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Midnight's Seduction

By´╝ÜDonna Grant

CHAPTER

ONE

MacLeod Castle

January 2012

Saffron sucked in a harsh breath as she came instantly awake. But she kept her eyes closed tight, afraid to open them and see nothing but darkness. Again.

She heard the crackle of the fire in the hearth, and the wind as it rattled against the window from the fierce winter storm that had raged for days.

Three years of being blind, of fighting the darkness she had been confined to, and she was too frightened to open her eyes and see if the spell had truly been broken.

A spell that had been put on her by Declan Wallace, a Druid with unimaginable black magic. A Druid who had wanted to use her abilities as a Seer to his advantage.

Even now, just thinking of the power of his magic sent a cold chill snaking down Saffron’s spine.

But it wasn’t just his magic. It was the evil inside Declan, the malice and the spiteful soul that was as black as pitch. And owned by Satan himself.

Saffron had discovered all too painfully how extensive Declan’s magic was. He had used her fear of spiders to torment her. To torture her endlessly, incessantly.

Ruthlessly.

She inhaled deeply as the fear that had been with her for three years began to take over once more. Saffron struggled to remember the glorious feel of Declan’s magic snapping as Danielle found his spell deep in Saffron’s mind. And broke it.

Relief had poured through Saffron. Relief and … calm. She relaxed as the same mixture of emotions soothed her once more. The reversal spell, however, had affected Saffron in a way that even now made her stomach clench in terror.

She shouldn’t have passed out. She shouldn’t have felt the tug of Declan’s magic as it struggled to keep a hold on her.

Yet she did. She felt all of it keenly.

“Stop being a ninny, and open your eyes,” she whispered to herself.

Saffron swallowed past the lump in her throat and clutched the heavy blanket that was atop her. Her heart pounded with a sickingly slow beat that echoed in her ears.

And before she could change her mind, she opened her eyes.

There was no half measure for her. No cracking open a lid to see if she saw any light. It was all or nothing.

Instantly, she raised her hand to shield her eyes as the light from a table beside her made her turn her head away quickly. Her heart missed a beat as she blinked against the bright light.

Saffron sat up and swung her legs over the bed so that her back was to the light and she let her eyes wander the room. She had been in MacLeod Castle for several weeks. She’d gotten to know the room as any blind person would. By touch and learning how many steps from any given point to another.

But now she was able to look at the castle as everyone else did.

A wall of gray stone rose before her, broken by the window and a medieval tapestry with rich hues of burgundy, green, and gold. Saffron had to blink several times to allow her eyes time to adjust to the brightness that seemed so foreign to her.

She scrunched her toes on the rug and looked down at her feet. There had been a time in her life when she wouldn’t have let a month go by without a pedicure. Her once impeccably polished toes needed trimming, and a good soak.

If her feet had changed so much, what would the rest of her look like? Even before her trip to Britain, she had gone to the gym regularly to keep fit. It wasn’t just about staying trim, it was about being healthy, especially after her father’s death due to heart disease.

Saffron promptly pushed thoughts of her father out of her mind. If she thought of him, she’d have to think of her mother and stepfather, and she couldn’t deal with that and her new sight at the same time.

Slowly, Saffron rose from the bed and walked to the window. She knew it was exactly eight steps from the bed to the window, but this time she didn’t count. Or at least she tried not to. It was so ingrained in her she couldn’t help it.

When she reached the window, she pressed her face to the glass and sighed as the cold touched her. The movement of the water outside her window made her breath catch in her throat. She’d had no idea her room faced the sea. After a few more moments watching the dark, rolling water, she straightened.

Then she turned to face the rest of the room.

She had to shield her eyes from the light, and it took several tries before she was able to see past the glare. Her eyes roamed from the chest of drawers to her left to the small door that led to a private bathroom. Then on to a chair in the corner next to the door that led into the corridor. Beside the door were hooks that Saffron knew had been there since the castle was built.

Farther along was a dressing table where her brush and other belongings were laid out. Next came the bedside table with the lamp, the bed, and then the hearth.

Saffron stared at the flames, amazed at the hues of orange, yellow, red, and even blue that she saw. It had been so long since she had seen color that she found herself mesmerized. Completely enthralled.

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