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The Highlander’s Maiden by Carole Archer – Sample

The Highlander's Maiden by Carole Archer (Post 200x300)Chapter One

 Ramelton, County Donegal, Ireland – 1603

Alroy Hogan arrived at the small castle where Colleen and Kaitlyn O’Shea waited anxiously for news of their father, Lord Michael O’Shea. Unfortunately Alroy wasn’t bringing them good news and he hesitated before entering their home. Sighing deeply, Alroy made his way up the winding staircase and into the living room where the sisters sat side by side, clutching each other’s hands.

Alroy hesitated in the doorway and looked at the sisters. Both had their long dark hair worn loosely around their shoulders. Alroy imagined the girls had spent the last few anxious hours brushing out their hair until it shone and picking out their prettiest dresses, in the hope their father would finally be returning home to them. They knew he was injured, but Alroy had promised he would do his best to get their father back home safe.

Alroy cleared his throat and the elder sister Colleen looked up at him, her deep blue eyes glistening with tears, as he entered the room. Alroy glanced away. Colleen had her father’s eyes and seeing them reminded him of his friend’s last moments. Alroy shook his head slowly and looked down at the floor. “I’m so sorry, he didn’t make it,” he whispered apologetically. “I’m afraid he was injured too badly. There was nothing I could do for him. He died of his wounds before I could get him home.”

“No,” Colleen whispered, shaking her head and staring in disbelief at Alroy. “No, tell me it isn’t true. Please,” she begged.

Seventeen-year-old Kaitlyn sobbed loudly and Colleen instinctively wrapped her arms around her and offered comfort to her younger sister.

As Colleen held her trembling sister in her arms, tears rolled down her own cheeks. “No, this isn’t fair,” Colleen said, as her sister sobbed pitifully. “I’m only twenty years old. We’re too young to be orphans,” she said helplessly, as Kaitlyn’s sobs turned into wails of despair.

Kaitlyn lifted her head and looked at her sister, as tears continued to streak her cheeks. “It’s only a couple of months since God took mother away. How could he take father too? How could he?” she demanded.

Colleen shook her head and kissed her sister on the cheek. “We go to church and we pray to our God every week, but where is He when we need Him most?”

Alroy stepped forward and put his hand gently on Colleen’s shoulder. “Colleen, don’t talk like that. I know you’re upset, but please don’t blame God for what has happened. I’m so very sorry for your loss, but I’m afraid I need to ask you both to gather a few things together now. We need to leave immediately. It isn’t safe for you here. The castle guards went to fight with your father and have not yet returned, and since hearing that the battle has been lost all of your servants have fled. I can’t keep you safe here, not on my own. I must take you somewhere where I can offer you the protection that you need.”

Colleen shrugged away Alroy’s hand and stood up to face the older man. “Kaitlyn and I will be staying here. I’m the head of the household now. I’ll look after my sister and see she comes to no harm. You were a loyal ally to my father, but we can manage just fine on our own,” she told him curtly.

Colleen turned her back on Alroy and closed her eyes. She was trying to be brave but inside she was trembling. She had no idea how she and Kaitlyn would manage, but she had no intention of leaving their home.

Turning back to face Alroy, Colleen tearfully told him: “What would Daddy think of me if I turned and ran at the first sign of trouble?” She paused for a moment, trying to get her emotions under control before continuing. “He died fighting for the country he loved.”

Alroy looked at her and nodded. “Your father would want you to keep each other safe, Colleen,” he said sympathetically.

Colleen shook her head. “No, I’m going to make our father proud. I’m going to keep up his fight in memory of his courage. The English might have taken our father, but they will not take his castle too,” she fumed.

Alroy shook his head. “Colleen, I’m sorry but I must insist you come with me now. Your father will be proud of you, if you do as I ask. I don’t want to do it, especially not when you’ve received such terrible news, but I will take you by force if you make it necessary,” Alroy warned.

Colleen whirled round to face him. He was no taller than her and although his body was still in good shape, he was well over fifty years old. “Alroy, you couldn’t overpower a small child,” she snapped.

Colleen turned to look at her distraught sibling, who sat on the edge of the sofa, sobbing into her hands. She shook her head slowly. “I’m sorry I snapped, but please will you leave Alroy, you’re upsetting my sister,” Colleen said calmly.

Alroy snorted derisively. “I might be getting on in years, but I can still handle you, young lady. Your father’s dying wish was that I keep you both safe and I am a man of my word. The soldiers of Lord Ambrose Carleton are coming and I fear you may be harmed if they catch up with you. You could very well be kidnapped and taken back to England where you will be forced into marrying those brutal English soldiers – and that’s if you’re lucky!”

