Both orphaned and widowed within weeks, Linnet MacLellan journeys to Scotland to seek the protection of her late husband Duncan’s kin. Instead of the happy home and loving family she hopes to find, she meets hostility and disbelief. From the moment that the telegram to Jura House announcing her arrival goes astray and she is almost run down by an unknown rider Linnet is drawn deeper and deeper into problems. To her emotional distress she finds that her late husband’s brother Dougal is his exact twin, while the two aged aunts who raised both boys detest her and want her gone. Simon Fordyce, their closest neighbor, inhabits the Castle, the palatial house the MacLellans regard as their rightful home and intend to reclaim, no matter what the law says. To make things more tense, Fordyce is intent on putting a mill into the valley in direct contravention to the traditional farming industry Dougal wishes to revive.
Tension reaches a fever pitch as both men court Linnet, then all is unsettled even more when someone starts making attempts against Linnet’s life.
My head hurt, my entire being hurt, and in a way I was glad of it, for it showed me still to be alive. With an unknown instinct directing my cloudy consciousness, I slithered like some swamp creature through the weeds of the ditch back onto the lane; that tiny distance, measurable in inches, cost me more in energy and pain than the entire long walk from the station. I knew I had been unconscious and that I would soon faint away again, but no matter what, I could not simply wait for the Angel of Death to claim me as his own.
I lay in the rutted road, the gaudy profusion of stars above me, hovering between painful awareness and the smoky region of unconsciousness, when once again the ground beneath me vibrated from the impact of hooves. It was over, I thought. Now I could not move even to save my life, for my bones had turned to ice from which my flesh shrank with no power nor will to move. I drowsed, aware, yet as one dead.
The hoofbeats stopped not a yard away from my prostrate form. There was a jangling of harness and a creak of leather as a startling apparition spread his dark wings and swooped toward me. My mind murmured a prayer consigning my soul to God’s mercy that my lips could not. Our Father, Who Art in Heaven . . .
“Well, Annie,” said a voice too intensely masculine and disapproving to have anything to do with the celestial regions, “what have you done to yourself now? If you must sample the whiskey, at least do it at your croft, where you won’t be a menace to traffic or yourself. What the Devil . . . !” His voice changed from disapproving to angry amazement as strong hands turned me where my face was visible in the faint light.
“You aren’t Old Annie,” the voice challenged roughly, even as surprisingly gentle fingers sketched the outline of my face. “You’ve been hurt. Now where did you come from, so late at night in the middle of nowhere?” Softly he brushed away the tangled wreckage of my coiffure. “A beauty, too, but you won’t last long if I don’t do something about you right away.”
It was humiliating to be talked to and touched without even the opportunity of a reply, but my sullen body refused to heed any command of my mind. Barely on the edge of consciousness, I could only lie and hear myself discussed, a state of affairs my strong will could not tolerate.
“Did you,” I whispered with painful effort, “come back to finish the job?”
About the Author
Janis Susan May/Janis Patterson is a 7th-generation Texan and a 3rd-generation wordsmith who writes in mystery, romance, horror, children’s and scholarly. Once an actress and a singer Janis has also been editor-in-chief of two multi-magazine publishing groups as well as many other things, including an enthusiastic amateur Egyptologist. Janis’ husband even proposed in a moonlit garden near the Pyramids of Giza. Janis and her husband live in Texas with an assortment of rescued furbabies.
Twitter - @JanisSusanMay
website - www.JanisSusanMay.com
LinkedIn - Janis Susan May
Thanks Janis for sharing your books with us,