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Betrayed (Wild Mountain Scots, #4): Epilogue


Under the cover of darkness, I approached the white tent, the sound of music and happy voices stirring, but all up in my drama at the worry of seeing others.

Lia and Max’s wedding party was in full swing, and I’d missed it all.

It hadn’t been my plan, but to show up to a nice family event with a bruised face was bad form, I was sure.

In my pretty dark-blue dress, I forced myself to move closer. Lia would be disappointed if I hadn’t come at all, so I’d licked my wounds, caked on the makeup, and driven to be here. I’d convinced myself I could get away with this in the evening because of the low lights. Earlier, in broad daylight, I’d looked awful. Like I’d been slammed into a wall.

Not far from the truth.

If I could get Lia alone, without my brother and his family spotting me and getting close enough to home in on my injury, I could give her their gift then beat a hasty retreat.

My cheek panged with the reminder of the hit I’d taken, but I kept moving.

The chopping of a helicopter sounded overhead, moving in fast.

Bright lights surrounded it, and it came into sight right above me.

Hello, déjà vu.

I stood and gawped at it. The sound increased, and the helicopter descended until it touched down on the shore of the loch, so close the downdraught lifted and tore at my skirt.

Then the pilot powered down the engine and opened his door.

Gabe climbed out.

In a black suit, he was something out of a movie.

I entirely forgot my plan and just stared. With urgency in his moves, he helped two people out. No, two children.

I hadn’t spoken to Gabe since our near miss, but I’d wanted to. I had a thing for the tall, dark, and handsome man. Whenever I was on the estate and caught a glimpse of him, I got a thrill like nothing I’d ever felt before.

But he’d made it all too clear that he didn’t want anything to do with me in return.

Now I understood why. He had kids. Presumably a wife, too.

For fuck’s sake.

“Shite,” a voice came from behind me. “He did it.”

I peered around to find Gordain nearby. The older man dashed his fingers into his short hair and watched Gabe and his family approaching.

“Were ye followed?” he said when Gabe was close enough to hear.

Gabe shook his head in response, once and hard, ushering forward the youngsters. The two were older than I first thought. Teenagers, probably. The girl slight and perhaps fourteen, and the boy a little older.

“Welcome to the McRae estate,” Gordain said to them. “You’re safe here.”

The teenagers skittered past, heads down.

Gabe’s gaze landed on me, the spy on whatever this moment was.

The helicopter’s rotor blades had stopped turning, and the lights that had illuminated the road now off, but his focus sharpened all the same. He wheeled away from his family to move in closer. Without pause, he held my face in his hand, turning it to examine my cheek.

Fury descended over his tight control. “Who did this?”

“Um,” I mumbled.

I didn’t need a protector. Sure, I’d been stupid in what I’d done, earning myself a shiner for my pleasure, but I’d handled it.

“Effie,” Gabe bit out. “You’re hurt. Tell me who did it.”

“Gabriel?” a small voice sounded.

The girl peeked at us, her gaze curious.

Gabriel, she’d called him. A younger sibling, had to be.

He took a final look at me. “I need to settle them in. Find me later. Or I’ll find ye.”

Yeah, like that was going to happen.

Gabe returned to his charges, leading them into a side door of Castle McRae.

I turned and hightailed it the other way.


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