Too Scot to Hold (The Hots for Scots #8) - Caroline Lee

Prologue

“Careful, lassie! Ye’re going to pull out even more hair!”

Davina MacKinnon stifled her sigh at her grandfather’s remonstrations and forced a smile. “Aye, Grandda, but I have to pull to make sure the wool is fully secure.”

“If ye cannae manage to—”

Mayhap she’d tugged a little too hard, but he finished his sentence with a yelp, and she pressed her lips together to stop a smirk.

“Vina!”

“I’m sorry, Grandda, but I cannae get a good grip with yer jaw flapping around. Could ye maybe manage to hold it still for a bit?”

And quit telling me how to do my job.

Grandda grumbled a bit, but for the most part, he kept his mouth shut. And Davina did try to be gentler when it came to carefully plaiting the sheep’s wool into the old man’s beard and hair in order to make his braids look as full as they once were. But his knuckles were white where he gripped the arms of his chair by the time she was done with the last plait on his chin.

“There,” she murmured, cocking her head to one side and studying the braids. “They look quite natural if I do say so myself.”

“Can I speak now?” the old man muttered.

Chuckling, Davina patted his forearm. “Aye and thank ye for the effort I ken it took ye to remain still.”

“Well, I was going to compliment ye and tell ye ‘tis a fine job ye do, even better than yer sister, but now…? I dinnae think I will.”

Smiling, she dropped a kiss to his pate and took up position behind her grandfather. “If ye had complimented me, I would’ve thanked ye verra much and reminded ye that, between me and Katlyn, I’m the one who always cared more for fashion and hairstyles, and ye should’ve come to me in the first place.”

Grandda folded his arms across his chest and slumped in his chair. “She was the auldest.”

“And she had plenty else to do than look after an auld man’s vanity,” Davina chided, as she poked him gently in the shoulder. “Whereas I had naught to do but sit around and be beautiful.”

Twisting, he caught her hand in his. “And ye succeeded magnificently at it, Vina. Yer mother would be proud.”

Proud of what? Of being beautiful?

But she kept her mouth closed and offered her grandfather a tight smile, before slipping her hand from his and reaching for the bundle of wool she was going to use on the braids on his head.

She worked in silence for a while, and soon Grandda’s attention drifted to the hearth where the fire was blazing, despite the warmth of the spring air. Since the fever, which had gripped him last spring, he was susceptible to illness and thus kept their small keep as warm as possible. Luckily, he’d made it through the winter with naught more than a few sniffles, which had plagued them all, and now was as healthy as Davina could recall.

Which was good because the coming spring meant the coming of other things: babies!

Or rather, one baby in particular, Katlyn’s baby. Davina’s niece or nephew would determine the fate of, not one, but two different clans, and Vina was desperate to know the outcome. But more than that, she wanted to see her dear sister again.

Finally, she could take the silence no more. “Grandda, have ye given more thought to when we’ll leave for Oliphant Castle?”

“If we’ll leave, do ye no’ mean?”

She meant naught of the sort, so instead, she said merely, “Kat’s time draws near. The last letter I had from her said that none of her sisters-in-law have begun to birth their bairns, and she’s nae more than two months from her own confinement. Ye ken how much I want to be with her when her time draws near.”

Only for Katlyn. No other reason.

Sometimes she even believed herself.

In the months since her older sister had left, she’d gotten good at plaiting the sheep’s wool into Grandda’s hair, so that his own braids looked fuller and longer, as a younger man’s might. It was foolish vanity, but the MacKinnons didn’t begrudge their laird this last conceit. Davina’s hands could now do the task without any input from her brain, but she still found herself staring down at the top of his head and holding her breath, willing him to answer the way she wanted. The way she so desperately hoped he would.

Finally, he grumbled, “Ye ken why I dinnae want ye there, lassie.”

She wasn’t going to respond to that, but quickly jumped

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