Title: Highland Faith Book 2 of the Wild Thistle Trilogy
Author: Madelyn Hill
Genre: Historical Romance
Published: May 17th, 2017
~ Synopsis ~
Lady Faith MacAlister lives to provide for her clan with a skill she honed while hunting with her father. Since his death and final pledge, “Through Hope, Faith, and Honor, ye can rule” she proclaims herself as clan huntress. She loves the quiet of the woods, the thrill of the hunt and the exhilaration of a perfectly placed arrow. If only she could travel further than MacAlister lands to experience adventure. When an intruder interrupts her hunt and steals her away from MacAlister land and out to the sea—she may just experience the adventure she craves.
Graeme Ross must save the family home his father gambled away and regain the respect of his father and clan. When he stumbles upon a lovely lass in the forest, he secures her for ransom. He knows she was one of the MacAlister sisters, those who pledged to rule the clan. What Graeme didn’t expect was how this beautiful woman would entice him with her strength and determination. Graeme’s attraction to Faith cannot interfere with his quest to save his home, redeem his image in his father’s eyes. Graeme lets her go—worse he betrays their growing affection by feigning she means nothing to him.
Devastated, Faith goes back to her clan with a secret she must keep until Graeme comes back to her. Graeme travels to his father with the ransom money weighting his pocket and heart. Faith is better off without him, his vagabond ways and the loathing of his father and clan.
Can Graeme reconcile with his clan and have Faith as his?
Can Faith keep her secret until Graeme comes to his senses and realizes he loves her?
Separately, they yearn for one another, together their love will take them on an adventure of a lifetime.
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~ Excerpt ~
’Twas her sister’s fault.
Hope had married Aidan MacKerry, leading the MacAlister Clan together, and now they were acting like lovesick cows. Aye, they’d recently had another bairn and ’twas why they were smiling like amadans. But Faith MacAlister had enough of the cooing and kissing.
She had to leave the Wild Thistle Keep or go mad.
Hunting was the only option.
The size of the MacAlister Clan dictated hunting trips each fortnight to keep the larder full. Faith grabbed her quiver and bow, left word with the guards at the palisade to inform the lairds Aidan and Hope her direction, and left to find sustenance and peace.
And now, three days later she continued stalking the elusive stag. She kenned her sister would be close to sending a group of men to look for her in a day or so. Luckily she’d managed an agreement with her sister whom was also her laird. An agreement between sisters proved hard to negotiate, but she’d won in the end. And she hunted without escort as long as she never left without telling the guards her direction.
A sun filled day, just cool enough not to need too much clothing that may hinder her movement, but warm enough she didn’t need to start a fire to warm herself. She stretched in the britches she’d stolen from one of the stable hands. Aye, she’d tried the tartan her sister Hope loved to wear, but found it too revealing as she moved and climbed to find her prey. And a gown, the devil take them, ’twould make it nigh impossible to hunt and secure meat for the clan.
She moved quietly through the woods. Each footfall, purposeful, silently brought her closer to her elusive prey.
Aye, there he stood. In the morning mist that hovered just above the low foliage, a proud, beautiful stag who’d avoided her arrow for too long. Huge, with several points on his rack and a cocksure stance stating, I’m king of the forest. She hated to take down the magnificent animal. But he’d provide for her clan and her duty dictated securing meat for those who depended on her.
She drew her bow, stretching the sinew, straining her arm muscles as she prepared to let the arrow fly. The feather fletching grazed her cheek as she held her breath waiting for the perfect moment to release. She’d traveled far for this chance, stalked her prey as her father had taught her so many years ago with her so wee she could barely hold a bow, much less draw and aim. And today, her size may well again thwart her hunting. ’Twould be problematic once the massive stag was felled. She’d have to dress him in the field and lug the meat back with her. No matter, she’d manage as always.
Two more steps forward. Stared down the length of the arrow past the head, ready to release.
“Well, well, well. What have we here?”
“Damn,” she muttered as she turned toward the voice. The stag fled and leapt gracefully away from her.
Vexed, she re-drew her bow and aimed toward the interloper.
She gasped as she spied the man.
He held up his hands and chuckled. “Now, darling, I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”
Dear Lord, he was large. He leaned against a tree, one of his legs crossed arrogantly before the other. His direct gaze set her heart pounding as she tried to catch her breath.
He nodded toward the woods surrounding them. “I never travel alone. My men surround you, darling.”
She glanced to the right, then left, all the while keeping the arrow nocked. She didn’t see anyone, but if they were trained men, they were cloaked in the brush and pine.
The man chuckled. “Aye, love. They’re here—watching you. Well trained and well hidden.”
He moved forward with long, purposeful strides. The bow nearly slipped from her sweaty grasp.
She swallowed. Piercing blue eyes sized her up as he lazily raked his gaze from her head to her toes. Irritation spiked at his cocksure grin.
He wore a billowing liene and a tartan slung low on his hips. At his side rested a gleaming sword. If she weren’t in the wood alone with the stranger and his men, she’d ask to see the impressive weapon. And to her trained eye, expertly made.
“What do you want?” she asked with more bravado then she felt. Chills shivered up her spine as she tried to see the men watching her. Where were they? And would they hurt a helpless lass?
She nearly scoffed. I am no helpless lass. “Step back or I’ll release the arrow.”
The man tipped his head back and laughed. The husky, throaty laugh sent shivers down her back. The chuckles of his men joined him and she cursed the day she wasn’t born a man. If she were a man, she would have had the strength to challenge him immediately.
She nodded her head at him. “I am a sure shot,” she warned without a hint of pride—her prowess with a bow ’twas common knowledge. Again she drew her bow.
“Damn.” She arched her back when a sharp weapon poked into it.
“Release the bow, lass,” a gruff voice said from behind her, “and I’ll let ye live.”
~ About the Author ~
Madelyn Hill has always loved the written word. From the time she could read and all through her school years, she’d sneak books into her textbooks during school. At the age of 10 she proclaimed she wanted to be a writer. After being a “closet” writer for several years, she sent her manuscripts out and is now published with Soul Mate Publishing. A resident of Western New York, she moved from one Rochester to another Rochester to be with the love of her life. They have 3 children and keep busy cooking, movies, and of course reading!
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