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Enchanted No More
     

Enchanted No More

3.8 38
by Robin D. Owens
 

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As one of the last surviving Mistweavers, half-blood Jenni knows what it's like to be caught between two worlds: the faery and the human. But the time has come to choose. The Lightfolk require her unique talent for balancing the elements to fend off a dangerous enemy—and rescue her missing brother.

Only for Rothly will Jenni deal with those who

Overview



As one of the last surviving Mistweavers, half-blood Jenni knows what it's like to be caught between two worlds: the faery and the human. But the time has come to choose. The Lightfolk require her unique talent for balancing the elements to fend off a dangerous enemy—and rescue her missing brother.

Only for Rothly will Jenni deal with those who destroyed her life. Only for him will she agree to work with her ex-lover, Tage, and revisit the darkest corners of her soul. For a reckoning is at hand, and she alone has the power to hold back the forces of dark….

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781426879104
Publisher:
Luna
Publication date:
01/01/2011
Series:
Mystic Circle , #1
Sold by:
HARLEQUIN
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
163,418
File size:
707 KB

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Read an Excerpt


A late January night, Denver

Jennie Weaver's skin prickled as the heaviness of ancient earth magic crossed her front boundary and marched up her sidewalk to her front porch.

A dwarf was at the door. The magical kind of dwarf, from the Lightfolk. He waited for her to acknowledge him. He could wait forever. She wasn't budging from her second-floor office.

The doorbell rang, a fruity ripple of notes that she'd gotten used to since she'd bought the house, and had begun to actually like.

She would not open the door. She'd been dodging phone calls from strange numbers for days.

The doorbell sounded again. She stared out the window, nothing to see but dark, no moon tonight, and her neighbors' windows weren't lit.

The doorbell rang a third time. And the clear phone on her desk lit up and trilled. And her cell in her bedroom warbled "The Ride of the Valkyries." She was afraid if she answered the door the tune might become all too appropriate.

She set her teeth, turned up her computer speakers and continued typing. The final tweaks to the new little story line for the mass multiplayer online game were due tonight.

Her computer died an unnatural death.

A supernatural death.

A touch-of-fey death.

She stared at it openmouthed.

The ringing and ringing and ringing went on.

Stomping downstairs in her fuzzy slippers, she peered out the peephole and saw no one, not on the drafty covered porch or the stoop beyond. Definitely a full-blooded dwarf if she couldn't see him.

Another bad sign.

She shouldn't open the door, but didn't think the dwarf would go away or her computer would come back on until she responded to all the noise.

Her cell tune changed to "Hall of the Mountain King." She hadn't programmed that in.

Hard raps against the door—of course he wouldn't use the silver Hand of Fatima knocker.

Knowing she was making a mistake, she opened the door. Recognized and stared down at a dapperly dressed dwarf in a dark gray tux. Drifmar. "What part of 'never darken my door again' did you Lightfolk not understand?"

He smiled ingratiatingly, addressed her by her birth name. "Mistress Jindesfarne Mistweaver, we've found a pair of brownies who'd indenture themselves to you, despite your many cats. A token of our esteem." He swept a hand toward two small beings—shorter and thinner than the four-foot solidly built dwarf—shivering in the late-January cold. The long tips of their furry ears folded in for warmth. Both male and female were dressed only in white shorts and sleeveless tops.

Jenni looked at the goodwill offering. They were scrawny and wrinkled. Their triangular faces and equally large and usually triangular ears and small vicious pointy teeth made them look as mean as wet cats. They wrapped their arms around themselves and leaned together.

"I don't need household help," she said. "I am a productive member of human society, I have a cleaning team every month."

"You have a squirrel hole in your eaves above the door," Drifmar, the dwarf, pointed out.

"I like the squirrel hole," Jenni insisted. "I like the squirrels."

The brownies perked up.

The dwarf bowed. "Mistress Jindesfarne, we have great problems."

"Always great problems around. No." She slammed the door.

He stuck his foot in it and the door splintered. He smiled with naturally red teeth. "Now you need the brownies."

The brownies were looking hopeful, big brown eyes blinking at her, their thin lips turning black with cold.

Drifmar said, "You need the brownies and we need you. Let's talk."

"No."

"We will make it worth your while."

With just that sentence he ripped the scab she'd thought was a scar off the wound. Hot tears flooded her constricting throat. Her fingers trembled on the doorknob. "No. My family—my once happy, large family—talked with you fifteen years ago. Then we went on a mission to balance elemental energies while the royals opened a dimensional gate. My family died." All except her older brother, who blamed her for the fiasco, but not more than she blamed herself.

