Excerpt: Iced in Shadow – Chapter 6

Wow! Hamish was the spitting image of Colin. Looking closer Emily detected slight differences. The man stood on the wall like he owned it. He was shorter than Colin by a good four or five inches, and his build wasn’t as muscular. Though they had the same chestnut hair and green eyes. This man had short hair where Colin’s was long. They could easily pass for brothers.

“I’m sorry…I thought you were someone else.”

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Chapter 6

Wow! Hamish was the spitting image of Colin. Looking closer Emily detected slight differences. The man stood on the wall like he owned it. He was shorter than Colin by a good four or five inches, and his build wasn’t as muscular. Though they had the same chestnut hair and green eyes. This man had short hair where Colin’s was long. They could easily pass for brothers.

“I’m sorry…I thought you were someone else.”

Who was he? The man jumped down from a partially built wall and stalked over to her.

“You must be Emily. We haven’t had the pleasure, though I’m sure you’ve heard all about me.”

The man cocked his head at her. Was he some long-lost relative? “I’d remember if we’d met. Forgive me, but who are you?”

Choked laughter rang out on the cold air, startling the ravens perched in a nearby tree. The birds took flight, cawing their displeasure.

“Oy! Lord Campbell. Me and the boys are finished for the day. We’d best get home before our missus have our heads.” A man in rough workman’s clothing tipped his hat to the man in front of her.

Lord Campbell?

The only other man with that title died hundreds of years ago … it couldn’t be. Was he some kind of scam artist?

The Colin look-alike inclined his head in a gesture Emily knew very well. Her gasp caused him to turn and stare at her for a long moment before he answered the workman.

“Good work today. You’ll find a bottle of Ravensmore whisky for each of the men.”

The workman grinned. “We’ll be enjoyin’ it tonight.”

With that, he called to his crew to pack it in.

Emily watched the workman tidy up the area. Vehicles started to leave the castle. Her breathing quickened, and she cleared her throat, swallowing. This man had to be a relation of Colin’s. The two of them stood alone. Facing each other. The air stilled, and the castle held its breath, waiting. Emily’s breath snaked out in an icy cloud as the temperature dropped. Worried about the twins, she darted a glance to the sleigh to make sure her children were still bundled under the warm, wool blankets. Both were sound asleep. Moving in front of the sleigh, Emily put herself between them and him. Unease wound its way around her neck, frozen fingers cutting off her air supply. She’d learned to trust her instincts and every one told her the man in front of her was a lion waiting to pounce.

“Who am I? I’m rather wounded you don’t know. Why I am your dear brother-in-law, Hamish.” The man bowed, his words sharp as a knife.

“Hamish. But you died in 1646. How is that possible?”

Colin’s brother was here? What had happened? She was damn sure Colin didn’t know. After all, this was the man who betrayed and murdered her husband. If Colin knew Hamish had returned Emily would have heard about it. Every instinct screamed at her to protect the children. To run.

The babies woke, gurgling, warm in the sleigh. Hamish moved closer for a look. Cautiously, Emily stood next to him, poised to jump in and take off. Energy coursed through her veins, itching, wanting to escape. Reeling from the news, she wondered—was he a Shadow Walker too? Or even worse, was he a Day Walker?

Oblivious to her distress, he continued. “’Tis a boring story. But rest assured, ‘tis me. Thorne brought me back.” Hamish looked into the sleigh. “Babies. Horrible little things.”

Thorne was the god of Shadows. It was he, in the darkness of the Shadow realm, who offered the choice to become a Shadow Walker. A small measure of calm bubbled up at hearing Thorne’s name. Swallowing, she realized Colin’s brother was back from the dead—as one of the good guys.

Lord have mercy, Colin was going to hit the roof when he found out.

Back to the matter at hand. Act nice, and he’ll be nice. Show fear, and all is lost. Summoning strength from deep within, she sent a plea up to Terya and acted. Enveloping Hamish in a hug, Emily wasn’t surprised when he jerked out of her reach.

“Never do that again if you want to live.”

She gave him her most charming Southern smile. Emily learned at an early age when dealing with troublemakers or in an unsafe situation to act like everything was normal. Hamish might not know she knew his history. Knew the treachery he’d committed. So she pretended as an idea formed in her mind.

“Hamish. Colin’s younger brother. It’s so nice to meet you. Sorry I hugged you. It’s just…you’re Colin’s only living family and that makes you my family too.” Pausing, she watched the angry confused look on his face. “The past is the past. Have you been…back…long?” Obviously this wasn’t what he expected from her. Picking up her son, she showed him to Hamish while keeping a firm hold on her boy. “This is Naill. He and Colleen are almost six months old.”

He backed up as if he were afraid of the babies. “Where’s Colin?” Looking around, his eyes probed every stone and pile of rubble around the castle as if her husband would jump out any second and scream boo.

“He’s at the house. We’re getting ready for Christmas. Does Colin know you’re going to be … um, working together?”

It was so disconcerting looking at him, seeing her wonderful husband’s face staring back at her. Hamish’s face had an angry set to it. Harsh lines around the mouth and eyes. A cold, dead look in his eyes.

Barking out a sound halfway between a laugh and a cough, he sneered at her. “No, and if you know what’s good for you, you won’t say a word. I’ll visit my dear brother to make my presence known in my own sweet time.”

Emily knew with every fiber of her being that Colin and his brother were sworn enemies. Yet, after losing her parents years ago, Emily’s perspective had drastically shifted. She believed deep within her soul everyone needed family.

And despite knowing the heinous act Hamish had committed against Colin, she had to believe with enough time they could start again. Heck, they were immortal; they had eternity to fix this. Her husband had changed; his hatred didn’t burn as bright, so she wondered, could Colin and Hamish find the path to reconnect? To forgive and begin again? Just because Emily wanted a reconciliation, it didn’t mean she trusted Hamish as far as she could throw him. He’d have to be watched. To prove himself worthy of forgiveness.

Wasn’t Christmas the ideal time to start anew? There would be other Shadow Walkers there to watch out for trouble. And they were on the same side now.

Maybe Hamish had changed too?

Being an orphan, she knew how important family was, having that one person in the world to always be there for you. Emily sent up a Christmas wish to Terya.

Taking a deep breath, she let it out slowly, carefully choosing the words. “Please come to Ravensmore for Christmas Eve dinner. Everyone will be there. You’re family—you should be there. Talk to Colin. Make amends.”

He looked at her like she was crazier than her Aunt LouAnne before dematerializing, leaving her stunned and shaking.

Enjoyed this taste of the Shadow Walker world? You can find the book at all eBook retailers and a paperback version is available at Amazon.

Available at: Amazon
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There are six books total in this series, with the final two coming in 2014. Reborn in Shadow is Hamish’s story and Embraced by Shadow, Monroe’s story (Coming soon).

I appreciate each and every fan. Big mega thank you for supporting and taking a chance on me. I love hearing from you!

hugs,

Cynthia

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