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October 16, 2018

A Healer for the Highlander

A Highland Feuding

She can save his son. . . .
But can she resist the Highland warrior?

In this A Highland Feuding story, famed healer Anna MacKenzie is moved by Davidh Cameron’s request to help his ailing young son. She wants to help—and the commander has unknowingly provided the introduction to the clan she’s been looking for.

But Anna has a secret, one that could jeopardize the fast-growing, heated passion between them…

A Highland Feuding ~ Rival clans, forbidden love!

ISBN-13: 978-1335522955   ISBN-10: 1335522956   Harlequin/Mills & Boon Historical

Anna returned to the cottage and began the daunting task of cleaning it. Once cleaned she could organize the rest—the plants and supplies. Time sped along as she accomplished many of the tasks she must before day’s end. The crunching of twigs and leaves outside her opened door warned her of Iain’s approach.

“Good day.”

Anna glanced up to find a tall man standing in her door. His height and breadth almost blocked it completely as he stood there outside. As she walked closer, she realized he was crouching down a bit to look inside the cottage through the too-short-for-him door.

It was the man they’d seen below, walking along the road. The plaid wrapped around his waist and over his shoulders identified him as a Cameron. From the dryness of that garment, she kenned that he’d not climbed the falls to get here. That meant he kenned the other path to reach this place. And that did not bode well for her and her privacy or security.

“Good day, sir,” she said.

Anna wiped her hands on the apron at her waist and pushed the loosened strands of hair out of her sweaty face. She must look an utter mess with her dirty gown and face. While he. . . was dangerously attractive.

The man had gathered his long, dark brown hair back away from his face which allowed her to see the masculine angles of his face. And his intense eyes that were the color of the darkest wood in the forest. And his strong chin. He was the most attractive man she’d ever met, here on Cameron lands or in the north on MacKenzie lands. She swallowed to ease the nervousness at that realization as her throat tightened and tried to speak past it.

“I did not mean to interrupt you,” he said, stepping back as she approached him. “I have heard that you are . . . .” He paused then, as though not able to utter the word that most used.

“The Witch of Caig Falls,” she said.

“I was about to say ‘healer’ but if you would prefer the other. . . .”

She’d blurted out the question before he could say the words. He guessed it was not the first time someone had said so. Davidh watched as her green eyes widened for a moment and then they sparkled as she smiled. Her full, pink lips curved into an enticing and intriguing one as he wondered if she considered the name a curse or a compliment.

She laughed then and he could not look away. The smudges of dirt across her face did little to hide the freckles on her cheeks. And the curls that had escaped her kerchief showed strands of fiery red and copper amidst the other shades of brown. His hand lifted to pull more of the locks free and Davidh struggled to stop himself.

“Nay, healer is preferred since it is truer than the other.”

Davidh was not convinced. Mayhap she was bewitching him with some spell as she stared at him now? His mouth went dry as she stepped closer and he forgot to move back to allow her to pass. Her body brushed his as she walked away from the door and he turned to follow her movements. Something within him woke, a feeling unfamiliar for it had been so long since he’d noticed it last.

She intrigued him. She appealed to him in a way he could not describe. She aroused him.

“’Tis the healer I came seeking, but I expected someone. . . older. Are you the one who saw to Tavish?”

“The lad who fell and twisted his ankle? About two-and-ten?”

“Aye. That one. He sang your praises to his family and to others. That is how I discovered you were here.”

“Are you ill?” She leaned in towards him and took in his measure, glancing over his body and then staring once more into his eyes. “Have you a fever?” She lifted her hand up as though to touch his forehead and paused, her hand waiting there a scant few inches from his skin. “Your pardon,” she said as she dropped her hand back to her side.

“I have no need of your services,” he said. His choice of words was ill-made and he shook his head. “My son has been ill for some time and nothing has helped him.” Davidh shrugged, fighting the urge to beg her for any help she could offer.

“I have not unpacked my supplies yet, but tell me of his symptoms so I will know if I can help him.”

He could not help it—he let out a loud sigh of relief. Something in her expression gave him confidence that she could indeed help his son.

“His breathing becomes labored often,” he began.

It took a few minutes for him to describe all the ways his son suffered over the last year and how he seemed to worsen by the week. She nodded as though she recognized these signs and symptoms and he found himself studying the way her brow gathered when she asked him to clarify something he’d said. She was methodical in a way the village healer was not. Her questions made sense to him as she tried to get the reasons for his son’s illness.

“Can you help him?” he asked when he’d finished.

“I have my suspicions about the cause of his illness, but I must see him to be certain.” She glanced around the small clearing in which this secluded cottage sat and then back towards the falls. “Can you bring him here on the morrow?”

Now Davidh looked at the surrounding land and wondered if it was possible. This small area of woods and clearing around the cottage was like an island in the middle of sheer rock cliffs on one side and a large river that rushed around the other and fell, forming the falls. Oh, aye, he’d followed the path that Malcolm had told him of all those years ago, but he would have to carry his son to bring him here. Shaking his head, he looked back to the woman.

“Nay. I see no way to get him here in his condition. Even using the hillside path that I did.” She startled a bit at his reminder of how he’d arrived there but he did not let that deter him. “Can you not come to the village and see him there?” As her expression turned into one of refusal, Davidh knew she would not come. “I can pay you in coin for your inconvenience.” He would give her every bit of coin or valuables he might own if she could help his Colm.

“’Tis not about payment. I have not yet asked the chieftain’s permission to be here. To offer my herbs and skills to his villagers. So, to visit your son before I do so would offer an insult he could not ignore.”

Once more relief flooded him. This was not an obstacle. He could bring this woman to Robert and make her known to him easily.

“Then I would take you to Robert and see you given permission to live here among us.” The words came out even as his innate caution raised within him.

Robert trusted Davidh’s judgment and would accept this woman on his word. He searched her face for any sign of danger and found only sympathy there.

“You could do that?” Her gaze narrowed then and she studied his face more closely. “I do not even ken your name or who you are.” She glanced away then as though thinking on something and turned back to him. “I did not mean that to sound as rude as it did, especially not when you have just offered help to me.” A scant smile eased onto her mouth.

“I did simply invade your home without an introduction and never asked your name either,” he said. “I am Davidh Cameron and I command the Cameron warriors for our chieftain.”

The effects of his words were immediate and surprising. Her green eyes grew wide and fluttered several times at his words. Then those eyes filled with tears for a moment before she glanced away. Strange, that. Davidh searched her face for some sign of familiarity, but there was no way he could have met this woman and forgotten her.

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