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Mairi is the object of hate and scorn for Lady Agnes who has never been able to bear a child to term. Mairi discovers her stepmother is having an affair with a member of a rival clan, and Agnes in her rage, commits an unforgivable act of violence upon Mairi. While being tended to by her clan’s healer, Mairi becomes delirious, and begs the powers that be for deliverance. The fates have delivered their promise in the form of Finbar MacGowan.
Finbar MacGowan is chieftain to Clan MacGowan. The pleas of an impoverished rival chieftain to marry his daughter intrigue him, and he decides to take him up on his offer. However, he is plagued by visions and dreams of a scarred maid with a gentle heart–a carrier of two dark secrets. She is calling to him, but is the maid he is sworn to marry one and the same woman?
“Finn, the others want to know when the hell this mist is going to lift,” Duncan complained. “I dinna know what to tell them.”
“I dinna ken why the weather works the way it does, Duncan. I am just as lost as you are!” Finn grumbled. This damnable mist was as thick as gruel and sat low and heavy upon the land. There was no question of travel until it lifted. They had been making good time this past sennight and were just hours away from Lachlan Keep. But as frustrated as he was, it was not Duncan’s fault. “Tell them to get ready, I think ‘twill pass soon.”
Duncan found his horse and re-mounted without further conversation.
To Finn’s surprise, the mist indeed began to lift and melt away. The travelling would be easier now for certain. He felt confident enough to urge his horse into a brisk trot. His gaze roamed the hills taking in the beauty of the Lachlan lands. It was to his fortune that his bride’s dowry had a sea access. It meant even greater access to trade, and he would pay less overland fees since it shortened the distance the goods had to travel. His eyes settled on the crest of a particular nearby hillock and he abruptly pulled his horse to a stop.
“By Jesu!” he said lowly, looking at the mounted figure.
“What is it now?” Duncan pulled up beside him.
“There!” He pointed toward the figure. The mist had cleared to a mere wisp of what it was, and Duncan saw the figure at last.
“God’s teeth! I know who that is!” Duncan cried. “‘Tis the Gray Lady, I swear it.”
“That ghost nonsense?” Finn’s eyes never once left the figure upon the large white mare. She had the mare trotting in place, then rearing, calling to him.
“Aye! She’s calling you. ‘Tis said she brings fortune if you find the embroidered cloth she drops, but woe betide the poor bastard who lays a hand on her!”
By now the men had seen her, too, and urged Finn to follow. The vision of the woman was hypnotic, and he could not tear his gaze, or his thoughts from her.
“I will catch her. The Gray Lady is mine,” he fair growled the words and spurred his eager stallion to a mad gallop.
“Finn!” Duncan called to no avail. Cursing, he kneed his horse to follow.
~ * ~
The night had looked to be such a fine night for a ride. Often a long ride did much to clear her mind. This would give her a chance to sort out her thoughts, perhaps plan a way out of her predicament. Or so Mairi had thought. Now she waited upon the hillock, occasionally trotting in a circle to alleviate Epona’s boredom. She knew no one would be roaming the hills when they knew MacGowans would be on their way to Lachlan Keep. They feared them and did not wish to meet them alone, no doubt. The likelihood of seeing anyone was so poor that she had not worn her concealing veil. When the mist had fallen, Mairi became worried and she could no longer tell which way was up She dared not move further for fear of having Epona stumble. When the thickness of the mist began to lift, her heart gladdened.
Something could be seen in the gently lifting mists, however, and Mairi strained to see. First it was hooves, legs, then muzzle, face--a rider! The intensity of his onyx-dark eyes shone plainly to her. Within those eyes was a tiny flicker of recognition.
“‘Tis him. Sweet Virgin, ‘tis him!” she whispered frantically. His stallion let out a bellow that startled Epona, who began to prance in place and rear in fright. Oh, ‘twas him, but she would not allow herself to be thrown and trampled to death so the rider’s stallion could have its way with her gentle mare! Mairi wheeled Epona around and dug her heels in hard. She was not going to wait around and be caught by this man. She kneed Epona harder and cried out as the mare flew like the wind over the heather-covered hills toward a vast outcropping of huge boulders and rocks. She wove in and out of the maze naturally created by the boulders to no avail.
Selena has been writing since her high school days. She is a fan of Fantasy and Science Fiction, loves to paint and ride horses and is a big animal lover. Selena lives in Ontario, Canada.
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 235
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