Book Title: Shake Loose the Border
Series: Thunder on the Moor, Book 3
Author: Andrea Matthews
Publication Date: 22nd November 2021
Publisher: Inez M. Foster
Page Length: 356 Pages
With Will and Maggie’s wedding just a week away, the last thing they need to stumble upon is Johnnie Hetherington’s dead body tied to a tree, especially one that’s so close to their cottage. Recognizing it as a sure sign that Johnnie has betrayed the family once too often, Sergeant Richie Carnaby gathers Will and his family together for questioning, though it seems obvious only a fool would kill a man on his own land. Then who did murder the rogue, and why?
Feeling confident it wasn’t any of the Fosters, Richie allows Will and Maggie’s wedding to proceed, but the couple has barely exchanged vows when the Armstrongs attack in force. Geordie is determined to rescue his niece from the clutches of Will Foster, whether she wants to go or not. And if he happens to make her a widow in the process, so be it. Will senses the danger and implores Dylan to get Maggie away to safety, no matter where — or when — that may be.
Though Maggie protests, Will assures her he will follow as soon as he is able. Yet how can that be possible when Dylan whisks her back to the twentieth century? Sharing her fears about Will, and unable to forget his own love, Annie, Dylan attempts to return to the past one last time despite his growing concerns over the disintegrating amulet stone. But will he make it in time to rescue Will, or will the villainous Ian Rutherford, who has already killed in cold blood once, win the ultimate battle and see Will and Maggie separated forever?
Sex and violence
Maggie blinked as dawn broke that Saturday morning. She had survived the harrowing experience of the previous Thursday night and the tiring prenuptial feast of the night before and now looked forward to the start of a wonderful life with her new husband. He would always be there, guarding her, protecting her, but she had discovered an inner strength in herself as well.
Today, however, was her wedding day, and Will’s sisters fussed around her like she was a fairy-tale princess. In fact, when they had finished, she was. Her long auburn hair fell down her back in gentle waves. Just as on the day of her handfast, braids had been plaited at her temples, woven with ribbons, and pulled back and tied at the nape of her neck. On her head was a floral crown of wildflowers, bound together with rosemary and ribbons of blue and green to represent both their families. They matched the swathbonds that encircled her waist and the bridal laces that hung from her satin sleeves. A number of ribbon garters were tied to her legs, and they too were the colors of choice. But the gown itself was of the deepest blue, decorated with small beads and delicate lace trim. The square neckline revealed only the slightest bit of her chemise so that her neck lay bare, except for the small string of ivory roses given to her by Will at their handfast, and her kirtle was of silver damask.
Mary wore a dress of pale blue while Eleanor and little Peggy donned gowns of forest green, in keeping with Maggie’s colors. But Annie wore Betty’s wedding dress, which was the same beautiful shade of rose that colored Maggie’s nosegay and adorned her hair. The same soft shade that had filled her cheeks after Will first made love to her and would no doubt touch them anew when next they met.
Annie smiled broadly as she tied the last ribbon to Maggie’s dress. “There! A more bonnie bride they’ve never seen in all of Tynedale, and to think ’tis to be wasted on that nae-account brother of mine.”
“You don’t mean a word of that,” Maggie said with a grin, for it was no secret how close Annie and Will really were.
“Ye’re right there. If ’twere no’ for our Will . . . ’Twas him what found me that morn, ye ken. I didna want him to touch me, I was that ashamed, but Will never gave up, talking to me, bringing me flowers, telling me how bonnie I looked, liar though he was. I never would have made it without him. When yer kin carried him off, nowt what happened to me seemed all that important anymore.”
Maggie rested her hand on Annie’s. “Don’t ever let what Ian did to you make you think poorly of yourself. Turn it against him by letting it make you stronger.”
“I am trying, though ’tis hard at times.”
“You’re going to wear this dress someday soon, Annie.”
“I hope so, though I’m no’ sure who ’twill be . . .” She looked around, making sure no one else was listening, though Maggie was fairly sure what she was about to say and equally certain it was common knowledge. “I do care a great deal for Dylan Hetherington, but I’m afeard I’m no’ alone there.”
Maggie tried to conceal her smile, wondering if Dylan would ever confide his twentieth-century origins to the girl. “And have you spoken to him about it?”
“A wee bit, and he says his heart belongs to none but me, yet he’s made nae promises either. I can hope, though, d’ye no’ think?”
“I just don’t want you to be hurt if . . . Annie, I love Dylan dearly, and I do think he’s a good soul, one who can give a great deal of love. But he is still searching for something, and he is a bit of a . . .”
“A rogue. Oh, I ken that right enough, but how’s a lass to win him if she’s afeard of rising to the fray? I’ll be all right, Maggie, for if he takes a liking to someone else, ’tis his loss, no’ mine.”
Maggie smiled and hugged Annie warmly. The morning sun was just beginning to peek over the windowsill, and she could hear the sounds of preparation going on below. Biting her lip, she took a peek outside. Will was already there, and she listened intently to the sound of his voice. How she wanted to join him, but it wasn’t yet time, so she contented herself with gazing out across the dew-covered fells dreaming of the night to come.
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, Long Island Romance Writers, and the Historical Novel Society.
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Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Andrea-Matthews/e/B07ZSCWZ6L