As the two fighting men were shoved out of the building by the burly innkeeper, James snatched her wrist and yanked it from his bag. She gave a slight cry and her eyes widened in alarm as he held her hand out in front of him, a coin clearly clasped between her fingers.
“I think that mayhap I cannot afford the cost of your herbs, lass. Here I did not realise they would cost me all of my coin.”
“P-pray,” she tugged away from him but James tightened his grip, “forgive me, sir. I had no intention of…”
“Nay! Nay…I am desperate. Pray, my lord, I shall cause no trouble again, I swear it. Just release me and I shall hand you back your coin.”
James plucked the coin from her fingers and slid it safely into his leather pouch. Her reaction appeared to be one of genuine fright, not something he expected from a seasoned thief. In his experience, they usually attempted to worm their way out of trouble using quick tongues and even quicker movements. The lass had a quick tongue to be sure, but it seemed she had lost the use of it.
“My lord, I beg of you…” She wriggled against his hold.
“Calm down, lass. I’ll not see you punished but I trust you will not thieve again.”
“I will not,” she promised breathlessly. “I am not a bad woman, pray believe that.”