Read Taken By Storm Online

Authors: Donna Fletcher

Taken By Storm

D
ONNA
F
LETCHER
Taken By Storm

Contents

Chapter 1

Burke Longton grabbed hold of his chains and scrambled to…

Chapter 2

Storm couldn’t wait to get rid of the American. He…

Chapter 3

“It’s a long story and I don’t want to bore…

Chapter 4

Dunwith had once been a thriving village surrounded by tenant…

Chapter 5

Storm was relieved that they would reach camp shortly. She…

Chapter 6

Burke rode down the rope with a fire in his…

Chapter 7

Storm woke before dawn’s first light. This was the time…

Chapter 8

Burke lunged at Tanin with a roar and would have…

Chapter 9

Storm marched right up to him. “There’s room for only…

Chapter 10

Burke searched the gray sky. Heavy rain clouds drifted in…

Chapter 11

Storm entered camp just ahead of her men. She wanted…

Chapter 12

“Sit,” Burke ordered with a tap to the wooden chair.

Chapter 13

It took three days to reach Mewers and they camped…

Chapter 14

It didn’t take long to determine that the market would…

Chapter 15

Storm’s blue eyes blazed when she entered the small cell…

Chapter 16

Once home Henry was made comfortable after Janelle pronounced rest…

Chapter 17

“I don’t understand it,” Storm said, walking alongside Tanin through…

Chapter 18

Burke, Storm, and Tanin joined Philip at the campfire. He…

Chapter 19

Their journey went smoothly, and Storm and Burke arrived at…

Chapter 20

Burke gripped the railing and stared down at the dock.

Chapter 21

“It’s Cullen!” Burke exclaimed once they entered his cabin.

Chapter 22

Silence ensued, and Burke admired Storm’s courage. After sharing the…

Chapter 23

Storm led the way through the woods, the sky overcast…

Chapter 24

The skinny little fellow reminded Burke of a weasel. He…

Chapter 25

Storm pushed away from Burke and fought back the tears…

Chapter 26

Storm rapped lightly at his door, and for a moment…

Chapter 27

Burke sat on the edge of the bed and knew…

Chapter 28

Storm was one of the last to retire for the…

Chapter 29

Burke waited at the end of a row of box…

Chapter 30

William and Philip entered the camp, forcing Burke to release…

Chapter 31

Burke turned to Tanin. “Leave us, and rest assured this…

Chapter 32

Storm wasn’t interested in reliving the night her husband died,…

Chapter 33

Burke maintained his composure though he would have much preferred…

Chapter 34

Camp was a bustle of activity once the news of…

Chapter 35

Burke didn’t want to let Storm out of his sight…

Chapter 36

Storm felt her life slipping away. The guard, even though…

Chapter 37

Storm followed Burke to his brother’s side. As soon as…

B
urke Longton grabbed hold of his chains and scrambled to his feet as soon as the motley crew of five stormed his prison cell. He didn’t know for whom, out of the six in the cell, they had come, but he intended to make sure he left with them. Two weeks in this stinking hellhole had been enough. He wanted out and he wanted home.

“There’s little time,” the tallest of the men said. “Follow our orders and we’ll get you out of here.”

Burke had no problem with that. Whatever it took to be free, he was ready, and it looked like the other prisoners agreed. All had gotten to their feet, some with difficulty, and held out chained wrists, eager to be rid of the weighted metal cuffs that had rubbed their flesh raw.

Their jailer suddenly stumbled into the room, and Burke glared at him. He hated the sight of the
paunchy man. His entrance always heralded torture, and his enjoyment of his job was obvious from the constant smile he wore.

Only this time, the jailer looked fearful, his eyes wide, sweat pouring down his reddened cheeks.

“The keys!”

Burke blinked twice. Had a lad stepped from behind the jailer? He shook his head, too many curves in just the right places. It was a woman, a pint-sized one garbed in men’s clothing, and she handled the sword that was almost her size with confidence. She pushed the point right between the folds of his thick neck.

“I’ll not ask again,” she warned.

Burke smirked when, with an effortless flick of the blade, she nicked his skin and a rivulet of blood cascaded down his chest to pool on his grimy shirt. The man eagerly fumbled keys over to her.

“Tanin,” she said, tossing the ring to the tallest man.

The man reached out. The metal ring hooked on one of his long fingers, he then worked fast freeing everyone while two men trussed up the jailer like a fat pig for roasting.

“He’ll need help.” The woman nodded toward a man who was having trouble standing on his own. Then she searched the room with wide, stormy blue eyes. The color reminded Burke of a turbulent ocean just before a gale force hit. For a brief moment, he wondered if fiery red curls lay beneath her knit cap to match the squall surfacing in her eyes.

“I don’t see him,” she said, annoyed.

“This is where I was told he’d be.” Tanin walked over to her, and together they searched the darkened corners of the cell.

It was obvious they were looking for someone in particular and Burke had the feeling he knew whom. The guards had brought the young man in only last night, but they acted as if they had captured a rare prize. They had strutted and pranced around him while gleefully detailing what they intended to do to him. His response hadn’t been what they’d expected.

“They took a young man out of here a short time ago,” Burke said now.

The woman approached him with confidence and not an ounce of fear. It did not intimidate her a bit to have to tilt her head back to gaze up at him, his height close to six feet.