"They saved the Kings and Queens of the Lightfolk."

"I don't care. The Lightfolk did not save them." She didn't control her magic, let her eyes go to djinn blue-flame. The brownies whipped behind the dwarf.

She got a grip on herself. It was Friday night and the sidewalks had people coming and going. Besides, losing her cool with a chief negotiator of the Lightfolk was not smart. "Most of my family is dead in the service of the Lightfolk. I have no responsibility to the Lightfolk at all."

"Your parents taught you better." There was a hint of a scold in his voice.

Since Jenni felt like shrieking again she kept her lips shut on words, breathed through her nose a few times, then managed to say, "Go away. Never come back."

"You are the only one with the inherent magic to balance elements left."

Her gut clenched. The dwarf didn't have to remind her that her brother was crippled physically and magically. She remembered that every day and prayed for him.

She stared into Drifmar's pale silver slit-pupil eyes. He could have no power over her, her own eyes were sheened with tears. "I am well aware of that. Go away. Never come back and if I say it three it will be."

"Wait! We will make you a Princess of the Lightfolk, you will lack nothing for the rest of your life, your very long life. We need you for just a small job, and it's time sensitive so the mission would be for a short time, only two months."

Harsh laughter tore from her throat. "You can't make a half blood a princess. Against all your rules. A small job for a great problem? I don't believe you, and two months is eighty-four thousand, nine hundred and fifty-nine minutes more than I want to spend in Lightfolk company." She looked down her nose. "That left you with one minute. Time's up."

"You'll have power and status and money and love, whatever your heart desires."

"I desire to be left alone by the Lightfolk." She flicked her fingers. "Go away and that makes three!" She put her fury in it, hurled the magical geas at him, but drew on no magic around her. Not to use on such as he.

He vanished.

The brownies remained.

The male squealed, "What to do? What do we do now?"

Jenni stared at the pitiful couple. "You can come in for the night, I suppose, but just one."

They stepped on the stone hearth, then clapped their fingers over their rolled ears and ran back to the far side of the porch. The woman looked at her reproachfully. "You have a nasty-sound scare-mouse machine."

Jenni didn't like the sound, either, but she'd been able to ignore it.

The man appeared interested. "You have mice. They said we would have to suffer many cats. Why do you have mice?"

Jenni sighed. "I have one old, fat, toothless calico cat."

The brownie woman—browniefem—bustled back, stared up at Jenni with determination. "Go turn off the scare-mouse sound machine."

Giving them a hard look, Jenni said, "You will guard this door and let no Lightfolk in."

"We promise." They bobbed their heads. "Please leave the door open for the warmth," whined the man.

Jenni muttered a swear word under her breath—a human word—and tromped back to the kitchen. Sighing, she removed the sonic mouse repellers. In the summer she could live-trap the mice and relocate them, but in the winter and the bitter cold…no. If her cat, Chinook, had caught them and eaten them, that was different, that was natural. But she had too many advantages over mice to destroy them. Stupidity.

By the time she reached the entryway, the brownies were in and the door propped shut.

Chinook, always curious, descended the stairs two paws at a time. When she got three steps from the bottom she saw the brownies and her fur rose, her tail bottled and she hissed.

The male hopped into her face, bared his fangs and hissed back.

Jenni went to Chinook and picked her up. "She's lived here for years, you're overnight guests. As long as you're here, you must treat Chinook with respect. She responds well to pampering."

Before she'd petted Chinook twice the brownie couple had zoomed to the kitchen. Jenni followed.

The browniefem looked around, nose in air. "You need us. I am called Hartha and this is Pred."

Pred grinned. "Mousies!" He disappeared into the crack between the stove and the counter.

"The cleaning team comes Monday, only three days from now," Jenni said. The house didn't look too bad to her.

Hartha was suddenly wearing an apron made from two of Jenni's dish towels. That had been in a drawer. "Go sit down and I'll make you some nice tea. You've had a shock." Another sniff. "We must have the house warmer, but we will do it with magic, lower your heating bill."

Jenni hesitated.

"We need the positions." The woman lit the gas oven without turning the knob. She met Jenni's eyes and her own were not pitiful but shrewd. "Those new shadleeches have nested in our home. We had to leave or they would drain our magic dry."

Brownies were mostly magic. But Jenni didn't want to hear their long, sad story.

Music filled the house, her computer was back on. She hoped she hadn't lost much work.

