Dance Upon the Air (Three Sisters Island Trilogy Series #1)

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Overview

Library Journal Best Genre Fiction of 2001

#1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts—hailed by Publishers Weekly as “a storyteller of immeasurable diversity and talent”—presents the first book in her mesmerizing new Three Sisters Island trilogy. Set on a remote, rocky island off the coast of Massachusetts, steeped in history, romance, and legend, Dance Upon the Air is an unforgettable tale of friendship, fate, and the mysterious ways of...

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Dance Upon the Air (Three Sisters Island Trilogy Series #1)

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Overview

Library Journal Best Genre Fiction of 2001

#1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts—hailed by Publishers Weekly as “a storyteller of immeasurable diversity and talent”—presents the first book in her mesmerizing new Three Sisters Island trilogy. Set on a remote, rocky island off the coast of Massachusetts, steeped in history, romance, and legend, Dance Upon the Air is an unforgettable tale of friendship, fate, and the mysterious ways of the heart…

When Nell Channing arrives on charming Three Sisters Island, she believes that she’s finally found refuge from her abusive husband—and from the terrifying life she fled so desperately eight months ago… But even in this quiet, peaceful place, Nell never feels entirely at ease. Careful to conceal her true identity, she takes a job as a cook at the local bookstore café—and begins to explore her feelings for the island sheriff, Zack Todd. But there is a part of herself she can never reveal to him—for she must continue to guard her secrets if she wants to keep the past at bay. One careless word, one misplaced confidence, and the new life she’s created so carefully could shatter completely. Just as Nell starts to wonder if she’ll ever be able to break free of her fear, she realizes that the island suffers under a terrible curse—one that can only be broken by the descendants of the Three Sisters, the witches who settled the island back in 1692. And now, with the help of two other strong, gifted women—and with the nightmares of the past haunting her every step—she must find the power to save her home, her love…and herself…

Meet Mia, Nell and Ripley, all witches, and the enchanting descendents of the island's founding trio. Nell has just found a new love with Zack Todd; but she's haunted by her abusive husband, Evan, the man she fled from eight months ago.

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Editorial Reviews

Rocky Mountain News
Roberts weaves a story like no one else, and if possible, she just gets better.
Library Journal
Escaping to Three Sisters Island to put her life together after an abusive marriage, Nell Channing gradually begins to think that she has finally found a place where she can create a new life. But her husband isn't about to let her go, and when he finally finds her, it takes all her new-found strength and a little help from her "sisters" to deal with his violence. A magnetic hero, a heroine who finds herself, and some memorable secondary characters weave a mesmerizing tale of witchcraft and magic that launches Robert's latest trilogy in fine style. One of the best and most consistent writers in the genre, Roberts (The Villa) is a member of the RWA Hall of Fame and lives in Keedysville, MD. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780515131222
  • Publisher: Jove
  • Publication date: 6/5/2001
  • Series: Three Sisters Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 48,999
  • Product dimensions: 4.28 (w) x 6.72 (h) x 1.09 (d)

Meet the Author

Since that fateful blizzard of 1979 and the publication of her first book, Nora Roberts has become the first author ever to be inducted into the halfoff Writer's of America Hall of Fame and the first author to receive their Centennial Award when she published her 100th novel. She has also received their Lifetime Achievement Award.

Two of her books, Sanctuary and The Reef, were optioned for television, and her novel This Magic Moment became the television film Magic Moments. So, even if you haven't read her yet, you may have seen her wonderful stories as movie adaptations! And now is the perfect time to begin reading her romantic tales. Nora's latest bestseller, Dance Upon the Air, promises to be "spellbinding."

Biography

Not only has Nora Roberts written more bestsellers than anyone else in the world (according to Publishers Weekly), she’s also created a hybrid genre of her own: the futuristic detective romance. And that’s on top of mastering every subgenre in the romance pie: the family saga, the historical, the suspense novel. But this most prolific and versatile of authors might never have tapped into her native talent if it hadn't been for one fateful snowstorm.

As her fans well know, in 1979 a blizzard trapped Roberts at home for a week with two bored little kids and a dwindling supply of chocolate. To maintain her sanity, Roberts started scribbling a story -- a romance novel like the Harlequin paperbacks she'd recently begun reading. The resulting manuscript was rejected by Harlequin, but that didn't matter to Roberts. She was hooked on writing. Several rejected manuscripts later, her first book was accepted for publication by Silhouette.

