Thanks for subscribing to my newsletter!
I hope you enjoy the love story! Happy Valentine’s Day!
The Healer – By Lisa Kessler
Moira worked magic with an iron kettle. He loved watching her cook.
He loved more than he should.
As the broth bubbled, she leaned over the pot, breathing the scent deep into her lungs. He watched the way her cheeks flushed with color as the steam warmed her skin.
Skin he longed to touch.
Angus gripped his quill, waiting. Being chosen as her personal amanuensis was an honor even though most of their clan couldn’t read or write. He documented her remedies, scratching the words onto the parchment as she dictated the ingredients.
“A knuckle of ginger root.” She sing-songed as she dropped it into the pot. “And two more leaves of kale.”
The raven feather of his quill danced as he notated the additions to the ingredient list. So far the cauldron bubbled with potatoes, turnips, kale, ginger root and a base of Scotch broth. The scent had a bitter sting that contrasted with the sparkle in her honey brown eyes.
“What is it Angus MacGille?”
“T’was nothing Milady.”
Her lips turned up in a knowing smile, but she didn’t pry. He released a pent up breath when she turned back to her work. Moira was a direct descendant of the Lady of the Lake, while he was merely the son of a blacksmith. He had no business coveting the healer, but her beauty enchanted him, and her dedication to helping others endeared her to his heart and spirit.
She stirred the boiling pot and glanced back over her shoulder. “Now it needs to simmer until the potatoes are soft.”
He jotted down the instruction. When he looked up from the page, she smiled at him. “Milady?”
“My name is Moira.”
He met her gaze, losing himself in her hazel eyes. “I am not worthy to speak your name.”
She crossed to him and ran her fingers along his ink-stained hand, her touch like fine silk against his coarse skin. “Why do you lower yourself, Angus? You are a true, honest, and intelligent man.”
“My father is a blacksmith, and you are the daughter of a long line of Queens from Avalon. You could choose any man as your Stag, Milady.”
She rolled her eyes. “I suppose you believe a warrior or a man of high rank as my mate would make me happy?”
His gut clenched at the thought of another man touching her. “I do not pretend to know what would make you happy.”
She raised a brow and turned back to her bubbling cauldron. “A very wise answer, Angus. Did you ever think I might choose a brilliant mind over another man’s might and station?”
He gripped the quill even tighter, poised over the parchment. “Only in my dreams.”
“I should like to hear of your dreams.” She brought a large wooden spoonful of steaming soup toward him. “Taste this.”
Angus stared at the spoon and then up into her eyes. She’d never asked him to taste her mixtures before. Usually the broths and stews were brewed to remedy ailments for the clan. Ailments he thankfully never had.
Although his bloodline was not pure like Moira’s, he was rarely ill or infirm.
He lowered the quill and took the spoon from her hand. Carefully he brought the liquid to his mouth, taking in the scent of the steam.
“Go on now, taste it for me.”
With his eyes on hers, he tilted the spoon up. The hot brew warmed him and his senses came alive as the flavor burst on his tongue. Although the smell had a bitter sting, the taste was rich and…
His thoughts drifted away as quickly as they came. He struggled to collect them, but his mind clouded. The room faded, and, in the mists, the Stag stood tall, completely white with dark black eyes. His head was heavy with a mantle of mighty horns, and steam shot from his nostrils as he pawed at the frozen earth.
Angus swiveled his head, struggling to understand what was happening. He had been in Moira’s home, taking notes for her remedies. Now he was… In the snow.
The Stag lifted his head and snorted, the inside of his nostrils flashing red. He turned and started back toward the trees, but slowed to look at Angus and toss his head. Angus understood and quickly followed the Stag deep into the forest. They stopped at the edge of a frozen lake. The Stag dipped his head, striking the ice with his antler.
Angus gasped as the ice cleared and in the water underneath, a scene came to life. A younger image of his father holding a babe in his arms. A druid priest handed him a leather purse and leaned close.
He couldn’t hear the man’s words. The ice offered him only a confusing vision. His father carried the babe home. Angus recognized the cottage and smiled when his mother opened the door, young and beautiful again.
She wept and cradled the tiny child to her breast. When she pushed back the swaddling from the baby’s head, he noticed the marking just below the child’s right ear. With trembling fingers, Angus reached up to his own ear, running his fingers over the same mark.
He was that child in the ice.
The Stag snorted, but when Angus turned, he found himself back inside of Moira’s home. He was sprawled on the rug in front of the cauldron’s fire. She cradled his head in her lap, her soft fingers stroking his hair back from his sweaty brow.
“You made the potion for me,” he whispered.
She nodded with a tender, knowing smile. “Did you never wonder why your father worked so hard for you to be educated? While the rest of the clan battles illness, did you never wonder why you stayed strong and healthy?”
Angus ran a finger along the curve of her jaw. “I saw the Stag. You never told me…”
“It was not my place.”
“But you knew.”
“I suspected.” Her lips curved into a smile that made him hungry to taste them.
“Why was I taken from Avalon?”
She shook her head. “I do not know, but you carry the mark of magic. Your father raised you as his own son for a reason. Perhaps you should ask him.”
Angus thought of the conversation he witnessed in the ice, and then he stared up into the warmth of her eyes. “I will ask him later. First, there is something I have needed for a very long time.”
“And what is that?”
He slid his fingers into her thick, wavy hair and brought her lips down to meet his, kissing her, tasting her, memorizing every second of this moment. She was the other half of his soul. When she finally withdrew from him, her cheeks were flushed with color.
She did not look angry, but he hoped he had not offended her with his pent up affections. Angus sat and rested his forehead against hers. “Forgive me.”
Her eyes sparkled as she smiled. “Only if you kiss me again.”
Angus laughed and wrapped his arms around her waist, pulling her close. “Gods how I love you, Moira.”
Their lips fused together as she ran her hands up his chest and around his neck. The cauldron bubbled, and the magic of love gradually banished the scent of bitterness until the healer’s brew simmered sweet.
Thanks again for all your support!