Book Two in the time travel, fantasy romance trilogy, Highland Secrets!
She’s always been a dutiful daughter…
Janet MacLeod has spent the last ten years dedicated to her clan, acting as the Lady of the castle—at the cost of her own happiness.
She aches every time she looks at her brothers, both happy with their wives, and wants nothing more than a love of her own.
He’s a broken soldier…
Xander, a former Fae Warrior, sacrificed his wings and magic to live in the Human Realm and became a traitor to his people.
When he finds Janet forlorn on the beach, Xander gives her a ring he’s had since childhood, not realizing it’ll reveal her as his fated mate.
The ring’s magic activates the Faery Stones, and Janet is sucked into the Fae Realm. Her life is in immediate danger, for the Fae sense—and seek to destroy—any human who dares step into their world.
Xander is the only one who can retrieve her, but he too, wears a target.
Can he rescue his soul-mate and return with her to the Human Realm or will temptation of great magic and the rebirth of his wings force him to abandon their destiny?
“Janet, what’s wrong?”
His voice made her jump. It bounced around the large cavern, making it sound as if Xander had shouted. Water sloshed against the sides of the pool and he sought her, probably by sound alone.
When his beautiful eyes rested on her, Janet blushed to her toes, despite the water concealing her. Her fated husband was too far away to see her nudity, but it didn’t matter. Her neck, cheeks, even her ears burned.
“N-n-n-othin’,” she called, averting her gaze as Xander approached. She wanted to cover herself, but her limbs refused to move. Besides, it wasn’t like he’d be able to see her. Because of the natural eddies, the whirling water was hazy. So, even as he stood beside her, she was protected from his view.
Xander was supposed to be her husband.
Should he not see her as naked as the day she was born?
He said nothing, but she felt him as if they were touching. If she reached out, Janet could brush her hand against his ankle, or his leg.
She still couldn’t look at him.
“Are you well?”
Janet nodded. “Aye.” She forced her face up. Met his gaze.
Color spread across Xander’s high cheekbones. His powerful chest heaved as if he’d come in from a long run. Or a hard flight, as it were.
Desire pulsed across the mating bond, zinging to him and back. It crackled in the air, and awareness shot down Janet’s spine. Her body tightened and melted at the same time, and it had little to do with the water.
She throbbed all over.
“Lass…” The word was a croak, and her insides trembled in response.
She sucked in a breath. “Join me.”
Silence descended as her offer shocked them both.
Janet hadn’t planned on saying the words aloud. She studied the surface of the flowing water. He was certainly going to think she was too forward now. Xander probably didn’t want a wanton wife.
Embarrassment made her dizzy, threatened to swallow her whole. It was at odds with the passion in the air; palpable, heady, and holding her attention more than her inexperience or request.
The mating bond must be influencing her thoughts, her words.
He said nothing, but she heard the rustling of his linen tunic, the creak of his leather belt, even the scabbard of his sword thudding softly as he lowered it to the rocky floor.
Her heart threatened to exit her chest when he stepped into the water. His wings reflected off the surface of the water, but Janet kept her gaze down, despite the desire to look at his bare form. She’d seen his naked chest. Touched it. Been up against it. She wanted more. Wanted all of Xander.
“Lass.” His whisper was thick.
The mating bond was once against visible, glowing brightly beneath the surface of the water as he lowered himself next to her.
They reached for each other at the same time, but the kiss he placed on her lips was tender, gentle.
Xander pulled her into his arms.
They both shuddered from the full body contact.
Janet studied the iridescent wing in her line of sight, wanting to reach out, caress it. See if it was as smooth as it appeared, but she didn’t have the courage. She closed her eyes against his shoulder, wiggling closer.
He caressed her neck, then her shoulder blades, making large circles down her back. His hand moved onto skin below the surface of the water. Xander groaned as he followed the curve of her bottom, but then he pulled his hand away.
Janet lifted her head, meeting his violet eyes. “Why did you stop?”
“Your brother demanded I return you home, virtue intact.”
She frowned. “And who is my brother ta decide such things for me? Tis my body. My virtue.”
“He cares about you.”
Janet shook her head. “He’s overbearin’ like always.”
Xander smirked, but didn’t comment.
“It migh’ be Alex’s place to marry me off, but my laird is no’ the brother of whom you speak.”
He threw his head back and laughed.
She stared at her winged warrior. Xander didn’t laugh nearly enough. His handsome face was loose, radiant. Nowhere was the normal seriousness he wore like a shroud. His violet eyes twinkled, and he carried a lightness she’d never seen.
Her stomach flipped and Janet couldn’t help the smile that curved her lips. Her irritation at her brother dissolved.
“You know your siblings well, my lady.”
Janet paused. Should she chide him for formality or revel at his level of respect for her?
They were naked in a pool together, and she was in the circle of his embrace. An honorific was odd, considering their place—and role—to each other. “My lady?” she whispered.
Xander cocked his head to the side, studying her.
It was her turn to smirk. “We’re…supposed to be mates as you say…married.”
“So you can discard the my lady.”
“All right, lass.”
She didn’t like that any better. “Lass?” Her smirk slid into a grin. “Can you no’ say my name? You’ve only said it once—maybe twice—since we’ve arrived.”
“Janet.” Her name rolled off his tongue and she trembled against him.
Janet reached for him, resting her hand against his cheek. His skin was smooth, no stubble to graze her palm, since Fae didn’t have hair anywhere but atop their heads.
Desire surged through their bond—from both of them.
Xander’s eyes locked onto her face, and his lips parted.
She wanted him to kiss her, but he didn’t. Janet let her hand drop into the water, and broke their eye contact. “I-I-I’m sorry.”
“It’s fine.” He lifted her palm and traced his jaw with her fingertips, making his skin sheen with water droplets. Then Xander turned her hand over and kissed her knuckles. “You can touch me anywhere you’d like.”
About the Author~
C.A. is originally from Ohio, but got to Texas as soon as she could. She is married and has a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice.
She works with kids when she’s not writing.
She’s always wanted to be a writer and is overjoyed to share her stories with the world.
C.A. Szarek is also author of Collision Force, Chance Collision, Sword's Call, Love's Call and The Tartan MP3 Player.