Highland Dawn

By: Donna Grant


For my husband, son and daughter who are my world. Thank you for allowing me to

shut myself in my office and let my worlds come to life. I would never have made it this

far without your love and support.



For my friends Robyn, Robin, Mary and Georgia, thank you for being there through thick

and thin.



To the fans – Thank You! You make it all worthwhile.



May God bless and keep you all.



XO









In a time of conquering

There will be three

Who will end the MacNeil line.



Three born of the

Imbolc, Beltaine, and Lughnasad Feasts

Who will destroy all at the

Samhain, the Feast of the Dead.



One who refuses the Druid way

Inherits the winter. In doing

So marks the beginning of the end.



For the worthy to prevail, the fire

Must stand alone to vanquish the inheritor,

Water must soothe the savage beast, and

The wind must bow before the tree.









Prologue




Sinclair Castle, Highlands of Scotland

February 3, 1607





Time was running out.



Moira ran as fast as her little legs would carry her as she brushed aside her tears.

Her sister’s cries still rung in her ears as she found the hidden door and slipped inside the

castle to run the length of the long, dark tunnel alone.



She had to find her parents and her new baby sister. It was her duty as the eldest

to make sure both of her sisters were safe and sound. Her da had drilled that into her for

as long as she could remember.



Never mind the fact she disobeyed him now. She had made it with Fiona into the

forest as the castle was attacked. His orders had been to stay there once she had reached

the haven of the trees, but she couldn’t stop thinking about the new babe. Her new sister,

only a few hours old.



The babe was an innocent and Moira wouldn’t be able to live with herself if she

didn’t get the babe to the forest with Fiona.



Moira reached the door that would open into the hallway by her chamber. With

shaking hands she eased it opened and listened. Cheers rose up from below in the bailey.



The castle had been taken, and even though she was only a child, her young mind

grasped that her life at Sinclair Castle would forever be changed.



After looking down the darkened hallway, she slid out of the tunnel and quietly

shut the door behind her. She pinned herself against the wall and slowly made her way to

her parent’s chamber.



She finally reached the chamber, but couldn’t make her legs obey her. She didn’t

need to look inside to know her parents were dead. She knew it as surely as she knew

that her life would most likely end this night.



Just as she was about to turn away, she heard Fiona’s screams in her mind. For

her sisters she would face the horror inside the chamber. For her sisters she would do

anything so long as they got to stay together.



With her resolve in place, Moira took a deep breath and stepped into the chamber.



Her mouth opened in a silent scream as she saw her parents lying motionless on

the floor. She looked down and found herself standing in blood. Her parent’s blood.



Run, her mind screamed, but she couldn’t. She had to find her sister.



She blinked away her tears and searched for the babe. Her mother had kept the

babe with her since the birth, so Moira knew she would be here.



Yet she wasn’t.



It didn’t matter how hard she looked, she couldn’t find the infant. She went to the

wooden cradle that her da had built and kneeled beside it. The blanket her mother had





knitted was still inside, but it was no longer wrapped so lovingly around her sister.



Tears Moira had refused to shed blinded her as she stared into the empty cradle.

Not only had she lost her parents and her baby sister, but she also knew she had lost

Fiona. She closed her small hand around the only thing she had left of her family, the

silver cross that hung beneath her gown.



When she heard footfalls she didn’t bother to look up. Death would be welcome.

She had failed her da and failed in her promise to protect her sisters with her own life.

Yet, it wasn’t a blade but strong arms that lifted her into a safe embrace.



“Shhh, little one,” the deep voice whispered in her ear. “You are safe now.”



She tried to look at her savior through her tears but could only see eyes such a

bright blue they glowed in the darkness. His voice soothed her. With a nod, she leaned

her head against his shoulder, the soft and unfamiliar texture of his vest rested against her

cheek.



“Where are you taking me?” she finally asked as he hurried down the hallway.



“To your destiny.”



When they emerged from the secret door that a short while ago she had led Fiona

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