Thunder On the Moor
Thunder On The Moor Book 1
by Andrea Matthews
Genre: Time Travel Historical Romance
Maggie lounged back amongst the fragrant blossoms, the soft sunlight no more than a golden glow along the horizon. Though the air remained damp, the promise of warmth comforted her, and she closed her eyes, letting its delicate cocoon engulf her weary body. A few yards away, a thrush welcomed the coming day, tweeting its morning song in perfect harmony with the steady bass of a croaking frog. The sweet melody soothed her cluttered mind and lulled her into a light sleep.
Images of beaches and warm summer days at the shore filled her dreams. Memories of sandcastles and dabbling her toes in the ocean sent her senses reeling. She could almost smell the salt air, hear the surf crashing against the shore. But wait—those were no breaking waves she heard, but something else, something far more menacing.
With a sudden jolt, she woke, the predawn tranquility shattered by a distant rumble. Maggie sprang up, her eyes widening as she recognized the thunderous beat of hooves rising from beyond the ridge. Behind her, about five hundred yards away, pressed against the graying sky, stood her uncle’s tower. He’d warned her about venturing from the safety of its walls, but she’d been too stubborn to take his words to heart. Perhaps she should have put her dislike of the man aside just this once.
Frantic visions of vengeful reivers sprang to mind, and she rose, determined to make a sprint for the distant peel tower. With the creak of leather armor already echoing in her ears, she struggled to gain purchase on the dew-covered ground, but she slipped and fell into the tall grass of the gentle slope.
Pushing herself up, she chanced a glance over her shoulder and froze. He was nearly upon her, his steel-blue eyes reflecting the mood of the moor. A wave of terror washed over her, for somehow she knew this time Will Foster wouldn’t turn and ride away.
She slumped back on her elbows, unable to move, the world around her fading into obscurity. Riders rode by on their way to the tower, their images blurred and distorted, for nothing could pry her attention from Will or the amulet he wore around his neck. He paused a few feet from where she’d fallen, tugging hard on the reins, hunger burning in his gaze.
Maggie swallowed hard, anger and fear lodged in her breast. She tried to embrace the former, but it was tempered by a sudden desire that caused her thighs to quiver and her mouth to long for the touch of the striking young reiver before her.
Will nudged his horse closer, the fire in his eyes intensifying, and this time fear surged to the fore, jarring Maggie back to her senses. No matter how handsome he may appear, he remained at heart a murdering barbarian, his intentions all too clear. Digging her heels into the soft earth, she pushed herself into an upright position and started running for the tower.
Ride With the Moonlight
Thunder On the Moor Book 2
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?
Walt scanned the market square a final time, making sure everyone was still in place. One mistake could doom not only Will, but everyone involved.
“They’re hanging him now.” His brother Duncan grabbed his shoulder, his voice strained with urgency. “We canna wait any longer.”
Walt stepped away to get a better view of the road that led to Alnwick. No sign of his father, or anyone else, for that matter. Not even a stray cow wandered across the path. And yet his father’s last command echoed through his mind. Do nowt till I’ve given the word. Walt’s hand shook with anxiety as he rubbed it across his mouth, pinching his lips together. But ye’re no’ here to give it, Da.
“Why are ye no’ doing something?” Michael asked. “Are we to let him hang, then?”
“He’ll give the signal when he’s ready.” Duncan slapped his younger brother across the ear before turning back to Walt. “Pray it winna be too long in coming though, aye.”
The ladder clattered to the ground, and Walt cast one last look down the road. Still no one. He gave a firm nod, and as Will’s legs dangled helplessly in the early morning air, Walt darted across the square and grabbed them, lifting his brother on his shoulders.
“The rope, Michael!” Walt struggled to keep his brother aloft while Will desperately gasped for air. An image flashed through his mind of a ten-year-old Will balanced on his shoulders to pick apples. He was a lot smaller then and not so heavy. Where was Michael?
