The Broken Highlander
Chapter 1
     
    Scotland 1304
     
    The fire consumed him, burning away what he
had been. It coursed through his veins until it culminated where
his heart should be. He no longer knew whether he had a heart or
not. But he held fast to the one thing in the inky blackness that
he could remember. Her. She was everything. He both hated her and
wanted her. But what had she done to him?
    The wet slurping sounds nearly gagged Nevin
MacLachlan, but he refused to stop. He needed this. His newfound
strength had waned.
    It had been weeks since he had fed. He was
pushing himself to go longer between feedings. The last time wasn’t
something he’d soon forget. How could he? He’d killed a man.
    Forcing the blood down his throat in a
Herculean effort, Nevin refused to shut his eyes. He would watch,
he made himself watch, and he would never forget what he had
become. Vampire .
    He dropped the nearly empty deer carcass and
stared in horror and disgust at the blood on his hands. His plaid
was ruined. He’d have to try to wash the blood out in the loch.
Trudging towards the freezing cold loch, his thoughts drifted to
the demon angel who had turned him into the monster he now was.
    She was beautiful. Long hair, dark as the
night he lived in, eyes that were just as dark, and a sinfully lush
figure. He’d wanted her from the instant he first saw her. The lust
that hit him was unlike anything he’d ever felt before, not even
for his wife.
    But that was before. Before she’d turned him,
before he’d been relegated to the darkness of shadows, before he’d
become a monster. He swatted at a low-hanging branch with more
vehemence than was necessary and the branch splintered. Disgusted
at himself, he plodded on.
    Damn her, she’d ruined everything. Why
couldn’t she have just left him alone?
    He should be inside his warm smithy, pounding
out a piece of metal, watching the lump of raw ore change shape and
turn into something useful. He loved working with his hands. He
loved making tools, weapons, horse shoes, didn’t matter. He created
something and he felt a sense of purpose.
    But all that was gone. His friends, his
village, all thought him a demon. Which he was . The blood
dripping down his beard was evidence enough. The one time he’d seen
his reflection in the moonlit water, his eyes had been red. If that
didn’t prove he was demon, the taste of blood in his mouth did. Because he enjoyed the blood . All of his kind did. That was
the problem, wasn’t it? He couldn’t stop thinking about blood.
    Except when he was thinking about her.
    Her . The demon who had doomed him to
this hellish existence of eternity. He didn’t pretend that the
human he’d killed wasn’t dead because of his own actions, but she
sure as hell deserved some of the blame. It was her fault he had
become this creature.
    Nevin refused to become like her. He wouldn’t
kill humans. Not again. His fight was with the vampires. All of
them. The Nightkind had killed his wife, and he had hated them long
before he’d been turned into one. Now, he wouldn’t rest until every
last one of them had been eradicated. Maybe then he’d feel some
peace.
     

Chapter 2
     
    The icy waters of the loch at night did
nothing to cleanse his soul, but he scrubbed his body with a corner
of his plaid. He scrubbed until his skin felt raw, then he scrubbed
some more. It wasn’t until he heard a scream that stopped. Pulled
from his melancholy mood, his head jerked up in surprise. His newly
enhanced hearing allowed him to hear fabric rending, followed by a
grunt and another scream.
    Heedless of the fact that he was soaking wet
and freezing, Nevin ran toward the commotion. Knowing what he would
find didn’t make it any easier. It was as he expected; a large man
was forcing himself upon a young lass.
    Nevin walked silently up to them, the only
sound he made was the droplets of water falling from his plaid.
Nothing their human ears would hear. He palmed his sword, waiting
to draw it until he was

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