Friday, May 4, 2012

A Little Free Irish Magic with Diane J Reed!

Love Irish fairy tales? Need a little Irish magic? Your luck has turned! Diane J. Reed's new book Twixt is FREE for Kindle! Read about it here and grab a copy quick! It's only free for 3 days.

Everyone in Ophir Creek, Idaho knows the wild legend of Corvine O’Dannan, a mysterious Irish woman with “fairy powers” who came to town during the gold rush to find her fortune, only to be betrayed by her lover and meet a tragic end—

Fast forward to the twenty-first century, and her descendent Rose doesn’t have time for such nonsense! After a crash-and-burn marriage, she’s returned to her hometown to renovate her father’s gold-panning business and to start over. But everything changes on her 30th birthday when her friend talks her into doing a love spell. Unbeknownst to them, they conjure the spirit of the very same man who once tormented Rose’s ancestor. Why? Because Rose was Corvine O’Dannan in a past life—and her really bad habit of attracting Mr. Wrong still haunts her, and now jeopardizes her very life…

What Rose doesn’t realize is that along with this dark curse comes an extraordinary blessing—in the form of a soul guardian named Chance Murphy who’s been protecting her for centuries. But this time around, the evil spirit that plagues Rose has stolen Chance’s body. So the only way that Chance can reach her is late at night in her dreams, when he appears as a magical raven who escorts her to an enchanted island off the coast of Ireland. There, Chance becomes a man again, and he shows Rose how to heal her past through the fairies’ special brand of magic. But will Rose finally be able to forge a new future and make the man of her dreams become real? Only if she can once again believe… 

Twixt enjoys 16 five-star ratings on Amazon and gets high marks from The Midwest book Review. Read an excerpt of here:  

Excerpt from Twixt, Chapter 20: “Dancing with the Moon” (where Rose encounters Chance, her shapeshifting soul guardian at night) by Diane J. Reed

Rose glanced around the room in the dark, wondering if the raven was somewhere in shadows, or perhaps perched on the old trunk at the base of her bed. She hadn’t seen him since he appeared to lead the line of birds on her drive home. Cautiously, she tiptoed around her apartment, not wanting to wake her sister, and she whispered his name, checking behind kitchen curtains and peering around furniture before stepping into her shop.
Chance,” Rose murmured, feeling a bit silly, “are you here?”
Nothing but silence.
She took a deep breath, and then from somewhere in the darkness, she heard a familiar voice.
I’m with you, Rose—
She whipped around, but no one was there.
Chance?” she whispered eagerly.
In a band of moonlight, she caught a glimpse of a shiny, black feather on the floor. Stepping closer, she picked it up, only to spot another, then another. Gathering the feathers in her hand, she realized that they formed a line, like bread crumbs, leading to the café table. When she walked to the table and glanced down, she saw the pair of wings her daughter had crafted that morning, glittering in the moonlight. They looked magical, and she couldn’t help recalling those times she used to spend with her mother and sister, searching for fairies at twilight. Soft, rustling leaves, flickers of forest light, sparkles off creek water when you least expected it—those had been the most enchanted moments of her life, until she’d had her daughter Crystal. Rose reached out a finger to touch the wing as if caressing a favorite memory. She swore she saw it quiver—
Go ahead—put them on, the voice urged. Tonight we can fly.
Rose’s cheeks flushed as her lips curled into a smile. She slipped the wings on over her shoulders and scanned the room again, but she couldn’t find the raven anywhere. Longingly, she stroked the feathers in her hand.
Where are you?” she whispered.
Close your eyes, the voice said. Believe—
Easing her eyes shut, Rose tried as hard as she could to feel his presence. She imagined the softness of the feathers as his windswept hair, tinged with sand, which he was just waiting for her to caress with her fingers. He would smell fresh, she thought, like seaside air, with hints of wild roses and turf fire smoke. She inhaled deeply, wishing she could breathe him in for safekeeping, when she felt the feathers slip from her fingers . . .
Slowly, a feather traced her cheek before it curved along her jaw and caressed her throat. Soft as a whisper, it glided along her collar bone. Then the feather whisked down to the swell of her breast and paused before she felt Chance’s lips press against hers. Gently, he stroked her hair as he kissed her. Rose opened her eyes. Before her, illuminated in the moonlight, was a tall man with dark, unruly hair and a black overcoat. His brown eyes drank her in as though the very sight of her nourished his soul—
Rose was about to speak when he put the feather to her lips. He took her by the hand and held her close, humming as he moved his hips, imperceptibly at first, then with a little more fervor, so that before she knew it they were waltzing. She allowed her head to fall against his shoulder, wings bobbing as the two of them dipped and swayed. Inside, however, she had to giggle—here she was, in her white flannel nightgown and wool socks, dancing with a man who clearly could use a few lessons! His movements were awkward at first, like someone unaccustomed to wooing women, and his jerking strides made her feel as if she were attached to a darting shadow. He’s so different from Jake, she thought, whose smoothness used to work as effortlessly on her as his smile. How many times had Jake waltzed her through smoky bars or clanging casinos, purring lies that only made her feel weaker by the second? Rose had lost track long ago. Instead, Chance clutched her hand a little too hard, his wrist rigid as he tried to overcome stumbling feet. He let out a small cough each time he missed the rhythm, wincing as he ducked his rugged chin. Chewing his lip, every motion in his body betrayed the lonely mountain man he truly was, but his dark eyes told her he gave his heart for keeps.
Wouldn’t have it any other way! Rose smiled to herself as she rested her cheek against his chest. His coat rustled with their rhythm, and in its swishes she could almost hear the lapping waves of the sea. Soon, his gait became more confident, and slowly she began to feel swept up in his motion, as if she were floating on a tide. Is he really here? she wondered, dusting off the sand from his lapel. Or am I so desperate I’ve lost myself to dreams? Rose reached up to touch his cheek for assurance, when she felt his large hand grip hers. The determination in his grasp made her heart surge, as though she had boarded a ship that had finally set its course for home.
Chance smoothed the hair from her forehead and cupped her face. “Look into my eyes,” he said, halting their movement. “What do you see?”
Rose wasn’t sure what he meant—was he asking her to predict their future together? How could she, when she didn’t know if he could survive the confrontation tomorrow night at Samhain? She glanced into his eyes, shiny in the moonlight. “You know I can’t see the future for myself,” she admitted.
Running his fingers through her hair, Chance twirled a strand like fine silk. “But you can dream,” he insisted. He took her by the hand and opened the front door to lead her to the porch. Above them, the nearly ripe full moon washed the town square in silver, and splashes of stars winked in the sky like fragile hopes. Chance slipped his thick arm around her waist, careful not to disturb her wings. “At least for one night,” he said, “dare to dream with me.”