Walt twisted around to find his brother was otherwise occupied. Carnaby had caught on quicker than he’d expected. His cousin Davie lay sprawled on the ground, unconscious, and Carnaby was now crossing swords with Michael.
“Pull, Walt!” Will wheezed, his voice a raspy croak as the rope tugged at his neck.
“Haud tight, lad,” Walt said. “I’ll no’ let ye die this day.” Steadying Will with one arm, he wielded his sword with the other in a desperate attempt to keep his brother from choking. Still, each time he moved to parry a blade or dodge a dagger, the rope tightened around Will’s neck.
All around them, kith and kin met with resistance. Fosters and Hetheringtons, Milburnes and Dodds came from all directions, but Richie Carnaby was just as prepared and challenged them from every quarter. One of Walt’s cousins clutched his arm as blood seeped through his fingers. It ran from another cousin’s nose while a tooth dangled precariously from the man’s mouth. His brother Duncan yelled when a sword sliced his side, but to a man, they would not give up the fight. Walt cringed as he parried an exceptionally wide blow and heard his brother gag. It would all be in vain if he couldn’t get that rope from around Will’s neck.
One group of Carnaby’s men seemed to have their hands full holding back the cheering crowd, and Walt held his breath as his cousin Dick made a break for the gallows. Unfortunately, he was stopped short when the hilt of Cuthbert Carnaby’s sword slammed into his face and knocked him unconscious at the base of the gibbet itself.
Walt continued to struggle, holding Will between life and death, but it was becoming a losing battle, even with the melee that surrounded them. A fresh contingency of the serjeant’s men was pouring out of the moot hall, armed to the teeth with everything from pikes to crossbows.
“Hem the crowd in,” Walt shouted to his uncles. The serjeant wouldn’t risk using the crossbows if there were innocent townspeople at risk. Richie Carnaby must have heard his command, for he grabbed a pike from one of the men and headed straight for Walt. God’s nails! His sword would be useless against that. Walt gritted his teeth, preparing for the blow, when his brother Dennis plowed the staff of his bill into the serjeant’s privates. The man sputtered out one profanity after another but doubled over in pain.
“Get back to the horses.” Walt grimaced as his brother clocked Richie over the head, just for good measure. They’d pay dearly for that later.
“Rory can handle them fine,” Dennis said, but before Walt could warn him, Cuthbert slipped his sword up against the man’s neck and stopped him in his tracks.
“Call them off, Walt,” Cuthbert said. “Elst I’ll end this one’s life here and now.”
“No’ likely,” Dennis said. He shoved the hilt of his own sword into the man’s stomach and spun away just in time to parry his blow.
Walt scanned the market once more. Where in the name of the Blessed Virgin was Dylan? He’d better not be off flirting with some lass, not when he’d been paying so much attention to Annie. He’d castrate the rogue himself if he . . . Walt heard Dylan before he saw him, riding hard across the square, his hobbler’s hooves clattering on the cobblestones. He prayed his backup plan would work. All the man had to do was ride up and get the rope from around Will’s neck. Walt would take care of the rest, but when Dylan came into view, Walt could only stare in exasperation.
With his sword held over his head, Dylan rose up in the stirrups and ran at the rope, severing it with his weapon and losing his balance in the process. He tumbled into Will, who in turn pulled Walt down with him, and all three fell to the ground.
Walt’s sword flew across the cobblestones, and he reached for the hilt. He needn’t have bothered, for even as his fingers brushed the metal, Richie kicked it out of the way. Though still rubbing his head, the serjeant had recovered somewhat and stood with his men, surrounding them, swords drawn.
Richie Carnaby grabbed Walt by his sleeve and lifted him up. “Looks like there’ll be more than one dancing ’neath the widdie here today.”
Shake Loose the Border
Thunder On the Moor Book 3
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?
