Lachlan's Heart (The MacCulloughs #2) - Suzan Tisdale



He hated whores above all other things.

Nasty, filthy, disgusting creatures, each and every one.

There were some people who were of the mistaken belief that a woman only became a whore out of sheer desperation. He knew that not to be the truth. ’Twas a lie told to justify their sinful ways. “Och! Feel sorry for me, for I have to spread my legs in order to survive!”

Lies. All lies.

He’d known the truth for years.

These so-called innocent women liked doing what they did. They enjoyed warming a man’s bed, spreading their legs for a few bits of silver. How many times had he heard one whore or another, through thin walls, moaning and groaning with pleasure?

They mocked God, laughed in his face, ignoring his dictates and the laws of the church. And for what? A bit of coin and a few moments of wicked, sinful pleasure.

Aye, he knew the truth. With the fervent belief that God hated these women as much as he did, he also believed ’twas up to him to do God’s work. No one else was going to.

The first kill had been the single most thrilling moment of his life, and one he liked to re-experience on occasion in the late night hours. Alone in his little room, he would relive that magical moment from a year ago when he’d realized his own truth and mission in life.

The sheer terror in her eyes had been beautiful. She knew, knew she was going to die, still she begged for mercy. Of course, he ignored her pleas; she was a whore after all.

When the blade of his dirk slid across the tender flesh of her neck, it elicited a near rapturous sensation that tickled up and down his spine. And when the blood gushed from the ragged, gaping wound? The sound of her gurgled last breaths? ’Twas bliss. Sheer, unadulterated bliss. He had taken her worthless life and sent her straight to hell where she belonged.

’Twas a righteous thing he did; ’twas God’s work he was doing. Let no one say otherwise.

The second and third kills were almost as pleasurable, but lacked a certain something. Still, he kept on trying to recapture that thrilling sensation of the first. After sending his sixth whore to the bowels of hell, he decided it no longer mattered if the thrill was as intense as the first. Nay, ’twas God’s work he was doing and that was all that mattered.

A whore is a whore is a whore. And God help him, he’d rid the world of these filthy vermin.

One whore at a time.

Chapter One

Love is, at the best of times, an odd business.

One moment, you’re minding your own business and simply enjoying nothing more than a kinship with someone. It can go on like that for days, weeks, or-in Lachlan and Keevah’s case- a few short months. Then the next thing you know, one of the parties falls hopelessly, head-over-heals in love with the other. If God is kind and benevolent, He sees to it that the second party feels much the same way as the first.

As it pertains to Lachlan and Keevah, they were simply two lonely people who enjoyed one another’s company. Aye, that came as quite a surprise to each of them. Brought together unexpectedly during very troubled times, they fell into a quiet and amicable companionship that neither of them could have foreseen.

Keevah had come to live amongst the MacCulloughs more than five years ago. She kept herself to herself for a whole host of reasons. The primary one being she was a former prostitute from Inverness. Once that secret came to be known to the rest of the clan, she was given the moniker the auld whore. The name stuck to her like a burr and the clans people had avoided her like the plague ever since. That was five years ago.

Lachlan, however, was one of the few people who never once held her past against her. Most women, he reckoned, didn’t choose to take up that line of work. Nay, ’twas almost always fate and circumstance, the fear of starvation or freezing to death, that forced women down that particular path.

He refused to pry. If she wanted to discuss the matter, she would. And if she didn’t, well, ’twas neither here nor there. He enjoyed her company and that ’twas all that mattered. She was a good woman, her past be damned.

Had it not been for his cousin and laird’s new bride, Aeschene, Lachlan doubted he and Keevah would