The Capture of Highland Desire (The Mac Coinnach Brothers)

BOOK: The Capture of Highland Desire (The Mac Coinnach Brothers)
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The Capture

of

Highland Desire

 

 

 

 

 

Kella McKinnon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2013 b
y
Kella Mckinnon

 

 

 

Cover Designed by: 
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s

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Chapter 1

 

 

 

              Eian Mac Coinnach could have thought of dozens of better ways to spend his time, that was for certain.  In fact, the more he thought about it, the more he suspected that this ‘important mission’ he had been sent on was just to keep him busy and out of his brother’s hair for a while.  Bren had his hands full with a new wife and a bairn on the way, not to mention being chief and protecting the entire clan from Mored and the army he was trying to raise.  Eian should be there at his brother’s side, guarding Creagmor and all of the people within the castle stronghold.  Especially since their brother Drust was missing, and presumed dead after a fight with Mored that had sent the two of them crashing down through a sinkhole into the depths of the earth.  Drust’s sacrifice had allowed Bren to have his mate back, but he was devastated by the loss.  Later, Bren had sent men to recover the body, or bodies, only to find them gone.  There had been a mile-long trail of blood leading to an opening in the underground tunnel, but no sign of Drust.  Nor had he been in contact since.  Bren feared the worst, but Eian secretly hoped that Drust was merely holed up with some fetching lass somewhere while his wounds healed.  That’s exactly what
he
would have done.  Drust though… well, perhaps not. 

Meanwhile, Eian had been sent on this journey to the hills near Lochain, because Dirc, the resident sorcerer, thought there might be a time charm in one of the caves there that they could use to their advantage.  Bren had immediately seized on the idea of sending his wild and carousing younger brother on this particular mission. 
Bloody busy work, definitely
.  Oh, there might actually
be
a magic charm that could bend time, but Bren would never
use
such a thing.  It was far too dangerous and unpredictable.  Hell,
he
wouldn’t even use it, and that was saying something, because there wasn’t much else he
wouldn’t
do, well… at least once.               

             
Eian had been travelling for two days with only the company of his horse, Dair, and he was already beginning to long for some human company, preferably of the female kind.  He was not a man who could go very long without a warm and willing woman to sink his cock into.  He sighed.  It was not always easy, really, to keep up with the constant, hot blooded physical demands of his body, but certainly pleasurable work for both him and the lass he was with.  He always saw to that.  Tonight he could really have used a good tup to keep his thoughts from the reason he was here.  And just to make things worse, he had already run out of whiskey.

He
sat back against a log near the small fire he had built, and stretched out his long legs with another sigh.  He pulled some dried venison, an oatcake, and an apple out of his pack and begin to slowly eat while he stared into the flames and contemplated his agenda.  Mostly because there was nothing else to do, alone in the wilderness.  Eian thrived on throngs of people and raucous good times, not solitude, yet here he was spending the whole of the evening with a horse and a few noisy owls. 

He should reach th
e west coast near Lochain by tomorrow afternoon, and then he could start looking for a particular cave where the charm was supposed to be hidden.  He gave an ironic little laugh around a bite of apple.  Why was it that people always hid things in caves?  He didn’t particularly like them; they were usually damp and musty and claustrophobic.  He was certainly not looking forward to crawling through any number of them looking for something that may or may not even exist.  Yes… busy work, it had to be, but he was bound by honor to carry out any task given to him by the chief. 
Damn you, Bren!

             
Why couldn’t he have been sent to fight someone instead? He liked to fight.  The lasses definitely liked
watching
him fight.  And since he almost always won, they liked to give him their favors, afterward.  Tupping was always best, after a good round or two with a worthy opponent, when his blood was already hot and the adrenaline flowing.  His cock half-rose at the mere thought.  He had long ago realized that he was a man who had prodigious sexual appetites, and he had never been shy about making certain he satisfied them well. After all, such things were a gift of nature, why not honor it? But not tonight, he thought sullenly.  Not a lass for miles.

             
After he finished his meal and washed it down with some ale, Eian banked the fire, set his sword within easy reach of his right hand, drew a dagger out of his belt to grasp in his left, and closed his eyes.  Though he had chosen a well-hidden vale some way from the main trail to make his camp, he would still sleep lightly and for only a couple of hours at a time.  You could never be too careful, especially when travelling alone.  And especially when your family was a powerful one that had as many enemies as friends.

             
As he drifted to sleep under a myriad of shining stars, Eian could not have known how quickly and how drastically his life would soon change.  And had someone told him just then, he probably would have run in the other direction.

 

 

 

***

Present Day

 

 

             
Oh, damn and double, double damn!
  This
couldn’t
be happening right now.  And she wished she had learned to swear better, for times like this.  Allia smoothed the ancient-looking piece of paper which she had convulsively crushed in her palm open on the table in front of her to read it again, this time more carefully and without skimming to the end in a panic. When she finished, she heaved a heart-heavy sigh.  It still said the same damn thing, and even though she had always known this day would come in an abstract, less than real sort of way, it was still a complete shock that the day had
actually
arrived. 

