If it’s Thursday, that means a new episode of MAGIC’S CHARM is released.
Here’s a little snippet from episode 15 which just dropped:
They sped along the Vegas desert as the sun finally jumped the horizon. He understood her desire to wear the huge sunglasses now since he had to squint against the sun’s glare as they headed straight into the light of day.
A half-hour after leaving the compound the limo turned into the terminal. Rhys counted the number of commercial flights all ready to leave the bustling city, an equal number ready to land from the skies above them.
“The average number of flights into the city each day is estimated between five and six hundred,” Siobhan said as the limo taxied to the private airstrip abutting McClarren airport.
“Everybody loves Vegas,” Rhys said.
“And thank God they do or I’d be on perpetual tour. Or out of a job.”
“We’re here, Ms. d’Arc,” the driver announced.
Siobhan nodded as the car stopped. The driver opened her door while Rhys exited the opposite one. They were standing in a private indoor hangar. Rhys had been impressed by the amount of priceless art in the d’Arc home, but his awe grew ten times when he spotted the Bombardier Challenger 300 jet standing in front of them with a magic wand stenciled on the nose.
“Never seen a private jet before, McDowell?” Siobhan asked as she sauntered past him to walk up the steps to the plane.
“Seen one. Never flew in one, though.” He followed her up the steps.
“Well, you’ll have something fun to write about in your diary tonight, then, won’t you?”
The luxurious interior boasted 8 oversized captain chairs in the main cabin.
“Welcome, sir,” the flight attendant said. “My name is Rachel. I’ll be flying with you today.”
Rhys nodded as she snuck a peak at the cockpit instrument board.
Siobhan took a seat next to a window and strapped in. Rhys plopped down opposite her and did the same.
“There are seven other chairs in this plane,” she said, peering over the top of her sunglasses, “and you have to sit right there?”
“It’ll be easier to talk this way. You did promise to let me interview you.”
She slid her glasses back up her nose and made a play for looking out the window as the engines revved.
“We should arrive in about sixty minutes,” Rachel told them. She carried a carafe of coffee on a try, two mugs next to it along with cream and sweetener cups.
“Black for me, please,” Rhys said, accepting the mug once she’d filled it. She never asked Siobhan how she took it, just made it and handed it to her.
“Would you like a fruit plate for breakfast, Mr. McDowell, or eggs, bacon, and toast?”
“The latter,” he told her.
“Very good. Once we’re at cruising altitude I’ll bring everything out.”
Siobhan thanked her before the woman went to the back of the plane and seated herself.
“So,” Rhys said, after taking a sip of the most delicious coffee he’d ever had. “Your own plane. Nice perk.”
Slowly, she turned from looking out the window to face him, her sunglasses still in place. He’d give anything to see her eyes.
“We do quite a bit of traveling all around the country and this way is easier all around.”
“But I have to imagine it’s costly.”
She shrugged. “What good is having money if you don’t spend it?”
When writing about Scotland, Jean knows of what she speaks, as she tells us, here:
Finding my Muse in Scotland
Over a decade ago for our anniversary, my husband and I traveled to my bucket list destination: Scotland. Lone sheep wandered down the middle of a meandering country road. Windswept moors, heather fields, wet and cloudy skies, the occasional sunshine, rocky trails, impressive mountains, green rolling hills, deep lochs, and a gazillion castles greeted us…it was an amazing trip! Visiting the land of my daydreams stirred the muse within me to write about medieval Scotland. From that inspiration sprung my trilogy and now my spin-off book (it can be read as a standalone), Seeker (which is part of the new Mortar & Pestle series with six other authors).
Here is my list of must-sees!
10. The abbeys—Abbeys are poetic and serene and back in the Middle Ages served as monasteries to different Christian orders. We walked among ancient gray and rose stone ruins at Dryburgh and Melrose Abbeys.
9. The isles—It is hard to not visit an isle while in Scotland. There are many: Lewis and Harris, the Shetlands, or my beloved Uist. We visited Isle of Skye on a dreary day and could not even see the Black Cuillin mountains in the torrential rain, so I had to leave those images to my imagination.
8. Lochs—Like isles, lochs, many glacial, are a must-see and hard to miss whether it is the deep blue Loch Ness, expansive Loch Lomond, or the inspiring Loch Awe.
7. Crags & Glens—High and low crags are everywhere…the Trossachs, Cairngorms, or the five sisters of Kintail are impressive mountains. Glencoe is not one to skip. A rainstorm washed out our path and I got 100 midges stuck in my hair, but it was still oh-ah breathtaking.
6. Standing Stones—Standing stones are one of the few places we couldn’t visit on our trip as most are on the isles. Note to self for next time!
5. Scottish Folk & Pubs—Scots are pleasant people, and we had a great time chatting with the locals. And yup, there are plenty of the other kind of locals: sheep! My husband even tried haggis.
4. The Lowlands—The lowlands often get overlooked, but they are green and lush with undulating hills. I loved them.
3. The Highlands—Rich in clan history and natural beauty and oh so many hiking trails, the Highlands are the epitome of Scotland. Tramp (hike) through glens, up stony crags, or visit Culloden Battlefield (we did), and just get lost on the winding one-lane roads. On my next visit I hope to hike the Hadrian’s Wall path on the English border.
