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Authors: Seonaid

Becca St.John

BOOK: Becca St.John
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SEONAID

 

BY

 

BECCA ST. JOHN

 

 

 

A shamed woman,

a lad with a tarnished legacy,

& the man who loved them both

 

 

Seonaid©2014 Martha E. Ferris

All rights reserved

 

ISBN-13:

978-1502583802

 

ISBN-10:

1502583801

 

Cover Art © 2014 Kelli Ann Morgan / Inspire Creative Services

www.inspirecreativeservices.com

 

Edited by

Barb Wilson ~  http://www.editpartner.com

Nancy D. Wall, Wordsmith ~ [email protected]

 

 

This book is a work of fiction. References to real people, events, establishments, organizations, or locales are intended only to provide a sense of authenticity, and are used fictitiously. All other characters, and all incidents and dialogue, are drawn from the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real.

 

 

WARNING:  This book deals with the aftermath of incestuous abuse. It does not titillate or romanticize, but bears witness to the journey of a survivor and the power of love to transform.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

CHAPTER 1 ~ THE JOURNEY
CHAPTER 2 ~ ADVENTURES
CHAPTER 3 ~ CAPTURE
CHAPTER 4 ~ THREE ON THE ROAD
CHAPTER 5  ~  BOGGY PLACES
CHAPTER 6  ~  DESTINATIONS
CHAPTER 7  ~  SEDUCTION
CHAPTER 8  ~  A SHIP
CHAPTER 9  ~  CAUGHT
CHAPTER 10  ~  OUTNUMBERED
CHAPTER 11  ~  FACING THE ENEMY
CHAPTER 12  ~  SEPARATION
CHAPTER 13  ~  A NEW MOTHER
CHAPTER 14  ~  CONFESSION
CHAPTER 15 ~ OUTWITTED
CHAPTER 16 ~ ENOUGH
CHAPTER 17 ~ CONCESSION
CHAPTER 18 ~ THE MEETING
CHAPTER 19 ~ BEAUTIFUL ODE
CHAPTER 20 ~ STORIES TOLD
CHAPTER 21 ~ A NAME IS BUT A NAME
CHAPTER 22 ~ HIGHLAND SONG
CHAPTER 23 ~ A FAMILY
EXCERPT ~ AN INDEPENDENT MISS
NOTES FROM BECCA
VICTIMS OF TABOO
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

 

CHAPTER 1 ~ THE JOURNEY

 

Evil ran in Lochlan’s blood.

The same blood that ran in her veins, in her son’s.

Seonaid squeezed Deian’s hand as they stood, high upon a fold of the mountain. Cottages, their cottage, far below, no larger than a knot on a tapestry, as if distance could shrink longing to a speck on her heart.

Tall and stoic as the land around them, Seonaid allowed herself one last look. Impatient, as any five year old, Deian tugged her hand, wanting to be off.

They would be gone, soon enough, but first she filled her heart with a last look at the only home she’d ever known.

Glen Toric.

Its familiar bustle of life too far away to be seen. The breeze dried unacknowledged tears. She refused the weakness, accepted her choice. They’d slipped out in the dark, before dawn’s chorus. Padraig the only one to know of their leaving.

You could marry me.

Oh, that he asked, a mere four words she would cling to for the rest of her life. The harsh hope in his voice, for her, a lass who dressed like a man, trained in the art of hunting and warfare, too full of secrets to speak.

She could not marry him. She could never marry anyone, refused to be sorry as stubbornly as she refused weakness. Life held other treasures. She gazed at her son, awed such sweetness and strength would bless her life after the horror of his conception.

That he was her brother’s son. Lochlan’s son.

Would she have fought so hard, to nearly die in the violence of begetting, if she’d known this child would become her heart? Would the poor mite turn, like his father had, from a loving, laughing lad to a cruel and twisted man?

God, please, let it be like eyes and hair, let him be free of that curse.

