The Douglas Trilogy I: The Sweetest Song
Late one night, while everyone slept, Lady Fiona Sutton dressed as a male, stole her dower, and fled into the Scottish countryside. She had a secret and a most important mission. The life of her brother rested on her shoulders. She was doing fine until she ran afoul of Kade Douglas!
Length: Full Novel
Word Count: 97,716
Genre: Historical Romance
Available formats: PDF, RTF, Epub, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc)
© Cover Art by Jenny Dixon, August 2012
New Concepts Publishing
Lake Park, GA 31636
This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and places are of the author's imagination and not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living persons or events is merely coincidence.
“I should be going with him.” Kenneth complained as John rode off.
“And do what?” Maggie asked, tossing feed to the chickens. “Nought but bring danger onto John by way of the king's soldiers. As it is now, Sir Sutton, John is searching for Lord Sutton's niece, as he was so ordered.”
“I know it, Miss Douglas but it is not easy for a man of action to sit and be useless for so long. It does not feel right to lay my problems on my good friend.”
“Is it the knight talking...or the man? Neither makes much sense.” She smiled. “Call me Maggie, Kenneth.” She turned and headed back to the farmhouse. Kenneth watched the sway of her hips and her long red curls. She was a beauty, there was not doubt in that and there was no doubt it had been far too long since he had had a woman. He shook off that last thought and followed her, leaning in the open doorway.
“You do not think too highly of men or knights, Maggie?” he asked with a smile.
“They have their uses. I like a man who is not afraid to be what he is...a man.” She pulled a bucket down from a shelf and brushed passed Kenneth out into the yard and over to the well.
He frowned and followed her. “That makes no sense.”
“Aye it does. You knights are all bluff, bluster and air. Why are you knights so afraid to show your feelings?”
“Does that also stand for your brother?”
“Not when he and I are alone but most other times, aye.” He took the bucket from her and lowered it down into the well. “Did I not just show you my feelings when John left? I worry for my sister and for the safety of both of them. I allowed myself fooled and brought near to ruin. It galls me and enrages me. I ache to clear my name and show it, I am sure. How is that hiding?”
“It is true that you show your anger and dark side, like all men. How is your arm?” She ran her hand along his left forearm. “Be you healed enough to do some work?”
He nodded. “Eager to, Maggie.”
“Good. Fill the water trough for the cows.” She leaned against the well and watched as Kenneth made several trips to the water trough. “But for Sutton is Fiona your only kin?”
“Hector is not my kin. He is but a dead man who does not know it yet. Yes, Fiona is my only sister. We have no other relatives in England. Our late mothers’ family lives in France. We have never met them.”
“They did not approve of our father. She was a countess and they wanted more for her than a physician. They wanted her to marry Hector and I thank the Good Lord every day that Mother stayed with her heart!”
Kenneth turned and looked over his shoulder at Maggie. “They did, Maggie and from the moment they met until she died two and thirty years later.”
She smiled. “They still love. They are together now, Kenneth. Noting has changed for them but they do worry over their children.”
He returned the smile. “I suspect they do, right now. I will put things to right.” He stepped up to her. “Tell me, was all that from your religious beliefs or are my parents standing nearby watching and I am not mocking you. It is a serious question.”
“I know it. They are not here now but still they know what is happening to you and your sister.”
He took a step closer. There were gold flecks in her emerald green eyes. In contrast to her flaming red hair, her eyelashes and eyebrows were black. She smelled of heather. Her lips reminded him again, of how long it had been since he had touched anything soft and sweet.
Maggie a step back and shook her head.
“Reading my mind?”
“Aye. You want to kiss me and more.”
He shrugged. “You know how long I have been locked away. It does not take a seer to know I need a woman.”
“True but you are a promised man, not?”
“John told you.”
“He told me that you were promised and not to happy about it. May I hold your hand?”
He raised his eyebrows. “Hold my hand anytime, Maggie.”
She took his hand, locked their fingers and closed her eyes. “Her name is Lucy. You were promised to wed by your fathers a fore she was even born.”
“More from John?”
She sighed and continued. “You like her look, Aye, you think she will be a real beauty but you not want to wed her and will do so only because of a promise made by two selfish men, aye?”
He nodded. “Tell me something that John could not know.”
A moment of silence passed. “You not want her as a wife because you not like her for her meanness. For her last birthday, you brought her a kitten. It was white, fluffy...a female. You named the kitten Angel. That same night the poor animal scratched Lucy. She kicked it and hard. It died.” Maggie felt Kenneth try to pull his hand away. She held it tighter. “Then the girl blamed you for bringing her such a gift!” She opened her eyes and released his hand. “You look surprised, Kenneth.”
“I told no one about that!”
“Not even John?”
“You need not worry over it. It could be that you will not marry Lucy, after all.” She motioned to a large cord of wood. “The axe is in the barn. We need that cut and it seems your arm is well enough.”
“All that? It will take days!”
“Aye. I will send Ian out to help you.”
“Wait!” He took her arm as she went to walk away.