Read Highland Love Song (DeWinter's Song 2) Online

Authors: Constance O'Banyon

Tags: #Historical, #Romance, #Fiction, #Regency, #19th Century, #Scottish Highlands, #Adult, #Adventure, #Action, #DeWinter Family, #HIGHLAND LOVE SONG, #Daughter, #English Duke, #Highland Castle, #Warrick Glencarin, #Family Feud, #Betrothed, #Bitter Anger, #Scot Warriors, #Honor, #Loving Touch

Highland Love Song (DeWinter's Song 2) (2 page)

BOOK: Highland Love Song (DeWinter's Song 2)
11.48Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Warrick was gratified by the fear he saw in the older man's eyes. "When next you see me, Gavin Mclvers, it will be the day you die!"

Gavin's face whitened. "Don't threaten me, you whelp of the devil."

“’Tis not a threat—'tis a promise. There can be no peace between our two clans. The blood feud will continue until the last Maclvors is dead!"





For over a year, resentment over Lady Gwendolyn's death simmered and intensified between the Drummond and Maclvors clans. There had been several insignificant skirmishes, but so far no deaths had occurred. Suddenly the flame of hatred erupted out of control and was about to flame into full-scale war.

Late that evening word had reached Ironworth Castle that Maclvors clansmen were on the move. It was said that they would attempt to cross Drummond lands to claim Kilmouris, which had come to Gavin Maclvors as part of Lady Gwendolyn's marriage settlement. Warrick's father, feeling remorse for his daughter's death, had decided that the Maclvors had no right to the property or the dowry and demanded it be returned. The Maclvors, however, took issue with this and would neither give up title to the land nor return the money.


Since dawn the Drummond clan had begun to gather in force, and they now blocked the only throughway to Kilmouris, determined to deny the Maclvors entrance to the land.

Warrick drew even with his father, and their eyes met in understanding: Today Gwendolyn's death would be avenged. Pride swelled in James Glencarin's breast as he watched his only son fearlessly await the oncoming battle. He had tirelessly drilled Warrick, knowing he would one day take his place as head of the clan. He would now see if his teachings had spawned a leader of men.

"It's a good day to die, my son."

Warrick glanced at his father, who looked every bit the chief, wearing the belted plaid of Drummond secured to his shoulder by the chieftain's badge. His bonnet sported a fine feather and was set at an angle on his graying head.

"I'd rather die, Father, than allow one grain of Drummond land to fall into the hands of the Maclvors."

"Well said, my son."

Warrick glanced first at the advancing Maclvors, who wore their black, gold, and red plaids, and then at the Drummonds, whose plaids were black, white, and red. He laughed as he unsheathed his sword. "It'll be easy enough to recognize our enemy by their colors."

Across the valley the clash of steel and the sound of musket balls exploding mixed with the sounds of battle cries as Drummonds came against Maclvors.

Young Warrick Glencarin wielded his sword with a vengeance, striking an oncoming Maclvors such a stunning blow that the man fell from his horse to be trampled beneath Warrick's steed.

Warrick had no time to dwell on his first act of taking a human life. His motives were of the most noble, the most dangerous. He was fighting to regain family honor and to avenge the death of his sister.

He fought valiantly beside his father amid the savage hordes, swinging his battle sword and mercilessly cutting down the enemy.

But father and son were soon separated, and Warrick found himself facing two Maclvors. He thrust his weapon forward, wounding one in the shoulder, and then turned to the other. Their swords clashed in a struggle for life and death.

Suddenly Warrick saw Ian Maclvors bearing down on his father. He yelled out a warning, but it could not be heard above the noise of battle.

Ian Maclvors's sword plunged forcefully into James Glencarin's heart, mortally wounding him. The chief of Clan Drummond was dead before he hit the ground.

Warrick fought like a man possessed to reach his fallen father, but too many Maclvors separated them. He felt searing pain in his head and he fell from his horse into blackness.

It wasn't until Warrick was being carried from the battlefield that he regained consciousness to learn that the battle was over and his father was dead.

