The Cross of Ciaran
by Andrea Matthews
Genre: Paranormal Romance
When a fifth century pagan priest is unearthed in Ireland fifteen hundred years after being entombed, archaeologist Caitlin O’Connell is convinced it’s the find of the century. The body is in perfect condition, right down to the intricate tattoos adorning the Celt’s skin. In fact, if scientific data hadn’t proved otherwise, she would swear he hadn’t been interred more than a few hours.
Eager to discover more about the mysterious Celt, Caitlin accompanies the body back to the New York museum where she’s employed, but before she has time to study him, the priest disappears without a trace. Rumors surrounding the event begin to circulate and result in the excavation’s benefactor pulling the plug on the entire expedition.
The rumors are not far off the mark though. After being buried alive for betraying his goddess and his priesthood in the dawning age of Christianity, Ciarán wakes to a strange new world. Alone and frightened in an unforgiving city, he stumbles upon the only thing familiar to him and seeks sanctuary within the church walls. With the help of the parish’s pastor, Father Mike, Ciarán slowly grows accustomed to his surroundings, though he’s plagued by dark dreams and the disturbing sensation that an evil from his past has followed him into the future. But a more immediate danger lurks on his doorstep.
Caitlin is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery concerning her missing Celt, and when she meets her Uncle Mike’s new handyman, Ciarán Donnelly, she’s convinced the handsome Irishman knows more about the theft than he’s letting on. Yet, even she can’t deny the attraction between them, simmering below the surface and blurring the lines between her personal and professional life. But will Ciarán’s secrets draw them together or shatter their future forever?
Caitlin O’Connell brushed the dirt away from the small section of jagged rock she’d been working on. She couldn’t believe her eyes. That series of carved markings were too uniform to simply be the result of time and weather. But up here on the hillside, hidden beneath centuries of dirt and vegetation? Though her hands shook with excitement, she picked up her trawl and scraped away a bit more of the moist soil.
Another line appeared and she let out a long, calming breath. Remember, you’re a professional. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Determined to make sure before announcing her find, she bent closer, hoping to decipher a letter, or better yet, a word. As she did, a piece of grass tickled her nose, and she wiped her hand across her face, depositing an ample amount of earth on her cheeks.
The heady aroma of dampened soil filled her nostrils, and she sat back on her heels for a moment to savor the fresh, clean scent. Then, wiping her palms on her jeans, she reached out and traced the indentations with her fingers. Her heart raced as each letter formed in her mind. First a ‘t’, followed by an ‘ó’, then an ‘i’ and an ‘r’. This was too good to be true. Without a doubt these markings were part of the ancient Celtic alphabet known as Ogham. She had to get Professor Lambert up here to see this right away.
Andrea Matthews is the pseudonym for Inez Foster, a historian and librarian who loves to read and write and search around for her roots, genealogical speaking. In fact, it was while doing some genealogical research that she stumbled across the history of the Border reivers. The idea for her first novel came to mind almost at once, gradually growing into the Thunder on the Moor series. And the rest is history, as they say.
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