Elemental Magic #5
*Note* Series titles build on the previous book and should be read in order.
Blurb: Ultimate power, or endless love?
Born the son of a Scottish laird a thousand years ago, but now trapped by his cousin's spell, Devin McLoch has seen countless battles and death. The erstwhile thief has turned away from darker pursuits to lead a life of peace, protecting those he loves and considers part of his clan. However, there is one woman he can never forget, who must be given a chance to change, to accept her heart and his.
Arianne Farrell is just as dangerous and intoxicating as her power. Imprisoned in an ancient stone dance more than a thousand years ago, her only chance at freedom from the spell is through love--a love she denied. When Devin asks for her aid to save another from imminent death, she realizes there is more at stake than just her freedom or her heart.
WARNING: Two stubborn sexy wizards using magic with no bounds, scorching love
scenes, and happy ever after. Ever play with fire?
© 2012 BRYNNA CURRY - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Arianne felt Devin’s power ripple on the wind, buffeting against hers as he crossed the threshold of the standing stones. He didn’t bother with the ceremony of asking permission to cross the circle. His eyes skimmed over her, heating her skin with just his gaze.
“You came.” Oh, how she wanted to run into his arms and cling to him. Why was he just standing there?
He frowned and crossed his arms over a wide muscled chest hidden in a black shirt. “I need your help, Ari.”
There was a sense of urgency in his step and desperation in his voice when he spoke. He hadn’t come for her.Nothing he could have said would have surprised her more. “I beg your pardon?”
“I don’t have time for games, Ari. I need your help.”
“The child is ill? Allaina told me.”
“She visits me. I’ve been teaching her about healing herbs.”
“I see. That makes things easier. Do you know what a phoenix is?”
“I am looking at one. An extraordinarily powerful witch with fire magic. I may not be as skilled as my sister was, but I know a great many things Brie never took the time to learn about lore and truth in myth.”
“Raine Roarke is a phoenix. She’s three and her powers are emerging early. Allie and I can’t bind them any longer and she’s too young to control them on her own.”
“Allie said as much.” Her heart jerked hard in her chest. Her niece, Sorca, had been only half that age when she had last seen her. Regardless of the hate she felt for her sister, she hadn’t been able to scorn the child, and loved her dearly. “The fevers have started?”
She saw the grief in his eyes, the ache he felt for the child and her parents. How could she turn him down? Perhaps the truth would be kinder than a lie that wouldn’t come true. “The child will die, then. What can I do that you cannot?”
“You can drain her excess magic. Link with her as you did to steal Briella’s powers.”
“I had reasons for what I did. And you would be the resident expert on the subject of thievery.” She bristled.
“I’m not trying to judge you. My past isn’t the issue here and neither is yours. Would it work?”
“I suppose, but it would be a temporary solution at best.”
“And more than anyone else can do to help her right now.”
“You are forgetting one vital truth. I cannot leave the circle. My sister’s beloved demon saw to that. I would have to go to the child. And even then, the link might not save her and could kill both of us.”
“Agree to help Raine and I will free you from your prison.”
“And then what? Send me back here after a taste of what I’ve lost?”
“No. That would be beyond cruel. I think you’d find Scotland much more pleasant.”
“Where in Scotland?”
“I want you to stay with me at Glen McLoch, Ari. I want you with me. There is a circle scorched in fire and blood surrounding the castle. As long as you are within that line, you’ll be free to do as you please if your actions don’t harm others.”
“So I’d merely exchange one prison for another, then.”
“Until another way is found.”
“I turned down your offer once.”
“I would give everything I have, do whatever in my power to save that child, Ari. Understand? Whatever you want, it is yours. Anything.”
“Dangerous words, lover.”
“I mean them. I don't give my word lightly.”
“The Corrigans fear me because of the legend. They might turn you away if you show up with me on their doorstep. “She turned her back on him, crossed her arms to stave off a shiver. She was afraid. Afraid of how they would treat her. And how would she be able to give him up when it was time for her to return? There would be no happily-ever-afters for her.
