The Winter Stone is a collection of three brand-new, never-before-published novellas.
One legend, Three Enchanting Novellas
Three best-selling, award-winning, authors, three heart-felt stories, the splendor of Scotland, and a legend passed down through generations. These are the romantic tales of the Winter Stone…
ONCE UPON A HIGHLAND LEGEND by Tanya Anne Crosby
A Guardians of the Stone novella
Annie McPherson has gone through her entire life a bit lost. She’s about to find herself misplaced in time as well, where she must take her place as a guardian and find a way to restore the faith of a powerful chieftain. Will she win his heart as well?
MACALISTER’S HOPE by Laurin Wittig
A Kilmartin Glen novella
Kieron MacAlister has always loved Fia MacLachlan, a wee fey lass he met years ago who, with her sweet smile and surprising insight, changed his life. When he comes face-to-face with the beautiful woman she’s grown into, can he convince her to change her life, too?
THE OUTCAST by Glynnis Campbell
A Shadow of the Queen novella
Lachlan Mar, a disfigured and broken Scots warrior, doesn’t believe anything can mend the wounds of war until Alisoune Hay, a brilliant and beautiful young lass, stumbles into his cottage and his life, healing his hurt and his heart with the most magical power of all–love.
One legend, three enchanting novellas from three beloved authors.
I was indoctrinated into my Scottish heritage at birth when my parents chose my oddly spelled first name from a plethora of Scottish family names. At ten, my grandparents took me to my first American Clan Gregor Society gathering, where I attended my first ceilidh (kay-lee), a Scottish party, and danced to the bagpipes with the hereditary chieftain of the clan. At eleven, my mother took me to Scotland for the first time and it has lived vividly in my imagination ever since.
As with most writers, I took a rather round about route to writing my novels. I was an administrator in a women’s clinic, taught computer classes, wrote how-to articles, courseware, and user manuals, and when I became a mom, stayed home with my kids. It was then, during those precious napping hours when my children were little, that I began to pursue my dream.
I hope you’ll join me in my forays into Scotland’s wonderful medieval Highlands as I spin my tales where loves conquers all.
I must be away from the distractions of home, preferably in the café where I meet a writer friend every day to write.
A hot beverage – sometimes green tea (Harley & Sons Tropical Green is my very favorite), sometimes coffee, if my brain needs a bit more of a kick than the tea provides (often!)—and raw almonds.
My laptop. My desktop computer is for business work. Writing happens on my laptop.
Scrivener – the software designed specifically for writers. I don’t think I could write without this program anymore.
My phone, purple earbuds, and my Brain Wave ap with the sound set to thunderstorms.
LAURIN’S FAVORITE THINGS ABOUT SCOTLAND:
The ancient history of the place.
The way I feel like I’ve finally come home when I’m in the Highlands.
I love to listen to the Scots speaking. It doesn’t really matter what they are saying, I love the lilting musicality of the language.
I love the ruins – castles, cairns, stone circles, and standing stones. I could explore them all for a very long time!
The people, who are hardy, welcoming, and who seemed bemused by my fascination with the history of their homeland when I last visited.
AN EXCERPT FROM LAURIN WITTIG’S NOVELLA IN THE WINTER STONE: MACALISTER’S HOPE
“Will you accept my apology?” Kieron MacAlister asked as he drew near Fia. “I will never doubt your word, ’tis just that I did not ken how to tell Tavish why I trust you when you do not remember why yourself. May I sit with you?”
Fia stared up at him, taking the measure of the man who stood waiting patiently for her decision. He sounded sincere in his apology and in his explanation—or was it simply that she wanted to believe him so she need not be angry with him? Perhaps it was both? Her curiosity got the better of her, though she tried to set aside who she had thought he was so she could see the man he truly was.
She motioned for him to join her.
He settled next to her on the stone, close enough so the heat of his body seemed to reach out and caress her arm, then slowly ease around her, as if he embraced her. The sensation took her breath away.
“What is it that I do not remember?” she asked, hoping her voice would not betray how his nearness unsettled her, but of course it came out breathless. She rolled her eyes at herself. She might not be used to the attentions of men, but that did not mean she could not keep her mind on his words, rather than the nearness of his thigh to hers.
“Aye. You have been looking at me all afternoon as if you almost remembered me.”
“I have?” Of course she had, but she had not known he was aware of it. “I am sorry. I did not mean to be rude.”
Kieron laughed, a slow moving rumble that made her smile.
“Why are you laughing at me?” she asked now, not sure whether to laugh with him, for surely she deserved his amusement, or to be embarrassed that he had caught her.
