The Highlander's Witch
Aiden and Skye's
journey

In this tale set in fourteenth century Scotland, a witch must determine if she can trust the man who holds her life in his hands - even as he steals her heart.

For years, twenty-three-year-old Skye Bennett has been waiting for someone to sweep her off her feet and bring about her darkest fantasies. But there’s just one problem - she comes from a family of witches and her older sister, Sarah, uses her power of fire to interfere in every intimate relationship Skye has.


When their aunt mistakes Skye’s date as her soul mate only to discover he is really Sarah’s, her family tries to make up for it by finding the man Skye truly belongs with. Unfortunately, their last attempt failed miserably when they set her up for a speed-dating event, so her aunt resorts to magic to accomplish their desires. Suddenly propelled back in time without warning, Skye is saved from a brutal cougar attack by a Scottish Laird who has just returned from another skirmish and only wants to sit in front of a warm fire with a mug of ale. Instead, Aiden finds Skye and believes the unknown ‘lad’ to be a spy. When he finds out the spy is a female his concern grows, as does his lust.


Aiden realizes this woman can be his downfall but she calls to him in a way he cannot deny. Has she been sent to destroy all he has fought for, or is she his salvation? Fighting his desires, he knows he must ensure the safety of his home and kin from those that wish to destroy what he has fought to hold onto.


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(PREVIEW) Chapter One


    Sarah inwardly cringed as the front door slammed and her sister stormed in. She pasted a smile on her face while removing brownies out of the oven as the junk drawer was yanked open and rifled through.
    Carefully going about her business, Sarah tried to be as nonchalant as possible as she watched her younger sister pull out a pad of paper and start writing on it.
    Knowing she and their aunt had gone overboard this time, Sarah observed Skye’s normal cheerful behavior transform to a barely calm demeanor. One of her hands was running through her brown curls in frustration, muttering as she wrote things down, her light green eyes flashing in their intensity. 
    “What’s that you’re writing?” Sarah finally asked.
    “A list.” Skye glanced up to give her sister a meaningful look, the kind that involved a raised eyebrow.
    Sarah had the grace to blush before she began cutting the brownies. The long minutes of silence, broken only by the sound of pencil on paper, made her curiosity get the best of her, something usually reserved for Skye.
    “Why?” Sarah questioned.
    Taking a deep breath, Skye looked up. “I am really tired of you and Aunt Gladys trying to set me up.”
    “All -”
    Skye raised her hand to stop her sister. “I know – believe me, I know.” She went on as if speaking a well-rehearsed line. “Aunt Gladys feels terrible for pushing me into a relationship with my soul mate, only to discover he was your soul mate. So she spends her life trying to make up for it.” She broke free from the litany to glare back at her sister when she opened her mouth to speak. “And it doesn’t matter that I don't want her help – or yours.”
    Sarah nodded and gave a weak smile. “So this list of yours...?”
    “I’m pretty sure you know that Aunt Gladys’ idea of an early dinner date was actually a setup for a speed dating event.” Skye raised her eyebrow again and when Sarah’s face grew red and her eyes darted away, she snorted. “Yeah, I figured as much. Anyway my experience taught me that there are certain things you two obviously need to have a clue about, since common sense doesn’t seem to be commonly used.”
    She pushed the paper towards the other side of the counter for Sarah to see. “This is the list of what I expect from any man I’d consider.”
    Sarah looked sideways at the list. “‘Speak English’?”
    “The very first guy I sat next to? It would have helped if he knew more than ‘yes, no’, or ‘we go to bed now?’”
    “No way!” Sarah exclaimed.
    “Uh, way.” Was Skye’s droll reply.
    “How tactless.”
    “Yeah, well, it was a speed dating thing. Who do you think was going to attend, Prince Charming?”
    Sarah went to speak again then clamped her mouth shut.
    “I didn't think you’d have anything to say.” Skye smirked.
