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Once Upon a Glen

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Once Upon A Highland Glen– Coming October 15, 2019

by Suzan Tisdale, Kathryn Lynn Davis, Bronwen Evans, Violetta Rand, Maeve Greyson, Victoria Zak, Scarlett Scott

Join NY Times, USA Today Bestselling, and celebrated authors Suzan Tisdale, Kathryn Lynn Davis, Bronwen Evans, Violetta Rand, Maeve Greyson, Victoria Zak, and Scarlett Scott on a journey back in time with seven new stories.

In the Highlands of Scotland, there exists a magical glen where visitors can make a single wish. The cost: giving something precious in return, something you've never offered to anyone before. But beware, for there is a siren capable of reading your heart, and if your intent is anything but pure, there will be consequences…

Legend has it when the ruthless Laird Bronn Keith nearly dies due to his own selfishness and greed, his life was saved by the siren. She offers him a single wish. But when he fails to offer up what she requires in return for granting his one desire, the magical woman abandons him, leaving him to die.

In his tragic moment, the laird finally realizes the error of his ways and inadvertently offers his regret for the life he’s lived. Judging his heart true, Laird Keith is returned to his home, where he changes his life and the lives of those around him, finding love and peace forever.

Our stories take you back in time, to the magical Highland glen where wishes are made, redemption is sought, and forgiveness is hopefully found.


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The Highlands of Scotland

Glen Bruadair

Year of our Lord 1376

Lady Serysa’s court


“Darkness surrounds her. I sense her fear.” Alec MacClaiden ignored the shocked gasps of his mother’s attendants as they stood gathered around the ancient seat of Bruadair. He strode forward, determination burning through him. “Danger threatens her. A danger she canna escape.” He took a stance at the base of the broad steps leading up to the dais. His will locked with his mother’s, he refused to break from her irritated glare. “She needs me, Mother. I would go to her at once.”


Disbelief rumbled like thunder across the high court, echoing off the pearlescent ceiling arched in a glowing canopy above Lady Serysa’s head. The lady herself, noble guardian of Bruadair, remained silent. Icy. Fuming. She fixed Alec with a cutting glare.


Man grown or not, such a look still unsettled him. Alec shifted his stance. Perhaps a bit of humility might help in swaying Mother’s decision. Alec bowed his head, took a knee, and pressed a fist to his chest. “With yer permission, of course, dearest Mother.”


Dearest Mother.” Lady Serysa rose from her bejeweled seat, her ethereal beauty and grace as striking at her age of some three thousand eras, as it had been when she was nothing more than a maiden of three thousand years. “Dearest Mother,” she repeated a second time as she approached him. With the long-suffering sigh of a parent whose patience was nearly spent, she took hold of his chin and lifted his gaze to hers. “If ye claim to be a man, son, ye shouldna resort to childish flattery to get yer requests, ye ken?”


“Aye, Mother.” Alec rose to his feet, took his mother’s hand, and brushed a kiss above the silvery vine of ivy curled around her fingers and wrist. “I must go to her. She hasna appeared at her grandsire’s grave a single time in the past three days.”


In the past three days.” Lady Serysa’s fair brows drew together then arched in disbelief. Righteous fire flashed in her violet eyes. “Since when do we speak in mortal terms in this court?” Drawing the gauzy folds of her cloak closer about her, she gave him a chilling look. “And never do we leave Bruadair to consort with mortals and meddle in their lives. Understood?”


Alec grit his teeth and fisted his hands. He’d known this meeting wouldna be easy. Mother kept the borders of Bruadair, the blessed glen of dreams, under tighter control after the past few centuries. She’d grown weary of mortals stumbling into their midst, mortals with wicked hearts filled with avarice. Aye, she would grant their one wish, the boon required for their return to their own lives. Then she’d watch them from afar, shaking her head as the men died as a result of their greedy demands. All except one. Laird Bron Keith. The man whose wish for a second chance so he might seek forgiveness from those he had wronged had touched the queen’s heart forevermore. Laird Bron Keith had been an exceptional mortal by the queen’s standards. A rare man, indeed.


“She is the Keith’s great-granddaughter.” Alec prayed that would make a difference. Sway his mother’s favor.


The lady’s brow smoothed, and her scowl softened into one of thoughtfulness. Alec’s hope grew.


“Nia Keith,” Lady Serysa said, lilting the name with a surreal, musical sound only she could manage. She drew in a deep breath and released a weary sigh. “Ye disobeyed me many times because of that wee mortal lass. Dinna think for a moment that old Merdrid failed to tell me how ye always hovered close to the Keith’s cairn to catch sight of the girl whenever ye thought she might be about.”


He couldna deny Mother’s words. He had slipped away from his mentor, old Merdrid, at every opportunity and watched the girl when she visited her grandsire’s grave. Dawn and Dusk. She came without fail. Every day for quite the while by mortal reckoning of time, years even. And she’d always linger to walk among the woods and sit by the tiny serenity pool that had brought Laird Keith to Glen Bruadair on that long-ago day. Even the animals in the wood watched for her visits. Trusted her. Loved her without fear. Nia Keith fascinated him. Beguiled him more than any other.


“But I never crossed over,” Alec defended. “Not once did I disobey ye and breach our border to enter the mortal’s world.”


“Aye.” Lady Serysa accepted this contrived defense with a regal nod as she continued her pacing in front him. Her gossamer gowns floated around her like a sparkling white mist crowning the crest of a mountain. She stopped and gave him a look that tightened every nerve in his being. “Ye might no’ have crossed over but ye did manage to singe yerself a time or two with the trying of it. Dinna think for a moment I’m unaware of all ye’ve done and tried to do, my wily son.” She flipped a hand in his direction. “Why do ye test me so with yer twisting of the truth? Ye get those ways from yer father, ye do. Lore, what I wouldna give to snatch that trait right out of ye.”


“Ye loved a mortal once, Mother. Left Bruadair for a time to be with him.” Alec braced himself. “Would ye deny me the same chance at such a precious love?”


The room darkened and lightning crackled across the ceiling of ancient twisted branches and shining panels of abalone. All those gathered within the massive chamber scattered and took cover. A howling wind rose, whipping and swirling around the ancient columns of mighty oaks marching down the length of the room. Lady Serysa pointed a shaking finger at him. “Ye would dare say such to me?”


“Ye loved my father once.” Alec raised his voice to be heard above Mother’s storm. “Remember, Mother? Remember that love and grant me the chance to know the same.”


The wind died away as though it had never been, and the lightning flickered out of existence. But the usual soft glowing light of the abalone failed to return. The room remained cloaked in a shroud of darkness. 


“I love yer father still,” Lady Serysa said softly. She pressed a cool palm to his face, cupping his jaw with a gentle touch as she’d done for as long as he could remember. “Ye are so like him.” A crystal tear escaped and rolled down her pale cheek. “I would spare ye such pain, my beloved son. Ye would be gone from Bruadair for but a blink of an eye to be with your lady love. Then she would pass to where ye can never follow. I would save ye from the cruel, aching emptiness that besets yer heart once yer love is forever gone from ye.”


Alec swallowed hard and forced a smile. “I fear it’s too late, Mother. I feel a connection with Nia Keith that I have felt with no other.” He took his mother’s hand and held it tight. “I would rather experience a precious few moments of pure joy than an eternity of mediocrity and wondering what might have been. I dinna fear the pain that comes after. She needs me, Mother. Please. Grant me permission to go to her and bring her back to Bruadair. She belongs here, Mother. She suffers in her world. I have witnessed the depths of her pain.”


“Ye are so like yer father. Stubborn. Strong. Single minded.” Lady Serysa eased her hand from his. Lacing her fingers together, she drew in a deep breath and bowed her head. After what seemed like an eternity, she lifted her gaze and gave him a sad smile. She turned and made her way back to her throne. Seating herself, she reached down beside her cathedra, and lifted up her long antlered staff, and stood it upright beside her. “Come forward, my son.”


Every muscle tensed until almost knotted, Alec strode to the white steps of stone and marched up them, coming to a stop on the middle step. The step of judgement. Many a denizen of Bruadair had stood in this very place to receive their guardian’s edict and either go on to thrive or cease to exist by her word alone. He squared his shoulders and lifted his chin.


Lady Serysa rose and stamped her glistening white staff hard upon the stones. Tendrils of lightning crackled and flashed between the antlers crowning the top of her mighty scepter, alighting it with a shining blue-white glow. “Alec MacClaiden, my beloved son, I do hereby grant ye permission to come and go between the realms at will. Ye may pass through the veil protecting Bruadair as though it were nothing but mist.” She touched a tine of the antlers to his forehead. The power of her words stung into him. A raging burn raced through his veins.


Alec stood strong. Mother was not finished. He sucked in a deep breath and held it.


Lady Serysa stamped the staff again. “Alec MacClaiden, I hereby grant ye permission to bring Nia Keith back to Bruadair.”


Alec’s heart soared. Such an edict was unheard of. Mortals might visit Bruadair, but none were ever allowed to stay.


She lifted the staff and touched the tine back to his forehead. “But there be rules to this greatest of gifts I bestow upon thee.” A stinging zap etched its way into his flesh. “Ye have but one full cycle of the moon to win yer lady love’s heart and tell her all yer truths.” Mother paused and pinned him with a fierce glare. “All yer truths. For if she is to live out the remainder of her short life here with us, she must choose to do so willingly. She must choose to sacrifice all she knows and loves for she will never see them again. Once she enters Bruadair as yer chosen consort, she may never leave lest she die.” She moved the antler tines, placing them snug against his chest. The power surging into his flesh vibrated clear to his core, threatening to take him to his knees. “And once yer lady love dies, ye will never speak of mortals ever again nor leave Bruadair to walk among them. Never. And ye will never ask such a boon of me. Ever again.” She took a deep breath and blew it out. “Hear these words and heed them well. If ye do not, ye forfeit yer existence even though ye be my beloved son. Understood?”




“So mote it be!”