Chapter Two

Heather Du Lac watched the defensive garter walls surrounding the town of London and its castle, the White Tower. It was the first time since her parents' death that she had come to the South of England and she had almost forgotten how beautiful the landscape had been, so totally different from the rugged wilderness of the Welsh mountains, her mother had loved so much. Heather was fascinated by the ever buzzling traffic, the merchants with their horse drawn carts, the beggars and stern Norman soldiers trying to keep some sort of order, but as they drew nearer towards the gates of the city, she felt nervous and the business of the townsfolk made her shy. She bent forward on her mount and looked at her uncle who was travelling comfortably in a litter carried by two horses. Heather had argued with him for long hours before they had started out on this journey but her uncle had been determined to accompany her to London in order to give her hand away in marriage. 'We'll be at the castle soon, uncle Robert,' the young woman said, eyeing him closely. During the two weeks they had travelled she had feared more than once that this was his last journey but as they had advanced on the city he had grown stronger every minute.

'There's nothing wrong with me, child,' Robert said and gave her a bright smile. 'Stop looking at me every few minutes. The expectation of a warm fire and a soft bed is the best thing to cheer me up!'

Heather smiled and straightened herself as they entered the city walls.

She grew nervous as the streets of London narrowed around her and more than once was she harassed by beggars and peddlers before the small group of soldiers drew their mounts tightly around her and cordoned her off from any disturbance. When the gates of the Tower closed behind her, she felt as if the walls were oppressing her and a shudder went through the young woman. John De Coulter, the constable of the Tower, was already awaiting them in the yard when Du Lac's entourage arrived. While the servants rushed forward to greet the newcomers, Heather watched the people around her nervously. For the umpteenth time she thought about the man she should marry in two days time. During their journey south, she had asked Nigel, the captain of their escort if he knew Duncan De Gael. Everything she had heard about Duncan De Gael made him a living legend. Nigel had told her that he was a fierce, brutal strategist, one of Henry's most famous knights. The tales of his ruthless and merciless endeavours were given with so much conviction, that she knew the captain of her uncle's guard was secretly admiring the man, but she could not share the sentiment. Never did Nigel breathe a word about the man's character, if he was a temperate man or if he was good to his family. Nigel's only answer to her questions was to shrug his shoulders and smile apologetically. After such bleak information, she felt more afraid than before. After De Coulter had greeted her uncle he turned towards her and Heather dismounted her palfrey quickly.

'Lady Du Lac, welcome in London,' the bald rotund man said. One could have easily dismissed De Coulter because of his cheerful face and his small size but what she had heard about him from her uncle, De Coulter should not be underestimated. 'Thank you, Lord De Coulter,' Heather said and gave him a warm smile. 'I hope my uncle and myself do not discomfort you too much...'

'Nay, lady Heather, as I said to your uncle, you are most welcome!'

After they were shown to their quarters, Heather made sure that her uncle took the rest he needed before she retreated to her own chamber where her maid Agnes was already busy unpacking her trunks. After the maid had shooed her mistress away, Heather sat down by the window.

Still, the words of Nigel echoed in her mind: the man is a renown warrior - cruel and merciless. Some people say he is Lucifer's son because of his height and the charcoal black hair. He has piercing blue eyes as cold as ice and one could say that he was handsome were it not for a scar running down his left cheek from eye to mouth. He killed the man who drew blood like this, and many men and women fear to look at this face. The Welsh fear him most since he had become a marcher lord. He will straighten out your and Lord Robert's estates in no time... Heather closed her eyes for a moment, remembering the words made her shiver. Although her mother had taught her not to judge people by their appearance she feared that De Gael's looks told exactly what the man was, hard and merciless. When she heard Agnes come over to her side, she looked up.

'Now have you done brooding?' the woman asked. Heather smiled and touched the hand of the older woman, a fleeting touch that immediately filled Heather with tingling and disturbing sensations. Her maid was afraid of her and yet, tried not to show it. Agnes had been her maid since she was five years old. First she had been her nursemaid but as she had grown older, Agnes had become a friend, even though a wary friend considering the amount of apprehension she could feel coming from her.

'Aye, Agnes.' Heather replied, giving the older woman a gentle smile. 'I will look after uncle and then go down to the hall to see if we can get something to eat...'

'You should rather look for your husband,' Agnes replied tartly. 'You two should get acquainted the sooner the better...' Heather shook her head slightly and turned towards the door.