Chinook wriggled and Jenni set her down. The cat sat and stared at the brownie. The woman went straight to the dry food container and filled the cat's bowl. Chinook hummed in greedy pleasure.

Magic filled the atmosphere along with the lavender scent of home spells that Jenni recalled her mother using. She didn't want to think of her family or the brownies or the dwarf. She let Chinook crunch away and went back upstairs to work.

Soon she'd turned in the leprechaun story and was in the depths of email consultation with the game developers about its debut the second week of March, only six weeks away. The scent of sweet-herb tea wafted to her nose. More memories of her mother, her five siblings, whipped through her. The browniefem set the pretty patterned cup before Jenni, twisted her hands in her apron.

So Jenni picked up the tea and sipped. It was perfect. Just sweet enough. Naturally. Hartha would have sensed her preferences.

The brownieman, Pred, appeared in the doorway, grinning. "There is no more mouse problem."

Jenni let the brownies have the back storage room, messy with piled boxes, computer parts, cables, extra clothes, mailing materials, old software and broken appliances. She had a feeling it wouldn't be untidy in the morning.* * *

Grief and ghosts and guilt haunted her dreams.

She should have known that the arrival of the dwarf and the brownies would stir up the old trauma, but had worked that night until her vision had been fuzzed with static from looking at the screen. Then she'd fallen into bed and slept, only to watch the fight around the dimensional gate with the Darkfolk, and be too late again.

Her family had died in that fight fifteen years before. Jenni had been late to help her family magically balance energies as a portal to another dimension was opened. She'd been more interested in her new lover and loving. Hadn't been there when the surprise ambush had occurred. A fatal mistake she was unable to fix, so she had paid the price every day since.

She would never forgive herself for her mistake.

Neither would her elder brother, the only other survivor of her family.

She awoke weeping and curled into a ball, and knew from the soft and muffled quality of the air outside her windows that snow fell in huge, thick flakes. She felt the silent coming and going of the female brownie, Hartha, but kept her back to the woman until the smell of an omelette and hot chocolate made with milk and real liquid cocoa teased her nostrils. She rolled over to see her best china on a pretty tin tray along with a linen napkin and tableware.

As she ate, Chinook hopped onto the bed, onto her lap, and purred, accepting bits of ham and cheese from the omelette. The cat was her family now, old and scruffy as she was.

Only one old cat.

As she stared out the frosted window, she accepted that the Lightfolk would not leave her alone. They'd send others to negotiate. They'd send him. Her ex-lover.

Meet the Author

ROBIN D. OWENS has been writing longer than she cares to recall. Her fantasy/futuristic romances found a home at Berkley with HeartMate in December 2001. She’s gone on to write eleven more books in the series and collection of novellas in the Heart universe. She has written five titles for Luna™ Books in her Summoning series, and launched her Mystic Circle series with Enchanted No More.

