Thunder On the Moor
Thunder On The Moor Book 1 by Andrea Matthews Genre: Time Travel Historical Romance
Maggie Armstrong grew up enchanted by her father’s tales of blood feuds and border raids. In fact, she could have easily fallen for the man portrayed in one particular image in his portrait collection. Yet when her father reveals he was himself an infamous Border reiver, she finds it a bit far-fetched—to say the least—especially when he announces his plans to return to his sixteenth century Scottish home with her in tow.
Suspecting it’s just his way of getting her to accompany him on yet another archaeological dig, Maggie agrees to the expedition, only to find herself transported four hundred and fifty years into the past. Though a bit disoriented at first, she discovers her father’s world to be every bit as exciting as his stories, particularly when she’s introduced to Ian Rutherford, the charming son of a neighboring laird. However, when her uncle announces her betrothal to Ian, Maggie’s twentieth-century sensibilities are outraged. She hardly even knows the man. But a refusal of his affections could ignite a blood feud.
Maggie’s worlds are colliding. Though she’s found the family she always wanted, the sixteenth century is a dangerous place. Betrayal, treachery, and a tragic murder have her questioning whether she should remain or try to make her way back to her own time.
To make matters worse, tensions escalate when she stumbles across Bonnie Will Foster, the dashing young man in her father’s portrait collection, only to learn he is a dreaded Englishman. But could he be the hero she’s always dreamed him to be? Or will his need for revenge against Ian shatter more than her heart?
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?
Maggie Armstrong stood on the gentle slope, letting the early evening breeze caress her cheeks. Though the sun sank low along the horizon, it still sparkled off the small burn that ambled past the Foster peel tower, its gurgling rhythm soft and calm. Releasing a weary sigh, she stared out across the moor, toward Scotland and her family. She had betrayed them all—at least that’s what they thought. Ye’ll never be welcome in Scotland again, her uncle had called after her. But what choice had they left her? She wasn’t about to let them murder an innocent man, even if he was an Englishman.
She glanced down at Will Foster, dozing contentedly on the grass. How could she have ever suspected him of murdering her father? Ian Rutherford, that’s how! She let out an angry, frustrated growl, and Will stirred.
He sat up and stretched his arms before pulling her down beside him. “Why did ye no’ wake me, darlin’? ’Twas rude of me to fall asleep.”
Maggie rested her head against Will’s shoulder, savoring the warmth of his embrace. He smelled of saddle leather and meadow hay with a touch of evening dew. And despite his rugged appearance, his straw-colored hair was as soft as the down that filled her pillow. She ran her hand along the late-day stubble that had sprouted from his normally smooth chin.
“You’ve been through a lot in the past two days,” she said. “My family tried to drown you, for God’s sake. I figured you deserved a little rest.”
Will smiled and kissed her head. “And what of yerself? To be fair, I did carry ye off to begin with, something ye were no’ too happy about if I mind right.”
“No, I don’t suppose I was at first, but that was before I knew you—and the truth.” She heaved another sigh, filled with exasperation. “How could I have been so stupid and naive?”
Will tightened his arms around her, resting his chin on the top of her head. “Ye canna blame yerself for believing Ian Rutherford’s lies. He’s a wicked creature, that one, with a silver tongue. Ye werena the only one to be deceived. Even yer Uncle Geordie believed him, and he’s a canny auld fox, or so me brother Walt says.”
“Hmmm, I guess.” She leaned deeper into Will’s embrace, willing herself to relax and enjoy the moment. Yet even as she did, she could sense the tension in Will’s shoulders.
Reaching up, she touched his cheek. “What’s wrong? And please don’t tell me nothing.”
Will chuckled. “Nowt for ye to be fashing yerself ower. Me kin will see to it.”
Maggie sat up, turning so she could face him. His expression might not give anything away, but those stunning blue-gray eyes were another story. “There’s no way my family could regroup and attack this soon, is there?”
“I reckon no’ even Geordie Armstrong could manage that.” Will laughed, a deep, pleasant rumble that sent warm ripples down Maggie’s spine despite her apprehension. “God’s teeth, lass, ye left them to walk home in their stocking feet.”
