To love and protect…across worlds.
On planet Magio war rages between Peacio’s protectors and Dralion’s warriors. Friendships and soul-bonds are forbidden, yet deadly secrets lurk within a high-ranking inner circle. Eighteen-year-old Peacian Silvie Carver’s worst problem is completing finals until her best friend receives forewarning that Silvie is the key to keeping her enemy king from making a decision that will escalate the war. Silvie must save her loved ones’ soul-bonds from being torn apart, and all without revealing her emerging and rare fire skill during the mission. Dralion warrior and enchanter, Guy Moyer, has been fighting his soul’s demand to find his mated one…who also happens to be his enemy. Except Silvie shows up on Dralion’s off-world Australian Outback station and though they renounce their bond, his soul demands he aid and protect her. When Silvie finds herself impersonating a warrior, she’s pulled to the fiery edge of her control as she seeks to influence the king’s decision. Can the mated pair turn the tide of the war and find their place with each other?
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“I’m so sorry about your mother, Guy.” I scraped one foot forward, touching my toe to his, needing some form of connection too.
“She had the biggest heart, the gentlest smile, and hair as black as midnight, so long it touched her waist, right about—” He smoothed down my sides and cupped my hips. “—here.”
Heat raced through my veins and I shuffled my other foot forward. Closer was better, and no doubt due to the bond at play. “You miss her?”
“Always.” He slid his thumbs into the small gap between the waistband of my cutoffs and t-shirt. “She was life itself, which is why I appreciate the here and now. You never know when someone will be gone.”
My chest tightened, his loss cutting into me far more than it should. “She sounds wonderful.”
“She was.” He pulled back a little and fingered his necklace. From the center of the thin strap of leather, a small gold ring dangled. “It’s been so long. I almost forgot. My mother bequeathed her ring to my mated one. She gave it to me to hold onto until the time we met.”
“What? No. We might be mated, but we’re not doing anything about it, right?”
“Right.” He lifted the necklace free of his head. “But I still made a promise.”
“No, really.” I shoved against his chest. “Stop. Put that back on. Promises like that can be broken.”
“Not this one. My mother wanted the woman I was mated with to know her in some way. This ring was her gift to you. I’m only the keeper, passing it along.”
I backed up until my shoulders knocked the hay bales. “I said stop.”
“Her wishes were precise.” He crowded me from the front, making it impossible to get away, and then slipped the necklace over my head. “This was what my mother wanted. It feels good to see to her last request. Don’t deny me that.”
Nothing could have shocked me more. Off balance, I rocked onto my heels, gripping the band of gold, his mother’s precious gift from the past. “This is crazy.”
“I’ll know you have it. That’s all that matters.” Guy’s brow pulled down as he clasped my hand. “We really should end things now, before our soul-bond deepens further.”
“You mean release each other?”
“Exactly. I’m the last enchanter in my line, and even though I’m only nineteen, Donaldo has already requested I find a warrior woman and continue it. I have to ensure the ability to enchant doesn’t die away with me.”
Damn, this was all happening so fast. “Shouldn’t we take some time before we decide on such a step?”
“My destiny is not with you, Silvie. It’s elsewhere.”
“For eighteen years I’ve dreamed of being mated.”
“We can’t move on until we release each other.”
The heaviness in my chest expanded. Geez, what a predicament. This was the right thing to do, even though it felt totally wrong.
“Don’t think too much about it.” He caught my face between his hands. “Just start. Speak the words I need to hear.”
“You’re this certain?”
“Yes. I’m sorry.” His voice scraped on the last word, as if he fought his emotions.
I could do this. I was strong, and surely didn’t need a warrior for a mate. I’d already seen how hard it was for Faith and Hope, and now, the future difficulties they faced. That wasn’t for me.
“Give me a second.” I wet my suddenly dry lips then forced them open.
Reading romance books captivated Joanne Wadsworth as a teenager, particularly when she tucked herself into bed at night and continued to dream those stories as she slept. She’d visualize the direction, taking the hero and heroine on an adventure unparalleled to what she’d read. Today she is devoted to writing romance, bringing her imagination to life within the lines of young adult, contemporary, and historical Highlander.
Born in New Zealand, Joanne works both as a writer and a financial controller, all while keeping up with her four energetic children and dreamy husband.
Visit Joanne Wadsworth at http://www.joannewadsworth.com