Dugal MacGregor was a bear of a man. Arianna’s mouth gaped open as he swaggered into the great hall covered in more weapons than clothing. He reminded her of a well-armed tank. Half-way across the room he stopped short and stared back at her.
Vivid blue eyes matching her own peered intently at her face and then her tattoo.
“Saints be praised! Me daughter has been returned ta me!” His eyes misted as he approached her cautiously. “Do ye remember me, lass?”
She shook her head. How could she? Someone had spirited her away when she was only two.
“H-how can you be so certain that I am your daughter?”
“Ach! Sweet bairn…ye look at me with your maither’s beautiful face…and me own eyes. Ye could be nae other.”
She turned to Lucian, wide-eyed. “I always thought I was orphaned! It’s strange to find out that I have a family…a father.” Arianna beamed at him and turned back to Dugal. “And my mother…?”
His face fell.
“She died three years after ye went missing, lass. After she had given up hope of ever finding ye. Twas a broken heart that claimed her…naught more.”
“Oh. I’m sorry I brought up a sad memory.”
“I have had time ta deal with her loss…do nae fash yourself, lassie.” He turned to Lucian. “I am in your debt, me lord. Ye have brought me great joy this day!”
“Thanks are nae necessary but an apology is owing.” He gave Dugal a curt nod as he continued. “I came across her at me seer’s bidding and since me faither nae longer draws breath, tis me place ta apologize ta ye for doubting your word.”
“Ye did nae cast doubt on me honor, Lucian Dunbar, but I thank ye for the words just the same.” They clasped arms in new found friendship.
They sat at the table together as food and drink were served by the clanswomen. Arianna’s stomach rumbled as she watched her husband fill up their trencher with assorted items…most of which she didn’t recognize. She would have fed herself but she knew that it was the husband’s place to feed her. Besides, he knew what it was that he placed in her mouth.
Dougal watched the young couple avidly, drinking in the sight of his daughter. She has fared well…wherever she has been. His throat tightened with emotion.
“Tell me, Lucian, do ye still wish ta honor the contract?”
The Earl was surprised.
“Did nae the runner tell ye?”
“Nae. He said ta come at once. That ye had found me daughter, tis all.”
He grinned. “Well then let me introduce ta ye the new Countess of Dunbar. We wed yester morn.”
Dougal was a bit disconcerted that they did not wait for his presence, but as Lucian retold the circumstances, he understood the why of it. He nodded in agreement.
“Aye, twas best ta make haste if Malcolm was sniffing about.”
“That was me thinking as well.”
Arianna grew restless sitting there as they talked and wanted to check on Shalizar. He was in a strange place surrounded by people he didn’t know. She worried about him.
Not knowing the appropriate way to interrupt…she tugged on his sleeve. His attention swung around to her but he didn’t look angry…just annoyed.
She took a deep breath then mentally laughed at herself. She had no reason to fear him. He wasn’t the bad guy in her nightmares, after all.
“I was wondering if you would excuse me while you two chat? I want to check on Shalizar. He’s used to me caring for him daily. I don’t want him upset.”
He considered her request then gave a curt nod.
“Very well. But do nae leave the castle walls, Anna. Tis much danger that ye be nae aware of yet.”
She flashed him a quick smile as she hugged him. He caught her to him and gave her a possessive kiss before releasing her. “Mind your tongue, lass.”
Nodding, she hurried out, anxious to reunite with her horse.
Dugal watched as she left the chamber.
“Is all well with her, Lucian?”
He cringed inwardly. He knew that MacGregor needed to know the facts of her life but he dreaded speaking the words aloud. Frowning, he turned to Dugal.
“Walk with me…and I will tell ye what I ken.”
Short, but oh so Good! April 17, 2013
I really liked Arianna and the way she came to accept her destiny that was carved out for her many years before. She was a free spirit and quite a handfull back in the 11 cenury, but was never petty or rude. Just sort of like a 21 century female without the so often accompanying attitude.If you like medieval stories, and a little romance to round out the story, you won’t be sorry you read this.
I got in my big comfy chair snuggled up in my fur throw propped my feet on my footstool, and began reading.
Boy, is this the life or what?
To read more go to Amazon and purchase a copy.