Darkest Highlander (Dark Sword Series #6)by Donna Grant, Antony Ferguson (Narrated by)
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For years, Broc has watched over her, protected her-and hidden his love for her. But when his beautiful Sonya finds herself in a hopeless situation, the Highlander flies to her side to save her. Unfortunately, before the Druidess can thank him, Broc is captured by his enemy and destined for eternal pain.Sonya vows to help her noble warrior, though he is imprisoned in a mountain of pure evil-bound in chains of the darkest magic. With Sonya's own magic fading, she must summon the greatest power of all to save the man she loves. But even if these two hearts are united, will they be strong enough to defeat the heart of darkness? Or will their undying love doom them for all eternity?
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By Donna Grant
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2012 Donna Grant
All rights reserved.
It was the growl, the low, menacing rumble that implied doom for her.
Sonya sucked in a ragged breath and lifted her head from the damp ground of the forest floor. Her spirit was broken, her body fading rapidly.
She raged with fever, a fever she couldn't heal. Just as she couldn't heal the cut that sliced open her palm. At one time, the barest of thoughts would have propelled her magic to take care of such injuries.
But that magic had failed her.
Nay, you failed.
Sonya squeezed her eyes closed to shut out the loud and persistent voice in her head. She was nothing without her magic. How could she help the others at MacLeod Castle? How could she look each of them in the eye day after day, knowing her magic was gone?
Vanished. Disappeared. Lost.
Everything she was, everything she had been, was no longer there. Her life had been defined as a Druid. Without magic she could no longer call herself a Druid.
And that tormented her far worse than her sliced palm.
Another growl, this one closer, more looming. She tried to gain her feet, but she was weak from lack of food.
Sonya had been dodging the wolf for days. Or was it weeks? She had lost track of time after her flight from MacLeod Castle. She no longer knew where she was, and even if she wanted to return to the castle, she couldn't get there.
If you want to live, get up. Run!
Sonya wasn't ready to die. She didn't give up easily.
Liar. You never try for the things you want. Like Broc.
A tear slipped down Sonya's cheek at the thought of Broc. Each time she closed her eyes, she could see the Warrior kneeling in the midst of the bloody battle at the castle, holding Anice in his arms as he bellowed for Sonya to heal her sister.
A sister who had known him. Broc, the one man Sonya had wanted for herself. The one thing she hadn't had the courage to make her feelings known about.
Sonya shoved aside thoughts of Broc as she grabbed hold of the nearest tree with her good hand and pulled herself to her feet. She leaned against the trunk and glanced around the forest for the wolf.
Nowhere did she see the creature, but she knew he was near. The black beast was large and ravenous. It would take just one bite from its huge teeth to end her life.
Sonya cradled her wounded hand against her chest and wondered how much longer she could evade the wolf. It was a cunning animal.
The trees swayed above Sonya, reminding her of the magic that used to allow her to commune with them. How she missed their knowledge, their words. Their magic. Being among the trees had always soothed her, but no longer. Not since her own magic had abandoned her.
Sonya knew she had to move if she wanted a chance at survival. Remaining meant certain death. After a deep breath, she stepped away from the tree and turned, only to freeze in place as the wolf stood in front of her.
It growled again, lifting its lips to show large fangs that dripped with saliva. The animal crouched with its ears back against its head, its muscles tensed, ready to spring at her.
Time slowed to a standstill. With her heart pounding slow and hard, Sonya knew she had only once chance to get away. She lifted her skirts and ran to her left.
Her feet slipped on the dried leaves and pine nettles coating the forest floor, but she kept moving. Behind her, she could hear the wolf as it crashed through the trees, chasing her.
And rapidly gaining ground.
With hair tangling about her sweat-soaked face, Sonya glanced back and saw the wolf almost upon her. A scream lodged in her throat, but before the sound could be released, the ground fell from beneath her.