“I did, didn’t I?” Maggie leaned back against Will’s shoulder once more, feeling quite proud of herself for thinking of a way to keep her kin from following them, at least for a while, but the more she imagined her uncle trudging bootless through the moors, the less comical she found it. “They will come for me eventually, though, won’t they? And then what will they do? Hang me, or worse yet, wed me to Ian Rutherford?”
Will pulled her hair back and nuzzled against her neck, leaving soft kisses and causing a tingling sensation to travel all the way down to her toes. “Neither, if I’m still breathing,” he said, “for I’d die afore I let them take ye.”
Maggie snuggled closer, allowing the warmth of his body to soothe and comfort her once more. She had no doubt he meant every word he said. Perhaps that was what worried her so. There was a way out, though, a secret she’d shared with only one other. Now if she could just get Will to believe her.
“We could go away from here,” she said.
“Leave the Borders?” He sat up, gently nudging Maggie around so he could gaze into her eyes. “But this is me home. I’ve land here and an income to keep us, no’ to mention me kin.” He stood up, taking a few steps away before turning to face her once more. “And where d’ye reckon we’d go?”
Maggie watched as the small burn tumbled over rocks and pebbles, splashing its way past each obstacle. Back to the twentieth century, of course. How she wanted to say the words, but he’d surely think she’d gone mad. Instead, she gave him the only answer she could.
“Perhaps we could go down to Lancashire.” If she could get him to agree to that, she could take care of the rest later. Of course, first she’d have to locate the amulet and the chest. If only her father hadn’t died, none of this would be happening. A tear trickled down her cheek, and Will bent down beside her, wiping it away.
“We’ll go wherever ye want, lass, but there’s nae need to fret ower it now. Geordie’s no’ fool enough to attack again, no’ yet anyway. He’ll wait and file a bill against us with the warden. By then, me da will have made a petition of his own. Let’s bide a bit and see what happens, eh?”
Shake Loose the Border Thunder On the Moor Book 3
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?
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:
Where did you come up with the names in the story?
Names fascinate me. They have to fit the character just right and bring a certain image to mind when I hear them. Since most of my novels involve a historical aspect of some kind, that’s where I turn to discover the names that were in use at the time. For the Thunder on the Moor series, I wanted names that were popular on the Borders. Fortunately, I located a book that was a record of charges filed against some sixteenth century Borderers, both English and Scottish. It was a treasure trove of names, and while reading through it, I discovered the popularity of nicknames. Names like Nebless Ned: the tip of his nose was actually cut off during a sword fight. Ouch! Anyway, I gave Will the nickname of Bonnie Will and John Hetherington became Johnnie O’Dell. Of course, I have a lot of characters, so I did look through old some older vital statistics records as well: birth records, marriage records, and even some tombstone inscriptions. Because of the popularity of certain names, and the naming patterns at the time, there are some repeats, but when there are, I try to throw in a nickname.
How did you come up with the title of the book?
The title is always a bit harder to come up with than the character names. I usually have the characters named right from the beginning, but I can sometimes be well into the novel before I have the title. I may even go through a series of words and phrases before I hit on the right one. Usually, it’s something in the story itself that hits me just right. With thunder on the moor, I wrote a line about the approaching reivers sounding like thunder on the moor, and the light lit up. That was might title. I loved it. Book 2 and 3 were a little easier and came from my research of the Border Reivers. I noticed a few phrases that seemed to be used over and over again when describing them – reiver phrases. They liked to ride with the moonlight, and when heading off on a foray, they set out to shake loose the border. When in hot trod, they rode with fire and sword, which will hopefully be Book 4.
Who designed your book covers?
I have a fantastic cover designer: Jenny Quinlan of Historical Fiction Book Covers. As you can see, she does a tremendous job and has the patience of a saint. She manages to convert my vague descriptions of what I’d like into a perfect cover. If you’re looking for a cover designer, I would definitely recommend her. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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