Ride with the Moonlight (Thunder on the Moor Series - Book 2)
A Love Which Thwarts All Obstacles
After rescuing sixteenth-century Border reiver Will Foster from certain death at her family’s hands, time traveler Maggie Armstrong finally admits her love for the handsome Englishman, though she can’t rid herself of the sinking suspicion that her Scottish kin are not about to let them live in peace. What she doesn’t expect is the danger that lurks on Will’s own side of the Border. When news of their plans to marry reaches the warden, he charges Will with March treason for trysting with a Scot. Will and Maggie attempt to escape by fleeing to the hills, but when Will is declared an outlaw and allowed to be killed on sight, they can no longer evade the authorities. Will is sentenced to hang, while Maggie is to be sent back to her family. Heartbroken, she has no choice but to return to Scotland, where her uncle continues to make plans for her to wed Ian Rutherford, the wicked Scotsman who she now realizes murdered her father in cold blood. With Will facing the gallows in England, and herself practically under house arrest in Scotland, she continues to resist her uncle’s plans, but her efforts are thwarted at every turn. Will’s family, however, is not about to stand by and watch their youngest lad executed simply because he’s lost his heart to a Scottish lass. A daring plan is set into motion, but will it be in time to save Will’s life and reunite the lovers? Or will Ian’s lies prompt Maggie’s family to ensure the bond between them is forever destroyed?
Book Excerpt or Article
Maggie Armstrong stood on the gentle slope, letting the early evening breeze caress her cheeks. Though the sun sank low along the horizon, it still sparkled off the small burn that ambled past the Foster peel tower, its gurgling rhythm soft and calm. Releasing a weary sigh, she stared out across the moor, toward Scotland and her family. She had betrayed them all—at least that’s what they thought. Ye’ll never be welcome in Scotland again, her uncle had called after her. But what choice had they left her? She wasn’t about to let them murder an innocent man, even if he was an Englishman.
She glanced down at Will Foster, dozing contentedly on the grass. How could she have ever suspected him of murdering her father? Ian Rutherford, that’s how! She let out an angry, frustrated growl, and Will stirred.
He sat up and stretched his arms before pulling her down beside him. “Why did ye no’ wake me, darlin’? ’Twas rude of me to fall asleep.”
Maggie rested her head against Will’s shoulder, savoring the warmth of his embrace. He smelled of saddle leather and meadow hay with a touch of evening dew. And despite his rugged appearance, his straw-colored hair was as soft as the down that filled her pillow. She ran her hand along the late-day stubble that had sprouted from his normally smooth chin.
“You’ve been through a lot in the past two days,” she said. “My family tried to drown you, for God’s sake. I figured you deserved a little rest.”
Will smiled and kissed her head. “And what of yerself? To be fair, I did carry ye off to begin with, something ye were no’ too happy about if I mind right.”
“No, I don’t suppose I was at first, but that was before I knew you—and the truth.” She heaved another sigh, filled with exasperation. “How could I have been so stupid and naive?”
Will tightened his arms around her, resting his chin on the top of her head. “Ye canna blame yerself for believing Ian Rutherford’s lies. He’s a wicked creature, that one, with a silver tongue. Ye werena the only one to be deceived. Even yer Uncle Geordie believed him, and he’s a canny auld fox, or so me brother Walt says.”
“Hmmm, I guess.” She leaned deeper into Will’s embrace, willing herself to relax and enjoy the moment. Yet even as she did, she could sense the tension in Will’s shoulders.
Reaching up, she touched his cheek. “What’s wrong? And please don’t tell me nothing.”
Will chuckled. “Nowt for ye to be fashing yerself ower. Me kin will see to it.”
Maggie sat up, turning so she could face him. His expression might not give anything away, but those stunning blue-gray eyes were another story. “There’s no way my family could regroup and attack this soon, is there?”
“I reckon no’ even Geordie Armstrong could manage that.” Will laughed, a deep, pleasant rumble that sent warm ripples down Maggie’s spine despite her apprehension. “God’s teeth, lass, ye left them to walk home in their stocking feet.”
“I did, didn’t I?” Maggie leaned back against Will’s shoulder once more, feeling quite proud of herself for thinking of a way to keep her kin from following them, at least for a while, but the more she imagined her uncle trudging bootless through the moors, the less comical she found it. “They will come for me eventually, though, won’t they? And then what will they do? Hang me, or worse yet, wed me to Ian Rutherford?”
Will pulled her hair back and nuzzled against her neck, leaving soft kisses and causing a tingling sensation to travel all the way down to her toes. “Neither, if I’m still breathing,” he said, “for I’d die afore I let them take ye.”
Maggie snuggled closer, allowing the warmth of his body to soothe and comfort her once more. She had no doubt he meant every word he said. Perhaps that was what worried her so. There was a way out, though, a secret she’d shared with only one other. Now if she could just get Will to believe her.
“We could go away from here,” she said.
“Leave the Borders?” He sat up, gently nudging Maggie around so he could gaze into her eyes. “But this is me home. I’ve land here and an income to keep us, no’ to mention me kin.” He stood up, taking a few steps away before turning to face her once more. “And where d’ye reckon we’d go?”
Maggie watched as the small burn tumbled over rocks and pebbles, splashing its way past each obstacle. Back to the twentieth century, of course. How she wanted to say the words, but he’d surely think she’d gone mad. Instead, she gave him the only answer she could.
“Perhaps we could go down to Lancashire.” If she could get him to agree to that, she could take care of the rest later. Of course, first she’d have to locate the amulet and the chest. If only her father hadn’t died, none of this would be happening. A tear trickled down her cheek, and Will bent down beside her, wiping it away.
“We’ll go wherever ye want, lass, but there’s nae need to fret ower it now. Geordie’s no’ fool enough to attack again, no’ yet anyway. He’ll wait and file a bill against us with the warden. By then, me da will have made a petition of his own. Let’s bide a bit and see what happens, eh?”
Andrea Matthews is the pseudonym for Inez Foster, a historian and librarian who loves to read and write and search around for her roots, genealogical speaking. She has a BA in History and an MLS in Library Science, and enjoys the research almost as much as she does writing the story. In fact, many of her ideas come to her while doing casual research or digging into her family history. She is the author of the Thunder on the Moor series set on the 16th century Anglo-Scottish Border, and the Cross of Ciaran series, where a fifteen hundred year old Celt finds himself in the twentieth century. Andrea is a member of the Romance Writers of America, the Long Island Romance Writers, and the Historical Novel Society.