Dark Highlander

Dark Highlander
Karen Marie Moning

First Prologue

In a place difficult for humans to find, a man, of sorts--it amused him to go by the name of Adam Black among mortals--approached a silk-canopied dais and knelt before his queen.

"My queen, The Compact is broken."

Aoibheal, queen of the Tuatha D‚ Danaan, was silent for a long time. When finally she turned to her consort, her voice dripped ice. "Summon the council."

Second Prologue

Thousands of years before the birth of Christ, there settled in Ireland a race called the Tuatha D‚ Danaan who, over time, became known as the True Race, or the Fairy.

An advanced civilization from a faraway world, the Tuatha D‚ Danaan educated some of the more promising humans they encountered in Druid ways. For a time, man and fairy shared the earth in peace, but sadly, bitter dissension arose between them, and the Tuatha D‚ Danaan decided to move on. Legend claims they were driven "under the hills" into "fairy mounds." The truth is they never left our world, but hold their fantastic court in places difficult for humans to find.

After the Tuatha D‚ Danaan left, the human Druids warred among themselves, splintering into factions. Thirteen of them turned to dark ways and--thanks to what the Tuatha D‚ Danaan had taught them--nearly destroyed the earth.

The Tuatha D‚ Danaan emerged from their hidden places and stopped the dark Druids moments before they succeeded in damaging the earth beyond repair. They stripped the Druids of their power, scattering them to the far corners of the earth. They punished the thirteen who'd turned dark by casting them into a place between dimensions, locking their immortal souls in an eternal prison.

The Tuatha D‚ Danaan then selected a noble bloodline, the Keltar, to use the sacred knowledge to rebuild and nurture the land. Together, they negotiated The Compact: the treaty governing cohabitation of their races. The Keltar swore many oaths to the Tuatha D‚ Danaan, first and foremost that they would never use the power of the standing stones--which give the man who knows the sacred formulas the ability to move through space and time--for personal gain or political ends. The Tuatha D‚ Danaan pledged many things in return, first and foremost that they would never spill the lifeblood of a mortal. Both races have long abided by the pledges made that day.

Over the ensuing millennia, the MacKeltar journeyed to Scotland and settled in the Highlands above what is now called Inverness. Although most of their ancient history from the time of their involvement with the Tuatha D‚ Danaan has melted into the mists of their distant past and been forgotten, and although there is no record of a Keltar encountering a Tuatha D‚ Danaan since then, they have never strayed from their sworn purpose.

Pledged to serve the greater good of the world, no MacKeltar has ever broken his sacred oath. On the few occasions they have opened a gate to other times within the circle of stones, it has been for the noblest of reasons: to protect the earth from great peril. An ancient legend holds that if a MacKeltar breaks his oath and uses the stones to travel through time for personal purposes, the myriad souls of the darkest Druids trapped in the in-between will claim him and make him the most evil, terrifyingly powerful Druid humankind has ever known.

In the late-fifteenth century, twin brothers Drustan and Dageus MacKeltar are born. As their ancestors before them, they protect the ancient lore, nurture the land, and guard the coveted secret of the standing stones.

Honorable men, without corruption, Dageus and Drustan serve faithfully.

Until one fateful night, in a moment of blinding grief, Dageus MacKeltar violates the sacred Compact.

When his brother Drustan is killed, Dageus enters the circle of stones and goes back in time to prevent Drustan's death. He succeeds, but between dimensions is taken by the souls of the evil Druids, who have not tasted or touched or smelled, not made love or danced or vied for power for nearly four thousand years.

Now Dageus MacKeltar is a man with one good conscience--and thirteen bad ones. Although he can hold his own for a while, his time is growing short.

The darkest Druid currently resides in the East 70s in Manhattan, and that is where our story begins.



Dageus MacKeltar walked like a man and talked like a man, but in bed he was pure animal.

Criminal attorney Katherine O'Malley called a spade a spade, and the man was raw Sex with a capital S. Now that she'd slept with