After Heather had looked in at her uncle who was peacefully snoring away, she walked down into the hall where De Coulter was sitting on the trestle. When he saw the lady, he sent the messenger away and stood up.

'Ah, Lady Heather, I've just received a message from Lord De Gael...,' he greeted her and pointed towards a chair on the trestle. The young woman sat down and took a cup of sweetened wine a page offered her.

'So, the lord has arrived...' Heather said with a shivering voice.

'Nay, my lady, not yet. But his captain has already arrived. The Welsh have plundered some villages in the marches and Lord De Gael is still there to see the perpetrators punished,' De Coulter eyed the young woman opposite him closely, to gauge a reaction from her. He knew that Lady Amber Du Lac, Heather's mother, had come from Wales which still harboured clans of witches, or so he was told.

Heather closed her eyes for a moment. She had friends amongst the Welsh in the marches and some of the clans were family connected to her through blood bonds stronger and older than anything the Norman nobility could say of their descent. It would have been a sin to pray for De Gael's death yet a short Latin prayer escaped her lips, praying that no relative would die from the hands of De Gael. Lord De Coulter heard the last words and nodded his head.

'Do not worry, Lady Heather. Lord De Gael will arrive here safely and your marriage will take place in two days time...'

Heather blushed deeply in embarrassment and also in guilt and almost slipped her cup of wine but she caught herself immediately.

'Yes,' she said with a shivering voice. 'I have no doubts that a renown knight as Lord De Gael does not need prayers for his safe return...' she replied hastily.

De Coulter nodded again but he eyed her suspiciously. He had no doubts that this young woman would rather pray for De Gael's death than for his safe return. An interesting thought, De Coulter said to himself. Perhaps he had found a way to ruin not only De Gael but also the king. He was eager to acquaint the lady better and it was a task he wanted to start the sooner the better. When he was about to invite her to dinner, he heard footsteps behind him and when he turned around, he saw an old soldier advancing toward them.

'Sir Angus,' De Coulter muttered his greeting towards the man. The old soldier bowed his head towards De Coulter but his relentless gaze never moved from Heather.

'May I present to you Sir Angus ap Owain, my lady, he's Lord De Gael's captain...'

The young woman stood up and bowed her head. Before she could place a greeting, the old soldier greeted her in the strange tongue of the Welsh which she understood very well. She replied in the same tongue and blushed when he told her that she spoke the language quite well.

When De Coulter coughed behind them, both people reverted to English.

'I hope you had a safe journey?' Angus asked and motioned her back to her chair.

'Yes,' she replied. 'Thank you.' Angus watched the young woman more closely. What he saw surprised him. The little information Duncan and he himself had gathered of this lady, had not prepared him for what he saw now. Although Heather Du Lac was five and twenty years old, she looked much younger and her size was small, smaller than he himself was and certainly far smaller than Duncan. Despite that she was very much womanly curved with a full bosom and hips. Watching her with the appreciate eye of a man, he realised this woman looked like she was more fitted to have a whole stable full of children than being the delicate lady of a castle. She radiated an air of self-confidence and yet gentle shyness, that was intriguing and silently Angus had to chuckle, Duncan de Gael was in for surprise when faced with his bride-to-be. The old Welsh turned his attention back to De Coulter who was telling both that the bishop of York was residing in London and that he had invited them to his palace. Angus proposed to accompany Heather and her uncle in Duncan's stead and Heather agreed reluctantly. Although she rather liked the Welsh captain she was still weary of the fact that he was one of De Gael's men.

Duncan De Gael reigned his horse and took off his helmet. He and his men had captured half of the Welsh raiders in the marches and they had been surprised to find that the Welsh had been Normans disguised as Welsh and led by three Norman barons. Duncan had not been able to capture them but he was sure that he had recognised one of them: Nicholas Ferrer, the son of the bishop of York. More over they had captured Ferrer's page, now sitting bound hand and foot on one of the pack carts and De Gael snorted in disgust. The boy was even younger than his own page and from the scraps and bleeding wounds all over his body, he knew his master had not looked well after him. He, De Gael, would have never mistreated a page entrusted into his care nor would have left him abandoned alive in the hands of his enemy.

