Aidan Mackeefe guards the true Stone of Destiny, and using it as his pillow he dreams of a Scottish angel.
Effie MacDuff is forced to help the English find and steal the true Stone of Destiny in order to save the life of her sister.
One is willing to die to guard the secret of his country, and the other is willing to betray her country to save a loved one.
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Excerpt from Aidan – Book 2:
The Scottish Highlands. Late summer 1362.
Only a madman would use a stone for his pillow. The Stone of Destiny to be precise.
Aidan MacKeefe tossed restlessly in his sleep, having used the Stone of Destiny as his pillow for the last six months now, hoping to have prophetic dreams. Supposedly, the stone was used back in the days of the Bible, and Jacob had used this exact stone and had dreams of angels.
Aidan was in the middle of a dream. Mist surrounded him in his little, stone cottage in the MacKeefe camp. He couldn’t see anything in the darkened room. Then the door opened, and in the bright light – he saw an angel. The angel walked toward him, covered with a long, white, hooded cloak, her fiery red tresses falling in ringlets down to her shoulders. Stopping in front of him, she peeked out from under the hood. While he couldn’t see her face well in the dark, he could still see her wide, green eyes that reminded him of the color of the moors on a warm summer’s day. Her gaze steadied upon him. She lit a candle in her hand, illuminating her face beneath the hood.
Her skin was fair, like alabaster, and a smattering of fine freckles trailed down her nose and spread to her rosy cheeks. Aye, she was a bonnie lass. Although he couldn’t see her body under the robe, he was sure it matched her beauty. He wanted her badly. Then she smiled at him, and her laugh rang out across the room like the sweet song of a small meadow pipit, bringing with it a fragile innocence to its tone. She was a fine angel. A perfect Scottish angel. Aidan wanted naught more than to reach out his hands and touch her, but something weighed him down and he could not move.
As she reached out to him, he saw a strawberry birthmark on the inside of her arm that looked like . . . a skull. He jerked away from her touch. Then she turned away from him and nodded toward the door. Aidan’s attention focused across the small room. To his horror, he saw English soldiers following her into the cottage with their weapons drawn.
Aidan tried to cry out for help, but couldn’t speak. He tried to reach for his sword at his side, but couldn’t move. Then his eyes scanned down her body and, to his horror, he saw sticking out from the back of her robe right by her doup – a tail. A furry red tail! It reached out and brushed across his face. In his only form of defense, he leaned forward . . . and bit it.
The sickening screech of an animal cried out, pulling him from his slumber. Aidan’s eyes popped open, bringing him out of the dream and he sat up quickly, not knowing what was happening.
Then he saw Reid, his pet red squirrel scurrying off his chest, scolding him, running in circles around the room. The door opened, but instead of his dream angel, his friend, Ian, stood there with a dour expression upon his face.
“What in the clootie’s name was that screech?” asked Ian. His tall, muscular form filled the entire doorway. His dark hair looked wet as if he’d just come from bathing in the loch.
Aidan jumped up, realizing he was fully clothed, and that it was well into the morning hours. Then he remembered taking a nap, too full to move after eating his fill of skirlie, an oatmeal and onion dish topped off with a goose egg. The food for the clan had been prepared by his younger sister, Kyla, and the chieftain’s wife, Wren.
The door pushed open from behind Ian, and there stood their good friend, Onyx. Onyx had recently married an Englishwoman, Lady Lovelle of Worcestershire, after finding out that his true family was English, not Scottish at all.
“Aidan, ye dunderhead,” spat Onyx, spying the squirrel running around the room in a heated frenzy. Onyx’s two different-colored eyes stared back at him in question. “What did ye do to yer squirrel?”
“I think I bit its tail,” he said, running a hand through his hair and leaning back against the stone. The Stone of Scone, or Stone of Destiny as most called it, was a large, black basalt rock with ancient hieroglyphs etched into it. It had iron-looped handles embedded into the sides to use for carrying with a pole through it. The stone was very heavy, and took at least two full-grown men to move it – if they were strong. He’d embedded the thick stone into the dirt of the cottage floor to lower it, and pulled his pallet over it, to use it as his personal pillow.
“Were ye hungry so soon after eatin’ so much skirlie?” asked Ian, walking into the room and sitting down. Onyx followed, leaving the door wide open. The summer sun spilled into the cottage, lighting it up and bringing with it a fresh breeze from the Highland hills.
“Nay, I had a dream.” Aidan settled himself atop the stone and donned his leather shoes that laced around his legs. Highlanders often went barefoot in the summer, unless they were traveling, like they would be today. “She was a bonnie angel with red hair, I tell ye.”
“And so ye bit her?” asked Onyx, pulling up a chair and making himself comfortable. He raised an eyebrow in amusement, his one orange eye shining in the sun from the door, while his other black eye stayed in shadow. Most people thought Onyx was a madman because of his eyes. All three of the friends were madmen, and Aidan prided himself of the fact. If there was an outlandish or dangerous act or activity suggested, they were the first to try it just for excitement.
“Nay. My Scottish angel had a tail – and we all ken that our enemies have tails,” he said, pointing out the superstition held throughout the lands. “I couldna move, so I bit it.”