Kiss A Highlander – Rebecca Preston

Edith Davis looked at her swollen eye in the bed and breakfast bathroom mirror. A shade of faint purple had already started to color her pale porcelain skin. It reminded her of one morning when she woke up with lavender eye shadow smeared around her eye after having a fun night out with her friend Michelle. That memory seemed so long ago, and now her life had taken a drastic and dark turn. “Hurry up in there!” a deep voice shouted through the door. The voice of the man she loved, who had turned into a monster overnight. “I need to put on my make-up,” she said as loud as she could, but was surprised at how weak her voice sounded. Edith cleared her throat and ran the water to splash the cold liquid on her eye to help it from swelling too much. “Some honeymoon,” she whispered. At just twenty years old, she’d thought she had really lucked out to meet such a charming and rich man like Gabriel Davis, twenty years her senior. His tall build, blonde hair, and winning grin had attracted her to him. Big blue eyes that held sweetness to them had lured her in body and soul. Edith turned off the water and dried her face and lightly padded around her eye. Zipping open her make up bag she pulled out the cosmetics that would help to conceal the fresh hell she found herself in. As she applied the make up in a strategic manner, she thought about how she could have been so naïve to miss all the red flags.

There had been a few during his whirlwind courtship of her, that she’d dismissed. Such as when she realized she was seeing her friends and family less and less since she met him only eight months before. She believed him when he said it was simply because he enjoyed spending time with her so much, that he wanted to always be with her, she thought this was sweet at the time. Now, she knew it was just his way of controlling her. “Are you ready yet? If you want to see that damn castle then we need to head out soon,” he said through the door. Edith sighed. The mark wasn’t going to get any better on her face. She yanked open the door and looked at her new husband, Mr. Gabriel Davis. He put his hands on his hips.

“Ready?” “Yes. I’m ready.” She moved past him to gather her jacket and purse. He grabbed his keys and coat. They walked out of the room into the hallway that was decorated with old Scottish adornments and tapestries. Edith rather enjoyed this sense of history, but Gabriel had called it a dump and misleading advertising because he was expecting a polished and modern bed and breakfast. “We’ll go to the castle and then stop for a late lunch on the way back, maybe at one of these Scottish Taverns. Would you like that?” He grinned at her. Edith was shocked. How could he flip-flop so easily? It was just the night before that he had let his true colors show, and now he was discussing lunch options.

“Yeah, that sounds good to me,” she said quietly. They were silent the whole way out of the bed and breakfast until they sat in their rented car. “Look, I’m sorry I hurt you. You just really pissed me off by kicking me. It was a reaction,” Gabriel said. “Me? You were flushing my birth control pills down the toilet and then wrestled me when I tried to get them from from,” she said looking at him with her bright blue eyes. “You kicked me in the balls,” he said. “Because you grabbed my arm and twisted it. I thought it was about to snap,” she said. “Then you back handed me.

” “Only after you kicked me. I just said it was a knee-jerk reaction.” “Whatever,” she said. At this point she knew he was trying to make himself the victim and talking circles around her until he persuaded her to apologize, but she was not having it. He started the ignition. “Well I hope you’re not going to be sour the rest of the honeymoon. I married a pleasant and quiet woman and that’s what I expect to get. It’s bad enough we didn’t have a proper wedding night,” he said driving out of the parking lot. “That’s because I was in so much pain after you hit me. Excuse me if I didn’t feel like having sex with you,” she said.

“Hey. Don’t get sass mouth with me, Edith,” he said in a dark stern voice. Edith tensed up. They were in a car and he couldn’t easily hit her again. She had to get away from this man, but how? They were in Skye, Scotland on their honeymoon and she was not familiar with anything. He had sufficiently isolated her. She was a kept woman, or as he put it, “My possession now that I’ve caught you.” It had all unfolded the night before when she was getting ready for her wedding night. Edith had put on the white silk nightgown he had bought her and was in the bathroom brushing her hair, excited and ready to finally have sex with the man she loved. It had been his idea to not have sex while dating.