The young knight sighed inwardly and rubbed his eyes. Since early childhood he was pained with awful headaches and fainting attacks and he felt that one of these attacks was coming on. He looked over his left shoulder and ignoring the searing pain travelling down his arm, he watched his men as they were putting the wounded either on horses or on wagons. They had not lost one single man and Duncan was proud of them. Stephen, Duncan's page, hurried over to him and the young boy swept his brow wearily.

'We are ready, my lord,' he said. 'The two young knights have been bound and put into one of the wagons.' Duncan nodded and when he saw the shivering shoulders of the boy, the near wild look in the boy's eyes and he put his gloved hand on the boy's shoulders.

'It is always a gruesome experience killing for the first time...' he said slowly, holding the boy's gaze with his own. 'But it has to be done for it is either you or them on the battlefield! Do not forget that.'

The young boy nodded solemnly and stalked back over to his horse. Two months ago Stephen had been taken into the services of Lord De Gael and ever since he had been happy to be the personal page. But after he had experienced his first battle, even a minor skirmish in the eyes of the more skilled soldiers, he had felt sick and he had even wished to be sent home again which made him both miserable and ashamed at the same time.

Duncan watched the boy as he mounted the small pony. Although he had received his knightly spurs thirteen years ago with the age of sixteen, Duncan still remembered his first battle as a page to his former lord. He had felt sick and afraid and he knew exactly how Stephen felt and he hoped that when Stephen became a seasoned warrior he would not enjoy the killing. Duncan never did. Although he was known for his relentlessness he felt the bile rising in his throat every time after the battle. Duncan shook his head and raised his hand to give the sign for their departure. Slowly, the tross of wagons, knights and foot soldiers set out East, towards London, towards his bride to be and not without mirth, Duncan had to grin devilishly. He would be late for his own wedding.

It was four days and nights later and already far into the fourth night when they reached London. The gatekeeper at the city walls argued with the baron that it was not allowed to enter the city after nightfall. Duncan swore inwardly and after he had threatened the man that he rather put the gatekeeper's head upon a spike than camping out for the night, the gatekeeper reluctantly opened the gate and let them within the city walls. Stephen muttered beneath his breath when they entered the city, complaining about the arrogant city folk and Duncan who had overheard the muttered comment raised his eyes heavenward for a short moment. The boy was quick-witted and already a skilled fighter but every time he had a chance to complain he did so at length. The baron had learned to ignore his bickering but now with his growing headache, it tired him. Tomorrow, Duncan was sure, he would be glad that the boy had returned to his old ways, the disturbing images of the battle forgotten, but tonight he wished the boy would hold his tongue. Duncan urged his horse onward towards the Tower and hoped that the constable had prepared some lodgings for himself and his men. On days like these Duncan felt incredibly old although he was not quite thirty years old but being a man with the reputation of a living legend people expected to see a ruthless warrior and he felt tired to the bone of it. When they reached the yard of the Tower, it was lit by torchlight and servants were busily rushing forward to assist the soldiers. De Coulter walked down the steps of the keep and as he watched the captured men being led away towards the dungeons, he frowned slightly.

'I see you have been fortunate,' De Coulter said, pointing with his finger towards the pages.

'Aye,' Duncan answered as he dismounted his horse. 'They are the sons of Norman barons and I think their fathers will pay a royal ransom to receive their children unharmed...' The constable flinched at the hard voice of the baron but his face was expressionless when he said:

'One day, the king must turn to you for money. You'll be the richest man in England soon!'

Duncan snorted at that and walked over to the stables to see after his horse himself. After he had sent Stephen to look for accommodation he slowly walked over to the keep.

Angus ap Owain took one long look at his foster son as he entered the hall and he knew that Duncan was about to collapse. 'Your room is ready, mylord,' Stephen said. 'The constable does not have a bathhouse so he had ordered a tub filled with hot water upstairs.' Angus grinned at that but Duncan groaned out loud. Ever since his first crusade to the Holy Land Duncan had been fascinated with the hot bathhouses of the Turks and when he had become Lord of Penfrey, he had immediately erected a bathhouse at the castle, frequented not only by the lord but by his men as well. They might call us cut-throats and worse, but at least we are the cleanliest cut-throats in England, with a chuckle, Angus reminded himself. After De Coulter had wished him good night, Duncan went upstairs to his room followed by Angus and Stephen.

'You have missed a very boring dinner with the bishop of York,' Angus remarked as he sat down on the window seat. 'Really?' Duncan asked. 'Well, Ferrer would do better to look after his son than entertaining people...'

