A Midwinter’s Feast in the mystical world of 13th century Scotland.
By Mary Morgan
Come journey with me as I whisk you away to 13th century Scotland for a Midwinter’s feast. We shall arrive at Urquhart Castle on the banks of Loch Ness. This is the home of the Clan MacKay—the Dragon Knights. Their bloodline is steeped in ancient Celtic mythology. Though they respect the new religion that has swept across their land, the Dragon Knights continue to honor the old ways. Midwinter is a celebration of light and warmth here within the walls. The doors have been left open for all to enter in peace. Once you step inside, you are drawn to the holly boughs with ivy, bay, crimson-berried yew and fragrant bunches of rosemary.
The torches cast a welcoming light as you proceed onward. As we enter the Great Hall, you are met with boisterous laughter and gaiety. A bard is recanting the tale between the aging Holly King (representing the darkness of the old year), and the young Oak King (symbolizing the light of the new year). Some of the older lasses have chosen to weave a sprig of holly onto their gowns and they nod at you in passing.
Candles illuminate the hall in a soft glow as you make your way toward the feasting tables. The Dragon Knights and their wives are seated at a longer table near the hearth. Ale and mead are flowing, along with the tempting dishes you survey as you take your place. You are tempted by the trencher of wild boar stuffed with onions and cabbages to your right. Or maybe you would prefer the spiced apples and damson tarts.
The minstrels begin to play a lively tune and a few of the couples grasped hands to join in the merriment…
Onward they danced, twirling and swaying around the hall. Laughter filled Ailsa, along with Desmond’s touch. As the minstrels ended their song, she dipped a curtsy to all.
Fiona handed her a cup of ale. “You were wonderful out there. I’ve never witnessed my brother dancing. He’s good.”
“Thank ye.” Ailsa drained the cup, relishing the cool liquid.
Desmond returned holding two plum tarts in his hand. “By the Gods, these are delicious. Who made them?”
Fiona tried to snatch one from his hand. “Brigid. They’re a favorite of Duncan’s.”
He shook his finger at her. “Nae. I brought one for Ailsa.”
Fisting her hands on her hips, Fiona pouted. “But none for your beloved sister?”
“Ye wound me.” Handing her one, he added, “Ailsa and I will just have to share this one.”
Pleased with his gesture, Fiona kissed him on the cheek. Taking the offering, she was about to take a bite, when Alastair approached from behind her.
“’Tis good to see ye are eating.” He placed his hands around her waist.
She laughed when he nibbled on her neck.
“Come, Desmond. Let us eat our fare away from the lovers,” Ailsa suggested and tugged on his arm.
Snorting, he complied and followed her out of the hall and near the entrance. When he held the treat out to her, Ailsa took a bite.
Closing her eyes, she savored the sweet fruit and crust. “Mmm…”
“’Tis good.” He whispered softly.
Desmond’s tongue teased the edges of her mouth, and snapping her eyes open, Ailsa yearned to have him kiss her.
Award-winning Scottish paranormal romance author, Mary Morgan, resides in Northern California, with her own knight in shining armor. However, during her travels to Scotland, England, and Ireland, she left a part of her soul in one of these countries and vows to return.
Mary's passion for books started at an early age along with an overactive imagination. She spent far too much time daydreaming and was told quite often to remove her head from the clouds. It wasn't until the closure of Borders Books where Mary worked that she found her true calling--writing romance. Now, the worlds she created in her mind are coming to life within her stories.
If you enjoy history, tortured heroes, and a wee bit of magic, then time-travel within the pages of her books.
Mary loves to hear from readers, you can find her… Website Blog Twitter Facebook Goodreads Amazon Author Page Pinterest Instagram BookBub
ORDER OF THE DRAGON KNIGHTS
Dare to journey with the Dragon Knights of Scotland!
They were an ancient order descended from the great Tuatha De Danann, a tribe from the Goddess Danu. Half human and half fae, each blessed with mystical powers. They were also given holy relics and guardianship over the dragons.
With the dawn of Christianity, the dragons were systematically hunted down and slain leaving only one. The Dragon Knights took her from Ireland to a land across the sea, settling in the Great Glen near Urquhart. The clan was known as the MacKay clan, descendants from the MacAoidh.
Yet, there were those who deemed the Order had too much power, and they tried to possess it for themselves. They were evil and twisted, and their plan succeeded one fateful night. A battle was fought and their sister was killed.
The Clan MacKay is no longer.
The Dragon Knights scattered across the land.
Yet out of the darkness, they will each fight for redemption.
A Highland Moon Enchantment
You first meet this warrior in Dragon Knight’s Axe, Order of the Dragon Knights, Book 3
Irish warrior, Desmond O’Quinlan has never surrendered his heart to any woman. He has no wish to have his soul tortured by love. Yet, the moment he locks gazes with Ailsa, his fate is destined for an adventure he never fathomed. He may have battled alongside a Dragon Knight, but his greatest challenge will come from within his own heart.
Ailsa MacDuff, a warrior among her clan, has no desire to have a man chain her to a life of obedience. However, that is before she meets Desmond. The temptation to allow this warrior inside her heart is a risk she dares to take, but one that could lead to a future of emptiness and sorrow.
When betrayal looms from within, the battleground of love is no match for these two warriors. Can the power of a Highland full moon be strong enough to unite or destroy them?
Wonderful excerpt, Mary! I love your Order of The Dragon Knight series!ReplyDelete
Thank you for inviting me here today, Mary Anne. The Midwinter celebrations are in full force, so I must return to the Great Hall. ;) Happy Holidays! xoDelete
Well that's me hooked! Love the excerpt. Scene setting perfection!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Jackie!Delete
A lovely excerpt. A Highland Moon Enchantment looks wonderful.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Kiru. I enjoyed returning home to Scotland and the Dragon Knights in this tale.Delete
Very evocative! Love the imageryReplyDelete
Thank you, Cryssa. So happy you were able to join in the merriment.Delete
Hey Mary, I recognize that excerpt (I really enjoyed that section) as being toward the end of A Highland Moon Enchantment. Only have a chapter left in the book. Loved it! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you Lass and your family too!ReplyDelete
Blowing kisses you way, Tena! Thank you, dear friend! So happy to hear you're enjoying Desmond and Ailsa's story.Delete
Great excerpt! Thank you for sharing. Merry Christmas!ReplyDelete
Thanks for visiting, C.B.!Delete
Hi Mary! I loved this book and am looking forward to your next one. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!ReplyDelete
Big hugs, Karilyn! Thanks for stopping by! xoDelete
I am intrigued by your Dragon Knights! Will put them on my wish list!ReplyDelete
And a blessed Yule to ye, Mary! Success to you in the coming year!ReplyDelete
Same to you, Mary!ReplyDelete