A breeze caressed the leaves, ruffling the stolen tunic on Rhys’ raw back. The pain seared through him, setting Rhys’ nerves on edge. The wind carried the sound of rope stretching. The borrowed horse neighed, fidgeting under the saddle and shying away from the line of trees. Rhys held the reins firm but the horse nervously backed away. Searching for the culprit, Rhys froze.
Twirling at the end of a rope, swung four dead men. Rhys tucked a sleeping Isla Belle tighter against his chest and pushed the horse to a gallop. They rode for hours, long past sunset and on into the night. The image of the hung men followed him, pounding in his head in rhythm with the horse’s hooves. It’s why he drugged Milford’s small army instead of killing them despite the temptation. The temptation to kill was very real—even now. With his back ripped to shreds, he wondered if he’d made the correct choice. He shook the thought. He would not become like the captain or the king. This wasn’t the country he’d hope to return to. He’d spent his life fighting death, not inviting it.