    “Actually, you do know Gaelic.” Sarah smiled encouragingly. “Any other language would be just as easy to learn.”
    “I cannot believe you just said that.” Skye replied as she rolled her eyes. “For everyone’s Christmas present, you cast a spell allowing all of us to speak and read Gaelic so Doug can read his dusty old manuscripts and you think I can just up and do the same?”
    Sarah winced since they both knew that Skye casting a spell would only result in something disastrous happening like when she flooded the attic as she tried to make the temperature better for the herbs she once grew up there.
    “Okay, soooo … I can do it for you.” Sarah offered.
    “The fact that he doesn’t speak English doesn’t bother you in the slightest, or that he thought the words ‘we go to bed now’ was at the top of his need to know words?”
    Skye shot her sister another glare and Sarah bit her lip and looked back at the next item on the list.
    “‘Be financially secure’?”
    “So I ordered my second drink and by the time I went on to guy number two, both our drinks arrived. He had the audacity to smile and say ‘I know how women feel about being treated equal and all, so I’m going to let you buy mine as well,’” Skye mimicked in her worst holier-than-thou voice, “‘to show that I respect you as an equal.’”
    Sarah’s eyes widened and she unconsciously rubbed her pregnant belly. “What an ass.”
    Skye took the list back.
    “‘Care about others more than himself.’” She read aloud before explaining to her sister. “Jerk three spoke of nothing but himself and his accomplishments, all while looking in the mirror behind the bar.”
    Sarah stood there in shock as her younger sister continued.
    “‘Have integrity’. Jerk four complained about how much more work he had because three guys were busted for stealing from the company, then let it slip that he was glad he hadn’t gotten caught himself. Jerk five asked me my IQ before he even greeted me, hence ‘Be smart, but have some humility.’” Her pencil paused at the next one as she looked at her sister. “And then there is number seven. Beyond a doubt he was the cutest guy there.”
    Sarah perked and grinned. “Yeah?”
    “Oh, yeah. Hot with a capital H.”
    Leaning over to look at the list, Sarah asked. “So then, what does ‘Love me for the way I am’ have to do with him?”
    “He wanted me to straighten and change my hair to blonde, lose a few pounds, and wear shorter skirts.”
Except for Sarah’s lighter shade of brown hair, being pregnant, and four years older, the two could have looked like twins. Both had green eyes, stood five foot eight, and were happy in their size twelve clothes.
    Although they shared an innate sense of curiosity, which was why Sarah thought Skye would go for the speed dating fiasco their aunt had planned, it was really their personalities that set them apart. Sarah was the no-nonsense one, always planning with everything in order while Skye went by the seat of her pants and thrived on spontaneity.
    “No way!” Sarah exclaimed.
    Skye shoved away from the counter in disgust, not even bothering to reply. She picked up her discarded purse and walked away.
    “What about this ‘be a man’s man, but be straight?’” Sarah asked.
    “Since I’d had enough abuse for one evening and was so over the whole thing, I got up to leave and can you imagine my surprise when the next guy leaned over and said he was willing to do all that and more for number seven … and seven looked like he was considering it!”
    “Oh, my God!”
    Skye got to the basement door, turned the handle and looked back at Sarah’s shocked face.
    “No more, Sarah. I mean it.” She ground out firmly through clenched teeth before closing the door behind her.
    Heading down to the basement she’d set up as her own since Doug and Sarah’s marriage, Skye tossed her hat, coat, and purse onto the nearest flat surface before curling up onto her favorite rocking chair as she played with the ring on her thumb.
It wasn't that she was truly angry with her sister and aunt.
    Okay, she was, but she understood the meaning behind their actions, more than they gave her credit for.
    It just seemed that since Sarah and Doug’s marriage a little over a year ago, her life had become one huge circus with her aunt being the ringleader.
    Magic always seemed the cause of it all.
