Heart of Glass
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Title: Heart of Glass
Series: Skye Druids #3
Release Date: September 12, 2023
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Donna Grant returns to the beautiful and mysterious Isle of Skye with a captivating tale of magic, mystery, and unexpected passion.
A desire that won't be denied.
Ferne Crawford is a Seer with unique abilities that set her apart from other Druids. She once ignored her magic with tragic results. So, when she’s bombarded with visions of a great evil that call her to a place she’s been warned never to go, she’s powerless to resist. Her life takes a drastic turn the moment she arrives on Skye and encounters a handsome, valiant stranger. Theo makes her ache for his touch. Their meeting stirs an explosive passion, awakening a yearning that only he can satisfy. However, there’s more than the malice which brought her to the isle that intends her harm.
Detective Inspector Theo Frasier carries the weight of the isle and his people on his shoulders. With more Druid murders and no leads on who’s controlling the killing mist, he’s beginning to feel the strain. The last thing he needs is anything—or anyone—distracting him. But once he meets Ferne, he can’t get her out of his head. Or his heart. She fills his every thought, day and night. His need for her consumes him, pushing everything else aside. But will his love be enough to save them from the growing threat?
Also in this series:
After her parents and the London Druids told Ferne relentlessly never to set foot on the Isle of Skye, and that the Druids who called the isle home were not to be trusted, she ignored them all to follow an instinct she continued to question.
The closer she got to Skye, the more her stomach churned. She could turn back. She had yet to reach the isle. Sure, her brother knew where she was going, but Mason would accept if she returned before going farther. Yet she didn’t turn her car around. She kept driving.
The bridge that connected mainland Scotland to the Isle of Skye came into view. There was still time. All she had to do was pull over and turn around to head back to England and Mason. Generations of Druids knew never to come to Skye. It meant immediate banishment by family, though Mason would never do that to her. He supported her. Always. Still, she felt a gnawing uncertainty that made her want to retch.
“Last chance,” she whispered as she came upon the bridge.
Her foot lifted from the accelerator, but she kept driving. Her heart slammed erratically against her ribs when she reached the top of the structure, and then she was on the descent. Before she knew it, her tires rolled onto the Isle of Skye.
She shook so badly she thought she would have to pull off the road, but as quickly as the shaking had begun, it slowed and then stopped altogether when she was on Skye. Ferne’s gaze swept around her, taking in the shops, houses, cars, and people, not to mention the unimaginable beauty everywhere. The navigation system directed her toward the cottage she had rented, but she ignored it and just drove. She wasn’t supposed to be here. Not only because it had been ingrained in her from her earliest memories but because there was a really good chance the Skye Druids would force her out as soon as they learned who she was. Ferne would take whatever time she had to see Skye while she could.
The sun remained hidden behind soft gray clouds that intermittently sputtered drizzle. The sea whitecapped in some coves, while others had smoother water. The mountains rose like stony giants watching over the isle. There were lochs, waterfalls, and a landscape of such rugged splendor that she began to understand why so many tourists frequented the isle. But there was something else, as well. Magic.
Ferne had once heard a London Druid whisper about how a friend of theirs had said they could sense the magic on Skye. She had dismissed the claim as an exaggeration. Now, she knew they hadn’t lied. While she wouldn’t say she actually felt the magic, there was something different in the air. And she wanted to feel more of it.
The only thing missing was her brother. Mason loved their Druid side more than she did. She had shied away from her magic for several years. Not Mason. He went all-in on everything. There were no half-measures for him. He would love it on Skye.
Her intention to drive and take in the beauty of the isle was soon cast aside by her need to get out and experience the majesty for herself. The instant she saw the signage for the Fairy Pools, Ferne turned off the road and headed toward them. It was a main tourist attraction, but she didn’t care.
Her mobile rang as she maneuvered down the lane to the nearly empty car park. She glanced around, searching for the pools. All she saw was a path. The insistent ringing brought her thoughts to a halt. She didn’t need to look to know who called. Only one person ever rang her.
