Cover & Excerpt Reveal
Earth Reclaimed Book Two
Clinging to their courage in a crumbling world, Aislinn and Fionn vow to save Earth, no matter what it takes.
In a post-apocalyptic world where most people have been slaughtered, the Celtic gods and a few humans with magic are all that stand between survival and Earth falling into chaos. The combination of dark sorcery leveraged by the enemy is daunting. Destruction is all but certain if the small enclaves of humans who are left can’t get past their distrust of the Celts.
Captured by the enemy, Aislinn Lenear wonders if she’ll ever see her bond wolf or Fionn, a Celtic god, again. She’s had nothing but her wits to rely on for years. They haven’t failed her yet, but escape from her current predicament seems remote.
An enticing blend of dystopian urban fantasy and romance, this second volume of the Earth Reclaimed series provides fertile ground for Aislinn and Fionn’s relationship to deepen. Headstrong and independent, the pair run up against each other’s demands time and time again. Fireworks spark. In the end, they learn to savor every moment in a bittersweet world where each day may well be the last.
Note: This title was original published by Musa Publishing February 7, 2014. It has been re-edited and given a new cover.
Genre: Urban Fantasy/RomancePurchase links: Amazon ARe Amazon ppk
Content/Theme(s): Dragons, Magic, Celtic gods, Post-Apocalyptic, Aliens
Release Date: February 27, 2015
Excerpt & More
After they returned to Marta’s house in the ruins of Ely, Nevada, Fionn spent the next hour rattling through it looking for clues that might help them. He started in the bedroom, but Aislinn’s scent, a mix of honey and musk, clung to everything and nearly undid him. When he caught himself pulling her pillow to his nose, he threw it against the wall and stormed out of the room they’d shared.
The rest of the house hadn’t yielded anything. Fionn didn’t bother going up to the attic. Marta’s parents were there, trapped in a state of suspended animation by a strong spell. Best leave them to their rest since they held the gates between the worlds open.
Because there wasn’t anything else to do, he settled at the kitchen table with a bottle of mead and nearly emptied it. The anesthetic effect he hoped for hadn’t happened, though. At least not yet.
“Would ye like to talk about it?” Gwydion’s melodic voice interrupted Fionn’s bleak thoughts. He swiveled his head to look at the mage standing in the doorway, flanked by Rune and Bella. Dirt clung to his robes; Fionn wondered where he’d been. Gwydion had told him where he was going, but Fionn hadn’t paid much attention.
Hmph. Even the animals deserted me.
I’d have deserted me, too, a different inner voice inserted dryly. The way I banged around in here wanting to kill something—anything—if only it would bring Aislinn back to me. Fionn understood at a level beyond reckoning, if he ever laid eyes on Travis again, the Hunter would be dead before he saw what hit him.
He tipped the bottle in Gwydion’s direction. “Not sure what there is to say,” Fionn mumbled.
“Och and there is much to be said between us.” Gwydion clomped to the table, hooked a chair out with one of his perpetually bare feet, and sat heavily. “For example, we havena ever truly talked about Tara—”
“With good reason,” Fionn snapped.
Gwydion shook his head. “Ye doona trust me. I sense your hesitation. We must clear the air.”
Fionn opened his mouth, but Gwydion shook his head. “Hear me out. That empty place inside you? The one ye’re trying your damnedest to ignore—or drown with spirits? ’Tis akin to how I felt when Tara fled Ireland to escape having to choose you or me. She wanted me, but the ancient bond demanded she wed you.”
“I know all that. I still doona see—”
“For the love of the goddess, would ye stop interrupting?” Gwydion’s blue eyes flashed dangerously. Fionn subsided against the back of his seat. “’Twas no skin off your ass when the lass left Ireland, yet I mourned her loss every day. It’s been years, but I miss her still. ’Twas a gift to see her once again in the tunnels under Slototh’s lair—even if she was already dead.”
Something in Gwydion’s words penetrated the desolation surrounding Fionn. He’d known Gwydion cared for Tara, but he’d never appreciated the extent of his loss. Truth hit home and shame washed over him. When Gwydion waved it in front of his nose—no, make that shoved his nose right in it—Fionn recognized kindred pain. He drew his brows together. “Why were ye not angrier at me? We had words, but it seemed we made things up soon enough.”
“Nay, I simply buried my resentment. What would have been the point in holding a grudge? I tracked Tara to America. By then she’d wed another and made it painfully clear she wanted nothing to do with you or me—or the dragon—ever again.”
“At least part of that was my fault. I could have—”
A bitter laugh bubbled past the close-cropped red-blond beard on Gwydion’s face. “Aye, ye see it now. Ye dinna see it then. All ye could see then was that she was the MacLochlainn. Your MacLochlainn.”
