on August 29th 2017
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A woman abandoned, a Highlander starting a revolution.
When Lady Rosamond de Warenne is abandoned by her father in a remote cave, she doesn’t believe her fate could get any worse—until she’s kidnapped by a fearsome Highlander. Laird Tierney MacDougall, recently released from imprisonment by the English, is bent on revenge, starting with marrying the daughter of his tormentor. A union forged from vengeance is doomed to fail—or is it
Tower of London
Tierney MacDougall had seen terrible things on the battlefield, but nothing compared to the bleakness of the prisoners in the Tower of London.
Though his father was a powerful chief in Scotland, he’d betrayed his own country, and was now allied with England, but that did not afford Tierney any manner of comfort. Especially when Longshanks had sentenced Tierney to a traitor’s death, along with the dozens of other Highlanders crammed into this cell, for they did not share his father’s Sassenach sympathies.
They were rarely given food—or what could pass as edible. An overflowing bucket sat in a cramped corner for the men to relieve themselves, which they’d long since given up on. Flies, fleas and rats swarmed the cell, bouncing from host to host, a veritable smorgasbord for their pesky hunger.
It’d been a year since he was seized on the battlefield. A year since his father had abandoned him, shaking his head and backing away as though his son meant nothing to him. A year of this filth and torment. A year of beatings. A year of starvation. A year of being told he’d die on the morrow. Half the men he’d first come with were executed or had died from illness. Those who survived wished they’d gone.
There were days when Tierney felt the same way. To finally walk that long path to the green, to climb the scaffold, be stretched, gutted, hung and torn apart might actually be better than what he was resigned to in the darkness. But then he’d remember the reason he was here in the first place. Honor. Duty.
The way he’d stood on the battlefield, the once lush grasses crushed beneath hundreds of boots, the greenness smeared with red, and the stink of fires and blood and death, flattened under his feet. How his father had met his gaze, eyes hard and filled with disappointment. How in that moment Tierney had wanted to battle his own father. His own countrymen. How could they have betrayed the Bruce the moment he needed them most? How could they have thought the English were better than their own countrymen, their own blood? How could they choose Longshanks over freedom?
Every day since then, Tierney asked himself these questions, and was never able to come up with a suitable answer. For there could be none that he wished to contemplate, or that he would ever understand.
And so, by the end of the day, one word repeated itself in his mind, again and again: Retribution.
He would not die in the Tower of London, nor on its bleak green. He would not remain here for the rest of his life, his bones turning to dust and mingling with those who’d died already and been left to rot.
Nay, one day, Tierney MacDougall was going to get free of this place. He was going to return to his beloved country, and he was going to seek out retribution for his king. And, he would never forgive his father for what he’d done that day. Never forgive the man who’d brought him into existence for betraying his country, his king and his son.
There came a clanking sound from outside the cell that Tierney was used to—the sound of the warden slapping his pummeling rod against the iron gates of their cells as he walked the corridor searching out who he would beat next.
“MacDougall,” he shouted.
Tierney glanced up from where he sat leaning against a wall, inconspicuous in a sea of bodies.
“MacDougall,” the warden said again, slapping the iron. “Rise, you fool.”
Still he sat, and none of the other men stirred. For how many MacDougalls were in this cell? At least thirteen at his last count.
“Son of Ewan MacDougall.”
No one moved, but the air in the cell became fraught with tension. The men knew how important Tierney was to the clan. If Tierney’s father ever died, Tierney would be their next chief. Even imprisoned, he was their leader.
But now he was being called to stand. To separate himself from his men. Over the past year, he’d been called forth more than a few times, every time to face the man who’d arrested him on the battlefield—John de Warenne. Evil bastard. And every time, he was beaten within an inch of his life.
“Stand, son of Ewan MacDougall.”
Was today the day he’d die? Or was he destined only to endure another beating?
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