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“Strome has taken Colonsay.”
“How long ago?” Arielle snapped out the question.
“About half an hour, I think. I was knocked out, and just now came to my senses. His ship has left the dock and the tide has turned,” Jessops said.
“Let’s get these three back to the ship, and then we will go and get Colonsay back. Hurry now,” Meredith said.
“But their ship has sailed and the tide has turned. You won’t be able to set sail until tomorrow morning,” Berneray said, in dismay and puzzlement.
“You’ll see. Now, let’s make haste. She’ll be afraid, and I don’t want her at the mercy of that man a moment longer than necessary,” Arielle said. He set off again at an even faster pace, and they all hurried after him.
“Jessops, please see that Berneray, Vatersay, and Carron are given cabins, good food, and some fresh clothes,” Meredith ordered. “I’m ready when you are, Arielle.”
“Then let’s go now.” Arielle suited his actions to his words and leaped into the air. Meredith took off with him. Huge golden bronze wings propelled him through the air by the side of his life-long friend. Wings beating strongly, he had only one thing on his mind, to get his friend’s mate out of the clutches of that monster as soon as they could. In the years he’d known Colonsay and Oronsay, he’d become increasingly fond of them. He delighted in his friend’s happiness even if it had been always tinged with a little envy. Arielle was happy, and those two mates were essential to that state. Nothing could happen to Colonsay, or Arielle would be inconsolable and Meredith was prepared to do anything to prevent that.
He glanced at the set features of the man flying beside him. He could see that Strome was going to pay for any harm he’d done to Colonsay, and pay dearly. Flying straight and fast, Meredith scanned the horizon. The sky was clear and the moon was full, for which he thanked providence. Arielle shouted and pointed. There was a ship below them. It had crowded on all sails and was making headway before a brisk wind. He made a sign and followed Arielle down. He hoped this was the ship, but he could see no others. He dropped down low, folding his wings and landing silently on the deck in front of the watchman, whose mouth fell open in astonishment. He’d no time to cry out, however, Arielle had landed behind him and dealt him a blow that left him senseless. Meredith caught him and lowered him to the deck, while Arielle grabbed a coiled rope and bound his arms and legs. Meredith lifted him and placed him in the shadows, and then he pointed to the ladder leading below decks. Arielle nodded and padded quietly over to it. He listened for a while, and then he descended into the gloom. Meredith followed close behind.
When Meredith’s eyes had adjusted to the dark, he saw a man leaning against a cabin door as if he was listening to what was being said inside. Arielle approached him on silent feet and dealt him one swift blow, which felled him. Then Meredith heard the scream.
* * * *
Colonsay closed her eyes as Strome left the cabin. She heard the noise as the bolt shot home, and the muted sound of voices outside the door. I can’t sit here and wait to see what happens. I have to do something. She got up from the bunk and looked about her for a weapon. There didn’t seem to be anything she could use. There were candles in sconces attached to the walls, so she decided to try to break off one of them. She pulled on one of the sconces, using all of her weight. Soon, she heard a satisfying “crack” as it came away from the wood. She hefted it in her hand. It was made of some heavy metal. It would do. She might be able to stun Strome and escape. We are at sea. Where will I go if I escape? Arielle will come for me. I know he will. She picked up the candle, which had snuffed out against the rough boards of the floor, and then tossed it onto the bunk out of the way. She sat down beside it and settled to wait. She knew Strome wouldn’t be able to resist coming back to taunt her, but she’d be ready for him.
Sure enough, she didn’t have long to wait before she heard the hated voice. She hurried over to stand by the door. As it opened she raised the heavy metal object and brought it down on his head with as much force as she could muster. Some instinct must have warned him, because at the last minute he turned. The crushing blow to the head, with which she’d intended to incapacitate him, just glanced off his shoulder. She dropped the candleholder and retreated. He followed her until she was pinned against the wall.
“You will regret that,” he growled.
He seized her tender breasts and squeezed her nipples hard. She screamed in agony. Strome laughed.
“That will teach you to attack me, and that’s just a small taste of what’s awaiting you when you produce those babes,” he said.
The door was flung open and hit the wall with a splintering crash. Arielle strode over to Strome, took him by the scruff of the neck, and flung him away from Colonsay. She sobbed her relief and flung herself at her lord. He opened his arms, and then he enfolded her in a fond embrace, closing his wings about them. She breathed in his beloved scent.
“You came for me. I knew you would.”
“I will always be there for you, my little love,” Arielle murmured in her ear. He bent to kiss her, but Meredith’s warning shout stopped him.
“Arielle, look out. Strome has a knife.” Arielle put himself between Colonsay and Strome, who had got to his feet and was holding a wicked looking dagger in his hand. There was a murderous look in his eyes. Colonsay couldn’t contain her scream. Meredith pulled her out of the way as Arielle took up a fighting stance. Strome lunged. Arielle avoided him, but there wasn’t a great deal of room in the crowded cabin.
“This time I mean to put an end to your miserable existence,” Strome said. Colonsay tried to go to him, but Meredith held her tight.
“No, Colonsay. You must stay out of the way. Strome will try to use you to harm Arielle.” He took her toward the cabin door, but she wouldn’t go all the way out. In any case, one of Strome’s men was there watching. Strome feinted and tried to slash at Arielle, but each time the bigger man was quicker on his feet and avoided the wicked point, until he stumbled over a chair and Strome was able to cut his chest. Blood flowed freely. Colonsay writhed in Meredith’s grasp wanting to go to his aid. Strome was jubilant, but he must have relaxed his vigilance. Colonsay watched her lord as he managed to overpower Strome, who fell on the knife in the struggle. Strome didn’t move. There was blood everywhere.
Meredith’s Mates is book 2 of Angel in Hell.
Question… to win an ebook of Meredith’s Mates
What does Strome use to attack Arielle?
a. a gun
b. a sword
c. a knife.
d. a chair