Authors: Catherine Bybee
Tags: #Romance, #General, #Historical, #Time Travel, #Fiction
Her next two punches came fast, unexpected,
one catching him hard on the jaw. And it hurt. His brow rose. The muscles straining on her arms held surprising strength. Fin sent his foot out to trip her.
She avoided it and waved him toward her.
“Come on, Fin. Stop playing.”
He turned his back to her, heard her approach, and swept her off her feet...
Within ten minutes, they were both panting.
Liz’s punch wavered. Fin caught her fist and pulled it behind her back and her firmly up against his chest. Her breasts heaved, and her breathing strained. The soft curves of her body pressed to his.
Liz reached up to the arm he used to hold her and called her Druid powers. Fin felt his skin burn under her touch...
“Not fair, lass.”
“Ever hear the term, all’s fair in love and war?”
Aye, well, what were they?
When she came at him again he ducked, taking her down to the floor and grabbed her hands and stretched them above her head where she couldn’t apply any fire or heat because her fingertips weren’t touching him. Her eyes met his, his body heavy on top of hers, keeping her from moving. But this closeness, this contact was torture.
Elizabeth’s gaze traveled to his lips dancing dangerously close to hers. He smelled the sweet scent of her breath, knew without a doubt she desired his taste as much as he did hers. He knew that taste, had it once before, briefly. Wanted it even more now.
“You’re quite a workout,” she breathed the words to him, lifted her lips a tad closer.
“As are you.”
Praise for Catherine Bybee
whisked me into an adventure that I was sorry to see end.”
“The characters are a rich blend of complex emotions, attitudes, and abilities…”
~Coffee Time Romance
“Catherine Bybee's sparkling imagination shines through in a thoroughly enjoyable time travel tale.” [In
~Affair de Couer
5 Tombstone Review for
was such an amazing book...possibly the best I have read so far this year. ...so much fun...”
~Megan, Bitten By Books
“Catherine Bybee has the reader loving the heroes and hating the villains with a passion.”
~A History of Romance Reviews
earns an unequivocal five stars because it is just that much fun to read!”
~Goodreads Reviewer, Tammy Schneider
5 Stars, “
is a fascinating time-travel tale of ancient Druids and modern heroes that pulls the reader in from the very first page.”
~Affaire de Coeur
] “Bybee makes everything work together smoothly with a wonderful story anyone would love.”
~Night Owl Romance
is a wonderful mixture of magic, suspense, danger and most of all heart stopping, earth shattering (literally), romance...
Lizzy and Fin's story finishes the Vows Trilogy with a flair.”
~Tammy Schneider, Goodreads Review
MacCoinnich Time Travel Trilogy by
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.
COPYRIGHT 2011 by Catherine Bybee All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author or The Wild Rose Press except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
Contact Information: [email protected] Cover Art by
Rae Monet, Inc. Design
The Wild Rose Press
PO Box 708
Adams Basin, NY 14410-0706
Visit us at www.thewildrosepress.com Publishing History
First Faery Rose Edition, 2011
Print ISBN 1-60154-871-0
Published in the United States of America
To Carrie, Tommy and Andrea…
Through the good, the bad and the ugly, I know deep in my heart that you'll always be there.
Even if only in spirit.
This trilogy has been a journey. There have been times I've cried over the process, wiggled in my seat and wondered if I'd ever be able to face my father again after he's read the book, and times I've patted myself on the back and said, "Damn, that’s good!" I didn't do this alone and want to take a minute to thank those who helped along the way.
I want to thank Sharon Meyer, who encouraged me to pursue publication of
and has offered unwavering support for my new passion of writing. Aithne Jarretta's eye helped me with some of the basics with writing and the first book in this trilogy. Sandra Stixrude, your advice and critical eye kept me on track throughout! I can't thank you enough. My editor Fran… I can't find the words of gratitude you deserve. When the day comes that we finally meet in person, the first round is on me!
Liz snapped out of her daydream with Simon’s voice ringing in her ears. He wasn’t screaming from the front yard about his ball hoping over the fence.
No, he was calling her in his head. Something even now, ten months after the first time he’d done so, she’d not grown used to.
Mom, come back to the keep. The shit is hitting
the fan again.
Liz shook her head and surged to her feet.
many times have I told you not to use language like
I’m talking in my head, Mom. It doesn’t count!
Liz lifted her skirt, ran to the door, and continued to argue with her son who was over a mile away.
It sure as hell does when you’re talking to me.
Ha. You just swore.
That’s different, I’m an adult.
Liz could imagine the expression on her son’s face. With eyes rolling back in his head and hands on his hips.
What’s happening now?
she questioned, knowing he wouldn’t have called her if it wasn’t urgent.
Birds, hundreds of them. Grainna has to be in
the mix. We all feel her evil.
Crap, hold on.
Like a cell phone, Liz tuned out of her son’s thoughts and raced to the mare saddled and waiting outside the sanctuary of her hideaway.
“Come on, girl. We have somewhere to be,” she coaxed while grasping the reins and hoisting up and into the saddle.
Simon’s voice pleaded while she watched the Scottish landscape race beside her.
The wind and rain drenched her gown and hair, grown long in her months in the sixteenth century.
