The Hawk Laird

The Hawk Laird

When a haunting prophecy leads to revenge - will the truth lead to love?

From the moment Isobel of Aberlady sees the stranger emerge from the shadows to spirit her away from a besieged Scottish castle, she knows it is at the cost of her freedom—and his. Renowned for her visions, the lovely, isolated Isobel has been protected until the Scottish rebel takes her hostage for his own ends. Outlawed and unjustly accused of betraying his leader, falconer Sir James Lindsay needs his good name restored—and Lady Isobel, whose prophecy caused his undoing, is his only weapon.

Intending to exchange the valuable lady for another hostage, James takes Isobel deep into his forest lair. He does not count on finding an abandoned goshawk who needs his help—nor does he expect to fall in love with the beautiful prophetess. Amid treachery and hope, passion and betrayal, their love becomes the one shining light, a source of retribution, renewal, and finally destiny foretold—and forever ....

"A stunning historical love story. A beautiful medieval Scottish setting, well-paced exciting adventure, and two destined lovers. Perfect."

~ Amazon reader

"A rare combination of history mixed with a poignant storyline."

~ Literary Times

Curious about The HAWK LAIRD? Here's an excerpt . . . grab a cup of tea or refill your coffee . . . and imagine a castle in Scotland in 1306, held by a small group of Scots under Lady Isobel Seton, a young seeress left in charge after her father's imprisonment . . . The English are besieging the castle and Isobel must decide what to do next - and then a Scottish rebel arrives offering a very risky solution that will change their lives entirely . . .

Scotland, 1306

ABERLADY CASTLE rested upon a high dark crag with cliffs on three sides. Set on a vast moor, the place was said to be impenetrable, unbreachable. But they were not impervious to starvation, and they had been under siege by the English for weeks.

Isobel Seton sighed, resting a hand on gritty sandstone. She had been born at Aberlady, and it seemed she might die here. But not so soon, please God, not so soon.

"Come away from the wall, my lady." Sir Eustace Gibson, castle bailie, stepped out of the shadows to beckon to her.

"Stay back, Eustace. They will shoot if they see you."

"They have tried, and I am still here. Come inside the keep." As he guided her toward the steps, she heard the too-familiar whine and thwack of arrows hitting the stone wall just where they had been standing moments earlier.

She turned back, determined, and pulled her white silk veil from inside her sleeve where she had tucked it earlier. Leaning into the embrasure opening, she wiped at the fresh scar on the outer stone wall with an exaggerated motion, shook the dust from the cloth, and stood back. The breeze caught the long black length of her hair.

Cheers and shouts rose from the English troops. Lady Isobel lifted her head regally and turned to descend the steps where Eustace waited.

"My father would not have surrendered this castle and neither shall I." She walked calmly past him, though she trembled, hiding her fear. “Last night I dreamed we walked out of here into freedom," she said.

"Another prophecy, my lady?"

"Just a hope." She glanced at the sky, where the sunset faded to indigo. That dream was not prophetic—the brief blindness she often endured had not come over her. Yet a slight, strange shiver rippled through her when she thought of the dream.

She turned, feeling something different, a compelling force nearby. Just fatigue throwing her senses awry, she told herself, and set a hand to the wall.

"Lady Isobel." Eustace sounded grim. "You must give the order to surrender."

"My father would not want that."

"Nor would he want us to die here."

She glanced at him. Eustace Gibson had been part of Aberlady's garrison since Isobel had been a small girl. She relied on his skill and his steadfast nature. She sighed.

“Surrender, lass,” he advised. “The English will not harm you. King Edward wants the prophetess of Aberlady. And we cannot defend this place much longer."

Silent, she glanced at the darkening sky, unsure what to say, what to do.

"Jesu! Look!” Eustace grabbed the hilt of his sword. "In the corner of the yard."

She gasped. A group of men—four, five, she counted hastily—emerged from the shadows beneath the back wall of the enclosure. They walked boldly into the bailey and came toward the steps where Isobel and Eustace stood. On the battlement, the few men left of their garrison lifted their bows and held them ready, waiting for a signal from Eustace.

“Who are they?” Isobel whispered to the bailie. He shook his head.

“They may be Scots rebels. How did they get inside?”

Unkempt, wild looking, the men wore plain tunics, leather hauberks, and shabby cloaks. But they carried good broadswords and sturdy bows. One man moved ahead of the others and dropped back the hood of his long brown cloak.

