Plead Forgiveness (Loyalty Series)

BOOK: Plead Forgiveness (Loyalty Series)
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Plead
Forgiveness

AURY
DOBSYN

 

I dedicate this book to my parents, who not only gave me
unconditional love and constant encouragement; they gave me the wisdom and
strength to follow my dreams.

Plead Forgiveness

Aury Dobsyn

Copyright © 2012 Aury
Dobsyn

All rights reserved.
Except as permitted under U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this
publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by
any means, or
stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission
of the publisher.

ISBN 10 147839708X

 ISBN 13  9781478397083

Printed in the United
States of America

Book
Design by Stephen Zadrozny

Prologue

 

ENGLAND 1228

 

“Oh, Mama, what a beautiful burn!” Isabel exclaimed,
completely enchanted by England, the land of her mother’s birth. “Can we stop
to swim afore continuing on to Greystone? We have been traveling for days in
this brutal heat, and we are nae far from Aunt Eleanor’s home.”

 “Aye, Isabel,” Emma said with a chuckle, unable
to deny her youngest child the small request. “But, nae dawdling. I am anxious
to see my sister.”

A wide grin took shape as she watched her only
daughter strip down to her chemise and dive into the water. At ten summers,
Isabel was a complete tomboy, which was due to having with three older
brothers. However, she was a beautiful child, who promised to be a stunning
woman in the years to come.

With her mother’s emerald eyes, her father’s
charismatic smile, and the blonde hair she inherited from both her parents,
Isabel was the pride of the Mackenzie Clan. However, it was not her bonny
appearance that made her so special; it was her pure heart, generous nature and
limitless energy.

Emma was especially proud of her daughter’s insatiable
thirst for knowledge and ingenuity in the healing arts. Being well educated and
a healer herself, she cherished the time spent with her daughter and bestowing
the wisdom upon she valued so highly.

After swimming the length of the burn and back, Isabel
took hold of her mother’s feet as they dangled in the water. “Mama, tell me how
ye and Papa met.”

“You have heard this story a hundred times,” Emma said
affectionately.

“Please, Mama. I forget.”

“Very well,” she conceded, “but you will have to be
content with the short version.” Her daughter vigorously nodded.

“Eleven years ago I was kidnapped by the most feared
warrior in the land, Laird Alex Mackenzie. He was a Highlander reputed to be
merciless on and off the battlefield. He also vehemently loathed the English.
Yet, despite this animosity, he abducted me in hopes I would be able to cure
his beloved son who had fallen gravely ill.”

“Even at ten and eight, ye were well sought after for
yer healing skills in both England and Scotland,” Isabel added.

“Aye, but many believed the boy would die before a
healer could be brought to their home in the highlands. However, your father
refused to give up on his child. Against the wishes of his clan and neighboring
clans, he set aside his hatred and pride all for the love of his son.”

“’Tis why ye fell in love with him,” Isabel offered.

“’Aye, ‘tis one of the many reasons I fell in love
him.”

“And Papa fell in love with ye because ye saved his
son’s life?”

“That is a question you should ask your papa when he
arrives. Now, where was I?”

With youthful delight, Isabel said, “Ye married papa
soon after arriving in the highlands, and without the approval of yer father or
King Henry.”

“Aye, but Scotland and England had just signed a Peace
Treaty, and both kings acknowledged that our marriage would help unite the two
countries.”

“But even if the king had nae agreed to the match,
papa and my brothers wouldnae let ye go.”

Emma sighed with contentment thinking about those
glorious days with Alex and his three sons. From the moment she met the lads,
they had captured her heart along with their father. Alex Mackenzie was a widow
whose first wife had died giving birth to their third son.

“Nae, lass, it was I who would not let them go,” Emma
stated.

“How old were my brothers when ye met them?”

“Keir had just turned eight, Guy was five and Hamon
was only two summers. Now my wee boys are 11 years older.”

“Mama, they are nae wee boys, but verra large men,”
Isabel giggled. “At least Keir and Guy are verra large men.”

“Hamon will be just as large as his brothers, you wait
and see,” Emma lovingly chided.

“Ye really ought to come join me, Mama.” With a
mischievous grin across her face, Isabel continued, “Remember when I was
younger and ye dove in the water to save me, not kenning the boys already
taught me to swim.”

"What I remember is that my daughter of only five
summers jumped into the loch without her brothers or father,” Emma admonished
as she slipped into the icy water. “Do you know that my heart stopped beating
when I caught sight of you in the water with nobody around but me. And I was
deathly afraid of the water.” She tried to pull off a fierce scowl so her
daughter would know how frightened she had been.

"Mama, ye were so magnificent that day. Everybody
says so. I ne’er kenned ye could run so fast," Isabel said trying to
appease her mother. "Ye towed me out of the water with such haste, I dinna
even think ye realized that you swam for the first time in your life. At least
until Papa came."

"Aye, I remember screaming like a banshee until
your father told me the boys had taught you to swim, and that you weren’t in
danger. I was so furious with them,” Emma said with conviction. "I should
have been told, but your father and brothers seemed to think I would worry
myself sick."

"Ye would have, and we so hoped to surprise ye.
Papa thought if I learned, ye would want to do the same.” Isabel put her arms
around her mother’s waist and pulled her further into the water.