For several years, Roberts wrote category romances for Silhouette -- short books written to the publisher's specifications for length, subject matter and style, and marketed as part of a series of similar books. Roberts has said she never found the form restrictive. "If you write in category, you write knowing there's a framework, there are reader expectations," she explained. "If this doesn't suit you, you shouldn't write it. I don't believe for one moment you can write well what you wouldn't read for pleasure."

Roberts never violated the reader's expectations, but she did show a gift for bringing something fresh to the romance formula. Her first book, Irish Thoroughbred (1981), had as its heroine a strong-willed horse groom, in contrast to the fluttering young nurses and secretaries who populated most romances at the time. But Roberts's books didn't make significant waves until 1985, when she published Playing the Odds, which introduced the MacGregor clan. It was the first bestseller of many.

Roberts soon made a name for herself as a writer of spellbinding multigenerational sagas, creating families like the Scottish MacGregors, the Irish Donovans and the Ukrainian Stanislaskis. She also began working on romantic suspense novels, in which the love story unfolds beneath a looming threat of violence or disaster. She grew so prolific that she outstripped her publishers' ability to print and market Nora Roberts books, so she created an alter ego, J.D. Robb. Under the pseudonym, she began writing romantic detective novels set in the future. By then, millions of readers had discovered what Publishers Weekly called her "immeasurable diversity and talent."

Although the style and substance of her books has grown, Roberts remains loyal to the genre that launched her career. As she says, "The romance novel at its core celebrates that rush of emotions you have when you are falling in love, and it's a lovely thing to relive those feelings through a book."

Good To Know

Roberts still lives in the same Maryland house she occupied when she first started writing -- though her carpenter husband has built on some additions. She and her husband also own Turn the Page Bookstore Café in Boonsboro, Maryland. When Roberts isn't busy writing, she likes to drop by the store, which specializes in Civil War titles as well as autographed copies of her own books.

Roberts sued fellow writer Janet Dailey in 1997, accusing her of plagiarizing numerous passages of her work over a period of years. Dailey paid a settlement and publicly apologized, blaming stress and a psychological disorder for her misconduct.

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    1. Also Known As:
      J. D. Robb; Sarah Hardesty; Jill March; Eleanor Marie Robertson (birth name)
    2. Hometown:
      Keedysville, Maryland
    1. Date of Birth:
      1950
    2. Place of Birth:
      Silver Spring, Maryland

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

She kept staring straight ahead as the knuckle of land, bumpy and green with distance, began revealing its secrets. The lighthouse, of course. What was an offshore New England island without its stalwart spear? This one, pure and dazzling white, rose on a craggy cliff. Just as it should, Nell thought.

There was a stone house near it, fog-gray in the sharp summer sunlight, with peaked roofs and gables and what she hoped was a widow's walk circling the top story.

She'd seen paintings of the Light of the Sisters and the house that stood so strong and firm beside it. It was the one she'd seen in the little shop on the mainland, the one that had sent her impulsively to the car ferry.

She'd been following impulse and instinct for six months, just two months after her meticulous and hard-worked plan had freed her.

Every moment of those first two months had been terror. Then, gradually, terror had eased to anxiety, and a different kind of fear, almost like a hunger, that she would lose what she had found again.

She had died so she could live.

Now she was tired of running, of hiding, of losing herself in crowded cities. She wanted a home. Wasn't that what she'd always wanted? A home, roots, family, friends. The familiar that never judged too harshly.

Maybe she would find some part of that here, on this spit of land cradled by the sea. Surely she could get no farther away from Los Angeles than this pretty little island-not unless she left the country altogether.

If she couldn't find work on the island, she could still take a few days there. A kind of vacation from flight, she decided. She would enjoy the rocky beaches, the little village, she would climb the cliffs and roam the thick wedge of forest.

She'd learned how to celebrate and cherish every moment of being. It was something she would never, ever forget again.

Delighted with the scatter of clapboard cottages tucked back from the dock, she leaned on the rail of the ferry, let the wind blow through her hair. It was back to its natural sun-drenched blond. When she'd run, she'd hacked it short as a boy's, gleefully snipping off the long, tumbling curls, then dying it deep brown. Over the past months, she'd changed the color periodically-bright red, coal black, a soft sable brown. She still kept it fairly short and very straight.

It said something, didn't it, that she'd finally been able to let it be. Something about reclaiming herself, she thought.

Evan had liked it long, with a riot of curls. At times he had dragged her by it, across the floor, down the stairs. Using it like chains.

No, she would never wear it long again.

A shudder ran through her, and she glanced quickly over her shoulder, scanning the cars, the people. Her mouth went dry, her throat hot as she searched for a tall, slim man with gilded hair and eyes as pale and hard as glass.

He wasn't there, of course. He was three thousand miles away. She was dead to him. Hadn't he told her a hundred times that the only way she would be free of him was in death?

Helen Remington had died so Nell Channing could live.

Furious with herself for going back, even for a moment in her mind, Nell tried to calm herself. She breathed in slowly. Salt air, water. Freedom.

As her shoulders relaxed again, a tentative smile played around her mouth. She stayed at the rail, a small woman with short, sunny hair that danced cheerfully around a delicate face. Her mouth, unpainted and soft, curved up and teased out the hint of dimples in her cheeks. Pleasure brought a rosy glow to her skin.

She wore no makeup, another deliberate act. There was a part of her that was still hiding, still hunted, and she did whatever she could to pass unnoticed.

Once she had been considered a beauty, and had groomed herself accordingly. She'd dressed as she'd been told to dress, wearing sleek, sexy, sophisticated clothes selected by a man who claimed to love her above all things. She'd known the feel of silk against her skin, what it was to casually clasp diamonds around her throat. Helen Remington had known all the privileges of great wealth.

And for three years had lived in fear and misery.

Nell wore a simple cotton shirt over faded jeans. Her feet were comfortable in cheap white sneakers. Her only jewelry was an antique locket that had been her mother's.

Some things were too precious to leave behind.

As the ferry slowed to dock, she walked back to her car. She would arrive on Three Sisters with one small bag of belongings, a rusted secondhand Buick, and $208 to her name.

She couldn't have been happier.

Nothing, she thought as she parked the car near the docks and began to wander on foot, could have been farther from the pleasure palaces and glitz of Beverly Hills. And nothing, she realized, had ever called more truly to her soul than this little postcard village. Houses and shops were both tidy and prim with their colors faded by sea salt and sun. Cobblestone streets were curvy and whistle-clean as they climbed the hilly terrain or arrowed back to the docks.

Gardens were lovingly tended, as if weeds were illegal. Dogs barked behind picket fences and children rode bikes of cherry red and electric blue.

The docks themselves were a study in industry. Boats and nets and ruddy-cheeked men in tall rubber boots. She could smell fish and sweat.

She hiked up the hill from the docks and turned to look back. From there she could see the tour boats plugging along in the bay, and the little sickle slash of sand beach where people spread out on towels or bobbed in the energetic surf. A little red tram with white letters that read three sisters tours was rapidly filling up with day-trippers and their cameras.

Fishing and tourism, she supposed, were what kept the island afloat. But that was economics. It stood against sea, storms, and time, surviving and flourishing at its own pace. That, she thought, was courage.

It had taken her too long to find her own.

High Street speared across the hill. Shops and restaurants and what she supposed were island businesses lined it. One of the restaurants should be her first stop, she thought. It was possible she could hook a job as a waitress or short-order cook, at least for the summer season. If she could find work, she could hunt up a room.

She could stay.

In a few months, people would know her. They'd wave as she walked by, or call out her name. She was so tired of being a stranger, of having no one to talk to. No one who cared.

She stopped to study the hotel. Unlike the other buildings it was stone instead of wood. Its three stories with elaborate gingerbread, iron balconies, and peaked roofs were undeniably romantic. The name suited it, she decided. The Magick Inn.

It was a good bet that she'd find work there. Waitressing in the dining room, or as part of the housekeeping staff. A job was the first order of business.

But she couldn't make herself go inside, deal with it. She wanted time first, a little time before she settled down to the practical.

Flighty, Evan would have said. You're much too flighty and foolish for your own good, Helen. Thank God you have me to take care of you.

Because his voice played all too clearly in her ears, because the words nipped at the confidence she'd slowly rebuilt, she turned deliberately away and walked in the opposite direction.

She would get a damn job when she was ready to, but for now she was going to wander, to play tourist, to explore. When she was finished roaming High Street, she'd go back to her car and drive all over the island. She wouldn't even stop at the Island Tourist Board to get a map.

Following her nose, she hitched up her backpack and crossed the street. She passed craft shops, gift shops, loitered at the windows. She enjoyed pretty things that sat on shelves without purpose. One day, when she settled again, she'd make a home just as she pleased, full of clutter and fun and color.