Laden with grief, Warrick realized there had been no winner today, though both sides would ultimately claim the victory.

It was with heavy sadness that Drummonds and Maclvors moved beside each other retrieving their dead and wounded. So many had been slain that only the dead were spared the anguish of mourning a friend or relative. As Warrick was being carried away from the scene of battle, he knew his family's honor had not been satisfied today. Not only had he lost his sister to the Maclvors, but now Ian Maclvors had slain his father. When his men would have lifted him onto his horse, he insisted on standing.

He was so weak from loss of blood, Mactavish had to assist him. Silently the Drummonds watched as their young chief struggled to his feet, striving to remain erect. He took up his father's sword, pointing it toward the heavens, and cried out in agony, "I will see justice done. I swear that from this day forward, I will practice war on all Maclvors!"





Ironworth Castle, Scotland



Warrick Glencarin, earl of Glencarin, chief of Clan Drummond, stood tall against the floor-to-ceiling window of his ancestral castle. He watched the gray October sea crash forcefully against the rocks, trailing foamy spray that immediately ebbed and swelled into another invading wave. The endless motion of the North Sea was repeated again and again while he watched with a scowl on his face.

Lord Warrick pondered the unchanging sea and how, over the centuries, it had eaten at the limestone on which the castle stood, just as the bitter taste of anger was eating away at him. He had lived with resentment and hatred for so long, they were his constant companions.

For years he had brooded over his sister's tragic death. And when he closed his eyes, he could still see the triumph in Ian Maclvors's eyes as he delivered the blow that had ended his father's life.

His dark brows met across his aristocratic nose, and his lips thinned in a severe line. No matter what, he could not throw off his hatred for the Maclvors. So far, he had managed to keep them from taking possession of Kilmouris, but it was only a matter of time until they would occupy the land, as they held the legal deed.

Today Warrick's mood was darker than usual. Forces were at work that would once more pit him against his old enemies. Perhaps this would be the final confrontation. He was so deep in thought that he did not hear Mactavish enter the room.

Standing in the doorway, Mactavish observed his Chief. Warrick had become earl of Glencarin fifteen years ago at the age of seventeen. Now he was a man capable of leadership and admired by his clansmen. His hair was as dark as midnight, and his eyes were silver gray with piercing depths. He was handsome of face and had long ago accepted, without arrogance, the fact that women were attracted to him.

Warrick had inherited a troubled earldom with little money and many debts brought on by years of turmoil and unrest. His feats of daring were legendary. While many clans had been scattered, Clan Drummond was held together by Warrick's force of will. There was not a man who would not readily follow this bold young chief to the death.

Mactavish spoke at last. "Haddy told me I'd find you here. Thought you'd want to join me in the hunt today. I saw two big bucks down by the glen early this morning. One was a twelve pointer."

Warrick didn't bother to turn around. "I'll not be hunting today. Go along without me."

"Come with me, Warrick. You've not been hunting in over a month. What's troubling you, lad?"

Warrick touched the window and traced a line of frost with his finger. "I have duties that require my attention, Mactavish. You know that."

Mactavish walked to the window and studied Lord Warrick's reflection in the glass. "If you're not of a mind to hunt, I'll not go either. There's always tomorrow."

Warrick turned to the leather chair and sat down, leaning his head against the high back. "Please yourself."

Mactavish stood over him with dread in his heart. "I was told a messenger came this morning from the king. Was it bad tidings?"

Warrick gazed at the man who had once been his father's confidante and was now his own friend. Though it was never spoken aloud, it was whispered that Mactavish was Warrick's grandfather's bastard son. Warrick valued his advice and always put him in a place of honor at his side.

He removed a letter from his breast pocket and thrust it at Mactavish. "Read it for yourself."

"You know I canna read."

"It's from Lord Thorndike, a deputy appointed by the king. In two weeks I'm commanded to attend a meeting at Edinburgh Castle along with Gille Mac Ivors."

