Sunday, 10 November 2019

Eilan Water Trilogy Tour and Giveaway!


The Other Side of Dusk
The Eilan Water Trilogy Book 1 
by Cherime MacFarlane
Genre: Historical Romance


The Romans are already there in force. The Antonine Wall stretches from the firth of Clyde to the firth of Forth. While the Romans pursue conquest on a grand scale, the Scotti are infiltrating Pictish territory slowly.
Ualan’s people are a mix of Pict and Scott. They face the Romans on one hand and the Picts on the other. Their hold is tenuous. Things take a terrible turn when Ualan’s someone kills his mother and sells him into slavery to a Roman woman.
She needs a stud, a young one who won’t challenge the master. Her life depends on producing an heir. Ualan hates her and all she stands for. Her plot backfires when an old soldier mentors the boy. He helps Ualan escape with their son. At home, his troubles are far from over. War with his Pictish kin looms, and the master seeks the child he declares is his, not Ualan’s. 

"A story of kinship, hard men and a constant readiness to face conflict are key ingredients in this superb story. The romantic interludes are painted with a deft hand and given the story, I would credit the sexual scenes as ‘hot’, rather than ‘cozy and heartwarming’.5 stars

McGrath House Indie Book Award Finalist 2017
NOTE: May contain triggers.



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It pleased him to hear Taog had someone to call friend. Ualan was aware that he was a little too young for the older lads, but Taog’s age kept him from playing with the smaller children also. There were more children his age in Eilan a’ Camus or Eilan a’ tha Mull.
As he wondered how old Baltair's daughter might be, Ualan hurried down to the pool in the Eilan. He spotted Taog’s brightly colored hair through the trees. The sun seemed to turn the red-gold strands into a nimbus around his head.
Taog stood over a figure sitting in the grass. Closer now, he noted the rich brown color of the lass’s hair. Ualan stepped out of the trees and called out to Taog. “Lad! Are ye and tha lass having fun?”
“Da!” His son turned and dashed across the grass to Ualan. As he watched the lad run, movement caught his eye. The figure on the ground rose. Ualan grasped Taog and wrapped his arms around the chattering child who welcomed him home. But his gaze was on the woman. She was certainly a woman grown.
Sorcha was the name his aunt used. Her height was between his and Taog’s. Reed slim, she closed the distance between them quickly. Ualan didn’t look at Taog as he pulled him up into his embrace and settled the child on one hip.
The smiling woman had green eyes that glittered. Ualan swallowed hard. She came to a stop and looked them over from head to toe. With a chuckle, Sorcha took a step closer.
“It seems ye have ah skill I’ve not often seen ah man possess.”
His throat dry as a bone, Ualan swallowed again. “What might that be?” he asked the woman.
“It appears ye have experience holding lads.”
Taog's arms encircled his neck. Ualan turned his head to smile at the child. “Aye, ‘tis so.” Taog hugged him and Ualan held the boy tight for a moment. “Taog is my lad. I’ve held him from nearly tha moment he was born.” Ualan felt the heat crawl up his neck. He hadn’t meant to blurt out that bit of information. Now she would ask questions he didn’t want to answer.
He spun away from her abruptly. Before walking off, Ualan straightened his spine and sighed. Rudeness on his part when she had done nothing was uncalled for. He turned back to the woman and gave her a slight nod. “What were ye doing there? Did ye need any help?”
The smile his action wiped from her face reappeared. “We've gathered willow wands. I’ve a need tae repair some things in tha smithy. Taog offered tae help me carry them home. We were tying them
intae a bundle.”

Ualan gave the boy another hug and bent to put the child on his feet. “I can help ye with tha chore. Come. Let’s see what ye have.”




A Bard's Desire 

The Eilan Water Trilogy Book 2 





A tale of the twilight of the Roman Empire.
Aed’s dreams of Muirne fill his heart with yearning. She is his desire, all he hopes for. Sending the message alerted her father and uncle, but he and Muirne did not part as lovers. He thought to give her hope that he would return. Curse the land. Curse his kin, she is his heart’s wish.
Muirne believes Aed. Come spring, he will come. While she waits, Muirne must thwart her father and uncle’s plans and avoid her cousin. Grainne’s seduction of Aed should have earned her a slit throat. Muirne must wait on Aed. All hinges on his ability to evade his uncle and cousins, snatch Muirne and avoid Grainne.
Ualan agreed to go with the bard on a raid to take the woman from her kin. The two young men set off in a skin boat for Eire. They need a band of warriors and have only themselves and a determined woman who waits in Eire. 

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Grainne's smile held a hint of malice when she reached out to tug on the hem of Muirne's leine. "Ye'll never see him again. Ye may as well give thought tae marrying."
Muirne slapped Grainne's hand away. "Ye did yur best tae see tae it now, didn't ye?"
"Aye, an if he were tae show his face, Uncle will promptly tell his family an yur pretty bard will be no more."
"Ye look over tha latest offering. Take him if he suits ye." Muirne locked her jaw to keep from saying more. She wanted to get out of the house before her father tried to stop her. Leaving without a fight eased the day.
"I intend tae. He might be worth my while. I'm nae waiting on Liam forever."
The next words, "since I cannae have tha bard, I'll take ah winner," proved more than Muirne could stand. Her right arm struck, and that hand closed around Grainne's throat. "Aye, ye an that faither of yurs plotted an planned, but ye still haven't reaped tha spoils. Ye twisted my life intae knots for yur greed an 'tis been ah weak harvest at best. All ye've got for yur manipulation is ah promise of ah husband, naught else. Stay out of my business, cousin, or ye may nae live long enough tae reap tha spoils."
Grainne's hand closed around her wrist. The two women stared at each other. "Ye wouldnae dare," Grainne whispered.
Muirne smiled. "I've been turning tha possibility round in my head all winter long. After all, what does blood matter? Look at what Liam did tae Aed. Why should it be any different between us? Leave me be or ye may not live tae regret yur nasty ways."
"Let me go!" Grainne hissed out as she let go of Muirne and waited.
Unable to resist, Muirne squeezed hard once before releasing her cousin. "An ye are wrong. He will come. An when he does, ye will be rid of me. So ye might want tae keep shut. It will be best if ye help me. Ah peaceful sleep may be worth tha price."
Muirne hurried outside, and a grin lifted her mouth. If Grainne went to her uncle, the result of Muirne's threat might be a beating. She would take it gladly. When he finished, she would go in search of Grainne and reiterate her threat again.
She had spent all winter listless and sad over the entire affair. If Aed came, and she thought he would if not dead somewhere, she would go with him after he begged forgiveness.
But for now, she planned to be difficult for either Uncle or Father to find. Too cowed, a younger son who continued to bow to the will of his older brother, her father would be no help. Her own mother had divorced the man after finding her sole purpose to be a servant to the rest.
They allowed her to leave without quarrel, but not Muirne. Both the men used her inheritance until she became old enough to demand it be returned to her. With a list of misfortunes and tales of raiders, she got a band of sheep, nothing more.
They both lied, but she had no proof. Nor did she have funds to welcome a Brehon into the household to hear her case. Neither of the men would finance the hospitality needed, and they thought to keep her without resources by taking her cattle and reducing her holdings to sheep.
Nor had they allowed her mother's folk to foster her. But that matter she forgave. Had they let her go, she would never have met Aed. A smile lifted her lips when she recalled the first time she saw him.
Returning from fosterage, Aed had been riding a grand animal down the path atop the eiscir which joined her father's lands to that of Aed's. His red hair shone and strands of gold throughout caught the
sun. Muirne spied him from her perch high in an oak tree on the edge of the gravel bar.
At first, she wondered if Lugh himself rode down the path. The youth he was then sang out bits of verse as he made his way home. At the first quarter-day celebration they both attended, she again spied on him from the cover of shadow. The uncle Aed fostered with on his mother's side, a bard, nurtured Aed's talent.
He charmed all who attended the celebration and got called on to tell stories and play as time went on. In Muirne’s fifteenth year, Aed's troubles began. Whispers and rumors of double dealing by his father flitted through the community.
At the next celebration, Aed recited no verse nor told tales. He hung back in the dark as his father's brother called on another bard to lambaste Aed's father with sarcasm. Colm ignored the abuse and celebrated with his family and friends as if nothing were wrong.
Muirne sought out Aed for the first time that night. The result, a tryst filled with passion, still had the power to bring out the beast in her. Their first encounter whetted her appetite and Muirne wanted more of the bard.
But that did not come about for some time. Colm met an untimely end. Some whispered he got urged on to the other side by his younger brother who no longer wished to wait on the fates. Aed vanished for a time, but when he returned, the young man sought her out.



A Wanderer's Dream 
The Eilan Water Trilogy Book 3 


She is a prisoner here, but still in the north, far from the fat trader her father would have bargained her away to. Since she manipulated Aed into bringing her along, she cannot complain. Things are not as bad as they could be for Grainne until Ualan takes steps to keep her from his father. Insisting she become the Roman’s woman, Ualan forces them together against all advice.

Roman by citizenship, Berber by birth, smith by choice, Aghilas has exchanged one master for another. Ualan gave him no choice. Die or submit, he became Ualan’s man. Forced to take Grainne as his woman, Aghilas is angry and frustrated.

The Picts of Corda are an ever-present threat. Torcuil, chief of the mixed band of Scotti and Pict fears all-out war. While he spirits away more settlers from Eire, Ualan is in charge of Eilan Water. The chief of the small band hopes more warriors will equate with victory. Two smiths should help increase the weapons of war for they will need them. 

