The Cave of Ruin Arsa The Cross of Ciaran Book 3
by Andrea Matthews Genre: Paranormal Time Travel Romance
Ciarán Donnelly is ready to leave his past behind and concentrate on his new life, but his past may not be finished with him. His dreams have returned with a vengeance, and this time they’re telling him Ruadhán, the long-dead priest who entombed him fifteen hundred years before, is threatening to kidnap his unborn twins. Of course, his dream interpretation leaves a lot to be desired, especially when it comes to those he loves.
As if the dreams are not bad enough, his anxiety over them is causing stress on his new marriage, which is the last thing Caitlin needs in her current condition. The twins are on the way, and everyone advises him the dreams stem from his own insecurities over becoming a father. After all, Ruadhán was the chief priest, a member of the high council, loyal to his goddess unto death. What are the chances he suffered the same fate as Ciarán and survived fifteen centuries?
The theory sounds reasonable, and he’s happy to accept it, until Aodhán comes across an empty tomb in the Hills of ár Sinsear that looks as though it may have been occupied at some point. Could Ruadhán have survived after all? And if so, where is he now? To complicate the issue, Aodhán stumbles across another piece of information that could alter the possible meaning of his brother’s dreams. But will Ciarán manage to put the pieces together before it’s too late, or will he lose his family to an ancient adversary?
Through the fog in his brain, he saw Ruadhán bend down to retrieve the book. If he opened it . . . Before he could finish the thought, Ruadhán rose, his eyes flashing with rage.
“You treacherous creature! Where are the pages that belong in the book?”
Ciarán chuckled. “You’ll never find them.” The high priest turned and grabbed Aodhán by the arm. “We’ll see about that. This one never was as strong as you.”
“He’s stronger than you ever imagined, but it won’t matter. Only I know where they are. And my mind is so clouded now you won’t be able to make any sense of what you find there.”
Ruadhán balled his hands together, a flush of crimson rising in his cheeks, his eyes glowing with fury. A bolt of lightning lit the sky, followed by a peal of thunder. As the ground shook, Ciarán slipped down along the boulder, his legs no longer able to hold him aloft, but a claw-like grip raised him up and dragged him into the cave.
He felt the blade against his neck before the sight of it registered in his head. They hadn’t counted on Ruadhán resorting to physical force.
“Tell me where the pages are, or I will end your life here and now.”
“You can’t physically harm a chosen child of the goddess. See, I remember some things Domnall taught me. Or was it you that told me that?” His mind was getting duller by the moment, and yet he felt the need to taunt the pompous priest.
“Ah, but you are no longer a chosen child.”
Crap. He hadn’t thought of that. They were moving deeper into the cave, beyond the altar, toward the ledge Aodhán had almost fallen off. Did he mean to throw his body over after he slit his throat? Either action would be enough to end his life by itself. No need to be so dramatic. He shook his head, trying to clear away the cobwebs. What was wrong with him? He was about to die, and he was making stupid quips.
“Since your memory is so sharp, you must also remember this cave holds the entrance to Tír na nÓg. What faster way to send you to your goddess mother and rid the earth of your treachery?”
Ciarán closed his eyes, expecting to feel the sharp blade of the knife cut into his throat, but instead a blow knocked him to the side. He was falling, but Ruadhán had released him. With every last ounce of strength, he reached up to grab the edge of the ledge, his fingers barely holding on. A blur of white and silver plummeted past him, followed by the clatter of metal against stone. His fingers were growing weaker, slipping from the ledge as the numbness spread out through his limbs, his muscles growing weaker by the second.
He looked down into the darkness, certain he was about to die. His brain so muddled he could barely think, he whispered a quick prayer. “Dear God, forgive me my transgressions and deliver me to heaven.”
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The Cross of Ciaran
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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. In fact, it was while doing some genealogical research that she stumbled across the history of the Border reivers. The idea for her first novel came to mind almost at once, gradually growing into the Thunder on the Moor series. And the rest is history, as they say.