"Tis not possible that you'd be asked to occupy the same room as a Maclvors," Mactavish said, indignant at such an idea. "You'll not go, of course?"

"I'm to have little say in this matter. I dare not ignore a command from the king. Lord Thorndike states in his letter that any party who does not send a representative to the hearings may have their lands confiscated by the Crown."

"Then send me. I'll meet with the Maclvors in your stead."

"I can't do that, but you may accompany me, my friend. I don't expect it to turn out well. Most certainly Lord Thorndike's decision will not favor me—and you can guess who petitioned for this meeting."

Mactavish nodded. "Who else but that wily old fox, Gille Maclvors." He sat down and studied the scuffed toe of his boot. "We both know he's a cunning old bastard and isn't to be trusted."

"Spoken true."

"And still you'll go?"

Warrick nodded. "I will meet with Lord Thorndike, though little good it'll do me. You're my voice of reason in this, Mactavish. Help me decide what I must do."

The older man looked into troubled gray eyes not unlike his own. "The king'll be wanting you to put the feud aside. There's not been bloodshed between our two clans since your father was killed, there's been only little incidents brought about by the Maclvors's villainy."

"Even though there have been no battles, I've not forgotten what they did to my family."

"Lay the hate to rest, Warrick. Gavin Maclvors was killed many years ago—stabbed with your sister's knife. I'd call that blood justice."

Although they had never spoken of it, Warrick suspected Mactavish had slain Lord Gavin. The deed had been committed with Gwendolyn's own dagger—a dagger that had been in Warrick's keeping since her death, and only he and Mactavish had known where it was kept.

"My sister's death may have been avenged, but there are other matters that will not rest."

"Aye. I'm not forgetting that it was the Maclvors who kidnapped the woman you were to marry."

Warrick stood up, his eyes narrowing with contempt. "No woman is safe from their lechery."

"Then it's well that you're meeting with the king's man, Warrick. You can put your grievance before him and therein may be hope."

"You advised me to petition King William when Lady Helena was abducted before our wedding. The king did nothing, and now she is married to one of those devils."

"Think you Lady Helena was forced to marry against her will? I've heard she went willingly enough into Jamie Maclvors's bed."

"And that," Warrick said in a voice laced with ire, "makes the insult more intolerable."

Mactavish knew the shame Warrick had suffered when his betrothed had been abducted on her journey to Glencarin. It mattered not that Warrick had hardly known Lady Helena, having seen her on only one occasion. Even the loss of land and the large dowry she brought with her had not been as bad as the insult to Warrick's pride.

"The confrontations between our two clans have brought the English king's wrath down on Drummond and Maclvors alike, Warrick," Mactavish said. "I suspect the old chief distrusts and dislikes the British as much as we do."

"Dislike for the British is the only thing we agree upon. There will be no end to the hatred between us. Not until my honor has been satisfied. We both know that no Maclvors has honor, so how can they recognize it in others?"

"Nothing you do will bring back your sister or your father, Warrick. And you wouldn't want Lady Helena back now—this I know."

"No, I wouldn't take her back, but I owe it to her to find out if she's satisfied with her marriage."

"Then it's decided, you'll go?"

"Aye, I'll attend if for no other reason than to find a weakness in Lord Gille. If there is a way to strike at the heart of that devious bastard, I'll find it. I will have my revenge, Mactavish."

The older man nodded. "Aye, of that I've little doubt."

"My sister's soul calls out to me from her unconsecrated grave. I will not rest until she is honorably buried beside our ancestors!"


Calais, France


Lady Arrian DeWinter, daughter of the duke of Ravenworth, stood on deck of her father's yacht, the
, staring at the storm clouds gathering in the east. The ship, manned by Captain Norris and a crew of seven, was taking Arrian six hundred miles across the North Sea to the shores of Scotland, where she would be reunited with the man she was to marry. The captain had assured her that if the winds were favorable they would reach Scotland within a week.

