Ashley York, author of Curse of the Healer is my guest for today’s #EggcerptExchange.
After the death of Brian Boru in 1014, a legend arose of a healer so great she could raise a man from the dead, with a power so strong it could make any warrior the next high king of Éire…and to steal it away from her, he need only possess her.
Fated to be a healer…
Aednat has spent her entire life training to be the great healer, knowing she must remain alone. When she meets Diarmuid, the intense attraction she feels toward him shakes her resolve to believe in such a legend. If she gives in to the passion he ignites in her, can she settle for being less?
Destined to be his…
Diarmuid of Clonascra is renowned for his bravery in battle. Only one thing daunts him: the prospect of taking a wife. The safest course would be to keep his distance from Aednat, the bold, headstrong healer who’s far too tempting for his peace of mind. But his overking orders him to protect her from a group of craven warriors intent on kidnapping her to steal her power.
What starts as duty for Diarmuid quickly transforms into something more. Aednat’s power might be at risk, but so is his closed-off heart.
“The lad learned his lesson.” Aednat spat the words right back at the man.
“Ye said yerself he’d be doing it again.” Despite the even keel of his voice, his increasing anger was unmistakable. “Or am I so old and feeble that my hearing is failing me?”
Staring in the face of his obvious vitality and strength, she hesitated. A finer specimen of a well-honed man she’d not seen. “I do not really believe—”
“NO?” A sheer wall of exasperation now, he waited. His square jaw tensed beneath the shadow of dark stubble. “Mayhap the next time ye’ll find his young body impaled on a rock at the bottom of the cliff.”
The menacing declaration, delivered in a low, controlled manner, made her gasp. The image flashing through her mind caused it to feel real. She slapped the man’s face so hard, his beard burned the palm of her hand.
Aednat froze, horrified at her own reaction. Striking a man was no small offense, and if this man was a ri, the consequences would be serious. His eyes widened right before he caught her arm and yanked her close. Her breath caught, though his grip was not overly tight. They stood that way for a long moment—his head lowered to hers so they stood nose to nose, his broad chest brushing against her forearm in time with his heavy breathing. His gaze dropped to slowly follow up her length before settling again on her face.
That he continued to study her kept her fully watchful. His features relaxed, but she sensed mounting tension in him. The many possibilities of what he may be thinking flitted through her mind like little mice avoiding a hungry hawk. Outrage. Indignation. Superiority.
“I forego the fine I have every right to demand for yer action. Instead, I demand a kiss.”
He delivered the words as a man in authority. And he did not look away.
A kiss? Heat poured off him, but it was no longer anger riding him. She forced down the lump in her throat, holding his intense gaze as her thoughts raced. She had never been kissed by a man. Or kissed a man, but it was not a high price to pay to dismiss the entire incident.
Refusing would certainly result in a steeper demand, and the last thing she wanted to do was to cause any problems for her overking and cousin. He acted as her father, so any honor price demanded or paid could be half his worth. A king held no special power outside his own túath, but at a gathering this size, ruffling any fine feathers was to be avoided.
Aednat glanced at the warrior’s lips. His eyes brightened and she struggled to breath evenly as she held his gaze, anticipation making a mockery of her show of bravery. She wetted her lips and his long nose flared ever so slightly.
Aside from two years spent in the wilds of the Colorado mountains, Ashley York is a proud life-long New Englander and a hardcore romantic. She has an MA in History which brings with it, through many years of research, a love for primary documents and the smell of musty old libraries. With her author’s imagination, she likes to write about people who could have lived alongside those well-known giants from the past.