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Authors: Jill Barnett

Tags: #FICTION / Romance / Historical


The Novels of Jill Barnett


The Novels of Jill Barnett
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About Jill Barnett


Jill Barnett sold her first book to Simon and Schuster in 1988 and has gone on to write 19 novels and short stories. There are over 7 million of her books in print, and her work has been published worldwide in 21 languages, audio and large print editions, and has earned her a place on such national bestseller lists as the New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Barnes and Noble and Waldenbooks —who presented Jill with the National Waldenbook Award. She lives with her family in the
Pacific Northwest




Jill Barnett




This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons (living or dead,) events or locations is entirely coincidental.


Bell Bridge Books is an Imprint of BelleBooks, Inc.

Copyright 1993 © by Jill Barnett

2010 Electronic publication - Bell Bridge Books

Print ISBN: 978-1-935661-62-7

Originally published 1993 by Pocket Books, mass market edition

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer, who may quote brief passages in a review.

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Cover Design: Debra Dixon

Interior Design: Hank Smith

Artwork Credits:

Figure - ©
Andjelka Simic

Author name alphabet - © Jaguarwoman Designs

Stars © Patslash | Renderosity




For Kasey, the Joy in our lives

Once upon a Time . . .


Do more bewitch me than when art

Is too precise in every part.

"Delight in Disorder," Robert Herrick

Chapter 1


There was magic in the air, yet few could see it.

To the mortal eye there was nothing but a brash, bullying Scottish storm that blew like the Devil's breath from the gray swirling waters of the Sound of Mull. Lightning splintered the
sky, and thunder bellowed. Rain poured down from the heavens, and the sea crashed against the huge granite rocks of the coast, splattering white sea-foam up the sharp cliff on which

For five hundred of its six hundred years, the castle had been the stronghold of the clan MacLean and host to their cousins, the clan MacQuarrie. But the Battle of Culloden Moor had changed all that. On that dark, dank moor some sixty-seven years earlier, Scot stubbornness had caused many a clan to lose its holdings. The MacLeans had lost their stronghold to the Sassenach—Englishmen who cared not a whit for the braw, bold power of the place. The castle stood empty now, dark and abandoned.

Or so it appeared.

The skies bellowed and crackled, and the seas roared. To mere mortals it was only another storm, but to those who knew, to those of the ancient faith, it was more than just the heavens and the earth battling.

The witches were awake.

Now, there were witches, and there were
And then there were the MacQuarries.

'Tis a sad tale, that of the MacQuarries, a tale that had begun hundreds of years before this night. An ancient forefather of the current MacQuarrie had been summoned to the fete of the Spring Equinox in what is now the south of
. There, on a wide plain, stood a massive stone temple where the witches and warlocks met to demonstrate their powers. On that special spring it had been decreed that the MacQuarrie warlock would have the cherished honor of making those most precious springtime flowers—the roses —bloom. Other witches and warlocks had already walked into the center of the temple and used their magic to bring life back to a winter-dead earth.

'Twas a sight to see that day when, in a matter of moments, green grass broke through the sodden ground. Wallflower bushes, buttercups, and dandelions spread a frosting of bright yellow across the fresh green that had magically sprouted. Soon the barren branches of birch trees were dripping with silvery spring leaves and tall elegant alders burst anew. Oak, ash, and elm came back to life with little more than the casting of a spell, the flick of a hand, or the flashing snap of a witch's magic. The scent of jasmine, primrose, marigold, and lavender filled the cool morning air, and suddenly it was spring. Birds and insects swarmed through the air and perched in the trees, and the melody of the lark, the hum of the bees and call of doves brought music to the land that had for too many cold, dreary months been silent.

Then it was the MacQuarrie's turn. The crowd parted as he made his way to the center of the stone temple. The room was silent, so silent one could have heard a blink, as each and every witch and warlock waited for that special moment. The MacQuarrie stood there for a long moment of quiet concentration. Slowly he raised his hands toward the massive ceiling and with a snap of his fingers, let loose his magic.

No roses bloomed that day.

Instead an enormous explosion, the like of which no one had ever seen, blew the temple walls and roof into the sky. When the dust settled and the air cleared and the witches and warlocks picked themselves up off the ground, the temple was no more. Nothing stood except a few circles of stone arches.

Modern mortals look in awe at the ruins they call Stonehenge, but mention the name Stonehenge to the witches of the world and to this very day they shake their heads in dismay and mutter about the shame of the MacQuarries.

And it came to pass that in the year of our Lord 1813 there were only two witches left in all of Scotland—a MacLean and, of all things, a MacQuarrie. So on this brash night as the storm battered the shore of the isle of Mull, as it rained on the crumbling ruins of a once-proud castle perched upon that jagged stone headland, as the mortals on that tiny island cowered by their fires and listened to the heavens wail, the MacLean and the MacQuarrie made magic.



Joyous Fiona MacQuarrie bent down to pick up the scattering of books on the tower room floor. Ten golden bracelets jangled like sleigh bells down her wrists and echoed in the tense silence of the room. She was thankful for the noise; it gave her a blessed moment's respite from the impatient, penetrating glare of her aunt, the MacLean. With her face turned away from her aunt, Joy grabbed another book, tucking it under her arm as she muttered, "'Twas only one wee tad of a word." She picked up another book, to the accompaniment of those same tinkling bracelets, but as they settled on her wrists she could hear a new sound—a distinct, agitated tapping.

Her aunt's foot.

Joy peeked under her outstretched arm and winced. Her aunt's arms were crossed, and she shook her golden head in disgust. But worst of all, Joy could see the MacLean's lips move: her aunt was counting again.

Joy's heart sank; she'd failed again. With a defeated sigh she quietly returned the books to their ancient oak shelf and plopped onto a wobbly wooden stool after pulling it closer to the trestle table that stood in the center of the tower room. She rested a small chin in her hand and waited for her aunt to reach a hundred—at least she hoped it would be only a hundred.

A slick cat with fur as white as fresh Highland snow leapt onto the table and wound itself around and through the three time-tarnished brass candlesticks whose tapers bathed the battered oak table in flickering golden light. As the cat meandered along the table, its tail cast strange shadows across the nicked tabletop. Entranced by the patterns, Joy tried to make imaginary letters out of those cat's-tail figures, her mind wandering off on one of its frequent journeys of fancy. That was her problem. She was a witch with a wandering mind.

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