Authors: Alyssa Morgan
Tags: #Historical Romance, #Curse, #Modern Romance, #Highlanders, #Scotland, #Love Story, #Immortal, #Contemporary Romance, #Scotland Highland
|The Warlord Forever|
|Phaze Books (2012)|
|Tags:||Historical Romance, Curse, Modern Romance, Highlanders, Scotland, Love Story, Immortal, Contemporary Romance, Scotland Highland|
An immortal warlord. A magical curse. And the woman who sets him free...
Ian Fletcher has grown weary of his unnaturally long life. After being tricked by the Queen of the Faeries into drinking an immortal potion, there is no way to end his suffering. Except for one. A magical curse that can lay him to rest inside a sealed tomb forever.
He just never expected he'd remain awake through the centuries...
Kenna Douglas is an independent, modern day woman, who doesn't need a man for anything, but deep down she yearns to find her knight in shining armor. As she tries to solve the mystery behind her uncle's sudden death in Scotland, and unlock the secrets of the ancient tomb he discovered, she is haunted by dreams of a strange man from another time. A warlord who wants her to release him from his dark prison.
But how can she open the warlord's tomb without releasing the curse? Kenna has to decide what she wants more--to find out what really lies within the tomb, or leave it sealed forever and not know. Either way, her life will never be the same again.
The Warlord Forever
Published by Phaze Books
Also by Alyssa Morgan
The Warlord’s Promise
The Warlord’s Revenge
This is an explicit and erotic novel
intended for the enjoyment
of adult readers. Please keep
out of the hands of children.
The Warlord Forever
Copyright © 2012 by Alyssa Moran
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Edited by Judy Bagshaw
Cover Art © 2012 by Niki Browning
First Edition July 2012
An imprint of Mundania Press LLC
6457 Glenway Ave., #109
Cincinnati, OH 45211
All rights reserved under the International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher, Mundania Press LLC, 6457 Glenway Avenue, #109, Cincinnati, Ohio 45211, [email protected]
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
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Highlands of Scotland: 1183
“Are you sure of this?”
Ian glanced up at the beautiful Fey hovering over him as he lay inside his stone tomb. Her red hair fell over her shoulders, and her dress was a perfect match to the deep, green shade of her eyes. Ian had never been more sure of anything. He was weary.
“Aye.” He gave a decided nod. “‘Tis the only way I will find peace, Illora.”
He prayed the Fey spell would work, and that he wouldn’t fall victim to another trick of the magical people who inhabited his homeland.
Tuatha de’ Danaan
. The Fairy Folk. Illora was the only one whom he trusted. It was clear she was in love with him, so why would she have reason to betray him?
“You will lie in motionless slumber until someone reads the inscription on the coffin and awakens you.” The enchanting Fey reminded him of the fate he was about to accept. “Because of your immortality, you could remain entombed forever.”
“Then I shall be blessed for the repose.” He had already considered the consequences of his choice. It was the alternative that frightened him. “Never again will I have to watch all those I love grow old and perish.”
“You don’t have to be alone.” Illora took one of his hands and laid it against her soft cheek “Stay with me,” she pleaded.
“I canna.” Ian brushed his fingers over her smooth skin before pulling his hand away.
Illora was a beautiful, gentle creature,a woman he could happily marry, but he had no place in her world. Nor did he have a place in his own. If the Queen of the Faeries hadn’t given him that damned potion, he might have had a chance at a normal life.
She’d only been giving him what he wanted. She promised the potion would grant him strength and endurance. That it would make him the greatest warrior in all the land. Undefeatable in battle. Only after he’d taken the potion did the Queen tell him he’d been gifted with the immortality of their race.
Four hundred years later, his immortality was hardly a gift.
It was a curse
. One he wanted to be freed from. Illora had taken pity on him and promised a cure.
Ian would never serve that bitch Queen after she’d so willfully tricked him, and he could no longer allow himself to love a mortal human and suffer the pain of their death, so this was his only choice.
It was the only way he could die.
“Do it now,” he ordered. “I am ready to leave this world.”
Illora closed her eyes, her melodic voice reciting the spell that would lay him to rest. The heavy stone lid fell into place above him, sealing him in darkness. As he felt the world starting to fade away, he drew in one last deep breath, and was comforted in knowing no one else would ever have to bear the endless misery his own life had become.
The remainder of the Queen’s immortal potion was in a whisky flask stuffed inside his boot.
Los Angeles: Present Day
Kenna let out a miserable groan when she saw David Wilkes through the peephole of the front door. Couldn’t the antiquities dealer give her a break? He’d shown up at the house, unannounced, every day since the story made the news. Her beloved uncle was barely in the grave, and his recent find from Scotland had only arrived in the States three days ago.