She was being called back
home. 
Way
back home.  And just when she had finally made a few friends and was settling into her new apartment, which she
loved
.  Because it was all hers.  And
just
when she had found a job as a park guide that she could live with and that paid the bills.  And, to top it all off, just when she had finally given up living only day to day and let herself get her first pet, a little orange kitten named Morris. 

In the past few years
, she had grown complacent, content, even.  Since her guardian had passed away, she had been on her own, and she hadn’t heard from what was left of her family since she had left in a hurry all of those years ago.  Maybe a part of her had hoped they had forgotten all about her.  Then maybe she would have been able to find a nice guy, settle down, have a family… all the things normal girls did.  Only she just wasn’t normal, and the piece of paper… she looked closer, no…
parchment
, that had magically appeared on her dresser some time during the night was a stark reminder of that.

Allia
was now obligated to leave the life she had made for herself here in 21
st
century London and return to the distant past, where she had been born.  Where she had lost her mother.  And from where she had been sent away for safe keeping. 

Her clan was one of the
very few that held the secret of travelling through time, and could do it easily and at will.  It was the particular magic of their bloodline, just as other lines could speak with animals or control fire.  Still, they had always used the rare gift as little as possible, and only the ruling family knew the spell to activate the portal near their home in Lochain on the west coast of Scotia.  It would simply not do to have anyone and everyone popping in and out of time whenever they felt like it, and so most ordinary members of the clan did not even realize they had the ability to do so.  Allia, by necessity, knew all about it.  She
hated
time travel, or at least she thought she did.  She’d come through time only once before, when she was just ten years old, and she didn’t remember it being particularly pleasant.  Now, thirteen years later, she thought of this place, of this time, as her home.  She didn’t want to go back. 

She folded the
parchment up again and dropped backwards onto the couch, pulling her legs up underneath her and clutching a pillow to her chest. 

Two days. 

They had given her
two freaking days
to get ready, and that was an impossibly short time to tie up loose ends and say goodbye to everyone. 
Everyone
being her two or three friends that she actually kept in touch with, and the few she had met recently when she had moved to London on a whim.  She had moved around a lot, mostly in England, but in Scotland too, so more often than not the friends she made were only temporary.  And she was kind of a loner; she only needed one or two friends to be happy and most of the time she didn’t mind being by herself.  It was peaceful that way and when she was alone she could imagine anything she liked… she thought maybe one day she would even write a book. 

As if he knew
Allia would be leaving him behind soon, Morris jumped up into her lap, batting at her hands with his tiny, furry paws.

             
“And what am I going to do with
you
?” 

She thought
for a while about bringing the little kitten with her, but decided that wouldn’t be fair.  Who knew what she would be going back to, and whether Morris would be safe?  No, she would take him to the animal shelter in the morning, and as cute as he was, he would probably be adopted by the end of the day.

             
“It’s been nice having you here, Morris”, she told him with a shuddering sigh.  “I know you’ll have a good life, little guy.” 
I hope I do, too…

 

She cried the next day after she dropped off her kitten to be adopted out to someone else whose life
hadn’t
suddenly been turned upside down, but Allia knew she wasn’t really crying about the cat she had only had for a week and a half.  No, this was about leaving all that had become so familiar to her to go to a place she barely recalled.  And once there, she would have to remember her mother and how she had died to protect her.  A part of her wanted to go back, to feel closer to her, and part wanted to stay just where she was.  She was literally feeling torn between two worlds.

             
“Well, the choice has been taken away from me...  No… that’s not true.  I never really had one, did I?”  With a sigh, Allia gathered her long blond hair into a pony tail and picked up the leather satchel into which she had packed a few personal possessions and the dress she would change into just before she left. Pausing, she took one last look around her apartment, noticing for the first time that it didn’t even really look lived in.  There wasn’t much furniture, and no clutter to speak of, because she didn’t own much beyond the bare essentials.  It dawned on her that her reluctance to accumulate things had always been about the transiency of her life here.  Even when she hadn’t thought about it on a daily basis, in the back of her mind she always knew she’d be going home eventually.  Maybe it was a relief, after all, that the waiting was over and she was going to be somewhere more permanently.  Or at least she could hope.  In truth, she didn’t know what exactly was waiting for her, but she had a feeling deep in her bones that whatever it was would irrevocably change her somehow. 
Strong, usually accurate feelings about people and future events… another one of her family’s talents.

Allia shut the door to her apartment for the last time and locked it, slipping the key under the mat. 
She had decided not to tell the landlord she was leaving, just in case things turned out badly and she had to come back.  And if she didn’t come back… well he’d figure it out when he didn’t get a rent check next month.  She hurried down the steps to catch the next bus for Inverness, and from there to the circle of standing stones deep in the woods that marked one of several portals through time, the very one she had travelled through thirteen years ago. 

BOOK: The Capture of Highland Desire (The Mac Coinnach Brothers)
5.96Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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