Highlander Found: A Scottish Time Travel Romance
Audrina James was only trying to stop the old brooch from being stolen; she didn’t know that touching it would send her back in time to medieval Scotland! But the brooch belonged to Audrina’s ancestor, a woman who died tragically on her wedding night and swore to her last breath that she would be reunited with her true love — and Audrina is her mirror image.
It’s been one year to the day since Colin MacLaren’s bride suffered and died at the whim of a bloody-handed English occupier. So how is she standing before him? No matter how adamant her protests that she doesn’t know him — no matter how crazy her story about coming from the future — Colin is sure this woman is his lost love. Now if only he can convince her of that.
Together they must navigate the vagaries of fate that brought them together, their own scorching physical attraction, and the ever-present danger from Colin’s enemies… including a certain murderous English nobleman who knows Audrina must be a witch. After all, didn’t he kill her with his own two hands?
Highlander Found is the first book in the Highlander of Time series, perfect for fans of brooding heroes, intrepid heroines, and page-turning time-travel romance. Grab your copy today, and enter the exciting world of Highlander of Time!
Release date: March 26, 2018
Publisher: Independently published
Print pages: 342
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Highlander Found: A Scottish Time Travel Romance
At midnight, Audrina James finally laid her head down, gratefully onto her pillow. It had been another grueling day in Trauma One, it was always the worst when the nursing staff and doctors of the trauma ward lost a child. Audrina looked at the ceiling where she had taped pictures of stars, lush green fields, exotic ancient castles and the forests of her ancestral homeland, vowing to herself that she would visit Claran Castle in Scotland someday. Audrina had put the pictures up so that she could clear her mind of the gruesome scenes that she faced in the E.R. day after day, night after night. They’d worked hard to save the boy from the ravages of a car crash, but Donald Nightingale, of sunny northern California, flatlined at eleven-thirty, after half a day’s worth of surgeries, blood transfusions and plasma bags. Audrina didn’t cry much anymore after working in the trauma center. But there were a few patients who tugged at her heartstrings. Donald would be one of them.
“Look at the pictures. Look at the pictures,” Audrina chanted to herself. She used them as a platform to spring her mind into more pleasant thoughts before she drifted off to sleep. Audrina had been fascinated with the stories and lore of her ancestry when her grandfather used to sit her on his knee and recount tales of his youth, roaming the Highlands of Scotland. That was before a potato famine reached his homeland and forced his family to immigrate to the United States. Audrina would spend hours, daydreaming as she roamed the redwoods behind the house, pretending the tall trees were the ancient forests of Scotland. She knew now that Scotland was much greener, and the forests were made of tall oaks, and rowan trees, beech and pine and ash. But she had promised herself she would visit and discover it for herself someday.
That was all a couple of decades ago, when Audrina had been just seven. After high school, she had gone on to nursing school, and now was faced with the ever increasing violence of the San Francisco Community Hospital that came through the doors. The timing had just never felt right. There was always one more case to oversee, or one more patient to look after and successfully care for until they walked out the door of their own volition, and not in a body bag or stretcher.
Audrina certainly had the money saved for the trip, but she always felt there was something holding her back. Some small fear she had that there was something Grandfather neglected to tell her about the ancient folklore. Audrina never quite made the jump to buy the plane ticket or book the hotels. She’d never really been sure why, but as she laid there, thinking about all of the never did’s that young Donald was never going to experience, she thought, “Why am I holding back? I have no solid reason, no proof that there is anything in Scotland I should be afraid of.”
“I’m going to request the time off tomorrow and start booking tickets after my trip to the museum,” she vowed out loud.
There was no one to hear her proclamation, she realized. There wasn’t anyone in her life that she could tell really. “I guess that makes it kind of sad, maybe even a little pathetic. Sure, I have my co-workers, but they would all say, “Finally, you are taking a vacation,” when I tell them,” Audrina thought.
Audrina had become a trauma nurse after Mom had suffered the same fate as little Donald. She winced as the memories of that day entered her mind. It had been much like Donald’s parents rushing into the hospital. The only difference between her grandfather being informed, and Mrs. Nightingale’s heart-wrenching screams, had been significantly different, but as equally as devastating. That’s when Grandfather had taken her in. She didn’t know who her dad was, and it never occurred to her to go looking for him. She knew that she was loved when Grandfather took her, a scared little girl, home that night. He had cared for her and she didn’t need anyone else. Anyone, that was, except her mom, but she wasn’t coming back. When Grandfather had passed away she was twenty-one, she was left with no one. She hadn’t even bothered getting a pet. Audrina was never home because she worked so much. She’d always felt like it was her duty to save people because, well, she couldn’t save her mom back then.
Audrina tried to roll over onto her side. She was disgusted with herself that she was caught up in her own head and wallowing in self-pity. Her vow was just that and she was sticking to it. She realized, as she flipped back onto her back, that she had never been able to fall asleep unless she was looking up at her pictures. Grandfather had printed them for her the week that Mom had passed. He wanted her to have something to think about, other than the sadness of losing her mom.