He was taller than the others, shoulders wide, legs long and lean. His clothing was worn at the edges and his tangled brown hair and beard needed trimming, though his features were handsomely shaped despite grime. His strong, agile stride, indeed his very presence, seemed to charge the air like lightning.

Isobel gasped, realizing she might have sensed his arrival moments ago. He gripped his unstrung bow like a staff and halted near her. A broadsword was slung across his back. Nodding to Eustace, he then looked at Isobel.

"Are you the prophetess of Aberlady?" His voice was quiet, rich, carried well.

“I am Lady Isobel Seton. Who are you? How did you get in here?”

He inclined his head. "We are here to rescue you."

She blinked. The stranger possessed a wild beauty and an aura of power. His eyes were deep blue like the indigo twilight overhead, and his hand on the bow was graceful and strong. He seemed beyond the ordinary realm, as if he had stepped out of mist and legend.

For a moment, Isobel felt bespelled. His steady gaze held hers, assessed her from the top of her head to the roots of her soul.

Seeing the spark of purpose in his eyes, sensing a current of danger, she lifted her chin. "You know my name, but I do not know yours," she said as calmly as she could. "How did you get inside these walls?"

"Through the postern gate in the north wall."

"But that door is hidden by scrub and rocks and overlooks a cliff more than a hundred feet high. How did you reach it?"

"It took some time." He shrugged. "I am James Lindsay. Some call me the Hawk Laird."

Isobel caught her breath. She had heard of the man, a renegade Scot who hid from English and Scots alike in the vast lands of the Ettrick Forest. His arrival inside Aberlady might mean salvation—or defeat. His loyalties were known only to himself.

Some even said he was a sorcerer who changed his form at will; or that he was born of the fair race, the Fey. More, it was rumored that he had committed some heinous deed against Scotland.

She dimly remembered seeing him in one of her visions and mentioning him while a priest recorded what she said. At least, she had said something about hawks and lairds and suchlike. She did not recall much of her predictions, and wished she knew the whole of this one now.

"James Lindsay," Eustace said, "I hope your purpose is fair. We outnumber you." He indicated the parapet, where Aberlady’s men trained bows on the newcomers.

"Why would you climb up here to rescue us?” Isobel asked. “You do not know us.”

“I came here on another matter, and we saw the siege when we approached. We decided to bring assistance."

"A hundred English outside, and you bring five men?”

“Nevertheless, I promise you we will bring you to safety, lady.”

"They do say the finest rebels fly with the Hawk Laird," Eustace said.

"At one time, they said it. We must leave soon,” Lindsay replied.

"How?" Isobel asked, astonished. “We are trapped here.”

“We will go down the north cliff."

"But the English will take the castle if we abandon it!"

"It is Scottish practice to render castles unavailable for Southron use. Either a castle is held by force of arms, or destroyed by fire. We cannot hold it, so—"

"I will not burn my castle."

James Lindsay brushed past her to climb the steps. Eustace turned to follow him. Isobel lifted her skirts and ran up the steps behind them.

Eustace turned. "Go to the keep, Lady Isobel."

"But he means to ruin Aberlady!" she hissed.

"It may be necessary."

"We cannot trust this man! You know what they say about the Hawk Laird!"

"He brings hope when we had none. I would have set fire to these walls myself when we left. We have no choice."

She stared, stunned, not ready to accept that. Eustace hurried to join Lindsay, who now stood behind a merlon stone, scanning the English garrison below. Isobel ran toward them, pausing by an open embrasure in full view of the English soldiers below.

Lindsay grabbed her arm to pull her behind the merlon. "Only a dimwit would stand there in plain sight!"

"The English will not harm me," she said firmly.

"If you believe that, you are not much of a prophetess," he snapped.

"Why did you come here?” she asked. “What do you want?”

"I came," he said softly, "for the prophetess of Aberlady." Something in his tone sent a shiver down her spine. "We have matters between us, you and I."

"I do not know you, though you seem to know me."

"Let me make a prediction, Isobel of Aberlady," he said in a low tone. "You will come to know me well. And you will come to regret what your prophecies have done to me and mine."

"I do not understand."

"I will be back. Stay here, where you will be safe." He turned and strode away.

Staring after him, Isobel wondered just how safe she was.

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