Rescuing the man tied to a tree seemed like a rational decision. Claire is a smart, capable bookkeeper who happens to work at a martial arts academy. She has no idea the door she walked through to save the bound man would leave her trapped in 13th century Scotland. She is unable to regret the night of passion shared with Ian, even though it happened with the threat of death just outside the door. She pretends to be content with Ian’s friendship, knowing his people must come first. Compelled by honor and tormented by desire, is being his woman, while he marries another, enough?
Ian, Laird of the Draig Clan, is a man trapped by fate. Forced by necessity to marry a woman he has never met, her dowry is essential to save his clan. However, he is in love with the woman who saved his life and then spent one night in his arms. Duty prevents Ian from being able to marry Claire as custom, honor, and his heart demand. Drawn to her, believing they share the same desires and dreams in life, he finally offers her the only option available, a place by his side and in his bed.
Claire and Ian are bound together in love and then ripped apart by deception and a plot to destroy the Draig clan. Facing the final battle alone and unarmed, Claire saves them all. The ultimate challenge is forgiving Ian for sending her away.
Claire closed her eyes. “No, Ian.” Scooting back away from him, she sat up, forcing his body to give her space as her shaking hands tried to put her gown in order. “We should have never . . . this should have never happened. I need to go.” She rose to her feet only to find him blocking her way. He wrapped his arms around her.
Ian spoke with the passion burning within in him. “Please, Claire, hear me. There is a way. You and I were meant to be together. Dinna deny that you feel it, too. ‘Tis nay only passion that binds us, it runs far deeper for us both.”
Not wanting to hear what he had to say, yet unable to move away, her head rested against Ian’s chest. Claire pleaded with him. “Please don’t do this. We both know what you need to do.”
Holding her tightly, Ian responded, “Aye, we do. But we can still be together.” Claire stiffened at the words. “Hear me before you assume. There are many in my position that have wed solely for gain. These men have done as needed, as I will do. Yet they have also kept what they wished to have, the woman who stirs their heart. I am trying to ask you to be this, the woman who is with me because of the love between us. We can build a life this way. It would be us together every day and every night. You would be mine.”
Ian’s words were barely spoken before Claire pushed him away. “You are asking me to be your . . . your . . .?”
Ian retorted quickly, “Dinna speak the word you reach for. It would never be that way between us.” His hands reached for her but were left with only air.
Backing away from his reach, she knew what he meant. Claire also knew that it was wrong in so many ways. How does he not see it? How does he not see the root of it? A strange yet welcome feeling of calm passed over her as she saw what Ian was missing. She willed herself to speak. “You don’t get it do you?”
Ian tried to close the gap between them only to have Claire back away. Ian stopped moving. “What I see is a way for us to be together.”
Claire laughed even as the tears began to fall. “You’ve never ever met her, this Mairi. What if . . . Ian? What if she is someone you could be happy with? You don’t even know.”
“It does nay matter who she is or what she offers, ‘tis obligation and no more.” Ian replied as his gaze searched her face.
She heard her voice from so far away. “But you don’t know. It could be a good marriage. I will not be in the middle of something that could be.” Claire’s sobs clouded her words. “I can’t take that risk, and I won’t. If you could be happy, I would only be in the way. Eventually things between us would change.”
Ian stepped closer. “Claire, she will never be you. You are everything to me. Dinna you see? In all ways I treat you as my own. You sit at my right at every meal. ‘Tis my dagger you use to cut your meat, the dagger that marks me as laird. ‘Tis your company I seek each day and every night. You wear the best I have to offer. I heed your council in all matters. We spend our evenings together before the re sharing and enjoying one another. I love you, Claire, and I ken that you love me.”
“And somehow that isn’t enough.” With all of the pain and anguish carried in her, Claire cried out, “It would kill me, Ian. She is going to be your wife. I know full well she will give you a family, the heirs you need. It would kill me to be waiting for you, knowing you were with her. Even if you despise her, it would tear me up inside.” Ian’s brow wrinkled as he absorbed her words, and she saw her meaning take hold. “I’m not that person, Ian. I can’t be that person. And if you love me, you won’t ask me to live like that.” Not waiting for more, afraid he would try to change her mind and that she would let him, Claire grabbed her skirts in hand and finally ran.
In an attempt to save the world from destruction, physicist Major Samantha Sykes opens a door in time. Her plan to travel into the past to change the future has unexpected consequences. Trapped in 11th century Scotland, her mission is complicated by the love she never knew she was seeking.
Laird Faolan of the Draig clan has one desire: to claim the woman who fell through time and make her his. He will do everything in his power to convince Samantha that she belongs with him for all time.
Opening the door in time brings Samantha and Faolan together. Fate, destiny, and responsibility are at odds. The forces that brought them together may be their undoing.
Will their love survive Samantha’s journey back to her world to save time, or will the centuries that stretch between them tear them apart?
Faolan turned in the chair before the fire and stared at her with cold, dark eyes. Even bathed only in shadows from the fire, she could see that the warm chocolate gaze she remembered from the afternoon had been replaced by hurt and anger. Like a coward, she looked away and noticed the flames from the fire. The logs held the same pattern as the ones that burned in her hearth. Even hurt, he had left her the gift and made sure she was comfortable.