2. Highland Games—Up for putting the stone, caber tossing, tug-o-war, music, and dancing…oh yes, and lots of kilts? Get thee to a Highland Game. We visited one in Pitlochry.
1. Castles—[notice my countdown order – I loved castles the most!] I visited over a dozen on my trip. My favorites: Eilean Donan (the central castle in my books), Kilchurn (we kayaked to it), Threave (we took a rowboat across a river to it), and Borthwick (we stayed overnight in this 14th century tower house that is haunted).
Seeker is a medieval Scottish romance, part of a 7-book series about a magical mortar and pestle that brings true love to its holders. Castles…mythical creatures…to everyday adventurers, it has something for everyone. In Seeker, restless archer Aileana yearns for a target to prove her worth, but when a magical mortar and pestle spins its charm upon her and a rival clan’s son, winning the yearly tournament might mean the difference between war and peace, between love and curses.
Nock, draw, release. Her bow is always ready, and if her arrow hits its mark, she will secure her destined soulmate.
Aileana Montgomerie’s bloodline holds valuable gifts of foresight and healing, but with each honor comes a curse. Even though she is descended from the mystical isles’ folk, she lacks the ability of the Scottish Ancients and wonders if she belongs in a magical family. Aileana just wants a purpose. What good is her bow and arrow if she is denied the right to fight for her clan?
Brodie MacDougall is ordained to be the next war chieftain of his clan. The title is a privilege as long as his brother, the future laird, doesn’t expect him to lift a sword and charge into battle. Chronic pain and nervous vapors force him to spend his days alone. Can his strategic skills keep him one step ahead of his conspiring brother?
Through a magical Mortar & Pestle, Brodie finds his heart’s desire. But there’s a catch. The seat on his brother’s council is no longer dependent upon his health…but on Aileana’s strength. With rumblings of unrest among their clans, will their love foster an alliance or be a step toward war?
The mixture of herb fragrances mingled in her nose. Nutty, sharp, awakening.
She inhaled. Brodie inhaled.
As he released his hand from the pestle, a dark violet waft of smoke rose from the mortar.
An image appeared in her head, though her eyes were wide open:
A vast and lush meadow. Her bow in her hand. She stared at a target, runes carved into its center. The butt was made from a large mound of dirt, the kind used in the yearly tournament.
What in all the stars was happening?
And Brodie stood beside her in the image. Vision? Nonsense! Had she knocked her head? Fallen asleep? She held no gift of prophecy. What was this?
The ground rumbled. She heard Brodie’s heart racing as he whispered words of love in her ear.
Her neck tingled with gooseflesh, the way the wheat fields rippled on a windy day. He pressed a kiss to her cheek, and her belly warmed.
In your presence, the answer is shown, a voice said. Stay close to him, for your heart’s desire is known. What you seek, you will reap. Follow the golden prize. Let it be your sun.
She blinked as the image faded, her face aflame and the residual heat of his lips upon her skin still palpable. “Did you see that?”
He was staring at her, his body so close. She broke their shared gaze. “The mortar.”
He blew out a full, healthy breath as the lavender mist dissipated.
“Smoke?” she coaxed. Oh, please, Brodie. Say you see it, too!
He stared at the mortar. The purple smoke was now a pale haze fading to gray. The flecks in the black granite shimmered as bright as the stars.
“Aye, I do. A flame, but the color of a thistle. Though now it is gray.”
She gulped, feeling relieved but confused. Her mother’s treatments were as natural as the earth. She didn’t cast spells or evoke flares from simple herbs!
“Has this ever happened before?” he asked.
She wet her lips, searching his face. Her chest tingled.
Jean’s background is in science, and she draws from her interests in history, nature, and her family for inspiration. She writes historical and contemporary romances and women’s fiction. She also writes articles for family-oriented travel magazines. When she’s not writing, she enjoys gardening, hiking, and exploring the outdoors.
Yesterday, episode 2 of my new Vella story MAGIC’S CHARM dropped and today I’m giving you a little tease of that chapter.
The dressing room door opened and Rhys had to put his hands in his pockets when he saw her. The absolute craving to reach and touch her was so strong he was shocked by it. Ebony hair flew down around her shoulders to her back ending at her waist, free and unadorned. On the stage, he’d thought the sheen had been from the harsh stage lights. Seeing her hair now, unlit and natural, he realized the glistening came from the woman herself. She’d removed the dramatic eye makeup, but he could see that her lashes were naturally long and not from the application of artifice. The rosy glow on her cheeks wasn’t from a blusher. Her naked lips were plump and wanton, and for a hot minute, Rhys fantasized about tugging at them with his own.
She’d changed into a simple green sheath dress that ended just at her knees, giving him an ample view of long, slender, toned calves. Metallic 5-inch stilettos shod her feet making her eye level with him.
“Let’s go down to the lounge,” she said, “Pierre has a private section for us and we won’t be disturbed while we wait for Evan.”
He nodded and let her lead the way, delighted to watch her slender hips sway beneath the well-fitting dress.
Episodes 1-3 are always free to read on Vella. Watch for the third one this Thursday, Feb 2.