Colleen glared at Alroy as she sat down beside her sister, hugging her protectively. “It’s OK Kaitlyn, I’ll keep you safe, I promise.”

Colleen looked up at Alroy. “Please just go,” Colleen sighed. “I know you’re my father’s oldest friend, and for that reason I don’t want to fall out with you, but I have no intention of leaving our home. I’ll look after my sister. I’ll see she comes to no harm. I have no desire to marry one of those English savages and I will not allow them to get their hands on either me or Kaitlyn. I’ll slit their throats if they come near us,” she warned, anger flashing in her eyes.

Alroy sighed. He had no doubt that Colleen would try her best to carry out her threat, but he had made a promise to her father and he was going to keep it, no matter what he had to resort to. “I’m sorry Colleen. They’re ruthless. You’re no match for them. I’m not going to leave you here to be raped and God knows what else. Now please do as you’re told, gather together a few things and be ready to leave in ten minutes,” Alroy ordered.

Kaitlyn had finally stopped crying. She lifted her head and looked into her sister’s face as she grasped her hand. Her emerald green eyes were filled with fear. “Colleen, it isn’t safe for us here. We’re in danger. Alroy will look after us. I really think we need to go with him,” she urged her stubborn sister.

Colleen scowled and shook her head. “I’m frightened too,” she told Kaitlyn, “but I will not let those English swines who murdered our father drive us from our home. They’ll pay for what they did to him. I’ll make sure of it. They won’t take either of us, I promise you. I’ll fight them to the death if I have to,” she said, giving her sister a small reassuring smile.

“But Colleen,” Kaitlyn replied. “I’ve lost my mother and my father. I don’t want to lose my sister too. Please let us go with Alroy. Please,” she begged.

Colleen closed her eyes. “Have some faith in me,” she snapped at her young sister.

Alroy suddenly grabbed Colleen by the wrists and shook her. “God help me Colleen, get yourself ready to leave immediately or you’ll discover just how far I will go to ensure you obey me. We don’t have time for this nonsense. Do as you’re told now or I’ll make you very sorry, girl.”

Immediately Colleen went back on the defensive. She squared up to Alroy, anger etched on her face. “Get out. Kaitlyn and I don’t need you, and don’t you dare threaten me,” she shouted.

Her expression softening, Colleen turned back to her sister. “Kaitlyn, I promise you we’ll be fine. We’ll go down into the basement and hide out there until those vile English have given up looking for us and left. They’re far too foolish to find us down there.”

Alroy approached her. “Colleen, I insist you get ready and come with me now. There isn’t time for this silliness. We need to leave immediately. This is your final warning, young lady. Now get your things together, both of you, and meet me downstairs.”

Kaitlyn nodded obediently and seemed relieved to get away from the tense atmosphere between her sister and her father’s friend. She fled to her room and was visibly disappointed to see Colleen follow her. “Colleen, please let’s just get out of the castle before the English arrive,” Kaitlyn urged her stubborn sister.

Colleen sighed and sat down on Kaitlyn’s bed. “I thought you had more guts than that, little sister,” she whispered under her breath, as she watched Kaitlyn take a case out of her wardrobe, gather together some clothes and a few other items and place them into the case.

“This is totally unnecessary,” Colleen sighed. “We’ll be much safer here than we will be out there.”

Alroy, who was watching from the doorway and hoping that Colleen would follow her younger sister’s lead, had had more than enough of Colleen’s behaviour. “For God’s sake girl, you’re going to get us all killed,” he snapped, as he entered Kaitlyn’s bedroom and grabbed Colleen firmly by the arm and hauled her to her feet. Colleen gasped as Alroy seemingly was putting no effort at all into lifting her to her feet. She winced as his fingers dug into the soft flesh of her upper arm.

“Ow, you’re hurting me,” squealed Colleen.

Alroy sighed. “That’s nothing to the pain I’ll cause you if you don’t do as you’re told this instant, young lady. We really must leave as soon as possible. Now pack a bag and we’ll deal with your lack of respect and your bad behaviour later. Your father would not stand for it and nor will I.”

Colleen’s blue eyes sparkled with defiance. “You couldn’t keep my father safe. How do you intend to keep me and my sister safe?” she demanded.

Alroy’s eyes flashed a warning at Colleen. Her words had hurt him deeply. “I would have traded places with your father, given the opportunity,” Alroy said quietly, his eyes burning into Colleen’s. She swallowed nervously as she took a step away from him. “I’m sorry. I know you would do anything for my father. I know it wasn’t your fault he died,” she stammered.

“Colleen, I know you’ve gone through hell the last few months and I would do anything to give you your parents back, but I can’t,” he added sadly. “But I can keep you both safe and that is exactly what I intend to do.”

