“It would seem all he did was bruise her face,” Graeme said in relief. He hoped with all his might that it was all. But what he feared the most was what the ordeal had done to her spirit.
“Tavis said you ran him through.”
Graeme nodded, not turning away from Eveline.
“Good,” Robina said fiercely.
Graeme leaned down and pressed his lips to Eveline’s cool forehead. “Come back to me,” he whispered. “I’m waiting, Eveline.”
She stirred beneath his touch and his pulse rocketed up until it was hammering at his temples. He drew away, framing her face in his hands, cupping her cheeks, filling her with as much of his warmth as he could. He wanted her to awaken knowing she was safe.
As her eyelids fluttered and opened, he leaned even closer so his face would be the first she saw. She blinked several times as if trying to rid herself of her confusion, and then her eyes flooded with crushing relief.
She smiled, a more beautiful sight than Graeme had ever seen in his life.
“I knew you’d come,” she whispered in a hoarse voice.
It was more than Graeme could withstand. Tears burned his eyelids and his nostrils flared with the effort he exerted not to completely lose his composure.
Ignoring Robina’s startled gasp over the fact Eveline had spoken, he focused solely on his beautiful wife and on reassuring her that she was safe and with those who loved her.
“Do not try to speak, my love,” he said tenderly. “Your throat must pain you. You sound like a croaking frog.”
Eveline grimaced and raised a hand to her throat. “I screamed, praying someone would hear. It was so dark.” She broke off, tears swimming in her eyes as she sucked in deep breaths through her nostrils. “I was so afraid. He intended to keep me there.”
Her voice completely trailed off even as her mouth still moved as she tried to speak. He put a finger to her lips, shushing her. Then he followed his finger with his own lips and kissed her, long and sweet, absorbing the sensation of being able to touch her and smell her and drink her in. To know that she was safe from harm. That she’d survived and he hadn’t lost her.
He leaned his forehead against hers, and then he simply gathered her in his arms and held her close, rocking back and forth as he ran his hands up and down her back.
After a moment she went completely still. She put her hands on his arms and pushed away so that she could see his face. Her gaze went beyond him and scanned the room, and he knew she’d just realized that she was in her parents’ home.
He glanced behind him, expecting to see Robina still standing there, but the chamber was empty. Robina had slipped away, giving the couple privacy after Eveline had awakened.
Eveline touched his cheek, her brow furrowed in confusion.
Graeme sighed. “Don’t speak. Just listen to me. Your father came to Montgomery Keep with the might of his entire army. Ian must have sent him a message that he received just after I sent my own summons. I know not what the message said—I’ve yet to question your father—but it must have made him fearful for you, because the first thing he demanded was to know your whereabouts.”
“Prior to your father’s arrival, Kierstan broke down and confessed that she conspired with Ian McHugh and that she led you around the side of the keep so that Ian could abduct you. He was aided by three of my men. Your father and his men rode with me and mine to the McHugh holding and I turned the keep upside down until I finally discovered you in a hidden room off the dungeon.
“After we took you out, I left you with your father long enough for me to kill Ian for his crime. I only wanted to return to our keep so that I could make sure that all was well with you, but your father asked that we come here since it was closer.”
He paused a moment and then gathered Eveline’s hands in his. “I told your father all. He knows that you allowed your clan to think you were affected by the accident and why. He was deeply distraught. I thought that if we visited here for a few days while you recovered, that it would give you time with your family to perhaps tell them all that you’ve wanted to tell them for so long.”