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Clang! With a last hammer blow, noise from the smithy stopped and silence reigned. Grainne plucked the small wads of wool from her ears and looked back over her shoulder at the three men. Chests bare, they worked to close the forge for the night. Grimy and wearing black streaks far up his arms, Deorsa grinned at her.
Grainne smiled in response and turned back to the length of cloth growing on her loom. She prepared to lift the heddle for a new shed when a voice hissed in her ear.
“Leave the boy alone.”
Aghilas. She could smell the sweat and tang of metal on him. “Tha lad’s ah free man. I’m free, there’s nae harm in looking.” She bent forward to make the shed to throw the shuttle, and a hand landed on her shoulder. The shuttle wobbled as her fingers trembled. Grainne couldn’t move.
“Free, are you?”
The man’s grasp of their speech grew daily. She still heard the faint accent in his words, but it waned as the days lengthened, but there was still a hint of something beneath the rhythm which marked him as Roman. She would not answer. The shuttle fell into her lap.
“Ualan gave you into my guardianship. As such, I demand you stop this game with Deorsa. It will only cause trouble.”
“This is nae Rome, laddie. Torcuil rules in Eilan Water, ah thing Ualan made plain. Aye?”
She shook free of his hand, lifted the shed and tossed the shuttle through, catching it deftly on the opposite side of the material. The sharp breath drawn behind her gave Grainne a moment’s satisfaction. She had scored a hit on the man. He was no freer to come and go as he pleased than she.
They were both in Eilan under Ualan’s hand. Baltair, the Smith, and Silia, his woman, watched them both. Until they proved themselves, she and Aghilas lived in the smith’s broch on sufferance.
She understood Aghilas to be worth more to the band. Deorsa had not proved the best apprentice and blacksmiths, good ones, were difficult to find. As long as Aghilas continued to please Baltair, he would have a place here without question.
Both his hands, filthy from working in the forge all day, closed around her shoulders. A glance to either side revealed those blunt fingers digging into the cloth of her borrowed leine.
“Have a care. Your wicked tongue could goad the mildest of men to anger. I have never been mild.”
His fingers pressed into her skin and Grainne knew he had bruised her. She felt him turn away, but refused to emit a sigh of relief. Grainne denied him knowledge of her fear. That, she held in. From the corner of her eye, she noticed Silia at the hearth stirring the cooking pot.
This time the sigh refused to be held back. Not of relief, it was born of resignation. Surely, the other woman would have words to say to her. Aghilas irritated her like a thorn in a thumb. Grainne couldn’t hold her tongue, and Silia would take her to task.
The next throw of the shuttle zipped back across the shed and Grainne took up the beater. On either side of the length of fabric, she had set a string. Anchored to a peg driven into the ground, it marked the edge of the cloth. She brought the course to the edge of the twine. When she beat the threads tight against each other, Grainne allowed no variance. Each thread must sit alongside its fellows, touching the strings on the outside edge only.
Baltair’s voice calling Aghilas and Deorsa to pick up the buckets and follow him rang in the courtyard. Feet shuffled to her right. Deorsa’s voice, pitched higher than either Baltair or Aghilas gave his agreement to the smith’s command.
The ring of the stirring stick against the side of the pot sounded twice. Bare feet slapped to her left and Silia stood behind her, off to one side. “’Tis ah rare gift ye have. Ye didnae stretch tha truth of yur talent for weaving.”
“Thank ye, Silia. ‘Tis tha thing I prize doing above all else.”
“I ken, lass.”
“Yur loom is old an slow. I had made changes tae mine. Is there any here who kens tha way of wood?”
The older woman laughed. “I fear tha furniture is much like tha owner, I’m nae ah trotter these days. We have Para. He kens tha woods, tha creatures therein, an tha fashioning of trees intae useful things.”
Grainne turned to her eagerly. “When can we see him? What I need isnae tae difficult.”
“Mayhap on tha morrow. Much depends on where tha lad is. If Torcuil means tae take him tae Eire on his journey tae find settlers, it may be nigh on high summer before they return.”
“There’s none else?”
Silia tapped her on the arm. “Ye could always try it. With ah sharp blade cutting is easy enough. For now, come along. Tha lads will return from tha river an we’ve ah meal tae give them.” With a grin the older woman waved a hand at her. “Dinnae bother with tha speech. Ye can heat oatcakes an stir tha pot while I cut tha cheese.”
Closing her mouth on the refrain she had pleaded too often, Grainne followed Silia without a word. She could manage heating the cakes tolerably. Nor would it do her any good to repeat all the reasons she shouldn’t be allowed near the food. Silia would only smile and tell her to try. Baltair’s woman regarded her somewhat like a backward child. Indulged by her mother and ignored by her father, she might well be.

Meet Cherime MacFarlane, Award Winning, Best-Selling Author. A prolific multi-genre author, she has a broad range of interests that reflect her been there-done-that life. Historical Romance, Contemporary Romance, Science Fiction Fantasy, Paranormal and Inspirational novels, all sorts of characters and plots evolve from a vivid imagination.

As a reporter for the Copper Valley Views, Cherime MacFarlane received a letter of commendation from the Copper River Native Association for fair and balanced reporting. She was part of the Amazon Best Selling in Anthologies and Holidays, Fantasy Anthologies, Short Stories, and Mystery. The Other Side of Dusk, historical romance, was a finalist in the McGrath house awards of 2017.





Two $15 gift cards and Ebooks of the first two in the series!


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