"Aye, and I did with nae help from your father or
brothers."

"Just me, right Mama?”

"Aye, just you. Twas nae how I would have wished
to learn to swim, but it proved to be quite effective.”

Using the pet name her father bestowed upon their
daughter since the time she was a babe, Emma asked, “Bella, do you know how
special you are to me?"

With her legs around her mother’s waist and head on
her shoulder, Isabel said with assurance, “I ken ye love me with all yer heart,
just as I love ye. Other girls’ mamas dinna talk or play with their daughters,
only give them orders, but ye teach me how to heal people and animals. I will
be a great healer like ye someday.” Her youthful voice was filled with
adoration.

“You have your father’s silver tongue,” Emma
acknowledged as she tightened her arms around her daughter. “However, you speak
the truth. I do love you, more than my own life in fact. I have taught you
skills that will be very useful in the years ahead. The healing arts as well as
reading and riding are all skills you seemed to excel at, as did I when I was
your age.

"How did ye learn to ride so well?"

"My father firmly believes that daily exercise
reduces physical ailments, so he insisted I ride daily ."

“Who taught ye how to use the bow?"

"The same person who taught you."

"Papa?"

Chuckling, she explained, "Aye, he was a patient
teacher and . . ."

Emma stopped suddenly, and then dashed to the bank of
the stream, carrying her daughter protectively in her arms.

"Isabel, you must stay here and hide,” Emma said
with fear evident in her voice. “Where’s your dagger?"

"’Tis in my boot. Mama, are we in danger?"

"I pray not, but we must use caution." Emma
raced to retrieve their clothes and the dagger. “Dress with haste, sweetling.”

Struggling to put her dress on over her wet chemise,
Isabel cried, "Mama, please tell me-"

Emma pulled her daughter into her arms and said, “You,
your father, and your brothers have made my life complete. I love you all, and
that will never change.”

"Mama, why are ye telling me this? Ye sound as if
. . . Mama?"

Emma quickly kissed her daughter’s tear streaked face
and said, “I only tell you what is in my heart. Now, listen well. You must stay
here behind this boulder until I am out of sight, and then make haste to
Westshire Abby. We passed it naught an hour ago. Can you do that for me, my
love?"

Isabel solemnly nodded her head, sensing the import of
this conversation. When her mother started to walk away, she cried out, "I
love ye, Mama! Please come back to me."

With tears in her eyes, she looked over her shoulder
and vowed, "I will always be with you, my precious angel."

Those were Emma’s last words to her daughter.

 

Emma walked the thirty paces to where she had first
glimpsed her sister’s husband, Phillip of Canbury, standing over the lifeless
body of her father. Creeping through the dense foliage, she heard the
unmistakable sound of clashing swords before she saw the deadly battle through
the break in the trees. The warriors that escorted her and her daughter to
England had been ensnared by ruthless outlaws who were no doubt led by Philip.

Emma wanted to flee to the abbey with Isabel, but her
daughter had a better chance of escaping the danger that surrounded them if she
travelled alone. Phillip had not been privy to the knowledge that Isabel
accompanied her parents to England. And Emma prayed he was still ignorant of
that fact.

 Her sister Eleanor had written numerous letters
conveying her happiness with the first year of marriage to Philip, and that
they were expecting their first child. Emma and Alex had accepted the
invitation to come to England under the belief that Philip no longer held
animosity towards them.

Icy fear twisted in Emma’s stomach for Eleanor and her
unborn child due this month. The thought of them at the mercy of the man who
had murdered William Fitzpeter, Baron of Greystone, made her chest tighten with
pain.

She should have known, Emma told herself. In her heart
she had always been afraid of Philip, but the love for her sister made her
blind to his true sadistic nature. His sword was still stained with the blood
of her and Eleanor’s father. Philip’s motive was reprisal against her and her
husband, Emma quickly realized.

Clenching the dagger in her hand, Emma stalked Philip
from behind until she stood a few paces away. With tears blurring her vision
and her heart pounding in her chest, she lunged forward with the deadly weapon
raised high. Her intent was to stab him in the back, just as he had done to her
father.

Hearing the faint rustle of leaves from behind, Philip
turned suddenly and halted the downward strike of the dagger. With a menacing
growl, he threw her to the ground, and then stepped on her hand as she went for
the fallen weapon.

Yanking the dagger from her grasp, Philip sneered,
“Did you honestly think you would be able to kill me?”

Emma looked into the cruel, black eyes of Eleanor’s
husband. Philip was five years from two score in age, with hair the color of a
moonless night and a frame that bespoke of endless years of hard training. With
the exception of the two scars that ran down the length of one cheek, his
appearance had not changed since she had last seen him 11 years ago.

 “You will die,” she said with revulsion.

“Nae, Emma, for it is your life that will end this
day.”

“Why?”

 “You were betrothed to me from birth,” he
laughed scornfully. “Your weak father decreed that you wouldnae marry until you
were ten and eight. Like a fool, I patiently waited for you.”

Emma tried to scramble to her feet so that she might
be able to take flight, but her attempt failed. With loathing, Philip kicked
her in the stomach then continued his ranting, “A sennight before our union,
you ran away with Mackenzie. Like a bitch in heat, you whored yourself with a
dirty Scot!” he roared.

BOOK: Plead Forgiveness (Loyalty Series)
13.29Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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