The Scot is Hers (Scots of Honor #2) - Eliza Knight Page 0,1
at all. Nearly half his face was torn away from that slice and had healed into an angry, red, rolling pucker that went from the corner of his eye to his chin.
Nay. He, Alec Hay, Earl of Errol, would forever be the damaged and beastly general.
“If ye’ll excuse me,” he murmured, putting the poor chit out of her misery.
He supposed it didn’t help that he was extremely moody and could not summon a smile if the devil himself demanded it. What he really wanted to do was mount his horse and ride north, all the way to his castle, Slains, on the cliff in Aberdeenshire. To stand on the edge and look out at the waves crashing against the rocky craig, close his eyes, and maybe fall off the edge. Let the cold, salty water of the sea bash his body into a million pieces as he’d imagined doing to himself every night since his return. He’d not been able to save his friend, his subordinate, and didn’t it stand to reason that he too should die.
At the very least, he felt compelled to relive the harrowing moments of war over and over until he was either too drunk to move or too immobilized by guilt. Whichever was the quickest means to the end.
Oh, he’d tried to be happy. Tried to blend in. Had even found some momentary contentment with his friends, who’d also returned to Edinburgh. But at night, when darkness closed in, all he could think about was how Sir Douglas Campbell wasn’t ever going to come home. How his best mate Lorne, the Duke of Sutherland, too, had been lost to them. And how it was all his fault for not fighting harder to save him when the enemy had caged them in. For not having put Sir Joshua Keith in his place for insubordination when the issue first arose.
Alec stormed toward the doors of the ballroom. Enough was enough; he wasn’t going to subject himself to any more of this farce. Even if he knew he was going to hear an earful the following morning from his mother. He’d take that most assured chance rather than be in this ballroom one moment longer. The music played loud and chipper, enticing merriment and dancing, and it went against everything he was currently feeling.
Out of the ballroom and down the hall, he excused himself, nodding with a grimace at anyone who dared try to gain his attention until he was pushing through the rear doors of the house and out into the garden.
Couples hid in quiet, darkened corners, trying not to be seen, not to be heard as they stole a private embrace. His bootheels clicked over the flagstone and then were finally muted by the grass of the garden.
Alec remembered those days before the Peninsular War when he’d hid in the shadows of the trees, trying to entice a young lass into a kiss. Now he’d be lucky if any lass could stand his company for more than thirty-eight seconds.
Alec pushed his way through the night until he reached the rear of the garden, only the wall stopping him from walking onward. He yanked open the gate and glared down at the house below. Edinburgh was built on hills and valleys, not a flat surface in sight. And every inch was covered in a structure. There weren’t miles of land stretching out before him, but instead, another house. Another walled garden.
He slammed the gate closed. Banged his fist against the rock, ignoring the pain from splitting his knuckles. He let out a little growl, hands fisted at his sides, head thrown back. He stared up at the stars in the sky and contemplated howling to the moon as the animal he was starting to feel very much like. What he needed was a good boxing match to work out his frustration.
Why didn’t his mother listen to him? Why did she make him the subject of so much scrutiny? The woman was either blind or a fool to believe that this type of event would sway anyone into being his lifelong companion. Besides, he’d already decided he was never getting married.
Even if he had to live out the rest of his life in seclusion, showing his face only when it was necessary in the House of Lords—then so be it.
What in the world?
Lady Giselle Hepburn sank deeper into the shadows of the garden, staring at the giant Highlander who’d assaulted the rear wall, destroying the tranquility of her