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HEART OF THE HIGHLAND WARRIOR
Heart of a Highland Warrior

The Lost Chalice -- Anita Clenney
The Lost Chalice

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HEART OF THE HIGHLAND WARRIOR

Heart of a Highland Warrior June 2014 

A bloodthirsty evil stalks the Connor Clan…
Brave, beautiful, and haunted by her past, demon hunter Anna MacKinley will do anything to help the Connor Clan. Under divine orders, the headstrong warrior travels the world, slaying demons and vampires. When she stumbles upon a hidden stone fortress while searching for her clan’s lost Book of Battles, dark forces swiftly imprison her—and she discovers her cell mate is a gorgeous Scottish warrior who has no memories, but looks strikingly familiar.

And only a secret from the past can win the day…and her heart.

The warriors of the centuries-old Connor Clan are searching for their missing time-vault and the powerful relic within. What they find is a grave…and a kilt-clad body they fear is the long-lost Tavis Connor. But there may be more to the Highland warrior’s fate than a pile of bones. Desperate to save his brother and his clan’s Book of Battles from a demon hell bent on destruction, Tavis begins a 150 year quest that will end in modern-day New York. But when he wakes, he discovers he’s the one in need of help. His only hope of rescue is a bonny lass who claims to be a warrior. A warrior waging war on demons…and his heart.

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Excerpt

His arse was numb from the stone pew. He’d been sitting here most of the night, staring out the window at his brother’s grave, thinking about what had to be done. About who would make the sacrifice and who would be left to go home and tell their mother. He had won, but it hadn’t been easy.

A shadow fell across the floor as his younger brother joined him on the pew. They sat side by side in silence, looking at the graveyard. “There must be another way,” his brother said.

“There’s not, and you know it.”

“Think what you’re doing. You don’t know what you’ll wake to. By then, the world might be naught but ashes.”

His gaze dropped to his hands spread across his kilt, and he remembered the blood, the torn flesh. “I have to take that chance.”

“Then I’ll go.”

“No. I gave my word.” He nudged his brother with his elbow, trying for a smile though he felt dry as leather inside. “You need to stay. You might be barmy at times, but you’re a thinker, a puzzle solver, and this trouble won’t be easy to sort out. Besides, I know what you’re hiding under that pretty hair.”

The teasing fell flat and a surprised look crossed his brother’s face. He touched his neck. “How did you know?”

“I’m not an idiot. You’ve been wearing your hair loose. You’ve never liked it down.” And he’d peeked while his brother was sleeping to make sure he was right.

“I can’t do anything about it for three years.”

“But she’s your mate. That’s a rare thing to find before your duty is up. I don’t have a mate and don’t intend to find one. It has to be me. Do you have the book?”

His brother nodded and patted a satchel hanging over his shoulder.
 
“We should hurry, before they get back.” The husband and wife knew some of the secrets, but not all.

The brothers rose and approached the front of the chapel. The youngest held the oil lantern as the elder one opened the secret catch in the wall. The door hadn’t been used in some time. It groaned and grated as the opening was revealed. Musty air covered him like a shroud as he walked down the rough steps to the suffocating darkness of his tomb. The cellar was smaller than the chapel above it. Only a portion of the area here had been dug out and the floor laid with stones. The box waited for him in the corner. It looked beautiful in the dim light. But they were all beautiful, despite what they were made to hold. He’d never given them much thought until this moment. They simply served a purpose. He swallowed and walked toward it, heartbeat drumming in his ears.

His brother touched his shoulder. “Let’s find another way. There has to be another way.”
“There is no other.”

He took the satchel from his brother and put it inside the box. Hands gripping the edge, he pulled in a shallow breath. It was hard to breathe now.

“This isn’t right.”

He didn’t turn to look at his brother. He didn’t want him to see his fear.  “It will work,” he whispered. “It must.” He steadied himself and climbed in, as his brother held the lantern high. The wood was cold and hard under his head. He shifted and pulled a dirk from his boot. Just in case.

His brother was crying, silent tears streaming down his face.

“Do it,” he told him, fighting back his own tears.

“I can’t.” His brother’s voice broke on a sob.

He reached for his hand and gripped it hard, feeling the calluses and scars from their childhood. “Do it now. Do it for him.” He pulled his fingers away.

The lid started to lower, and he heard a ragged cry from outside as darkness swallowed him. He throat tightened until he couldn’t breathe, and finally, a tear slid—