Moonshadow, p.1Part #1 of Moonshadow series by Thea Harrison
From bestselling author Thea Harrison comes the first in an explosive new trilogy set in the Elder Races world….
Her past is a blank, her future uncertain….
Recovering from a shooting, LAPD witch consultant Sophie Ross leaves her job and travels to the U.K. to search for answers about her childhood. When she encounters a Daoine Sidhe knight of the Dark Court, she becomes entangled in an ancient hatred between two arcane forces.
He has given his body and soul to fight for his people….
Barred from his homeland along with his surviving brother knights, Nikolas Sevigny is embroiled in a conflict that threatens everything he holds dear. Only by uniting their resources can his people hope to prevail against Isabeau, the deadly Queen of the Light Court. He will do anything and use anyone to return home to Lyonesse.
When Nikolas encounters Sophie, he sees a tool to be used. The insouciant witch might be the key to unlocking every passageway that has been barred to the knights of the Dark Court, even as a fascination for her takes root in what’s left of his soul.
Sophie has no intention of becoming anyone’s pawn, yet the fierce Nikolas is so compelling, she can’t deny the temptation that endangers her guarded heart.
As magic threatens Lyonesse, Queen Isabeau unleashes her merciless Hounds, and Nikolas and Sophie become embroiled in a race for survival. Meanwhile, the passion that ignites between them burns too hot to be denied and quickly turns into obsession.
Thank goodness they both know better than to fall in love…
Praise for Moonshadow
“Moonshadow is exactly what I expect of a Thea Harrison story, a stay-up-all-night read. Marvelous characters, lots of action and romance, and just the right touch of humor. This one goes on my keeper shelf. I loved this book.”
~ Patricia Briggs—#1 New York Times bestselling author of the Mercy Thompson series
“Moonshadow hits all the right checkmarks on my must-have paranormal romance list: an Alpha hero, a heroine who kicks butt, worldbuilding that just keeps getting better, and a steamy plot that pulls me in from the first page!”
~ Carrie Ann Ryan—NYT Bestselling Author of Wolf Betrayed
“I loved this book. Moonshadow is Thea Harrison at her finest. I haven’t been this excited since Dragon Bound!”
~ Kristen Callihan—USA Today bestselling author
“A brilliant new chapter in an enthralling saga! Moonshadow kicks off a new trilogy in Thea Harrison’s fantastic Elder Races series. With a compelling heroine entering this world, this is a perfect place for readers to step into the ongoing story. The hero is intense, the heroine clever, and the sexual tension sizzling. Can’t wait to find out what happens next!”
~ Jeffe Kennedy, Award Winning Author of The Twelve Kingdoms and The Uncharted Realms
“I’m already addicted to Thea Harrison’s new world of Arthurian alpha warriors—especially after an American kick-ass heroine with serious magic powers teaches them a lesson about 21st century women!”
~ Eloisa James, New York Times bestselling author of When Beauty Tamed the Beast
“Scorching chemistry, perfect pacing & memorable characters sent me on a roller coaster ride of emotions! I want to live in the Moonshadow world.”
~ Katie Reus, New York Times bestselling author of Breaking Her Rules
“Moonshadow is a beautiful book and exactly what I needed—hot romance, wild sex and a happy ending. Please don’t miss anything written by Thea Harrison. She is a wonder.”
~ Ann Aguirre, New York Times bestselling author
“Thrilling and deliciously sexy, Moonshadow is a smart, action-packed introduction to a new adventure in Harrison’s complex and compelling Elder Races world. Intrigue goes hand-in-hand with an addictive romance that will please new and established readers alike. I can’t wait to see what comes next.”
~ Elizabeth Hunter, bestselling author of the Elemental Mysteries series
“A breathless, rollercoaster ride of a tale, complete with a fierce, capable heroine and a powerful hero worthy of her in every way. The bonds of love, trust, and friendship are stretched and sometimes snapped in a war of attrition that crosses time and worlds. Thea Harrison blows the doors off with some rollicking good storytelling in Moonshadow.”
~ Grace Draven – USA Today bestselling author of Radiance
Copyright © 2016 by Teddy Harrison LLC
ISBN 13: 978-0-9971201-7-2
Cover Photo-illustration © Gene Mollica Studio, LLC
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locale or organizations is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced, scanned or distributed in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
Table of Contents
About the Book
Praise for Moonshadow
Coming Soon: Spellbound
Look for these titles from Thea Harrison
I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Eloisa James, for the worldbuilding emails, her enthusiasm, and for truly terrific last minute advice. Any mistakes are entirely my own.
Also, many thanks to Patty, Carrie Ann, Kristen, Jeffe, Katie, Ann, Elizabeth, and Grace. I’m so honored to know all of you.