An ice cream shop made her smile. There were round glass tables and white iron chairs. A family of four sat at one, laughing as they spooned up whipped cream and confetti-colored sprinkles. A boy wearing a white cap and apron stood behind the counter, and a girl in snug cutoff jeans flirted with him as she considered her choices.

Nell sketched the picture in her mind and walked on.

The bookstore stopped her, made her sigh. Her home would be full of books, too, but not rare first editions never meant to be opened and read. She'd have old, scarred books, shiny new paperbacks all in a jumble of stories. In fact, that was one thing she could start now. A paperback novel wouldn't add much weight to her pack if she had to move on.

She looked up from the display in the window to the Gothic lettering spilling across the glass. Café Book. Well, that was perfect. She would hunt through the stacks, find something fun to read, and look through it over a cup of coffee.

She stepped inside to air that was fragrant with flowers and spice, and heard music played on pipes and harps. Not only the hotel was magic, Nell thought the minute she crossed the threshold.

Books, in a banquet of colors and shapes, lined deep blue shelves. Overhead, tiny pricks of light showered down from the ceiling like stars. The checkout counter was an old oak cabinet, deeply carved with winged faeries and crescent moons.

A woman with dark, choppy hair sat on a high stool behind it, idly paging through a book. She glanced up and adjusted silver-framed reading glasses.

"Morning. Can I help you?"

"I'm just going to look around, if that's all right."

"Enjoy. Let me know if I can help you find anything."

As the clerk went back to her book, Nell roamed. Across the room two generous chairs faced a stone hearth. On the table between stood a lamp fashioned from a figurine of a robed woman with her arms lifted high. Other shelves held trinkets, statues of colored stone, crystal eggs, dragons. She wandered through, passing books on one side, rows of candles on the other.

At the rear, stairs curved to the second floor. She climbed and found more books, more trinkets, and the café.

Half a dozen tables of glossy wood were arranged near the front window. Along the side was a glass display and counter boasting an impressive array of pastries, sandwiches, and a kettle of that day's soup. The prices were on the high side, but not unreasonable. Nell thought she might have some soup to go with her coffee.

Moving closer, she heard the voices from the open door behind the counter.

"Jane, this is ridiculous, and totally irresponsible."

"It is not. It's Tim's big chance, and it's a way off this damn island. We're taking it."

"The possibility of an audition for a play that may or may not be produced Off Broadway is not a big chance. Neither one of you will have a job. You won't—"

"We're going, Mia. I told you I'd work till noon today, and I worked till noon."

"You told me that less than twenty-four hours ago."

There was impatience in the voice-a low, lovely voice. Unable to help herself, Nell edged closer.

"How the hell am I going to keep the café up without anyone to cook?"

"It's all about you, isn't it? You can't even wish us luck."

"Jane, I'll wish you a miracle, because that's what it's going to take. No, wait-don't go off in a huff."

Nell caught movement in the doorway and stepped to the side. But she didn't move out of earshot.

"Be careful. Be happy. Oh, damn it. Blessed be, Jane."

"Okay." There was a loud sniffle. "I'm sorry, really, I'm sorry for leaving you in the lurch this way. But Tim needs to do this, and I need to be with Tim. So . . . I'll miss you, Mia. I'll write."

Nell managed to duck behind shelves just as a weeping woman raced out of the back and ran down the stairs.

"Well, isn't this just fine."

Nell peeked out, blinked in automatic admiration.

The woman who stood in the doorway was a vision. Nell couldn't think of another word for her. She had a mass of hair the color of autumn leaves. Reds and golds spilled over the shoulders of a long blue dress that left her arms bare to the silver bracelets that winked bright on each wrist. Her eyes, sparking with temper, were gray as smoke and dominated a flawless face. Slashing cheekbones, a full, wide mouth painted siren red. Skin like. . . Nell had heard skin compared to alabaster, but this was the first time she'd seen it.

She was tall, willow-slim and perfect.

Nell glanced toward the café tables to see if any of the customers who loitered there were as awestruck as she herself. But no one seemed to notice the woman or the temper swirling around her like water on the boil.

She inched out to get a better look, and those gray eyes shifted. Pinned her.

"Hello. Can I help you?"

"I was . . . I thought . . . I'd like a cup of cappuccino and a bowl of soup. Please."

Annoyance flashed in Mia's eyes and nearly sent Nell back behind the shelves. "I can handle the soup. We have lobster bisque today. I'm afraid the espresso machine is beyond my current capabilities."

