Modern day doctor Elisabeth Douglas never expected to find herself accused of witchcraft by a 16th century Scottish earl
A Warrior's Life...Meets a Healer's Art
Laird David Murray would give his life to pull his clan through this time of strife and conflict. With enemies both inside and outside his keep, he has never felt so alone and desperate. Until he meets a beautiful healer with uncanny knowledge from another time.
Elisabeth Douglas was a doctor in her own time. Now she's the only one with the knowledge and skill to help Laird David save the lives of his family.
Praise for The Return of Black Douglas:
"Intriguing...Bestseller Coffman spins a rewarding love story between her two intelligent, stubborn protagonists, keeping their relationship fresh and their conflicts credible...A satisfying time–travel romance."—Publishers Weekly
"Full of action, danger, passion, and drama...A must–read for medieval and time–travel fans alike."—RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars
"Delightfully infused with suspense, humor, heartache, an entertaining plot, well–drawn characters, and a wily ghost, this story is a keeper."—Romance Junkies
"Imagine being thrown into the sixteenth century, into a warriors arms—a bit scary, but a bit hot. A great little love story with a twist."—Bookloons
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Read an Excerpt
Had we never lov'd sae kindly,
Had we never lov'd sae blindly,
Never met-or never parted-
We had ne'er been broken-hearted.
-"Ae Fond Kiss" (1791)
Robert Burns (17591796)
Isobella Mackinnon had never seen her sister, Elisabeth Douglas, look more beautiful than she did at this moment. "You look as graceful as a plumy egret," she said. "If only you could see yourself. Oh, how I wish we had a full-length mirror."
"I don't need a mirror, Izzy. I can see myself in your eyes." Elisabeth looked down at the dress and declared, "It looks as fragile as fairy wings."
Isobella nodded. "Just think, if you married in our time, you would be in a boring white gown and about to marry some dude from the twenty-first century."
Elisabeth laughed. "Oh spare me, for that reminds me of how much I wanted to throttle you the day we came back in time and found ourselves in a glen full of warring knights. Remember how the Black Douglas stood there, looking positively bewildered when he saw I had accompanied you? I'm still ashamed of the fit I threw when I found out he couldn't send me back. And I was so angry at you, too. Do you remember how I said I would love to punch you, flat out?"
Izzy laughed and said, "Yes, and I was afraid you were mad enough to do it!"
"I know it's a little late, but I feel I should apologize for being so hard on you, Izzy. How would I dream that jumping back six centuries in time would change my life for the best? Please don't feel like I gave anything up, because I didn't. I'm still a doctor, and I am needed here so much more than I could ever be in our time."
"I know, but I wish it could have happened a year later, after you finished your last year at Johns Hopkins. I know it was hard to give up your position as chief resident."
Elisabeth hugged her and said, "Yes, but look what I got in return."
Isobella's eyes sparkled as she said, "I'd better get going so I can get dressed before I start crying from happiness and get tears all over my new dress." She started toward the door, then stopped and turned. "You aren't sorry about the way things worked out... I mean, if you had it to do over again, only this time if you had a choice, would you choose to come back?"
Elisabeth's smile was brilliant. "Without hesitation," she said, and watched Isobella slip through the door, looking happier than a smiley face.
After Izzy was gone, Elisabeth dressed quickly, glanced at her wedding dress again, and sat down on the bed, her heart bursting with happiness as she fell back, thinking about her future. An hour later, she was still lying on the bed, enraptured in her thoughts about her life at Màrrach Castle, which included the marriage of Izzy to Alysandir, Chief of Clan Mackinnon. And now here she was, a year and a half later, about to marry his brother Ronan.
I don't deserve to be so happy. No one does...
Poor Elisabeth. She needn't have worried about being so happy, for personal turmoil was about to come her way. When it came to the future of Elisabeth Rhiannon Douglas, Fate had other plans...
Later that evening, Elisabeth sat on her bed, too exhausted to cry any more. Suddenly, the door opened and Isobella rushed into the room, threw her arms around Elisabeth, and said, "Oh my God, Elisabeth! I'm so sorry. I don't know what to think, because I know nothing can ease the pain you are feeling. Oh, what can I say? What can I do? What can any of us do?"
With a stone face and a broken heart, Elisabeth lifted eyes that were void of life, as she replied, "Nothing. There is absolutely nothing you or anyone can do." She sighed. "Oh, Izzy, they lie when they say love conquers all. I loved and he loved, but that was not enough. My love for him was like quicksilver slipping through my hands, and there was nothing I could do to stop it."
Elisabeth stood and walked to the window. "Why couldn't I marry the man I loved as you did? Oh, I don't know why I ask you that when the Black Douglas is the only one who can answer it, and he is making his ghostly presence very scarce around here. Not that I blame him. He knows I wouldn't be very nice to him. You haven't seen him, have you?"
Isobella shook her head. "Not so much as a ruffled leaf or a draft blowing down the chimney."
Elisabeth nodded and crossed her arms in front of herself as she began pacing back and forth.
Isobella watched her... back and forth... back and forth... and wondered how she, or anyone, could explain why, on the eve of his wedding, Ronan was ordered to marry the daughter of the Earl of Bosworth. Isobella had never felt so inadequate, and it pained her to see the way Elisabeth pressed her fists against the knots in her stomach, just before she spoke.
"I wish to God he had thrown me aside for another or lost his feeling for me. That I could have suffered and gotten over," Elisabeth said. "But this? How does one get over knowing we were separated by an edict from the King's regent?"
Isobella walked to the window and stood beside her sister, still at a loss for words.
"Oh, Izzy, how can I face tomorrow and all the tomorrows that follow? My life is over."
Isobella gave her a shake. "No, it isn't! You mustn't say that because it isn't true. You have been wounded deeply, but you will heal in time. And while you wait for the healing to come, you must stay busy. Yes, you love him, but he was not your first love."
Elisabeth jerked back as if she had been slapped. "Not my first love?" she said. "Izzy, how can you say that?"
"I can because it's true. Medicine was your first love. Focus on that, and you will find your healing."
Elisabeth sighed, lost in her thoughts, and then, after a few minutes, she realized Izzy was right. She was in danger of allowing her grief to take over. Elisabeth, you have more self-discipline than that, and you cannot allow your pain to ruin your life. What would you tell a heartbroken patient? She knew the answer to that, just as she knew the answer to what would save her.
She turned to Izzy and said, "You're right. If anything can save me from ongoing despair, it's medicine."
"I'm so glad to hear you say that," Izzy said. "You are a doctor, a healer, and a damn good one, or you wouldn't have been appointed chief resident. It's like you told me once-find your bearings and you will regain your life."
Elisabeth smiled sadly, remembering when she said that, never knowing she would one day heed her own advice. She was a healer, and although she had suffered a terrible loss, she could spare others the painful heartbreak of losing a loved one by devoting herself to her calling. She would lose herself in caring for others. She would return to her first love, medicine. And there she would find solace, if not happiness; peace, in lieu of love. "I think I became so enamored with being in love that I quite forgot about medicine. Remember that quote Dad had framed over his desk?"
Isobella nodded. "It had something to do with timing, I think."
"Yes, that's the one," Elisabeth said. "Timing... and picking up the pieces when all is said and done-or something to that effect." She sighed and looked off. "You know, that's very similar to what Ronan once told me."
Isobella waited a moment, then asked, "And what was that?"
"Things do come at their appointed time through all the changing seasons of life."