Suddenly the earth rose up to meet her face. Sonya grunted as her head slammed into the ground and she began to roll. She tried without success to grab hold of anything that would slow her descent. The sky fused with the ground to become a whirl of colors that spun around her as she continued her brutal tumble.
When she finally came to a grinding halt, it was with her body wrapped around the trunk of a young elm. The breath left her lungs in a whoosh, her body wracked with blinding pain. She tried to stay calm and suck in air, but the more she tried to breathe, the more her body refused to obey such a simple request.
When breath finally filled her lungs, Sonya drew it in deep and winced at the agony that exploded through her. She opened her eyes, but her world had yet to stop spinning.
And then she heard the familiar growl. Much closer than ever before.
* * *
Broc clenched his hands, urgency and fear filling his stomach as he flew across the sky in his search for Sonya. Not even concern about discovery by mortals could keep him to the thick rain clouds above him.
He knew in his gut Sonya was in trouble. Her leaving the castle was so unlike anything she would do, but then again, he had yelled at her, blamed her for Anice's death.
Broc regretted his words more than Sonya could possibly know. He'd been angry at himself — was still outraged — for failing to keep Anice safe, as he had promised the girls when he found them as babies.
It proved to him yet again that anyone who got close to him died. His grandmother had called it a curse. And it had followed him into his immortality.
For a while he had thought the curse was gone, but then Anice died. But he wouldn't allow anything to happen to Sonya. Even if it took him leaving her life forever, he'd do it just to keep her safe. And alive.
He flew faster, his wings beating loudly in his ears. As a Warrior, a Highlander with a primeval god bound inside him, he had special abilities. Each god had a power, and his was the capability to find anyone, anywhere.
It was just one of the reasons he had gone in search of Sonya. Even if his god hadn't given him the power to find her, he'd still have looked for her. Because he had been connected to her since the moment he lifted her in his arms so many years ago.
Broc was close to her. He could feel it.
A smile pulled at his lips, but it died almost immediately as lightning lit the sky and it began to rain.
"Shite," he murmured and tucked his wings to fly above the canopy of trees.
Broc's claws scraped the leaves atop an ancient oak as the rain dripped down his face and into his eyes. He adjusted the satchel strap that lay on his back between his wings and over one shoulder.
The strap chafed against his wings, but inside he carried food, coin, and clothing for both him and Sonya. The pain was a minor inconvenience as long as he found her.
Inside Broc, Poraxus, the god of manipulation, roared with anticipation. It was a signal they were very close to Sonya. Every time Broc hunted someone, he could feel them when he neared. Their heartbeat, the flow of blood in their veins. Their life essence.
It was no different now. Except this was Sonya. He had saved her as an infant, watched over her as she grew. He would not fail her now.
Broc clutched his chest as he felt fear spike through Sonya. The closer he came to his target, the more he felt it. If the terror now coursing through him was any indication, he was too late.
Just thinking she might be in danger sent rage flowing through his veins. His god roared again — this time for blood. And vengeance.
Broc reined in his god. Sonya might need him, and he couldn't allow himself to reach the edge and his god to gain any control. The more he fought against Poraxus, the more his god struggled to take over.
It was because his god knew how much Sonya meant to him. Even if Broc refused to admit it to himself.
Broc peered through the dense canopy of trees to try to see her, but it was near impossible, even with his superior sight. Broc then maneuvered between two trees. He hated flying in forests. He wasn't able to spread his wings as he needed to in order to fly or glide.
So he rode the air currents with his wings stretched as far as he could get them. Several times the wings scraped against a tree and its branches, tearing the leathery wings. Thanks to his immortality, he began to heal almost immediately.
And then he saw her.
Not even the rain could hamper his enhanced vision. Broc tucked his wings and dove for Sonya, who lay unmoving on the ground, curled around a tree.
Dread spurred Broc to her side. He knew she wasn't dead. He could still feel Sonya's heartbeat, though now that he had found her, it was fading from his senses.
