Under the Highlander's Spell

Under the Highlander's Spell

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by Donna Fletcher
     
 

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A Thrilling Rescue. . .

Highland warrior Artair Sinclare would do anything to find his missing brother. But the only woman who can help him is about to be burned at the stake! Zia, a talented healer, has been branded a witch by vicious local villagers. Swooping in to save her at the very last moment, Artair swears to protect her . . . even if the only way to keep

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Overview

A Thrilling Rescue. . .

Highland warrior Artair Sinclare would do anything to find his missing brother. But the only woman who can help him is about to be burned at the stake! Zia, a talented healer, has been branded a witch by vicious local villagers. Swooping in to save her at the very last moment, Artair swears to protect her . . . even if the only way to keep her safe is to pretend to be her beloved husband.

A Tempting Alliance. . .

Marry this savage stranger? Never! Yet the beautiful and determined Zia soon realizes that she needs Artair's help to proceed with her life's work. She submits to their risky charade, growing closer to Artair all the while. Hunted by treacherous enemies, they escape to a wild, wooded place deep in the Scottish Highlands, where unexpected desires ignite . . . and Zia finds herself utterly, wholly under the Highlander's spell.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061375446
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
09/30/2008
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
934,659
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.20(d)

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Under the Highlander's Spell

Chapter One

"Burn, witch, burn!"

The crazed chant rang throughout the village while Zia watched two men continue to pile kindling around her feet. Struggling was senseless. The coarse rope scraped her bare arms and dug into her stomach.

She had done nothing to deserve such unfair judgment. She had simply responded to the village of Lorne's need for a healer. Instead of being grateful for her help, the villagers had begun to gossip about her extraordinary powers, especially after she brought a babe back from the brink of death. Wagging tongues immediately claimed her—a witch.

Zia had tried to reason with the people, but it seemed to make it worse. They did not understand her explanations of how specific mixtures of herbs and poultices could aid in helping the ill heal. They argued her concoctions were works of the devil, and her beauty was even called to task. Why else would every man in the village be unable to keep their eyes off her? And the mark of the devil was on her for sure in the unnatural color of her long, dark red hair sparked with fiery blond streaks.

She had realized that her only choice was to run and leave the ignorant to their fate. Unfortunately, she had reached that decision too late and several men had burst into the small cottage, the village had first so eagerly provided for her. Two men grabbed hold of her and while another man burned her few possessions and healing items in the hearth, the others shoved her face down on the worn wooden table and a woman took a knife to her hair, chopping it short.

She had then been dragged, by no means passively, andtied to a stake in the middle of the village for the jeering crowd to torment. And in mere moments the torch a stout man with a grim expression gripped tightly in his beefy hand, would set the pile of kindling aflame and the villagers would cheer as they watched her burn.

Her fate appeared sealed. She could think of nothing to save her. Words were useless; they would fall on deaf ears and frightened minds. The only thing left to her was prayer, but before she could recite the familiar and hopeful words, her grandmother's ageless face popped into her head.

Zia couldn't help but smile. She loved her grandmother dearly. It was she who had taught Zia all about healing. Her grandmother had even chosen her name. Zia meant staff of life and her grandmother claimed she had been born to preserve life. Zia had worked diligently at learning all about the healing arts and had been willing to travel to wherever her skills had been needed. She also learned that not all people thought highly of healers.

Zia understood the risks, especially being an exceptional healer, though she believed her skills natural. As her grandmother had predicted, she had been born to preserve life like so many in the long line of healers before her.

Unfortunately, her life would be a short one and she so wished for more time to help people and to gain more healing knowledge.

Zia.

She glanced around, certain she had heard a familiar voice call her name. She recognized no friendly face in the grumbling crowd.

He comes to save you. He is good for you.

Zia smiled hearing in her head her grandmother's voice. Her grandmother had always been there for her even when they weren't together. It was a strange connection they shared but one she never questioned or doubted. Her grandmother subscribed to the Old Ways, the old beliefs and she had passed them on to Zia, and she was grateful she had.

Zia searched anxiously past the jeering faces in the distance for her rescuer, but disappointingly saw no one. She would wait. Even as the man holding the torch walked toward her ready to light the kindling, she kept faith in her grandmother's words.

Suddenly, thunder erupted and she glanced overhead at the canopy of dark clouds that had moved in ever so swiftly, and her smile grew as fat raindrops assaulted her face.

Accusatory shouts sparked the air as many cried out that she commanded the weather to do her bidding.

Was there no end to their ignorance?

Just as she prepared to whisper a prayer of gratitude for her abrupt reprieve, she spied riders on the outskirts of the village.

Four men approached, the leader easily distinguishable. He sat his stallion tall and proud, a good-sized dog following at the horse's heels. A few in the crowd followed her stare and hurriedly alerted all to the arrival of strangers. A rash of mumbling gave way to hushed silence as the riders entered the village, and the crowd parted slowly, clearing a significant path for the imposing leader and his cohorts.

