Reclaimed (A Highland Historical Trilogy) (The MacKay Banshees 1-3)

BOOK: Reclaimed (A Highland Historical Trilogy) (The MacKay Banshees 1-3)
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Other
Heroes of the Highlands
Novellas

by Kerrigan Byrne

Unspoken

Unwilling

Unwanted

Unleashed – The First Highland Historical Trilogy

Released

Redeemed

Reluctant

And now

Reclaimed – The Second Highland Historical Trilogy

RECLAIMED

 

 

 

 

 

Kerrigan Byrne

Reclaimed © 2013 Kerrigan Byrne

Released © 2013 Kerrigan Byrne

Redeemed © 2013 Kerrigan Byrne

Reluctant © 2013 Kerrigan Byrne

All rights reserved

Amazon Kindle Edition, License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you're reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please purchase your own copy. The ebook contained herein constitutes a copyrighted work and may not be reproduced, transmitted, down-loaded, or stored in or introduced into an information storage and retrieval system in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of the copyright owner, except in the case of brief quotation embodied in critical articles and reviews. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

This ebook is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer's imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental.

Cover Art © 2013 Kelli Ann Morgan / Inspire Creative Services

Interior book design by
Bob Houston eBook Formatting

Dedication

To Darlene Ainge

Your open heart and generosity have touched more people then you will ever know.

You are my hero.

Acknowledgements

As always I want to thank Tiffinie Helmer, Cynthia St. Aubin, and Cindy Stark. You ladies are my true and lovely friends and colleagues. Also, the extent of my weekday social life. Thank you for your tireless encouragement and support.

To the Writers of Imminent Death; Heather Wallace, Heidi Turner, Mikki Kells, Tiffinie Helmer, and Cyndi Olsen. Thank you for being the best part of my work week. We’re going to go far together.

I want to give A LOT of love to
Kerrigan’s Celts
. Every morning I look forward to spending time with you. You all are the reason I do what I do and I can’t imagine being able to repay what you’ve done for me. I want to especially give warm and genuine gratitude to Dawn Sullivan, Amy Byrd, Amanda Pizzo, Janet Juengling-Snell, Tracie Runge, Dannielle Scheuer, Brandy Thornton, Suzanne Goldberg, Sunshine Kath, Kylee Moss, Jennie Nunn, Nicole Garcia, Lori Decker Fenn, Suzi Behar, Robin Fletcher, and Karen Wells. You all keep me in such good company and plenty of laughter.

To Paul Furner and Jessica Menasian – I’ve hardly known truer or more wonderful friends. I cherish each moment we spend together and each thing I learn from the both of you. It’s so rare to find so much inspiration under one roof! Thank you for sharing each of your incredible gifts and talents with me.

To Lynne Harter—I watch you take each day with grace and poise and humor. You motivate me to always strive to be better. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you!

And forever to my Husband—Thank you for your endless encouragement, support, friendship, and love. No matter what I aspire to, I have already achieved the one thing in life that is most important.

RELEASED

 

 

 

 

 

A Highland Historical Novella

Chapter One

If she could muster the courage, she’d burn him alive.

Katriona MacKay floated across one of Dun Keep’s bedchamber floors. She’d waited this long, she could wait until he awoke to kill him.

For untold months she had haunted the ashes of the washhouse with her sisters, keeping soft and helpless vigil at their mother’s side as her burns blistered, bled, infected, healed, and then turned to painful scars. As they kept watch, their anger and despair became hotter than the flames in which they’d met their death.

Katriona’s lips twisted at the sight of Rory MacKay, youngest of the Chieftain’s family. How dare he linger in his father’s well-appointed keep, reaping the benefits of MacKay brutality while his clan starved and his crops wilted?

Shirtless beneath the MacKay tartan,
his
flesh glowed a healthy bronze, stretched taut over thick, rangy, well-fed muscle. Her mother’s skin was now a shiny mass of webbed scars hanging off weak, hungry muscles and old, brittle bones.

His chamber was warm and dry with thick, new furs on the large bed and sturdy, dark wood furniture like the desk he currently occupied.

Katriona snarled as she approached him. The lazy bastard propped his head against a fist and the back of his chair, full lips slightly parted in deep repose. In his lax hand, a quill bled black ink onto a large ledger volume. The circles beneath his eyes were likely from drink rather than exhaustion. His ledger must be a work of fiction, and padded with unfair taxes.

Objectively, Katriona calculated the markedly vast physical differences between Rory and his older twin Angus. Rory outweighed Angus by a few stone, at least. Also Rory’s square jaw, bronze hair, and high cheekbones branded him a McCrimmon, like his mother, whereas Angus, Laird of the MacKay clan and his son, Angus the younger, had long, cruel features, dirty red hair, and bad teeth.