Fears nearly crippled her while Deian, so trusting in tomorrow, stood at her side looking the other way, toward their future, as if the endless ripple of land held the promise of great grand adventures.

A lot of nothingness was what it held. Mountains, their long arms squeezing a valley filled with ominous shadows, hiding who knew what. No dwellings or fires’ smoke to warn of others, just a vast expanse of God’s green earth. An emptiness they must face.

Later.

Just the two of them. A disgraced woman and her five-year-old lad.

“You’re hurtin’ my hand, Mama.” Deian tugged at her hold.

Chastened, she released him, certain this was just the first of many mistakes she would make. What did she know of caring for a wee lad? The young widow Deidre, and her sister Ingrid, had raised Deian, kept the cottage, garden in good order. In turn, Seonaid hunted, farmed, ensured safety. Such a simple plan.

Nothing was that easy. Consequences loomed, far worse than a hand sore from being held too tightly. Like a boil, festering and wicked, shame stuffed deep inside wrested its way to the surface, so now the whole clan knew of their humiliation, their family’s disgrace.

Word of it would spread across the vast highlands. How, she hadn’t a clue, but gossip spread faster than the wind could blow. No hope for it, they must carry on to escape the scandal. No more views of her beloved home.

Deian hunkered down, exploring a rabbit hole he’d just found.

“I’ll race ya’,” she challenged.

Face scrunched with fierce determination, he hurtled down the hillside, too fast for his short legs. Three leaps and he tipped, head over tail, tumbled, curling into a ball, gaining speed as he rolled down the slope. Seonaid scrambled to catch him, heart stopping with each missed jagged stone or huge chunk of rock. Good Lord, he’d kill himself!

Except he didn’t. He rolled to standing, glanced backward, eyes dark with challenge before charging forward again, uncaring of torn hose, or scraped and bleeding knee.

Competitive, he was. Seonaid bent over, breathing in great draughts of fear, putting it back where it belonged, deep inside. She’d give him a chance. He’d earned that much. A chance for Deian to win, without a black cloud plaguing him.

“I did it! I beat you!” He jumped up and down, fists pummeling the air as though he could reach the sky, punch through a cloud.

“You won,” she agreed, striding down the hillside. She’d paid a price for that win. Parenthood shattered nerves she hadn’t known she had. It was his turn to have a shock.

Without warning, she swooped down, grabbed him round the middle, swung him up over her shoulder.

“Come, you.” She looked to where her mount grazed just a wee bit further down the slope. “Call for Peregrine.”

Deian warbled like a sick little tufted titmouse, though he managed the telltale bend in the song. Peregrine lifted his head, shook it, then returned to grazing. Seonaid lowered Deian to the ground. “You couldna’ get the right air hangin’ over my shoulder. Try again.”

This time, Deian’s whistle rang clear, true. Peregrine lifted his head, took a step, before starting to lower his muzzle again. Once more Deian whistled, but this time an edge of anger gained Peregrine’s full attention.

Seonaid sighed. Control with anger was far too close to her brother’s ways. She didn’t want Deian to be anything like him.

Peregrine reached them, Seonaid flipped open a saddlebag, found another bag inside, and undid the tie. “Here you go, get a handful of this.” She lifted Deian so he could do as she said, coming up with a handful of oats. Lowering him, she led him over to face the horse. “Open your hand, let Peregrine have the treat.”

Deian giggled and pulled back with the tickle of Peregrine’s lips. Again, she gripped him around the middle, hoisted him onto the mount’s back. “Stroke his neck; let him know you’re pleased with him. You’ll have better control with reward than punishment.”

“He didna’ come when I called.”

“Wasna’ my whistle. He’s still learnin’ yours and he’s here now.” She closed up the oats, tucked them into the saddlebag. “Let’s go.” Reins in hand, she led the way on foot. “We’ll stop at the river tonight.”

“And we’ll sleep outside?”

“Oh, aye, we’ll sleep under the stars.” Out of doors, with no fire to draw attention. No fire for warmth or to ward off prey.

BOOK: Becca St.John
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