The Highlander’s Only Hope by Violet Malvik

CHAPTER ONE

The Highlands

Lachlan’s fame and desire for influence had grown like wildfire all over the Highlands. He had taken territory and had conquered anyone who posed a threat to his ambition.

Lukas Hawks was a warrior from the west, and together with his team, he had attacked Lachlan, but Lachlan and his men had fought back fiercely and overcame them. While Lukas escaped, Lachlan’s men captured his beautiful wife Nina.

The event made Lukas restive. They had planned that if the ruthless Laird got any of the ladies, especially Nina, they were to try to seduce the Laird, who usually fell for such a temptation. Having successfully done that, the lady was to walk up to the window daily and wave.

When Nina and the other captured ladies did not walk up to the window to wave at them as they had planned, Lukas and his men had immediately wanted to invade the castle and attack Lachlan again. Instead his beleaguered fellows suggested more patience in their approach. It was essential to recuperate from their state.

“A thousand things could be going on there. I understand that she is your lover, but you must be calm. At least now he knows that we are on the offensive,” Lukas’ greatest friend, Barrow, said to him.

Lukas tried his best to remain calm, and the one week they planned to attack again seemed so far away. Finally, however, they had their chance, and he and the others were eager to invade. They descended from the mountain on which they had been hiding, just as the evening was approaching and the sky was gradually getting dark.

The guards at the entrance were easy to take out. They were confused when the people crept up on them, and Vaughn (one of Lukas’ men) took the moment of their confusion to shoot two quick arrows in their chests. As they fell, the attackers moved into the castle.

Some of the guards in the castle had been prepared, and as soon as one of them noticed their presence, they sounded the alarm, and everyone woke up to meet the challenge.

Vaughn and Barrow distracted the men by surrendering while covering up for Lukas, who had sneaked behind the men and advanced into Laird Lachlan’s chambers.

“They are here!” someone screamed.

Lachlan was struggling to get out of bed when a dirk suddenly appeared from the folds of his cotton shirt and clutched his throat. He laughed without fretting.

“You had better take caution as regards your next move,” Lukas, the wielder of the sword, warned as he gripped the dirk closer to his throat.

Feeling only momentarily trapped, Lachlan kept his wide smile on his face while his wife scurried out of bed upon seeing the dirk at her husband’s neck.

“Just tell us what you want and spare my husband,” she pleaded.

Lachlan was impressed by his wife’s display; he hadn’t thought that she still loved him as much as she did when they first married.

“Thank you for your concern, Sandra, but this man right here is not a petty thief,” Lachlan declared.

“Then who is he?” she inquired.

“You were not in when we last attacked your house. Your husband abducted my wife,” Lukas said bravely. “Stand!” he ordered Lachlan.

Lachlan hurried to his feet and made it seem as though he was truly defeated. Lukas began to direct him toward the door. “I have done a lot of evil, and I dinna mind this. This shallna be my end,” Lachlan said.

“You will be confronted with so much more shortly. I promise.” Lukas was defiant as he led the man to the drawing-room.

The guards downstairs had been anticipating the appearance of their leader, but what they had not expected was that a dirk would be placed at his neck as a threat.

“Tell your men to let my people go,” Lukas said calmly into Lachlan’s ears.

“Why should I? You want to save several enemies just because of my own life?” Lachlan responded. But with the dirk pressed even more firmly against his neck, Lukas made his threat more real. In immediate fear, Lachlan bellowed at his men. “Let them go!” Lachlan yelled.

“Now tell them to release my wife and all the others held captive.”

When Nina and the others came up to the others involved in the drama that was unfolding in Lachlan’s drawing-room, Lachlan finally had his chance at a challenge too, and he took advantage of the distraction that took over Lukas when he saw his lover.

Lachlan whirled around and got out of the hold, then he drew his sword from the sheath that was hanging on the wall of his drawing-room, and he bellowed a command at his men who were just gathering momentum.

“Kill them all; none must escape!”

The guards hurriedly jumped into action, and their blades were soon heard clanging in the air. The entire hall was set into a commotion, and the guards fought bravely, but the warriors too were swift.

For the men whose wounds were still in the process of healing, it was not difficult to overtake Lukas’ men. Lachlan’s soldiers’ blades sawed and cut through the flesh of the men like butchers handling meat, and the men fell to their deaths.

Lukas and Nina were all who were left of Lukas’ men when the onslaught was over. Two of Lachlan’s men had died too, but he walked past them as a man would walk past a filthy rag.

At that time, Lukas was besieged by two of Lachlan’s guards, and he looked so small and vulnerable between them, no longer the man who was making threats earlier.

“Please, Laird Lachlan, spare me, please,” Lukas pleaded.

“Oh aye.” Lachlan beamed again. Then he turned to the other side of the room where Nina had been captured by two other guards. He walked up to her and squeezed her face with his hand. “You do have a beautiful wife; I have not even taken note of her beauty yet. But now, you have drawn my attention to her.”

“Get away from my wife!” Lukas yelled desperately.

This was what prompted Lachlan’s wife to hurry downstairs to meet the sight of Lachlan touching the poor man’s wife with two hands grasping her inappropriately. She drew his sword and severed Nina’s throat.

“How dare you spoil the fun when I have only just started?” Lachlan barked at Sandra.

“If you need the pleasures of a woman, you already have one. You should overlook such filthy objects.” Everyone could see the envy in Sandra’s eyes. She looked around her and grimaced at the sight of the men’s blood.

“Now you have killed her, let me go!” Lukas bellowed. A few feet away were the bodies of all the people he had loved, including Vaughn and Barrow.

“If I let you go, you will recruit more warriors and still seek vengeance. This ends right here and right now.” Lachlan bared his teeth and dramatically sauntered to the man with a sword dangling from his hand.

“You may kill me today, but I promise you that within a short time, your brutal death will come heavily upon you!”

Upon his last word, Lachlan’s sword descended and severed his head off his shoulders, leaving the remaining part of his body wiggling in desperation.

***

“Good morning, my warrior,” Malvina muttered softly in Ross’ ears.

He grunted and whirled his shirtless frame around. Malvina smiled to herself. She should have known that it would take more than the speech to get him awake, so she pressed her head against his face and kissed his cheeks and then lips.

It tingled, and Ross awakened moaning. His eyes fluttered and cleared to see Malvina kissing his lips.

“Hmm. Is that your way of saying good morning?” he said with delight.

Malvina did not reply but rather grabbed him in her arms and kissed him with passion.

She set his world on fire, and with every kiss, he felt it gave his life a higher purpose. Their lips parted slowly with his eyes closed and a smile wide across his face. He opened his eyes, brushed back Malvina’s hair to look lovingly at her face. He was so happy. At that moment, there was nothing he could do to not secure his happiness.

He leaned back and kissed her face. Their arms wrapped around one another, pulling their bodies closer together as any space between them was too much.

Delicate kisses were pressed against her neck, making her gasp. His hands slowly slid up her back, making their way back up her arms until they reached her hands.

They both stared at each other in pure bliss. When his lips caught hers even for the briefest of seconds, his heart soared within his chest.

Someone suddenly knocked on the door.

“Thank goodness you taught her to knock!” Ross said as he jerked up.

“Who is that?” Malvina inquired comically as she watched Ross hurry to put his clothes back on. All she needed to do was draw the wide bedspread over herself.

“It is me,” the small girl’s voice sounded quite innocent.

“Oh, just give me a second, and I’ll be with you,” Malvina promised, and looking back at Ross, she winked with delight and satisfaction.

“You are the best, Malvina,” he said after he had successfully put on his clothes.

“You are the best of the best!” she nodded.