She searched frantically for a spell to ward away the birds so only the Druid witch remained when she finished her chant.
Liz pushed her horse faster, hearing her son’s urgent voice in her head. Damn, she shouldn’t have left him,
she scolded herself.
Over the hill, the keep emerged strong, solid, and massive under a blanket of black.
Her horse stopped and whinnied at the chaos unfolding in front of their eyes. Crows filled the sky, thousands of them, blotting out the sun.
Liz’s jaw hung open. “Son of a bitch!” she whispered before kicking her mount into a frantic run. She started chanting long before she reached the gates.
“In this day and in this hour, I call upon the Ancient’s power. Give us all the ability to see Grainna amongst all of these.”
The closer she drew, the more powerful the effects of the chant became.
Birds dropped from the sky, dead, while servants fled the walls of the stone fortress of the MacCoinnichs’.
“Open the gates,” she yelled from outside the huge wooden doors that blocked all unwelcomed visitors. “Open the damn gates!”
Stopping short of the wooden doors, Lizzy’s horse strained against the reins and whinnied.
Careful to hold her seat, and avoid landing on the ground, Liz continued her chant and watched the 2
sky. Finally, the barrier opened, and she had to still her horse with the dash of retreating people screaming and fleeing the inside of the gates.
Pushing her horse forward, she surveyed the courtyard and found her son standing next to Fin and the entire MacCoinnich family. All of them watched the sky. Tara, Myra and Amber held hands in the shadows, waiting.
Liz jumped off the mare and ran to the women, gasping for air.
“In this day and in this hour…” they all chanted, the only way to fend off the evil coming from the sky.
Liz grasped their hands, strengthening and completing their Druid circle.
“Give us the ability,” Liz said and waited for the others to repeat her words. “To see Grainna’s true self amongst all these.”
With each phrase, the sisters levitated from the ground, a side effect of any spell they wove together.
No one knew why they hovered above the earth, and none of them knew how to fall back gracefully when they were done. Twice they repeated the words and like a plague, the crows began to drop.
As one, the sisters turned their heads to the sky as an inhuman screech of evil filled the air.
A solitary crow hovered. With one loud screech, it darted away.
Tara squeezed her hand before Liz let her gaze slip from the sky. Slowly the women let each other’s hands go and slid to the ground. Myra fell on her behind and extended a hand to Tara to help her up.
Liz hardly took a breath before Fin stepped in front of her with hands perched on his hips.
“Where the hell were you?”
“Out.” She turned away, intent on letting that be the end of their discussion, but Fin had other ideas.
His hand darted out and caught her shoulder.
“Dammit, Elizabeth, you know better than to leave the keep without someone with you. Are you so selfish that you’d endanger everyone here for your own needs?”
His eyes expressed his anger.
She looked beyond him and over to her son who quickly diverted his attention to his shoes.
“I needed some time alone.”
Taking a step closer, Fin lowered his voice so only the women heard. “Then take to a far tower here within these walls. You’re of no use to any of us dead.”
Liz felt her chest rise and color flame to her face.
He was right, and she hated him for it.
Clenching her teeth, she turned and marched from the chaos. She didn’t stop until she safely passed the threshold of her chambers. Tara followed her inside and gently closed the door behind them.
Without looking in her direction, Liz addressed her younger sister. “You agree with him, don’t you?”
“You agree with him, too.” When Tara didn’t say more, Liz turned and stared at her.
“What if Grainna positioned that flock of evil over only you? None of us are capable of taking her on alone.” Tara stepped closer, taking Liz’s hands.
“I’m suffocating here.”
“I know.” Tara pushed back a strand of Liz’s hair and continued. “But stay close, Lizzy. I need you here.
need you here. You are the strongest of all of us.”
“I’m not stronger than you.”
“That’s not true and you know it.”
“I don’t have an ability like yours or like the rest.”
Liz referred to each and every one of the MacCoinnichs’ gifts. Tara’s ability to move and manipulate everything that grows might have been 4
a new power, but it was something Liz’s baby sister had already learned to use to her advantage. Tara’s husband, Duncan, could cast a flame larger and stronger than anything imagined by twenty-first century fiction writers. Simon spoke to animals. Ian directed the weather with a mere thought. Myra moved objects with her mind. Even Amber, the youngest of the MacCoinnichs, was an empath who could sense events long before they happened.
No, compared to Tara and the rest, Liz felt inferior, like a cast off.
As if sensing her concern, Tara continued. “You are the one who comes up with every chant, every spell that keeps Grainna at bay.”
“Any of you could do that.”
“Really? I don’t think so.”
“All of us are Druids, Tara. We all have the ability.” Liz moved to the large fireplace and held out her hands. Sparks flew into the hearth and flames leapt to warm the room.
“Look at you. If I had told you a year ago that you were able to start a fire without a match, you would’ve had me committed. Now you prance around, spread your hands and
… flames.” Tara stepped behind her. “I know you’re unhappy here.
But until this is finished, until we destroy Grainna and find the stones, you’re stuck here.”
Hearing the words aloud felt so final. It wasn’t that she hated the MacCoinnichs; she simply didn’t have any control over her own life. With Fin hovering close by, it was as if she couldn’t breathe.