    Aunt Gladys had the ability to see connections between two people and insisted she and Doug were meant to be together.
    When their professor had paired them for a project in their botany class, it was an instant camaraderie.
    Doug was a very good-looking man with hazel eyes, black hair that always seemed to need a haircut, and a firm muscular body that belied his studious personality but it was the way he seemed to accept Skye’s outlandish ways without taking offence when she said something without thinking it through that held her attention.
    By the end of the week, Skye had brought him home for coffee and introduced him to her aunt, disappointed that her sister had been out shopping.
    Later that evening, her aunt swore that she and Doug were bound together for eternity, as in from one lifetime to the next.
    Since they got along so well, even though he was eight years older, Skye asked Doug if he wanted to go out on a real date.
    Doug had laughed at the way she’d just come forward and asked but agreed.
   Their date had gone exceptionally well.
    Throughout dinner, he told her about the books he’d just inherited from an uncle in Scotland and was excited to read over and, since they were written in Gaelic, he was planning to take online courses to learn the language.
    Never mentioning magic, Skye told him of her life with her sister, how her parents had died in a plane crash when she was seven and how her eccentric aunt had moved in bringing laughter back into their lives with her strange ways.
    They laughed and joked for hours but the sense of familiarity between them was different from that of lovers and when Skye’s need for answers got the best of her and she kissed Doug on her front porch step, trying for a real steaming hot kiss, they ended up breaking away feeling guilty.
    It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out they got along more like brother and sister than potential husband and wife so Skye took Doug by the hand and brought him inside before he could walk away.
    Realizing that if she didn't do something to take their minds off the awkward moment, she was going to lose someone she’d become close friends with, so she went looking for her sister knowing Sarah had a way about her that made most everyone comfortable.
    The chemistry between them was instantaneous.
    Skye introduced the two and stood aside grinning as Doug stared at her sister and Sarah blushed, offering a slice of pie she’d just taken from the oven.
    Chuckling at the feeling of being in an old black and white movie, Skye made some lame excuse that neither heard before leaving the two alone.
    The change in Sarah was immediate. She laughed more, her eyes sparkled, and she stressed over Skye and family matters less.
In a few short months, Aunt Gladys reluctantly admitted to being confused on how there was the same kind of attachment between Doug and Sarah as there was between he and Skye, only slightly brighter with Sarah.
   Skye knew Sarah had always been scared of a relationship because of her specific powers. It wasn't every day that a person could look into flames in one place and see what was going on through them in another.
   Not surprisingly, when they began to discuss marriage, Sarah had gathered her family together and they agreed that Doug needed to know.
    As they all sat down to dinner a week later, they broke it to him calmly.
    Beginning in hushed tones while watching his reactions, they explained how Sarah could manipulate fire with thought.
    Doug quietly digested what they were saying but it wasn't until Sarah lit the candles by waving her hand that he truly believed.
    He’d been silent for a long time while the women fidgeted in their seats. When he finally spoke, he mused aloud about how he’d always questioned the tales that spoke of witches in his ancestry but now he needed to reconsider the stories.
    Then he raised his wine glass as he smiled at the three women watching him. “Here’s to a never boring moment.”
    Skye rolled her eyes. “You’re marrying Sarah who will keep you on your toes, but it’s me who keeps everyone from boredom.”
    “I may be making Sarah my wife, but I am also hoping to have you as a part of the family I wish to start with her.” He turned to their aunt. “That includes you, Gladys.”
    Everyone grinned and pretended the older woman wasn’t blushing as they answered the questions Doug began to ask about witchcraft.
    Sarah said they had plenty of time to go over her powers and nodded to her sister to start.
    Skye explained her healing abilities. How, with a touch of her hands, she could remove any disease or heal any wound, explaining how she used the herbs she had moved to the newly constructed hot house in the backyard to disguise any mysterious recovery.