Devin’s hands rested lightly on her bare shoulders. Rough, not smooth or pampered. “No one will harm you, Ari. I protect what is mine.”
Turning under his hands, Ari touched his cheek and looked deep into those tawny eyes. Searching them for the answer, she asked, “And am I yours, then?”
He smiled. “You’ve always been mine"
Hovering his hands over Aiden’s toy laptop, Devin began to reverse the damage. Not exactly a healing, but much the same. With the magic came the memory of destruction. Raine pulling the toy out of Aiden’s hands, crying, overwhelming heat and tossing a melted lump of plastic onto the grass. Fear was the most forefront emotion. “She lost her temper and lashed out with heat, melting the toy. It’s a wonder she didn’t set something on fire. Her magic is out of control. Allie’s binds have been broken.”
“But how? She’s just a little girl, Dev, my little girl.”
“Not just. You’ve always known your daughter is special, Jack. Allie has been binding Raine’s gifts since she was two.”
“Yes, but I thought she might be a touch psychic or something. Not like, what do you even call that?”
“Raine is a hereditary witch. Fire is her element.”
“Like you. Then can she do all the things you can?”
“Yes, eventually. We share the same type of magic.”
“Good. Then you can tell us--”
“She’s a phoenix, Jack. Do you understand what that means?”
“Like the bird?” Liv had rejoined them. He saw the question, the realization, sink in. Her child’s life was in danger. Slowly shaking her head, she moved around the sofa to sit beside Jack and clutched his hand.
Should he lie to her? No. Liv would skin him for it later and she’d have Jack’s help. “Yes, Liv, exactly so.”
He watched her expression crumble as fear gripped her. A sob ripped from her throat. “Jack. No. No. No.” It killed him to hear her repeat the words over and over as though just that mantra would save her daughter. Only one person might be able to do that. Liv leaned into her husband and buried her face in his neck.
Jack stared at him as he pulled Liv closer. Calm, controlled eyes, flat and shuttered, told Devin inside Jack was falling apart. “Tell us what we need to do.”
“If she doesn’t learn to control the magic, it will destroy her, like the bird of legend. Only there is no coming back. It explains why Allie can’t bind Raine’s power anymore. I should have come back sooner. She’s just so young. My powers didn’t emerge until I was twelve.”
“What can we do? You have to stop this.”
“It is something she has to learn. As did I, when my powers began to emerge and my mother recognized the danger. She had faerie blood and called for her cousin Daemon to teach me. We need help.”
“She is only three years old.”
“I know, but the magic has to be controlled or--”
“No!” Liv screamed pulled away from Jack, stood and met him eye to eye. “I will not let magic take my daughter. Do you hear me? Fix this. I don’t care what you have to do.” She grabbed the front of his shirt, emotions out of control. “Please. Please, Devin. Don’t let my baby die. You promised me. You promised me you’d always look out for them.”
“And I will. I’ll do everything in my power, Liv.” Gently he pried her fingers away, but held on to her icy hands. “A laird’s promise.” Watching one of the strongest women he’d ever known collapse into her husband’s arms, he knew there was only one person who could help him keep his word. And he hoped Arianne was in an accommodating mood. If not, he was prepared to barter anything necessary to gain her cooperation. Raine was all that mattered.
Walking into the en suite, the first thing to catch her eyes was the floor-to-ceiling mirror covering one wall. Arianne studied her reflection. Her long, dark curls were mussed and tangled around a pale face. Her lips were pink and just a bit swollen from Devin’s kiss. The only thing she wore was a long white shirt. Sniffing the collar, she smelled the crisp, clean fragrance clinging to the material. His shirt, not conjured. Devin didn’t wear cologne, but the scent of his soap always stayed with her. He must have changed her clothes. What else had she missed?
Because I love you. Men were ever a puzzle. Still, hadn’t she known? The dreams they shared had changed over time, slow and sweet instead of hot and fierce. A softness came over his face each night she visited his sleep, the same one she had seen this morning. Just that look was enough to have her quaking inside.
