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Celebrating the season in medieval Scotland with @m_morganauthor #99cents #holidayromance #scotland

Celebrating the Season in Medieval Scotland

In pre-Christian times, people used to liven up the dark days of the Winter Solstice with a celebration of fire, feasting, and light. The burning of the fires was to ward off dark and evil spirits. The tradition of decorating the home with evergreens is an ancient one. Since pagan times, evergreens have been prized for the ability to maintain their green life in winter. And often times, blooming with berries and/or flowers.

Kissing boughs for the Winter Solstice and Christmas hail from medieval times. Evergreen branches were placed throughout the halls of manor houses and castles. It was thought to bring good cheer and health to anyone passing under them. The kissing bough was the precursor to kissing under the mistletoe. In addition, this plant was also sacred to the Druids. It was believed to bring good fortune, fertility, protection, and healing.

In my story, To Weave A Highland Tapestry, I’ve incorporated the kissing bough for the Winter Solstice celebration. Holly, ivy, pine, and evergreen herbs (bay and rosemary) were most commonly used, along with twigs and fruit. Since the women in my story have journeyed back in time to medieval Scotland, I might have introduced these round balls a bit earlier in time. Regardless, I enjoyed weaving a tradition within the story.

With my other two Highland holiday romances, A Magical Highland Solstice, and A Highland Moon Enchantment, you will find feasts celebrating Midwinter in these festive Scottish stories.

Each story (digital only) is on sale for 99¢ for the month of December. A perfect gift for you or consider gifting one to a family member and/or friend.

Merry Christmas and a Happy Winter Solstice!


Author: Mary Morgan

Genre: Time-Travel Scottish Medieval Romance

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press


Patrick MacFhearguis, hardened by battles won and lost, desires what he can never have—peace within his heart and soul. Yet, the ever-meddling Fae weave a new journey for him to conquer—a task this highlander is determined to resist.

When skilled weaver, Gwen Hywel, is commissioned to create a tapestry for the MacFhearguis clan, she embraces the assignment. While seeking out ideas, she finds herself clutching the one thread that can alter the tapestry of her life and heart.

A man conflicted by past deeds. A woman with no family of her own. Is it possible for love to unravel an ancient past, in order to claim two badly scarred hearts? Or will the light of hope be doused forever?

Excerpt from To Weave A Highland Tapestry:

His kiss was urgent, demanding. Patrick thrust his tongue into her soft heat. The air swirled in a tempest of passion as the kiss deepened. No longer caring if anyone came upon them, Patrick continued to feast on her mouth.

“How many kissing boughs have our wives placed in this castle?” asked Stephen.

“In every nook, stone, and chamber. I would not be surprised to find one in the stables or lists,” replied Duncan.

Stephen laughed. “By the hounds, I do love Midwinter.”

Gwen stiffened against Patrick. Placing a finger over her mouth, he waited for the conversation to fade before relaxing his stance and stepping back. Glancing over his shoulder, he watched as the men made their way into the feasting hall. Returning his attention to Gwen, he pulled her out of the alcove.

Her cheeks were stained a becoming pink, and full lips begged to be kissed again. Patrick raked a hand through his hair, doing his best to refrain from backing her inside the hidden enclosure again.

She giggled and stole a glance upward within the alcove. “Yes. We can blame it on the kissing boughs.”

He laughed nervously. “This is a first.”

“Are you confessing you’ve never kissed another under these boughs?”

Reaching for her hand, he caressed her fingers. “Never. Leòmhann has seen many a Midwinter feast, but no one dared to place these kissing boughs within the castle.”

She tilted her head to the side. Her joyful expression faded. “May I ask why?”

Once again, Patrick was reminded of the curse which surrounded his home. He looked down at her tiny hand. What could he offer Gwen? Why did he continue to pursue her without the promise of tomorrow? Should he confess all to her now?

She squeezed his hand. “If it’s too painful to talk about, I’ll understand. Let us enjoy this evening and not dwell on unhappy thoughts.”

Her words brought comfort to Patrick’s tortured spirit. Giving her a weak smile, he brought her hand into the crook of his arm. “Ye are correct. Let us welcome the light of Midwinter tonight.”

Patrick’s steps slowed as he guided them into the hall. The atmosphere was one of cheerfulness, laughter, and music. Greenery adorned the entire room—from wooden beams to tables. Children scurried past them in glee, and his heart leaped at the sight.

“My goodness. It’s beautiful,” observed Gwen, leaning against him. “And look, they’ve brought Meggie’s tapestry back inside the hall. The MacKays surely know how to celebrate.”