    Laughing throughout her story, Skye told him it wasn't often that she could get a chant right no matter how simple, telling him of the time she wanted to get some ice cream at the store and wasn't going to make it before they closed so she used a spell and found herself at the bottom of their neighbors pool.
    “I could go on and on, but let’s not.” Skye winked and laughed.
    Sarah chuckled. “Well, that’s not entirely true. She can shave without a razor, and light a fire with a touch. We covered those pretty well growing up.”
    “Okay, so I can do a couple things without causing mass destruction.”
    They brought up, to their aunt’s embarrassment, how Gladys’ ability to see connections had originally brought Skye and Doug together and they briefly tried to figure out why it had gone wrong before realizing the older woman’s shame over the faux pas, quickly brushing it aside as a fluke.
    It had become obvious during their courtship that Doug and Sarah was a true combining of soul mates and Skye couldn’t be more thrilled.
    Rolling her eyes at the memories, She pushed at the arms of her chair so it would recline then grumbled as her thoughts turned to her own attempts at a relationship and Sarah’s unfailing involvement.
    Her sister’s abilities had interrupted every intimate moment Skye had with a man. Ruining the evening when Sarah “appeared” in the fireplace or whatever flame was around while a boyfriend was making wonderful advances toward having sex.
    There was no easy way to explain to your boyfriend why you didn't want the candles lit or a fire going when they thought it was a great way to get her relaxed, only to be uncomfortable because you could see your sister watching.
    Of course, nothing ended the evening quicker than having him return with a bottle of wine only to see her arguing into the flames.
She just wished it wasn’t so cold in Salem so they didn’t have to think getting a fire going needed to be a part of the romance.
    She didn't have an element power like her sister, a very rare skill in their world, but she was proud of her healing abilities even if she wasn't able to use them as much as she wanted.
    If the public found out what she was able to do and started talking, the wrong people could hear and no one in her family needed rumors flying and the media spying on them.
    Because there was always the chance of Skye being caught performing the simplest of healings without something to use as an excuse like her herbs, she had to be constantly aware of what she did and how she did it because, if she was discovered, men in white lab coats would be doing all sorts of weird things to them.
    Of course, that wasn’t as bad as their ancestors burning at the stake because of misplaced superstitions but Skye still didn’t want to push it.
    Finally relaxing, Skye let her thoughts drift to keep her mind off the evening and they turned to a childhood memory when her gift was still new.
    She’d been trying to save a dog that had been hit by a truck and her powers weren’t been strong enough.
    When Sarah saw her falter, her sister touched her shoulder to see if she was okay. Gasping, the older girl tumbled to her knees, her face draining of color.
    It was Skye who pulled away from her sister’s touch when her strength came rushing back.
    At that point, they both realized Skye had depleted Sarah’s strength through simple contact to replenish her own.
     It took three days before her mother’s gentle coaxing brought Skye from the seclusion of her bedroom. Even still, she wrapped her hands around her waist instead of taking her mother’s proffered hand as they went to the breakfast nook where her father and sister sat waiting.
    Her father calmly explained how various powers came with side effects. Some learned of those discoveries the hard way.
    He had assured her no harm was done and Sarah smiled as she agreed, telling her she was perfectly fine.
    Brushing tears from her face, Skye pushed those memories back and sighed. She preferred thinking of her aunt and sister’s interference much more than those last memories of her parents.
    Glancing at her father’s wedding ring that she wore around her thumb, she smiled wistfully. “I miss you, Daddy.”
    Heaving reluctantly from the recliner, Skye headed for the shower, lit the candles sitting on the counter with her fingertips, and wished she had a bathtub to climb into to take away the frustration that simmered just below the surface.
    Stepping into the hot stream, she let her head fall back and enjoyed the heated water splashing over her skin and down her back.
    For years, she’d been waiting for someone to sweep her off her feet and bring about her darkest fantasies.
    What she couldn’t understand was how the average male thought about sex every minute and she had the hardest time getting them to do it.
