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"What have ye done with her?" The deep voice broke into the quiet she'd been enjoying.
Kristianna turned toward that somehow-familiar baritone. Her jaw slid south. It dropped so fast she wouldn't have been surprised to hear it clunk on her chest.
Standing nose to nose with the biggest, blackest horse she'd ever seen, she blinked a time or two, but it didn't help. The huge animal snorted and blew, pawed the ground, and continued to stare at her.
Kris closed her eyes and shook her head. She had a great imagination. Not a moment ago she'd gazed at the meadow behind her, wanting nothing more than to lie down in the sweet-smelling field of heather, close her eyes and relish the peacefulness.
"I ask ye once again, wench, what ha'e ye done wi' her?"
She opened her eyes; her breath hitched in her throat and solidified there. Kris let her eyes travel up, up and up some more to see who spoke. Her knees wobbled at the sight of the man sitting atop his horse. Not only was he more gorgeous than any man had a right to be, he was also very large and looked none too happy at the moment.
His face, bronzed by wind and sun, looked as familiar as his voice sounded. She'd seen him before and the sight of him ripped a sigh of pleasure from her.
"I haven't done anything with anyone," she began when his question penetrated her brain. She shook her head, confused. He was supposed to jump off his dark horse and pledge his undying love and devotion, not ask about some other woman.
"Dinnae make me ask ye again," he thundered. Without warning, he leapt from his enormous horse, drew his sword and pointed it at her.Apparently, he was not convinced of her innocence. "Tell me what ye ha'e done wi' her and mayhap I shall let ye live."
"Look," Kris said, keeping her voice as soft and calm as she could with a very real, very sharp looking broadsword pointed at her chest "I don't have any idea who you're talking about. If you tell me who it is you're looking for, maybe I can help you find her. Just put that sword away..."
Before she could finish, the man advanced on her, blade raised, ready to strike. Kris couldn't help but admire the way he moved with such easy grace for a man so powerful and well muscled.
She put her hands up and stumbled backwards as the man continued moving toward her, his face a mask of anger.
With a yelp, she tripped, and fell to her backside.
And woke up.
"Damn." She blinked several times and rubbed her hands over her face. "If I must continue to have dreams about this guy, can't I at least control the outcome once in awhile?" Blowing her hair out of her eyes in frustration, she sighed and looked upward. No divine answer seemed to be coming from that quarter.
More awake now, she looked around the darkened bedroom, grumbled a bit as she untangled herself from the blankets and tossed them back on the bed. With a groan, she grabbed the end of the footboard and hauled herself up from where she'd landed on the floor.
"Fine, if I can't control the outcome of that stupid dream, do you think it would be too much to ask that I at least not fall out of bed?"
With more irritated grumbles, Kris plopped on the edge of the bed and peered at her alarm clock. Four a.m. and she was wide-awake.
No sense in even trying to get back to sleep now, the alarm would blare in an hour anyway. She pushed her feet into her favorite fuzzy slippers, stood, grabbed the robe from the end of the bed and made her way to the kitchen. Flipping the switch for the lights, then the one to start the coffee brewing, she cast a sleepy glance at the refrigerator and couldn't stop the wide grin and giddy giggle.
At least today, there was good reason for her excitement and inability to get back to sleep. On the fridge, two magnets held the cause of her exhilaration in place--one round-trip airplane ticket to Scotland.
She bounced on her heels in anticipation. Her entire art-history class was due to fly out of Logan Airport in Boston just a few short hours from now. She'd gotten her passport, paid off all her credit cards and been packed for almost two weeks. The only thing left to do was wait for Hailey to pick her up, get to the airport and board the plane.
She poured coffee into her favorite mug, added the requisite amounts of cream and sugar and took a deep breath, inhaling the marvelous aroma before taking a large swallow. She stood there a moment, savoring the caffeine as it did its wonderful work.
It must be anticipation about the trip that inspired the weird dreams, she decided, sipping more coffee. Although in the back of her mind a nagging suspicion said there was far more to it than that, she chose to ignore it. Maybe it was just a lack of junk food. She'd been on a strict diet for over a month, trying to lose a few extra pounds before the trip. Who knew what kind of detrimental affects a lack of chocolate could bring on a girl?
Kris giggled. On the kitchen table, she turned a critical eye on the nearly finished sketch: the man who insisted on invading her dreams every night for the past few weeks. She'd almost captured him, but there was still something missing. Unable to resist, she sat at the table, picked up the pencil and began to work. She'd just do a bit on it before getting dressed to wait for Hailey.