More like vulture
Kenna threw open the heavy wooden door and greeted David with a hostile glare, not bothering to hide her irritation at seeing him standing on the front steps. She hated that she found the tall, lean man handsome, in a skeevy sort of way. His expensive haircut and straight white teeth made him seem too perfect. His navy designer suit was pressed and creased in all the right places. His tie a tight Windsor knot. Loafers polished and shiny. No one was put together that well all the time. It made her wonder what he was trying to hide.
And she knew he was hiding something. She’d been gifted with an uncanny sixth sense, an ability to see and sense things others couldn’t. Her uncle told her it was in her Scottish blood, a special gift their people had inherited, and her “gift” screamed to life whenever David Wilkes was near. She didn’t like having him around, but she was curious to find out why he wanted her uncle’s treasure so badly. What was he after? The man couldn’t hide behind that slick veneer forever.
Not from her
“Mr. Wilkes.” She mustered a pleasant tone and pasted on a phony smile. Not an easy task with a man like this. “I’m surprised to see you back again so soon.”
She wasn’t at all surprised. The guy was becoming rather predictable. And annoyingly persistent. He was almost worse than the reporters.
“Ms. Douglas, how many times have I asked you to call me David?” His smile was stiff and artificial.
It made her cautious. He wasn’t the kind of man you turned your back on, or you might find a knife plunged into it.
“Considering we only have a professional relationship, I see no reason to address you so informally,” she replied coolly.
She hoped he wasn’t going to try making his way into the house to get another look at the rare find her uncle had made. Duncan Douglas had unearthed a mummy in the Highlands of Scotland. Not something one found every day. The fact that it wasn’t Egyptian made it even stranger.
The media was in an absolute hysteria over the discovery, from the papers in London, to every news channel in Los Angeles. If it wasn’t David Wilkes banging down the door, it was reporters. All wanting a look at the mystery her uncle had unearthed. All wanting answers to questions she couldn’t give them.
Kenna wanted all of them to go away.
Left to their own devices, the press had started a story claiming the mummy was cursed because her uncle had died the day after he’d discovered the ancient tomb. They were convinced that disturbing the Scottish warlord laid to rest within the tomb was responsible for his sudden death. Kenna was superstitious enough to consider the possibility of such a curse, especially with something of Scottish origin, but she needed some time alone to go over everything that had arrived from Scotland and was stored safely in her uncle’s study.
Because her uncle had died on his quest, and because he’d made some kind of prior arrangement with the Scottish government, all of the findings and notes were returned to the States as his property, along with his body.
David Wilkes had been a part of the small excavation team in Scotland with her uncle, and he now believed he had certain rights to the find with her uncle dead and the only other team member wanting nothing to do with the whole drama. Kenna knew his claims of ownership weren’t valid, nor did she have to allow him to see a thing. She and her cousin, Evan, were the sole heirs to the estate of Duncan Douglas, and they had inherited everything equally, including the mess with the media and the dead warlord in the study.
Behind her, Evan strolled into the foyer. His Prada shoes shuffled over the marble floor, his white silk shirt was un-tucked from his pants and hanging open, and he held a glass of scotch in his hand. “Back again so soon?” He stopped to look at David, who was hovering impatiently in the doorway.
Evan’s shaggy dark hair fell just below his ears. His good looks made him irresistible to women, which was why he never resisted. Kenna thought currently he was stringing four or five ladies along, but she couldn’t keep up with his libido.
“Mr. Douglas.” David’s slick smile faded as he greeted her cousin. “I see you’ve started in with the evening’s libations.”
“It’s Friday.” Evan took a swallow of his scotch. “And five o’clock somewhere. Would you care to come in and have a drink?”
Kenna shot Evan a warning look over her shoulder. What the hell was he thinking inviting the vulture in? She wanted to get rid of David so she could go back to her uncle’s journal. She finally found some time to go over the notes he’d made in Scotland, and she was finding some very interesting stuff.
Duncan Douglas had been born in Scotland in 1949. He’d been raised in the land of castles, bagpipes and whisky, on tales of the Loch Ness monster, magic and faeries. His favorite tale had been of an ancient Scottish warlord known as Ian the Great. It was told the Queen of the Faeries had given him an immortal potion, and then later banished him for being a disobedient servant by sealing him in a tomb deep in the Highland caves. It’s believed he was buried with the Queen’s secret to immortality, and that whoever found him and released him from the tomb would be granted with the gift of eternal life.
Her uncle had been looking for the tomb’s location in the Highlands of Scotland for years. It had been a life’s work for him. Almost an obsession. Had he hoped to receive immortality? Or had he simply wanted to find the tomb? To prove its existence. It was obvious that finding it had been important to her uncle, and she intended to find out why. Kenna was resolved to finish the work he’d started. She owed him that much.
