A Kiss of Fate, Guardian Trilogy #1
I'm delighted to finally be re-releasing my Guardian paranormal historical trilogy, the last of my backlist trilogies that were still in the closet The stories are set in the 18th century Georgian era and the main characters are Guardians, people who have magical abilities and are sworn to use them to help others. But being sure of when that's the case can be a challenge!
The heroes and heroines are strong, the romances are intense, and the stories are woven around real, powerful history. All three show what happened behind the scenes to make history turn out the way we know it.
If you enjoy the intelligent, honorable characters who star in my traditional historical romances, I think you'll love these stories as much as I do. (I use M. J. Putney for all my stories with fantasy elements so readers can tell which are straight historical and which have some magic.)
Laird of an ancient, powerful Scottish clan, Duncan Macrae is the most powerful weather mage in Britain, and it's love and thunder at first sight when he meets the scholarly young English widow, Gwyneth Owens. Gwynne’s father was a Guardian, but she believes that she has inherited only her mother’s beauty, not her father’s power.
At the urging of the Guardian Council, Gwynne marries Duncan. The explosive passion between them releases her latent powers, and also reveals visions of a looming catastrophe that threatens England and Scotland both. Only by becoming Duncan’s wife, and ultimately betraying the man she loves, can she avert disaster. But can their love survive? (I write romance, so what do you think? <G>)
For more information and a longer excerpt, you can visit my website:
Duncan Macrae inhaled deeply, intoxicated by the rampant scents of summer. Having arrived in London the night before after a long, grueling tour of the Continent, he would have preferred to spend the day sleeping, but his friend Lord Falconer had insisted on dragging him from London to Richmond. Now Duncan was glad he had come. He glanced at the sky. “Lady Bethany chose her day well. Britain at its best.”
“As you know, she has some Macrae blood. Enough to always choose a fine day for her entertainments despite our chancy English weather.” Simon lovingly smoothed a wrinkle from his blue brocade sleeve. “If rain threatened, I’d not have worn this new coat. It was damnably expensive.”
Duncan grinned. His friend mimicked the manners of a fop so perfectly that even Duncan, who had known him since the nursery, sometimes had trouble remembering that Simon was the most dangerous mage in Britain. Except, perhaps, for Duncan himself. “Where is Lady Bethany? I should pay my respects to our hostess. It’s been years since I’ve seen her.”
Simon shaded his eyes to scan the crowd. “Over there, below the gazebo.”
The men turned their steps toward their hostess. As they neared the gazebo, he heard a string quartet inside, playing music as lighthearted as the day. “It’s hard to believe that the shadow of civil war lies over Britain,” he said softly.
“That’s why you’re here,” Simon said with equal softness. “And it’s why I and others have spent so much time in Scotland. The future isn’t fixed. If we Guardians build enough bridges between our nations, perhaps war can be averted.”
“Perhaps, but the Scots and the English have been fighting for centuries, and such bloody habits are not easily broken.”
The group they were approaching included half a dozen men and women, with the rounded figure and silver hair of Lady Bethany Fox in the center. Though past her seventieth year, she had the posture and fine bones that had made her an acclaimed Beauty her entire life. She was a passionate gardener, a doting grandmother, and the most powerful sorceress in Britain.
Lady Bethany laughed at something said by the woman at her side. Duncan shifted his gaze, and stopped dead in his tracks, entranced by Lady Beth’s companion. Tall and elegant, she wore a creamy gown of modest cut, yet her demure garb couldn’t disguise a lushly curving figure designed to drive men mad. As if that wasn’t alluring enough, under her straw bonnet was a classically featured face that sparkled with humor and intelligence. This was a dangerous woman.
“Dear God,” he breathed as thunder cracked in the distance. “Helen of Troy.”
“I beg your pardon?” Following Duncan’s gaze, Simon said, “Ah, Lady Brecon. A lovely lass, but launch a thousand ships? I think not. Five or six at the most.”
“Ten thousand ships. More. She is like an ancient enchantress whose glance could drive men to madness.” Duncan gave thanks that Lady Brecon was unaware of his devouring gaze. In the full flower of her womanhood, she was so compelling that he could not have looked away to save his life. “Lord Brecon’s wife you say? The earl has good taste.”
“She’s not wife to the present Brecon, but widow to the old one. You were on the Continent when they married, but it was something of a scandal since she was only seventeen and Brecon was over seventy. She seemed rather a plain girl at the time.”
“Plain?” Duncan watched as the lady turned her attention to a languid young fop in gold brocade. The pure curve of her throat mesmerized him, and that luminous skin begged to be caressed. “Her?”
“She blossomed during the marriage—a wealthy husband often has that effect. But she and Brecon seemed most sincerely devoted.”
Absurdly grateful to learn she was a widow, Duncan tried to remember when the fifth Lord Brecon had died. A little over a year ago, he thought. “She must have legions of suitors now that she’s out of mourning.”
“She has many admirers, me among them, but I’ve never seen her favor any in particular.” Simon cocked one brow. “I haven’t seen you like this since we went to the gypsy horse fair and you spotted that gray hunter.”
His friend was right. Duncan had been sixteen when he saw that horse, and his reaction was the same as today when he saw Lady Brecon: he had to have them.
He drew a slow breath, reminding himself that he wasn’t sixteen anymore, the lady might be a shrew, or she might find him as alarming as most women did. One might purchase a desirable horse, but women were more difficult. “If she was Brecon’s wife, she must be a Guardian?”
“Yes, one of the Owenses. She has no power to speak of, but she grew up in the library at Harlowe and is a notable scholar of Guardian lore. Since her husband died, she lives here in Richmond with Lady Bethany.” Simon grinned. “Hard to believe they’re sisters-in-law. The dowager countess looks like Lady Bethany’s granddaughter.”
If the lady was bookish, it didn’t show. From her powdered hair to her dainty slippers, she was an exquisite confection designed to ornament the highest social circles.
Thunder sounded again, this time closer. Duncan’s eyes narrowed. Directness was out of place in aristocratic London, but it was the only way he knew. “Introduce me to the lady, Simon, so I can learn if she is as perfect as she appears.”
You can preorder A Kiss of Fate through this universal link.
I love the new covers which show the heroes in all their passionate intensity! One reason I held off on releasing these books was because I wasn't sure what kind of covers to do for them. Finding great looking couples for covers is hard. Great looking women are easier, but single women didn't seem right for this series.
My breakthrough for the Guardians was when I decided to do male only covers even though the heroines are equally strong and important. I'm really happy that I was able to find three smoldering men to pass on to Kim Killion for the design work. As long time reader, friend, and romance editor Faith Freewoman emailed me, "I can honestly say that the Kiss of Fate cover is the most knee-weakeningly gorgeous hero/cover I’ve ever seen…and not just because of your mouthwatering hero, but the whole thing is so fiery and brooding and other yummy stuff." Yes!
A Kiss of Fate was released as an audiobook when originally published. That version, narrated by the most excellent Davina Porter, is still available. A print on demand version will be available within the next few days.
Though the stories can all stand on their own, there are continuing characters as a secondary character in one story becomes the protagonist of another story. I like doing this. <G> It's fun for me to develop the characters and watch them grow.
Stolen Magic, Book 2, will be released on September 8th and A Distant Magic, Book 3, will be released on October 6th.
(I'll be giving away an e-book of A Kiss of Fate to one person who comments on this post between now and Friday night, but sadly I can't make this international because of Amazon technical restrictions. )
Mary Jo, very happy to make these stories available again T