Reading Between The Lines Excerpt

Out Tuesday, August 26 in trade paper!

An excerpt behind the jump!

Haley trained with such ferocity Aoife stopped her and laughed. “Darling, what is going on with you? Come and take a ride with me.” Aoife looked over at Cormac who scowled. “Oh pish posh! I’ll keep within the inner gates and you can come too. The girl has been in the confines of the brugh for months now without a break. She needs to get out or she’s going to hack off one of my limbs.”

Haley blushed. “I’m sorry. Yes, I’d love to and yes, the house arrest is driving me crazy.”

They went on their ride and Haley did feel a lot better after racing Dulce and feeling the wind in her hair and the power of her horse beneath her.

Back in the stables while they fed and watered the horses, Riordan took over when Aoife went back to do her queen-type stuff.

“I know you’re frustrated, Haley. But Conall is worried. Scared. He nearly lost you when Ninane attacked before. You have to hold on. We’re looking for Ninane.” Riordan walked along with her as they headed back to town.

She sighed. “Riordan, imagine if you couldn’t see your family when you were used to seeing them them all the time, spoke to them on the phone at least three times a week. We know where Ninane is. She’s below and we can’t get in there without breaking the treaty. So it’s an impasse. How long will this go on? She’s lying low and I’m in here. Samhain is two days away. I’m strong. You’re strong. You could come with us and with you there, Conall wouldn’t have to worry as much. Just from the gates straight to the tribe’s lands. Which are safe and you know it.”

“Haley, don’t you flutter those lashes at me. It doesn’t work. I’ll talk to Conall on your behalf and see what he says. Okay?”

Didn’t work her ass. Putty, big, tough Riordan macCormac was a big giant ball of goo. Well, when he wasn’t being all super soldier and stuff.

“Thank you.” She tiptoed up and kissed his cheek quickly and he snorted.

“Yes well, tonight is big family dinner night. Brenna’s birthday. You can show your appreciation by coming with Conall. Please.”

She and Aideen had come to an uneasy peace but there was no way she’d snub Brenna or the rest of Conall’s family for a celebration.

“Of course. I’ve come to family events before this and not torn anyone’s head off.”

She did have to give Conall credit, he solidly backed her up and Aideen had ceased with the comments. It also helped that Dana sent Aideen a scowl any time it looked as if she was going to say anything.

“Go on then, I’ll watch until you get to the door.” Riordan opened the gate and she went in, stopping to pick some flowers on her way.

Despite her ire at not being able to leave, she loved this place. Loved her home with Conall. Often, they’d sit out on the deck outside their bedroom in the evenings, the scent of the flowers wafting on the breeze.

Conall was a thousand times the man she ever dreamed she’d fall in love with. He was funny and sexy, intelligent and compassionate. Every day there was another reason she loved him. It’d been nine months since they’d been together that first time, nearly a year and a half since she’d met him and even when she was so mad at him she wanted to slam a door, her love for him was never in doubt.

Sometimes she went to the halls of justice near the town center to watch him work. His voice solemn as he argued a case or sent down a judgment, she listened to him, appreciated his intelligence and sense of justice and duty.

She knew why he wanted her to stay within the safest zone of the brugh. She understood he wanted her safe and she wanted that too. But she wouldn’t let Ninane keep her prisoner in her own damned home. And she wouldn’t let Ninane stop her from having a relationship with her family either. She’d kept Conall away from his for a thousand years. Haley didn’t have that time, her parents were mortal and she didn’t want to give that kind of power to the other woman either. Ninane had done enough damage.

“Hello, Irish witch. You look deep in thought.”

Tipping her head up, she drank in the sight of Conall on the porch, wearing a low slung pair of jeans, a snug T-shirt. His hair was loose, hanging to his waist. Clear blue eyes took her in.

“I was thinking about how sexy you were when you did your job.” She smiled and took his hand, allowing him to pull her into the house.

“Really now?” He leaned down and kissed her slow and deep, taking his time and leaving her breathless.

“Wow. You’re so good at that.”

“I’ve had a wee bit of practice.” He gave her that smile of his, sending everything below her shoulders into supernova.

“So I hear.”

He laughed. “Is that so? And who’d be telling you that?”

“I had a conversation with Cordelia something-or-other this afternoon. Apparently you were her first and she’s never forgotten you.”

“Oh good gracious! That was so long ago, we were both so young. She didn’t upset you, did she?” He kissed her temple.

“Conall, if I was going to get upset each time I was confronted by a female who’d tasted a bit of what you’ve got under the hood, my God, I’d be upset all the damned time. But you’re mine and everyone has been quite sweet about it so there’s nothing to be upset over. Well, except for Ninane. Boy, you really dipped your wick in the crazy pussy with that one.”

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