. Maybe that was because it was supposed to be an erotic dream, and she had blown her chance with the starring hunk. She laughed and shook her head, brushing the thoughts away and focusing on the scenery around her.
It was very beautiful there, and she found herself entranced by the wildlife. She heard the sudden snapping of a twig and looked up sharply, just in time to see a man with a scowling face, a long red beard and holding a broadsword approaching her. Her heart leapt to her throat. She had seen that man before, and something told her that the last encounter had been a nightmare.
“Well, well, well. Welcome back milady," the man growled into the crisp morning air. “One of my men came running in to tell me that you were here, come back to claim your lost love. What do you see in that guy anyway? He's all meat and no brains."
“You don't know what you're talking about," Alisa said, practicing her regal chin jut once again. It was becoming second nature to her now. “I don't know anybody here, and I don't know you. This is all just some stupid misunderstanding, and you are probably just a figment of my imagination. So I don't see why I should be scared of you when I'll just be waking up any moment now and you'll disappear forever. You're nothing."
“Well if I'm nothing, then it doesn't matter what I do, does it?" he said, a sickening smile spreading across his face. He raised his sword and suddenly she was stricken with fear. Whether this was a dream or not, she didn't want that man near her. Her heart jumped to her throat and she took off running as quickly as she could.