Spellbinder, p.1
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       Spellbinder, p.1

         Part #2 of Moonshadow series by Thea Harrison
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Spellbinder


  From author Thea Harrison comes the latest story in the New York Times bestselling Moonshadow trilogy….

  Kidnapped while on tour, musician Sidonie Martel is transported to the mystical land of Avalon. A human without magical ability, she is completely vulnerable to the deadly forces surrounding her.

  When she defies her captors and refuses to share her music, an act of violent cruelty leaves her broken, her ability to play silenced, maybe forever. Her only hope is a whisper in the dark, gentle hands that offer healing, and a man who refuses to show her his face yet who offers advice she dare not ignore.

  One of the most feared and powerful sorcerers in history, Morgan le Fae serves a Queen he despises, Isabeau of the Light Court. Once a famous bard and an advisor to kings, Morgan has been enslaved to Isabeau for hundreds of years, acting as enforcer and the commander of her deadly Hounds.

  Sidonie’s music touches Morgan in places he had abandoned centuries ago, and her fiery spirit resurrects feelings he had believed long dead. For Sidonie, trapped in captivity, passion offers a comfort she cannot resist.

  But Isabeau holds Morgan bound in magical chains that only Death can break. And in the court of a cruel, jealous Queen, the only thing that burns hotter than love is revenge…

  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

  Spellbinder

  Thea Harrison

  Spellbinder

  Copyright © 2017 by Teddy Harrison LLC

  ISBN 13: 978-0-9981391-3-5

  Kindle Edition

  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

  Title Page

  Copyright Page

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen

  Chapter Fourteen

  Chapter Fifteen

  Chapter Sixteen

  Chapter Seventeen

  Chapter Eighteen

  Chapter Nineteen

  Chapter Twenty

  Chapter Twenty-One

  Chapter Twenty-Two

  Chapter Twenty-Three

  Chapter Twenty-Four

  Author’s Note

  Coming Soon: Lionheart

  Look for these titles from Thea Harrison

  Chapter One

  Morgan strode into the Queen’s private audience chamber, sweeping the room with a sharp gaze. It had become a way of life to automatically look for threats.

  There was one enemy waiting for him.

  The Queen herself.

  Isabeau stood with her arms crossed, watching him with the deadliness of a coiled snake. She wore a blue silk dress that matched the blue of her eyes, and her long golden hair flowed in immaculate curls down her back. She was careful with details like that.

  A gold chain looped the slender circumference of her waist. The chain was enchanted so that it was virtually unbreakable. She had ordered Morgan to make it. A scabbard made of ancient black leather hung from the chain.

  The hilt of a knife protruded from the top, wrapped in the same humble, worn black leather as the scabbard. Deadly Power pulsated like an ebony supernova in Morgan’s mind whenever he glanced at it.

  Isabeau never met Morgan without wearing Azrael’s Athame, not since she had captured him. She didn’t dare. Without Death’s Knife to control him, she would become his prey.

  How he longed for her to be his prey. No matter how many centuries passed, that longing never ceased. It had become his purpose for existing as everything else had faded away.

  He eyed her impassively. While she remained armed whenever he came into her presence, his greatest, most effective weapon against her was calm, bland indifference. It gave him a cold pleasure to know she hated his indifference almost more than anything.

  “Shut the door,” she ordered. Raising one eyebrow, he did as she ordered. Private audiences with Isabeau almost never went well, but then he had expected nothing else.

  As soon as the thick door settled into place, she grabbed a priceless antique porcelain bowl and flung it at him. Casually, he stepped to one side, and the bowl sailed past him to shatter against the paneled wall.

  “I can’t believe you let Oberon
s bastards find a way back to Earth!” she raged. She tore at her own hair, her beautiful face suffused with fury. “How could you do this to me?”

  “Because as we know,” he murmured, “it’s always all about you, Isabeau.”

  There was no reasoning with her when she got like this. The Queen of the Light Court couldn’t bear to be crossed or disappointed in any way. When everything went the way Isabeau wanted it to, she was all sweetness and flirtatious, pretty smiles.

