Elana’s father taught her to speak the ancient Gaelic of his homeland and to write and read Ogham, the language of the Druids. She grew up in a world steeped in stories of the Iron Age Celts. And now she's started to dream of ancient times. Elana suspects that there is more to their past than her father has told her. Her frequent, erotic dreams of a Celtic warrior are becoming increasingly realistic. With him, she walks through an iron-age world full of warriors and magical Druids who beckon her to join them. And her days are filled with a torment of longing for his magnificent body and the things he does to her. Is it just her wild imagination and her craving to be dominated? What happened so long ago, and why is she becoming so obsessed with the past? This is an epic erotic spanking romance you won’t want to miss, by the author of “The Eight Wisdoms.”
Mature subject matter for adults only. BDSM category: spanking only
Cathal Village, Caledonia
Broden the thief lay on the hill, shivering against the damp cold that was rising from the ground. A blustering wind rustled through the grass around him. In another two months, it would be sharp knives splitting open the sky, letting loose torrents of snow and hail. Considering the way the trees leaned, he knew the wind must howl over the hill all winter, rising up along the soft peak and storming across the open lands in the distance. But for now, as summer gave way to fall, the weather only threatened and postured, a dull blade dragging across the fleshy lines of Broden’s heavy face and spearing him from the soil below, all the way through his tunic and breeches. He shifted, keeping his eyes on the village as he tightened the neck of his woolen cape.
Smoke curled through the thatched roofs of the roundhouses. He scanned the area, watching the villagers bringing in livestock and hauling water from the spring before the last light of day disappeared completely. He tracked the movements of the women, desire stirring whenever he spotted the trailing skirt of a dress or the gleam of a hair clasp. He licked his thick lips. Maybe he’d take one of them with him, when he left. It didn’t matter which one; he’d look for a young one with broad hips. That’s the way he liked a woman. He’d find one with some fight in her, too. The ones who were just old enough to marry fought like wild cats. Sadly, they didn’t last as long in his rough company as older ones did, because they tended to panic and do something foolish, like trying to escape. Then he had to catch them and punish them, and the aftermath of that that never went well. Still, he was in the mood for a big girl with a pretty mouth.
A group of farmers strode into the village below, from the direction of the fields. The thief’s lurid fantasies fizzled. These men might look like simple farmers, but the bronze and silver torcs they wore around their necks were forged for men with wealth and power. And they didn’t achieve those heavily muscled physiques just from working a hoe or swinging a scythe; they were renowned swordsmen and spearmen, warriors who’d spent hundreds of hours honing their fighting skills. Those men down there would take him apart, piece by piece, for laying a finger on one of their women. It was best to keep that in mind, and keep his cock in his pants until he was safely off of Cathal land.
He snorted softly at the way they were dressed. Their plaid breeches were garish to his way of thinking, but there was no accounting for taste; the Caledonians were fond of their tartans and apparently the more stripes and checks they could weave in all directions, the better. Coming from Briton himself, he preferred something a little more subdued. Some of the men were bare-chested despite the evening chill, and some were in loose leather tunics. All were carrying farm implements across their shoulders, and a few had swords at their sides. Broden knew they’d spent the better part of the day working up the last of the harvest and laying the fields to rest for winter. He’d watched them, trying to figure out when he might slip down to the village unnoticed.
The thief sifted through the stories he’d heard about the Cathal. They made few alliances, but fought to the death for kin, clan and land. Apparently there was little else they valued. He’d seen them in battle once, along with their allies, the Vacomagi. Unfortunately, he’d hired on with the wrong side in that skirmish. He remembered how the Cathal and Vacomagi warriors had looked like demons foaming up out of the bowels of the earth, their bodies and faces painted and tattooed in elaborate blue patterns, and their hair spiked into stiff wildness with chalky lime paste. Broden’s employers in the fiasco had fallen back almost immediately, stumbling over themselves in their haste to retreat before the combined wrath of the allied clans. In the ensuing chaos, Broden had managed to slip away, without his pay, but at least with his skin still attached.
He sighed in frustration. In all likelihood, this was a fool’s errand, stealing from the Cathal. But for whatever reason, his employer wanted the clan’s trihorn. The horn didn’t come into any of the stories about the Cathal, at least so far as Broden had heard. And why should it? It was just a ceremonial instrument, sounded at births, marriages, deaths—all the usual rituals. Made from ram horns, it emitted a deep, reverberating sound when blown. Most clans had something similar. Why anyone would want an old instrument was beyond him, but if his boss was willing to pay a small fortune for it in land and cattle, far be it from a professional thief to dissuade him. For enough payoff, Broden would steal his own granny’s teeth.
The only problem, of course, was that he couldn’t find the damned horn. As far as he could determine, no one had seen it in fifteen years; not since Cormac was made chieftain. His employer assured him it wasn’t lost or destroyed; the clever man somehow knew—and it was best not to ask how he’d acquired the information—that the Cathal still had the horn somewhere. But only the gods knew where they’d put it. Hence the thief’s presence on this frigid hill overlooking the village, spying on men who might look like farmers today, but were some of the fiercest warriors in Caledonia. They would gladly separate him from his head or his genitals for trespassing, and none too gently, either.
He surveyed the lay of the Cathal village one more time, taking in the raised storage house, the smith’s forge, the smokehouse. Any of the buildings might be the one he was looking for, he supposed. He considered the options. He couldn’t imagine that the clan would store their ritual horn in the forge or the smokehouse. It was probably hidden in the chieftain’s house or the big, central roundhouse with the enormous bell in front.
He lay on the cold ground and watched. People came and went. A dog barked in the distance. A woman called from her front stoop and several children came running. She shooed them into the house. A mob of crows rose up from a tree, cawing as they lifted in flight and spiraled into the sky. A figure came over the creek bank, a dark, faceless man in the dwindling light. Broden peered across the distance, straining to see this newcomer. The man headed for the large roundhouse at the furthest end of the village. He walked with long, ground-eating strides. The thief pursed his heavy lips, considering. Keir Mór, the chieftain’s oldest son, had that combination of rangy height and powerful build. When the man reached the front of the big roundhouse and threw open the door, a rectangle of light cut through the growing dim and Broden caught a glimpse of red hair tangling over the man’s shoulders. He grunted in satisfaction. That was definitely Keir Mór, which meant that was most likely the chieftain’s roundhouse.
The thief eased back from the hill, crawling on his belly until he was out of sight of the village, and then he ran, keeping his body hunkered as low to the ground as possible. Making his way to the grove of trees where his men were hidden, he went over his plan one more time. There was nothing they could do until first light. If the chieftain’s house and the council hall turned up nothing, he’d have to widen his search. There were several small farmsteads nearby, families that lived outside the village and, as unlikely as it seemed, might be the keepers of the horn.