Nell looked at the beautiful copper-and-brass machine, felt a little tingle. "I could make it myself."

"You know how to work this thing?"

"Yes, actually, I do."

Considering, Mia gestured and Nell scurried behind the counter.

"I could make you one while I'm at it."

"Why not?" Brave little rabbit, Mia mused, as she watched Nell take over the machine. "Just what sent you to my door? Backpacking?"

"No. Oh." Nell flushed, remembering her pack. "No, just exploring a little. I'm looking for a job, and a room."

"Ah."

"Excuse me, I know it was rude, but I overheard your . . . conversation. If I understand it correctly, you're in a bit of a jam. I can cook."

Mia watched the steam rise, listened to the hiss. "Can you?"

"I'm a very good cook." Nell offered Mia the frothing coffee. "I've done catering, I've worked in a bakery, and I've waitressed. I know how to prepare food and how to serve it."

"How old are you?"

"Twenty-eight."

"Do you have a criminal record?"

A giggle nearly burst out of Nell's throat. For a moment it danced lively in her eyes. "No. I'm tediously honest, a dependable worker and a creative cook."

Don't babble, don't babble! she ordered herself, but she couldn't seem to stop. "I need the job because I'd like to live on the island. I'd like a job here because I enjoy books and I liked the, well, the feel of your shop as soon as I walked in."

Intrigued, Mia angled her head. "And what did you feel?"

"Possibilities."

Excellent answer, Mia mused. "Do you believe in possibilities?"

Nell considered. "Yes. I've had to."

"Excuse me?" A couple stepped up to the counter. "We'd like to have two iced mochas and two of those éclairs."

"Of course. Just a moment." Mia turned back to Nell. "You're hired. Apron's in the back. We'll work out the details later today." She sipped her cappuccino. "Well done," she added and stepped out of the way. "Oh-what's your name?"

"I'm Nell. Nell Channing."

"Welcome to Three Sisters, Nell Channing."

Mia Devlin ran Café Book the way she ran her life. With a style born out of instinct, and largely for her personal amusement. She was a crafty businesswoman who enjoyed making a profit. But always on her own terms.

What bored her, she ignored. What intrigued her, she pursued.

At the moment, Nell Channing intrigued her.

If Nell had been exaggerating her skills, Mia would have fired her as quickly as she'd hired her, and with no regret. She may have, if the spirit moved her, helped Nell secure a job elsewhere. But that wouldn't have taken much time, or interfered with her business.

She'd have taken that step only because something about Nell had tugged at her the instant those big blue eyes met hers.

Injured innocence. That had been Mia's first impression, and she trusted her first impressions implicitly. Competence as well, Mia thought, though the confidence was a little shaky.

Still, once Nell had suited up and started work at the café, she'd steadied in that area, too.

Mia observed her through the afternoon, noted that she handled the food orders, the customers, the cash register, and the baffling mystery of the espresso machine smoothly.

They'd need to spruce her up a bit, Mia decided. They were casual on the island, but the ancient jeans were a bit too laid-back for Mia's personal taste.

Satisfied for the moment, Mia walked back into the café kitchen. It impressed her that the counters and appliances were clean. Jane had never managed to be a tidy cook, even though most of the baked goods had been prepared by her off-site.

"Nell?"

Taken by surprise, Nell jolted and spun around from the stove, where she'd been scrubbing burners. Her cheeks flushed as she looked at Mia and the young woman beside her.

"Didn't mean to startle you. This is Peg. She works the counter from two to seven."

"Oh. Hello."

"Hi. Jeez, I can't believe Jane and Tim are just leaving. New York City!" Peg sounded a bit envious. She was little and perky, with a mop of curly hair bleached nearly white. "Jane made awesome blueberry muffins."

"Yes, well, Jane and her muffins aren't here anymore. I need to talk to Nell now, so you're in charge of the café."

"No problem. Catch you later, Nell."

"Why don't we use my office? We'll get to those details. We're open from ten to seven, summer hours. In the winter we cut back and close at five. Peg prefers the afternoon shift. She likes to party and isn't a morning person. In any case, since we start serving at ten, I'll need you here in the morning."

"That's okay with me." She followed Mia up another flight of steps. She hadn't paid attention, Nell realized. She hadn't known the shop had three floors. A few months before, she would never have missed that detail. She'd have checked out the space, the exits.

Relaxing didn't mean getting sloppy, she reminded herself. She had to be ready, at any time, to run again.