He leaned close enough that their shoulders touched and Fia could not stop the buzz of awareness that ran through her at his seemingly unintended contact. But he did not move away.
“I am not laughing at you, but at myself. In my vanity, I thought you would remember me, but it is clear you do not. We met a long time ago, back when I was an unhappy lad and you were a wee lass. Wee Fia they called you then.”
“Some still do,” she said, but now she looked at him openly, trying to imagine this confident warrior as a boy, but still she could not. “Where did we meet?”
“A summer gathering at Lamont Castle, maybe seven years ago. Elena had brought her family from Kilmartin. I remember she was pregnant that time, too.”
“With Ailish, her youngest,” Fia said, the memory of that summer coming back to her. “Nay…” She cocked her head, trying to line up a long forgotten memory with the man who sat beside her now. “It could not be you.”
“Aye.” He shifted, pulling one knee up on the stone so he could face her. “I was a pitiful lad, picked on by the likes of Tavish and his mates. Even the Lamont lads, who did not ken me, joined with him in tormenting me, and the MacLachlans as well. Hiding from them was my only choice by that time.”
“I do remember.” She was shocked that such a scrawny lad with no confidence had grown up to be so sure of himself that he would reprimand Tavish in front of his warriors…that Kieron would admonish him for doubting her. She saw the confrontation between the two men through new eyes, and realized Keiron had told her the truth when he apologized, but that did not explain… “How did you come to change all that? Clearly, you are well respected, and Tavish, for all that he is the chief’s son, seems to defer to you, to accept your counsel…and your reproofs.”
Kieron reached for her hands, his large hands completely enveloping hers. “You do not recall everything about our meeting, I see.”
Fia closed her eyes to search her memories, for his face, so near she could feel his breath upon hers, was almost as distracting as his hands were. “I found you hiding behind a boulder very much like this one,” she said quietly. A gentle squeeze of her hands told her she was right. “You were…” she hesitated, for she did not want to embarrass him.
“I was so angry I could barely speak, and I was trying not to cry.”
She kept her eyes closed and nodded her head. “Aye. We talked a bit and I do not think I saw you again until we were leaving a few days later. You were outside the gate, still hiding from the other boys, I think.” She let her eyes drift open only to be caught in his penetrating gaze again. “You waved goodbye and you were smiling.”
“I was. But you do not seem remember the most important thing: you changed the course of my life that day. I was ten and four, scrawny, weak compared to the other lads, but you made me see that I had something they did not.”
“I did?” He smiled and she thought she could sit there in the warmth of it forever.
He ran his thumbs over the backs of her hands, making it hard to focus on what he said next. “You told me that I had a mind that could parry each of their thrusts, that I was more than just a warrior in training, I was smart, wise to their ways. You pointed out that I knew when I was outnumbered, and where to hide that they would not look, and that I demonstrated great wisdom in that moment.”
She nodded, the day coming back to her quickly now. “I do remember. I had seen you several times in the few days we had been there, and every time one of the bigger lads tried to grapple with you, or corner you, or force you into a fight, you found a way out, usually with a sharp comment that sliced at them as effectively as a sword. Symon asked me what I was giggling at once. I pointed you out and told him what you’d done. He had smiled down at me and said you were a wise man to use your wits when muscles would not suffice. I simply told you what he’d said.”
“And it changed the way I thought of myself. No one else had ever said such a thing to me, only that I needed to practice my fighting skills more, or to stand up to the other lads more. After that day I no longer considered myself a weak boy, but as a wise warrior. From that day my life was no longer theirs to break. It became mine to make, and I have you to thank for that.”
Five stars are like six-pack abs on a really tan, hunky guy not wearing much. They make us drool, we stroke them (the books, not the guys! - sometimes the guys...) and want to make sweet, sweet love to them. Five stars is the hottest, we mean, highest honor.
Four stars is a total hunkalicious of burning love, but maybe we didn't like his hair for some reason. We still think he's hot, and we're still going to recommend him, we mean, the book, to readers because it's a damn fine ass, we mean book.
Three stars = that awkward guy at the party. He's cute and you know he's cute, and if you look at him the right way, he even looks like Brad Pitt a little, but there are flaws. Surprisingly, he's good in bed (because you got drunk and shit happens).
Remember that - yeah we don't either.
One star is like expecting a somewhat attractive guy and being sent a Grumpy cat meme. We appreciate the effort, but no. This book was not for us. Grumpy cat might want to use it for litter though.