Sirona Cleary tries to hide her unholy healing powers from everyone around her, denying her divine heritage even as she saves those who would see her punished. When she is kidnapped by a rival clan, she is sure her execution is near. Rhain Comyn is dying from a mysterious disease, and he couldn't be happier about it. After the atrocities he has committed, Rhain believes he has no right to a decent life and welcomes the ailment that leaves him with unquenchable thirst and hunger, extreme fatigue, blurred vision and ultimately drives him into a deep slumber from which no healer can awaken him. Can a witch from the clan of his enemy save him?
Alone with her patient, Sirona relaxed a little. She crept closer to the bed and leaned over him. Rhain Comyn was by far the handsomest man she had ever seen. Long, thick lashes, dark as soot, laid against cheekbones made more prominent by whatever ailed him. She wondered if behind that facade, softened in slumber, was a cruel bully, equally revolting as his brothers.
Without remorse she realized that if Fergus were lying there instead of Rhain, she would not hesitate to let him die. She was already damned to Hell, was she not? Everything about her existence went against God. Saint Peter would never allow such an abomination past the gate. She tried to deny the powers that marked her a pagan, in the hopes He would not punish her for her tainted blood. But in the end, she could no more ignore her gift than she could refuse breathing.
What if she defied God and saved this man, only to discover he was the spawn of another sort, evil and deviant, and she had unleashed him on the world? Was it worth the risk for the promise that she would be returned to her home? Could she trust that promise?
Sirona eased down on the bed. She took one of his gaunt hands in both of hers. Warmth spread through her at the touch. Her heart clenched at the possibility she could not save him. She closed her eyes and let her thoughts fall away, focusing all her energy on the sensation of his skin against hers.
His hand was limp in hers, cold and frail. She sensed his longing for death, born of a sorrow so deep it seeped into his bones. Tears clogged her throat as she was overcome with profound despair.
What had happened to him to cause such anguish and torment, such hopelessness? She tried to recall what little she knew of the clan. The Munro had been feuding with them for generations, but it wasn’t until the laird, Gregor Munro, had been killed, that the hatred and fighting had escalated. Now there were skirmishes every few months.
Comyn men were renowned for their ruthless brutality. Legend stated they came out of the womb filled with bloodlust and savagery. Comyn women seldom survived childbirth. The laird’s own sons had been born to three different wives.
Despite the frailty of their women, the boys grew strong and healthy, populating the clan with a merciless fighting force. Their only weakness was their small number.
Rhain, the youngest of the laird’s sons, was rumored to be the most ruthless of them all. He had hired himself out as a mercenary, it was said because there weren’t enough Munros to quench his thirst for blood.
Sirona shuddered and opened her eyes. Her heart tripped when she found him staring at the rafters over the bed. She dropped his hand as if it burned and shot to her feet. She took several deep breaths as she watched him. When he did not move, indeed he did not even blink, she inched closer. “Can you hear me?” she whispered.
She pressed the backs of her fingers against his cheek. No fever. With one finger beneath his chin, she gently turned his face toward her until she was in his line of vision. She stared into rich brown eyes, windows to a deep, dark abyss that promised endless suffering.
His eyes focused on hers when she whispered his name.
“I’m here to help. Can ye speak to me?” His eyes wavered back and forth between hers. “D’ye want something to drink?” She surveyed the room for the first time. Near the hearth stood a table, laden with food and drink. She crossed to it and poured a cup of water from a flagon.
Returning to the bed, she sat next to him and slid her free arm beneath his shoulders. With her help, he sat up enough to the drink from the cup she held for him. When he’d drained it, he fell back, what little strength he had depleted from the exertion.
Sirona cradled him against her. She brushed silky locks from his face and spoke to him in a soothing voice. “I need you to tell me what you feel. Do ye ache?” He was weak, but did not seem to be in any pain. She cast relief over him just the same. “Can ye speak to me?” she asked again.
He seemed to be trying to say something, but his voice was so faint, she had to lean close to hear him. His breath was warm on her ear, but sent a cold shiver down her spine.
Gods of The Highland Series
Camulus: Book 1
Màili has been given the task of rooting out the spawn of an ancient god. It’s the only way to take her revenge against the man who betrayed her. But getting what she wants means taking the life of the man she loves. Will her hunger for a mortal man wreak further havoc on her already bleak future?
Yes, Bambi is my real name.I grew up on a farm in South Georgia. My high school was very small with a graduating class of less than 100 people. Shortly after high school, I met my wonderful husband who took me to Belgium, where a three-year tour turned into fifteen. While living in Europe, I nurtured my love of all things medieval. I often get homesick for Belgium, but with the world wide web, I'm home with the click of a mouse. I now live with my husband and son in North Alabama. When not plugging away at my keyboard, I teach World History. I love to ride my big, black Tennessee Walker, Jamaica. My husband and I each have a Harley to go with our collection of classic cars and hot rods.
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