She answered through her car. “Hey, Mason.”
“Is everything all right?” His deep voice held concern. “It took you longer to answer than normal. By my calculations, you should’ve reached Skye. Have they given you problems?”
Ferne maneuvered her Mini into a parking slot. She squashed the irritation that rose at her brother’s overprotectiveness. She was the same with him. They had been that way since they’d lost their parents in a plane crash. “I’m here. The drive was uneventful.”
“Have you gone to the house yet?”
She grinned, shaking her head as she put the car in park. “I haven’t.”
He released a long sigh, and she could well imagine him running his hand down his face as he did when he was restless and agitated. Or worried. “There’s still time for you to come home. No one has to know you’re there.”
“I’m not afraid of them.”
“Ferne,” he said, reminding her of their father when he chided her. Very British, with his voice dripping disappointment.
She closed her eyes to the gorgeous backdrop of the Black Cuillin mountains. “I had the same argument with myself the entire ten-hour drive here. I have to do this.”
“You’re all I have left.”
“And you’re all I have, but that doesn’t mean we should shut ourselves away from the world. Or stop doing what’s right. The Druids on Skye are in danger. If they’re toppled, the rest of the Druids around the world will fall.”
Another sigh. “This is a dangerous thing you’re doing.”
Ferne opened her eyes. “So is what you’re doing.”
“Excuse me?” he said after a slight pause.
“I admit, it took me longer to sort through things because I was preoccupied. If it weren’t so important for me to be here, I would’ve turned around and come home.” She took a deep breath and released it. “Tell me I’m wrong. Tell me you’re not looking into whether Mum and Dad’s accident was more than that.”
There was silence on the other end of the line. Then a soft, “Bloody hell.”
“What you’re doing is much more dangerous, Mas. You should’ve told me.”
“Can bloody well sod off,” she snapped. Then she pressed her lips together. “They want to control everything and everyone. Neither of us has ever been satisfied with the reports from the plane crash. If the London Druids had anything to do with the accident, then they’ll be watching you.”
She winced at the truth of his words. “They don’t care about me. It’s you they’ve always had their eyes on.”
Mason chuckled, surprising her. “You sound just like Mum.” The smile left his voice. “Just as you have to do what you’re doing, I need to do this. I know what I’m doing. Trust me, Ferne.”
“I’m going to get us answers, and while I hate that you’re on Skye without me to watch your back, it’s better that you’re not here. Not after they kicked you out of London.”
She rolled her eyes. “If they do anything to you, I will burn them to the ground.”
“That’s how I feel about the Skye Druids.”
She grinned. “I almost feel sorry for anyone who comes against us.”
“I don’t,” he replied, no humor in his voice. “It’s what happens when tragedy strikes a family, and all they have is each other.”
Ferne wanted so much to reach out and hug him. “I’ll ring once I’m at the house.”
“Stay in touch as you promised.”
“I’ll be just as worried about you.”
He paused. “Find out all you can about the Druids there. Just…”
“I know,” she replied. “Be careful. The same goes for you.”
She disconnected and turned her attention to the landscape. Her worry for Mason wouldn’t lessen until she returned to the family estate in Derbyshire, but she couldn’t do that until she finished on Skye. But now that she was here, she knew it would be harder to leave than she’d ever anticipated.
Ferne unbuckled her seat belt and stepped out of the car. The air was damp and chilly, made more so by the soft wind. She grabbed her purse and walked around to open the car’s boot. After she’d tucked her keys and mobile into her pockets, she hid her purse and dug out her hiking boots from her suitcase. Once she’d changed shoes, she put on her coat and secured the car. Then, she walked around the vehicle.
“So. This is Skye,” she murmured.
She started across the road to the trail that wound through the land. A path that millions of feet had walked. Like all of Skye, the pools had originally been for the Druids. But there was no stopping change. Now, the Fairy Pools were a popular tourist stop for anyone who visited the isle. Not that Ferne could blame them.