Apprehension crackled in the air along with the thunder as Zia met the leader's dark brown eyes and felt a jolt to her senses. Surely, the deep color was born from the depths of the earth where the soil was the most fertile, where roots dug deep to reach and from which all life sprung.

He broke the contact, glancing over the crowd, and announced in a clear, confident voice, "I am Artair Sinclare of Caithness, and I have come to speak with Zia the healer."

Gasps and murmuring circled the crowd before the village leader, Harold, stepped forward. "Zia the healer is a witch and has been sentenced to burn at the stake."

"Then I have come in due time. I will speak to her first," Artair commanded.

Zia wasn't surprised by his authoritative nature. One would have to be blind not to see that he was a great warrior. Not only did he sit astride his horse with pride, but he held himself in the same manner, his broad shoulders drawn back, his firm chest expanded, his long lean fingers heavy on the hilt of his sword.

Under the Highlander's Spell. Copyright © by Donna Fletcher. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Meet the Author

Part of the fun in writing, Donna Fletcher admits, is doing the research. But it is with her characters that she has the most fun. She loves giving life to fresh characters and feels their excitement as they face the pleasures and pitfalls of falling in love.

Donna's own adventures have taken her to England, Ireland, and Scotland. She has walked the fields where battles were fought centuries ago, toured haunted castles, stood where beheadings were commonplace, explored the mystic mounds of long ago, and collected a plethora of memories and research that will live long in her heart and mind. She also loves exploring and photographing old abandoned homes, and she often takes long walks in the woods with camera in hand. She feels her life is rich and full, having three terrific sons, two fantastic daughters-in-law, an endless supply of friends, a loving dog, and a crazy, black, one-eyed cat named Bear.

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Under the Highlander's Spell 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 64 reviews.
Crystal Crawford More than 1 year ago
I always enjoy her writing, and while this wasnt a bad story, this wasnt her best either. I felt that her characters were far too perfect with no real flaws, and there was no tention between the couple. I also feel that the ending was cop out,, her older work is much much better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love herstyle of writing!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An amazing book!!!! I have read this book and the books brothers several times and I still am captured by it.
LJW725 More than 1 year ago
A charmingly good read.
jjmachshev More than 1 year ago
Reviewed for queuemyreview.com; book release Oct08

I `discovered¿ Donna Fletcher several years ago and now count on her as an author whose historical novels will have strong characters, fiery passion, romance, mystery, and a wonderful ending; all wrapped up in gorgeous Highland plaid! ¿Under the Highlander¿s Spell¿ is her latest offering, and I think I fell a bit under the hero¿s spell myself.

Artair is on a mission to find his brother who vanished while fighting the barbarians. His latest information is about a female healer and when he finally tracks her down, he¿s almost too late. She¿s been beaten and bound to a stake¿about to be burned as a witch! Artair is thankful he could save her after she confirms that she did indeed use her healing skills on his brother. She even offers to lead he and his men to her village where she last saw his brother. Even though his brother has already left, Artair can¿t seem to get his mind off this beautiful healer, and when her skills again place her in danger, Artair vows to do whatever is necessary to keep her with him¿even marry her!

Zia is a passionate woman. She¿s passionate about life, love, and healing¿and not necessarily in that order. She¿s attracted to Artair, but she¿s vowed to marry only for love, not convenience or safety. She is all too willing to accompany Artair to his home in order to help his brother the laird¿s wife during her pregnancy. Their trip is interrupted by calls for her skills from a village all too close to the one that almost burned her as a witch so she agrees to a `pretend¿ marriage with Artair. It doesn¿t take long for Zia to realize that Artair is everything she could want in a husband¿but does he love her? And if so, will her ever admit it?

Zia and Artair were so perfect for each other! His logic grounded her impetuousness but didn¿t cage it. The slow unfolding of their growing closeness gave Fletcher time to showcase each characters strengths and weaknesses as well as allowing both of them to learn the same about each other! My only beef was with the `rabbit in the hat¿ toward the end of the book. An accusation of witchcraft was certainly a serious offense in those days and I would like to have seen a solution other than the one so conveniently offered¿but that¿s just me!

Donna Fletcher has once again carried me off to the highlands and provided me with a few hours of carefree smiles and happily-ever-afters. She¿s also assured herself of another sale since now I want to know what happened to the missing brother! The next story in the Sinclare brother¿s saga is ¿The Angel and the Highlander¿ which should hit the shelves in April 2009. Until then, feel free to pick up your own copy of ¿Under the Highlander¿s Spell¿, then you can wait for the next release right along with me!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Basically thought this was a decent read, good story and character creation. Dont mind sex scenes but felt they were too plentiful in this particular story...and didnt really add anything to story overall.
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I love Ms. Flecher work. This was a good novel but, i thought the female lead was too defiant. After page 100 and on i understood it was because of the premise of the novel. Good romance after that. This was not my favorite novel but for those who like fiesty female leads, they will love this book.
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