Winter’s Requiem, Book 3, Dark Goddess Trilogy, Celtic historical/fantasy
Enter Dark Age Scotland—a mysterious, dangerous & exciting place…
Three different women, one ancient curse…
An ancient curse is revealed, leading Domelch, Brigit and Cailleach into certain danger amid a web of deceit. Can they break the curse and put the shattered pieces of their lives back together?
Her wings grew heavy and each flap cost her more of her strength. She tried to push herself to keep flying, but her little bird body finally gave up. She crashed to the ground near a riverbank in a field of tall grasses. Too weak to move, she could not fight the exhaustion any longer and surrendered to sleep, allowing its dark embrace to claim her.
Strange dreams visited her of battlefields where tall, shining people fought against dark-haired men wielding iron swords. Holy men invoked magic, their chants gathering strength and rising above the clash of battle. It began to rain on the battlefield, cold drops falling on her head.
Upon opening her eyes, she realized the cold drops rained on her. In her human form Cailleach turned her head, watching the raindrops hit the grass. The rain bent the green stalks back and forth before bouncing to the earth. Rain hitting the tall grass was mesmerizing to her as she shrugged off the effects of sleep, and oddly reminded her of the strings of a harp being plucked. The brief rain shower stopped and brilliant golden spears of sunlight pierced the thick clouds. She sat up and remained sitting amid the tall grass, inhaling the fragrant clean scents left behind from the rain.
A man’s voice startled her. She let out a gasp at the sight of a godlike man, his gold headband catching the last rays of the dying sun in a wondrous aura. She had to stretch her neck for he stood taller than most men, towering over her with the height of a lofty oak. He possessed the fearsome bearing of a warrior with a mighty sword sheathed at his side, the hilt well worn from use. A fine tunic dyed blue and snug leg coverings clothed his muscular limbs in noble threads. The glittering headband topping the long cascade of flaxen hair sparkled with regal fire. She continued to stare at him and realized he looked right at her, a curious glint in his intense blue eyes. “Y-you can see me?”
His brow furrowed and his eyes took on a look of wariness. “You speak the tongue of my enemies.”
Cailleach looked at him in open-mouthed wonder. She had assumed that being in Brigit’s body made her invisible since it wasn’t possible this stranger had seen Cailleach’s winter face. “Where am I?” Caught off guard, she couldn’t think of anything else to say and hoped to stall him.
He narrowed his eyes at her. “This is Bernicia, land of the mighty sons of Woden.”
Her tired bird body had carried her farther from home than she thought—right into the enemy lands of the Angle tribes. She tightened her muscles, ready to spring up and run.
The intention sparking in his eyes looked dangerous as he sprang first. He moved with surprising catlike speed to grab her in a most delicate position. She pushed her mind, trying to bring on the change so she could fly away from this strange, threatening man, feeling the prickly sensation of her body twisting into the shape of a raven. She was able to fly a short distance before weakness overwhelmed her and she crashed to the ground as a woman. Frightened and searching for an escape, she realized she could still use her legs to run away.
Springing up with the swiftness of a frightened hare, she pumped her legs, forcing her body to run fast. Panic filled her. Brigit’s shorter legs and shapely body lacked the taut leanness and height that would have allowed Cailleach to run fast. She sensed the young warrior closing in on her, his heavy footfalls putting dread into her gut. Cailleach wondered how he could run so fast with the heavy sword belt and she forced her tired body to keep moving. Her legs trembled with weakness, threatening to give out, her pace slowing. Ragged, painful breaths pressed against her chest and spread to the rest of her body. She cursed her weakness, refusing to give up. The jangle of his sword belt grew louder; his large shadow loomed over her.
Strong arms encircled her in a tight hold. She stumbled and they fell to the ground in a twisted heap. Only then did she become aware of her nakedness and his closeness. She never thought about the laws of shapeshifting—only when shapeshifting into another human shape would her clothes remain and could be changed to other clothing, but shapeshifting into an animal required nakedness—until now with this strange, handsome man pressed against her naked body.
'Ms. Heckart draws the reader into the pages and enchants them with her words.'
Karen McGill, Coffee Time Romance
Kelley Heckart, Historical fantasy romance author
http://kelleysrealm.blogspot.com/ Check out my long hair hotties!
A Greek vampire, Celtic kings, vengeful goddesses, an ancient faery curse…
All three books of my Dark Goddess trilogy are available in Print and Ebook. Set in dark age Scotland, I mixed history with a Samhain/Beltaine myth that revolves around an Irish clan and the goddesses Brigit and Cailleach.
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