  When things didn’t work out the way she wanted, she flew into uncontrollable rages. She became convinced everything that happened, even the most arbitrary act of fate, was a personal attack against her.

  She had destroyed the image of immaculate beauty she had worked so hard to achieve. Her tousled hair parted enough that he caught a glimpse of fury in those lovely blue eyes.

  Lunging forward, she raised one hand to strike at him. He strode forward to face her. Pain flared at the sudden movement, and he pressed one hand to the fresh wound in his side.

  “Be careful, Isabeau,” he said gently as he looked down into her face. “Remember what happened the last time you hit me.”

  She had struck him only once, and in retaliation, he had cast a blight over Avalon’s farmlands and ruined an entire harvest. That had led to a winter so bitterly lean even those at court had felt it, and Isabeau had been forced to dig deep into the crown’s coffers to import enough food so she could still have the luxuries she loved and her people didn’t starve.

  She had since forbidden him to take such action against her, but if he had found a way once around the terms of the geas that bound him, he could do it again, and she knew it.

  Fear flared in her eyes, and she gripped the hilt of the Knife. She had disemboweled people who had disappointed her far less than he had just now.

  But it took a major act of strength to draw Azrael’s Athame, let alone wield it, and she hadn’t done so in a very long time. To the best of his knowledge, she had only drawn it once.

  He watched with clinical interest. Did she have it in her to draw the Knife again? In a way, it didn’t matter. The single time she had drawn the Athame, she had struck him with it, and once was all it had taken to trap him.

  Her fingers clenched, but the Knife remained in its scabbard. She snarled, “You said it would be impossible for them to reach Earth.”

  “Clearly,” he replied sardonically, “I was mistaken.”

  “What happened?!”

  “The knights of the Dark Court converged on the old Shaw manor. Even though the house had been built on a broken crossover passageway, somehow Nikolas Sevigny and his human witch found a way through to Lyonesse. They brought hundreds of troops back as reinforcements. I didn’t think it was possible, and I don’t know how they did it, but if they could break through using one broken passageway, they might be able to figure out how to use the other broken passageways as well.”

  “Why didn’t you stop them!”

  “I tried, but I couldn’t,” he snapped. “I’m not familiar with the magic they used. If the witch has an affinity for passageways, they might even be able to find the ones I’ve shrouded with cloaking spells—including the hidden Light Court passageways. Face facts, Isabeau. Lyonesse is no longer cut off from Earth. The tide of this war has shifted, and it is not in your favor.”

  “You should have killed her! Why didn’t you kill her?!”

  He raised an eyebrow. “I had no such orders to kill an American.”

  “Yet you knew she was responsible for this!”

  “Incorrect. I suspected she might be responsible. Much of what I just told you is speculation. I don’t know anything for sure.”

  Like a bird of prey, she swooped away to pace the room. Then she whirled and stalked back to him, lifting her rage-distorted face to his. She hissed, “I should tear your heart out for this.”

  His lips pulled back in instinctive, feral reaction to the threat. He met her gaze, and she saw something in his expression that made her recoil.

  “You could try,” he growled. “And even if you succeeded, see how long you survive in this war you created when you no longer have me to compel.”

  She loved the control she wielded over him, but at the same time, she hated that she feared him. She hated the fact that she needed him. It was virtually the only thing they agreed upon, because he hated it too.

  He watched her struggle with conflicting emotions. She ran her gaze down his figure, and the expression in her lovely eyes changed. She was one of the most beautiful of all the Fae he had ever met, but her beauty left him cold. After she had trapped him, she had never bothered to hide her true nature around him. He knew all too well the deadly creature that lived behind the charming façade.

  Abruptly, she rapped out, “You demanded an audience with your Queen while you’re still filthy and bleeding. What’s wrong with you? Why aren’t you healed already?”

  He sighed. “I’m not healed because they shot me with silver arrows, and silver is anathema to a lycanthrope. I barely got away as it was. If I hadn’t had a lycanthrope’s speed, and if I hadn’t stowed a car nearby, they would have caught me.”