He wanted her virginal on their wedding night, though she wasn’t a virgin. Gabriel had stated that to him, it was like she would be a virgin and he would claim her on the wedding night as his. At the time she’d thought it was a romantic statement and found his restraint to be a sign that he loved her and not just her body. Now, she understood it to be something far more sinister. As she readied for the wedding night, she took out her birth control pack, ready to pop one in her mouth when Gabriel suddenly yanked them from her hand. At first Edith thought he was being silly and playing around, but then he opened the toilet lid and started to pop them into it. “Gabriel! What are you doing? Those are my birth control pills!” she said stunned. “There’s no need for them. Now that you’re mine you’re going to give me a lass as soon as possible.” “What? Gabriel I’m twenty years old, there’s plenty of time to plan for a family, but we’ve only known each other eight months and just got married I think that…” “It doesn’t matter what you think,” he said.

“Give them to me,” Edith said grabbing them. Gabriel grabbed her arm and twisted it. Horror crossed Edith’s face as she looked into the ice blue eyes of her husband. They had changed. There was no warmth in them. He had a crazy and dark look. She panicked and kicked him in the crotch. He immediately back handed her, knocking her onto the floor. Edith burst into tears and an argument exploded between them. She now knew she had married a monster, a real Jekyll and Hyde.

The man she knew was all a mask to get her to marry him, and then control her. Now as she sat in the car, she tried to stay calm and figure out how to get out of it all. It seemed a hopeless case because he had isolated her from family and friends, and in all honesty, she was not a strong person. Edith considered herself a hopeless romantic with a delicate heart. This made men like Gabriel target her because of her gentleness, generosity, and vulnerability. Gabriel was the type of man that believed he could bully her into being ‘even more suitable.’ Edith rolled down the window, allowing the cool ocean air to wash over her face. She took a deep breath inhaling the salty sea breeze and closed her eyes. “There it is,” Gabriel said. Edith’s eyes fluttered open.

“That?” “Well that’s the bridge to the castle. It’s the only way on or off the castle island,” he said. “A service bridge only there during the day and at night it’s lifted to let ships pass. The original bridge collapsed a long time ago, like most of the castle.” Edith looked at the bridge they were approaching. It crossed a ravine of scraggly cliffs and ocean below it, wide enough to let ships pass. Her eyes then moved to the high cliffs, there was no way out. “According to the guide it’s just over this hill,” Gabriel said. Edith looked at him, still confused after he could be so casual after the way he treated her the night before. “Aren’t you excited, Edith?” he said looking at her.

She turned cold. Her survival instincts told her to play along, then she would have a better chance of escaping him. She smiled slightly, not too much. “I am. I love history.” “I know you do. That’s why I picked this spot. See how lucky you are to have a new husband that thinks of your needs. I could have picked a spot that I would enjoy, you know. I’d much rather prefer to be on an exotic island somewhere,” he said arrogantly.

Then his brow furrowed. “Though I would not want other men looking at you in a bikini so just as well.” Edith turned to the windshield just as they came over the hill. The site of the beautiful castle ruins took her breath away. For a mere moment she was able to think of nothing else but the beauty before her and not the perilous predicament she was in. “The vines and moss on the walls… so beautiful,” Edith said as she looked at the grey stones of the ruins. “I thought more of it would be standing. Those towers at least are only missing parts of the roof and look to be in good shape. But that side of the castle is missing an entire wall. I want to find secret nooks and crannies so I can conquer you there like an old ruling Laird,” he said.

Edith had a chill run up her spine. She did not want to have intercourse with this man, and something told her it would be a struggle to keep him from doing so. Just then, relief hit her. “Damnit. I thought we would have this place to ourselves,” Gabriel said. Just ahead, two vans parked in the parking lot. About ten tourists were milling about the grounds. Edith had never felt so relieved. “I’m excited to explore inside,” she said already gearing up to find some winding paths and hidden tunnels to escape Gabriel and then speak to one of the tourist about getting her out of there. She felt better now that she had a plan.

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