AN ANCIENT RELIC, A MEDIEVAL CRYPT, A MAD HIGHLANDER AT THEIR THROATS AND TIME FAST RUNNING OUT. MYSTERY, SUSPENSE, ROMANCE…SOMEWHERE MY LASS
How in the name of—
Stunned beyond oaths, Neil gaped down at the slender young woman dressed in an outlandish Scottish costume. Hair the color of a flaming sunset spilled down over the red and blue tartan plaid draped around her like a shawl. A circular brass brooch heavily engraved by some skilled craftsman held the edges together. A full green skirt covered the rest of her, a hint of petticoats beneath.
Good God. She looked straight out of the Old Country. In profound disbelief, he knelt beside her and laid his hand on her shoulder. He wasn’t hallucinating. She was real enough, warm against his hand. Stranger still, the peaty scent of turf smoke emanated from her. And some perfume he couldn’t place, but inherently knew.
Moss rose, maybe? The rich meld of fragrances carried him back, but to where? Baffled, he shook her gently. “Miss?”
She gave a soft moan.
“Are you hurt?” he asked.
She turned toward him, fluttering a dark fringe of auburn lashes. Another moan issued from between what surely were petal soft lips. He frowned at the ugly bruise marring her forehead. Had that maniac done this to her? The rest of her smooth skin was pale except for the sprinkle of freckles on her nose—not too long with a pert tilt, Neil noted, along with an absence of any other immediate injuries.
Thank God he hadn’t been too late to help this young woman. Perhaps he’d frightened off her attacker, the coward. Although he had no idea where the killer had gone.Neil remained on his guard. He mustn’t take anything for granted. The only certainty—a violent criminal was on the loose. Difficult to keep watching over his shoulder, though, with the inexplicable stranger commanding his attention.
Intrigued, despite the gruesome circumstances of their meeting, Neil locked his gaze on her once again. Vivid blue eyes, cast with a purplish hue, opened wide. Unusual color and deeply stirring. She blinked and stared up at him as if he’d materialized out of the mist. But it was she who’d mysteriously come upon him with such wonder and beauty.
His already pounding heart skipped a beat for an entirely different reason now. He looked long into her eyes…for a moment he forgot the grisly murder, forgot everything. There was a timeless quality in those violet depths; the term “window to the soul” took on a whole new meaning. And it seemed to him that he’d seen these eyes before… Impossible.
He came back to himself. Mastering the tremor threatening his speech, he said, “You were knocked out, but you’ll be all right.”
She shook her head, wincing. “None of us will. The MacDonald comes,” she warned in a Scottish brogue.
The hair on the back of Neil’s neck bristled. And so it begins, a voice inside him said.~