They passed a large storeroom, lined with bookshelves and stacked with boxes, then went through a doorway into Mia's office.

The antique cherry desk suited her, Nell thought. She imagined Mia surrounded by the rich and the beautiful. There were flowers here, and thriving plants, little bits of crystal and polished rocks in bowls. Along with the stylish furnishings were a top-of-the-line computer, a fax, filing cabinets, and shelves for publishers' catalogs. Mia gestured to a chair and took the one behind the desk for herself.

"You had a few hours in the café, so you've seen the type of fare we offer. There's a specialty sandwich each day, the day's soup, a small selection of alternate sandwiches. Two or three varieties of cold salads. Pastries, cookies, muffins, biscotti. In the past I left the menu choices up to the cook. Are you comfortable with that?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"Please, I'm barely a year older than you. It's Mia. Until we're sure this is going to work, I'd prefer you make up the next day's menu for my approval." She took a legal pad out of the drawer, passed it across the desk. "Why don't you write down what you have in mind for tomorrow?"

Panic wanted to crawl through her, tremble in her fingers. Nell took a deep breath, waited until her mind was blank and clear, then began to write. "This time of year, I think we should keep the soups light. Herbed consommé. Tortellini salad, a white bean, and a shrimp. I'd do a spiced-chicken pita for the sandwich, and a vegetarian selection, but I'd have to see what's in season. I can make you tarts, again depending on what looks good fruit-wise. The éclairs are popular—I can duplicate those. A six-layer chocolate-and-cream torte. Awesome blueberry muffins, as well as walnut. You're low on hazelnut biscotti. Cookies? Chocolate chip is never wrong. Macadamia. Instead of a third cookie, I'd offer brownies. I make an irresistible triple-fudge brownie."

"How much can you prepare on-site?"

"All of it, I guess. But if you're going to serve the pastries and muffins starting at ten, I'll need to start about six."

"If you had your own kitchen?"

"Oh, well." What a lovely fantasy that was. "I'd prep some of the menu the night before, bake fresh in the morning."

"Um-hmm. How much money do you have, Nell Channing?"

"Enough."

"Don't be prickly," Mia advised breezily. "I can advance you a hundred dollars. Going against a salary, to start, of seven an hour. You'll log your shopping, cooking hours daily. You'll charge what you need, food-wise, to the store's account. I'll want the receipts, again daily."

When Nell opened her mouth to speak, Mia simply lifted one slim, coral-tipped finger. "Wait. You'll be expected to serve and to clear tables when there's a rush, and to assist customers in the book section on your level during lulls. You get two half-hour breaks, Sundays off, and a fifteen percent employee discount on purchases, not including food or drink—which unless you turn out to be a glutton, will be part of your perks. With me so far?"

"Yes, but I—"

"Good. I'm here every day. If you have a question or problem you can't handle, get me. If I'm not available, go to Lulu. She's usually at the counter on the main floor, and she knows everything. You look quick enough to catch on; if you don't know an answer, don't be afraid to ask. Now, you're looking for a place to stay."

"Yes." It was like being swept away by a fast, unexpected wind. "I hope to—"

"Come with me." Mia pulled a set of keys out of a drawer, pushed away from the desk and clipped out-she wore gorgeous, needle-thin heels, Nell noted.

Once they were on the main level, she walked straight toward a rear door. "Lulu!" she called out. "Back in ten."

Feeling clumsy and foolish, Nell followed her through the back exit and into a small garden paved with stepping-stones. A huge black cat sunned itself on one of them and blinked open one luminous gold eye as Mia stepped nimbly over.

"That's Isis. She won't trouble you."

"She's beautiful. Is the garden your work?"

"Yes. No place is a home without flowers. Oh, I didn't ask—do you have transportation?"

"Yes, I have a car. It can loosely be called transportation."

"That's handy. You won't have far to go, but it'd be troublesome to cart your goods on foot every day." At the edge of the lot she turned left, kept up her brisk pace, passed the backs of shops, across from neatly kept houses.

"Ms.—I'm sorry, I don't know your last name."

"It's Devlin, but I told you to call me Mia."

"Mia, I'm grateful for the job. For the chance. And I can promise you, you won't be sorry. But . . . can I ask where we're going?"

"You need a place." She turned a corner, stopped and gestured. "That should do it."

Across the narrow side street sat a little yellow house, like a cheerful sunbeam at the edge of a tiny grove of stunted trees. The shutters were white, as was the narrow strip of porch. There were flowers there, too, in a happy dance of bright summer colors.