  She gestured at his side. “So heal it!”

  “Magic spells don’t work on these wounds, and I can’t heal at an accelerated rate. I can’t shapeshift while the silver is in my system, and my ability to cast magic is dampened.” Gritting his teeth, he added, “And I’m here because you ordered me to give you an update as soon as I possibly could. This was the fastest I could arrive.”

  He had to follow her orders to the letter. That was the nature of the ensorcellment she had trapped him in. He had warned her before to be careful how she worded her orders to him, but the stupid bitch never learned.

  One of these days her utter self-absorption and impetuous carelessness might very well end his life. He lived in hope for the other possibility—that a carelessly worded order from her might give him the chance to end hers.

  Rage and frustration took over Isabeau’s features again. She spat, “What use are you like this? Get out of my sight. I don’t want to see you again until you’re fully healed.”

  He froze, not quite believing what he had just heard. Isabeau was Light Fae. She had no real understanding of how long it took humans to heal from serious wounds, and he had once been human. His supernatural attributes were of no use to him in healing wounds made by silver. He would have to recover the slow, hard way. The human way.

  Lowering his lids to hide the flare of triumph in his eyes, he murmured, “As you command.”

  Her gaze darted around the room and fell on a marble figurine. She swept it up and flung it viciously at his head.

  He ducked his head to avoid the figurine while his mind raced. He barely noticed when she stormed out of the audience chamber and slammed the door.

  If Isabeau’s temper cooled enough to allow her to think, she might realize what she had done. He had to leave before she could find him and rescind her impetuous order.

  Tightening his lips against the vivid, tearing pain in his side, he wended his way through the castle, using magic to avert attention from his presence.

  Normally his Power flowed like an abundant, nearly inexhaustible river. With the silver poisoning his system, he could barely manage enough for the avert spell.

  He didn’t stop at the infirmary to get medical attention or bother going to his rooms to pack clothes. He was too intent on leaving Avalon as quickly as possible.

  At one point guards ran down the hall. He heard them coming in time to step into an alcove. They might have been looking for him, or they might have been sent on some other urgent task. He didn’t know or care, and he wasn’t about to risk finding out.

  I don’t want to see you again until you’re fully healed.

  As long as he avoided hearing a countermanding order, he would have weeks of freedom, something he’d never had under the unending yoke of Isabeau’s geas.

  Weeks.

  His imagination leaped
ahead, racing through possibilities.

  If he could acquire another injury before he was fully healed, he might be able to prolong this hiatus, perhaps even indefinitely. Unfortunately, he couldn’t reinjure himself. Long ago, she forbade him to commit any acts of self-harm.

  What if he found someone else to strike the blow for him? Someone he could trust to wield a silver weapon without killing him?

  Would the geas allow it? He was sure as hell going to find out. If the geas would only let him, he would happily stick a silver knife in his own gut repeatedly to avoid returning to Avalon and living as Isabeau’s slave.

  He could gain time. Time to himself.

  Time to research ancient texts and learn everything he could about Azrael’s Athame. Time to see if he could work around the magical restraints that bound him and still find a way to destroy Isabeau and Modred.

  The geas wouldn’t allow him to destroy them himself—Isabeau’s long-ago first order had forbade him to harm either her or Modred—but what if he could set in motion certain events that would destroy them for him?

  As for the wound… life was full of pain. He would deal with it.

  First, however, he had to leave Avalon.

  His strength ebbed in a slow, steady trickle. Pausing only long enough to tear off strips from the bottom of his jacket, he folded a pad of material over the wound and tied it in place. The cloth was soon soaked, and he reached the closest crossover passageway in a haze of blood loss and pain. The guard at the passageway had been doubled, and conviction solidified.

  They were looking for him. He had to wait until nightfall, and then he used the last of his magical strength to cast a sleeping spell over those on duty. When the guards were stretched out on the ground and snoring, he eased past them.

  Into the passageway, to England, where the cool of a rainy summer evening greeted him. Morgan had money and resources on Earth. Cars, safe houses, and go-bags packed with credit cards, clothes, weapons, and necessities.

 
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