Authors: C. A. Szarek
Tags: #Fantasy Romance
Table of Contents
The Fae Ring
Highland Secrets Trilogy
The Fae Ring
Highland Secrets Trilogy
All rights reserved
Copyright © April 2014, C.A. Szarek
Cover Model: Cara Rohloff
Cover Photo and Art Copyright © 2014, Lindee Robinson Photography
Cover Design and Series Imprint Copyright © 2014, Danielle Styles
Edited by Fiona Campbell
Paper Dragon Publishing
North Richland Hills, TX
Names, characters and incidents depicted in this book are products of the author’s imagination, or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of the author or the publisher.
No part of this book may be reproduced or shared by any electronic or mechanical means, including, but not limited to printing, file sharing, and email, without prior written permission from Paper Dragon Publishing or the Author.
Print book ISBN:
Published in the United States of America
First eBook Edition: May, 2014
First Print Edition: June, 2014
Highland Secrets Trilogy—Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
The Tartan MP3 Player (Book One)
The Parchment Scroll (Book Three)
The King’s Riders—Fantasy Romance
Sword’s Call (Book One)
Love’s Call (Book Two)
Fate’s Call (A Novella from the World of the King’s Riders)
Crossing Forces—Romantic Suspense
Collision Force (Book One)
Cole in Her Stocking (A Crossing Forces Christmas)—
Chance Collision (Book Two)
Calculated Collision (Book Three)
Coming June 6, 2014!
Collision Control (Book Four)
Coming October 3, 2014
Deep in the Hearts of Texas—
Story: Promise (A Crossing Forces Companion)
For my husband, Shane. Even though this one doesn’t have cops and robbers. I write because I am, and I love you even more for understanding.
The waves crashed over the rocks with violence, but that was fine with Janet.
It fit her mood perfectly.
Frigid air buffeted the MacLeod plaid around her shoulders, but she didn’t hold it tighter to protect herself from the gooseflesh that rose on her bare forearms and the back of her neck. Her hair flew in her eyes. Once again, she ignored the bother.
Shivers from the bite in the air chased each other down her spine, but Janet didn’t care if she froze. She’d regret it later, most likely.
“Ye’ll catch yer death
,” many an older MacLeod would scold. She could see the concern in their eyes.
“Jesu,” Janet muttered.
She smirked. If anyone overheard her cursing like a man, she would’ve been admonished for sure.
If one more person asked her, “
Are ye all right, lass?”
she was going to scream.
Violence was much more Alex and Duncan than it ever had been Janet, but…
Her brothers might be her first and second victims.
They were driving her crazy with their concern, as much as with their open affection for the women they loved.
And their wives…Janet loved them. She really did.
But both were expecting.
How am I supposed to handle that?
Where was her place?
—did she fit in?
She wanted to shout to the whole clan—father, brothers, cousins, even MacLeods that weren’t direct blood—“
Leave me be, I’m fine!”
But am I?
Her father had never married her off. Suitors hadn’t knocked down the doors, either.
From the time her mother had gotten sick, Janet had run Dunvegan. She’d been thirteen, and the twins twenty.
Then their mother had passed. Janet had been barely six and ten.
She’d instantly been made the Lady of the castle—and the Clan.
Her father had never remarried, so her duties had continued even when her brother Alex—eldest of the twins—had assumed the role of laird a few years ago after their father’s health had demanded it.
Now Alex had his lovely Fae princess wife—Alana. They’d married ten years before in secret, but she was finally in the Human Realm with her man and young lad, Angus. Now their second bairn was on the way.
Alana hadn’t been living at Dunvegan for very long. Although, it was no wonder the couple was expecting. They weren’t shy about their love for each other. Everyone teased Alex that he couldn’t keep his hands off his bonnie wife. They’d lived apart for years, their relationship hidden to all except Janet, Duncan and their father so the public kisses in corridors were no surprise.
A year ago the King of the Fae, Alana’s father, had kidnapped Alex when he’d discovered his daughter had married a
human. Janet’s brother had been starved and held hostage for six months.
Duncan, the younger twin, had scoured the lands and the sea—not to mention all of the islands of the Hebrides—to find the Faery Stones, the magical gateway into the Realm of the Fae.
Janet shook her head.
Before Alex’s confession about Alana, right before their son was born, Janet had never believed in faeries. Just old Scottish legends.
Although it was Clan MacLeod lore that the blood of the Fae ran through their veins. Two or three hundred years before, a Fae princess married the laird.
Her father swore by the tale.
She’d never believed.
If she’d not seen her nephew work magic, she still might not. Angus, who was almost ten, had lived with them at Dunvegan his entire life.
Janet had raised the lad from the time he was a few hours old. She’d actually helped bring her nephew into the world. She was close to the lad, and didn’t regret caring for him, but she’d made sure he knew she was not his mother.
That smarted a bit.
She didn’t want to claim him for her own, but she very much wanted a child. A man to look at her the way Alex looked at Alana, and Duncan looked at Claire.
Bairns. We’ll have two.
Claire was also expecting. Their first child would be here in less than three months, before Alex and Alana’s. She’d only been with them for six months, but she was already a MacLeod. Everyone loved her. She was family, as much as Duncan or Alex was to Janet.
Janet had it in spades.
She loved them, but her heart ached with envy.
Guilt rushed up from her stomach, because her feelings weren’t right. Janet couldn’t justify ill feelings no matter how hard she tried.
just made her feel worse.
She didn’t have a husband. Or a bairn on the way.
At six and twenty, what man would want her now? Even though she still had her virtue, Janet wasn’t a pink-cheeked innocent little lass with stars in her eyes.
And she’d never been tiny or petite like Alana or Claire. Janet was too tall, too broad-shouldered. Wide-hipped.
Water crashed against the rocks, stirring the cold air around her even more.
Awareness of someone’s eyes on her prickled her up spine. Janet glanced over her shoulder, but he wasn’t looking her way.
Xander was looking toward Dunvegan, the stronghold of her clan. He held his broad shoulders tight, his back straight despite the fact one of his knees was bent, perched on a boulder.
The former Fae Warrior was kin to Alex’s wife, and he’d been living in the Human Realm since Alana had fled her father.
He could read minds, Janet had been told. So he spent much time alone.
The Fae man had to be the most handsome she’d ever seen. His hair was so pale blond it was almost silver. Eyes that were deeply hued, more violet than blue. Xander was tall, perhaps an inch or so more than her brothers.
When he’d made the decision to live with humans, he’d cut his braid, or so Alana had explained. He was no longer a Fae Warrior, but anyone who looked at him could see he was built to fight.
Janet had rarely seen him smile.
The wind shifted his short locks. Xander’s expression was hard, and he exuded dark emotions.
She stared, studying his strong profile. Janet couldn’t tear her eyes away.
Her heart missed a beat.
Perhaps Xander was as lost as she.
He still didn’t look her way.
It’s for the better.
I cannot help myself, let alone another.
Janet sighed and turned back to the water.
He watched her from a distance. Concerned she was too cold, but Lady Janet stared into the rough waters without notice of anything else—including his presence on the rocky outcropping above her.