As Audrina’s eyes began to flutter closed, and she emptied her mind save for thoughts of faraway lands and lost familial ties, something, perhaps the moonlight, sparkled in the pictures above her. A small light that glowed in the tower of the castle, appeared to be brighter in the picture. But she squinted at it, and then chalked it up to fatigue and weary eyes. Her lashes batted against her cheeks one last time, and she fell into a deep, sound sleep.
Candles surrounded her in a circle, haloing the circular room with an ethereal glow. Long thin tapers of white sheep’s fat burned low and lit the gloom of the dark tower. She’d been locked in there for so long, she had lost track of time.
There was a straw mattress, in a splintered bed of Ashwood. The thin blanket cast across it, was worn and frayed at the edges. A small wooden chair, equally as uncomfortable, sat at the base of the bed. It wobbled on three legs, having relinquished one of the legs long ago, for the usage of a handle for a torch. The torch, had long ago burnt to ash, and was scattered and lost amongst the dust and dirt that caked the cold stone floor. She rocked back on her heels and murmured a soft prayer to the Gods, the Spirits, anyone who would listen. The tower was a prison, a tortuous place that seeped into the soul like the smoky blackness of a demon, coming from the bowels of hell to inhabit and ingest the goodness of the person’s humanity.
There were bones in the ashes and they cried out to her. Begging her to release them of their captivity. She couldn’t help them that night. They would remain tethered there until the angels came for them on the day of reckoning. Thunder clapped outside the castle and lit up the tiny room in an intense light that threw the stark furnishings of the room into harsh contrast. The candles flickered, and she feared they would blow out. Cotswold Castle had many frivolities, protection from the elements in the prison tower, was not one of them.
Rain lashed against the stone tower and sprayed into the room in droves of unending dampness. It rained often in Scotland. She hadn’t been dry since she was thrown into that room. The water collected in puddles at the base of the windows. She sat in the middle of the room in an attempt to keep herself and her activities dry.
She knelt over a carnelian kilt pin. It glowed in the candlelight like fire. She reached out her hand and touched it as she murmured. The contact sent a spiral of heat through her fingertips, and she jerked her hand back. How could the stone set in silver be warm to the touch? There was no fire there. The brooch had not been warmed against constant contact with her skin, as she had been shivering since she arrived there. The cold was such that it seeped not only into her bones, but into her very soul. There was no possible way the stone could be warm.
Her eyes fixated on the glowing center of the gem as she continued to murmur, “Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh, through spans of time, I cannot rest. Seek thee my kin, and pardon my sin, that I may reincarnate, and new life begin. And with this pin I shall be returned to my love, cast through the ages, by touch of mine blood, and light from sun up above.”
The kilt pin glowed ever-brighter in a hue of burnt orange that lit up not only the room, but blazed like the dawning of the early morning’s sun, sending spirals of light from the tower window. She heard shouts from below and quickly loosened the stone nearest the door, about halfway up the wall. She hid the pin behind the stone, where someone had hollowed out the stone behind that, and replace the stone so that it looked seamless. She prayed that someone would find it someday, and that she might rise up, released from the ashes of the debris of bodies from that hellish place. She heard footsteps on the stairs and boots clunked up the stone steps. She hurriedly pushed the stone back in place and managed to take one step back, as the door was thrown open and she screamed in terror as…”
Audrina woke, sitting bolt upright in bed.
“What the hell?” she muttered as she glanced up at the pictures. “What the heck was that?” she wondered to herself as she let her tired body fall back against the pillows. She stared at her pictures and then pushed herself back up to a sitting position. She used her hands and pushed to stand up, so that her upturned face was almost nose to nose with the picture of the castle. Audrina stared at the tiny light in the tower. It had faded over the years, but she could have sworn last night it glowed brightly. So brightly it almost lit up the room.
And then…and then, that dream. What a strange dream. Who was that woman in the dream? What happened to her? She must have died there. Audrina could feel the drive of her trauma nurse training kick in. She had to save her. But how? That’s silly. The woman…me…that was centuries ago when she cast the spell. And what kind of a spell was that anyway? Audrina’s mind began to fog over, the dream becoming misty around the edges, as reality and the present day slowly seeped back into her mind. She looked around the modern-day bedroom and laughed at the absurdity of her mind’s vehemence that the dream was somehow a reality way back when.
She climbed off the bed and hit the shower, enjoying the feel of the warm jets hitting her body as the ache from the previous day’s strenuous shift was washed away. She combed out her dark red hair and swiftly braided it down her back as she stared into her own brown eyes in the reflection of the foggy mirror. She wiped away the condensation and flashes entered her mind. The reflection of a woman in the puddles on the floor as the lightening lit up the room. Did she have brown eyes like my own? Audrina wondered. She shrugged and finished her braid and then donned her typical casual wear of jeans, an oversized tee-shirt and a ball cap. The ensemble fit well on her athletic frame, and it was just what she needed to walk down to San Francisco’s Museum of Natural History. Audrina enjoyed the casual wear on a rare day off, and she was equally as pleased that the museum was hosting an exhibit on loan from Scotland. She figured she could kill two birds with one stone. She could get her walk in and surround herself in ancient artifacts that made her yearn for a time and place that she had not yet discovered. She pulled her ballcap low over her eyes as she walked out the front door, not minding in the least that she had been accused on more than one occasion of being a tomboy.
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