After tripping a couple of times, she had to force herself to look away from the mountains and watch where she stepped. She crossed a small trickle of water that grew wider and deeper the closer she got to the pools. In her excitement, she hadn’t taken the time to look around to see who was about.
As much as she dismissed Mason’s worry, he had a point. Many wouldn’t want her on Skye. Ferne paused next to a boulder that towered over her and took out her mobile. She recorded a video, turning in a slow circle to get everyone in. From what she could tell, only a couple with two young kids was at her back toward the car park. As for the other car besides hers, she guessed it was the lone figure in the distance. She couldn’t make out if it was a male or a female, but she was on guard regardless.
Ferne continued walking. She contemplated getting pictures for Mason, but she couldn’t tear her eyes from the land. With every step, she thought about the generations of Druids who had walked the path, seeking the pools. This was the land of her ancestors, a territory that had beckoned to Druids long, long ago. And she finally understood why.
She also understood why the London Druids were so adamant about no one visiting. The land was stunning, yes, but it was also magical. It felt like home. The magic within her recognized Skye and found contentment here, which meant she was relaxed and comfortable. After years of being twisted with grief, it was like coming out of hibernation. The air was fresher, the wind like a caress upon her skin. Her steps were lighter, her mood brighter.
A few minutes later, she passed the young family. The kids, twin girls, held hands as they walked, singing in what she thought was Swedish. The mother and father gazed adoringly at their children and flashed her a quick smile. Ferne knew how well some could deceive, so she once more pretended to take pictures and watched the family out of the corner of her eye until they were gone.
She reached one of the first waterfalls. She stood for long minutes, simply watching the rush of water as it poured into a waiting, crystal-clear pool. As she climbed higher, the waterfalls became grander, the pools bigger and deeper, and the rocks below larger.
She spotted one that jutted out in the distance and headed there so she could stand over the waterfall and look down the gorge where the water had cut into the rock and land, carving out the pools. A glance around showed she was alone. She looked behind her at the car park and saw only her Mini. She had the pools to herself. She almost broke out in a dance. If Mason were here, he would’ve egged her on. Her father would have, too. Only her mother, laughing all the while, would’ve hurried them along.
Knowing she was alone, Ferne lowered her guard and took her time climbing the path. A smattering of rain came quickly and ended just as rapidly, but even that couldn’t get her to return to her car. When she reached the rock she had seen, she lowered herself onto it, letting her legs dangle over the side. It was quite a considerable distance down.
Ferne leaned back on her hands and considered Rhona, the leader of the Skye Druids. She probably should’ve been Ferne’s first stop, but she would go see Rhona first thing in the morning. It was already late afternoon, and Ferne still needed to get to the house she had rented.
She lifted her face to the sky and closed her eyes. The magic of the isle pulsed here. It was what had initially drawn the Fae when there had been an alliance between the Skye Druids and them. The rumors swirling around the London Druids was that an alliance might be intact once more. However, whether she could believe anything her old group said was something else altogether.
The London Druids had their fingers in a lot of pies. They believed they were more powerful than the Skye Druids, who probably didn’t even know they existed. Every group of Druids around the world compared themselves to Skye. It was hard not to when it was the land on which the Druids had settled in the beginning.
Until her ancestors and countless others had been banished from Skye forever.
Yet here she was, wading into dangerous territory to save the very people who had turned their backs on her relatives. Ferne had tried to reach Kirsi, one of the Druids on Skye, and while she had connected with her through magic, she wasn’t sure if she would go to Rhona as Ferne had urged. There was also a darkness swirling around Skye that prompted Ferne to come herself.
She wasn’t here just to save the Druids on Skye, but all Druids. She would need to convince Rhona of that—however long it took. She wasn’t leaving until she knew the Skye Druids had their enemy in hand. Ferne hadn’t told her brother that she was prepared to fight alongside the Skye Druids to achieve that, but he already knew. Because he would do the same.