Find more from this author on:
About the author:
I am a college professor, writer, and mom of five! I enjoy reading and spending time with the family!
What inspired you to write your book?
I love Scottish history and historical romances, and this was a good blend of both!
Here is a short sample from the book:
The Minch, Late Fall 1306
The coastline of western Scotland drifted away into the dusky horizon as the oarsmen worked the birlinn farther west toward the open waters of the Minch. Though the sky was cloudy and rain fell in a steady drizzle, the waters were thankfully calm. Light winds caught the sails, propelling the boat and easing the work of those on the oars. The mood abroad the sturdy wooden boat was energetic and jovial.
At least, that’s how the scene appeared to Alistair, who sat bound and freezing in a barreled alcove near the stern of the birlinn. After his wet ride to the port of Gairloch with the MacNally’s, his plaid wrap was sopping wet. The chilled air of the Minch settled into the rough tartan and through Alistair’s tunic, and he could not stop shivering. Every part of him shook with damp and cold — his clothes, his hair, his skin, his fingernails even — and he wondered if he would ever feel warm again. He flexed his bound hands to revive and warm them as best he could.
The seamen handled the birlinn with ease, stepping easily over Alistair, ignoring him altogether. Most of the oarsmen abandoned their posts as the boat caught full sail, smooth and clipped with the wind. The Minch at midday filled Alistair’s view, a seemingly endless gray sea against a lighter gray sky. The clouds swept across over the water in shades of grays and whites, the overcast light reflecting on the iron gray waves. He had never seen such a wide and expansive view and felt even smaller than he had when he boarded the boat.
The panorama, the emptiness of the sea, so comfortable to the sailors, struck a wedge of fear in Alistair. Never more than knee-deep in a local loch, the vastness of the seas presented an unknown adventure he did not wish to embark upon. The seamen moved confidently, secure in the seaworthiness of their vessel, and Alistair marveled at them. How did they feel safe with nay solid ground under their feet? A crisp wind blew across the hull, flapping the sails and loose tarps. Alistair tucked himself tighter into the alcove near the barrels, trying to retain what body heat he could in the crisp air. He thought the chilly ride on horseback to the coast was long, but his trip on the birlinn lasted an eternity in comparison. Alistair shivered again.
He rested his head against the damp wood of the boat and closed his eyes. Braced on both sides by barrels, the cutting wind did not reach him. Alistair warmed a bit in his hidey-hole, out of the range of sight from most of the seaman. His body still shivered, but weakly, and he was slipping into a light doze when he heard several men at the stern chatting loudly, oblivious of the spray of the sea.
“We have t’deliver the ass to the MacDonald in North Uist. Just what we need after this late jaunt,” one deep-throated man said.
“Can we nay deliver the lad to MacRuaidhrí instead? He is right in Lochmaddy. Then we can find our whiskey and ride some women instead of having empty bellies and riding a horse,” another man chimed in.
“Aye, I agree, Archie,” yet another man responded. “We dinna have any obligation to the MacNally. Hell, he does no’ want the lad as ‘tis, exiling him like this. What did the lad do t’deserve banishment to the Hebrides? Might as well have kilt the lad instead, save ‘im the misery.”
Alistair’s head hung at hearing the man’s assessment. He had known that the Isles were nothing more than the last bastions of civilization, a word that is nay taken lightly in the Isles. If he had accused the MacColloughs of being wild men, they were courtly knights compared to the men of the Isles, if the rumors were correct. And if the men elected to dump him with some clan other than his own? Where would that leave him then?
“Weel, I dinna care either way,” the first man told the others. “I dinna want to drag myself halfway across Uist just to deliver an unwanted man somewhere else he is no’ wanted. Your idea is sound, Archie. We will drop him with MacRuaidhrí and let them deal with the bastard.” The deep-voiced man, obviously the leader of this small troop, made the final decision.
This canna get much worse, Alistair thought aggrieved. If I did no’ have bad luck, I would have no luck at all.