Destined for power…

Prophecy foretold the coming of one who would be the most powerful of the Vallen, destined to renew their magical energies. Born male, instead of the anticipated female, Morgan Vallentyn is outcast from birth, banished to the forest by his vengeful mother. His magic weakened, and caged by unknown forces, one goal drives Morgan: if he can’t harness his powers by his birthday, another will take his destined place.

Bound by convention…

Adriana Hayden paints with rare passion and vision. But Regency England is no place for such an unconventional woman. Fleeing from a proposed marriage arranged by her domineering guardian, Adriana escapes to the forest and into the arms of a mysterious man with strange powers. A man who unleashes forces she never suspected existed.

A coming storm…

As the summer solstice approaches, the electricity crackling between Morgan and Adrian is only a prelude to the building tempest crackling across the skies. There’s magic in the storm they create together, but to fulfill their destinies, each must find the key to unlock the powers in the other and claim the most powerful magic of all.

Adriana turned off the path and picked her way through the wood toward the sounds.  There was a clearing not too far ahead, but Adriana was stopped by the sound of a voice — a man’s voice. More carefully and quietly now, she made her way to the edge of the clearing and peeked out from the trees.

Adriana’s breath caught as she watched a dark head emerge from under the water.

It was him!  He hadn’t been a dream or her imagination. He was real!

Morgan flipped his long black hair back out of his face, sending a spray of water flying toward Adriana. As he did so, he turned around to face her and she very nearly took a step forward to let him know that she was there. Her hand was half-way raised, her foot in mid-air about to step out from the trees when she noticed that he wasn’t wearing anything – at all.

Adriana stopped and caught her balance on a tree. How embarrassing!

She couldn’t allow Morgan to see she was there, not when he… she could feel her face heat and was sure she was blushing furiously.

She resolutely tried to keep her eyes on his face, but they disobediently darted down his exposed body. Strong muscles defined his bare shoulders and chest. Below that Adriana couldn’t see anything because of the water, and she was extremely grateful. She had never seen a naked man before, and was certain that she never should – at least not until after she was married.

In her mind, Henrietta’s stern voice told her in no uncertain terms she was to leave immediately. Adriana knew the voice was right – she shouldn’t be here at all. She started to turn away, but Morgan gave another bright shout of laughter. She looked over at him playing in the water and knew she just couldn’t go.

The thought of leaving without drawing even one little sketch of Morgan and the river was unthinkable. Surely it was all right from an artistic point of view.  Men painted naked women, so why couldn’t she draw a naked man?

No, neither Henrietta’s voice in the back of her head, nor the threat of being caught in so compromising a position could force her to leave. She would stay, but only for a very short time. Just long enough to do one quick sketch, she told herself sternly.

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Meredith Bond
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