Watching the firelight play across his strong face, Katriona knew that Rory had not been there with his twin the night she and her sisters had died. She would have remembered his handsome face. Even so, she’d found his cursed blood with her magic and before this night was through, he’d be begging for his own life, as she’d begged for hers.

She’d pierce his ears with her cry before she ripped his soul from his body and send it straight to hell. Justice would be a sweet victory she could take to her mother, and perhaps then, she and her sisters could finally rest.

“My Laird!”

Katriona shrank into the shadows as a gangly teen with knobby knees sprouting from beneath his kilt burst into the room. He waved a missive with a broken seal above his wild brown hair.

Rory leapt from his desk and drew his sword, pointing it at the boy’s eye with unerring accuracy.

The lad skidded to a halt mere inches from the lethal point and both men stood for a moment, their chests heaving.

Rory lowered his sword and ran a hand over his face. “Forgive me, Baird, I must have drifted off.”

“It’s all right. Angus would have cut me for certain.” The boy tapped a finger to a scar stretching from his chin to his ear.

A muscle twitched in Rory’s braw neck. “What brings ye?”

“This.” Baird shoved the letter to him. “I canna read, but Lorne told me it was important. A messenger arrived with it not five minutes ago. He’s waiting in the hall for yer response.”

Rory took the paper and quickly scanned the missive. “Fucking Lowlanders.” He crumpled the note and tossed into the fire.

“What is it, Laird?” Baird’s voice cracked on the question.

Rory glared into the flames, his fist clenching tight on his sword.

Katriona frowned. ‘Twas the second time the boy had called Rory
Laird.
Yet he was merely the youngest son of the current Laird, Angus. Perhaps they bestowed upon him the honorary title while his brother and father were off terrorizing the Highlands?

“Laird Fraser said he wouldna make the journey until spring.” Rory slid his sword back to its scabbard. “Tis only Candlemas.”

Katriona found herself momentarily distracted by the play of torchlight and shadow across the muscles of his back.

“Fraser?” Baird squawked. “He’s coming now?”

“According to the missive, he’ll be here as soon as tomorrow.”

“But isna that good news? He’ll bring yer betrothed, Lady Kathryn, with him, along with her dowry."

Rory’s face darkened from exhausted to irate. “Aye. But look around ye lad, we’re not ready to host one of the richest men in Scotland.”

It didn’t matter. Katriona’s lips cracked into a wicked smile. After tonight, the Fraser and his poor daughter, Kathryn, would arrive in time to attend Rory’s funeral. And, if her sisters had any luck, they could mourn the deaths of all three worthless MacKay nobles.

“I’ll get Lorne to rouse the house, Laird, we’ll work through the night to ready yer keep. We’ll do whatever it takes.”

Katriona’s stomach twisted at the loyal veneration in the young lad’s eyes. Didn’t he understand the evil this man and his family wrought upon their clan?

“I thank ye, Baird.” Rory’s eyes gentled. “And tell yer brother to give the messenger our Highland hospitality. I’ll be down to help in a moment.”

“Right away.” Baird sprang for the door, but paused with his hand on the knob. “There’s—one other thing,” he said, with obvious reluctance.

“Aye?” Rory lifted his eyes to the ceiling as though praying for strength.

“Some of the men want to go after the washer woman. Everyone’s saying she’s a witch. That she killed her own girls in that fire and deserves to burn.”

Don’t you bloody dare.
Katriona thought, her heart pounding as she fought a surge of her deadly magic. She couldn’t kill the innocent. She had to wait for the boy to leave.

“Does ‘everyone’ happen to be Bridget and Ennis?” Rory asked.

Baird looked down. “They said they spied a blue light coming from her ruins. That she was heard talking with demons.”

Katriona scowled. She’d been talking with her murdered daughters. Ones who dared any man to attack their home again.

Rory absently waved a hand at the boy. “Tell Lorne and the men to leave the woman be. She’s survived a terrible accident and lost her entire family.” He slammed the ledger closed, his wide shoulders dropping as though laden with a heavy weight. “‘Tis enough to drive anyone a little mad.”

“Yes, Laird.” Baird dipped his head and quit the room, his footsteps fading down the hall.

A terrible
accident?

Cold fury wound its way through Katriona’s soul, weaving dark bonds of hatred with her magic.

A little
mad?

Power vibrated in whatever matter that manifested into her miasma of blue and white until she threw the full force of her glow into the room. Behind that, she emitted a keen so shrill and horrid that Rory’s hands flew to his ears.

BOOK: Reclaimed (A Highland Historical Trilogy) (The MacKay Banshees 1-3)
11.27Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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