When Alroy gripped her by the arm once more, Colleen shrieked as she tried desperately to pull herself free of his vice-like grasp. “No, I won’t let you take us from our home,” she cried. “I’m sorry Alroy, I know you want what’s best for us, but I won’t let those bastards win,” she shouted. “I won’t leave here without a fight.”

Tears pricked Colleen’s eyes as Alroy roughly dragged her towards her sister’s bed. “I’m sorry I have to do this Colleen, but I will not leave you here. You need to do as I say. We don’t have time for your stupid games. Your father would not put up with your behaviour and neither will I. He would have quickly nipped this in the bud and spanked that stubborn pride out of you.”

Colleen swallowed nervously. “But I don’t want to leave here. Why can’t you just accept that?”

Without another word, Alroy pushed Colleen face down onto Kaitlyn’s bed. Kaitlyn gasped as her sister landed on the bed and when Alroy ordered her to grasp Colleen’s wrists and hold her down, Kaitlyn obeyed instantly. She knelt by the bed and grasped Colleen’s wrists firmly, pulling her sister towards her.

Kaitlyn gasped as Alroy bent forward and grabbed the hem of Colleen’s dress, yanking it up roughly and throwing it over her back as his intentions became clear. Kaitlyn tightened her grip on her sister’s wrists. Colleen squealed and kicked her legs as she tried to pull her hands free of her sister’s grip.

Alroy looked sternly at an ashen-faced Kaitlyn. “Hold your sister’s wrists tightly. If she manages to get up you’ll find yourself taking her place. Do I make myself clear?” he asked solemnly.

Kaitlyn nodded meekly and lowered her head, her hands trembling as she struggled to hold her enraged sister who kicked her legs and shrieked as she tried to break free, demanding Kaitlyn release her immediately.

Alroy took hold of the waistband of Colleen’s drawers, looking Kaitlyn in the eye as he whipped the flimsy undergarment down around the misbehaving young woman’s knees. Colleen shrieked in distress and Kaitlyn closed her eyes, trying to shut out what was happening to her sister.

Kaitlyn’s eyes flew open as Colleen screamed loudly and kicked her legs, trying desperately to pull her arms free of her sister’s grip. It was a last ditch attempt to escape as she felt the cool air on her bottom and knew she was about to be disciplined. Tears welled in her eyes as she finally exhausted herself and resigned herself to her fate as she slumped on the bed, glaring at her sister, who closed her eyes so she did not have to look at Colleen’s eyes that accused her of betrayal.

“Your sister has earned this chastisement,” Alroy stated calmly as he reached for his belt and removed it slowly from his trousers. Kaitlyn nodded as she opened her eyes and watched the belt slide from the loops of his trousers.

“Be brave Colleen,” Kaitlyn whispered, tightening her grip.

Alroy stepped back and glanced at Kaitlyn, whose face was pale as she gazed down at her sister and clutched her wrists. Ignoring her, he raised his belt in the air. Colleen lifted her head and looked at her sister, who was trembling.

Colleen glanced over her shoulder and her eyes widened as Alroy stood behind her, his wide belt doubled up in his hand. He looked furious as he whipped his belt down across her bared buttocks and Colleen shrieked as it landed with a loud crack across the centre of her bottom.

“No,” she shrieked, “no more.”

Alroy ignored her cries and swung the belt once more against her bared buttocks, eliciting a further scream from her as the broad red band across her bottom doubled in width. He quickly laid a third stripe below the previous two and watched Colleen’s hips squirm from side to side as she struggled to escape the sting of his belt.

“No more,” Colleen screamed, as Alroy worked his way down her bottom again, landing the belt over the previous three stripes and admiring the deepening red colour of her squirming bottom.

Alroy did not want to be too hard with Colleen, but he needed her to obey him immediately when he let her up, there could be no further delays, so he set about giving her a very harsh strapping. He ignored her cries and relentlessly cracked the strap against her bared buttocks, mustering up every ounce of strength he could. As he whipped the belt across her upper thighs, Colleen’s cries grew louder and more anxious. Only when she was sobbing loudly and begging frantically for her punishment to end, promising to do absolutely anything he asked of her, did Alroy finally stop.

“Are you going to behave now?” Alroy asked gently, as he sat on the bed beside her and rubbed his hand against her reddened flesh. Colleen whimpered “yes” and Alroy smiled as he told an anxious Kaitlyn to release her sister. Kaitlyn breathed a sigh of relief. Colleen had fought so desperately and Alroy was pleased that Kaitlyn had managed to keep her sister in position.

“Kaitlyn, go and collect a few things for your sister please,” Alroy asked, smiling at her as she nodded and ran from the room. He watched Colleen’s hands rubbing frantically at her scorched buttocks and when Kaitlyn returned with a case containing some of her sister’s things, Alroy patted Colleen’s bottom gently.