And last but certainly not least, I owe a big thank you to my assistant, Charlotte, and to beta reader extraordinaire, Andrea. I don’t know how I got to be so lucky, but I’m glad you both came into my life.
After another night filled with nightmares, Sophie overslept. When she finally woke and looked blearily around her bedroom, she could tell by the angle of the light along the edges of the blinds that the day was no longer new.
The day had, in fact, not been new for some time. Her stomach took a nosedive as she snatched up her alarm clock. Damn it. Her technology curse had struck again. Resorting to an old-fashioned windup clock hadn’t helped in the slightest, and the clock’s hands had stopped at 4:26.
Ignoring the flare of aches in her shoulder, abdomen, and right thigh, she shoved upright and limped into the living room to check her cell phone. The screen confirmed what she already knew. She was horribly late.
Now she was faced with a choice that no coffee-drinking witch ever wanted to face. She could either fix coffee or throw her runes for a quick reading before she showered and left for her meeting.
A good night’s sleep had become a thing of the past, and she really needed that caffeine. But leaving her apartment without doing a reading had become unthinkable. Not since the shooting. She never missed throwing the runes in the morning for whatever message, good or bad, the reading might be able to tell h
She could cancel the meeting, and for a moment temptation tugged at her. Part of her wanted to drink coffee in the dark with the curtains shut while listening to the distant sounds of LA traffic, but that was how she had spent most of her time since being released from the hospital.
She needed a new game plan for how to approach life, and she wasn’t going to find one in the shadows of her apartment. The only things lurking here were memories, second-guessing past actions, and regrets.
Getting out in the fresh air and talking to someone she didn’t know might not solve any of her problems, but it would be a step outside her door. A step somewhere else. Maybe even a step in the right direction.
So. Coffee or reading.
Choosing was painful, but after leaping into the shower, dressing, and taking five precious minutes to put on makeup and capture her long, curling hair in a loose knot at the nape of her neck, she sat at the small kitchen table with a folded, embroidered tablecloth and the worn velvet bag that held her rune stones.
She paused only for a moment to glare at the stupid, time-consuming percolator sitting on her stove. She had bought the pot to replace the stupid Keurig that had stopped working a few months back.
Turning to the business at hand, she unfolded the small tablecloth. She had stitched the gold thread embroidery on the royal blue cloth herself. The project had taken her weeks. As she didn’t embroider as a regular hobby, the symbols didn’t look professional or even, but the detail was meticulous, and every stitch was imbued with the invocations she had whispered as she worked on the cloth.
She used the small tablecloth for only one thing. As she carefully spread it flat, magic unfurled, changing the air above it where it lay. Holding the bag of runes in her right hand, she placed her left palm at the center of the cloth and centered herself.
Before the shooting, she would have just left the apartment without throwing the runes. The thought caused her to hesitate. It was not the best idea to rush through a reading, and she was going to be late as it was.
But no. Sometimes things change irrevocably. You turn a corner, hear a new song, read a book, fall in or out of love, or look at a painting in a different light.
Or you get shot several times.
Then no matter how you try, you can’t unsee or unexperience something to make life what it used to be. The river always flowed downstream.
She poured the runes into her hand, concentrated on her near future, and tossed them gently onto the cloth. They were pretty, made of polished rose quartz with the runes etched into the stone and painted gold, and they showed brilliantly against the rich blue cloth.
She preferred Nordic rune stones over divination cards with painted pictures because the stones opened the right mental pathways for her. The images that came were true divination, not images created by some unknown commercial artist.
Concepts tumbled and shifted in her mind as she watched the stones roll to a stop. Raidho, for travel. Thurisaz, destruction and defense. Hagalaz, destructive, uncontrollable forces. Dagaz, the stone for breakthrough. Then she let her gaze go unfocused as she stared at the pattern they made.
That was when the visions came, when her attention to the rune patterns created windows into fate.
Silence in her small apartment. Distantly she heard the dead clock begin to tick again.
She listened to the breath she took. Let her eyelids fall in a blink.
As she opened her eyes, she caught a glimpse of a strange landscape. A new wind blew through the apartment, ruffling her hair and bringing with it a faint, acrid scent like smoke.
The scent meant violence and danger. Like other messages the wind brought to her from time to time, it wasn’t a physical scent but intuitive and all too familiar.
Adrenaline spiked, causing a ghost of fiery pain to ripple through her body, localized in three places—her left shoulder, right thigh, and just under her ribs on the right side. As she pressed her hand to her abdomen, the figure of a man appeared.
He was turned away so that she looked at dark hair, the long, strong line of his neck, and broad shoulders.
He stood so close she felt like she could reach out to touch him and, oh my gods, all that Power he carried. How could one physical body contain it all? It was as if his skin thinly veiled a lightning bolt. He wasn’t human. He couldn’t be. He had to be one of the Elder Races.