She found a bottle of bubble bath on the side of the tub. Thanks to Devin's dreams and Allie's influence, she had knowledge of modern conveniences such as indoor plumbing. Turning the faucet on hot, Arianne poured two capfuls under the stream and let the water run until the big round tub filled. Reluctantly, she unfastened the shirt buttons and let the material fall away to the floor. Slipping into the frothy bubbles, she sighed and let the reality of her situation sink in.
I am finally out of that wretched circle. True enough, but she was still in a prison of sorts. One with running water, walls, food that didn’t taste like air, and a sexy male witch bent on driving her to frustration. Not so bad, all things considered.
Being trapped in the stone dance didn’t mean she hadn’t noticed changes in the world around her for a thousand years. She tipped her feet out of the water, waved toward them, and turned her toenails a bright fiery red. Allie brought her little things from the modern world. Mostly books filled with sweet love stories; more than a few of them brought a blush to her cheeks. What would Ryan think of his daughter’s taste in novels? Better not to head down that road. Allie had dreams of being a writer like her aunt and uncle. If what she liked to read was any indication, she’d write hot. Very hot. Speaking of hot, a soft tapping sounded at the door. Her maddening laird had returned.
“Okay in there?” His voice sounded hesitant. “Breakfast is ready.”
Time to ruffle the phoenix’s feathers a bit. “There is no need to be shy, Devin. You can come in.”
The sound of splashing water rippled past his ears. Temptress.
Knowing Ari was just on the other side of the door, naked and wet, willing to succumb to every fantasy he could imagine, was a torment in itself. All he had to do was accept her sultry invitation and toss aside his plan. But she deserved a sweet slide into love, not the wild, mad rush of pleasure he craved. One palm rested on the door of its own volition, ready to comply. Not yet. Now, if only his traitorous body would listen to his heart. “That depends, sweetheart.”
“Oh?” she called out from the other side. “On what?”
Devin chuckled at the line, but he just couldn’t resist teasing her. “What are you wearing?”
She laughed. “Bubbles. Lots of bubbles. Share them with me.”
He saw it so clearly. Ari’s creamy skin peeking through the frothy bubbles. Open, welcoming. Need clawed under the skin, screamed at him. Why the hell not? Feeling a quiver of desire vibrate through his body, he called her bluff. “And what would you have me do with those bubbles? Hmm, Ari?”
“Oh, I am sure you could think of something. Something deliciously wicked. I have shared your dreams. I know your fantasies, Devin.”
Oh, you have no idea. His mind made up, Devin opened the door.
She lay in his huge garden tub, feet propped up on the rim, eyes closed, waterfall of black hair piled on top of her head. A soft smile graced her face. So she was enjoying their teasing banter. “Have you changed your mind and decided to join me?”
“Maybe.” No reason he couldn’t push them both to the edge. Pulling the t-shirt over his head, Devin tossed it into the corner. He laid his cellphone on the sink--out of danger--kneeled by the edge of the tub and dipped one hand into cooling water, using his magic to heat it.
He let his voice drop to a whisper as he leaned close to her ear. “I want to slick my hands over every inch of your skin until you shiver from the heat.” His fingers found the back of her knee in the water and trailed higher along the inside of her thigh. “And then…”
A soft “Devin” slipped from her lips as Arianne’s eyes flew open. “And then…”
5 Hearts "Fire’s Ice is a sweet and sensual tale of love and overcoming obstacles, mostly pride. Both Ari and Devin allowed pride to stear them into rough times and forced them to lose things precious to themselves. But when they begin to see things more clearly, they realize that love is important, not power or magic…only love." --Melissa - Sizzling Hot Book Reviews http://www.sizzlinghotbooks.net/2012/06/fires-ice-by-brynna-curry.html?zx=138211dd4142b321
Gotta Read/ 5 stars "By far my favorite...Ms. Curry has continued to be true to the series and to write each part as a stand alone or if you read the whole series, they weave together seamlessly. I have enjoyed being able to delve into their lives and feel their pain, love and happiness." Jennifer - You Gotta Read Reviews http://yougottaread.com/review-fires-ice-by-brynna-curry/
4 Tombstones "Fire’s Ice was truly about the magic and power of love as Ari came to terms with her pride and arrogance. Devin’s strength and loyalty for him family is admirable... As always, a story by Brynna Curry was an absolute delight to read." --Mary - Bitten by Books http://www.bittenbybooks.com/51375/fires-ice-by-brynna-curry/
4 Stars"When Arianne and Devin finally make love, the combination of sweetness and heat was enough to bring a tear to my eye." Barbara - Just Erotic Romance Reviews http://www.justeroticromancereviews.com/book-review.cfm?bookID=988436285&reviewID=8895&sNav=nav03-02
Today, I’ve asked two of my favorite characters to help me take over the Lyrical blog, Devin McLoch and Arianne Farrell of Fire’s Ice. Their story started centuries ago, but it is that time, both apart and together, that forged them into who they are today. Thanks for helping out guys. Why don’t you tell readers a little about yourselves? Ari?
Arianne: Hi, Brynna. I'll stay as long as I can to answer questions. The boys could wake up from their nap any time.*snuggles into Devin’s side* I was born in a small village on the coast of Ireland in 985 AD. My twin Briella and I were raised by the village elders after our mother died in childbirth. Brie was destined to take her place as the wise-woman, but her power was corrupted by her love for a demon. After a lot of magic gone wrong and many years of imprisonment, Devin freed me from the stone dance near Liv’s cottage. Now we live in a castle in Scotland with our triplets and one very human cat.
Devin: As the firstborn heir of Laird Duncan McLoch, I spent much of my youth learning the skills needed to govern our clan in the event of his death. I practiced my magic in secret. It was that magic which ultimately allowed me to save our clan. Unfortunately, at the same time I was casting the barrier around Glen McLoch in Scotland, my cousin Daemon was casting his own spell in Ireland.
The intermixing magics were too much for any one of us to contain. Daemon and Briella were destroyed, turned into the elements they called to for power. Ari had fallen under my protection with his spell, so the magic that barred me from my home kept Ari locked in the stone dance. Fast forward a thousand years, I was finally able to keep my word and free her from her prison.
Brynna: Devin, when did you first use magic and realize power would always be a part of your existence?
Devin: I was seven when the visions started. Shadowy images; whispered sounds.Simple like hearing someone’s words before they actually said them or knowing a trencher(that’s a plate) was about to be knocked off the table to the floor. It unnerved my father. I was his heir, but in his world, all things magic were evil incarnate including me. Father blamed the sliver of faerie blood my mother possessed for my gifts.
At twelve, my phoenix fire began to emerge; my father could no longer ignore my powers existed. Mother went against his wishes and summoned her cousin Daemon to teach me control before I killed someone or myself with the power. Lucky for me, I was a quick study. By the time I turned sixteen I had complete control, at twenty I had mastered all the other elements as well.
Brynna: You’ve never mentioned your father and now I see why. What is the hardest thing about living a thousand years?
Devin: Time.Just finding a way to spend the endless time. If I had stopped to think about the infinity of what was ahead, it would have driven me mad. I turned twenty-five a week before the MacGavins attacked. I had spent my life preparing to lead our clan, to defend and protect those in my charge and I failed. I grieved the loss of my family until I thought the pain would kill me, but it didn’t. I became a swordsman for hire, craved danger and death. No matter what I tried, nothing could end my cursed existence. I roamed the world and longed for Scotland.
Brynna: It sounds like you've both been through a lot to find happiness. Arianne, why is your magic so feared? What kind of power do you have?
Arianne: My power is detractive magic. I have also been called a conduit. Like a magnet, I can draw another witch or demon's power into my body and either neutralize it or use it as my own. I can also conjure and heal. It may sound like a wonderful talent, but pulling on the wrong power and not being able to control it can have disastrous results. The elders saw my dark power as evil and forbade me to do more than gentle healing with herbs and tonics. Fortunately, I have learned to channel my powers in reverse, meaning I can give portions of my abilities, temporarily to another person.
Brynna: People often fear what they don’t understand.
