Read Highlander Enchanted Online

Authors: Lizzy Ford

Highlander Enchanted

BOOK: Highlander Enchanted
2.73Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Highlander Enchanted

 

 

By Lizzy Ford

www.LizzyFord.com

 

 

 

Cover design by Eden Crane Design

www.EdenCraneDesign.com

 

Cover photography by MH Photography

 

Cover Model: Mandy Hollis

 

 

 

Mobi EDITION

 

 

Highlander Enchanted
copyright ©2015 by Lizzy Ford

www.LizzyFord.com

 

 

 Cover design copyright © 2015 by Eden Crane Design

www.EdenCraneDesign.com

 

Cover Photography © 2015 Mandy Hollis

 

All rights reserved.

 

 

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. The only exception is by a reviewer, who may quote short excerpts in a review.

 

 

This novel is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events; to real people, living or dead; or to real locales are intended only to give the fiction a sense of reality and authenticity. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and their resemblance, if any, to real-life counterparts is entirely coincidental.

 

Chapter One

 

“M’lady, we havena the coin for a meal and a horse,” whispered the handmaiden with the crooked teeth. Despite the cloak of night, she huddled next to her mistress in the shadows of a farrier’s at the edge of a quiet village.

“Have not,” Lady Isabel de Clare corrected absently. The breeze was growing cooler each night in anticipation of the changing seasons. The journey from southern England to the Highlands left her purse deflated and her hope close to it. She had never traveled so far and missed the comfort of her father’s home more each day. “How much farther must we go?”

“Isno direct path to where ye go. Three days, perchance four, if we are no’ waylaid by thieves.”

Isabel hesitated. She twisted the remaining ring on her finger, the last of the jewelry left to her by her mother. The thought of losing another link to the woman she fondly recalled from her youth, the only time of her life where she had good memories, made her mouth dry and her chest ache. “Take this, Ailsa. Barter for one horse and two or three days of fare.” She removed the gold ring with a dark blue gem at its center and handed it to the sole companion she had been able to afford to bring, a woman from the barbaric north, stranded in England.

“M’Lady, yer necklace has more value.”

Isabel clutched the medallion at her neck. It had been a gift from her father, a silver medallion with the family’s crest on it. He had given one to her and one to her brother.

“I cannot part with it,” she whispered. “No matter how dire our circumstances.”

“Ye doona have coin to return home,” Aisla observed.

“I have no home to return to,” Isabel replied. “Go. We must not tarry long.” She glanced towards the forest, where the hulking shapes of trees hid the opening of the road by which they had come. The man pursuing her was likely two days behind, but she feared staying in one place for the night.

Frowning, Ailsa hurried away.

Isabel lifted her hood over her head with one hand while the other clutched the leather satchel and its precious documents. They had not left their place slung across her chest since her journey began. One of them granted her the land left to her mother, a royal courtier of Scottish birth, on the condition that Isabel marry the laird of the MacLachlainn clan, a man known as Black Cade among the nobles at court.

They whispered his name in fear and eagerness, as if to speak it aloud would call forth the devil he was claimed to be: a barbarian of incredible strength who massacred whole villages when he went on the Crusades. Her own brother had perished beneath the hands of the berserker with neither restraint nor honor, a truth she learnt upon her father’s deathbed six months past. The Baron of Saxony had died heartbroken and mad after losing his heir.

The Highlander she sought had taken everyone she loved from her, but not before her father revealed the secret of her birthright, a truth that drove her from a home that had never really been hers.

She would soon be face to face with the man described as twice the size of the largest knight in England with a sword taller than she was. The fortnight journey to find him had once seemed too long. Now that she was close, Isabel began to think it too quick.

For all her inability to remain quiet, Aisla was obedient and fast. She returned with a horse that appeared to have seen better days and a sack of food.

With another look south, towards all she left behind, Isabel mounted the horse and patted its neck.
Either I will have my vengeance this week or I will die.
If not by Black Cade’s hands, then by the hands of he who pursued.

Her throat grew too tight for her to swallow as she considered the events that brought her to the untamed lands of the north. It was too much for her to bear after so long without rest, and she pushed the dark memories away.

“Are ye well, m’lady?” Ailsa asked, her arms wrapping around Isabel as she settled on the horse’s back behind her.

“I am.” Isabel drew a deep breath. She gathered the reins and nudged her mount forward. “Is there bread?”

“Yea.”

“Don your hood. We cannot risk being seen.”

“We are no’ to sleep t’night?”

“We must continue.”

Ailsa gave a noisy sigh of complaint that Isabel forgave, for the girl knew nothing of who followed them. Shivering in the night chill of early autumn, she hunkered down for the last leg of her journey.

Too much was at stake for her to be caught now.

 

Chapter Two

 

Four days later

 

The forest was restless.

Caderyn “Black Cade” MacLachlainn, clan chieftain and one of the most feared warriors in the Highlands, whispered words from a tongue long since forgotten by most men. The wind obeyed his soft command, soaring overhead to move the clouds obscuring his sunlight. The trees before him bent away for him to see the path beneath him more clearly. Ferns tickled his exposed arms and neck, and the calming scent of earth tempered his impatience.

BOOK: Highlander Enchanted
2.73Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Roma Eterna by Robert Silverberg
Stray Love by Kyo Maclear
For All You Have Left by Miller, Laura
Orient Express by John Dos Passos
Hollow Dolls, The by Dahl, MT
Enslave by Felicity Heaton
Taboo Kisses by Gracen Miller