Love's Misadventure (The Mason Siblings Series Book 1)

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Book: Love's Misadventure (The Mason Siblings Series Book 1) by Cheri Champagne Read Free Book Online
Authors: Cheri Champagne
Anna’s gaze as they lay horizontally. She returned his stare with wide, crystal-blue eyes.
    “Are you well?” He ran a hand down her sweetly curved cheek and delicately angled jaw.
    “Yes, I believe so,” she murmured. “I will certainly have some bruises and perhaps a scrape or two, but I am relatively unscathed. How are you?”
    Lane shifted and flexed his muscles. “I am experiencing some pain, but I do not believe I have any broken bones.”
    He turned his gaze to their surroundings to assess the damage. Billy sat wailing miserably over the broken arm he cradled in his hand, but the other two, while abraded and bruised, appeared to be fine. Just their damned luck.
    “Dammit, Billy, shut yer trap!” Toby barked. “Wha’ the bloody ’ell ’appened? ”
    “We’ve had an accident,” Anna said softly.
    Toby’s lip curled back in a snarl.
    Lane unlatched the door above them and swung it flat against the side of the hack—which currently served as its roof—with a loud thud . “Ladies first.” He grabbed Anna’s waist and lifted her through the doorway, ignoring the sharp pain in his shoulders and back.
    He moved to lift himself from the hack, but Frenchie pushed him aside, glaring darkly at Lane. “You are not going to escape zat easily,” he uttered in a French accent, then pulled himself out.
    Blazes. Lane exited next, followed by Toby, who helped Billy climb out.
    Clouds hung low in the sky, blocking the sun and threatening rain. They had rolled into a ravine next to a field of tall grass and a small copse of nearby trees. He wondered how far they could run without being caught.
    Lane steadfastly ignored the trickle of sweat running down his spine and sidled closer to Anna. Perhaps this was the moment?
    He scanned the area; the horses were nowhere nearby. Oh hell. There went the chance to ride away from these villains.
    There was a shout in the shrubbery, before the red haired man struggled to his feet.
    “We need to reach an inn and have a doctor summoned.” Anna wiped absently at her hands.
    Abruptly concerned, Lane placed a hand on her arm. “What has happened?”
    Her look was full of meaning. “I am fine, Lane, but Billy obviously requires tending from a doctor, while you, Toby, and Frenchie will likely wish to be examined, as well.” Her eyes widened before she winked. “Additionally, I presume we are unable to walk to our destination; therefore, another hack must be procured.”
    “No,” Frenchie said in a fine, French accent.
    “Surely you do not mean to—”
    “ No !” Frenchie cut his hand through the air. “We will not stop for doctors. We will reach ze next inn and find anozer carriage and will continue.” He started walking back the way they had come, but Anna reached a hand out to stop him.
    “You cannot simply expect your men to—”
    “Zat is exactly what I expect. We must reach our destination tonight,” he spat.
    “At the very least, allow me to fashion a sling with some—”
    Frenchie spun, his arm raised.
    Lane acted on instinct and stepped between Anna and Frenchie, blocking the slap with his arm. “True men do not hit ladies,” he growled.
    “True women know zeir place.” Frenchie’s voice veritably dripped with distain. “Step aside so I may teach zis lady a lesson she obviously needs.”
    “I am afraid I cannot do that.”
    Without warning, Frenchie’s fist connected with Lane’s jaw.
    Anna gasped. “No! Lane!”
    He motioned her back with a wave of his hand. “Leave this to me, Annabel.” Recovering from the blow, Lane faced Frenchie squarely. “I will never stand aside and watch a man— any man, let alone loathsome degenerates like you—abuse a woman. If you wish to hit anyone, it will have to be me.”
     
    * * *
     
    Anna watched in horror as Lane and Frenchie faced off. She wanted to thank Lane for defending her, but she wished there had been a way for him to do it without the threat of danger to his person.
    Toby and Billy cheered their

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