Bound to the Wolf Prince

By: Marguerite Kaye


Prologue




Legend has it that one dark, stormy night many centuries ago, a small wooden craft got into difficulties off the West Highland coast, and broke its hull on the vicious outcrop of rocks called the Beathach, or the Beast. All aboard that storm-tossed night were lost save for one, a babe in arms, only child of the mythical Highland warrior known as The Fearless One. Still tucked up in the woven reed basket in which he had been sleeping, the child was miraculously washed ashore on the remote, uninhabited Isle of Kentarra.

Here, he was found by a wolf pack who, instead of tearing out his throat, suckled him and reared him as one of their own, initiating him into their ways, imbuing him with their qualities. He survived and grew to be a man. A man with the spirit of the wolf residing inside him. He eventually learned how to master his inner beast. And he learned how—and when—to unleash its terrifying power.

From this extraordinary individual evolved a race of fierce warriors, the Faol, with their chilling clan motto: Faiceallach! Tha mise an seo! Beware! For I am come!

The Faol are feared and revered in equal measure throughout Scotland. Famed for their consummate skills in battle and reputed to be irresistible to mortal women, they live in uneasy symbiosis with their Highland neighbours. Their home is the remote island kingdom of Kentarra, where their unique culture is fiercely protected. The Faol rarely walk among humans, except on those occasions when a laird commissions them to deploy their prowess in battle to aid his cause. Such requests are often rejected, for the Faol are no mere mercenaries. Their code dictates that they offer their services only to just causes, and utilise the proceeds for the good of the pack.

Though the price demanded is high, those privileged few granted their services can have no doubt of victory. Once their promise is secured, the pride and honour of the Faol ensure it will be fulfilled.

Whatever the cost.





Chapter 1




Scottish Highlands, 1703

Even by the standards of a Highland summer it was a wild night. Eoin landed the little boat with relief on the tiny beach which was the island’s only safe anchorage. Hauling it clear of the foam-crested sea, he stood on the shingle, his heightened senses on full alert. Throwing back his head and closing his eyes, he blocked out the hiss of the breaking waves on the pebbles, the scrabbling and squeaking of the little night creatures, the lonesome cry of a far distant owl.

In the purplish gloaming light of a bruised sky, he was an impressive sight. Naked, save for the filleadh beg, his magnificent warrior’s body glistened with the ocean’s spray. Deeply tanned, his muscles clearly outlined under the sheen of moonlight on skin, rippling like the ebb and flow of the tide which pounded the beach, Eoin had about him an air of tightly-coiled power which signalled danger. His auburn hair, which fell in a wild tangle to his shoulders, gave him an untamed look. A smattering of darker hair covered the width of his chest, arrowing down in a thin path past the dip of his stomach to the broad leather belt with its jewelled buckle which kept his plaid in place. In the eerie light of the pending summer storm, his eyes, by daytime mossy green, had an iridescent, tawny hue.

Eoin breathed deeply and sniffed the air. He could detect them easily enough, the humans. Male. Overpoweringly male, that sharp, bitter scent. No trace of female. But then, if she was being held in some confined space, that was to be expected. He sincerely hoped she was on the island. It had been an arduous task, tracking his quarry clear across the Highlands, and it had taken longer than he had anticipated. Looking up at the night sky, he frowned. Only two more days until the full moon, which could prove a problem—but he would worry about that when he had her in his clutches.

The castle, no more than a tower and a few rough buildings enclosed by a perimeter wall, stood on the highest point of the island. Granite-grey, the main keep was topped by battlements, though his razor-sharp night vision could detect no lookout. Behind the castle stretched moorland, desolate and rust-coloured. A bleak place. No Highlander could possibly have traced her here. It was why Laird Ogilvie had commissioned him for the task in the first place. Eoin smiled to himself. They were not expecting anyone. They were assuredly not expecting one such as he.

Moving stealthily towards the castle, he heard the faint noises of the men in their guard room. Three, certainly no more than four of them. Laughing. Relaxed. No sound from the turret. Was she imprisoned there? It was the obvious location. He was about to find out. Unbuckling his belt, Eoin unravelled his plaid, placing it behind a large rock along with his claymore and his dirk. He had no need of weapons.

He arched his back and stretched, the movement lengthening his torso, showing off the supremely masculine line of his body, the span of his shoulders, the swell of his chest as his ribcage expanded, the narrow waist, taut buttocks, lithe, athletic legs. He was also aroused. He was always aroused when upon the brink of change. For some, transformation was painful. For Eoin, it was invigorating in every way. His shaft jutted up, thick and potent against his belly. He stretched his arms higher, his eyes amber, glinting up at the moon, and threw back his head to summon his inner wolf.

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