His gaze scanned the area for whatever caused her fear and spotted the lone wolf approaching. Broc spread his wings and landed on his feet between Sonya and the wolf.
The wolf snarled, its anger palpable. Broc peeled back his lips to show his own set of fangs and growled. He didn't want to kill the wolf, but he would if it continued to threaten Sonya.
After several tense moments, the wolf sensed it was beaten and reluctantly backed away. Broc stayed where he was, listening long after the wolf was out of sight to make sure the creature didn't circle around to attack again.
Once Broc was certain the wolf had departed, he turned to Sonya. He was so unprepared for what he saw that, for a moment, he couldn't move. For one heartbeat, then two, he could only stare at the woman who was the one thing he wanted above all else.
Sonya's vibrant red hair, which was always secured in a single thick plait, was now wild and free in a tangle of curls about her. Her dark green gown was coated in dirt and drenched from the rain. One sleeve was torn at the shoulder, and she had another tear at her hem.
But what made Broc's stomach plummet to his feet was the wound he saw on her palm. She had wrapped a portion of her chemise around it, but the thin material had already fallen away, leaving the ragged injury exposed.
Broc fell to his knees beside her. He was afraid to touch her, but he needed to feel her at the same time. He spread a wing to shield her from the rain and leaned close. Only then did he realize she was unconscious.
Careful that his claws didn't cut her delicate skin, he gently caressed a finger from her temple down her cheek to her jaw. He longed to have her open her eyes so he could look into their amber depths.
Her skin was smooth and luminous. She had a high forehead where finely arched eyebrows, the same vivid red as her hair, curved above her eyes. Her nose was aristocratic and her chin stubborn. Her lips, however, were those of a siren — wide and full.
And tempting as sin.
Tenderly, Broc lifted her hand in his to inspect the wound. The cut went from her index finger across her palm to end at her wrist. The slice was deep, and the skin around the wound was blackening.
The dark yellow pus that oozed from the gash propelled Broc. He gathered Sonya in his arms and spread his wings, ready to jump into the air and fly to MacLeod Castle.
It was the lightning bolts that forked across the sky in a vivid and dramatic display of power that halted him. If he flew, there was a chance he could be hit by the lightning. Though it would pain him, he would survive.
Sonya wouldn't be so lucky.
He couldn't put her in that kind of danger. Reluctantly, Broc set her down long enough to remove the satchel and search through it for a cloak.
Once he found one and had secured it around Sonya, Broc tamped down his god. He watched the indigo skin of his Warrior form, along with his claws, fade from sight. Nothing showed of his wings or his fangs. When he wasn't in his Warrior form, no one could tell him apart from a mortal man.
It was a small blessing having an ancient god inside him. And it had all begun with the invasion of Rome on Britain's shores. The Celts had battled the Romans for years before going to the Druids for help.
The mies, Druids with pure magic, could offer only guidance. However, the droughs, Druids with their black magic, had an answer — call up primeval gods from Hell to inhabit the strongest warriors.
And it worked. The men became Warriors and soon drove Rome from Britain. Yet, their need for blood and death didn't end, and soon they were killing any who crossed their paths.
It took both the mies and the droughs combining their magic to end the Warriors. No matter how hard they tried, they couldn't make the gods return to Hell. Instead, they bound them inside the men.
But the gods took their revenge by passing through the bloodline to the next strongest warrior of that family. They were unable to get free until a drough, Deirdre, found an ancient scroll that told her how to unbind the gods.
Ever since, Deirdre had been relentless in finding the gods and unbinding them. Broc was one of several at MacLeod Castle intent on putting an end to Deirdre for good.
Broc jerked on a tunic before he slung the strap of the satchel over his head. Once more he took Sonya into his arms and stood. There was a village several leagues away. There he could get Sonya out of the weather and tend to her hand.
Then he would beg her forgiveness for driving her away and hopefully convince her to return to MacLeod Castle. Everyone needed her there. No one more so than him.
