Excerpt from Devil in a Kilt, Secrets Volume 27 Untamed Pleasures
Copyright © Nicole North, 2009
All Rights Reserved, Red Sage Publishing
Gavin glanced out the window at the Highlands and the first faint trace of dawn peeking over the eastern mountains.
It won’t be long.
A yell echoed from down the corridor, the ravings of a madman.
One day that would be Gavin, talking to ghosts and shadows. But likely when he sank to that level, he would have no roof over his head. Or else his sparse clan would lock him in the dungeon to die alone. Since he had no heir, his greedy, grasping cousin would become laird. His clan would rejoice when their devil laird was dead.
"Damnation! Alpin willna unseat me. The craven whoreson."
Draping his plaid around his waist and holding it in place, Gavin strode from the bedchamber and down the corridor toward his father’s room."There ye are, lad," Crocker said, his sparse gray hair sticking out in all directions. "Thanks be to God. He’s a right lunatic this morn. Asking for ye, he is."
"What the devil is wrong with him?" Gavin stepped inside the chamber."I dinna ken."
"Gavin! Gavin!" his father screeched from the four-poster bed as his body writhed, his long gray hair tangled. "The lass. Ye must look for the lass. Ye must marry. For the sake of the clan. For the sake of yer very soul."
"What lass?" No lass for miles around would so much as glance in his direction. He used to have to drag them from his bed and send them on their way. Now, he couldn’t pay one to give him an hour’s pleasure.
He would like as not turn them to stone, or they would end up possessed by the devil, as he was thought to be.
Gavin waited for his father to tell him which lass he referred to, but the older man now lay still with his eyes closed, apparently asleep. Mayhap he’d meant the lass from Gavin’s arousing dreams. But she wasn’t real, and he’d never seen her face.
Fingers of dawn light gleamed over the mountains and Gavin’s animal nature surged forth, beyond his control."Damnation! When will it end?"
He moved toward the open window, helpless to resist the call. Just as he reached it, a moment of pain sliced through him. His body transformed, and great glossy-black wings appeared where once he had arms, and talons on his feet. Taking flight from the window, he became one with the wind, the Highlands and the bright colors of dawn.