A heady sea breeze tossed her long golden hair, and she relished the taste of salt air on her tongue. Happiness burst within her heart as she thought of what would be waiting for her at the end of the voyage, or rather, who: Lord Ian Maclvors.

Did he love her as much as she loved him? Was he counting the days until they would be joined together as man and wife?

Arrian thought about the summers she and her brother, Michael, had accompanied their aunt Mary to Scotland to visit her great-grandfather. In those years, Ian had hardly noticed her at all.

Her mind began to drift back to the occasion of her thirteenth birthday, and the first time she had realized she loved Ian . . .


He had been so gallant and attentive that day. That night she had walked in the garden and he had found her there, and placed an armload of wild heather in her arms.

"I saved my present to you until we were alone," Ian said, smiling down at her.

Arrian touched a soft blue petal. "It is a wonderful gift," she said, glancing up at him in awe. He was so tall, so handsome.

"Some would not consider it a great gift, Arrian. But to me, it is given with great affection and for a special reason."

Her heart stood still as he took her hand and raised it to his lips. "What is your reason?" she asked, trembling with pleasure at the warm kiss he placed on her wrist.

"I want you always to remember Scotland and me."

Her eyes were shining. "I will never forget either of you."

"You are so young. Can I make you understand how I have waited for you to grow into womanhood? Even now you are a child."

Arrian could not believe her ears. Was Ian confessing his love for her? "I was thirteen today," she said.

He touched her cheek. "That is yet young, Arrian."

She wasn't certain what he was trying to tell her. "I will get older."

"Yes, my young beauty, but will you remember me when you are far away in London with gentlemen competing for a smile from you?"

"Yes," she said, her eyes gleaming. "I'll think of you even then."

He gently pulled her against him, and she thought he might kiss her, but he merely placed heather in her hair. "I will not allow you to forget me, Arrian. I intend to come to England often to make certain you don't."

Ian's eyes spoke to her of love, and Arrian found herself losing her heart to him . . .


The wind intensified, stinging Arrian's cheeks and bringing her mind back to the present. Ian had been as good as his word. After that night in the garden he had come often to England. On her seventeenth birthday he had declared his love for her, and she had happily agreed to marry him.

She glanced upward at the gathering clouds and wondered if it would storm before the day was over. She pulled her cloak about her and made her way down the companionway, where she rapped softly on a door and entered the darkened cabin.

Great-aunt Mary was perched amid silken pillows, her head rolling back and forth with the motion of the ship. She did not look well at all, and the voyage had just begun.

Arrian sat on the stool beside her aunt, taking her limp hand and lacing her fingers through it. "Is there anything I can do to make you feel better?"

"I never liked sailing, and especially not when the sea is rough," Lady Mary Rindhold said with a moan. "Lord, it's March. I thought the worst of the storms were behind us or I wouldn't have set out on this voyage."

It had been at Lady Mary's insistence that they sailed for Scotland ahead of Arrian's parents and brother. But Arrian saw no reason to remind her aunt of that fact.

"Would you like me to leave so you can rest?"

"No. Talk to me. Do anything to take my mind off the swaying of this ship."

Arrian's eyes became dreamy. "I was just thinking of Ian. Aunt Mary, do you suppose men feel love as deeply as women? I hope they do."

Lady Mary mumbled something under her breath and then spoke more distinctly. "It's been my experience that men feel love just as deeply as a woman, but far more frequently."

"Not all men, Aunt Mary. Not Uncle George and Father. I want Ian one day to look at me in that special way I see Father looking at Mother."

"Yes, well, what your mother and father have is rare. As you know, I had it with your uncle George." Her eyes softened. "Of course, men like your father and my George are unique." Then Lady Mary added with her usual directness, "I'm not sure Ian is of their cut."

"Oh, you are wrong, Aunt Mary. Ian is wonderful."

"I'm sure you think so."

"Did you know that I was thirteen when I decided I would one day marry him? It was no more than a fanciful dream until last summer when he came to Raven worth. I still can't believe he loves me."

BOOK: Highland Love Song (DeWinter's Song 2)
11.48Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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