Welcome to our Valentine’s Day Blog Hop! This is so much fun! Thank you, Sophia Nye, for that delicious little something extra from A Highland Autumn and for your giveaway.
For my bit of flash fiction, I thought we’d spend a few special moments with Lachlann and Deidre. This is brand new material. I hope you enjoy it. Following is information about my Valentine giveaway, and if you leave a comment here, on this post, you will be entered into the drawing. Grand Prize: US$75 gift card.
Tremors... just a little bit more
Lachlann stood beside his father, looking down at the fields spread out below them. Loch Nis flowed in the distance as sheaths of oats swayed gently and rows of blue-green kale rippled in the breeze. Bundles of flax, tied with rushes, lay neatly in another field.
“It was a fine day’s work,” his father said. “You’ve done everything right, son. You will have a good harvest.”
It had been so good to work with him again. He clapped his father’s broad shoulder. “Thank you, Faðir. You’ve taught me well. Are you as hungry as I am?”
Lachlann laughed. Together, they turned and headed up the gentle slope towards his longhouse. A delicious aroma drifted through the rising mist, along with women’s laughter.
Deidre and his mother were outside, in front of the house, roasting fish on skewers.
“Lachlann! Faðir!” Deidre jumped up, smiling, and hurried to kiss his father’s cheek. “Gott kveld.” Good evening.
His father’s harsh features softened slightly as he nodded. “Gott kveld, Deidre.”
“Where did you get the fish?” Lachlann put an arm around her waist and kissed her – not on the cheek – before she could answer.
“Where?” His mother Halla raised a brow. “From the stream, of course. Where else?”
“We went fishing!” Deidre exchanged a smile with her. “It was so much fun!”
His mother rose from where she knelt by the fire. “You must be hungry. Come. We have everything ready inside.”
They talked and laughed as they sat around the table. Besides the fish, his mother and Deidre had prepared a porridge of barley and wild greens as well as roasted parsnips.
Lachlann had missed his parents more than he’d realized. His father’s beard might be white now, but Jon Ivarsson, Friend of the Gaels, stood as tall and strong as ever. He had worked all day in the field alongside Lachlann, pulling flax. It was back-breaking work, but he hadn’t slowed for a moment.
His mother, usually quiet and serious, talked animatedly as she and Deidre giggled over their fishing adventure. There were fine lines around her eyes now, as well as her mouth, and her white-blonde hair held a touch of silver. But there was still a twinkle in those eyes, a slight curve to her lips. She would always be beautiful.
“We had a wonderful day, didn’t we, dóttir?” She began gathering the dishes.
“Já. Móðir.” Deidre rose to take them from her. “It is always wonderful with you and Faðir.”
His mother flushed with pleasure. Lachlann felt his chest expand as he watched them working together. They were both tall women, strongly built, dignified. But while his mother was pure Norse, his wife was a Gael through and through. Deidre’s head was bent towards Halla’s, her fiery red hair rippling down her back as she nodded in response to something his mother had said. She treated his parents as her own, with great love and respect. Lachlann felt as though his love and gratitude reached out to her, as arms reaching out to embrace her. She was an angel.
When his parents were ready to leave, he and Deidre walked them out, their arms around each other’s waists. His mother turned suddenly. Her pale hair glowed in the moonlight, her gray eyes shining as she looked up at him.
“We love you, Lachlann, and we love your sweet Deidre. We can see how much she loves you. She is a gift. Remember that. It is all we could hope for, all we could ask -- for you to be happy.”
He swallowed against the sudden constriction in his throat. “Thank you, Móðir. I am happy.”
“I know you are. Take care of each other.”
For some reason, he couldn’t find his voice, couldn’t reply. He only looked at them, his mother and father, and they looked back.
“We will,” Deidre answered. “I give you my word. I will take care of your son.”
“You have our blessing,” his mother said. “Our blessings upon you both -- and your children – forever.”
The four of them stood there for another moment, love pulsating between them, a force. Then his parents turned and continued up the path, disappearing in the evening mist.
He and Deidre prepared for bed. As they burrowed beneath the plush, white comforter, he pulled her into his arms and kissed her. She nestled even closer, her body soft and warm against him.
She was a gift, his precious gift. His angel.
“Lachlann? Darlin’, what’s wrong?”
Lachlann’s eyes flew open and he pulled back, startled.
She was wiping his face with her fingertips. “You’re crying.”
“Deidre,” he said hoarsely, urgently, “where are we?”
Her brow puckered as her eyes searched his.
“Where are we?” Her voice was gentle, little more than a whisper. “We’re home, in our bed.” She kissed his wet cheek. “Home on our farm, in North Carolina.”
He stared up at the ceiling. His chest hurt. It had seemed so real.
“Did you… did you have a bad dream?” she asked.
“No. It was a good dream.” He shut his eyes as more tears escaped. “A blessing.”
He felt her reach over him.
“Tell me?” she asked as she pressed a soft tissue to his cheeks.
He shook his head. “In the morning.”
Deidre cuddled against him as they settled beneath the covers. He held her tightly. He needed her touch, her closeness. Moonlight shone through the shutters as her breathing slowed and became more rhythmic, and he finally began to relax. Just as Lachlann was about to drift off, she mumbled against his chest.
“The fish tasted good, didn’t it?”
A Norse farmer crashes into this century from fourteenth-century Scotland. How did it happen? Why did he escape the plague when the rest of his family died? He should have died with them.
Three years later, Lachlann is no closer to the truth. His body has healed. He has a job and a place to lay his head at night. He has even learned a little modern English. If he could just figure out how to go back, he might be able to save his family, save his son. But he still can’t read, is still tormented by throbbing headaches and nightmares. Maybe he died after all. Maybe he’s in hell.
But would there be an angel in hell?
Deidre became a medieval history professor because of a treasured family heirloom, the medieval drawing of a farmer that she loved since childhood. Too bad she couldn’t have married him instead of the lying, vicious cheat who had almost ruined her life. Almost.
With a new life in a new city, she has moved forward. She doesn’t need anyone, especially a man. But she can’t seem to ignore her new neighbour, a gorgeous giant with a strange accent, haunted eyes, and a shocking resemblance to her medieval ploughman.
How can she erase the tormented look in his eyes? If only he would confide in her.
But is she prepared to do the same? To explain how she lost everything – her job, her family, her self-respect – because of her own, poor choices?
And why does she have the feeling that she could lose it all again?
Available at Amazon.
My Giveaway: One free e-copy of Tremors will go to a randomly chosen someone special!
The contest opens Valentine’s day—from sunrise on 14th February in New Zealand
(noon on February 13 U.S. EST) until midnight on 14th February in Hawaii (or 5 AM
February 15 U.S. EST). When the contest ends, we’ll collect all comments on all 15
blogs in the hop. We’ll draw one at random, and then announce the winner on our blogs
and contact him or her with a gift card to the value of US$75. Good luck!
Did you miss Sophia Nye’s blog? Be sure to check it out. You’ll love the flash fiction and she’s offering a giveaway, too!
Next up, Celeste Barclay! Celeste Barclay, Author – The official website of Celeste Barclay
Thank you for visiting. Enjoy the rest of the hop!
Keep me away from the wisdom that does not cry, the philosophy that does not laugh, and the greatness which does not bow before children. – Gibran Khalil Gibran