    Shivering under the hot water, Skye flashed back to her last date.
    When asked to go to the movies, she’d thought it was the perfect opportunity to enjoy the evening without having her sister interfere. It was also the first time she discovered she had a dark side to her powers.
    Skye ignored Sarah’s warnings about her date’s anger issues a friend had shared, dismissing them as being frivolous.
    Refusing to hear anything else her sister had to say, Skye stormed out yelling that she wasn't going to be back until Sarah let her live her own life without interference.
    When her date had nearly raped her after dinner because she refused to “do it” in his truck, her fear had turned to rage as he forced himself on her.
    Pressing her hands pressed against his chest, she tried to shove him off.
When her hands began to tingle and his face went white as her anger grew, she became confused. Never having used her healing powers to inflict damage before, the heart attack she caused shook her worse than the attempted rape.
    She vaguely remembered calling her sister in a state of panic as she drove his truck to the hospital and being overwhelmingly relieved when Sarah and Aunt Gladys were waiting in the emergency room when she arrived.
    Refusing to touch or be touched, Skye had no idea what they told the doctor or how they managed to get her out of the hospital, all too grateful when she climbed into the back seat of her sister’s car.
    Heading home, she curled up into a ball on the seat and ignored any attempts made to get her to talk, crawling into bed when they got home.
    When Skye finally came out of her room on the third day and entered the kitchen, there was silence as Sarah and Aunt Gladys sat around the counter, watching her.
    Calmly explaining what happened as she made toast, she finished by saying she didn’t ever wish to discuss that night again.
    That was eight months ago and Skye hadn’t gone out again.
    At least, not until her family began their recent crusade to set her up with someone.
    Gritting her teeth, she stepped out of the shower not feeling a whole lot better.
    All she wanted was incredible sex with someone who wouldn't make her feel cheap afterwards.
    Snorting, Skye admitting it didn't even have to be incredible. All she wanted was one time.
    One time to be able have sex before learning something that would turn her off.
    Because of her family’s meddling, Skye had remained a virgin.
    A very knowledgeable virgin because of all the books she read, but a virgin nevertheless.
    At twenty-three, it had become embarrassing.
    Pulling on flannel pajamas, Skye sighed as she wondered what to do.

*****

    Gladys peeked around the corner after Skye left, chuckling as she slipped into the vacated seat.
    “Well, that didn't work out as planned.”
    Sarah looked at her aunt with a raised eyebrow.
    “Ya think?” She arranged the brownies onto a plate. “I’ve never seen her so pissed.”
    “Who?”
    Gladys and Sarah looked up guiltily as Doug sauntered in.
    He stopped and looked from one to the other. “Uh oh.”
    “Nothing.” Gladys said, not looking at him.
    “Then why do you both look like you’ve just been caught doing something illegal?” He asked as he went behind the counter and grabbed one of the sweets, placing an arm around his wife’s swollen belly.
    Sarah laughed as she leaned into her husband’s embrace and kissed him. “Not illegal.”
    Doug gave her that look that said he wasn't buying it before he took a bite of the brownie.
    “Aunt Gladys set Skye up -”
    “With your wife’s knowledge.” Gladys chimed in.
    “On a speed dating ... thing.” Sarah finished.
    Doug stopped the sweet in midflight of his next bite.
    “Speed dating?” He stared between the two of them. “Speed dating?”
    “Now Doug -”
    He looked at his wife incredulously.
    “You knowingly let your sister go to one of those? And didn't try to stop this plan of hers?” He said as he pointed to her aunt.
    “Hey.” Gladys said in affront.
    “I just thought that if she had choices ...” Sarah blushed and let the sentence die.
    Popping the rest of the brownie into his mouth, he wiped his hands.
    “Bet she loves the two of you lots now, huh?” He threw over his shoulder as he made his exit.
    “Pffft.” Gladys made a face. “What does he know?”
