Forever Doon (Doon #4) - Carey Corp



I collapsed to my knees in the wet sand, staring at the vast, empty expanse of beach without a mountain in sight. Behind me the waves of the morning tide roared like a voracious beast. Soon they would devour the land and we would return to Dunbrae Cottage having failed to find a way back to Doon for the twenty-second day in a row.

Balling my hand into a fist, I willed the silver and emerald ring on my finger to react. It had opened the portal to the secret back door into Doon before. But despite wanting it to work more than ever before, it remained cold and lifeless on my finger as if mourning the loss of its counterpart, my best friend’s gold and ruby one.

According to Duncan, Vee’s ring had fallen from his finger when Eòran pushed us toward safety during the bridge collapse. It had most likely been swept downriver with the rubble. Although Fiona and several others continued to search for it, I feared it was lost for good. And all of us with it—the unfortunate Doonians trapped on the wrong side of the Brig o’ Doon as our loved ones battled against a wicked witch for their very lives.

Duncan’s warm hand rested gently on my shoulder. “Come away, woman,” he murmured. The heat of his touch caused me to realize how miserable the weather was—much cooler than the first time we’d visited the beach. That had been another lifetime ago. Duncan’s first legit trip to the ocean—his first time feeling the surf around his feet and exploring tidal pools. Despite the threat of zombie fungus and the urgency of returning to Doon, we’d had a perfect “Summer Nights” moment, getting friendly in the sand and all that. Later, when we were safely home, I’d given him a petrified starfish to commemorate the moment.

But the days of singing about our true love vow were over. It turned colder, that’s where it ends . . . Now our kingdom was under siege and we were as useless as a classically trained Shakespearian actor at a Hairspray audition.

No! I cut off the hopeless thought. We’d find a way back to Doon, help our friends save the kingdom, and live happily ever after. All we had to do was believe and not give up.

I sighed internally. Easier said than done.

“Ready, lass?” Duncan’s hand slid down my shoulder to curl around my bicep. But instead of rising to my feet with his support, I shrugged him away.

“Just a few more minutes.” I clenched my fist tighter, squinting at the horizon where I willed mountains to appear. Please, I pleaded silently. We need to get back to Vee and the others. We need to save Doon.

My plea seemed to disappear into nothing; the sand remained unchanged, flat and desolate except for an old Scotsman who lumbered across the beach in our direction. There was something vaguely familiar about the old guy, but Duncan interrupted before I could figure it out.

“Mackenna. Perhaps it’s time we admit the truth. Aye?” Although he didn’t touch me again, I could feel the heat rolling off him as he stood at my back.

Without warning, I lurched to my feet and whirled to confront him. “Which is?”

His velvety brown gaze held mine. “Mayhap we’re no’ meant to return to Doon through the mountains. At least no’ right now.”

The words weren’t easy for him to say—I knew Duncan well enough to be certain of this. Every bone in his body yearned to reunite with his brother, as mine ached to return to Vee. Neither of us ever spoke of the possibility that one or both might already be dead, or that it might be our fault for abandoning them.

Despite the human heater facing me, my teeth began to chatter. “What if we’re not meant to go back at all? What if this is how Doon survives, through our memories? I suppose we should just get on with our lives then. Maybe move out west to Santa Fe—I hear it’s sunny and nice.”

I’d flung my response at Duncan carelessly and had the uncomfortable satisfaction of seeing the pain in his eyes as my verbal darts hit their mark. He paled, his brows pinching together as he struggled not to react. “I’m no’ sayin’ we give up—or relocate. Just that we look for Doon another way.”

“Like rebuilding the bridge?” I asked, doing my best to not sound critical about his fixation with restoring the Brig o’ Doon.


I shook my head