An exciting new Highland Adventure novel from Vonda Sinclair, USA Today bestselling author of searing and deeply emotional Scottish historical romance.
Torture has driven Neacal MacDonald to the brink of madness. As the new chief of the MacDonald clan, Neacal will do whatever it takes to honor his late father and to help his clan thrive. But whispers of his madness abound and many in his clan turn traitor, wanting MacDonald of Sleat to lead them instead. Conflict ignites between the bitter rivals when Sleat garners the help of the man who tortured Neacal in the past.
Can one woman's song pull him back and begin to heal his soul? Everything has been ripped from Anna Douglas except her angelic voice and the will to survive. When she meets Neacal, she recognizes something familiar in him—stark loneliness and pain. His past could be even more tragic and tarnished than hers. No one must learn her true identity or about the brutish man declaring she is his wife, for he will stop at nothing to reclaim her. Though Neacal vowed to never trust a woman again, he cannot resist the secrets in Anna's eyes or her spellbinding song, which threatens to break down the icy walls surrounding his tormented heart.
Excerpt Loch Moidart, Scotland, September 1619
A blade glinted from the torch-lit gloom of the dungeon. Neacal MacDonald jerked to move aside, but rough, constricting ropes bound his wrists and ankles, tearing into his stinging flesh. He gritted his teeth and waited for the next blow from MacRankin's beefy henchman. He'd been paid well to wrench, twist and pull the truth from Neacal. The man grabbed Neacal's hair, yanking it until pain shot through his scalp and neck. He held Neacal's head at an odd angle while another beast sliced a hot blade down the side of his face. The blinding pain consumed him. "I'll kill you! I swear it!" Neacal roared, jerking at the ropes. If he could free himself, he would strangle every last one of them with his bare hands. But he couldn't. The ropes had been knotted too tightly. They yelled questions and vile names, but he could no longer comprehend them. Sharp pain ripped through every inch of his body from the deep cuts, the bruises, the broken bones. Their voices died away and, in the silence, another shadow fell across him, wavering in the torchlight, followed by the gritty crunch of boots on stone and the hiss of a steel blade against leather. He braced for the impending agony, his muscles stiffening… Something warm, wet and friendly flicked over his face. Neacal jolted awake, out of the nightmare, gasping for breath… in his own bedchamber at Bearach Castle. Home… dear God… not a dungeon. His dog licking his face. The Irish wolfhound's bristly fur tickled, and his tongue washed Neacal's forehead. Damnation! This was why he avoided sleep until pure exhaustion claimed him. The nightmares were too real, the memories too close. Two years was not long enough to forget; two hundred wouldn't be. "Dunn? Saints." Exhaling a breath, Neacal looped his arm around the huge dog's neck, thanking Dunn silently for dragging him from the grip of the hellish dream-memories. His heartbeat slowed and he crossed himself. Thank God, he was free, not back there in MacRankin's torture chamber. How he wished he could forget the past. Mayhap then he would appear halfway normal. But, nay, he was not blessed with ignorance or a faulty memory. Each night he must revisit the torture again… and again.
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