    “Enough. More than us.” Sarah pushed the list towards her aunt. “The kind of men she met caused her to write this.”
    “‘Speak English’. ‘Be financially secure.’” Gladys muttered through the rest of them. “What is this?”
    “That is her list of common sense things she looks for in a man.”
    Gladys looked from the list to Sarah and back again, getting that look in her eyes.
    Sarah shook her head and protected her belly. “No. Whatever it is that you are thinking, I say no.”
    “You say Skye wrote this, right?”
    Not even waiting for a reply, Gladys held the paper in her hand and walked away, talking to herself.
    Sarah rushed around the counter and stepped in front of her aunt, blocking her exit.
    “No.” she repeated to her aunt.
    The older woman looked up, confused. “No what, m’dear?”
    Sarah tried to grab the list from her hand, but Gladys was faster.
    “I don't know, but I do know that look in your eyes and you can’t do whatever it is. Give Skye a chance to get over this latest disaster before trying something else. Please.” Sarah begged.
    Gladys’ look of determination melted under her niece’s pleading look.
    Shoulders drooping, she sighed. “Alright, we’ll give her some time.”
    “Thank you.” Sarah sighed in relief.
    Gladys’ determined look resurfaced. “But this piece of paper is going to give me a clue as to what to do next. When I come up with something, I will let you know and this time we’ll work out all the kinks.”
    Sarah reluctantly agreed. “As long as we both agree on when the time is right."
    “I will let you know.” Gladys replied with a thoughtful expression on her face.
    Sarah watched her aunt nod emphatically then huff and walk off, not seeing the gleam in the woman’s eye.
    Shaking her head, she sighed, knowing the knot in her stomach wasn't from the child lying sleepily inside.

*****

    Skye looked up from the erotic novel she was reading when she heard a meowing from outside and groaned.
    Getting up, she muttered the same litany she always did when this happened.
    “I don't understand why Miss Kitty has to howl at my door so she can come in instead of going upstairs.”
    Opening the sliding glass door, she waited for the cat to race in from the cold.
    When Miss Kitty didn't do as expected, she looked outside and saw her sitting a couple yards away in the snow.
    Skye slid the door closed and muttered louder. “Stupid cat.”
    Stomping away only to sit down just as the meowing resumed, she growled in annoyance. “Damn pest.”
    Trying to ignore the cat was impossible with the beast’s persistent meowing, so she went back to the door and slid it open, once again without the appearance of Miss Kitty.
    She looked outside and saw her in the same spot.
    “Come on, Miss Kitty. It’s a damn basement, yanno? Heated, but still a basement.” She growled. “Get in here before I freeze to death.”
    The cat meowed.
    “Don’t just sit out there - move it!”
    The cat stood and took a hesitant step forward, glanced towards the second story, looked back at Skye, then sat down to continue to howl.
    “What the hell?”
   When Skye stepped outside, the cat turned, took a few more steps, peeked over its shoulder, and waited.
    “You have got to be kidding me.”
    Thankful for thick wool socks, she wiggled her feet into her slippers as she tucked her still damp hair into the ugly knit hat her aunt had made from the peg next to the door then went after Miss Kitty.
    Tightening her robe and swearing in Gaelic so it didn't sound as bad, Skye cautiously approached the cat, following the path she’d dug out early to get from her room to the hot house her herbs were stored in.
    Half way there, she stumbled as her vision suddenly went blurry.
    “Faigh muin, it’s cold out here. Too cold to even see!”
    Snatching Miss Kitty up, Skye stumbled, her ears ringing.
    Shaking her head to clear it, she hurried back to the house.
    Before she got to the opened door there was a strange sound in the distance, like something crashing through the brush. Miss Kitty jumped out of her arms and into her room as Skye swung around, but her peripheral vision blackened and the noise mixed with the ringing.
    Her eyes wouldn’t stay focused and her stomach heaved as she started falling, reality hitting her