'Is that so?' Angus asked and watched Stephen as he strained to pull off Duncan's chainmail shirt.

'Aye, the raiders were led by Norman barons and one of them was Nick Ferrer...' Duncan replied but when the boy took off the heavily padded hauberk, Duncan flinched and cursed loudly.

'Boy, be careful,' he said through clenched teeth. Stephen murmured an apology and when he took off the rest of the armour he almost fainted. During battle, Duncan De Gael had been injured and now after the removal of the armour Stephen could see the damage to the leathershirt and the undertunic and the dried blood which had pasted the garments together. 'Mylord, you are hurt,' Stephen stuttered.

'Aye, Stephen. Stop gaping and go to bed!' Duncan said and after the boy had left the bedchamber, Duncan took a deep breath and tried to lift off the tunics. Angus pulled his hands away and pushed his foster son towards a heavy oaken chest. The young knight sat down with a loud groan and covered his face with one hand, pressing the palm of his hand tiredly against his eyes, as if willing them back into their sockets.

'Someday, you'll get yourself killed if you are not looked after properly...' Angus said and he carefully examined the wound by lifting up one side of the leather tunic. 'You need a healer. The tunic has dried in the wound and if you pull it off, the wound starts bleeding again...'

'All I need is a bath and a good night's sleep!' Duncan said and tried to stand up. Black circles appeared before his eyes and with a thud he dropped back onto the chest and his head fell backwards against the wall.

'You...' Angus said, pointing an accusing finger towards Duncan. 'Need a healer and that quite quickly. Perhaps you don't care what becomes of you but I do!'

When Angus opened the door, he turned back once again, eyeing his foster son. 'Stay put. I know where I can get a healer in the middle of the night.'

Angus rubbed his hands together as he walked down the corridor to Lady Heather's chamber. During the dinner at the bishop's palace three days ago he had talked to Lord Robert and his niece, and Robert had been especially proud about the fact that he was in such a good care with his niece, the healer.

Perfect, Angus thought, if she and Duncan could meet as equals rather than prized cattle in the King's game, he might ease the young lady's fear at the impending marriage. Perhaps he had found a way to put her fears at rest when Lady Heather looked after Duncan's shoulder wound tonight. The old man chuckled as he knocked on lady Heather's door. After a few seconds Agnes opened and frowned at Angus.

'What is so urgent that you wake up my lady?' Agnes asked icily.

'Lord Duncan needs a healer's attendance, wench. So will you tell your lady to come!' Angus demanded as icily as Agnes had inquired but he fell silent when he saw Lady Heather appearing at the door.

'Lord De Gael is wounded?' she asked, her green-coloured eyes wide awake.

'Aye, mylady. It is a shoulder wound and he has lost quite an amount of blood...'

Heather turned and threw a light shawl around her shoulders. Before Agnes could tell her to put on a proper gown and head-dress, she had gathered all her healing ingredients into a wicker basket and stepped out into the corridor. When Agnes followed her out of the room, the Welsh held up his hand and shook his head.

"I only require your lady's help, wench," he said non too gently and Agnes about to give him some tongue lashing of her own, was gently held back by Heather.

"It is alright, Agnes," she whispered soothingly. "What do you think will befall me? The Lord de Gael and I are soon to be married ..."

"Aye, but that didn't restrain other's from plucking an innocent flower and then discarding them before any vows were taken."

Angus inhaled sharply. "Do you say that my lord would defile Lady Heather?"

"Aye, that is my meaning, my little flower is far too innocent and gentle as to know the dangers that can befall her in the bed chamber of a man, alone," Agnes spat back.

"She will not be alone, I can vouch for that," Angus bit out, trying to remain calm in the face of the maid's spitting fury.

"Well you ..."

"Enough!" Heather cut in and both champions looked at the young lady surprised. "While you are bickering a man might be dying, so Lord Angus, if you would please lead me to my lord De Gael, and Agnes, you go to bed, if I need help I'm sure to send Lord Angus to fetch you."

"But Lady Heather," Agnes started but Heather silenced her with a look before she motioned for Angus to lead the way.

