Once Upon a Dream
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by Celia Dunbar
Category: Romance/Historical Fiction
Description: Gena Campbell has dreams that accurately foretell the future. As a result, she is dubbed "Gena the Mad." Haunted in life, she accepts the fate she believes her dreams predict...death at the hands of a man with haunting eyes. Anthony MacKay thinks his life is complete ... until he meets Gena. Mock prisoner of her brother, a secret meeting and an innocent, yet compromising, situation finds Anthony betrothed to the beautiful lass with a soul as sad as time. As they travel to his Highland home, he learns about the troubled life Gena has led and is convinced she is not mad. Broken vows and dangerous devotion snare Anthony and Gena. In the end, Anthony finds he must fight the most important battle of his life to save the woman of his dreams.
eBook Publisher: Hard Shell Word Factory, 2000
eBookwise Release Date: August 2004
21 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [309 KB]
Reading time: 209-292 min.
"Once Upon a Dream is based on a great premise. The characters of Gena and Anthony are sympathetic, the story is well plotted and quite competently told, and it succeeded in holding my interest through to the end."--Scribes World Reviews
"ONCE UPON A DREAM isn't the kind of book you can read a chapter in and put down for later. No, this is one of those you'll just have to stay up late for and finish because you've got to know how everything is going to come out right. And it does to your relief. Enjoyed this book tremendously wish there were a hundred more just like it coming out. Thanks Celia for a great read! 5 Stars!"--Just Views
"Once Upon a Dream is built on fragile new love and the human fear of things they do not understand. As in all classic romances, the main characters complement each other well. The love scenes are heated, but comfortable for most readers as neither too mild nor too explicit, and the author orchestrates convincing sexual tension without losing the feel of the story. The plot moves quickly, swinging smoothly through the romance to a few sidelines and back again."--Romance Communications
BLOOD! The harsh sting burned Gena Campbell's nostrils. Horses shrieked. The metallic ring of claymores clashing against each other echoed through the darkness.
Men. Hundreds of men. She could not see them, nor the battle they fought, yet she felt their presence.
Escape! There must be a way to escape the melee and the darkness. The fabric of Gena's linen gown slid across her bare legs and sharp stones cut her feet. Her lungs ached. Did she run the wrong way? Mist rolled around her and the echo of fighting grew near.
Like a living appendage of the fog, a mighty horse reared before her. Its deadly hooves struck the air before lowering to the ground. Gena stumbled back. Her heart lodged in her ribs and the breath that escaped her lungs mingled with the fog. Slowly, she raised her head.
"Mother of God," she whispered.
A man sat astride the stallion. She tried to see him. Eyes the color of onyx that shimmered with a light all their own stared down at her. She knew this man, for she had seen him before.
Gena shivered. Those eyes, that sought her even in the dark of night, knew her soul. They searched for her heart and delved inside her mind.
The man nodded and Gena lifted her hand to him. He raised his sword. Blood glistened on the edge of the blade. She knew no fear. This man was her destiny.
A startled gasp escaped her lips. Gena sat up. Her heart beat like thunder in her breast. Tendrils of perspiration soaked hair clung to her cheeks. She looked around the room until she recognized her maid. Gena raised her knees, wrapped her arms around them, lowered her head and tried to calm herself.
"Nay, Mary" Gena whispered, her voice thick. "Tell me I did not dream again."
Silence stretched around her and Gena raised her head.
"He visited you this night?"
Tears stung Gena's eyes. She looked away from her maid's intense gaze. "Aye. 'Tis an omen. This man will come for me. When he does, 'tis death I will face."
The dream was the same as the two before. The man, the horse, the battle. She never saw his face, never saw the battle. Yet it was real. It would happen.
Gena tossed aside her covers and rose. Cold, uneven stones embraced her feet. She moved to the small hearth and shivered. The fire cast shadows over the walls and enhanced the chill that penetrated her heart. Death awaited her.
"'Tis thrice..." Mary said. She approached with a warm velvet robe and guided it over Gena's arms.
"Aye, thrice." Gena looked at the floor. "Papa will not be pleased."
"'Tis the gift of sight you have, milady." Mary pulled Gena's braid from beneath her robe. "Your father kens this."
A mirthless chuckle escaped Gena's lips. "Aye, 'tis a gift, but from whom?" She met Mary's gaze and continued. "I ken not if 'tis from God or--"
"Hush yourself, milady!" Mary scolded. " 'Tis a gift, you have. It allows you a glimpse into the future."
"Aye, but 'tis a glimpse I do not wish." She stared into the hearth. "This gift brings shame to my father's house. The villagers believe I am mad. They turn away from me and think I cannot hear their whispers. Alas, I hear them -- Gena the Mad." She turned and met the concerned look of her one true friend. "Mary, this dream will bring my death. I will welcome this man, when he appears, and will not look upon my fate as despair, but blissful freedom for my troubled mind. This man sees into my soul, and knows the unrest that plagues my heart. With the fall of his sword--"
"I will not listen to this, milady." Mary shook her head and stepped away. "'Tis good you are. I will fetch your father. He will place your fears and doubts to rest."
Gena said nothing as Mary fled the room. She rubbed her arms for warmth and moved to a small table nestled against the wall of her chamber. She struck a flint, lit a single candle, then seated herself in a rough chair. Her journal rested on the desk, untouched since the previous dream that had shaken her from sleep.
Carefully, she found the cloth that marked the page of her last entry. She opened the book and read the words she had written not more than a week past.
Again, the man appeared. The sight of him makes my heart pound in my breast and my hands tremble. With him, he brings death. But to whom? It is not clear, for I always awaken before he can speak. Gena looked up and sighed. She removed the lid from a well of ink, took up a sharpened quill, and began to write.
The thirteenth day of March in the year of our Lord 1490... The dream hath returned. 'Tis my death this man seeks. I feel the truth and know it now. When he appears, I will not resist. By yielding to him my life, I will bring peace to my father's house once more. Mary does not agree and has left to hie papa to my chamber. The words he speaks will be the same, yet sincerity will not touch his voice, nor will concern for my life touch his eyes. She paused and stared at the words before her. With a trembling hand she dipped the quill in the ink and added; The villagers call me mad. I now believe they are right.
Copyright © 2000 by Celia Dunbar