Forbidden Highlander

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A fresh wave of pain washed over Fallon as he thought of his baby brother. Though it was only a little over a month since their lives had changed so drastically, it felt more like a lifetime. Fallon still remembered finding the parchment stuck between two crumbling stones in the gatehouse wall. He had known without reading it who it was from. Deirdre. Bile rose in his throat every time he thought of the depraved bitch. Deirdre was a drough, a sect of Druids who took a blood ritual and gave themselves to evil and black magic. It was black magic that had released the god inside Fallon and his brothers, a god that gave them immortality and powers to wreck havoc on unsuspecting mortals. At least that’s what Deirdre, the most powerful drough, wanted in her quest for dominance. Fallon and his brothers had been the first to have their god unbound three hundred years before. He still recalled the excruciating pain when his skin had sizzled and his bones popped in and out of their joints as if the god stretched inside him. He was a Warrior, descended from the first Warriors who accepted the primeval gods into themselves to drive Rome from Britain. The Druids, once a mighty people had divided into two groups. The droughs, who preferred black magic, and the mies, Druids who used their magic only for good. It was the threat of Rome and their dominance that pulled the two sects of Druids together. They combined their magic to create a spell that would call forth ancient gods imprisoned in Hell and long forgotten. Their plan worked. The warriors who the gods’ chose were the greatest in their tribes, and with the combined power from the gods, the men turned into Warriors. An unstoppable force that saved Britain. For a time. After the Romans left, the Druids were unable to coax the gods from the men as they had expected. The only recourse left to the Druids was to bind the gods. Once again, the droughs and mies combined their magic. No one, least of all the Druids, expected the gods to move through the bloodline from father to son through the generations, residing in the strongest of the lineage each time until they could be called forth again. The MacLeods had been such a family. How Fallon loathed what he was. It was Deirdre who had found them, Deirdre who had destroyed his entire clan, and Deirdre who had ruined his life. He still wasn’t sure how he, Lucan, and Quinn had escaped Deirdre and her mountain all those centuries ago, but once they had, they had kept themselves hidden. For over three hundred years they lived like ghosts in the crumbling ruin of their home hiding from the world, hiding from themselves, but battling Deirdre in her quest for supremacy. Then Cara had come into their lives. None of them could have foreseen what would happen to the MacLeod brothers when Lucan walked into the castle with Cara’s unconscious body in his arms. A small smile pulled at Fallon’s lips as he thought of how protective Lucan was of his woman. Lucan, who had been the rock for him and Quinn during those awful years, deserved the love and happiness he had found. They had discovered almost too late that Deirdre was after Cara for her Druid blood. A great battle had ensued, but not once had the brothers thought to send Cara away to save themselves. Lucan wouldn’t have allowed it anyway. That night, that battle, changed Fallon almost as much as when his god had been released. He wasn’t the same man who kept a bottle of wine in his hands at all times to dull the god’s voice within him. He had ignored his god, denied what he was so that when it came time to save Cara, he hadn’t been sure if he could. Yet, his god had answered his call and turned him into the Warrior, the monster, he had feared for so long. In doing so, he had been able to help save Cara. The MacLeod’s had thwarted Deirdre yet again. Or so they had thought. Until Fallon had found the parchment. He’d memorized the words. They haunted his sleep and his waking hours, just as Quinn’s face did. Something pricked his palm. He glanced down to see his black claws had extended and dung into the flesh of his hand. He glanced at Iver, but the fool was too preoccupied staring at a servant’s ample breasts to notice and talking nonstop about his fortune and title. Fallon took a deep breath to manage his temper and didn’t let it out again until the god receded. It was always so whenever he thought about how Deirdre had captured Quinn. She held him in her fortress, Cairn Toul Mountain, awaiting Fallon and Lucan. The bitch knew they wouldn’t allow her to hold their brother. But she wanted them to come. And they would. Fallon couldn’t wait to get his hands around her slim neck. He would squeeze until he heard her bones break, until her eyes bulged, and the life left her body. Only then would he be satisfied. He would live the rest of his life as the monster he was in peace. Just knowing the evil that grew over the land would be gone was all he needed. “You look like you could rip someone’s head off,” Iver said with an uneasy chuckle. “Relax. It’s not you. Yet.” Iver’s let out a sigh and moved a step toward Fallon. “Depending on what you were willing to give in return, I may be able to get some of your land restored to you. If, of course, you have proof you are a MacLeod. Truth be told, I had