The Scot is Hers (Scots of Honor #2) - Eliza Knight Page 0,2


She’d come back here to be alone. To escape the ball that she’d not wanted to attend.

This was only her first season, and it had been exhausting. One event after another. Endless “cheer,” or at least that was what it was supposed to be. Musicales, theater performances, tea, luncheon, volunteer service, attending to callers, calling on people herself, balls and more balls. It was a wonder she was even standing upright given her exhaustion.

Her feet ached from barely getting any rest. Her face hurt from pretending to smile, and she’d run out completely of witty things to say. If she had to open her mouth now to speak to the man imposing on her silence, she’d likely only be able to mutter gibberish of sorts. She had no interest in being here and would much rather be at home curled up with a good book. What she wouldn’t give to hop into a traveling coach and escape to the country away from all this ridiculousness.

Her toes were probably bleeding in her slippers from the last dance she’d been subjected to, and if she had to hear one more time what a great hunter or horseman one of these blokes was, she’d scream. Because the truth was, she didn’t care at all.

But this man, he was interesting, at least for the moment. What tormented him so that he felt the need to take it out on the stone wall? And how was his hand faring after such an idiotic move?

He turned in the moonlight, leaning his back against the wall, and then she saw his face. Instantly, she knew who he was. Moonlight filtered down, alighting on the jagged pink scar that ran from his temple, over his cheek and down to his chin. Och, how it must have hurt. Giselle touched her cheek, imagining what it must have been like to have such an injury. The light from above caught on his ginger hair, giving the illusion of glowing like fire, making him look even wilder.

Alec Hay. The Earl of Errol. The man of the hour.

What had gotten him so riled up? Giselle imagined one of the idiot debutantes inside probably said something to insult him. All these ninnies were so superficial. It was why she’d not been able to make any friends. She didn’t see the world the same way they did. The only friend she had was Jaime, but she could only see her when she snuck about as her mother didn’t approve of their friendship.

The earl let out another small growl, slamming his hands into the stone. She wished there was something she could do for him. He was obviously in distress. It was on the tip of her tongue to call out to him. To approach him as if he were a wounded animal. But she knew better. He wasn’t just any wounded animal, but more like a rabid wolf, she’d say. He might bite her head off.

Giselle bit her lip to hide her laugh at such imaginings.

When she was in a mood such as the one that appeared to be plaguing him, the last thing she wanted was for anyone to bother her at all.

So she sank deeper into the shadows, trying not to make any noise, and watched him. She felt a little odd doing that. As if she were intruding. His shoulders rose and fell violently. And she had the disturbing notion that he was either crying or breathing very heavily.

A grown man, a soldier at that, crying?

Nay, he must be breathing very hard. And that would make sense after punching a wall. He was likely quite out of breath from the exertion and whatever emotions had motivated him to such violence.

Another growl reached her ears from where he stood, and she had the sudden haunting notion that he reminded her very much of Beast from La Belle et la Bête by Jeanne-Marie LePrince de Beaumont.

That made her smile to visualize him that way, and she knew it was silly. But she supposed he did have a lot in common with that tortured prince. A curse forever altering his features, meddlers demanding he fall in love if he were to find true happiness ever. It was all so very romantic. Giselle sighed.

“I can hear ye breathing,” he said gruffly, his head swiveling in her direction.

Giselle peeked at him from behind the tree, wondering if he could see her and also wondering what color his eyes were. Despite his scar and crankiness, he was