He cradled her gently, but securely, against his chest, shielding her face from as much of the rain as he could. He rested his chin on her forehead and felt her skin blazing with fever.
Broc looked down into her oval face, a face that had haunted his dreams and every waking moment of his life since she had come into womanhood and he had been tempted beyond his control.
"Live, Sonya. I refuse to let you die."
Why hadn't she healed herself, as he knew she could? She was a Druid with powerful healing magic. The Druids at MacLeod Castle had put an incredible amount of strain on Sonya for her healing, but as a mie nothing should have restricted that magic.
Even Quinn MacLeod, another Warrior, once had need of Sonya's healing because of Deirdre's magic.
Broc growled just thinking about his enemy. All droughs gave their blood and their lives to Satan in exchange for black magic, but Deirdre had gone beyond that. She worked in league with the Devil. Deirdre had lived nearly a thousand years, and during that time she had destroyed many lives.
Broc cursed Deirdre with every step he took, but he cursed himself even more. From the day he had delivered Sonya and Anice to the Druids, he had sworn to protect them.
He had failed Anice, and if he didn't get Sonya to cover quickly, he would fail her as well.
The thunder had become almost a constant boom, it sounded so close together. The storm was right over them, as was evident by the lightning striking closer and the wind howling around them.
One lightning bolt landed on a tree just in front of them and caused the pine to burst into flames and split in half. Broc turned away before being crushed as part of the tree fell and landed in front of him.
He lifted his face to the sky and roared his anger. His rage fed his god, and it was all Broc could do to keep him tamped down. It had taken too many of his two hundred and seventy-five years learning to restrain Poraxus for Broc to lose control now.
But when it came to Sonya, his emotions always ran high.
Broc had to get out of the storm. He took a deep breath and leapt the burning tree. He held Sonya tight and ran, using the incredible speed his god gave him.
He didn't slow until he spotted the village.CHAPTER 2
Broc strode to the inn and shouldered open the door. The force of the wind caused it to bang against the wall and had every head turning his way.
The few patrons scattered about the dining room watched him with mild curiosity, but the short, plump woman behind the counter let out a squeak before she ran to the door and closed it.
"A wicked storm we're havin'," she said, eyeing him.
"I need a chamber."
The woman set a hand on her hip and twisted her lips. "Is your ... wife ... ill?"
"My wife fell from her horse. The storm spooked them."
Broc didn't want to dwell on how right it felt calling Sonya his. The curse, or whatever it was that caused people around him to die, would prevent there ever being a future between them.
"Ah, these storms can be vicious," the woman said. "Ye lost both the horses?"
Broc gave a single nod. "I'd like to get my wife out of these wet clothes and a warm meal in our bellies."
"That I can do for ye. Ye have coin?"
Excerpted from Darkest Highlander by Donna Grant. Copyright © 2012 Donna Grant. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Meet the Author
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Donna Grant has been praised for her "totally addictive" and "unique and sensual" stories. She has written more than thirty novels spanning multiple genres of romance. She lives with her husband, two children, a dog, and four cats in Texas. Visit donnagrant.com.
AudioFile Earphones Award winner Antony Ferguson is a native of London, England. He is a classically trained actor and has appeared in numerous productions in London, Off-Broadway, and regional theater. As a voice actor, he has over fifty audiobooks to his credit. Antony lives in Los Angeles.