assumed there were none left.” “I gather you heard of the legend of my clan.” Though Fallon hated to bring up, what had happened to his clan, the fear and curiosity, might work to his advantage. Iver’s beady black eyes grew intense as his interest grew. “Oh, aye, MacLeod. Everyone has heard of the tale. Is it true? Was your clan murdered?” “Aye. Every man, woman, and child was killed.” When Iver’s smile widened in glee, Fallon had to stop himself from punching him in the nose. “What happened?” Iver asked. “The account is that none survived.” “Three survived. Three brothers to be exact. Fallon, Lucan, and Quinn.” “Fallon,” Iver whispered. “You were named after your ancestor.” Fallon didn’t correct him. Let the fool think he was a descendant. Iver wouldn’t believe the truth anyway. “I am rightful laird of the clan MacLeod.” “Aye, you are. You deserve your lands.” Iver rubbed his hands together, anticipation making his black eyes glow. “I will send a missive to the king immediately.” But Fallon wasn’t fooled. “Thank you, but I’d rather see the king myself. Are you sure you heard he was on his way to Edinburgh?” “Aye,” Iver said. “That’s why so many more have come to Edinburgh Castle. It has been many years since the king has come to Scotland.” Fallon quirked a brow. There was much he wanted to say on that fact, but decided it wouldn’t be wise to bad mouth a king when he was about to ask that same king for his castle to be returned. “I appreciate the news,” Fallon said and moved away before Iver could speak again. As he moved to a new corner and settled himself to see if he could hear more about the king’s arrival the crowd around him thinned and he caught a flash of color. He turned his head and found himself staring across the hall into the face of unbelievable grace and beauty. A face he knew he would never forget, even if he lived for eternity. She was so stunning that he had pushed away from the wall and started toward her before he realized what he was about. The need to get closer, to take in her loveliness goaded him onward, much as his god pushed at his rage. Fallon kept his feet rooted in place by force of will alone, but he couldn’t tear his gaze from her mesmerizing oval face. She held herself with elegance and dignity, a noblewoman by birth. Someone bumped into her from behind, and there was a subtle shift of awareness about her that only a warrior would understand, only a warrior would note. He was intrigued more by the moment. Though Highland women were known to be strong and courageous, they weren’t warriors. Just as quickly as she had taken stance, she relaxed, the perfection back in place. Fallon let his gaze wander to his heart’s content. It had been so long since he’d laid eyes on something so...stunning. Her lips were wide and full, her smile easy and contagious as she spoke to others around her. She had impossibly high cheek bones and a small nose that had the slightest lift at the end of it. His enhanced hearing picked up a conversation that made him pause. “She’s incredible, isn’t she?” a male whispered. “Lady Larena Monroe is her name. There isn’t a man in the castle that doesna want her in his bed, and there isn’t a man that wouldna kill for her if she but said the word.” Fallon knew they had to be speaking of the woman his gaze was locked on. He wanted to hear more, but he wanted to be closer to her as well. Unable to stop himself, he weaved through the mob around the perimeter of the great hall. He edged closer to Larena Monroe admiring the cut of her burgundy gown and the way it clung to the swells of her breasts before hugging her trim waist. She held her hands together at her waist, her long, slim fingers intertwined as she listened to some older woman with a bulbous nose speak. Fallon peered through the space of two men and watched Lady Larena. Her skin the color of cream, and she had eye catching blonde hair that was piled artfully atop her head. She had wide, expressive eyes that captured whoever she looked at, and a mouth he couldn’t stop fantasizing about kissing. He was enraptured, awestruck by one woman. Fallon’s blood quickened, his heart raced, and God help him, his balls tightened. Lust roared within him, demanding he taste the unblemished skin that beckoned him so sweetly. Then Larena turned her head and looked straight at him with eyes a dark, smoky blue that seemed to see him for what he really was. Fallon sucked in air to his lungs and held himself still. She tipped her head in acknowledgement, her golden halo of hair a beacon in the hall. As soon as she turned her gaze away, he stepped back through the crowd and into the shadows of a corner. He recognized the yearning that flared inside him. He recognized it...and feared it. He was here to make sure his castle stayed his, not slake his need between a woman’s thighs. Despite how comely the woman was. The MacLeod’s might have lost their lands with the massacre and the brother’s subsequent disappearance, but Fallon would fight with everything he had to secure the castle as theirs for eternity. No longer would he and his brothers hide away like ghosts. It was time to take a stand, and if others discovered what they where and tried to harm them, then they risked their own lives. Fallon ran a hand over his jaw as he hungered for a taste of wine, anything to help dull the ache of desire in his loins.