Rose nodded, swallowing hard. For years she’d been reluctant to consider her future, especially after her possibilities had been beaten down by Jake. Day-to-day survival was the most she could hope for in Nevada, where dreams withered like tender blossoms in the relentless desert sun. But it wasn’t a life—it was merely an existence. Now, she didn’t want to let that happen to her anymore, or to Crystal. Positioning her feet squarely on the porch, she stared at Chance.
This is what I see,” she grasped his shoulders and looked into his eyes with as much courage as she could muster. “I see love and light all around us. And for the first time in my life, I’m not going anywhere.”
Chance smiled. “Of course you are!” he replied. He grabbed her by the hand and leaped from the porch—
Suddenly, the moon appeared closer, so big that Rose felt as if it might swallow them, and Ophir Creek steadily became a small cluster of lights as far away as the stars. Rose gasped, realizing that the town had edged from their sight. She studied Chance’s coat, flapping in the breeze, trying to detect where he might have sprouted wings. But there were no bulging feathers or wingtips in view, no mysterious modifications into a wild bird—only a man beside her whose grin rivaled the stars. Stretching out her hands, she felt the force of an unusually warm current suspend them in flight. Had Chance somehow learned to influence the clouds and winds, like her great-great grandmother? He shook his head and laughed.
Twixt hearts are full of surprises,” he remarked mischievously, “when the moon is right.” He tweaked her chin. “I thought you’d know that by now—”
Gripping her tightly around the waist, he steadied her beside him and tilted her shoulders, so that they floated upright before an incandescent moon. Chance’s face, though hard and weather-beaten at the edges, radiated like an angel’s, and Rose slipped her hands to her cheeks, wondering if they might emit heat from his reflected glow. He chuckled and grasped her fingers, curling them into his. This time, when he led her in the dance, his movements were as light and graceful as the wispy clouds that collected at their feet like lace. A soft breeze whisked Rose’s hair, and despite their altitude, she felt safe in his arms—aloft, it seemed, by their own delight.
Chance,” she smiled, “are we hallucinating?”
I don’t know!” he replied, gazing at the moon. “Do we care?”
He pressed his cheek against hers, gently spinning her among thread-like clouds that were so sheer they were almost transparent. Rose giggled, and for the life of her, she thought she could hear music. It was soft at first, seeming to vibrate from her own chest. But as the notes began to throb in her mind, she saw soft lights glitter all around them. Their twinkles resembled stars, yet with fleeting colors, like the reflections that danced off Crystal’s bracelet.
They’re here,” Chance whispered proudly, “all around us. They’re attracted by our joy.”
He hugged her close. “The good people. See?” He pointed at the glimmering colors. “They’ve been waiting for you—”
Mystified, Rose watched a trickle of hues stream past them in a graceful swirl. Flashes of red and blue and yellow reflected off Chance’s face, making him look more alive than she’d ever seen him. No longer the desolate man of the woods or a windswept island, he appeared as fresh and illuminated as the moon. His dark eyes sparkled, yet even as they swayed together in the gentle breeze, his expression slowly began to stiffen and grow stern.
Chance searched her face, studying her intently as if memorizing her features—the curve of her chin with two freckles on the left; the line of her lips, a bit full on the bottom; the mossy green eyes that appeared liquid in moonlight. Sweeping his fingers along her brow, he rested his palm on her cheek. “This could be our last dance together,” he said, opening the front flaps of his coat to snuggle her inside. He hugged her so close that Rose could feel her ribs press against his broad chest. Greedily, he grasped her temples.
I love you, Rose,” he said, staring into her eyes. “Not just on an enchanted island, or in the forest.” He paused and glanced at the floating colors that still hovered around them, vibrating soft melodies. “Or even among fairy lights and stars, but everywhere you move and breathe. No matter what happens,” he promised, stroking her cheek, “you have my heart.”
Then he kissed her with such force that she imagined he might breathe her in, and the white glow of their merged souls would melt into the moon. From that moment forward, she thought, when people looked up at night, they would see the silhouette of two ’twixt dancers who’d finally found each other, their bodies entwined for all time. Rose ran her fingers along Chance’s face, hesitating over his long scar, wanting to etch his features into her heart the way pictures had been drawn in her great-great grandmother’s diary. As they kissed, she closed her eyes and listened—listened to the very way he inhaled and exhaled—hoping to hold the rhythm in her soul. Touching her hands to his chest, she reveled in the rise and fall of his lungs beneath his wool sweater—proof to her that he was real, that everything around them was real!—when she felt his lips release hers. He took a deep breath and burrowed his hand into his coat pocket.
Chance pulled out a small seashell and held it up to the colors that undulated even more brightly in the night sky, as if swelled by their kisses.
Your daughter gave you tokens from the island,” he said. “Seashells, potatoes, her paintings. She told me they were her hopes. Little ways of connecting with you, I guess. Well, I want to give you something, too, Rose. Something more than feathers.” He slipped the seashell into her palm and closed her fingers. “I want to give you back your dreams—”
Rose felt her eyes mist as he put his arm around her shoulder and glanced down. Slowly, they descended to the tops of pine trees until she could once again see the lights of Ophir Creek.
