Welcome to my home on the web. You may have noted the mountains in the banner are the misty Blue Ridge of North Carolina. Did you know time traveling Highlanders live there? Curious about the big cat? Florida panther~from the Crimson Storm paranormal novel, Sea Panther.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Excerpt Wednesday - Gathering of the Clans - Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon by Dawn Marie Hamilton



This week's except is from the second novel in the Highland Gardens time travel series. Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon. Finn attends the gathering of the clans...
 
 

Entering the meadow from the wooded camping area, Finn stopped for a moment to take in the view. The spectacle of colorful clan tents impressed, but the sight of Grandfather’s summit as a backdrop to the festival grounds was humbling indeed. The bronze light of the setting sun played across the old man’s features. Nature at her awe-inspiring best.

Finn crossed the running track and found Laurie and Patrick, their baby daughter, and their two, wild toddlers. The twins, Scott and Young Iain, ran around the picnic blanket, playing warrior with wooden swords. They were cute boys, and Finn enjoyed hanging with them. Someday he hoped to have a couple kids of his own.

Geez. He needed to forget his problems and find out what had Laurie so tense when she picked him up at the airport. He feared bad memories had surfaced, and she had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Now wasn’t the right time to ask questions though. Tomorrow he’d sit her down and find out what was going on in her head.

He saw red every time he thought of what was done to her. He unclenched his fists and inhaled a deep, calming breath.

By the time he ate and settled on the blanket, it was almost dark. The torchlight ceremony would soon begin. When Laurie managed to get the boys quieted down, Scott came over and climbed onto Finn’s lap.

“Having fun?”

“Em hmm.” The boy leaned back, and his small body relaxed.

Finn tousled the imp’s blond curls, inhaling the lad’s rough and tumble little-boy scent. Stubby fingers gripped his shirt, and his heart squeezed. He glanced at Laurie holding her daughter, leaning against Patrick, Young Iain curled on his father’s lap. This was what Finn craved, a harmonious family life—here in these mountains.

If only the woman from my dreams was real. He sighed heavily and pushed that impossible wish out of his mind.

Darkness fell and the ceremony began. A deep voice came across the loud speaker, explaining the historic significance of the torch ceremony.

“The saltire cross of Saint Andrew is recognized as Scotland’s ancient symbol. Tonight, we call the clans to rendezvous as our ancestors were once summoned to battle.”

The speaker fell silent…

His voice thundered. “Raise the Clans.”

Chills played along Finn’s spine, as one by one, the resonant voice called the names. “Anderson… Armstrong… Baird… Barcley… Bell… Bruce…” As he called each clan’s name, a representing member crossed the field, carrying a lit torch to add to the fiery cross of flames in the center of the field.

“MacIntyre.”

Finn leapt to his feet, hugging the excited Scott to his chest. Laurie and Patrick joined them along with Young Iain. They all screamed as loud as they could, jumping up and down. They did the same again, a few minutes later, when the call was for Clan MacLachlan.

“Life or Death!” Patrick yelled the MacLachlan battle cry, his fist extended in the air.

After they sat, Scott climbed off Finn’s lap to go to his mother. Finn distinctly felt the loss, a barren place in the center of his chest. He rubbed his palm over the spot. He’d better get himself in-gear and find a woman who could love him. Undoubtedly, the task would be difficult.

The curse he choked on came from deep within the aching void near his heart. He wanted to have children and be young enough to enjoy rough housing with his boys. At thirty-six, he was past the age when he should have started a family, and he wasn’t getting any younger.

He swallowed, targeting his attention on the clan emissaries walking across the field and the rich baritone coming from the loudspeakers.

“Stewart… Sutherland… Turnbull… Wallace… Young.”

“The clans have come once again to celebrate who they are,” the speaker called out when the last torch was set.

The torches burned brightly. The haunting sounds of pipes filled the air.

Finn experienced a sense of belonging he never imagined. A feeling of rightness.

The abundance of twinkling stars overhead added to the magic.

Patrick broke the spell when he nudged Finn while attempting to gather up the twins and their belongings.

“I’ll help you carry this stuff to your car.” Finn bent and picked up the picnic basket.

As they walked along the path toward the parking lot, Laurie grabbed his arm. The beam from his flashlight bobbed crazily across the ground. “I hope you didn’t forget my garden party is tonight at eleven,” she said.

He nodded with a grunt.

“I expect you to be there on time and to still be in costume. And for heaven sakes, please be nice to Jillian.”

Finn groaned, and Patrick snorted.

 
   
 


 

Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon

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Hope you enjoyed this wee snippet from Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon, a Highland Gardens Novel.

 
~Dawn Marie

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