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WONDERFUL END TO THE DARK SWORDS AND BEGINNING OF THE DARK WARRIORS!! DARKEST HIGHLANDER by Donna Grant is an exciting historical paranormal romance set in Scotland. This is the sixth book in the "Dark Sword" series and brings it a its conclusion,but can br read as a stand alone. See "DANGEROUS HIGHLANDER,FORBIDDEN HIGHLANDER,WICKED HIGHLANDER,UNTAMED HIGHLANDER,SHADOW HIGHLANDER".This is Sonya and Broc's story. Broc is a Scottish highland warrior with Poraxus,the God of manipulation unbound within him,who believes he has a curse and anyone he is close to will die. Sonya,a Druidess with the magic of healing,who believes she has now lost her healing magic. Sonya,fleeing the safety of the MacLeod Castle,which sends Broc on a mission to locate and protect,even if it costs him his life. Together, Sonya and Broc face their worst enemy,the evil Deirdre,while they fight their attraction to each other. Broc has been attracted to Sonya since she was a small child and he saved her and her sister,who is now dead. They are on a mission to find an artifact Deirdre needs to accomplish her desire to bring darkness and evil to the world. "Darkness Highlander" brings the "Dark Swords" series to a conclusion which brings in a new series," Dark Warriors" into the light. As, four of the Dark Warriors are thrown four centuries into the future following one of their own,and a traitor who has been forced to Deirdre's cause. What a delightful way to close out one series and begin another,while there is a few questions left unanswered from the "Dark Swords"series,I do hope we will see more from the "Dark Swords" warriors along the way with the new "Dark Warriors"series. Donna Grant has written another story full of passion,sweet sensuality,Scottish warriors,adventure,danger,romance and of course love. I LOVE,LOVE this Scottish paranormal series and looked forward to hearing from the rest of the warriors in the future. A must read! Received for an honest review from the publisher. Details can be found at St. Martin's Paperbacks,published by St. Martin's Press,the author's website,and My Book Addiction and More. **Coming in June 2012 from St. Martin's Paperbacks "Dark Warrior" series by Donna Grant, "MIDNIGHT'S MASTER"* RATING: 4.5 HEAT RATING: MILD REVIEWED BY: AprilR,My Book Addiction and More
What a great series!! Donna Grant is an amazing story teller! I got lost in every book, including this one. I would recommend this book and the first five to any one who believes love can and will conquer all!
I have followed her series for years and love everything she writes.
Broc story is here!! I suppose I could just stop there.. Broc's story Darkest Highlander is the sixth in Dona Grant's Dark Sword Series and by far her most compelling. It was so intense, I was forced to put it down and walk away on a regular basis. Now, I know that sounds just wrong but for me.. when something is so gripping, when you are never quite sure what is going to happen next and when you are held on the edge of suspense.. to me I have to put it down and walk away.. or I go nuts. This was one of those stories.. I spent most of my time while reading this book on the edge of my seat.. chewing my nails and wonder what was going to happen next. Broc has always been my favorite, he was broody, intense and BLUE.. well when his god took over he's blue and of course Broc is the only warrior with wings. And there is just something sexy about wings. I wonder what I would do if I actually met someone with wings? They are just so very sexy in books. Broc spent centuries of his life, once his god was unbound as a spy in Deidre's fortress under the mountain. Forced to round up druids and deliver them to Deidre he never really thought he would find a way out. Then when the Warriors chose to stand together against her, Broc stood with them. Finally able to share his true feelings and loyalties.. he is a true asset to the Warriors. Sonya, the strongest of the Druids had a crisis of faith and lost the use of her magic. Feeling lost, alone and just a little betrayed she flees the safety of the castle and strikes out on her own. I am not quite sure why such a practical character would do something quite this stupid but I kind of liked it. So many smart women find themselves doing stupid things then later asking themselves what the heck was I thinking? Broc and Sonya find themselves in one adventure after another.. From Sonya fleeing the fortress and falling victim to wolves to Broc falling into Deidre's hands these two seem determined to save each other and yet never quite admit how they feel. Ms Grant does an excellent job keeping us entertained and hiding the fact that these two really do act without thinking just a bit too much. Sometimes books tick me off because it is so obvious characters are meant for each other, I just want to smack them upside the head. The fact is if they did then the story would really pretty much be over before it ever began. And Broc and Sonya had a wonderful story.. We saw some interesting previews on what is going to happen next in the series and one whammy of a surprise. Obviously I can't share but this book was worth reading if only for the surprise..