Duncan had not moved when Angus entered the room and he did not open his eyes when he sensed that his fosterfather was not alone. He remained sitting on the oaken chest with his eyes closed while his hands gripped the edges of the chest, his knuckles turning white while he tried to fight the nauseous waves. Heather was not prepared to see Duncan De Gael, Lord of Penfrey, in this state. The tall figure was resting at leisure but from the deep frown on his forehead she could see that he was in pain. Besides, the young woman was not prepared to find him so handsome. Ravenblack hair fell in curls down to his shoulders and his skin was softly tanned. The scar which the captain had so vividly described, was not as ugly as she had feared, merely a white line from his left eye to the corner of his mouth which made her only think about how painful the wound must have been. Slowly, she walked over to him and bent over his wound.

'Sir Angus, I need hot water,' Heather demanded while she set the basket with herbal potions aside. 'And sheets for cleansing and dressing...'

"The page will get all you require, anything else?" When the young woman shook her head, Angus woke the boy in the adjoining room and send him on his errands. He watched the woman all the while and now as she bent over Duncan, lifting the leather tunic carefully, he exhaled softly. The lady showed no signs of fear now.

'Do you know for how long he had this wound, Sir Angus?' heather asked softly. Before Angus could answer, Duncan opened his eyes.

'Since this morning three days ago,' Duncan replied and wanted to stand up but soft hands on this leathertunic pushed him back to the seat.

'Sit still, mylord,' Heather demanded. 'You have lost quite an amount of blood and your tunic has dried on the wound. I have to soak the fabric to remove it.' Duncan eyed her suspiciously but when he saw her face and those huge green-coloured eyes, he gaped at her.

'Who are you?' he asked her in a raspy voice. Heather was about to reply but Angus cut her short.

'She is the healer, Duncan,' Angus said and looked apologetically towards Heather. 'A Learned One...'

'A witch...' Duncan murmured and he saw that the young woman flinched.

'Nay, lady. Do not be afraid. I do not fear the Learned Ones,' he said slowly. Heather lowered her lids when his gaze met hers. She went over to the fireplace where she had put down the basket. She did not know that her night-gown, although made from heavy linen, was almost transparent against the firelight. Duncan watched her with interest and for a second he forgot the throbbing in his shoulder and the waves of nausea that threatened to rob him of his senses as he took in her appearance. Long copper-red curls flooded down her shoulders and over her back, the light from the fire highlighting the hair as if the hair was fire itself and the enticing outline of her curves beneath the night-gown stirred something in him.

When the boy returned with a bowl of hot water and a few linens, Heather sent him back to bed for she knew the task ahead of her was to be bloody and she did not want to deal with a sick boy, even if he was the page of this fierce warrior. "Go to bed. If I need help Sir Angus will give me a hand!'

Muttering beneath his breath and shooting Angus a pleading glance, the boy reluctantly walked back to his room and Heather started to work. After she had soaked the leather shirt and the undertunic with warm water, Angus helped her to take off the remaining clothes. Duncan groaned when the fabric was pulled out of the wound and fresh blood welled out of it, drenching her virginal white night-gown. When she looked up she saw that his broad shoulders were covered with sun-tanned skin, the muscles beneath it in prominent display. Here and there, Heather could detect old scars but beside the most recent wound they had all been properly cared for. The young woman's mouth went dry as she saw so much male perfection and she knew why he had gained such a reputation as a fighter.

'It's a deep wound, I have to sew it!' Heather remarked in an unsteady voice. Angus rummaged through her basket until he had found needle and yarn.

'Here,' he said, holding it out towards her. Heather thanked him and took the needle. Carefully she threaded the yarn and put a small hand onto Duncan's shoulder, humming a strange melody. Just as she was taught by her mother so many years ago, she used her own powers to heal the warrior. The gift was as old as the clans of the Learned Ones and she had inherited it from her mother Amber. Heather felt a moment of pain and anger rushing through her brain as she made skin to skin contact with Duncan. She gasped at that but when the power of the gift increased it blotted out all negative emotions and even Duncan felt a tingling sensation running through his body. His shoulder felt all of a sudden numb to pain and touch and he relaxed despite his nervousness.

'What?' he asked in surprise and Heather smiled sadly.

'Do not be afraid, my lord. Your shoulder needs to be numb otherwise the pain will distract you and I cannot sew the wound properly...' she reassured him and started her bloody task. To Duncan's surprise he did not feel any pain as she sewed the wound together and the bleeding had stopped miraculously. It took a long time until Heather went through the flesh for the last time and after she had cleansed her hands, she walked over to her basket and set out to mix some herbal potion. Soon the scent of fresh herbs filled the chamber and carefully Heather spread the salve upon the wound. 'If you want to take a bath, my lord, you should do it now,' Heather said. 'Sir Angus can assist you with it and I will sent for some food and I want you to eat every kernel of it!' She sounded like a mother scolding her child and Duncan raised an amused eyebrow. All during her attention he had relaxed more and more in her presence, her healing had even soothed the pounding headache he had and now he felt better than in many days.

