San Antonio Rose (Historical Romance)

that Ian was an honorable man who was willing to die for Tejas, just as her family had, just
as she would do if she had to.
    It wasn't a sound that alerted her, but more
the feeling of another presence in her tent with
her. She was gripped with fear and would have
cried out for Domingo if a hand hadn't
clamped over her mouth.
    "Do not cry out, Emerada."
    She recognized Ian's voice! What in God's
name was he doing in her tent?
    His tone was menacing. She'd never seen
him like this before. "If I remove my hand, you
will not make a sound, understand?"
    She nodded.
    Slowly he removed his hand, but he kept a
grip on her arm. "Get up and get dressed.
You're coming with me," he whispered against
her ear.
    "Are you crazed, Ian McCain? There are soldiers everywhere. You will never make it out of
camp."

    "You have two choices, Emerada. You can either come with me, or die here. It's your
choice."
    She drew back as if he'd struck her. "You
would do harm to me?"
    "I will if I have to." He knew deep in his heart
that he could never hurt her, but she needn't
know that. "Get dressed, now!"
    It was too dark to see him, but she knew he
meant what he said. She stumbled out of bed
and reached for her gown. "You will not get
away with this, Ian McCain."
    "If I don't, you will never live to tell."
    A sudden ache surrounded her heart. She
could not bear to think he would harm her.
"Why are you doing this? Do you not know that
it is you who will die?"
    "If you are referring to the watchdog in front
of your tent, he is snoring contentedly, and if
you are referring to Santa Anna, he has his
own diversion. Do you mind that he has taken
another woman to bed with him?"
    "If you leave now, I will not cry out. You can
still get away if you are careful. It must be almost daylight."
    "Hurry!" There was an urgency in his voice
as he produced a rope and grabbed her wrists,
wrapping it around them.
    "Why are you doing this?" she asked as he
pulled her forward to tie the rope.
    Suddenly there was the sound of movement
just outside the tent.

    "Shh," he warned.
    Torchlight reflected on the tent, and before
Ian could react, the tent flap was drawn aside
and three armed guards rushed inside.
Domingo was right behind them. He looked
from Emerada and back to Ian with a puzzled
expression.
    Santa Anna himself came in, fastening his
shirt, and glared at Emerada. "What is this?"
he demanded, his face red with fury.
    One of the guards was holding his rifle on
Ian. "I told you I saw someone sneak under the
back of her tent, Excellency."
    "Emerada," Santa Anna asked, his tone of
voice revealing his suspicion, "who is this man,
and what is he doing in your tent in the middle
of the night?"
    Emerada saw the jealousy reflected in Santa
Anna's dark eyes. To give her time to gather her
thoughts, she held up her hands to show she
was tied. She had to think of something
quickly or Ian would die! "This man sneaked
into my tent, demanding that I go with him. He
was prepared to take me away by force."
    Santa Anna saw the uniform and moved to
Ian, his face red with rage. "How dare you, one
of my own soldiers, commit such an outrage? I
demand an answer before you die, and you will
die, make no mistake about that. But, should
you tell me the truth, you will die quickly, instead of slowly and painfully."
    Ian appeared to be unaffected by Santa Anna's threats. He turned a cold gaze on
Emerada. The giant man had cut the ropes on
her wrists and had covered her with a long
shawl.

    One of the soldiers smashed the butt of his
rifle on the back of Ian's head, and he fell to his
knees. "Answer the general's question," the soldier demanded, raising his rifle again.
    Ian slowly regained his feet and stared defiantly at Santa Anna, but said nothing.
    Santa Anna inspected his prisoner closely,
and he suddenly smiled. "You wear the uniform of one of my men, but you are an American. What do you want with this woman?"
    Still, Ian said

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