It sat back from the road on a neat square of lawn with trees tucking it into shade and dappled sunlight.

"Is this your house?" Nell asked.

"Yes. For the moment." Jingling the keys, Mia walked up the flagstone path. "I bought it last spring."

Had been compelled to, Mia remembered. An investment, she'd told herself. Though she, a businesswoman down to the bone, had done nothing so far about renting it out. She'd waited, just as, she understood, the house had waited.

She unlocked the front door, stepped back. "It's been blessed."

"Excuse me?"

Mia only nodded. "Welcome."

The furnishings were sparse. A simple sofa that desperately needed re-covering, a deep-cushioned chair, a scatter of tables.

"Bedrooms on either side, though the one to the left is more suited to an office or study. The bathroom's minute, but charming, and the kitchen's been modernized and should do very well. It's straight back. I've worked on the gardens, but they need more care. There's no AC, but the furnace works. Still, you'll be glad the fireplace works as well come January."

"It's wonderful." Unable to resist, Nell wandered, poking her head in the main bedroom where a pretty bed with a white iron headboard stood. "Like a fairy cottage. You must love living here."

"I don't live here. You do."

Nell turned back, slowly. There was Mia, in the center of the little room, her hands cupped together with the keys in her palm. Light beamed through the two front windows and seemed to set her hair to flame.

"I don't understand."

"You need a place, I have a place. I live on the cliffs. I prefer it there. This is your place, for now. Don't you feel it?"

She only knew she felt happy, and full of nerves at the same time. And that the moment she'd stepped into the house, she'd wanted to stretch and settle, very much like the cat in the sunshine.

"I can stay here?"

"Life's been hard, hasn't it?" Mia murmured. "That you'd tremble at good fortune. You'll pay rent, for nothing that comes free holds its value. We'll work the terms out of your salary. Settle in. You'll have to come back and sign forms and so on. But that can wait for the morning. Island Market is your best source for the ingredients you'll need for tomorrow's menu. I'll let them know you're coming, so you can charge to the store account. Any pots, pans, whatever are your expense, but I'll float that until the end of the month. I expect to see you, and your creations, by nine-thirty sharp."

She stepped over and dropped the keys into Nell's limp hand. "Any questions?"

"Too many to know where to begin. I don't know how to thank you."

"Don't waste your tears, little sister," Mia replied. "They're too precious. You'll work hard for what you make here."

"I can't wait to get started." Nell held out her hand. "Thank you, Mia."

Their hands touched, clasped. A spark snapped out, blue as flame and quickly gone. With a half laugh, Nell jerked back. "Must be a lot of static, or something, in the air."

"Or something. Well, welcome home, Nell." Turning, Mia started for the door.

"Mia." Emotion gathered in her throat, ached there. "I said this was like a fairy cottage. You must be my fairy godmother."

Mia's smile was dazzling, and her laughter low and rich as warmed cream. "You'll find out soon enough I'm far from it. I'm just a practical witch. Don't forget to bring me the receipts," she added and quietly closed the door behind her.

—Reprinted from Dance Upon the Air by Nora Roberts by permission of Jove, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright © 2001. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 434 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(299)

4 Star

(76)

3 Star

(37)

2 Star

(14)

1 Star

(8)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 438 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 26, 2011

    Have the series in paperback. Is it the same in nookbook?

    I have this trilogy on paperback and read and re-read them quite a bit. I just got a nook for Christmas and decided to start adding them and other favorites to it. I noticed when I bought this one it didn't have as many pages as the paperback. I read the last sentence of the book and then checked my paperback and there was several paragraphs after that sentence. Is this normal when getting an ebook? Is some material normally hacked out of the book? Not cool! I hope it doesn't happen throughout the book and affect the flow of the story. Not to mention with other ebooks....

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2013

    Looking for romance with a little wiccan spice?

    I really enjoyed this series especially as I wanted a break from my more demanding series.

    This is still my favorite of the trilogy! I really enjoyed getting to know the setting and Nell. She is my favorite character although Mia seems to be everyones favorite.

    I would recomend this series to anyone who is a fan of either romance or witchcraft as a general theme. This book in particular is a story of strength, power, and freedom!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 17, 2012

    This is the first in a trilogy - and while all the books are won

    This is the first in a trilogy - and while all the books are wonderful - I think this is the best of the bunch. You are introduced to a character who is new to this world, the same as the reader. She is a wonderful, sympathetic character. While she grows throughout the series, she remains the same good person throughout. Her story introduces all the key players that carry through all three books.

