Since I'm working on the next tale in the Highland Gardens series—Just His Fae Kiss—Caitrina and Douglas's story, I thought it would be fun to share excerpts from the other books featuring them. Here is an excerpt from the ceilidh at the Whispering Pines Inn from Just Beyond the Garden Gate...
Laurie jumped with a gasp, disturbing the people standing around her. They stared with disapproval, a finger to their lips, signaling for quiet. Caitrina rolled her eyes, inclined her head toward the foyer and walked out of the parlor. Laurie followed, somewhat disappointed to miss the rest of the tale.
“You startled me.” She smiled. “Wow, you look wonderful.”
Caitrina had traded her dirty work clothes for a gauzy, emerald green silk dress that molded to her tall, slender frame. Around her shoulders, she wore a sash of green and purple tartan with shimmering golden threads. Pinned at her shoulder was a gold brooch intricately crafted with thistle designs and amethyst gemstones. Her rich hair, usually hidden under her floppy garden hat, fell loose past her shoulders to her waist, the auburn strands on fire with highlights that glistened in the candlelight.
“You look like the princess Mr. MacNaughton describes in his story.”
Caitrina shrugged. “You look nice too, but something’s missing.”
She opened her hand to show Laurie an exquisitely crafted Celtic brooch of silver, decorated with intertwining animals and spiral filigrees, adorned with six small moonstones. She pinned it to Laurie’s stole at the shoulder. “There. Perfect.”
Appreciating its fine artistry, Laurie brushed her fingers over the brooch. Moisture filled her eyes. “You are sweet, but I can’t wear this. It must be a priceless antique.”
“Douglas told me you were admiring the jewelry at his shop. He thought you might like to borrow the brooch for the evening.”
“Must be worth a fortune. What if I lose it?”
Caitrina glanced away. “’Tis a mere reproduction.”
Laurie didn’t believe her. She knew jewelry and was positive this piece was very old and extremely valuable, but the last thing she wanted to do was insult her new friend. She’d wear the brooch for the evening and be extra careful not to lose it.
With a mischievous grin, Caitrina dragged her into the dining room where the furniture was pushed to the side. A fiddler played and couples danced. Someone handed her a glass of wine, only for Douglas MacKinnon to take it away and place it on a nearby table as he pulled her onto the dance floor where he taught her the intricate steps. After that, she danced with Iain until he handed her off to Teddy, who in turn handed her off to another fellow. She giggled with merriment as she whirled around the floor.
The evening flew and when the gathering ended, Douglas and Caitrina walked her home. It was a nice night for a stroll with the full moon shining bright in the clear sky. They took their time, enjoying each other’s company.
At the cottage, Laurie offered them a nightcap, pouring them each a glass of port. They wandered into the garden to enjoy the beautiful evening.
“Do you feel the magic in the air?” Caitrina asked.
Douglas peered at the moonlit sky and chuckled. “Aye, lass. Strong magic.”
Laurie glanced around, feeling a sudden chill.
Caitrina grasped her hand. “Come. I want to show you the foxglove we planted. They’ve flowered. Pink.”
“Pink?” Laurie squeaked.
“Aye, faerie pink.”
Douglas’s eyes narrowed. “What are you up to, Caitrina?”
“Nothing for you to worry about.” She squeezed Laurie’s fingers. “Come on.”
Unease skittered along Laurie’s spine as she walked with Caitrina to the back gate. She frowned when she smelled the now familiar exotic fragrance on her friend. “What the hell?”
A tinkling sound confirmed her fear.
The gate swung open.
Just Beyond the Garden Gate
Hope you enjoyed this wee peek into 'Just Beyond the Garden Gate', a Highland Gardens Novel.