“I’d love to take you up on that drink.” David came through the door, brushed past Kenna into the high-ceilinged foyer, and strode over to Evan. “I’ve also come up with a few more questions. Having such limited access to the treasure, I have to take every opportunity I’m allowed to study it.”
Kenna slammed the front door closed as the two men went into her uncle’s study. She did not appreciate being so easily disregarded because of her gender. She was quickly learning that, even in this day and age, the world of archaeology was largely dominated by men. David was an idiot to be looking for any answers from her cousin.
Evan wasn’t interested in his father’s latest acquisition. He trusted Kenna to fill him in on the important details and didn’t care to sift through the scribblings of his father. A father who had been absent for most of his life. More concerned with ancient ruins than his own son.
Kenna could relate to Evan’s feelings of resentment. Her own parents had been just as absent in her life. World travelers and treasure hunters who were more interested in what had happened in the past than what was going on in the present with their only daughter. When they died at sea, leaving her an orphan at the age of thirteen, her uncle had been appointed as her legal guardian through their will, and Evan had become the big brother she’d always wanted. They only had each other in this lonely world.
“How can we be certain it’s actually the tomb of Ian the Great if we can’t open it?” David was questioning Evan as Kenna entered the study. “Your uncle said the engravings do not positively identify who is buried inside, but he believed opening the tomb would reveal everything.” He rested his hand on the solid gray stone of the tomb’s lid, running his fingers over the engravings.
Kenna resisted the urge to slap his hand away. She felt possessive of the tomb and didn’t want his touch anywhere on it.
“We’ve had no success with opening the tomb.” Evan handed David a glass of scotch, the amber liquid changing shades with the flickering flames in the fireplace beside them.
“Surely there must be a way,” David professed, taking the drink in his perfectly manicured hand. “Have you tried a jackhammer?”
“You can’t be serious!” Kenna burst out. Of all the asinine ideas. And he called himself an expert. “I do not want the tomb desecrated. The engravings, though they may be worthless, are still probably worth more than the pile of bones you’ll find inside.” She plopped down in the leather chair behind her uncle’s desk where she’d left his journal, along with a Gaelic dictionary from one of the many bookshelves and her own pages of notes and scribbles.
She’d been deciphering some of the things her uncle had written in Gaelic, wondering why he’d done so in the first place, and her next step was to decipher the writing carved into the lid of the tomb. If her uncle thought he’d found the Holy Grail of Scotland, the remains of Ian the Great, then surely the writing would hold some clue as to who was inside. As ridiculous as it seemed, her uncle had spent his life chasing the legend, and though most thought it wasn’t real, there was a considerable amount of interest in it all of a sudden. And that sparked her interest.
“Neither one of you knows Gaelic?” David looked from Evan to Kenna, appalled.
“No, Mr. Wilkes.” She clenched her jaw to keep from lashing out at him. “Growing up in Los Angeles, we felt it more beneficial to learn Spanish.”
How she wished she’d paid more attention to the things her uncle had tried to teach her about her Scottish heritage. She’d thought it was all nonsense, the ramblings of an old man, but now, she wasn’t so sure.
Kenna narrowed her gaze at David. “I wonder why my uncle dragged you along on his expedition when you have no grasp of the language yourself.”
Why had her uncle involved him at all?
“My primary focus is Egyptology, which makes me an expert on mummified human remains.”
“But what if the remains aren’t mummified?” she challenged. “I don’t imagine the ancient Scots were as civilized as the Egyptians. Or better yet, what if there’s no body at all? What if it’s just an empty box?”
“It can’t be empty,” he insisted. “There has to be something inside.”
“Something that will bestow immortality?” She noticed David flinch at her words.
Evan looked at her in shock. She hadn’t told her cousin what she’d learned so far.
“What could you possibly know about it?” David grew agitated, defensive. “That’s merely a legend, made up to entertain children with bedtime stories. Perhaps you should stick to buying shoes and handbags, Ms. Douglas, and leave the real archaeology to the experts.”
“There’s no need to be rude, Mr. Wilkes,” Evan said, moving away from the bar next to the fireplace and slowly approaching him. “And if you ever speak to my cousin like that again, you won’t be welcome in this house.”
Kenna smiled on the inside. Evan had always been her protector. He’d always stood up for her.
“I was merely trying to make my point that she should let those who found the tomb determine whether it has any value or not.”
Kenna regarded David carefully. “With my uncle dead and Mr. Flemming’s rather strange disappearance, you’re the only one left,” she pointed out. “And seeing as how you know so little about Scottish history and legend, I’d say you’re not qualified.”