    Wonderful Series. I liked this series so much, I have purchased three sets in paperback and now in digital. The best thing about the digital versions, I won't have to worry about loaning the books out and never getting them back - which is why I bought 3 sets!

    Purchase all three - you won't be disappointed.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2011

    Awesome

    I read this trilogy several years ago and I have to say that it really is one of my favorites! Excellent read!!

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 1, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Alright...

    Def not my favorite Nora Roberts book and not a page turner like most of hers are to me but it was good. And I will read the whole Trilogy.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 23, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    This first book of three in a series isn’t one of Nora&rsq

    This first book of three in a series isn’t one of Nora’s recent trilogies, but it is fun and entertaining. She never disappoints me. Dance Upon the Air is a story of three modern day witches that are discovering themselves and how they fit into their wonderful island community off the coast of Massachusetts. Of course, there is romance, danger, and a touch of the supernatural. I think any fan of Ms. Roberts will be pleased, and I am diving into the next volume.
    Michael Travis Jasper, Author of the Novel “To Be Chosen”

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 1, 2012

    I Love this book; it is my favorite Nora Roberts book. It offers

    I Love this book; it is my favorite Nora Roberts book. It offers a bit of everything: romance, humor, suspense, and paranormal horror. The character development is excellent.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 18, 2012

    Well written. Nora has exeptional skills in writing a fantasy wi

    Well written. Nora has exeptional skills in writing a fantasy with strong lead characters, ingrigue, romance, and heart pounding action. Love this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 7, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I've heard of Nora Roberts but never read any of her books. Then a friend recommend me a series, well a trilogy, that I'll like.

    Nell arrives at Three Sisters Island after running away from her past. One that involved an abusive relationship. While at the island, she gets a job as a cook and meets the boss, Mia Devlin. From there, Nell discovers that she along with Mia and a Deputy name Ripley Todd are connected. I was a little skeptical about this book. But as I kept reading, I found its not that bad of a read. You know the saying don't judge a book by its cover? Don't judge a book by its author. Give it a chance first before you say its not good or etc. I did like the ending and how each of the three women had their own personalities and weren't the same per say. A quick read for readers who are familiar with Nora Roberts work or like witches with a little romance added to the mix. Would I read another of Nora's books? Sure.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2012

    'Eh

    It was ok....from the reviews, i thought it was going to be better.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Good read

    I enjoy Nora Roberts' books. Her stories are entertaining and fun reads. Great for rainy days or late night reading. Roberts mixes magic, mystery and romance together in a beautiful way. I recommend her books to anyone who just wants to get away for a little while. They also make good gifts to ladies who also like books about magic and romance!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2001

    For once the critics are right - Nora Roberts is amazing!

    It will never cease to amaze me, how Ms. Roberts, never fails to write a wonderful, thrilling novel. I've read all of her books I could get my hands on and still want more. I bought 'Dance upon the air' this very morning, and here it is, 12 hours later, and I just cant wait until she comes out with the next installment of this trilligy. If 'Dance Upon the Air' is any indication, then I shall wait, with baited breath, until the next one, 'Heaven and Earth', comes to the shelves!!!

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 26, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I absolutely loved this trilogy. Nora Roberts should write a lot

    I absolutely loved this trilogy. Nora Roberts should write a lot more paranormal type books. She is so good at it.

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  • Posted February 28, 2014

    Great Reading

    As all of Nora Roberts books the Trilogy was excellent. I read all three. Couldn't put them down till I finished them.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2013

    Not recommended

    this book would have been so much better without the explicit sex.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 26, 2013

    loved this book read it about 3 times before lending to others.

    loved this book read it about 3 times before lending to others.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2013

    Thomss

    Fuqs yiu in as many wys as possible. I c.m on yiur face. I suck allvthe milk out of your t.ts. i kiss you like mad!! You are so sexy!!! I need more of you sexy body!!!

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2013

    Pulls you in

    Quick and delightful read. Author pulls you right into the story and makes you want more.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2013

    One of my favs

    Love this series. I have re-read this many times.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2013

    Elle

    Walks in.
    ••••
    Wearing- a white strapless dress. The top has sequins on it the bottom is high-low. She has on gladiator sandals. Light makeup that complements her tan. Her hair is in ringlets. She has long dangly earrings on with matching necklace.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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