I have been infatuated with Broc ever since Wicked Highlander, when Quinn MacLeod was abducted by Deirdre and taken to Cairn Toul, the mountain where she kills Druids and uses her black magic to unleash the gods inside the Highlanders. The wyrran and Warriors gather there, waiting for the time when Deirdre will send her army to destroy the world. Broc played the good and bad guy so well, you never knew which side he was really on until recently. Broc has Poraxus, the God of Manuipulation bound to him and is the only warrior with wings and able to fly. His power is that he can locate anyone, anywhere. Broc has been watching over Sonya and her sister Anice ever since he found them as babies and rescued them. He was one of Deirdre's Warriors back then so he hid them in a safe place where Deirdre could never find them. Being that Sonya and her sister are Druids, Deirdre would kill them to steal their life force. Broc has secretly been in love with Sonya ever since she became a woman but is determined to stay away from her. He believes himself cursed because any woman he has ever cared for has died and he's determined to protect Sonya from his curse. When Broc finds out that Sonya is gone from the castle he sets out to find her before Deirdre does. When the last book "Shadow Highlander" ended, Sonya's life was turned upside down. Her healing powers have been failing her and her sister Anice was murdered by Deirdre's wyrran. Grief stricken over the death of her sister and heartbroken over Broc's harsh reaction, Sonya leaves the safety of MacLeod Castle and runs into the forest. Injured and not able to heal herself because of her failing magic, Sonya is in grave danger. When Broc finds her, Sonya is near death with an infection from a cut on her hand. Because of a bad storm, Broc takes her to the nearest town and stays at a hotel to nurse her back to health. While there they run into Deirdre's wyrran and Broc is captured and taken back to Cairn Toul. Sonya follows and is determined to save Broc from Deirdre's wrath. SO much happens in this book. I'm going to leave the review at this because this book changes everything in the series and leads into the new DARK WARRIOR series so I don't want to give away any spoilers. I've been waiting a long time to learn more about Broc and I could not wait for him to get together with Sonya and as always, Donna Grant did not disappoint. The ending happened a little too quickly but it's because the entire plot and story line have been taken into a new direction so it was understandable. The DARK SWORD series is one of my top favorite series and always will be. I can't wait for the first DARK WARRIORS book, "Midnight's Master" to be released (which BTW is on May 22) to see the new journey Donna has sent these amazing warriors on.
I have all of her books and love them all! I can't wait until the next one comes out! I highly recommend this one-all of them!
This book was a great read. I love how Sonya is independent.
Reviewed by Shannon, Book provided by St. Martin’s Press, and Review originally posted at Romancing the Book. If it weren’t for the fact that I had read Midnight Master (book one in the Dark Warrior series and picks up where this book left off) I would have been completely lost with this story. However, Donna Grant has created a group of Highlander Warriors that manage to pull you into the story, regardless of whether or not you understand what’s happening. I liked Broc and Sonya, but of the two, Broc was my favorite. Broc was a man who spent many, many years as a prisoner of Deirdre and felt he was tainted by her evil. His actions with helping the MacLeod’s may demonstrate how he’s siding with good, but he can’t see past what he was forced to do while under Deirdre’s control. It takes Sonya to make Broc see past what has been done to what might be and see understand, at his core, he is a worthy man. Sonya’s strong enough to stand up to Broc and confident enough in him to encourage his loss of control when he needs to and know he won’t hurt those he cares for. I enjoyed the romance between Broc and Sonya. While their romance wasn’t one that evoked strong emotional responses, it was sweet, sexy and perfect for them. This was an enjoyable read that will keep you entertained for a few hours. However, I will strongly recommend that the series be read in order to avoid any confusion.
Great story. the series is suspenseful, funny at times and romantic.
I'm just glad that i have finally come to the part of broc and sonya. Every book is like a cliffhanger that leads onto the next. I love cliffhangers.