Time to share from my latest work in progress, which is in its final tidy up. A historical paranormal set in the Highlands of Scotland and it re-introduces two characters from His Lordship’s Mate.
This is the opening….
To his relief, the persistent knocking on the outer door had subsided. Resting his feet on a footstool, he closed his eyes and dozed. The interlude was brief.
The chamber door creaked open. “She’s gone, master. As ye requested. The lass will not bother ye.”
“Although, I didnae think ye reputation with the lassies had spread so far south.”
He opened his eyes. Angus stood on the threshold, his thumbs tucked into his kilt. “What do you mean?” he asked, sitting up straighter.
“She spoke like a lowlander. Or maybe English. I cannae tell the difference. Anyway, she wasn’t from these parts.”
He lowered his limbs from the stool, his fingers gripping the armrests tight until his knuckles turned white. “Describe her.”
Angus scratched the grey bristles on his chin. “Now. She weren’t a red-head, like many a fine lassie—”
“Angus,” he growled impatiently.
“She were light of hair. Fair. Pale. She’d not dug neeps out of the ground, I can tell ye—”
“Did she give her name?”
The steward shook his head. “Nae. I declined her entry, like ye commanded me to do and she protested, as expected.” He raised a disapproving eyebrow. “She wept, poor lassie. She was like ‘em all that come a’knocking. Nothing in her hands or on her back. Although, her dress were finer than most. Odd that didnae ask for the laird. She called ye captain.”
He rose to his feet, his anxiety growing. “So where did she go?”
Angus shrugged. “Back t’village I expect. Odd creature. Said ye were promised to her.”
He ran passed Angus, knocking the man to one side. Nearly tumbling down the stairs, he ran towards the front door and fumbled with the bolt.
Outside it was drizzling and the gloom of dusk prevented him from seeing anything. “Claire,” he yelled. “Claire, come back.” Running out, he kicked up the mud with his boots and his clothes felt icy damp. Unlike the folk who lived in the Highlands and were accustomed to the hardships of the climate, Claire was not and unless he found her quickly, she would succumb to the bitter cold.
The murky air was impenetrable. If he struggled to see the path, then she was even less likely to keep on it.
He’d not sensed her arrival, but neither had he expected or sought it. Why was she here when he expressly forbade her to come to Scotland? She’d blatantly disobeyed him. He feared something ghastly had befallen her and the consequences had driven her to undertake the arduous journey alone. His response to her disobedience would be dependent on the nature of those unanswered questions.
He needed sharper vision to see in the dark. Drawing his shirt over his head, he let it drop into a puddle. Finding her was of paramount importance, even if meant exposing himself to her as another.
“Claire,” he called out. “Stay put. I’ll find you.”
He closed his eyes, inhaled deeply and waited. When it came, the sensation was violent, painful. He absorbed it, as he had done countless times before now. By the time he’d finished, his breeches lay shredded on the ground alongside his boots.
The thickening rain landed on his nose. He snorted and a bloom of hot breath sprouted out of his nostrils. Lifting his head high, he charged forward.
More teasers to come!