All of my Celtic Love Knot stories are related. Through a Magic Mist in Celtic Love Knots Vol. 3 is where it all starts. It's available from Whiskey Creek Press Torrid
February 2008 from Whiskey Creek Press Torrid: Celtic Love Knots Vol. 9
Scotland, present day
The overhead doorbell jangled as Laria MacCleod arranged the last batch of shortbread in the display case. “Welcome to Wicked Temptations,” she called. Laria lifted her head and the bon-bon in her hand slipped through her fingers to splat on the plate when she spied Mr. Yummy making his way to the counter. She’d seen him around the village and bugger, he was even better looking up close. Thrice she’d dreamed of him and found the real man was definitely more delicious.
He stood at least six foot one with sun-kissed blonde hair that brushed his collar, and blue eyes the color of Loch Awe on a sunny day. He reminded her of a Norse god. A shiver of anticipation shimmied to her core at the thought of what she’d like to sample on this man. His aura and presence affected her like no other. She took a deep breath to refocus, to still the attraction she felt for this stranger.
She closed the sliding window and wiped the crumbs from her hands on her apron. She resisted the urge to pluck her damp shirt away from her body. I’m probably a mucky mess. Just my luck.
“May I help you?” she asked as she kept watch on the village’s two gossipy crones, Agatha and Clara in the corner.
“I’m looking for Laria MacCleod.” He pulled an envelope from his pocket.
Prickles of unease danced a Highland reel up and down her spine. Something wasn’t right. “Aye, I’m Laria.”
“This is for you, lass.” The embossed crest in the upper left hand corner caught her attention. Brighid’s Fire! Hamish Wallace. Would the man never leave her alone? Her creed, if it harm none, do what you will, she always obeyed. Hamish pushed her to her limit.
“I’ve been told this is a final offer from Wallace on your building and property.”
Her hand trembled, rattling the packet. Anger flared, heating her cheeks. “Would you give Hamish a message?”
The Viking Warrior crossed his arms and raised a tawny brow. “Aye, lass.”
“Tell that son-of-a-bitch cur he can go straight to bloody hell! I’m not selling.”
A devilish half-smile twitched at the corners of his mouth. “Hamish isn’t my client although I currently have the misfortune of working in his solicitor’s office. It would give me great pleasure to deliver your message.”
THE DARK MIST
The frigid fingers of evil touched Keegan O’Neill’s skin as he entered the sacred oak grove. Pushing his revulsion deep inside, he trod the fragrant earth on silent feet. Just ahead, the tree line thinned and opened to reveal a small stone circle where a group of eight white-robed druids stood. “Come, join us, Keegan.”
A space opened for him to enter, yet he stayed outside the perimeter. The vileness was so strong it brushed his soul. A sharp pain in his chest followed in its wake. “What are you about, Murdoch?”
The Druid motioned for Keegan to step into the empty spot. “We wish for you to unite with us on the path of darkness and shadow, for this is where true power lies.”
“Nay, I walk the road of truth and light, where the Gods and Goddesses lead me. Leave me be.” Keegan clenched his hands into fists, releasing his fingers on his next breath. I must reach my brother, Sloan, at Tara. Protection. When had a dark mist surrounded Murdoch’s form? Had the powerful druid blinded him?
Murdoch slowly walked over to Keegan, his face contorted with hate. “After I kill you, I will steal your spirit, your awen. Your power, given by the Goddess Danu, will be mine.”
The zing of metal pierced the silence as Murdoch sliced the air with the deadly blade. He pointed the tip at Keegan’s chest. Their laws forbade any druid to carry a weapon. Truly, the man had lost all of his senses. Keegan watched in fascination as the weapon was wrenched from Murdoch’s grasp by an unseen force. The ground shook beneath his feet, and he kneeled to keep from falling.
A blinding flash of white light and the deafening crack of thunder rent the air above the dark, jagged monoliths. The full moon illuminated the stained sandstone slab.
Murdoch pushed to his feet and brushed bits of grass and twig from his robe. “Keegan, what magic have you wrought against us?”
A brilliant, sparkling silver mist appeared, like a thousand tiny stars in front of Keegan. Stepping from the Otherworldly shimmer, a beautiful woman appeared. Her skin was the color of moonlight. Her hair, the finest spun gold, hung loosely to her knees.
“I am Ailaina, Queen of the Tuatha De Danaan. We are traveling to the safety of my palace.”
“Thank you, Great One.” Keegan could not think of anything else to say, for his tongue seemed to trip over itself. The air shifted and whirled as if a terrible storm raged around him, but it did not touch him.
Once they arrived at her palace, Ailaina removed her cloak. “Welcome to my realm, Keegan O’Neill.” She clapped her hands and a group of handmaidens ran into the room.
Keegan bowed low, giving the Queen the deference she deserved.
Ailaina touched the top of his head. “Arise, young druid. We have much to accomplish.” She turned to the women. “Bring food and drink to my bed chamber.” Returning her attention to Keegan, she gave him a wicked smile. “You were chosen by the Great Goddess for training of the sensual kind. It is the only way your magical energy given by her can be released. Your soul mate and I are the keys to unlock the Goddess’ power within you. Do not forget, your mortal lineage is one of royalty.”
Keegan tried to swallow past the hard lump in his throat. Sex with the Queen of the Tuatha De? What if I don’t please her? Tendrils of fear wrapped like a twisting vine in his gut.
Ailaina smiled and laid her hand on his cheek. “Do not worry, I shall enjoy seducing you.”