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Enchanted No More (Mystic Circle Series #1) 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 reviews.
alexia561 More than 1 year ago
Robin D. Owens is one of my favorite authors and as I absolutely love her Summoning series, was very excited to see that she is starting a brand new series! Despite what I thought was a slow start, the story soon picked up and really sucked me in! Jenni is a halfling; half human, quarter djinn, quarter elf. Her family was the only family capable of balancing the elements; adjusting Earth, Air, Fire, and Water into a perfect balance. Fifteen years ago, most of them perished in an ambush by the Dark Ones while opening a portal for the Eight (rulers of Lightfolk). A horrible massacre where Jenni and her oldest brother were the only survivors. So when the Eight send word that they need her help once more, Jenni declines. Unfortunately, she is soon forced to help when her crippled brother disappears while trying to fulfill the mission on his own. This is listed as book one, so the slow start may have been due to setting up the series groundwork. Jenni is a magical being, who has turned her back on her heritage and is living in the human world. Jenni is soon dragged back into the faery world, and must deal with her grief at losing her family, her distrust of the Eight, and her feelings for her ex-lover. All that on top of rescuing her brother and completing her mission. Jenni may have "issues" with authority, guilt about failing her family, and lingering angst over Aric's betrayal, but she is not a stupid woman. She understands that she really has no choice about the mission, so makes the best of things and tries to negotiate the best terms for her and her brother. Despite being disowned by Rothly, she still cares for the last remaining member of her family and only wants what's best for him. She is a passionate, caring, talented heroine that I wanted to get to know better. Think this will be another great series for Robin, as I really liked Jenni, Aric, the brownies who moved in with Jenni, and the various halflings she befriends! An interesting plot, well paced action, good character development, and even the bad guys were interesting! Robin has another winner on her hands!
Arkali More than 1 year ago
You know how sometimes you just get this feeling when you start a new book that it's going to be great? I knew before the end of the first chapter that Enchanted No More was a book that I was going to fall in love with, and I was not disappointed. Robin Owens does a fantastic job of building a world filled with dark fae, light fae, and the constant press of technology. The world building that takes place in Enchanted no more is absolutely fantastic. It's not often that you really see a new spin on the world of the fae, but you will here. I absolutely love the way the fairie world is divided up by elements - water, air, earth and fire. The various people of the world are governed by their elements, as well. The dwarf king, the eldest of The Eight, even has a gravelly sounding voice. Queen Emberdrake, a djinn female ruled by fire, has mannerisms and looks that all are tied into her element. There are also the treefolk-dryads and such-and they, too, have characteristics that reflect their element, that is, trees and wood. It's very well done and just makes for a fascinating setting. Jenni has a lot of issues going on. First and foremost is guilt. She blames herself primarily for the catastrophe that left her alone. She doesn't stop there, though. She heaps a huge helping upon Aric and also The Eight. She doesn't want to help them, she doesn't want to have anything to do with them. Even when she's trying to save Rothly, she is still caught up in her self-loathing and distrust. That's a huge obstacle for her to overcome. Aric has changed a lot, too. He realizes that the fault doesn't lie with him and Jenni, but he still mourns for his friends. Meanwhile, there is still the little matter of the quest. Ever so often, bubbles of elemental energy are released into the world, and this treasure can be used for good or ill depending on who shapes the energy. The Lightfolk want to use it to help their people survive and integrate with the human world so they aren't wiped out, and the Dark want to use it to sow chaos and destruction. Determined to use this rare miracle for the Lightfolk, Jenni has to battle not just the evil Darklords but also her own emotions which have kept her shackled for fifteen years. Jenni does a lot of growing during the story. I got the sense that Aric had also grown a lot, but most of his maturation had occurred while he and Jenni were estranged. No longer kids, Jenni and Aric are really good together. They help each other through physical danger but also along the path of emotional healing. I think my only complaint on this book was that there wasn't any sex. Well, it's alluded to, but for the most part, once they get past the kissing stage, it's closed-door. Usually that doesn't bother me one way or the other as I'm more about the story. In this case, though, these two were just so good together that I wouldn't have minded playing the part of a voyeur for a few pages. Actually, I did just think of another issue I had with the book-they lied on the title. Forever Enchanted or Completely Enchanted would be a much better reflection of how this story left me. Great world building combined with believable characters, an exciting plot and a captivating romance kept me hooked from the first page to the last.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Over fifteen years ago during a magic ritual, Jindesfarne "Jenni" Mistweaver lost her family due to a deadly assault. Since the tragedy that traumatized her, Jenni, overwhelmed by survivor guilt, has buried herself among the humans planning to one day die amongst the mortals. However, Drifmar the Lightfolk dwarf arrives at her porch in Denver to inform her that we have problems; she responds you have problems as her family died saving the Lightfolk when Jenni and brother Rothly survived but he blamed herand jenni elt the same way about the tragedy. Jenni makes Drifmar vanish, but the two brownies who accompanied him remain behind. Reluctantly, Jenni learns her sibling has vanished so to find him she accepts a quest that the faery folk demand she undergo if she wants her brother back alive. Her former lover Aric joins Jenni who soon finds she fights against evil that wants her soul. In this exciting mixed urban-quest fantasy, much of the action occurs on the other side where readers learn of a complicated caste system. The story line is fast-paced and the supernatural species seem real. Although understandably so with the family tragedy that occurred while performing their duty, Jenni whines a bit much (should have been in Green Bay where she could wear a cheesy hat), which in fairness comes across as genuine. Still overall aptly titled Enchanted No More is an enchanting quest fantasy. Harriet Klausner
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I am really not much of a fairy person, hence the 4 stars, but I have enjoyed all of the series that Robin Owens has written. So, I tried this. The characters have so much depth and the story line was so interesting that I will be waiting for all her books in this series, too!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The world of magic and magical beings is quite interesting, and the main character is engaging. The story wanders between that really quite diverse, well imagined magical world and some rather silly romantic scenes. An OK way to pass some time in an airport or, as I did, on a treadmill.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very entertaining story! Robin D. Owens knows how to tell a tale and hook you from the beginning.
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