Title: Magic in the Storm
Author: Meredith Bond
Genre: Fantasy-Regency Romance
Destined for power…
Prophecy foretold the coming of one who would be the most powerful of the Vallen, destined to renew their magical energies. Born male, instead of the anticipated female, Morgan Vallentyn is outcast from birth, banished to the forest by his vengeful mother. His magic weakened, and caged by unknown forces, one goal drives Morgan: if he can’t harness his powers by his birthday, another will take his destined place.
Bound by convention…
Adriana Hayden paints with rare passion and vision. But Regency England is no place for such an unconventional woman. Fleeing from a proposed marriage arranged by her domineering guardian, Adriana escapes to the forest and into the arms of a mysterious man with strange powers. A man who unleashes forces she never suspected existed.
A coming storm…
As the summer solstice approaches, the electricity crackling between Morgan and Adrian is only a prelude to the building tempest crackling across the skies. There’s magic in the storm they create together, but to fulfill their destinies, each must find the key to unlock the powers in the other and claim the most powerful magic of all.
A deep roll of thunder shook the walls of the old barn, while the wind outside howled with fury as it picked up strength. The door to the barn smashed open and closed behind Morgan. The wooden building groaned at the onslaught.
Apollo whinnied and stomped his hooves in agitation. Morgan turned toward the horse, following his line of vision, but there was nothing—nothing other than a barn full of creatures of every sort.
“What...?” Morgan began, when from somewhere deep within the forest, he heard another horse shriek out in fright. This was followed by a loud crash, and an agonized scream.
This one sounded almost... human.
Morgan froze. How could that be? It must have been an animal. Still, it was an animal in need. Morgan could almost feel the creature’s pain radiating out, calling to him for help.
And there was something else entwined with the need. Deep within him, he felt the same sensation he had had earlier—a sense of anticipation, of beckoning, of portent.
As soon as he stepped out of the door, Morgan was buffeted by the strong wind.
Despite the urgency of the situation, he stopped and took a deep breath of the fresh air basking for a moment in the wonderful anticipation of the storm.
The expectant feeling he had sensed earlier overcame him once again. It was so close. He reached out with his mind—what was it? Then a thought stopped him.
Could it be? Could it be the destiny his nanny had whispered about as she had soothed him to sleep when he was a child? Could it possibly be exactly what he’d been waiting for all these years?
Whatever it was that was coming, he would meet it head on.
He set off, running through the forest, weaving in and out of trees, avoiding the branches trying to reach out and grab hold of him. As a clap of thunder shook the ground, he exulted at the sensation. It was incredible to be out and a part of the storm.
His muscles flexed and flowed like the wind, as he skipped over fallen debris, ducked under low branches, and moved rapidly through the closely grown forest. Flashes of waving branches caught his peripheral vision, but he kept moving forward toward whatever it was that had called out to him. He was moving toward his destiny—he knew it deep in his heart.
He ran faster, eager to get there—until a large half–fallen tree brought him up short. Morgan urgently shoved his shoulder against the trunk, frustrated at the delay. He needed to get through—now.
Amidst the rustling of the leaves and his own heavy breathing, he heard the horse’s agonized whinny again from somewhere to his left. The tree was wedged in tight. It wouldn’t budge. He would have to find another route, and quickly; the cries were becoming more distinct, urgent. His heart pounded in his ears as he doubled back, looking desperately around for a break in the growth. Within a minute, he found another path, and ran along it as fast as he could.
Finally, shielding his face with his arms, he leapt through the undergrowth into a newly made clearing. A flash of lightning illuminated the scene before him, but as he stood there panting, he could barely believe his eyes.
A sense of brilliant auburn hair glinting in the lightning—red and a touch of gold mixed in with the soft brown. Deep blue clothed arms reaching out from a slender form.
Disappointment dropped in Morgan’s stomach. It wasn’t his destiny that had been calling out to him. His destiny didn’t lie with a girl.
He took a deep breath and pushed aside his disappointment. The woman needed his help. She had called out to him and he, as always, would do everything he could in response.
Morgan took a step closer to her, his eyes flitting around the open space all around her. How odd it was that the trees held back, away from her.
She looked up at him then—and Morgan’s breath caught in his throat. A vibration hummed through his body. Through her pain–filled eyes there was something there—something familiar. It was as if he knew her. Surely he’d never met her before. He certainly would have remembered meeting such a beautiful girl.
Her face was framed on one side by a lock of hair that had fallen from the loose knot at the top of her head. If it were not for the contortion of pain on her face, she would have been the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. Tears slid over high cheekbones and down creamy white cheeks, falling toward pink lips.
A rush of heat rose within him, and he pulled his eyes away from her face with difficulty.
Pushing aside these peculiar feelings, he focused his mind instead on rescuing her. He instantly saw her problem—a tree had fallen onto her leg, pinning her down. She was trying to push it off, but it was an impossible task, and she moaned and cried with the effort and pain.
Squatting down next to the young woman, he stroked away the tension in her face. As he did so, however, heat surged again into his hands and down his body. He swallowed hard, looking deeply into her eyes. They were as familiar to him as his own, and their depths pulled him in. These were eyes he could drown in.
But not now. Now he could feel her pain as if it were his own. He had to help her.
Running his thumbs across her forehead, he wiped away her fears, all the while holding her gaze. Making his voice as soft and soothing as possible, he said, “Be calm. It is all right. I am here.”
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Magic in the Storm is an unusual mix of fantasy (magic) and Regency romance. There are few books like it—all the excitement of a magical people set amidst the ball-rooms of the Regency. What could be more fun?
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Meredith Bond's books straddle that beautiful line between historical romance and fantasy. An award-winning author, she writes fun traditional Regency romances, medieval Arthurian romances, and Regency romances with a touch of magic. Known for her characters “who slip readily into one’s heart,” Meredith loves to take her readers on a journey they won't soon forget. She is currently living in Europe enjoying the Bohemian life.
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