A Highland Moon Enchantment by Award-Winning @m_morganauthor #ChristmasinJulyFete #giveaway #romance
Title: A Highland Moon Enchantment
Author: Mary Morgan
Genre: Scottish Medieval Paranormal Romance
“You first met this warrior in Dragon Knight’s Axe, Order of the Dragon Knights, Book 3.”
Irish warrior, Desmond O’Quinlan has never surrendered his heart to any woman. He has no wish to have his soul tortured by love. Yet, the moment he locks gazes with Ailsa, his fate is destined for an adventure he never fathomed. He may have battled alongside a Dragon Knight, but his greatest challenge will come from within his own heart.
Ailsa MacDuff, a warrior among her clan, has no desire to have a man chain her to a life of obedience. However, that is before she meets Desmond. The temptation to allow this warrior inside her heart is a risk she dares to take, but one that could lead to a future of emptiness and sorrow.
When betrayal looms from within, the battleground of love is no match for these two warriors. Can the power of a Highland full moon be strong enough to unite or destroy them?
Placing the game pieces on the board, Desmond sat down.
Ailsa brushed her hand over the wooden board. “’Tis a beauty with all the carvings along the edges. If Tam sees this, he might put in a request for ye to fashion a board.”
“And not ye?”
A rosy glow spread across her neck, and Desmond longed to see how far it extended.
“I did not wish to be so forward. Besides, ye would have nae time with all your duties,” she replied softly.
“Since the moment we have met, ye have spoken your mind,” he countered, leaning forward on the table. “Dinnae start to play coy now.”
Ailsa averted her gaze and picked up one of the game pieces. “Where did ye find the white and blue colored stones?”
“A gift from Fiona,” he answered, leaning back in his chair. “She heard I had lost several pieces and with the help of the other women, searched along the loch. They spent an entire day looking for exactly the same size and colors. Even Brigid’s daughter, Nell, helped in the search.”
“Your sister is verra kind and has a gentle spirit.” Ailsa placed the piece back on the table. “Ye may be the king and defenders.”
Desmond shook his head slowly. “Nae, my lady. Ye shall be the queen. I will attempt to storm your defenders.”
She pulled on her bottom lip with her teeth. “Ye wish to capture me?”
By the hounds, aye! He wanted to capture her lips and plunder her mouth with kisses. Desire shot through his body. Reaching for his mug, Desmond drained the contents. “Aye,” he stated in a firm voice, keeping his gaze locked with hers.
Ailsa reached for her cup and drank fully. “I like a good challenge,” she responded, placing her finger on one of her stones.
“Why have ye not married?” Desmond asked, waiting for her to make the first move.
Startled by his question, her hand stilled. “Why must I? Can I not rule without a man by my side?”
Desmond arched a brow. “I merely wished to inquire why no one has claimed your hand.”
Her finger moved one of the pieces forward. “There have been many.”
Scanning the board, he countered with a move. “Too old? Too young? Too fat? Thinning hair?”
She snorted. “Aye—all of those and a desire to control me.”
His expression grew serious. “Ye are a woman who does not require a firm hand.”
Ailsa’s smile quickly faded. “Ye might want to mention that to my father. Upon my return, he has insisted to see me wed. And most assuredly to someone who wishes to see me as an ignorant wife.”
“Then I shall pray ye find one who does not,” he uttered softly. “Your move.”
And for the next few hours, the battle was fought, with the aid of more wine. Desmond found Ailsa to be an expert opponent. When she had eluded his capture on more than one move, she teased him with a smile that would bewitch even a hardened warrior.
As the hour grew late, she gave a slight yawn.
“Shall we continue tomorrow?”
However, Desmond had no wish to part from her. His mind screamed to stay rooted in his chair, but his body betrayed him. Standing, he reached for her hand. “I will escort ye to your chamber.”
She eyed him with curiosity and stood. “Nae. Take me to the north wall. I hear the view of the loch is one that steals the breath from your lungs.”
“Done.” When her fingers slipped into his, Desmond fought the urge to crush her to his chest.
Placing her soft hand in the crook of his arm, he led her quickly out of the hall and up the stairs. Bending to the left, he took her along a corridor and up a narrow circular pathway. The torches flickered as he approached the door leading to the north wall.
A cold draft blew by them, and she shivered. Instantly, regret filled him realizing he had not considered to bring a cloak for her.
Desmond paused by the door. “Ye should not venture out into the biting cold without a cloak.”
Her eyes narrowed. “I simply wish to capture a quick look, not spend the night sleeping out there.”
Shaking his head, he pushed open the massive oak door. Brittle air slapped at his face while they made their way up along the wall.
“’Tis cold,” she muttered, but chuckled softly and hugged his arm. “But ye are warm.”
“We shall not tarry long,” he assured her and placed a warm hand over hers.
“Oh, sweet Goddess. Look at the moon, Desmond. Her light shimmers over the water. I have now witnessed the charm of the loch in sunlight and moonlight. Though our rivers are stunning on their own, they cannae rival this view. As I have told ye, our island is shrouded in mists, so ye cannae see verra far out into the sea.”
Desmond’s focus was not on the moon, but the beauty standing beside him. To take what he dared not possess. He marveled at her delight of the striking scene.
Ailsa turned toward him. “Thank ye, Desmond, truly.”
Her nearness was overpowering, seducing him in a way he had never known. Desmond cupped her chin. Her eyes widened, and her lips parted in invitation. Moonlight and lust danced within her eyes. No longer did he battle with his mind and body, and he slowly lowered his head.
And under the silent whisper of a full moon, Desmond captured her soft lips within his own. He could taste her sweetness mixed with the wine, and desire shot through his veins. His hands shook as he placed them securely on her waist. As he deepened the kiss, she placed her hands around his neck. Desmond groaned, crushing her body against him.
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