When Conor McCloud returns from the Crusades, his cousin is holding Inverness under siege. During an attempt to reclaim McCloud castle and stop the bloodshed, Conor makes a promise to a dying friend: seek out the woman who a witch said could heal the land...a woman from another time and place.When a dark Highlander appears in modern-day Seattle and begs the beautiful Eilan Douglas for help, she can't refuse. But fourteenth-century Scotland is no place for a woman with Eilan's special powers...and Conor must now spare her from charges of witchcraft -- and decide whether love can withstand the ultimate test of time.
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April 22, 2002
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Excerpt from The Enchantment by Pam Binder
Eilan Dougan unlocked the door to the antiques shop. She drew in a breath of crisp autumn air and smiled. The silver mist of morning wrapped around Seattle's Pioneer Square like an enchanted cloak. Surrounded by concrete buildings that blocked out the sun, this tree-lined oasis was home to Eilan and her parents' antiques shop named A Dance Through Time. Pale light filtered through the windows of the store and cast a haze over the assortment of antique mahogany tables and chairs. Inside, a grandfather clock stood next to the door like a palace guard. It seemed out of place on the same wall where a collection of medieval two-handed swords, crossbows and shields were displayed.
However, Eilan liked the clock right where it was and so that is where it stayed. It was one of the few items in the shop that was not for sale. The last time she remembered hearing it chime was on June 6, the day she graduated from Seattle University. That was also the day she'd decided to take control of her life.
She remembered the comment her dad had made in the days that followed. He told her it was as though the clock had stopped working the day her life as an adult began. It was also the day the headaches and the ringing in her ears had begun. That was five and a half years ago.
Eilan pulled a dust rag from the pocket of her jeans and wiped the glass that covered the face of the clock. The day she graduated from college was a nightmare. There were so many people. Normally she was able to keep her distance, but that had not been the case on June 6.
She shivered, remembering, the waves of thoughts and emotions flooding her mind. They surrounded her in a suffocating embrace. She couldn't breathe. She had run from the reception hall in panic.
Eilan was an empath.
Her mother said it was a gift. Eilan believed it came under the heading of a curse. The blasted ability to read people's minds only occurred when they touched her. If her gift stopped there she might have been all right, but it did not. It seemed as though everyone on graduation day wanted to either shake her hand or give her a congratulatory hug.
She glanced in the reflection of the clock's glass as she pulled her dark hair into a ponytail. A few strands of snow-white hair framed her face. They were another reminder of the reason she had chosen the life of a recluse.
She took a deep breath. Moving to the isolation of the backcountry of Colorado had been the right decision. She'd thought she'd successfully convinced her mother she was okay living alone. That was, until Eilan received the phone call bringing her back to Seattle.
The opportunity came at a time when she had wanted to check out her headaches at Swedish Hospital. The pain had grown worse over the last few years and Eilan was concerned. Her worst fears were realized, but there was no reason to worry her parents. There would be time enough to tell them when they returned from their trip.
Her mother and father had asked Eilan to help with the antiques store while they were on vacation in Great Britain. Eilan hadn't needed to read her mother's mind to decipher the real meaning of why she'd been called home. Her mother felt Eilan had withdrawn too much into an emotionless world. Eilan shrugged. Well, what if it were true? It was her decision, wasn't it?