Fionn looked at his hands. What Gwydion said was true. He hadn’t loved Tara and he’d known she didn’t even like him, yet he’d insisted on pressing forward with marriage. Of course, there was the niggling problem he already had a wife, so he’d been finagling a divorce. That had been when Tara, finally eighteen, took matters into her own hands and left Ireland.
“I really am sorry. I should have been more considerate—of both of you.”
“Och, aye.” A thread of magic forced his gaze to meet the master enchanter’s. “I forgive you.”
A corner of Fionn’s mouth turned downward. “The question is whether I can forgive myself.”
Gwydion held out a hand for the mead. Fionn passed it to him. Eyeing what was left of the bottle’s contents, Gwydion said, “There never was a drink that offered enough oblivion to purge Tara from my thoughts.”
“Wasna working for me, either.” Fionn snorted. “I should know this. Ye told me, but I wasna paying attention. Where did you and the animals go?”
“We did the same outside as ye were supposed to be doing within. That would be hunting for clues Travis may have dropped while he was here.”
Fionn waited. Instead of talking, Gwydion tipped the bottle and drank until it was empty. “Did ye find aught?” he asked after it appeared the other mage wasn’t going to say anything else.
Gwydion’s forehead creased. He shoved blond hair over his shoulders, pulled a leather thong out of his robes, and bound it out of the way. “It was odd,” he murmured. “At first we all,” he gestured toward Rune and Bella, “thought we sensed Old Ones—ah, I meant to say Lemurians. When I looked more closely, though, whatever had been there was gone.” He shrugged.
Something tugged at Fionn’s internal alarm system. Attuned to danger, it rarely failed him. “Do ye suppose they were after Marta’s parents?”
For a moment Gwydion looked confused. His features smoothed. “Och, ye mean the Lemurian-human hybrids ensorcelled in yon chamber.” He waved a hand over one shoulder. “Mayhap. There is little else here to draw the Old Ones.”
Fionn thought about the genetic manipulation that must have gone into hybridizing the couple in the attic and shuddered. Did the Old Ones want Marta’s parents’ blood so they could do the same thing to Aislinn?
“At least Aislinn is likely still on this side of the veil,” Gwydion muttered.
Fionn looked sharply at Gwydion, realizing the other mage must have read his thoughts. He dragged a hand down his face. “Aye, we all hope that.”
Something sharp closed over his calf. Rune had bitten him. “It is time. We should go into Taltos. I must see for myself whether my bond mate still lives.”
“Can ye feel her?” Fionn asked.
The wolf’s amber eyes gleamed in the dim kitchen. “No, but if she is in Taltos, I will know it once we open the gateway and I cross over.”
“They might have her shielded in some way—” Fionn cautioned.
“Enough words.” Rune nipped Fionn again. As if to support her fellow bond animal, Bella landed on Fionn’s shoulder and dug her talons deep.
A wry smile split Gwydion’s face. “It would appear the animals have spoken.”
“We did tell the others we’d do a reconnaissance.” Fionn stood.
Gwydion followed suit. Both men went to the corner of the kitchen with the hidden trap door. Fionn kicked the rug aside and tugged the door upward. When he looked back he saw Gwydion’s staff glowing with a blue-white light.
Fionn worked his way down the ladder, helping the wolf. It was awkward. When Aislinn had gone into Taltos without him, she’d used magic to transport the wolf to the gateway. The thought of her seared his soul. His throat felt thick. A pulse pounded behind one eye, promising a mother of a headache if he didn’t focus magic to soothe the inflamed blood vessels.
At the bottom of the ladder, he strode to the section of wall holding the gateway and began the incantation from Marta’s journals. Gwydion’s energy vibrated next to him. Stones scraped against one another as the gateway swung open. Fionn bent to give Rune instructions, but the wolf bounded through the opening and disappeared into the dark.
“Damn it.” Fionn swore softly. “Ye stay with me,” he said to Bella.
“I am not going past this doorway,” the bird informed him. She fluttered from his shoulder to a chair and perched on it. “Fewer of us, less chance of discovery. Safer for Aislinn.”
Fionn couldn’t help but agree with her. His bird had warmed to Aislinn much to his relief, since she’d taken a perverse delight in making all the other women in his life—including Tara—miserable.
“Mind speech,” Gwydion said sharply. “And precious little of that.”
“I suppose we follow the wolf. He gave us little choice.”
Fionn stepped through into a dark tunnel. Careful to mute his magic in case the Lemurians had posted guards nearby, he turned left and trailed after Rune. Guts tight, barely breathing, he moved beneath Taltos, the city built by Lemurians deep inside Mount Shasta. Desperation thrummed through him.
I have to find her. Failure is not an option.
Purchase links: Amazon ARe Amazon ppk
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