Samantha closed the door without facing the exit. Her hand held out the branch. “I wanted to thank you for this and for every other item you left on my pillow. It was only tonight I realized they were from you.” She stumbled through an apology. “Every single one made me smile.”
Still Faolan only stared, so she continued, “You left the hall today before I was finished. While it’s true that the safety of the men has to come first, that had no bearing on what almost happened between you and me. There is no way I would or could ever think about, I mean I wouldn’t . . . From the moment we rode onto your lands, my men have been safe. I’ve known that. So you and I have had nothing to do with them.”
Faolan looked away from her, and Samantha saw the dagger in his hands. Not held in threat, but his concentration seemed focused on the metal. He nally spoke while his hands toyed with the weapon. “What would have happened earlier if we had nay been disturbed?”
Samantha felt the sadness in her voice for what had been lost. “We would have had a perfect afternoon.”
Faolan rose to his feet and placed the dagger on the table. While he made no move to walk, he turned to face her. “I would have claimed you as my own. I would have kept you in that meadow until you agreed to enter my gates as my wife.”
“Then we would be there arguing, which ends the idea of a perfect afternoon.”
Her humor had no place in the confrontation, and she knew it as soon as the comment left her mouth. Faolan marched to stand in front of her. “Why is it more preferable for me to use you for quick pleasure than to ask you to stand by my side for all time?” He demanded.
The eyes that glared held no warmth and threatened to pierce the little control she still had. Boomer was right; Faolan deserved the truth, and she hated it.
Her hand reached up to touch his face, and Faolan stepped backward out of her reach. Tears pricked at the rejection. She mustered her courage. “I don’t have all of time to offer you.” Samantha told him everything she had explained to Boomer and finished with, “There is virtually no probability that I will return.”
The withheld tears fell when horror crossed his features. In the last few days, she had cried more than she had in the last five years. The emotions brought to the surface by involvement in life brought joy and pain. Unfortunately, the night before her would bring the strongest pain. Love had no place in her limited time, and she knew it.
“You are amazing and wonderful, and if I could be with you, I would without any hesitation. I can’t do that to you. Find a woman who will be here and love her.” Her words choked on a sob. “I know that your family is essential to making the future better. Continue this line and know that I wished I could have been here with you.”
Samantha wiped the tears with the sleeve of her gown, though more fell to take the place of ones erased. She added, “I’m close to finding my way back. I can feel it.” She paused to clear her throat. “In the morning, I’ll start to finish what I began five years ago. I only ask that the men can stay here if they choose. Only Boomer comes with me.”
Without a word, Faolan closed the short distance and pulled Samantha hard against his chest. Her face buried in the warmth of his chest as she cried and let out the anguish of goodbye. His hand held her braid while the other soothed her back, and she savored the last embrace.
When her sobs slowed, Faolan said, “I go with you.”
Her head shook. “You missed the part where your line needs to continue, and that means you stay here.” She left out that there was no way she would bring him into the misery left in her time.
The deep inhale could be felt as could the resignation at the exhale, and Faolan didn’t argue. When he spoke, he offered, “Your men are home here.”
“I know,” she whispered against his chest.
Samantha offered no resistance when he lifted her chin and shifted her body to find her eyes. “While you said a great many things, I dinna hear the word impossible.”
“Please don’t.” At his sweet thought, another tear fell.
His lips brushed her forehead, and he replied, “Spend the last of your days as my wife.”
She closed her eyes at the request. Samantha whispered, “Then what? How long will you wait for me to return when you know I won’t? I can’t do that to you.”
Faolan’s thumb wiped the moisture from her cheek. “Then I vow nay to wait.”
Against her wishes, the chuckle left her throat. She opened her eyes and found warm ones on her. Samantha said, “It’s probably for the best if I say goodbye.”
Samantha knew it would happen. Faolan lifted her face enough to place his lips against hers. Every brush sent tingles through her body. As his tongue sought entry, she complied. It began soft and sweet and carried an air of innocence. Then he demanded more as he pulled her body against his and kissed her with no control.
Faolan pulled away abruptly, he whispered, “Give me this night.”
The smile broke free on her face. It shouldn’t have surprised her that goodbye didn’t work. Samantha placed her hands on his cheeks and felt the soft stubble that graced his face at the end of each day. Her rational mind knew it would only make leaving harder. Yet the side of her Faolan had brought to life wanted him, wanted to know what it felt like to be loved by such an amazing man. She nodded. “Just now, Faolan. It’s all I have to offer you.”
Lisa began writing after reading yet another romance novel where the heroine needed a man to rescue her from physical harm. While a firm believer in the strong alpha-male hero in any story, she wondered what would happen if that hero met a woman who was able to take care of herself physically. Using her several years of Tae Kwon Do training and mixing in time travel, her multi-award winning debut novel, The Draig Series was born.
Lisa lives in the Chicago suburbs and is married to her high school sweetheart. They have two children and one very spoiled dog.