Within that moment, Patrick made a silent vow that one day he would see the same light enter his home. His heart soared at the possibility. With ye by my side, Gwen, I shall give ye this beauty.

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Author: Mary Morgan

Genre: Scottish Medieval Paranormal Romance

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press


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?

Excerpt from A Highland Moon Enchantment:

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


“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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Author: Mary Morgan

Genre: Time-Travel Scottish Medieval Romance

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press


Laird Cormac Murray has witnessed how love destroyed his own father after the death of his mother, and he vows to never take a wife. Yet, when he comes upon a bewildered lass traveling alone, he finds his heart will no longer listen to his mind. In the end, Cormac risks everything to claim the love of a woman not of his time.

Eve Brannigan loves helping others and baking. After winning a contest, she is stunned to learn that the Clan Murray has requested her assistance to cater to their guests during the holiday season. When a lost path in Scotland leads her to a handsome but gruff Highlander, Eve fights the temptation to allow love to enter her heart for the first time.

Can the Fae and the magic of the Yule season bring together two souls who have forsaken love? Or will tragedies from the past separate the lovers forever?

Excerpt from A Magical Highland Solstice:

When Cormac entered the Great Hall, he scanned the area, seeking only one—Eve. He tried not to think of her while on his hunt, but she traveled with him the entire time. Before he left, he gave orders to all and then went to his locked trunk and retrieved the one item he would present to her on this night. An emerald suspended on a silver chain. The heirloom had been passed down to each woman within the Murray clan for centuries.

Tonight, Cormac would bestow the stone on Eve.

Straightening his tunic, he made his way to the table by the hearth. Nodding to Wallace and Gordon, he reached for a pitcher of wine and poured some into a cup. He took a sip, savoring the special wine he had prepared for the feast. Glancing around the room, he noticed the tables were filled with trenchers of meats, fowl, fish, breads, and many other tempting dishes. Greenery adorned the tables, and he spied several kissing boughs tucked above the alcoves. Inhaling deeply, he smiled, pleased with everything.

Families started to make their way inside the great hall. Children scampered around, snatching nuts from the tables in glee. Many of the lads and lasses had lost fathers and mothers during the battles of the past few years, and Cormac made sure that Creag would always be their home. He became their guardian and protector.

“Have ye heard the news?” asked Gordon as he refilled his own cup.

“Do tell.”

“John has asked Ina to be his wife.”

Cormac laughed. “’Tis nae great news. The man has been smitten with the lass for many moons. I am happy for them.”

“Aye. A good time for happy unions.”

He glanced over the rim of his cup at his friend. “True.”

“Great Goddess,” muttered Gordon. His friend clamped a hand on Cormac’s shoulder. “If ye dinnae claim her tonight, I will fight ye for her.”

Cormac’s jaw clenched when the man turned him around slowly. Stunned by the vision at the entrance of the hall, he was unable to move. Her golden hair curled around her body to her waist, shimmering from the light of the many candles that lit the hall. However, it was the gown that had him captivated. It flowed around her, hugging places he had trailed his tongue over. She

glided into the hall, grasping the hands of several children. As she continued to make her way inside, several stopped to speak with her, pressing a kiss to her cheek. In return, she hugged them and smiled.

By the hounds! Did they ken what he had already? What he had never dreamed could be possible? All because a mere lass stepped into his path with sunlight shimmering off her skin. She had enchanted him instantly. Now, Eve had charmed his own people as well.

“Go greet her,” suggested Gordon, removing the cup from his hand.

Swallowing, he nodded and made his way to the woman who had stolen his heart.

Standing before her, Cormac clasped his trembling hands behind his back. “Eve.”

She turned toward him. Smiling broadly, she nodded. “Cormac. I take it your hunt was successful?”

“Aye.” Holding out his arm, he waited.

When she placed her hand in the crook of his arm, Cormac sighed in contentment. My woman.

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About the Author:

Award-winning Celtic paranormal and fantasy romance author, Mary Morgan, resides in Northern California with her own knight in shining armor. However, during her travels to Scotland, England, and Ireland, she left a part of her soul in one of these countries and vows to return.

Mary's passion for books started at an early age along with an overactive imagination. Inspired by her love for history and ancient Celtic mythology, her tales are filled with powerful warriors, brave women, magic, and romance. It wasn't until the closure of Borders Books where Mary worked that she found her true calling by writing romance. Now, the worlds she created in her mind are coming to life within her stories.

If you enjoy history, tortured heroes, and a wee bit of magic, then time-travel within the pages of her books.

Connect with Mary at these places: