It’s time to let you know about my Silent Trilogy. The hero and heroine in these books have made themselves known to me for some time. I had been so busy with other projects that I hadn’t been able to devote any time to them. Until late one night when the house was quiet and it seemed that the whole world was asleep that I started writing and I couldn’t stop.
The heroine captured my heart; her obstacle seemed insurmountable and the hero irredeemable, at least according to tales. How did I bring these two people together?
The only thing I could do was let them write their story and it unfolded nothing like I expected it too. I found myself more and more lost in their tale as it took twists and turns until I realized that it would take two books to tell it all. Silent Heart is book one and their story continues in Silent Love, book two. Silent No More is the third book in the trilogy and while their love story is woven throughout, the book is predominately about the hero’s sister.
I’m not sure where to start in explaining about this book so I thought the best thing to do was let you read Chapter One for yourself.
Silent Heart & Silent Love will be available as e-books, and I also hope to have the print book ready at the same time. I don’t have a definite release date yet, though it appears now that it should be around November. The third book Silent No More will follow in early 2013.
For now enjoy Chapter One…
Scotland: the Highlands 12th c.
Dawn was carried along with the throng of excited villagers, pushing at those around her so as not to get crushed. News had spread fast about the capture and soon now the warriors would return with the prisoner in tow and she, like all the others, was eager to have a look.
The village-folk continued to vie for positions along the route into the village Dowell, pushing and shoving, each wanting a good view until a woman yelled out, “I see them.”
The scrambling stopped and all heads turned.
Dawn stretched her neck to see past the swarm in front of her. Luckily, she was taller than many of the women and even some of the men, so it took only a bit of a stretch and a turn and she had a clear view of the road.
The troop had crested and was descending the last of the rolling hills that lead to the village. The warriors wore smiles; their chests puffed with pride. Several hands shot high waving weapons and victorious shouts filled the air. This was a joyous day for the village and for Colum in particular. He was liegeman for the feudal lord, Roland Gerwan, earl of Carrick who no doubt would be pleased with the capture of the infamous warrior Cree.
His name ran shivers through Dawn, as it did to anyone who heard it. Cree was feared like no other warrior and woe to those who believed otherwise. Where he tread, rivers of blood flowed, those he touched suffered greatly, and those who survived his attacks prayed not for mercy, but for death.
Dawn crossed her arms over her chest and rubbed, a chill prickling her flesh, though the early autumn air was warm. She cast a quick glance to the sky and saw that a dark cloud had blotted out the sun and more clouds rushed threateningly to blight the sky.
A boney grip on her arm startled and she shot a quick glance down to see Old Mary beside her. She had been old as long as Dawn could remember. A good, caring soul Mary was, though many thought her a bit touched in the head and avoided her.
“A bad portent, bad indeed.” Mary frowned and released Dawn’s arm, then shuffled her stooped body through the crowd and disappeared.
Her ominous prediction only served to chill Dawn more and once again she rubbed at her arms, the flesh beneath her gray linen shift cold with fear. She could not say why she did not take to heart Old Mary’s warning and leave as the old woman had done. Perhaps it was curiosity that kept hold, since Dawn wondered if it was the devil the warriors had captured and with him locked away, peace could possibly prevail.
The shouts grew louder, the crowd cheering, applauding their victory. Dawn smiled along with the others proud of the warriors as they marched by, stains of battle; dirt, sweat and blood heavy upon them.
Moments later dead silence struck the crowd, not a gasp or startled cry, not even a breath was heard, though many were held.
And Dawn? She stood unable to move, as if a winter wind had swept down and frozen her solid. Never had she seen a man the size of Cree. She stared unable to take her eyes off him. He walked behind Colum’s horse; his wrists bound and tethered by a long rope, though he looked fit enough to break free from his meek constraint. He was massive in size, both height and width and his bare chest was a mass of thick muscles and spotted with dried blood. More muscles bunched along his arms and dark leather leggings could not hide more of the same. Dark boots were the only other thing he wore.
Dawn hesitated to glance at his face fearing what she would see, but she could not stop her curiosity and slowly she turned her attention there.
Her heart slammed in her chest and then lurched in her throat. He was so handsome that she could not take her eyes off him. Even grime and blood could not hide his fine features. God had surely favored him for the more her eyes drank in, the more beauty she saw and only God could have made someone so splendid. His long brown hair was not only threaded with strands the color of gold, but also mixed with the bright white yellow color of the sun.
Her eyes caught his then and her breath left her in a heavy whoosh. They were dark, like the blackest night. She wanted to look away but she couldn’t. There was something about his eyes that completely absorbed her, held her, bound her to him as the rope that tethered him did and then like a startling slap in the face, she realized he was staring back at her.
His eyes had caught hers and held them captive even as he continued walking. She wondered then if it had been the devil, rather than God who had given him his handsome features. She tried to tear her glance away, but it was impossible. Something kept her bound to him and where before she felt chilled, now a heat began to take hold and spread quickly through her body. Where it began she could not say, her toes perhaps, or had her breasts felt it first, her nipples turning hard. It spread rapidly and it was not long before it entirely consumed her.
It was warm and soothing, not at all distasteful and yet she sensed it was wrong. She should not feel this much comfort from this mongrel who butchered like a savage dog.
Whatever strangeness tethered them was broken by the crowd that pushed forward, sweeping her along as they kept pace with the warriors who moved further into the village. Once the warriors stopped the crowd circled them. Dawn warned herself to take her leave and yet once again she paid no heed. She remained mesmerized like the others while wondering if the devil had already doomed them all.
Cree. She shut her eyes for a moment, his name echoing through her, not like a tolling bell, but a whisper that tingled along her flesh, and she feared that the mere thought of his name might hold the power to conquer. She could not imagine what the power of speaking it would do.
When Dawn opened her eyes her glance fell on him. He stood proud and tall, looking not at all fearful or concerned by his capture, though the warriors around him did. They kept their distance, some even inching further away.
Colum dismounted his mare holding tight to the rope that restrained the prisoner. His short height and barrel-shape did not threaten, but his stinging voice and quick hand to those who displeased left no doubt to his indisputable authority. Besides he had his troop of near fifty warriors to protect him.
Upon his arrival, he had made it clear to all in the village that he was to be obeyed and the land worked hard for the feudal lord. He had demonstrated on a hapless farmer what would happen to anyone who proved unruly. He had beaten the man so badly it had taken him weeks to heal.
All had worried they would suffer greatly under his command and while he demanded long hours of toil and strict obedience, he did not starve them. And though life was not easy under his rule, at least no one went hungry.
“You see my strength now,” Colum shouted. “I captured the mighty Cree and I shall make a gift of him to the liege lord. We will wait on the Earl of Carrick’s word to see what is to be done with him.”
“He stays here among us?” Timmins the smithy asked with concern.
Dawn saw Timmins cringe realizing his mistake too late and those around him quickly moved away.
Colum stomped over to him and spittle sprayed from his mouth as he shouted, “Do you doubt my ability to protect you?”
“Nay. Nay, my lord,” Timmins said, his head bent in supplication. “I questioned my own ability to forge a chain that will hold him.”
Dawn was not surprised by Timmins’s apologetic response. He had a wife and two young bairns to worry about. He would not be so foolish as to insult Colum.
“He needs no chain,” Colum boasted. “I have kept him secured with rope thus far and I will continue to do so. He will give us no trouble. His warring days are done. Now go. Get back to work, all of you.”
She turned to take her leave when she found herself unable to stop from taking one last peek at the prisoner.
His dark eyes latched onto hers as bold as could be and a jolt of heat hit her and rushed through her with such fury that her cheeks felt on fire and no doubt flamed red. She startled and nearly stumbled when she turned and as soon as she secured firm footing, she made haste.
She hurried to see to her duties, while trying to shake Cree free from her thoughts. He lingered there like a bad dream she had trouble escaping.
Familiar high-pitched shouts managed to penetrate her foggy mind and had her running. Dawn was one of many helpers to the cook Flanna who ran her kitchen with a strict hand. She was probably annoyed that everyone had deserted their duties so they could not only greet the returning warriors but see the notorious Cree for themselves.
Cree again? Dawn could not seem to keep her thoughts off him. It was as if one look had branded him to her every thought and that disturbed her. Slaves were branded and she had no desire to be a slave to anyone, though she was far from free, she wore no one’s mark.
Another sharp shout hurried her steps and when she rounded the back of the keep Flanna was berating two workers, who paled as she shook a large wooden spoon dangerously close to their faces. They scurried off without a word to do her bidding. She then turned and had at Dawn.
“You will be working extra hours along with the others for deserting your duties,” she shouted and threatened Dawn with the same wooden spoon. “Lord Colum will no doubt want a fine celebration feast this night and I cannot prepare a pleasing one with just two hands. Now get busy, see that we have enough dried dandelion root for drinks and make certain there is enough thyme and then see to cleaning the root plants for the stew.”
Thyme. Brewed, it chased away nightmares. Could it rid her of thoughts of Cree?
“What are you standing there for?” Flanna shouted.
Dawn got busy in the kitchen, though not out of fear of Flanna. She was quick to punish many of the workers with a whack of her spoon across a hand or back of a head when angered by their laziness or lack of sense, but never once had she ever raised it against Dawn. She had threatened with a shake of the spoon in Dawn’s face, but had gone no further.
Dawn wondered if it was her height that put Flanna off, her head barely reaching Dawn’s chest. Then she thought that perhaps Flanna empathized with her. While not alike in height and weight, she short and skinny and Dawn tall and while certainly not thick in weight, not slim either. Alike though they were, for they both possessed plain features, not faces that turned men’s heads, indeed not memorable. And their hair was similar in color, dark red, like that of blood left drying and straight without a wave or curl, though gray strands ran through Flanna’s, she being nearer to thirty years while Dawn had barely turned ten and nine.
And worse there was not a man ready to love them. Lay with either of them for sure, but love them, make a home with them, have babes with them, none wanted the two women for that. Dawn believed Flanna had accepted her lot and lay with men of her choosing, but Dawn could not do the same. She had been lucky that no man had ever forced himself on her, though some of the young women, who lay freely with men, laughed when they didn’t think she heard. Dawn knew they believed her commonly features was not the only thing that stopped a man from taking her and spilling his seed.
After all who wanted a woman who had no voice?