A Witch, A Warrior And The Wilds Of Scotland !
'Twas like a quest out of legend, Merrick MacAndrew knew, but he would risk anything to save his dying soneven kidnapping Allegra Drummond, whose mystical healing talents ran apace with her power to set his heart ablaze!
What enchantment, this? A giant of a Highland lord had torn Allegra Drummond from idyllic seclusion to do his bidding! No matter that his reasons were noble, rousing her compassion and concern. Merrick MacAndrew had used a life-transforming magic of his own to bind her to him foreverheart, body and soul!
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By Ruth Langan
Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.Copyright © 2003 Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneScotland - 1540 The pewter sky was boiling with clouds threatening rain. A chill wind ruffled the tall grass growing across the meadow. The weather didn't deter the populace from enjoying market day. Those on foot cast a wary eye on horse-drawn carts and hay wagons vying for space along the narrow roads leading to Edinburgh. Nola Drummond, a young widow, threaded her pony cart through the crowd. Her mother, Wilona, was seated beside her. In the back were Nola's three little daughters, sitting atop the bundles of dried herbs, skeins of yarn and baskets of eggs, which the women sold at market. Crowded in beside them were Bessie, a withered old crone with a hunched back, and Jeremy, a fat little troll dressed in a tiny top hat and frock coat. Both Bessie and Jeremy had been shunned by others before being taken in by this family. "Look, Mum." Six-year-old Allegra pointed to the crowd of people gathered around the banks of the loch. When their little cart drew closer, they could see women and children weeping as they stood watching a group of fishermen hauling the body of a young lad from the water. Nola reined in the pony, bringing their cart to a halt. She and Wilona, helped five-year-old Kylia and three-year-old Gwenellen to the ground before starting toward the others. Unable to control her curiosity, Allegra was already out of the cart and running ahead. Once she'd reached the shore, it was an easy matter to inch her way through the crowd until she could see and hear everything. "Nay! Not my Jamie." A woman threw herself upon the body of the lad, her voice hoarse from sobbing. "I've already buried my man, and three of my babes. Jamie is all I have left in this world. Oh, no. Please. Not my Jamie, too." One of the fishermen laid a big hand on the woman's shoulder. "I'm sorry, Mary. But the lad is gone. We were too late to save him." A wave of terrible sadness swept the bystanders. Even the fishermen, hardened by years at sea, could no longer hold back their tears as the woman gave in to a fit of sobbing. Caught up in the emotion of the crowd, Allegra crept forward until she was standing beside the distraught woman. Before anyone could stop her she knelt and placed her hands on the lad's chest. At once she was seized with a violent tremor as the icy shock was absorbed into her fingertips and passed through her body. The water of the loch had been cold. So very cold. Shivering, Allegra looked up at his mother. "Your Jamie isn't dead." "What are you saying?" Caught between surprise at the child's boldness and a need to believe, the woman narrowed her eyes on her. "He isn't dead. He wants to come back to you, but he needs help." With jaws slack, the crowd watched in horrified fascination as this wee stranger pressed her palms hard against his chest. Water spilled out of the lad's mouth. His mother let out a scream, but Allegra didn't seem to hear. She was like one in a trance, her gaze fixed on him with such intensity, her green eyes seemed to burn with an inner fire. It was a shocking image. This tiny lass, like some wild creature, fiery hair falling in tangles to below her waist, ignoring the cries of the crowd as she began to speak to the lad in an ancient tongue that even the oldest among them had forgotten. When the words ended she bent low, pressing her mouth on his. Suddenly his body began to twitch. "What trickery is this?" someone shouted. "Take the lass in hand and spare this poor mother." But before the crowd could react, the lad's body gave a violent shudder and his eyes opened. "Oh, Jamie! Sweet heaven." His mother let out a cry, sweeping him into her arms and crushing him against her chest. "It's my Jamie. Back from the dead." As the crowd surged forward, Nola pushed her way through and caught her daughter by the arm, hauling her roughly aside. "Get into the cart now, Allegra." Nola's eyes darted with nervousness. "Hurry now, child." Up ahead, Allegra could see her grandmother already bundling Kylia and Gwenellen into the back of the cart, where she hurriedly covered them with furs. As soon as Allegra and her mother climbed up to the seat of the cart, Wilona flicked the reins and the horse took off at a run. Allegra glanced from her mother to her grandmother, who wore matching looks of fear. "Did I do something wrong?" "Nay, child. But there were many watching. You've been warned that we're not like others." The little girl hung her head. "I'm sorry. But Jamie's mother was crying. And in my head I could hear him crying, too. He wanted to come back to her. He said as much." Nola gathered her daughter close and hugged her. "You did nothing wrong, Allegra. But there are some who don't understand our gifts." "Why?" "Because they've forgotten the ancient ways. They've turned away from the healing powers within their hearts." The little girl looked solemn as she folded her hands in her lap. "I'm glad we haven't turned away from the power." She closed her eyes and leaned against her mother, giving in to the weakness that laid claim to her. Nola sighed and glanced over her daughter's head to meet her own mother's shadowed gaze. "I hope you'll never have cause to regret it, Allegra." (Continues...)
Excerpted from Highland Sword by Ruth Langan Copyright © 2003 by Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book had a great story and what's so cool is that it's a series so you can just keep reading about all the sisters.
This was a great book. Filled with excitement and drama. I have read it over and over and it just gets better.
this was a wonderful book to read i loved it