'Perhaps you want to assist me in my bath?' he asked playfully, the sight of her nearly transparent gown not forgotten but when he saw her deep blush, he shook his head.

'Nay, lady soft-hand, do not fret. I thank you that you helped me,' he said and touched her cheek lightly. Suddenly Heather blanched and closed her eyes in a hoarse gasp. Images came rushing to her mind. Pain, anger and despair violated her thoughts and she was unprepared for this. Duncan's emotions were so strong that she could almost feel the reason for them, a dark secret lurking in the shadows of his mind and yet she was unaware that this bonding affected him in the same way. Duncan cursed beneath his breath and let go of her and the strange sensations he had felt immediately stopped. Silently they stared at each other and Heather turned away quickly. She swayed on her feet but she could regain her balance before any of the men could reach out for her.

'I ...will leave you now, Lord Penfrey,' Heather murmured and after a last look towards Angus she left the room. Outside in the corridor, the young lady started shivering violently. The after-effects of a healing were always dramatic but this time it was more than that. She had first experienced the bonding when she had attended to his wound but the healing gift had blotted out any emotions from his side, but when he had touched her afterwards she had felt him so close that she had almost fainted. Never in her life had she experienced such a close bonding with another being and she was afraid of the meaning of it.

After Lady Heather had left, Duncan stared dumbfounded at the hand that had so fleetingly touched her cheek. It was as if he could still feel the soft skin of her beneath his fingertips and a tingle still raced through him. He had heard about the Learned Ones, ancestors of the old Celtic druids, but he had never believed that their powers were so great, or so real.

"The water is getting cold, Duncan," Angus' voice tore him from his reverie and bewildered Duncan looked up. With a nod he acknowledged Angus and also dismissing any thoughts from the healer with the beautiful eyes and hair like liquid fire and a figure that would even entice the most unwilling man.

After he had undressed himself completely, he stepped into the bathtub Angus had filled from a container above the fire-place. Duncan sighed when he laid back against the wood of the bathtub and enjoyed the warm water seeping through his skin. He watched Angus as he prepared some linens for dressing the wound.

'Did you see Lady Du Lac? Was she distressed that the wedding had to be delayed?' Duncan asked after a while and did not see Angus' grin as he sat down on a stool nearby. 'Aye, mylord, so I have,' he answered. 'I attended the bishop's dinner two nights ago and I had conversation with the lady and her uncle, Sir Robert. Even though the wedding was delayed, the lady seemed relieved to have a short reprieve ...'

'Angus,' Duncan warned softly, then he groaned when his shoulders touched the hard wood of the bathtub. Sitting up he threw Angus a warning look.

'Ah. You want me to tell you about the lady,' Angus said in a teasing voice. After another warning glance, Angus chuckled to himself. 'What can I tell you that you don't already know yourself? She has soft hands, beautiful eyes and a mouth made for kissing. And from the way you gaped at her when she stood against the firelight, I guess you cannot wait until you're married ...'

Duncan blinked for several times before he could properly focus his eyes again. 'Lady Heather?' he asked in a hoarse voice. 'You asked Lady Heather to look after my wound?'

'Aye, and it was a good idea I have to admit...' Angus replied.

"You made a fool of me...' the young baron said through clenched teeth.

'Nay, Duncan,' Angus shook his head and came over to him. 'If you had met the Lady Heather anywhere else you would have behaved differently. You would have taken every opportunity to belittle the lady but as it is you behaved like any other healthy young man and the lady's fears are laid to rest....'

Duncan snorted at that but silently he had to admit that Angus was right. If he had known that the healer had been his future wife he had made sure that she would be afraid of him. And he would have made damn sure that he was not in the least swayed by her becoming appearance. Duncan closed his eyes and groaned inwardly.

Lord, he thought. All his plans for this marriage had been foiled by his foster father. Now that they had met as equals, Duncan did not know how to put the fear of God into her.

Chapter 01 | Chapter 02 | Chapter 03 | Chapter 04 | Chapter 05