Devin: Your magic is beautiful, my love. Nothing about you could ever be evil. *kisses Ari’s hand*
Brynna: Aww. You’re such a sweetie, Dev, but let’s get back to the questions. It’s getting a little awkward in here. What made you decide to change your destructive course?
Devin: I found my way to Ireland, to the stone dance by the sea on the day of Daemon’s daughter’s death. The village was quiet, in mourning over their beloved healer Sorca. I realized something then as I stood in the shadows while her children, those of her blood and those of her heart, buried their mother. My clan wasn’t gone. Sorca’s family was mine as well. I was needed. I had a duty to protect those she left behind.
Brynna: When did you realize the Ari in the bubble might not be the Ari people thought she was?
Devin: I heard a soft sobbing on the wind after Sorca’s burial. I followed the sound hoping to offer comfort and found myself outside the dance. I couldn’t see her, but I could feel Arianne’s grief and love for her niece. I knew then. I understood what it was like to grieve alone. I had to help her, though at the time I resented having Ari magically betrothed to me. I prefer to do the choosing. I tried to push through the barrier of magic surrounding the stones but it was no use. All of our powers, including hers, held Ari bound.
Brynna: And Ari, when did you realize Devin was on your side?
Ari: The day of Sorca’s burial was a turning point for both of us. I thought I had known pain, despair, loss, but any heartache I had experienced paled against Sorca's death. In every way that counted, she was my child. I loved her so much. I watched her fall in love, raise her children, grow old. I knew I would outlive her because of the spell, but the reality of that day crushed me. (turns away) I'm sorry. I just need a moment.
Brynna: It's okay. I didn't mean to upset you. (pats hand)
Ari: No. I'm fine. It is difficult to reflect, but necessary. I listened to the pipes and mournful sounds of her children until I thought my heart would burst. I needed comfort, just to have someone with me. And then Devin was there. I don't know how long he stayed, but he tried so hard to get through the barrier. He sat on the grass and leaned against one of the stones. Inside the circle, I rested my back against the same stone. Outside the circle, he remained hidden from me, but I felt his power whisper around me, hold me. A ghost of air and light and warmth. I knew then he would do everything in his power to free me and I would do all I could to help him.
Brynna: Even then you had a special connection. So in a way, you saved him.
Dev: We saved each other. *smiles*
Brynna: What is the hardest thing about living a thousand years?
Ari: Loneliness. Without my looking glass, I would have gone crazy. At least with it, I had some connection to the outside world. Occasionally, I could even see Devin, but only when he sought me with the gems.
Brynna: What about you, Dev? What do you miss most about your life a thousand years ago (outside of your family), and what do you like best about life today?
Devin: The simplicity of everyday life. The world moves so fast now we don’t take time to enjoy it. Still, technology fascinates me.
Brynna: Do you always have control over your powers?
Devin: I’d like to say yes, but the truth is when I am worried, sick or upset I have to calm my mind for the magic to obey me.
Ari: Mostly. Sometimes I take on too much and the power overwhelms me, but I can't stand to see someone hurting and not give everything to help them.
Brynna: Dev, if we asked Ari to describe you in three words, what would she say?
Devin: Hmm. That’s a good question. Arrogant, powerful and fiercely protective. She’d be right. There is nothing I wouldn’t do, no lengths I wouldn’t go to protect those I love. My family is the most important aspect of my life.
Ari: My thoughts exactly.
Brynna: What one thing about Ari fascinates you the most?
Dev: Ari is just an amazing person. It isn’t any one thing but countless little things she does. The way she cares for others, gives of herself even when it would be wise to back away. She’s beautiful of course, fun and sexy, but it’s her loving nature that attracts me the most.
Brynna: Thanks for taking the time to visit with us. I know it can’t be easy for either of you to talk about your past.
Ari: Our past makes us who we are. Denying what was won't change the present.
Dev: Very true, love. The boys are still sleeping, so we have time for a few more questions. How about some from the readers?
Brynna: Wonderful! Alright y’all. The floor is all yours. We’d love to answer your questions.