The Spellbinder: Highland Eyes [MultiFormat]
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eBook by Marissa St. James
eBook Category: Romance/Fantasy
eBook Description: Romantic Fantasy from an Award-Nominee Author! Lonely, unfulfilled Meryl Spellbinder is about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime when she meets Tristan McConnell. Soon Meryl discovers Tristan is a Scots warrior from ancient Ireland who has come to take her back with him into the past. The magnetic Tristan seems to care for her, but is it love, or lust for the inheritance he hopes to use her to claim? But to claim it, Tristan and Meryl will have to survive repeated attempts on their lives and a labyrinth of equally deadly politics. Neither has any idea who is behind the attempts. But, Meryl discovers that if she is to live to claim the inheritance, she will have to learn to wield psychic powers she did not know she possessed. Only then can an ages-old legend be fulfilled and Meryl become a true Spellbinder. Here is romantic fantasy as only Marissa St. James, Rose Award nominee for historical romance could tell it.
eBook Publisher: Renaissance E Books/PageTurner, Published: 2005
Fictionwise Release Date: January 2005
49 Reader Ratings:
The coppery smell of blood permeated the still air. An uneasy quiet dominated the moor. One man stood apart from the other survivors and took in the battle's aftermath; the bodies, the blood soaked earth, the stench of death invading every breath. The odor clung to the skin, seeping into every pore, a grim reminder of the devastating carnage.
Tristan's sword, the blade dull with dried blood, hung loosely in his right hand. The tip of the weapon rested carelessly on matted grass. Shouted commands and death screams echoed in his memory. The clash of swords still rang in his ears. He wondered if he would ever again feel clean.
Many of the men who had fought along with him, back to back and by his side, lay motionless. Some stared unseeing at the bright morning sky. Last night they were confident, with no doubt they would win this battle. As always before a battle, theirs had been a quiet, but nervous anticipation. They looked forward to returning to their homes and families. He heard the moans of men who would not live through the day. They had trusted him, willingly followed him to rout the English invaders.
Tristan listened more carefully to a whining barely heard on the breeze. It could only mean one thing. He shoved his sword into its sheath and ran toward the sound.
He knelt beside Angus, who lay dying on the moor. Tristan cursed himself, unable to do anything for his closest friend and teacher. If it hadn't been for the man's beloved dog, Famhair, Tristan would have found the warrior too late. Tristan gave the dog's massive head a pat of assurance, then turned his attention to its master. He raised Angus's head and rested it against his knees.
"You can do nothing for me, boy," Angus rasped, knowing his wound was mortal. He raised a feeble hand but dropped it to his chest. "We have waited too long ... The time is now. If we are to win, you must act now." His words were slow in coming, while he struggled for every breath. A trickle of blood appeared at the corner of his mouth and Tristan quickly wiped it away, as if trying to deny the inevitable. As the old warrior continued to speak, Tristan was vaguely aware of someone standing behind him. Famhair growled. Angus held a fistful of Tristan's shirt with as tight a grip as his dying body would allow, determined to get this last promise from his student.
"I wouldn't know where to begin looking, Angus. I don't have the right or the authority."
"I give it to you. You will be my successor, the next clan chieftain."
"Angus, you are a good friend and teacher, but I can't accept."
"You must and you will," the old man insisted, his voice fading. "Promise me you will start a search."
"I promise, Angus," Tristan reluctantly gave his word.
A brief smile touched Angus' lips then he sighed and released his last breath.
Famhair growled again and stood protectively over his master Tristan eased Angus' head to the ground, then stood wearily to face new accusations.
"You canna have the chieftainship. 'Tis my right by birth," the newcomer raved. "My father had no right handing it to you. What control have you had over him that he should do such a thing, and deny his own blood?"
"None at all. Don't worry Dougal, the chieftainship is still yours. I have something more important to do." Tristan stared at the new chieftain for a moment, disgusted with him. "A man who would stay clear of a battlefield till the fighting is done, is no man in my book. You never were and never will be a man to fight for his beliefs. Heaven help the clan with you at its head." Tristan gazed at Angus' body once more, said a silent farewell, then turned and walked away.
"What is it that's more important? If it's clan business than I should know of it." Dougal's voice grew louder, taking on the tone of a petulant child.
Tristan stopped and glared over his shoulder. "A man who will not defend his father's back has no right to know his father's last words. I will tell you it has nothing to do with you or your clan." Not directly, at least, he finished thoughtfully. He wanted nothing more at the moment, than to put distance between himself and the arrogant son of his respected teacher. He heard Famhair's growl become louder and more menacing.
"Get this monster away from me before I run a blade through it."
Tristan shook his head and whistled sharply. Famhair growled once more at Dougal then loped away in Tristan's direction. "Looks like you have a new master, Famhair."
* * * *
Tristan knew he would remember this day as long as he lived. The sounds of fighting and dying were stuck in his memory and would follow him, haunt his dreams for years to come. What went wrong? He kept asking himself that question over and again, trying to find some explanation for their failed plans. They had carefully worked out every detail of the raid. The attack on the English camp should have been a surprise, quick and thorough. Instead, the English had been armed and ready, waiting for the Scots. How did they know, unless...? No, he didn't want to believe such a possibility could exist, yet it seemed the only answer.
Tristan reached the end of the field and breathed a weary sigh. Famhair settled down close beside his new master. This would not be the last battle. The Scots had a long way to go to gain their freedom. He spun around quickly, as if someone had called to him. A chill ran down his spine, one which had nothing to do with the early morning cold. Change was in the wind; he could feel it. Another warrior approached him and he straightened, choosing, for the moment, to ignore what could be an omen.
"We were betrayed," Tristan told the newcomer. "The battle should have been over quickly. We should have been able to take prisoners. They were waiting for us."
"Are you sure about that?" the newcomer asked. A frown crossed his sharp aristocratic features.
"Think about it, Graeme. They should have been half asleep when we rushed the camp. They were alert and ready for us." Tristan ran his free hand through his sweat dampened hair. He stared into the distance for a moment, not seeing anything. "I'll find the traitor and deal with him personally. I swear I will." He paused for a moment. "Angus was right. The time has come to seek out the Legend."
Graeme stared incredulously at his friend. "You don't believe that tale, do you? That's all it is, you know--just a great deal of foolishness. You can't take it seriously."
"I'm very serious. Things are not going as they should. Come, there is much to be done." Tristan's long strides took him toward his wounded men. He would give what comfort he could.
Graeme watched Tristan walk away with the huge grey dog close by his side. What was the tale about the Legend? Ah, yes. His grandmother used to tell him the story when he was a small boy. The legend told of a young woman, from another place and time. She had dark hair, and eyes so pale they appeared the silvery color of the full moon. Her ability to come and go as she pleased would deny any man the right to say her nay. The tale claimed her to be a witch, one of the ancient wise ones, capable of using her magic to unite the highland clans and drive out the English. Her strange ways were sure to make many enemies, but her kindness, win her many more friends. The Legend promised to be the first of a special clan of women, with those who followed bearing a remarkable resemblance to her. Each, in turn, would use her own special kind of magic to guide the highland clans. Then, one day, Scotland would be free.
The soldier scoffed at the tale. It was just as he'd told Tristan, nothing but a fanciful story to amuse and entertain. Graeme considered Tristan's last words before following him. Tristan was wrong. But, if he did seek 'the legend' and prove it true, Graeme would have to do something about it. Let Tristan do all the work. In the end, everything would be as it should.