Enslaved for millennia by the masters of the Welsh faery realm, the fierce Celtic warrior Rhys is doomed to wander the earth forever. But when a brave beauty unwittingly breaks the enchantment, he is drawn into a strange new world…and an all-consuming desire.
Sensible Morgan doesn’t believe in magic—until a mysterious being saves her from a fate worse than death, and life as she knows it changes forever. Now the man of her dreams has become flesh and blood, igniting a spark in Morgan’s soul which science cannot explain. But even a love that transcends time may not be strong enough to withstand the power of an ancient curse.
From the best-selling author of Changeling Moon, this stirring novel of passion and magic launches an addictive new series for fans of paranormal romance.
FROM PUBLISHERS WEEKLY:Starred review: Wonder touches Spokane Valley, Wash., and the life of veterinarian Morgan Edwards in Harper’s beautifully narrated foray into Celtic myth and legend. While realizing a lifelong dream of visiting Wales, the land of her ancestors, Morgan unknowingly sets in motion events that change her life. The adventures follow her home in the form of Rhys, a mysterious man who’s been under a curse since Roman times. Morgan must depend on words of wisdom from her past as she navigates the unknown paths of love and faith, and as she fights for her life. Rich with detail and accessible explanations of lore, the events unfold naturally. The romantic elements are slightly outweighed by the paranormal aspects, though the result is immensely satisfying with just a hint of spice. Harper (Changeling Moon) provides excellent texture and depth with a touch of sincere empathy for animals, rounding out an already excellent novel.
EXCERPT ONE from Storm Warrior
Morgan pressed the sharp tip of the garden hoe against the throat of the prone man. “Okay Reese, what the hell are you doing here on my front lawn? You’ve got no car, no keys and no clothes. How’d you get here?”
“My name is Rhys.” He corrected, pronouncing it with a single roll of the r, just as Nainie had said her r’s all her life. As did every Welsh person Morgan had met on her trip, from the hotel clerks to the shopkeepers to the tour directors. “And it was you brought me here.”
“I’m pretty sure I’d remember that. Now, where did you come from?”
“I was a warrior of my clan until I was captured by the Roman invaders. They forced me to fight in the arena at Isca Silurum and named me The Bringer of Death for my skills. I thought I knew hell then, but I had not truly found it until I escaped from them.”
Good grief, was he high on something? The Bringer of Death… Somebody had been playing way too many video games. “Good for you. Ten points for originality. Let me guess, you were drinking last night, and your friends decided to play a prank on you. They stole your clothes and dumped you at the wrong place. Am I close?”
“A prank.” He seemed to consider that. “Yes, you could say that a bit of a prank was played on me. I found a cave, but it turned out to be an entrance to the world below. The Tylwyth Teg found me there, and there aren’t greater pranksters to be had.”
She nearly dropped the hoe. “How do you know about the Tylwyth Teg?” Except for her grandmother, she’d never heard anyone on this side of the ocean speak of them, never mind pronounce their name correctly. The tourist shops in Wales did a booming business in faery merchandise, yet she hadn’t heard the real name of the fantasy creatures used very much even in that country. She narrowed her eyes at the man, daring him to answer.
He shrugged a little. Although she wasn’t pressing on his neck anymore, he remained prone. “The Fair Ones are cousin to men but very much older. Ancient as the mountains. It was the custom of our clan to leave offerings for them, outside the village. The Fair Ones are often bored, and they think nothing of toying with mortals for sport.”
Nainie Jones had often spoken of her childhood, told of her mother leaving milk and bread on the back step for the Tylwyth Teg. It was an offering, a gift of hospitality, she said, so they wouldn’t play tricks on the family. Morgan gripped the hoe harder to keep her hands from trembling, yet she couldn’t help but be fascinated.
“You cannot enter their territory without permission or payment,” he continued. “I had nothing to offer when they discovered me. Not even my life, as I was dying. I thought they would finish me, but instead they healed me. And that was their prank. Because then they changed me, so they could take their payment in servitude.”
Rhys—if that was even his real name—either believed what he was saying or he was a prime candidate for an Oscar. Because try as Morgan might, she couldn’t see any evidence that he was lying. He had to be crazy then, but everything about the whole situation was insane. After all, she was standing in her front yard in her pajamas, holding a naked man at the point of a garden hoe. She’d taken assertive action when she’d seen him lying in the grass, assuming he was drunk or something. Well, she’d gotten the upper hand all right.
Now what was she supposed to do with the guy?
EXCERPT TWO from Storm Warrior
Jay stepped back suddenly, and Morgan turned to see what he was looking at. She had a split second’s view of the great black horse bearing down on her. There was no time to react. Instead, she was whisked skyward and clamped tight to a broad chest.
“What the hell!” she sputtered. She was seated sideways on the horse in front of Rhys like a storybook princess. It wasn’t a secure feeling despite his obvious strength. “Put me down!”
Her captor only laughed at her. As the horse circled the archery range at an easy loping canter, Morgan gradually lost her initial fear. She couldn’t fall if she tried, held fast by Rhys’ iron arms. And as far as she could tell, Rhys himself was part of the horse. She gave up and relaxed. They circled the field twice more, and Morgan found herself actually disappointed when they came to a gentle stop in front of the cheering group. Rhys gave her a final squeeze then set her on the ground as easily as if she’d been a child.
He dismounted and walked the horse over to its owner. Morgan couldn’t figure out how he guided Boo so easily without a lead rope. Rhys’s hand rested on the muscled neck of the big draft animal, but Boo weighed close to a ton. If the horse decided to go in another direction, there’d be nothing to stop him. Yet he followed as if he were simply a large companionable dog.
Morgan’s heart squeezed. The horse was behaving just as her big black mastiff had, taking its every cue from its human. As her dog had looked to her – and damn it all, she missed him. Seeking some privacy, she stepped around the side of a truck and scrubbed the moisture from her eyes with the heel of her hand. Sniffed and chided herself for getting so emotional—
“It’s strange to see sadness on such a bright day. Are you well?” There was concern in Rhys’s strong face, a softness in his gaze that contrasted with the hard muscle of his body.
“I’m just missing my dog, that’s all. It’s probably silly – I didn’t have him all that long.”
“Aye, but it’s not the number of days that decides the strength of the bond.” He rested a massive hand lightly on her shoulder for a moment, then strode back to the corral where Mike had finished saddling Boo.
Surprised by the simple wisdom, Morgan was left to wonder if he was speaking about her dog or something more. Still she watched as Rhys spent the next couple of hours instructing each of the group, even Jay, who could barely ride, in the art of horsemanship. No matter who the student was, however, she only had eyes for Rhys. The way he moved was deeply familiar to her, as if she’d been watching him for years, not mere days.
She ate from a plate Starr had brought her, barely tasting the food. Barely hearing the excited conversations around her. Instead she considered the long conversations she had with Rhys each evening over supper. They were so easy together, so familiar. Sometimes she even knew what he was going to say before he said it. How had this man, this stranger, slipped so seamlessly into her life in so short a time? How had he suddenly stepped from a dream and into her every waking thought?
It’s not the number of days that decides the strength of the bond….
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