Highland Celts Series, #1
by Liz Gavin
Publication date: January 31st 2017
Genres: Adult, Historical, Paranormal, Romance
When ancient gods ruled and Druids kept Faith alive, the Celts thrived as a democratic, matriarchal society. Then savage Roman soldiers swept across Europe, killing and enslaving. The Celts did not succumb without a fight. Their Old Ways survived centuries of ruthless domain until another menace loomed: a tortured god worshiped in cold stone buildings. The sacred shores of Avalon began to drift away, the mists threatened to hide the island from mortal eyes forever.
Against the bleak backdrop of war, the gorgeous Scottish Highlands stood tall, sheltering its inhabitants from greedy invaders. Yet the reach of the eagle banners was long and the highlanders turned to the Goddess for protection. However, the sacred groves felt silent and grim as Avalon faded away. Once sad, pealing bells began to sound strangely comforting while the high walls of monasteries offered an alluring barrier from violence. Caught in the middle of this centuries-old war, a young High Priestess might be Avalon’s last chance.
Wise beyond her years and powerful like no other Priestess in her lifetime, Rowen had served the Goddess faithfully, forsaking her family and the company of her soulmate. When the Lady of the Lake asks for another sacrifice, it might be one too many for her scarred heart. How could she obey the Goddess without betraying Caddaric? Could she trust Eochaid, who embodied everything she despised and hated? Would she be able to fulfill her duties without losing her soul?
Caddaric had been Rowen’s companion in countless lives; but, now, they existed in different realms. Beautiful Rowen lived in the mortal world while sweet Caddaric remained in the sacred isle of Avalon, watching over her. Could he step aside to allow another man – a flesh and blood man – to become her protector?
Eochaid had sworn to protect the Old Ways. The rude warrior never quite understood his faith yet his loyal heart belonged to the Goddess. A gorgeous, fiery High Priestess was not in his plans. He would risk his life to protect Rowen; but, would the Goddess safeguard his heart? Could he defend the bewitching maiden from himself?
When stakes were so high that a simple mistake could cost their very world, a priestess, a Druid, and a warrior must learn to trust each other and the mysterious ways of the Goddess. Their success would save Avalon. Their failure would tear the island from the human realm forever, condemning it to oblivion.
Failure was not an option.
This is a standalone, historical/paranormal romance. Its mature themes – violence, religious war, and pagan rituals – might not be appropriate for audiences under 18.
Although my heart is heavy and my thoughts are gloomy, I take a deep breath and focus on the task at hand. I search for the sacred oak, the oldest tree in the grove. Finding it, I lie on the ground, face down, in front of the revered tree. Earth’s energy radiates from the ground, traveling through my body and limbs, filling me with a potent magnetism, and making my skin tingle as I say my prayer.
“Forgive me, Great Mother. I have failed you yet again. I am your vessel on this realm and as such I should never doubt your ways. Nevertheless, when the time came for Caddaric to go back to Avalon, I despaired and fought against the inevitable, as I always do.
Please, give me strength to control my weak heart, wisdom to understand your signs, and courage to do your bidding.”
The wind picks up around me making the dry leaves and little twigs swirl. Faint whispers come in the breeze. A thousand gentle fingers move over my body caressing, soothing me.
“Oh, Mother, you are too kind and never abandon me. I promise to serve you faithfully and perform my duties accordingly from now on.”
The wind blows stronger, molding my clothes to my body, covering me in dry leaves. I feel faint and when I open my eyes, I’m not in the sacred grove any longer. I’m lying on a sunny field, there’s a gentle breeze blowing from the distant line of apple trees, bringing the sweet smell of their flowers in full bloom. Recognizing my beloved isle of Avalon, I get up and look around. I see the Lady of the Lake standing just a few feet away. I go to her and offer a curtsy. The Lady gently holds me by my shoulders, smiles serenely and holds my gaze. Not for the first time, I wonder if her eyes can read my soul.
“Rise, Rowen, my child. And do not cry. You should rejoice over your successes instead of mourning what you perceive as failures. Your apprentices look up to you and seek your guidance, because your advice is wise and respectful. The villagers worship the Great Mother according to the old traditions, because they follow your firm yet kind leadership. Despite being so young, my beautiful Rowen, you are wise and your people respect you.”
I am touched by her words. I never expected the Lady of the Lake herself would answer my prayer and come talk to me, comfort me.
“You are too kind, my lady. I am honored and, although I think I do not deserve your comfort, I am thankful.”
“I speak only the truth, Rowen, as all true servants of the Goddess shall do. Now, you will not like what I need to tell you. You have always been loyal to your vows and I count on that loyalty to see you through the task I need you to undertake.”
“You frighten me, my lady. What do you need from me? You know I would never deny you, or the Great Mother, anything.”
When Liz Gavin was in Second Grade - just a couple of years ago, really - her teacher told her mother the little girl should start a diary because she needed an outlet for her active and vivid imagination. She was a talkative child who would disrupt the class by engaging her colleagues in endless conversations. She loved telling them the stories her grandfather used to tell her.
Apparently, the teacher wasn’t a big fan of those stories, and Liz’s mother bought her a diary. She happily wrote on it for a couple of months. Unable to see the appeal of writing for her own enjoyment only, she gave up on it. She missed the audience her friends provided her in class. She went back to disturbing her dear teacher’s class.
Since then, she has become a hungry reader. She will read anything and everything she can get her hands on – from the classics to erotica. That’s how she has become a writer of erotica and romance, as well.
As a young adult, she participated in a student exchange program and lived in New Orleans for six months. She fell in love with the city and its wonderful inhabitants. NOLA will always hold a special spot in Liz Gavin’s heart. Nowadays, living in Brazil, Liz’s creativity has improved many times because it’s such a vibrant, gorgeous and sexy country.
Welcome to her world of hot Alpha males and naughty, independent women. Add a touch of the paranormal in the presence of some wicked souls and you’ll get the picture.
Sit back, fire up your Kindle and enjoy the ride!