The Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance
Barnes & Noble
Title: The Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance
Release Date: January 4, 2011
This collection of 20-plus romance stories will traverse the rolling hills of Scotland, including both contemporary and historical settings, time travel, ghosts, and plenty of fantastic and paranormal elements.
In “Forever Mine” by Donna Grant, a Highlander bent on vengeance yearns for more and finds it in an alluring, all too tempting woman who defies everything in order to fight by his side.
The silence hung heavy and thick in the air. Just like the mist that swirled eerily, almost unnaturally, around the group of men lying in wait for their deadly enemy.
Braden MacAlister knew the time was right. He would attack and kill Niall MacDougall once and for all. Order would be restored to the land again.
And maybe then Braden could plan more than ambushes.
A horse snorted in the distance, the sound carrying in the stillness of the predawn hour. His foe was right on schedule. Braden had waited for this day for two years. He had planned and plotted and planned some more. All had to go perfectly.
His men, all marked outlaws like himself, were fierce Highlanders and vicious, brutal opponents in battle. They would be the ones to set things right. They would be the ones to end the malevolence.
The pass where Naill had to travel was narrow, confining him and his men between two mountains. Most would have gone around but Naill was a man who liked to prove he couldn’t be taken.
A slow smile spread Braden’s lips. Today, things were going to change.
The soft, four toned whistle sliced through the early morning air. It was the signal from Keith that Naill neared.
Braden had seen this moment many times in his mind. He’d thought out every instance. Every move. Every countermove. He was as prepared as he could ever be.
He released a long breath when he caught sight of the first horse as it came around the bend. Behind the guard Braden spotted Naill dark head, his hair tied in a neat queue at his neck. And with Naill was his company of twenty men.
Naill never traveled alone. He knew how much he was despised throughout Scotland. Everyone said it was just a matter of time before he was killed.
Another whistle, softer, but in the two tone that meant trouble. Braden narrowed his gaze on his opponent. What was Naill up to?
And then Braden saw the wagon. The metal bars on the small upper windows told him all he needed to know about the occupants.
They were prisoners.
Braden glanced across the road to his men. He waited for their nod of agreement to continue with their mission before he looked at the men beside and behind him.
Naill had taken from all of them in one form or another. Each warrior wanted his revenge, needed retribution for the atrocities. Each man wanted to be the one to strike the killing blow.
Braden tightened his grip on his sword and dagger he held in each hand. The smirk on Naill’s all too perfect face was too much to bear. But before this day ended, Braden would see that smile erased. Forever.
Naill jerked his horse to a halt almost even with Braden. Naill was tall and blessed with exceptional looks that made women do all sorts of things to gain his attention.
But he had a heart as evil as the devil.
Braden knew Naill couldn’t see him in the thick grass and plentiful boulders. Yet, the way Naill’s eyes searched the mountain sides, he was looking for something.
“Come out, come out wherever you are, Braden MacAlister,” Naill taunted.
Braden stiffened. There was no way Naill could have discovered his plans. Braden trusted his men explicably. None of them would have betrayed him.
Braden didn’t move. His men stayed as motionless as he. Braden didn’t have long to wait before Naill lifted a hand to one of the guards near the wagon.
The door at the back of the wagon opened, the squeak was loud but soon drowned out by a startled cry.
“They have women,” Rory whispered as he leaned next to Braden.
Braden couldn’t see who was taken from the wagon as the guard pushed the prisoner through the throng of horses and men. With a shove from the guard, the prisoner stumbled and fell to her knees in a whirl of lavender skirts and hair as black as midnight.
Naill jumped from his mount and grabbed the woman by the hair atop her head. Her hands instantly went around his to try and lessen the pull as she hurried to climb to her feet.
“I would see you now, Braden. Show yourself or I kill the wench,” Naill bellowed.
The mist had moved away from Naill and his men, as if it knew the black depths of their hearts and wanted no part of it.
Braden had no choice but to help the woman. Too many innocents had already died. He wouldn’t have her death on his soul, wouldn’t add the weight of another innocent life ended to his shoulders.
“Be ready,” Braden murmured to Rory.
Braden sheathed his sword, but kept his dagger in his left hand, the blade tucked against his forearm. He leapt atop the boulder he’d been hiding behind and glared down at the man who dared to call himself a Scot, much less a Highlander.