A crack of thunder echoed across the valley, causing her to jump as she bolted the door. Would she ever get used to being alone in this wild land? Maybe they should get a dog. Contemplating the possibility, she threw another log on the fire, and after checking the latches on the shutters, she climbed back into bed and snuggled under the heavy woolen blankets. She’d feel much safer when they could afford to build a small bastle house. At least then there would be some kind of protection against the raiding parties and broken men that wandered across the countryside. It was almost like living in the Old West. Letting her mind wander, she closed her eyes and tried once more to get some sleep.
She had just about given up any hope of drifting off when one of the shutters crashed open, letting in a gust of wind and a flash of lightning that nearly blinded her. A deafening clap of thunder followed, shaking the valley. Maggie ran to the window, reaching out and pulling the renegade shutter back in place. If she were with Will, it might all somehow seem romantic, but as it was, she was just hoping it would pass quickly.
The storm, however, was intensifying and coming right her way. The thunder felt as if it were almost overhead, and the lightning struck with such severity Maggie was afraid it was going to set the small cottage afire. Sleep now completely out of her grasp, she sat playing solitaire with a deck of cards she’d retrieved from the drawer of a bedside table. All at once, the sky opened up and a torrential rain pounded down upon her new home, but it stayed cozy and dry nonetheless. Will and his brothers had done a good job of sealing the roof, and despite her apprehension, she got up to place another log on the fire.
As she did, she remembered the poor man outside. He must be drenched. She grabbed a dry blanket and ran to the door, opening it just enough to ask if he cared to come in out of the weather, but he was nowhere to be seen. Though she shouted his name, her voice was muted by the teeming rain. The only reply was the splash of water slapping against the now muddy ground, the fresh smell of wet dirt assailing her nostrils. Where in the world had he gone? If he had abandoned his post, Richie would have his head, rain or no.
Closing the door, she bolted it behind her and headed back toward her bed but stopped to sit in one of the chairs by the fire. No, he wouldn’t have done that. He’d been so adamant about keeping watch from right outside the cottage. Then again, it was pissing down, as her father used to say. Maybe he had decided he could watch from the lean-to just as well. And yet there had been an eerie stillness outside that made her skin crawl. Above the rhythmic drumming of the rain and the occasional crack of thunder, not a sound could be heard. Wouldn’t the man have answered when she called out, let her know where he was? Then again, perhaps he couldn’t hear her over the deluge raging about them, or she couldn’t hear him.
A terrible queasy feeling came over her stomach, and she took a deep breath, letting it out slowly. You’re just letting your imagination get the better of you. He’s probably checking the perimeter or something like that. Isn’t what they said in those war movies? The nausea eased some, but whether it was the babe inside or her nerves, she couldn’t say. A warmed oatcake would make it much better, and then perhaps she could get some sleep. Will was sure to have stayed at the peel until the storm passed. Knowing that seemed to help somehow.
She’d no sooner finished her oatcake than there was a heavy knock on the door. The sound caused her to jump, and she grabbed her chest. You’re going to have to stop this if you plan on staying in this century. It’s probably just Pete, or maybe Will braved the storm.
Taking a deep breath, she wiped her hands on the blanket she still had wrapped around her shoulders and went over to open the heavy bolt, but Will’s warning echoed in her head.
Keep the bolt locked and check who it is afore ye open it, aye.
She cleared her voice. “Who is it?” No answer came, and she stepped back a bit. “Master Yarrow, is that you?” Still, no one replied. It was hard to hear what was going on outside with the rain teeming down the way it was and the thunder seeming to come one clap after another, but Maggie tried again. “Will, if that’s you, answer me, please.” “Aye,” a harsh voice coughed.
At first, she sighed in relief, but as she went to pull back the bolt, she thought better of it. She could hear Will’s voice clearly in her mind, and that was not it!
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, the Long Island Romance Writers, and the Historical Novel Society.
You can keep track of Andrea's upcoming releases and tidbits about her books on the following sites:
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!