Wild Thistle Trilogy #2
Published May 17, 2017
Soul Mate Publishing
Huntress Lady Faith MacAlister seeks adventure. Her father’s dying pledge tethers her to Wild Thistle Keep, thwarting her desire to explore the world beyond the palisade. Solace is found while hunting and providing sustenance for her clan. When snatched from the safety of MacAlister lands by a rogue bent on securing a ransom, she finds the adventure of her life.
Disgraced Captain Graeme Ross travels the high seas in search of bounty to sell in order to secure family lands seized by the Crown. He longs to regain his honor in his father’s eyes and continually risks his life buying and selling goods. Lacking enough funds, Graeme and his crew follow Lady Faith MacAlister as she hunts. Out of need and desire, he kidnaps her. The lady captivates him for the moment he laid eyes upon her. Bold and spirited, she fights him. When he negotiates a ransom, deception tears the burgeoning romance apart.
Now, Faith and Graeme seek to settle those differences hindering their union, despite the stretch of sea and land—and angry Highlanders standing between them.
’Twas her sister’s fault.
Hope had married Aidan MacKerry, leading the MacAlister Clan together, and now they were acting like lovesick cows. Aye, they’d recently had another bairn and ’twas why they were smiling like amadans. But Faith MacAlister had enough of the cooing and kissing.
She had to leave the Wild Thistle Keep or go mad.
Hunting was the only option.
The size of the MacAlister Clan dictated hunting trips each fortnight to keep the larder full. Faith grabbed her quiver and bow, left word with the guards at the palisade to inform the lairds Aidan and Hope her direction, and left to find sustenance and peace.
And now, three days later she continued stalking the elusive stag. She kenned her sister would be close to sending a group of men to look for her in a day or so. Luckily she’d managed an agreement with her sister whom was also her laird. An agreement between sisters proved hard to negotiate, but she’d won in the end. And she hunted without escort as long as she never left without telling the guards her direction.
A sun filled day, just cool enough not to need too much clothing that may hinder her movement, but warm enough she didn’t need to start a fire to warm herself. She stretched in the britches she’d stolen from one of the stable hands. Aye, she’d tried the tartan her sister Hope loved to wear, but found it too revealing as she moved and climbed to find her prey. And a gown, the devil take them, ’twould make it nigh impossible to hunt and secure meat for the clan.
She moved quietly through the woods. Each footfall, purposeful, silently brought her closer to her elusive prey.
Aye, there he stood. In the morning mist that hovered just above the low foliage, a proud, beautiful stag who’d avoided her arrow for too long. Huge, with several points on his rack and a cocksure stance stating, I’m king of the forest. She hated to take down the magnificent animal. But he’d provide for her clan and her duty dictated securing meat for those who depended on her.
She drew her bow, stretching the sinew, straining her arm muscles as she prepared to let the arrow fly. The feather fletching grazed her cheek as she held her breath waiting for the perfect moment to release. She’d traveled far for this chance, stalked her prey as her father had taught her so many years ago with her so wee she could barely hold a bow, much less draw and aim. And today, her size may well again thwart her hunting. ’Twould be problematic once the massive stag was felled. She’d have to dress him in the field and lug the meat back with her. No matter, she’d manage as always.
Two more steps forward. Stared down the length of the arrow past the head, ready to release.
“Well, well, well. What have we here?”
“Damn,” she muttered as she turned toward the voice. The stag fled and leapt gracefully away from her.
Vexed, she re-drew her bow and aimed toward the interloper.
She gasped as she spied the man.
He held up his hands and chuckled. “Now, darling, I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”
Dear Lord, he was large. He leaned against a tree, one of his legs crossed arrogantly before the other. His direct gaze set her heart pounding as she tried to catch her breath.
He nodded toward the woods surrounding them. “I never travel alone. My men surround you, darling.”
She glanced to the right, then left, all the while keeping the arrow nocked. She didn’t see anyone, but if they were trained men, they were cloaked in the brush and pine.
The man chuckled. “Aye, love. They’re here—watching you. Well trained and well hidden.”
He moved forward with long, purposeful strides. The bow nearly slipped from her sweaty grasp.
She swallowed. Piercing blue eyes sized her up as he lazily raked his gaze from her head to her toes. Irritation spiked at his cocksure grin.
He wore a billowing liene and a tartan slung low on his hips. At his side rested a gleaming sword. If she weren’t in the wood alone with the stranger and his men, she’d ask to see the impressive weapon. And to her trained eye, expertly made.
“What do you want?” she asked with more bravado then she felt. Chills shivered up her spine as she tried to see the men watching her. Where were they? And would they hurt a helpless lass?
She nearly scoffed. I am no helpless lass. “Step back or I’ll release the arrow.”
The man tipped his head back and laughed. The husky, throaty laugh sent shivers down her back. The chuckles of his men joined him and she cursed the day she wasn’t born a man. If she were a man, she would have had the strength to challenge him immediately.
She nodded her head at him. “I am a sure shot,” she warned without a hint of pride—her prowess with a bow ’twas common knowledge. Again she drew her bow.
“Damn.” She arched her back when a sharp weapon poked into it.
“Release the bow, lass,” a gruff voice said from behind her, “and I’ll let ye live.”
Madelyn Hill has always loved the written word. From the time she could read and all through her school years, she'd sneak books into her textbooks during school. And she devoured books daily. At the age of 10 she proclaimed she wanted to be a writer. After being a "closet" writer for several years, she sent her manuscripts to the universe and is now published with Soul Mate Publishing. And she couldn't be happier!
A resident of Western New York, she moved from one Rochester to another Rochester to be with the love of her life. They now have 3 children and keep busy cooking, going to the movies, and of course reading!
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