Scotland, 1314: After the Scots reclaim Edinburgh Castle, Alasdair MacAuley only wants to celebrate. But the revels are interrupted by an old crone who claims the castle’s true owner is the legendary witch Morgaine le Fee. Dared by his fellow warriors to go meet the witch, Alasdair heads down a flight of stairs — and tumbles right into another century…
Scotland, 1998: American Morgan Lafayette is in Scotland to enjoy the history, not to ogle men in kilts. So when she stumbles upon a brawny man in a kilt, she is less than enthralled. She is certain he’s drunk for he claims Morgan is a powerful sorceress who has brought him to her magical kingdom! Despite her reluctance, she is intensely drawn to this handsome Highlander and the mystery surrounding him, a mystery that has the power to alter history — and her heart — forever…
Finalist – Colorado Romance Writers’ Award of Excellence
for Best Paranormal, Fantasy or Time Travel Romance
“A delight… the taste… will linger on your tongue!”
The Toronto Star
An excerpt from The Last Highlander:
Edinburgh was unspeakably old and deliciously romantic. Mist still clung to the distant valleys, which Morgan could see but not name. Down below was a labyrinth of countless nooks and alleys, little passageways that led to secret courtyards and hidden doorways. Wrought-iron signs creaked in the wind and lace curtains fluttered from opened casement windows. Morgan eyed the way the fortress walls rose steeply from the rock face and deliberately let her imagination take flight.
What secrets did these heavy old stone walls keep locked within themselves? What great plays of power had they witnessed? Had lovers once trysted in that alley below? There must be a dozen ghosts rattling through these old stone corridors.
She stared down the rocky outcropping and remembered the guide’s words. What kind of men had scaled this rock face? The artist within Morgan painted a starry night in her mind’s eye and a luminous moon riding high above the determined silhouettes of the climbing men.
Rough men, and strong, in kilts that showed their legs to advantage. Their faces would be somber with determination. Maybe one would carry the blue-and-white flag they intended to plant atop the high tower, another would glance down in apprehension. Dangerously gleaming dirks would be clenched in their teeth for the battle that awaited them at the summit.
Morgan shivered with delight. The past was always more romantic than the present. She tried to put her brother-in-law in the ranks of the rebels and laughed aloud. They might have had accountants in the fourteenth century, but her brother-in-law Blake would have been lost without his Day-Timer.
Morgan strolled toward a small tower, letting her fingers skip across the old gray stone. A sunbeam danced amid the shadows inside the tower room, the narrow band of light creeping through an arrow slit.
The narrow vertical opening would frame a perfect picture of the city. Far, far below, thousands of daffodils were blooming in the park alongside Princes Street, the memorial to Sir Walter Scott rising in dark Gothic splendor from the midst of the flowers. On the other side of the street, the bright awnings above the shop windows fluttered in the morning breeze.
Perfect. There were even red double-decker buses cruising along the street at intervals. If she timed it just right…
Morgan studied the Polaroid camera that Blake had declared “idiot-proof – a label Morgan had already challenged twice – making sure she wasn’t going to waste another shot.
Just as Morgan raised the viewfinder to her eye and a bus slid into the perfect place, somebody moaned.
Morgan froze. Was her vivid imagination playing tricks with her?
The moan came again, echoing from below.
Once more she heard it, this time a very human sound of pain. Morgan’s eyes grew used to the shadows and she saw the stairs within the slender tower.
“Hello?” Morgan peeked down the stairs, but could not see their end.
“Oh, my bleeding head,” a man muttered, as though he hadn’t heard her.
Blood? He must have fallen and hurt himself!
Maybe she could help. The stairs were tightly curled and narrow – it was easy enough to see how someone could have lost his footing.
“Are you all right?” Morgan called out, starting down the stairs.
The only answer was another very miserable moan.
Morgan looked back over her shoulder, but there was no one in sight. She couldn’t leave him if he was bleeding!
Morgan gripped the rail and descended purposefully.
She found a man sprawled on the floor, cradling his head, but there was absolutely no sign of blood.
He looked as though he had stepped right out of her imagination. Morgan froze and gaped.
His hair was a dark gold, his hands were strong and deeply tanned. He was wearing a kilt and Morgan understood for the first time how masculine a garment it was. His legs were superbly muscled, tanned and dusted with golden hair.
Second glance showed, however, that he was less fastidiously attired than most of the men in kilts Morgan had seen since her arrival. In fact, even calling his a kilt was a loose usage of the term. It was plaid, woven in earthy hues of green and deep red, shot with the occasional line of white, but wasn’t pleated with anything close to perfection.
It looked like he had just wound it around his waist and tossed the end over his shoulder. It was far from pressed and more than a bit dirty. His lace-up boots were encrusted with mud and he had shoved his linen shirtsleeves up to the elbow, revealing tanned, muscular forearms.
All the same, he was the most assertively masculine man Morgan had seen in a long time. The little tingle within her that had been in exile came awake with a vengeance.
He glanced up and impaled Morgan with a bright blue glance, a slow smile stealing over his firm lips.
The tingle became a roar.
“Well, well, well,” he mused in voice as languid as honey in the sun. “I have not seen you about before.”
The intensity of that look stole anything Morgan might have said right from her mouth. He could not have been called a handsome man, but he had a rugged appeal, even with several days’ growth of beard.
Perhaps because of it.
Certainly there was the air of the rogue about him. And Morgan knew plenty about rogues. She took a cautious step back.
His jaw was solidly square, his nose had a kink in it that told Morgan he had lost one fight in his life, and a long-healed scar graced his cheek. Morgan found herself wondering just what kind of troublemaker he was.
But his eyes blazed blue with breathtaking intensity. His slow smile made Morgan feel feminine and incredibly desirable.
Even Matt had never looked at her like this.
Morgan had a weird certainty that this man wouldn’t do anything by half-measures and her skin tingled at the prospect. She realized with sudden clarity exactly how long it had been since a man had touched her.
To the minute.
©1999, 2011 Claire Delacroix, Inc.