I dream of you and me and Crystal by the fireplace,” Chance said, pointing to the Rainbow’s End Café. “With a pot of stew on the stove, the three of us wrapped together in that dusty, old quilt.” He kissed her softly. “We’re warm and safe and happy. And in the mornings, I’ll walk Crystal to school before I go to work. And on weekends, I’ll teach her how to read tree rings and listen to the wilderness.” He grinned slightly. “If she’s anything like you, she’ll always have that touch of wildness in her.”
Chance twirled her in air as they drifted over treetops. Her wings fluttered, and he slowed her spin to a stop. “And at night, Rose,” he said, running his hands over her temples, “I’ll wash your hair in mountain rainwater, and unravel every silky strand before I kiss your moist skin all over until you tremble. And then we’ll make love, long and slow, under an alabaster moon, our bodies bathed in starlight, and we’ll dream. We’ll dream and dream, and never stop dreaming—”
Heaven! Rose thought. He’s just described my idea of heaven. She arched her back, feeling her wings shudder in the breeze. Above her, she could still see colors dangling like painted stars, their music a gentle hum in her ears.
Chance glanced up at the twinkling hues as if he’d already begun to miss them. He grasped Rose’s fingers and held them out to touch a fleeting bit of yellow that appeared lost and was skittering past their shoulders to join the others. When Rose made contact with the sparkling color, a warm and invigorating feeling sped up her arm. Surprised, she touched her finger to her lips—it tasted like her lemon fairy icing. Another one passed, less hurried this time, as though it might be curious. Rose extended her hand cautiously, when the orange color dashed forward to meet her touch. Again, she brought her finger to her lips and a taste filled her mouth. It was a complex blend of spices with overtones of both sweet and nutty flavors, like her mother’s Barmbrack cake—something she hadn’t savored in ages! But there was more. Rose glanced at Chance in surprise as the feeling surged up her arm and began to embrace her entire being. It felt warm and full inside, like a hug from her mother on a late afternoon, perhaps after a tea party in the forest. Or like having her hair brushed by her sister in the bright sunshine. Or like doing nothing at all, just lying in a heap with her loved ones on the family quilt. Is this a trick of my mind? she wondered, watching the orange color flitter away. Or had the fairies somehow recorded every joy she’d ever known, somewhere in the annals of the cosmos—all those little moments that she’d thought had been extinguished under the harsh Nevada sun? Rose tried to read Chance’s face for the answer as if peering into a page of her great-grandmother’s diary.
It’s all here, Rose,” he assured her, the colors reflecting across his cheeks like a kaleidoscope. “Everything good and true you’ve ever known. All you have to do is reach out and remember. We’ll always be with you—”
Goose bumps ran down Rose’s spine at his words. He cradled her elbow to steady her and guided their feet to settle on the wood planks of the porch. Glancing back at the moon, he lifted his chin as if it had called his name. “Rose, I don’t know what will happen tomorrow night,” he confessed. “I could return to my body, my mind a scramble—or worse.” He gazed down at his feet as though it might be the last time he would see them. “But I do know this,” he continued, staring into her eyes, “if I do everything in my power to return to the daylight people, Crystal will too. She just needs someone to go before her, to show her the way home.”
Tears trickled down Rose’s cheeks, beyond her willpower to make them stop. It wasn’t just the possibility of losing her lover at the brink of a full moon, when she and Chance had barely started. She glanced at the seashell resting in her palm, so similar to the one her daughter had given her. More than anything, more than all the handsome strangers, full moons and fairy lights that the world had to offer, what she wanted most was to have her daughter back, as sassy and whole as she’d been before. Rose knew Crystal had shown signs of improvement, baby steps to test the waters, perhaps. But nothing was certain, only that her heart lurched each time she caught a glimpse of the girl she’d known. Closing her eyes, she rubbed the seashell in her palm and prayed with all her heart that her daughter might once again be hers. Not a twilight child, snared between two worlds because of damage or fear. Rose pictured a child of the sun, light glinting off her cheeks and curls—a bold child who’d brag about her adventures when her mother smiled and asked about her day. A child who wanted to be with her, a child who would stay.
Please god, Rose prayed silently, please—please—help me to be worthy of my angel—
A raven called from a tree limb overhead, its voice thick and resonant. Soon, a group of birds descended on the grass in the town square. They assembled in a circle and began to chortle like members of a midnight council. Chance glanced at them and nodded.
Rose,” he said in a solemn tone, as if he’d been praying as well, “Laurel’s told you the truth, as much as she could handle, anyway. She’s right—you don’t need thunder and fireworks to do a soul exchange. But you do need the help of the good people. Believe, Rose—believe enough for you and me and Crystal, and our future—”
He stared up at the last of the flickering colors that hovered in the sky like northern lights. “And ask you’re your sister about the fairy ring. There’s something she’s not telling you . . .”

Grab your copy at Amazon and enjoy a little Irish magic. There can never be enough! 


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the excerpt! What a great way to spend my Friday morning at work... not working. LOL ;)