“Come on Colleen, it’s time to go. Replace your drawers and we’ll be on our way. I trust I’ll have no more trouble from you?” he asked kindly.

Colleen scrambled to her feet and blushed as she reached under her skirt to pull up her underwear. She looked at Alroy and her blush deepened as she manoeuvred her drawers over her swollen buttocks.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered, breaking down in tears. Alroy sighed. It really was time to go but showing some compassion he pulled Colleen onto his lap and wrapped his arms around her. “Colleen, I’m sorry I had to be so harsh with you, but I have no intention of leaving you and Kaitlyn to fend for yourselves. It hurt me to have to cause you so much pain, but I really need you to be obedient.”

Colleen sat up and looked into his face. She was relieved that he was now smiling. “I hope I haven’t let my Daddy down,” she sighed. “I hope he isn’t disappointed in me for leaving. I want to stay and fight, I truly do, but I hope he understands that you are leaving me no choice in the matter.”

Colleen clung tightly to Alroy as he consoled her. “Colleen, your father will be very proud of you for wanting to fight in his honour, but he will be more pleased that you have ultimately realised that now is not the time to do that. Maybe one day you can fight for your father’s honour, and I will be right beside you, but for now we need to get away. Please,” he begged, hoping there would be no further delays.

Colleen blushed as Alroy helped her to her feet. She deliberately avoided her sister’s gaze.

“Come on, we really need to leave now,” Alroy urged. He breathed a sigh of relief when Colleen took the case from her sister and followed her down the stairs.

Colleen gasped as she walked shakily down the staircase. Alroy felt some sympathy for her as her jerky movements led him to believe that the simple action of walking down the stairs was sending jolts of pain through her well strapped buttocks. He sighed with frustration, not happy that he had had to be so hard with her.

“Come on girls,” he whispered, leading them outside. He checked the area was clear before loading the girls onto a horse-drawn wagon driven by another friend of their father’s. As Colleen sat on the hard wooden seat, she winced and squirmed as she gripped Kaitlyn’s hand.

Alroy smiled at her. “I’m sorry Colleen, I know I’m not your favourite person right now but I hope you realise I’ve only forced you to leave your home because, without your father’s guards there to help us, we haven’t got a hope in hell of winning a battle against the English. No matter how many of the English I am sure you could have killed, ultimately your father would want you to stay alive to be there for your sister. There really would be nothing to be gained from fighting the English today. It would be suicide to try.”

Colleen looked up at Alroy and nodded tearfully.

“I understand your desire to honour your father and defend his castle, but I am sure he would rather have his beautiful daughter alive than dead in battle,” Alroy told her.

Alroy turned his attention away from Colleen and looked at Kaitlyn. “I need you both to do as I say and until you’re safe I will not hesitate to take my belt or my hand to your bare bottoms. Do you understand?”

Kaitlyn nodded. “Yes Sir,” she replied, looking sympathetically at her sister who squirmed uncomfortably in her seat.

Alroy raised his eyebrows as he regarded Colleen. Catching his gaze, she lowered her eyes. “Yes Sir,” she whispered.

As the horse and cart finally started to move, Colleen and Kaitlyn glanced back towards the castle that had been their home for their whole lives. Swallowing anxiously, Colleen turned to Alroy. “Do you think we’ll ever see our beautiful home again?”

“I hope so,” he whispered, taking her hand in his and squeezing it gently.

As the cart bounced her uncomfortably on her well punished bottom, Colleen fell to her knees in front of him, wrapping her arms around him as she sought comfort in his warm embrace. “I’m so sorry,” she whimpered, grateful to take the weight off her sore bottom.

Kaitlyn smiled and knelt beside her sister, gently stroking her back. “I’ve never known anyone to be so grumpy after a spanking. Why can’t you just accept it, especially when you know you deserve it,” she said kindly.

Alroy shook his head as he held Colleen against him. “Not now,” he smiled at Kaitlyn. She’s right though, he thought, smiling. Colleen is so full of vengeance and rage after a spanking, unlike Kaitlyn who is always so full of remorse and accepts her punishment without argument. Alroy smiled as he recalled their father telling him that on many occasions after he had spanked the pair of them.

Kaitlyn watched Alroy consoling her deeply distraught sister. “I can’t believe Daddy’s gone,” Kaitlyn said mournfully. “He’ll never be able to hold us in his arms ever again and comfort us when we’re sad.”

Alroy wrapped an arm around Kaitlyn and pulled the two girls close to him, as the small castle in Ramelton disappeared from view.

Alroy looked heavenwards. I will keep them safe, he promised his recently departed friend. I swear to you I’ll keep them safe if it’s the last thing I do.

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