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margaret mallory's The WarriorExcerpt
Excerpt 1    Excerpt 2

 

Excerpt 1

Chapter 1

January 1516

"The Isle of Skye is there." Moira stood at the edge of the sea holding her son's hand and pointed at the empty horizon to the north. "That is our true home. Never forget that we are MacDonalds of Sleat."

Her son Ragnall, whom she named for her older brother, gave her a grave nod. After a moment, he asked, "If they are our clan, why don't they come for us?"

Why indeed. She hated this feeling of being trapped. If she ever escaped from her husband, she would never let it happen again. Never. All she wanted in this life was to be safe with her son at Dunscaith Castle. Once, she had wanted more. Nay, she had expected it as her due.

Unbidden and unwanted, the image of Duncan MacDonald, the man whose desertion had led to all this misery, filled her head. No one had seen a young warrior of such promise since her brother Ragnall, who was ten years older. Moira remembered Duncan's copper hair glinting in the sunlight, the hard lines of his face that softened when he looked at her, the warrior's body that had taught her pleasure.

She would be better off without these memories. Ach, she had been a foolish and trusting lass at seventeen. She had read devotion in Duncan's silences, mistaken his lust for love, and counted on his strength to fight for her. Alas, she had been wrong in every regard.

"Damn ye, Duncan Ruadh Mòr!" Moira said under her breath as she stared out at the empty sea. "How could ye leave me?" Duncan had brought her worse luck than a broken looking glass. Seven years of misery, with no end in sight.

Moira recalled the day of her wedding. Everyone was gathered in the hall waiting for the bride while she stood on the castle wall still watching for a sail in the distance. Up until the last moment, when her father came himself to fetch her, she was hoping and praying Duncan would return in time to save her. Even then, she would have sneaked down to the beach and-after giving him a tongue-lashing he would not soon forget-she would have climbed into his boat and gone anywhere with him. She had been so certain he would come back for her. But it was five years before Duncan MacDonald returned to Skye. She would never forgive him.

Moira pushed away the old pain and watched Ragnall throwing a stick for his dog, Sàr, a giant wolfhound twice Ragnall's weight and the size of a small pony. For a moment her son looked as if he were a carefree lad, and she felt guilty that he could not be. But his sweet young face had an old man's eyes.

Ragnall raised his arm to throw the stick again but stopped and stared up at the top of the bluff. "Father is here."

Moira flinched as she always did when she heard Ragnall call that foul man his father. When she turned and saw Sean's bearlike shape above them, she fought back the wave of nausea that rose in her throat. Even from this distance, she sensed trouble.

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margaret mallory's The Warrior

Excerpt 2

He caught a tear with his finger before it fell.

The bruises on her face pained him, and he wanted to kiss every hurt away. He pressed his lips lightly to her forehead, and the soft sound of her sigh was like an answer to every prayer he'd made for the last seven years. Time held still as he leaned down closer and closer to her mouth. He hesitated just above her red rose lips to give her a chance to say no.

Kissing her would be a mistake. It would only make him miss her worse afterward.

His heart clenched as his lips touched hers. They were as sweet as in his memories. Since she was sad and wanted his comfort, he made himself keep the kiss soft. But his heart was bleeding for her, as it always had. He would let her cut it to shreds again.

When he broke the kiss, he stared into her lovely eyes and wondered what she was thinking. Probably that Duncan MacDonald was the most foolish of the many fools who had loved her.

But then she slid her hands up his chest, clasped them at the back of his neck, and pulled him down into another kiss. Her mouth softened against his, and he died a little more inside. He cupped the back of her neck and deepened the kiss.

For a long time, he was lost in a mindless, never-ending kiss. But when she groaned into his mouth and pressed her breasts against his chest, lust too-long denied surged through him like a roaring river. And that river of desire swept away all the barriers he had built through all the years away from her.

To have this woman, he would die a thousand deaths, face any enemy, fight the very devil himself. He could never have enough of her.

Duncan drank in her sighs and whimpers as he kissed her mouth, her arched black eyebrow, her perfect nose, her determined chin. Very, very softly, he brushed his lips over her injured jaw.

"Moira," he said her name over and over. He ran his tongue over her, tasting her skin, as he moved down the side of her throat. Then he leaned her back onto the floor and buried his face between her breasts.

Please, God, let me have her again just this once. He had waited so long and missed her so much. Even as he pleaded with God for one more time, he knew once would never be enough.

Moira should be his. She should belong to him, now and forever.

©

margaret mallory's The Warrior

 

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