Hot Scots in a New Release from Cherime MacFarlane

Celebrate the New Year with  Hot Scot!

The Twisted Laird now available on Amazon.com for PreOrder. Click here to order your copy now, and have it delivered automatically to your Kindle on December 31st.

Edan Campbell MacGrough is the only MacGrough male to return home from Culloden. They must leave their beloved glen. His half-brother sent him home to care for the women and children who are left. Daracha is happy to see her man return, but others are not so fortunate. He must hide behind his infirmity, a thing he detests. How will they survive in Glasgow? Aili Lara, wife of Birk MacGrough has seen Edan's story by paranormal means and is telling the tale to the MacGrough's of 2015.


The Making of a Laird



The mist still floated above the burn. Edan shivered slightly, but not from cold, from fear. He did not want to disappoint his brother. Hamish had gone to so much trouble throughout the years.
Shifting slightly onto his weak leg, Edan felt the firm support against his calf of the brace his brother had devised. Would it be enough? At least if he fell on his asail, there was no one to see.
Hamish hadn't told Rhona of their plans for this morning. Edan would be spared her gleeful looks when he was not able to perform. The witch would eventually find out something and her wicked mouth would surely taunt him whenever Hamish was not around to quiet her.
"Aye, lad." A strong arm came around his shoulder. "Ready? 'Tis time ye learned tae care for yourself and tha rest."
"I'm nae sure I can manage it. Tha thing gives way at tha oddest times."
"Doesnae tha brace support ye?"
"Aye. 'Tis ah great help. I'm nae wanting tae make an asail 'o myself here."
Hamish hugged him tighter and shook his shoulder slightly. "There's naught here tae see. 'Tis between thee an me until we're sure ye can manage well enough. Let's be about it laddie."
Following his brother's example, he dropped the belted plaid away and stood clad only in his shirt. Hamish stood beside him, sword in hand. "First, we'll warm tha blood ah mite. Muscles move easier when warm. Now then, Gideon taught us tae stretch before ah fight. Having ah muscle lock is ah thing that may kill. Ken?"
"Aye. I ken what ye taught me an I read it in tha book, where he wrote tha things."
"Good enough! On with it."
They began the stretches and warm up exercises. Holding the heavy sword in both hands, Edan pushed it high over his head and twisted from side to side. The movements were much easier to do with the wooden practice sword and the weight of the claymore threw his balance off.
When he wobbled slightly, Hamish's voice steadied him. "Go easy laddie. Slowly now. Don't mind ah wobble or tae, 'tis tha reason we do this."
The movements were harder to control, to do smoothly with the additional weight of the sword. Edan could not use his right leg to step forward on and it took all his concentration to keep the lunges under control. But he had been practicing on his own, up the glen, out of sight of the rest of the clan.
The boy's diligence was paying off. His right leg was not as weak as it had been and his left was strong. Rhona's nasty mouth, as much as anything else, had driven him to scale the cliffs of the old quarry.
Once, he froze on a ledge part way up the farthest cutting, because he had been foolish enough to look down. The girl's scathing dismissal of him as "naught but ah cripple" rang in his head and Edan forced himself to finish the climb.
The benefit of climbing was an increase in strength of his upper body and right leg. Edan continued to force his body to do as he wished. Driving himself, he climbed higher and walked farther than others his age.
Weapons were another matter. The sling, bow and arrow, or cross bow were weapons he had no problem with. Edan was quite competent with those. He never missed with the sgian. The weight of the claymore, the strength necessary to properly wield it or an axe, those were the things his nightmares were made of.
Hand to hand combat was another thing that caused him to wonder, how in the name of God, he would manage in battle. There were times he resented his older brother's insistence on training him. Hamish would be laird when their father was no longer able to carry out that duty. Lame as he was, what earthly reason could Hamish have for insisting he push himself so hard?
As they sparred in the coolness of the early morning, his brother quietly called out instructions to the boy.
When Hamish finally called a halt in a voice that cracked slightly, Edan laughed. "Yur nae altogether yurself, brother."
Hamish collapsed on the ground beside Edan. "Aye. 'Tis nae grown intae all yet. In time, my voice will cease tha giving out on me, as will yur leg. Be sure an see Gara this eve. Let her rub ye down with tha ointment."
Hamish dried off the pommel of his claymore with the end of his plaid, then slipped it back into the scabbard.
Edan did the same, before pulling a blade of grass from the ground and twisting it about in the fingers of one hand. "I dinnae ken why."
"Tha "why" of what, Edan?"
"Tha reason ye insist that ah cripple learn sword play and hand tae hand combat. Isnae it sufficient for me tae use tha bow an such like?"
The hand that landed on his shoulder was not gentle. "Dinnae say that again. If I hear ye referring tae yurself in such ah manner again, I'll have ye out here from morn tae dark. Every day without fail. I'll nae give ye ah moment's peace. As it is, I'm sore tempted tae do so anyway."
"But, Hamish..."
"Nae! Shut yur gub. In time all tha reasons will come clear tae ye. There're tae we might investigate presently. First being, ye're tae nae give up. Ye may need rest, ye may need tae retreat and regroup, 'tis ah given in life. All, every last person in tha glen has ah thing that could be called ah weakness. We must all learn tha manage tha blessed things. Second is, someday ah woman will be wanting ye. I ken yur heart laddie. Ye'll nae be letting one in, if ye cannae care for, or provide for her."
Edan looked down, away from his brother's dark eyes. Disconnecting his gaze from Hamish's did not bring relief. He could feel those eyes boring into him.
"I'm tae wee tha bother with lasses." The boy plucked another blade of grass up and tossed it to one side. "There's nae lass gontae be bothering with tha likes of me."
"Edan, Edan. Laddie, ye're so verra wrong. Have I ever led ye astray?"
At the note of hurt in Hamish's voice, Edan looked up at his beloved brother. "Sorry! Forgive me, please. Ye've never told me ought, but truth. "
Six years older than Edan, his brother's hand was already hardened, calloused from work and practice with weapons. That hand gently stroked over his brown hair.
"How could I nae forgive tha verra best 'o brothers. Trust me, Edan, for there's things brewing an nae ah one of us will be allowed tha escape."
"I dinna ken this. What are ye speaking of? Da has said naught of such. Tha MacNabs are nae worse than usual. Tha Campbells are more interested in what's south of us. And..."
For just a moment his brother's hand tightened on his head. A sigh escaped Hamish before he spoke again. "I dinna ken tha entirety of tha thing. I only ken what must be done here. Bear with me, laddie. Och, ye did well today. Can ye do as ye're bid? Can ye continue tae try? Will ye continue tae put all intae it? Ye've ah great heart, Edan, if ye put yur all intae this, ye will succeed."
Ah great heart? Edan's chest swelled at his brother's words. If Hamish thought so much of him, how could he not try with everything he possessed? On the day he turned eight years of age, Edan Campbell MacGrough swore to accomplish all his brother asked of him, no matter the cost.

Comments

  1. I received an advanced copy. This is an excellent book!

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