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by Mary McCall
Category: Romance/Historical Fiction
Description: Can the Highlands survive a gifted soul with a tendency toward mischief? Leonce MacPherson became chieftain after an unknown Norman slaughtered his father and clansmen. For two years he's raided Northumbria seeking vengeance while a dream woman promises the return of his great sword, stolen in the massacre. After escaping an abusive father, Lady Hope Nevilles, unknowingly the Gifted MacKay of her generation, has lived with animals for friends in wild Northumbria. She longs to flee to her mother's native Highlands and find a place away from capture and torture. When her father steals Leonce's son, Hope takes that as a sign to journey to the Highlands. She returns the boy and the great sword to Leonce, who recognizes her as his dream siren. Can he trick her into marriage? She has vowed to kill herself rather than submit to any man. Can she learn to trust? Will her father's sin haunt her future? When she learns the truth of her ancestry and gifted spirit from a clan enemy, will Leonce accept the news, or will distrust and jealousy doom their fragile union? Excerpt: She tensed and locked her gaze on the powerfully corded muscles in the Highlander's neck. Curses and zounds! She didn't have the strength to win against such a brute on a good day. How could she possibly win while exhausted and fevered? She glowered and punched his shoulder. "You may have won because I'm so cursed tired, Lion, but when you take me, you bloody well better keep me off my back." God's bones, she must be delirious for she couldn't know what she was inviting. Her speech intrigued him. She spoke Gaelic with a few English expletives tossed in. He wondered where an English lass would have learned Gaelic. He slipped an arm beneath her bottom and supported her neck with his other hand. Her fevered brow pressed against his neck, and she went limp. He realized she had fainted. Excitement flowed through him. His dream siren had finally come to him, and he wasn't about to let her go.
eBook Publisher: Eternal Press/Damnation Books LLC/Eternal Press, 2010 2010-08-07
eBookwise Release Date: August 2010
29 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [474 KB]
Reading time: 299-419 min.
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Once upon a time, near the uppermost shores of Caledonia, there lived a fierce tribe of Celtic warriors led by the King of Fire, Ri Tuaithe Kai...
The young woman washed ashore at his feet and wouldn't rouse.
Ri Tuaithe Kai gazed northward as the bow of the approaching ship submerged beneath the torrential surf that crashed beyond the reef. Cries from passengers went unheeded by the gods and soon ceased as the raging sea dragged the poor souls into her unforgiving clutches.
What miracle of fate allowed this lass to escape a watery grave? Ri Tuaithe Kai pushed her onto her back and gasped. The serpentine medallion suspended from a thin leather cord around her neck marked her as a member of the house of Goraidh, the great Druid priest of the northern isle who claimed Ri Tuaithe Kai as an enemy.
The ways of the times and tribal loyalty dictated he should leave the lass to her fate. If he helped this young woman, and she died, Goraidh would surely unleash his powers on Ri Tuaithe Kai's tribe. Not a prospect the mighty King of Fire sought. Of course, if the lass lived, he would gain a strong ally.
There was no help for it. She would freeze to death if he left her behind. And damn if his one weakness wasn't a woman in need of protection. Ri Tuaithe Kai sighed, then hefted the young woman over his shoulder and carried her home.
"What have ye there?" his wife Siubhan asked, looking up from a cauldron suspended over a fire in the center of the longhouse. Her long brown hair was pulled back with a leather cord, while a sheen of perspiration filmed her brow, fatigue drawing her features. Heavy with child, she straightened and pressed a hand against the ache in the small of her back.
He lowered his burden onto a pallet near the wall and approached the fire to warm his hands. "A lass washed ashore after the sea claimed the ship that carried her. She is near dead. Do what you can for her."
Ri Tuaithe Kai's son Artair approached the drenched creature, her long hair matted in lines across a ghostly pale face. Her sweet lips were blue and taut from the freezing waters, not the rosy hue they should have been. Long blonde lashes screened dark circles beneath her eyes. The signs of illness could not hide the loveliness of her face.
Artair sighed. "She is beautiful."
Upon approaching the woman, Siubhan gasped and frowned at her husband. "Her talisman bears the sign of Goraidh. Do you think to bring his wrath on our people if she lives not?"
Ri Tuaithe Kai grunted. "Tend the lass, wife. The gods shall decide our fate."