“Who goes there?” came an all-too- familiar voice from the door.
Lauren sighed and called out. “It is none of your concern, Tait.”
Evidently, he thought differently because seconds later he entered, a frown on his face as
his eyes swept around the lodge. “I heard a man in here.”
“It was just Einar,” she began, her words trailing off as she gestured towards him only to
find he’d vanished.
Tait’s brows slammed together. “Einar? I do not know that name.”
“He was just right here,” she murmured, glancing at the rear door. “He must have slipped
out the back.”
“Nobody has come or gone since your sisters left,” Tait said, troubled.
“I can assure you they did. A woman then a man. Einar.” She folded her hands in front of
her and focused on the bigger problem. “You had no right to barge in here. Please leave.”
“Actually I had every right.” He continued eying the place looking for Einar. “This is my
His lodge? How unfortunate. “My name is Lauren.”
Tait shrugged as an annoying grin tugged at his lips. Apparently, he was done searching
out another man. He gestured at the water. “You will bathe then join your sisters in the main
“That was the plan, yes,” she allowed.
“Then please,” he headed for the corner table, “do not let me disturb you.”
She frowned as he filled a mug with what appeared to be ale. “What are you doing?”
He gave the mug a pointed look. “Drinking.”
“Then please do so outside.”
“But this is my lodge.”
“Then I will need another lodge.”
“No.” Tait shook his head. “I can only be so far away from you and will sleep nowhere
Her eyes widened. “We are not sleeping in the same room.”
“We will if we have to.” He gestured at the tub again. “Right now you do not need to
worry about sleeping but bathing.”
Lauren inhaled deeply and remained calm. “As much as you would probably enjoy it, I
am not bathing with you here.”
“Well, I am not leaving because whether or not I saw anyone enter, I heard a man in here.
So I will not leave you alone.” He considered her before he murmured something and a tall
screen appeared in front of the tub. “There. Now I will not be tempted by you, woman.” He
removed his fur, plunked down and narrowed his eyes at her when she narrowed her eyes on
him. “Now I can focus my thoughts on Shannon.”
Lauren ignored her strong reaction to his words and smoothed her expression.
Regardless, there was no controlling the flare of defiance that screamed inside her. A defiance
that had her doing the last thing she intended. Something she found extremely appalling and
would never normally do. Something she would judge harshly if she saw another woman do it.
Especially one who was married.
She tested his resolve about Shannon as she held his eyes and took her time stripping
down before she sauntered around the screen and got into the tub.