Heather woke with a start, her heart beating wildly and her body chilled. It took her a moment to realize that she was home in the safety of her bedchamber and tucked comfortably in her bed. It had been two days since her return home and she had yet to feel completely safe and protected. She had woken the last two mornings, thinking she was still hiding in the woods from the ghost warriors while trying to make her way home. Her biggest fear had been that she would come face to face with her abductor—the Dark Dragon.
She shivered at the mere thought of his name and pulled the soft wool blanket up to her neck. Why the infamous warrior had had her abducted was still a question that haunted Heather and perhaps continued to be the cause of her unease. He abducted her once, would he not try again?
Heather shook her head. Lying abed would not solve her problems or ease her worries. However, her chores would provide a good reprieve from both. She hurried out of bed and slipped on her pale yellow linen shift, followed by her drab green tunic and snatched up her brown leather boots near the fireplace to pull on and strap quickly. She ran her fingers through her soft blond hair, letting the natural waves fall where they may until she collected her four bone combs off the chest by the bed and with deft hands secured her long strands atop her head, though a few stubborn ones broke free and fell along the back of her neck.
After taking her cloak from the peg by the door, she sighed as she rested her hand on the latch. She was home and she was safe, nothing would change that. She had her family to protect her. She could return to her daily life and everything would be fine.
Heather opened the door and as she stepped out of the room a little voice whispered in head, “nothing is the same nor ever will be again.”
Another shiver ran through her and she hurried down the stairs and into the Great Hall. It was so early that the servants were yet about. It did not matter to her, for she was not hungry. What she wanted most was to walk through the village while it stirred awake and feel its peacefulness like she had done endless times before. Maybe then she would finally feel that all was good.
She draped her cloak over her shoulders and stepped outside. The pre-dawn light sparked on the horizon and Heather was thrilled that she had not missed the sunrise. She hurried along to reach her favorite spot on a small rise and watched as the sun rose like a fiery magic ball from the depths of the earth.
Heather’s smile grew as the sun inched its way up, spreading its glorious light across the land. She recalled all the mornings she had stood here watching the sunrise and how happy she had been then and she wished she could feel that same happiness now.
Patience, Emma, and she had finally been reunited, and she was happy that her sisters were both wed to two men they loved and who loved them. And even more exciting news was that she was to be an aunt. Emma was with child and when the time came Heather would be right there to deliver the babe and see her sister safe. She was also thrilled that her da was feeling so much better and also looked so much better than he had in months. And though there was a chance of war with Patience’s husband’s family, the Clan McLaud, they would face the threat together as they had done before when a clan war loomed on the horizon.
With lightness in her heart, she had not felt since being abducted, Heather turned to walk down the small rise, eager to start the day, eager to begin life anew. She stopped when something caught at the corner of her eye and she turned to look out on the rise just beyond the village.
Her heart slammed in her chest and fear froze her in place.
There, spread across the rise, atop their horses were the Dark Dragon’s infamous ghost warriors, their faces painted white, and in the lead draped in black and astride a black horse sat the Dark Dragon.
Available early spring!