Hacon slouched in a rough, heavy chair before the fire, heartily approving of the new-style fireplace and chimney set in the wall. It was far better than the usual, a hearth in the center of the room with an inadequate venting hole in the roof. He wondered how Dugald always managed to find such fine quarters for them. This had to be one of the few houses in Berwick that still had an intact thatched roof, one untouched by the fires that even now scorched the town. After glancing at the plunder scattered on the table in the center of the room, he fixed his gaze upon the female plunder sprawled unconscious at his feet.
Twice the girl had come awake while strapped to his back. Twice she had wrapped her lovely slim hands about his throat. Twice Dugald had had to strike her unconscious again to save his cousin. Hacon grinned. She had spirit. Dugald could well be right—she was the devil’s child, even though she had been hidden away in a convent. He would be sure to keep all weapons out of her reach. She could prove to be a very troublesome bounty.
But a bonnie one, he mused, leaning forward. She looked very tempting sprawled on the sheepskin with her thick raven hair splayed out around her. Her headdress had been an early victim of the battle in the streets. While he suspected her too-thin build was a result of the famine that had ravaged the area over the last two years, he found no fault in it. There were curves enough to please him. Her skin was the soft white of ivory touched with all the warmth of good health. He easily recalled her magnificent eyes, their vivid green enhanced by sparks of fury and defiance as she had faced him in the convent.
“Do ye think I have harmed her?”
Glancing up at Dugald, who stood on the other side of the girl, Hacon shook his head. “She breathes easily and there is a growing flickering in her eyelids. She will wake soon.”
“Then ye had best guard your throat.”
The way Dugald eyed the girl, as if she were as great a threat as any well-armed Englishman, made Hacon laugh softly. “She has more spirit than many another in this place.”
“Aye, which will make her a muckle lot of trouble. Wouldnae it be wiser to leave her behind?”
“Much wiser, but I willnae do it.”
“Why? She is naught but a skinny wee lass.”
“Ah, now there is a puzzle.” Hacon shrugged. “I just willnae.”
Jennet had grasped consciousness in time to hear the one man’s disparaging description of her and the other’s response. Her head ached and she knew it was their fault. She had made no move to reveal that she was now awake; her captor’s answer had interested her since it might reveal her fate.