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by Celia Dunbar
Category: Romance/Historical Fiction
Description: Luke MacRae has every reason to hate Lindsay and the dreaded English of Longshanks army. Haunted by the grueling death of his twin brother, Luke seeks revenge against those responsible. He gains the opportunity when a group of Lindsays are spotted near his keep. Among the captives is a haunting woman named Skye. Bearing the scar of an English blade across her face, Skye has her own reasons to detest the Lindsays. Widowed and barren, she was returning to her home when her group encountered Luke. She is held prisoner and when the ransom Luke demands is denied, Luke sentences her to servitude in his keep. Drawn together by circumstances and fate, Luke and Skye fight the passion and longing that their fiery encounters rile. Once they surrender to each other, completely, they face the demons that haunt them both and summon the courage and determination to conquer them.
eBook Publisher: Hard Shell Word Factory, 1999 Hard Shell
eBookwise Release Date: June 2003
30 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [326 KB]
Reading time: 224-314 min.
"The author's research and attention to detail is apparent as she weaves a tail of clan pride and honor; of pain and healing, and a love to set any romantic's heart to flutter. The reader is drawn into the story by characters that are believable and endearing. I would highly recommend Highlander to anyone who enjoys history and, the artfully told, unfolding of a great love story."--Mary Adair, Sharpwriter.com
"Heartwarming and entertaining! A true joy to read! It was wonderful to see the relationship grow between Luke and Skye and the rape and its aftermath were handled beautifully in helping the reader understand Skye's character. A book I'd recommend to my friends and I believe I will. I look forward to reading more from this author. 4 Stars!"--Scribes World Reviews
"Highlander by Celia Dunbar is a fabulously written historical romance. Hate and a taste for vengeance, consume Luke's soul until the day he captures his enemies widow, Skye of Macleod. Overwhelming circumstances throw Luke and Skye together and cause Luke to see her in new light. Will Luke let go of his desire to see his sworn enemy slain, in order to claim Syke as his heart's desire? Watch as Luke and Skye both fight the irrepressible craving two hearts long to fulfill."--Kim Gaona, Kim's Reviews
"Throughout Highlander the writing is fluid, the storyline believable and the characters strong. Celia Dunbar is a poet with words, ingeniously showing everything ... an immensely satisfying, a well-written tribute to the historical romance genre."--Inscriptions Magazine
The cliffs near Dunbar, 1295
The decree called for death. One brother would perish while the other found freedom.
Luke MacRae grimaced and peered through the wooden stakes that made up his prison. Beyond the sharpened spikes, and the sour stench of human waste, the vivid colors of Hay and Lindsay tartans blended in sick victory among the crests of the English.
Damn the Lowlanders.
Luke watched the men mill about as if naught but good thrived in this area.
The bastards belonged in England.
A cough as ragged as the cliffs they inhabited filled the air. Luke turned. Two dozen Highlanders from various clans occupied a pen that would be hard pressed to house four cows in comfort. Bloodied and injured, some would be lucky to make it till dawn. The stench of impending death clung to the air.
His gaze sought only one -- his twin brother Matthew. Propped against the makeshift walls, his brother spat blood upon the earth.
During the battle that enabled their capture, Matthew had suffered a belly wound from an English blade. Longshanks desire to bend Scotland to his will was draining the lifeblood out of the land.
The battle. Luke scowled. The Highlanders had been betrayed by nobles who preferred to bend a knee to Longshanks than to fight for the freedom of their people.
Luke knelt at his brother's side and stared at a face identical to his own. Raven hair matted with blood, sweat and tears clung to his scalp and neck. Thick brows arched over eyes now closed in painful reprieve.
"Brother," Luke whispered. He lifted his hand and touched Matthew's brow. Heat seared his skin. If a healer was not found, his brother would be dead in a matter of hours.
Matthew's eyes opened. In the dark depths Luke clearly saw the pain his brother endured. Anguish wrenched Luke's gut.
"Luke, the decree..."
Anger mingled with pain rose in Luke's chest. It laced its way up his throat and threatened to rob him of his breath.
Only Longshanks could devise a plan that would rip out the hearts of every family in the Highlands.
"Nay, brother, speak not of this. 'Tis as one we have lived. Tis as one we will die."
Matthew closed his eyes and shook his head. "Nay, you must survive. 'Tis with you hope -- "
A fresh round of coughing silenced Matthew. Luke held his brother. Blood seeped through Matthew's fingers, pressed against his ribs, and mingled with the crimson that stained his tartan.
The coughing subsided and Matthew rested his head against the walls of the crude prison. His breath rattled in his lungs and fever dampened his flesh with sweat.
"I fear I am dying, brother. The bastards beyond these walls will not be humane enough to fetch a healer." He closed his eyes and drew a ragged breath.
Luke used the edge of his plaid to wipe his brother's brow. "We shall both survive. I will listen to no more talk of death."
Deep down, Luke knew the truth. It twisted in his gut and hardened his heart. One day he would seek his revenge on Longshanks and the Lowlanders.
The crude door to the prison rattled. Luke glanced toward the barrier. His blood chilled in his veins and hatred filled his soul.
An English knight opened the cage and peered inside. "Outside with the lot of you."
If only he had his sword, Luke would strike them all down.
Matthew's ragged breath drew his gaze. "Help me rise."
"Move your arses or we will enter and drag you out."
Hate coiled through Luke's heart. He wrapped his brother's arm around his neck and helped him rise. Together, they staggered toward the opening. Men filed out before them.
The English and the Lowlanders made a human aisle from the makeshift prison to the cliffs. Luke paused and stared at the turbulent sea beyond. Waves crashed against rocks he could not see, yet knew they were there.
An English knight shoved his shoulder. The brothers stumbled and Matthew fell to his knees, dragging Luke with him.
"On your feet! Cowardice will not halt the decree."
Anger tightened Luke's muscles. He would kill the bastard yet.
"Luke, nay, let them think what they wish." Pain distorted Matthew's face as he struggled to his feet. "We know the truth."
Again, the brothers began their progression toward the sea. The Highlanders were made to form a line that overlooked the cliffs. The harsh cold wind buffeted their flesh. Luke had a difficult time standing and supporting his brother's weight.
Copyright © 1999 by Celia Dunbar