“Do you know where he was taken, and is he all right?”

“He’s a strong one for a skinny kid,” Burke said. “Though I think it was spitting in the jailer’s face that did him in.”

The woman grinned. “That’s Malcolm.”

“I’m not sure where he is, but after he was dragged out by several guards, I heard a door slam not far off and the clink of a key in a lock.”

“The cells at the end of the tunnel,” Tanin said and handed her the keys.

The woman eyed the prisoners ready to leave. “There’s no time to waste. Get them out of here.”

Burke was shocked that the tall man turned and did as he was told. How the hell could he leave the
small wisp of a woman on her own to free one of their comrades?

I’ll help you,” Burke offered.

“No. You’ll go with them.”

She gave him a shove that he didn’t appreciate, and it only served to make him stand his ground.

“You’ll need help,” he insisted.

“Not likely,” she said, sounding affronted. “It’s none of your concern. Now go.”

She dismissed him with the turn of her back and took off past the prisoners who were standing in a single file, eager to make their escape.

Tanin waved for him to take up the rear and he did, though reluctantly. He just couldn’t believe all five men would allow a single, pea-sized woman to go off on her own to rescue a man. Where was their common sense?

Burke reminded himself that Scotland was far different from America. Sure there were strong women in America, especially in the Dakota Territory, where he came from, but a man protected a woman. He was stronger and more capable, and it was a man’s duty to look after women. Hadn’t his father taught him that? And wasn’t his deceased father the reason he was here in this mess in the first place?

He shook his head as they quietly made their way down the passageway, a single torch guiding their way.

A clang of steel had them freezing in their tracks, and Tanin ordered everyone to hurry. Burke glanced back and spotted where the passageway veered off into a darkened tunnel.

He had only a moment to make his decision, but it was an easy one. There was no way he’d leave that woman on her own, whether she liked it or not.

Burke could barely make out where he was going. His broad shoulders bumped into the narrow tunnel walls now and again, and dust collected in his nostrils from the dry dirt his boots kicked up.

He wondered why he hadn’t collided with the woman yet. She hadn’t had that much of a head start on him. And with it being so dark, she couldn’t possibly have traveled that fast.

The whining screech of rusty hinges stopped him dead. A clang of chains, muffled voices, and then suddenly hasty footfalls approached from the opposite direction.

Burke readied himself, intending to take the person down and find out his identity later. He waited in the dark, listening, judging the distance, and when the time was right…

His arm shot out and the man crumpled to the ground, probably not knowing what had hit him.

In an instant, the woman was in his face, her blue eyes the color of a gale storm that would put fear in the staunchest of sailors.

“I gave you orders,” she snapped.

Burke was good at giving orders, not taking them, and certainly not from this wee wisp of a woman.

“I thought you might need my help—and I was right.” He leaned down, grabbed the dirk in the guard’s waistband, and held it in front of her face.

“You thought wrong. I would have handled him.”
She shoved him aside. “We need to get out of here now.”

The narrow passageway afforded little room, and in stepping over the unconscious man, she all but melded with Burke to brush past him. He felt her sleek frame coil, tense, and move off, all in a split second.

She once again issued orders.

“Malcolm, stay behind him. And you—” She jabbed at Burke’s chest. “Do as I say.”

Malcolm leaned into him. “Do what Storm says. Believe me, you don’t want her mad at you.”

Her name certainly fit her, but then he had weathered enough storms in his life. This little tempest wouldn’t intimidate him.

“Make another mistake, stranger, and you’re dead,” she warned as if making a casual remark. “Let’s go.”

Malcolm nudged him this time. “Storm takes getting used to.”

You could say that again, Burke thought. Sandwiched between the pair, he easily kept pace with them. He followed her sure-footed steps without complaint since he had no idea how to get out of there, and he didn’t intend to be left behind.

They came upon a dimly lit passageway and made their way to a flight of steps, then up a circular stone staircase and out into the dusky night.

Pungent pine and crisp autumn air greeted him, and with a deep breath, he drank greedily of freedom. He caught that breath when stung by the warning in Storm’s eyes for silence.

She signaled them to follow, reminding him once again to be silent before she crept cautiously against the stone wall of the prison.

Burke followed and as they came to the edge of the corner, he caught sight of the last of the prisoners disappearing into the woods a few feet away. Tanin gave a signal, then merged with the thick trees.

Storm stepped forward, just as a guard came into sight. While the young guard fumbled for his sword, Burke reacted instinctively, pouncing on him with a solid blow to his jaw that knocked him out cold. He turned to grab Storm’s arm and head for the cover of the trees but she sidestepped him.

“Get him out of here, Malcolm, before I run my blade through him,” Storm said, pointing her sword at Burke.

“Let’s go,” Malcolm said, grabbing his arm.

Burke yanked his arm free, and before he could say a word, he felt the point of a blade at his neck.

“I’ll not warn you again about following my orders. Go with Malcolm or feel my sword. The choice is yours.”

“You certainly don’t respond well to a helping hand.”

She pressed the sword to his neck, not enough to draw blood, but to warn that she meant business.

“Fine,” Burke said through gritted teeth.

She withdrew the blade, and Burke, swearing beneath his breath, followed Malcolm.

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