The man was so vivid he made everything else around her pale by comparison. Even though she knew better, she lifted one of her hands and reached toward him. He was only a vision. He wasn’t really here in her apartment.
Then he turned his head, and he looked straight at her.
No. That had to be an illusion. He couldn’t be looking at her, not in her vision, stimulated by a spell of her own casting.
She received the impression of a strikingly handsome face, the planes and angles so sharp they appeared as if cut from an immortal blade. His glittering dark eyes held an indomitable will and a chilling ferocity.
Power shifted as he brought his body around to face her. So smoothly he moved, with a killer’s grace that was purely inhuman. It caused the tiny hairs at the nape of her neck to rise. He held a sword clenched in one fist, and the long, wicked blade dripped with crimson blood. The gold of a heavy signet ring winked on his ring finger.
The sight slammed into her along with a realization.
He turned to face her.
He saw her and turned to face her.
Shock rocked her back in her seat. She parted her lips to say something. Whoops, or maybe Hi there. Or, I’m sorry.
The kind of thing you would say if you accidentally dialed a wrong number, or stepped on someone’s foot, or got your psychic wires crossed.
Or interrupted a deadly immortal creature in the middle of a killing…
While she stared, the male’s fine-cut nostrils flared. He flung a hand out toward her, fingers outspread, his own cruelly beautiful mouth shifting as he spat out a word. A lightning bolt of Power shot toward her. She felt it coming, a spear of pure, sizzling malice.
That wasn’t supposed to happen in a vision either. What if it hit her?
Before she had fully formed the intention, she grabbed the edge of the magic cloth and yanked. Stones flew around the kitchen, breaking the pattern.
The vision shattered so hard it left her head aching, or maybe that was an echo from the psychic attack the man had flung at her. He vanished, along with the landscape. The lightning bolt never landed, although the image remained burned into her retina.
Her heartbeat galloped like a runaway horse while adrenaline pounded through her veins. As her vision cleared, she pressed shaking fingers against equally unsteady lips and looked around the familiar landscape of her apartment, taking in each detail in an effort to ground herself.
What the royal fuck was that? She had never experienced anything like that, and she had been practicing magic for as long as she could remember. Had the vision been so vivid it simply overwhelmed her sense of her immediate physical reality?
It couldn’t have been real.
Her head said no, but her gut said yes. He had behaved exactly as though he had seen her. She had sensed his Power, felt the attack flare toward her like a thrown spear. Her gut had no doubt that if that spear had hit, it would have injured her, perhaps severely.
What did it mean?
It took several breaths for her to regain her composure enough to leave. A dull throbbing took up residence behind her eyes. She strode into her bedroom, opened the small closet safe, pulled out her gun, and tucked it into the concealed-carry pocket of her purse. As she left the bedroom, she glanced one last time at her percolator with a deep sense of bitterness.
Man, she chose wrong.
She should have had that cup of coffee.
* * *
Change, the wind whispered. New information is coming.
No duh. Message received, loud and clear.
The surrounding scene looked placid and normal, a prosperous neighborhood basking in the southern California sun. There was no immediate, impending violence, nor any danger.
But both were close somehow, like a mass of dark clouds towering on the horizon, and they felt… complex. The warning on the wind wasn’t about some random drive-by shooting or liquor-store holdup. It carried too much weight, too much history.
Settling her psychic barriers firmly into place, she continued down the sidewalk until she arrived at her destination. As she pushed through the glass door, she took in the details of the restaurant.
The place was upscale. Located a few blocks from Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, the interior was decorated with polished natural wood, gleaming metal, and large pieces of strategically placed, high-end art. It looked too good to be true, an elegant façade that hid something rotten underneath.
But she was just being cranky. The rune reading had left her unsettled and on edge. When she thought of the psychic attack that had been directed at her, her palms grew clammy and her heart started racing again. If that lightning bolt had hit, it could have killed her.
The image of the man haunted her, like Death shadowing a dying woman’s footsteps—that glimpse of the hard male face, with dark, predatory eyes and a shock of black hair falling onto a strong forehead. His face had been handsome with an inhuman beauty but entirely ruthless, his mouth hard as if cut from stone, his expression chiseled with something that looked like an ancient, settled hatred.
She still felt the tremendous shock of connection from when their eyes had met. It had jarred her out of herself so that she felt displaced and ungrounded. The normal irritations of navigating through LA traffic didn’t touch her. Her feet did not seem to quite make contact with the pavement. She was not sure she was entirely housed in her own body. Even her caffeine headache felt as if it belonged to someone else.
Moonshadow by Thea Harrison / Romance & Love / Fantasy have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes