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Authors: Donna Grant

Highland Fires

BOOK: Highland Fires
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Highland Fires

By

Donna Grant

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters,
places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or
are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any
resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons,
living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

Highland Fires

Copyright© 2008 Donna Grant

Cover Artist: Tricia Schmitt

 

License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal
enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to
other people. If you would like to share this book with another
person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If
you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not
purchased for your use only, then please return and purchase your
own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this
author.

 

www.DonnaGrant.com

 

 

Chapter One

 

 

Isle off the cost of west Scotland

Summer 1629

 

Lugus stood atop the small cliff on his isle
and watched the sun crest the horizon, its bright orange glow
streaking across the gray sky. It was a daily ritual, one he had
done from the moment his mortality had begun.

In the nearly five years since he did the
unthinkable and nearly destroyed Earth and the Realm of the Fae, he
had pushed his past life and the horrors he committed from his
mind.

But there was one thing he couldn’t push
away.

The memory of Moira.

A Druid priestess who had powers granted to
her by the Fae, a woman so incredibly beautiful that Lugus would
have done anything to claim her as his own. Despite his great love
for her, he was not her mate. Even when he discovered this, he
refused to give her up. It wasn’t until she sacrificed herself for
her mate that Lugus saw what true love was.

That was the day his new life, a life of
mortality, had begun.

He inhaled the sea air deeply and stretched
his arms over his head before he turned and faced the village
across the sea. His ventures to the small village were as rare as
he could make them.

Somehow the people there knew he wasn’t a
mere mortal, that he used to be something more. The ones that did
speak to him weren’t what he would call friendly, but they were
civil. He had learned who those people were and made sure to only
trade with them.

His gaze moved to his small boat that sat
waiting for him. He blew out a reluctant breath and started down
the slope. The sooner he left, the sooner he could return to his
haven, the only place he felt he could be himself.

Lugus chuckled to himself as he climbed in
the boat and set the oars to rowing. If only the people that used
to fear him could see him now. He once held the power of two realms
in his hands, a power so great that he could have ruled all the
realms. Yet now he was hesitant to face a small village of people
and their whispers and glances behind his back.

Sweat beaded his brow and rolled between his
shoulders when he finally reached the shore. For long moments he
stared at his small island, his home and refuge. Some nagging
feeling told him to return immediately and not venture into the
village, that if he walked onto the Scottish shore his life would
be forever changed.

As a Fae he would have known immediately what
the threat to him was, but as a mortal he was still learning to
discern the strange, and sometimes unwanted, intuitions that
assaulted him. He debated with himself for several heartbeats, but
the hunger in his belly ruled the day.

His hands immediately went to the sword at
his back and the dagger at his waist. Just knowing he was prepared
helped him face whatever lay ahead. He flexed his hands before he
jumped from his boat to pull it onto shore and tie it off.
Regardless of what his senses told him, he had to get more
supplies. Eating wasn’t an option.

He kept his eyes forward as he walked to the
village. A group of children stopped their play and whispered among
themselves as he passed. Lugus should have been immune to his
treatment but each time it occurred, it hurt worse than the last.
Out of the corner of his eyes he noticed the people that gave him a
wide berth, and others that would stare after him as if he was some
monster.

And he was, in more ways than they
realized.

He reached the millers and went inside to
purchase more yeast and what few herbs he wasn’t able to grow in
his small garden. Learning to cook had been something he had
enjoyed and he found he had a knack for it.

After he paid for his purchases, he tucked
the package under his arm and headed for his next stop. Jonathon
Frasier’s cottage. Jonathon was one person that actually treated
Lugus like a man.

He had come upon Jonathon during a
particularly vengeful storm that had tossed many boats onto shore.
Jonathon had been desperately trying to tie up his small skiff as
his pregnant wife and small son looked on.

Lugus lent a hand and they got the skiff
tied. Since that time, Jonathon had gone out of his way to befriend
Lugus. Now, Jonathon, an expert hunter, supplied Lugus with
leather. Lugus then turned them into scabbards for the swords and
daggers Lugus crafted.

“Morn’, Lugus,” Jonathon called as he walked
from his cottage on the outskirts of the small village. “I wasn’t
expecting you so soon.”

Lugus shrugged. “I’ve had an order placed for
a sword and thought I would get to work on the scabbard while I
finish a few smaller pieces.”

Jonathon smiled as his gaze moved to the
scabbard on Lugus’ hip. “’Tis no wonder word has spread far and
wide of your craftsmanship. I’ve never seen anything of the like
before.”


Of their own accord, Lugus’ eyes looked at
the intricately designed scabbard. The many hours it took to do the
scroll work on the leather was relaxing in the same way working the
metal for the swords was exhilarating.

“I do what I must to earn a living.”

Jonathon nodded his head. “I ken. Come,” he
said and motioned toward the back of the house. “I think I might
have something for you.”

It was just an hour later that Lugus had paid
Jonathon and chosen the strips of leather. They would work
perfectly, and he was anxious to return to his island and begin
designing the scroll and knot work that would be tooled onto
it.

He had to stop himself from running to his
boat. The time he spent away from his island was like a noose
around his neck. He never felt safe unless he was on his isle.

With gentle hands, he placed
the leather and other supplies in the boat, untied it and pushed it
into the water. He jumped in and took the oars in his hands and
immediately began rowing
toward his
island.

The sensation began instantly.

He was being watched. But by who?

 

~ ~ ~

 

Ahryn drank up the site of the mysterious
man. She had seen glimpses of him before, but today she had heard
something that gave her hope. Something her captor would never want
her to know.

Something that could very well free her.

Lugus
.

In all her years of living, there had only
been one man with that name, a man who wasn’t a man at all, but a
Fae. As she watched the muscles in his arms bunch and strain as he
rowed to his small island, she knew he was her last chance at
returning home.

Her hand fisted in her skirts, and she felt
the coolness of the chain on her right hand. She pulled her gaze
away from Lugus and looked at the offending slave bracelet on her
wrist and the chains that ran to her middle finger that attached to
the ring.

The baron thought it rather humorous to
fasten it on her, branding her a slave to all who saw. But soon it
would all end.

“See something you fancy?” Marcus MacGregor
asked as he walked up behind her.

Ahryn gritted her teeth and turned to face
her captore. “I was just picturing you drowning.”

He laughed and roughly took her arm in his
hand as he pulled her after him to his awaiting horse. He mounted
and hauled her up before him.

“Once you have a taste of me, you won’t want
me killed,” he whispered in her ear.

Ahryn swallowed the bile that rose in her
throat. “I will never marry you.”

He laughed and picked up a strand of her
flaxen hair. “You will if you want to live.”

Just before he kicked the horse, Ahryn
chanced one more glance at Lugus. He had reached his island and
pulled his boat to shore. Even from that great distance, Ahryn
could tell his gaze searched for something across the sea.

Could he feel her gaze? Did he sense her
need?

Chapter Two

 

 

 

Lugus woke and stretched his neck as he swung
his legs over the side of the bed. The many long hours he had spent
on the design of the scabbard had put a crick in his neck. Yet, no
matter how long he had worked he couldn’t shake the feeling someone
had been watching him yesterday.

Even in sleep, the feeling had haunted him.
In between dreams of Druid green eyes he had seen mystical blue
eyes--eyes of the Fae. And the only reason for a Fae to watch him
was that the time had finally come. He shook his head to clear it
and rose from his bed.

He needed some fresh air. Without bothering
to reach for a tunic, he headed outside to watch the sunrise from
his cliff.

The mist rolled over the sea onto his isle
covering his small cottage in its thickness. Lugus stopped at his
door and inhaled the crisp air as he closed his eyes. Scotland
wasn’t the Realm of the Fae, but it was a close second. The wild,
untamed beauty of the rugged land pulled at Lugus’ soul the same
way the splendor, peacefulness, and grandeur of the Fae realm
had.

He opened his eyes and peered into the thick
undulating mist. The lap of the water could be heard but naught
else. Some might think the mist eerie and almost evil, but Lugus
loved it.

The first rays of light could be seen through
the mist, and Lugus turned to make his assent to the cliff. The sea
air filled his lungs as he began to climb. He had climbed nearly
half way up when something stopped him. The same feeling that had
assaulted him the day before surrounded him now.

Apprehension snaked down his spine. Could it
be that someone had finally come to meet out justice? Lugus hoped
so. For nearly five years he had waited for someone to come and end
his life. Only then would he feel as though he had paid for his
crimes.

His steps quickened as he raced to the top to
see who had come to kill him. With his breathing labored and the
mist clinging to him, he raised his eyes to see a woman standing
atop his cliff.

The sea wind blew her long, flaxen hair off
her shoulders, and her dark skirts billowed behind her. Slowly, she
turned to face him, and he saw her eyes.

Mystical blue eyes.

Fae eyes.

Her face was flawless of any blemish. The
ethereal glow of her milky skin seemed to burn in the dawning sun’s
light. She wasn’t gowned in the clothes of the Fae, but rather in
that of the townspeople across the sea. Yet, even in the dark red
of her gown, he knew her body would be lithe and tall as all Fae
women.

Lugus hadn’t expected a female to come and
kill him, but he wouldn’t stop her. He had to pay for his
crimes.

“I’ve come for your help,” she said, braking
into his thoughts.

Lugus blinked, not sure he heard her
correctly. “Help? From who?”

“Them,” she said and pointed.

Lugus followed her finger and saw the four
men that stepped onto his shore. Anger rolled within him. No one
came ashore to his island. No one.

He began his descent, rarely taking his eyes
off the men. By the time he reached the bottom, the men still
hadn’t ventured far from their boat. The mist hampered their
vision, but it would give Lugus the advantage he needed to dispatch
the men and then figure out just what a Fae female was doing on his
isle.

Briefly he thought about retrieving his sword
but decided against it as one of the soldiers spotted him.

“Where is she?” the soldier demanded.

Lugus planted his feet as he reached the
shore and stared at the four men. “No one is allowed on my island.
Leave now. Or die.”

“Not without the woman.”

Lugus flexed his hands and prepared to be
rushed by the four men. They came at him instantaneously. One punch
landed in his kidney, another on his jaw and another in his
stomach. He might be mortal, but his Fae training would never leave
him.

He captured a leg between his and squeezed.
As he spotted another blow coming at his face, he ducked and smiled
as the meaty fist landed on the face of another solider. With his
elbows, fist and head, he managed to knock two of them unconscious.
The other he had captured with his leg was now beating his back.
With all the momentum he could muster, Lugus threw back his elbow
and connected with the soldier’s face. He watched in satisfaction
as the man slumped to the ground.

BOOK: Highland Fires
6.47Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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