Ride with the Moonlight | A thrilling timeslip set in 16th-Century Scotland

I’ve known and loved Andrea’s work since before she published her first novel (we cut our teeth in a writing group together) and I’m so happy to feature an excerpt today. Take a ride to the border with her time-travelling heroine and delicious renegade reiver!
Ride with the Moonlight
(Thunder on the Moor, Book 2)
By Andrea Matthews
After rescuing sixteenth-century Border reiver Will Foster from certain death at her family’s hands, time traveler Maggie Armstrong finally admits her love for the handsome Englishman, though she can’t rid herself of the sinking suspicion that her Scottish kin are not about to let them live in peace. What she doesn’t expect is the danger that lurks on Will’s own side of the Border. When news of their plans to marry reaches the warden, he charges Will with March treason for trysting with a Scot. Will and Maggie attempt to escape by fleeing to the hills, but when Will is declared an outlaw and allowed to be killed on sight, they can no longer evade the authorities. Will is sentenced to hang, while Maggie is to be sent back to her family. Heartbroken, she has no choice but to return to Scotland, where her uncle continues to make plans for her to wed Ian Rutherford, the wicked Scotsman who she now realizes murdered her father in cold blood. With Will facing the gallows in England, and herself practically under house arrest in Scotland, she continues to resist her uncle’s plans, but her efforts are thwarted at every turn. Will’s family, however, is not about to stand by and watch their youngest lad executed simply because he’s lost his heart to a Scottish lass. A daring plan is set into motion, but will it be in time to save Will’s life and reunite the lovers? Or will Ian’s lies prompt Maggie’s family to ensure the bond between them is forever destroyed?
Trigger Warnings
Violence, sexual content.
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Maggie woke less than three hours later and pulled herself from bed. Many of the guests were still sleeping off the effects of the previous night, but her aunts were already up preparing for the next day’s festivities. As for Maggie, she spent the day making her plans. It was clear she was doomed to be handfast to Ian, but that didn’t mean she was going to be the subservient wife. Whenever Ian tried to beat her, she’d fight back, and if he dared touch a hair on her child’s head, she’d castrate him there and then. As soon as the baby was old enough, she’d convince Marion to whisk him away to the Fosters. After that, it wouldn’t matter what happened to her.
Her aunts kept her in the kitchen baking for most of the day, and though she was bone tired, she still found herself lying awake that night. She pretended to sleep once more, as she had for the past few nights, for there was no longer any peace in her dreams. Each time she drifted off, she would see Will’s face, filled with anguish, with the ghastly scar around his neck to remind her of his fate. In the silence of the wee hours, he would come, caressing her with his cold hands, only to leave her there, alone in her agony. Better not to sleep at all, not to harbor any illusion that she might ever again hold him in her arms.
It became a vicious cycle. She’d fight to stay awake, only to nod off into an uneasy slumber. After an hour or so, she’d wake again to find her cheeks covered in tears. In the end, she’d cry herself back to sleep, setting off the whole painful pattern again. Tonight she had been too ill to even think of sleeping, depositing the last of her supper in the chamber pot not moments before, and more than likely would have continued in that vein if not for the intensive baking marathon her aunt had put her through well into the evening. Now exhausted and brokenhearted, she found her eyes were once more growing heavy.
Determined to stay awake, she rolled on her side and looked out the window. Though the waning moon was not quite as bright as it had been a few nights before, it nevertheless cast an eerie glow on the buildings scattered around the barmekin yard. From its position, Maggie could tell it was still deep in the small hours of the morning, well before dawn, though she was not sure that thought cheered her. On the one hand, it meant there were still hours before she’d be thrust into Ian’s care, but on the other, it was just dragging out the inevitable.
The sky had cleared and bright stars sparkled like specs of glitter on a velvet robe. A cool breeze ruffled the purple heather, and Maggie sighed longingly as it carried the fragrant blossom through her open window. It reminded her of her father. How he loved to breathe in the fresh country air. She used to love it too, but now she could only watch sadly and wait for the first rays of sunlight to tinge the sky.
As she lay there in silence, she heard a sound beneath her window that caused her heart to stir. In truth, she knew it must be Ian coming to claim her, but for a moment she let herself believe it was Will. Determined to have these last few minutes with her fallen love, she quickly closed her eyes, hoping to put Ian off as long as possible.
Someone knelt down beside her, and a coldness overcame her as he pressed his icy hand across her mouth. But this was not Ian who sealed her lips with his chilling grip, not Ian whose breathless voice whispered her name. Slowly, apprehensively, she opened her eyes, sure that she had once more drifted off to sleep. The sight she beheld, however, caused her heart to quicken, for there before her, his dusky blue-gray eyes sparkling mischievously, was Will Foster, alive and well . . . or was he?
Andrea Matthews is the pseudonym for Inez Foster, a historian and librarian who loves to read and write and search around for her roots, genealogical speaking. She has a BA in History and an MLS in Library Science, and enjoys the research almost as much as she does writing the story. In fact, many of her ideas come to her while doing casual research or digging into her family history. She is the author of the Thunder on the Moor series set on the 16th century Anglo-Scottish Border, and the Cross of Ciaran series, where a fifteen hundred year old Celt finds himself in the twentieth century. Andrea is a member of the Romance Writers of America.
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