Merely Magic

Merely Magic

3.9 33
by Patricia Rice

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"Patricia Rice is a master storyteller." -Mary Jo Putney, New York Times bestselling author of Never Less than a Lady

Magic is her birthright...

The daughter of one of the strongest magical lineages, Ninian Malcom Siddons is a powerful witch. Determined to only use her magic for good, she lives a simple, solitary life as a


"Patricia Rice is a master storyteller." -Mary Jo Putney, New York Times bestselling author of Never Less than a Lady

Magic is her birthright...

The daughter of one of the strongest magical lineages, Ninian Malcom Siddons is a powerful witch. Determined to only use her magic for good, she lives a simple, solitary life as a healer in her village, where she meets Drogo.

A man of science doesn't believe in anything he can't see...

Lord Drogo Ives believes only logic and science can explain the wonders of the universe and doesn't believe the local folklore about Malcolm witches and Ives men, until he meets Ninian.

Despite the odds against them and their (many) differences, the bond between Drogo and Ninian grows stronger each moment they are together... until the chaos and danger surrounding them forces each to decide: their love... or their lives...

"You can always count on Patricia Rice for an entertaining story with just the right mix of romance, humor, and emotion." -The Romantic Reader

Product Details

Publication date:
Magic Malcoms , #1
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Read an Excerpt

Alone on the edge of the clearing, Ninian Malcolm Siddons sat on an overturned stone from the circle that had once dominated this hill and contemplated the bonfire and dancing couples laughing below. It was a very lonely business being a Malcolm. Tonight, she'd much rather dance and sing and shout for joy in the firelight like everyone else. She wanted to scream and yell, "I'm here! Here! It's just me!" But there was danger in achieving that kind of attention. She could not indulge her volatile nature and throw tantrums at the unfairness of life; it would only enhance the village's fear of her. As her grandmother had taught her, she must remember who she was, what she was, and be proud of it. She had a gift and a talent no other had been granted, and she must use them wisely. Making the villagers fear her was not wise.

She sighed and rolled her eyes in exasperation. "Gifts" and "talents" weren't quite as valuable or exciting as the magic in fairy tales. If only she possessed real magic, she could summon a lover to dance with her. She smiled as the fantasy formed in her mind. What kind of lover would she summon? Dark and passionate? Fair and loving? One who would give her fat, jolly babies?

One who would dance with her.

She'd never even considered sharing her life with anyone until Granny died last winter. Given her circumstances, it didn't pay to consider it now. She must dedicate her life to the people of Wystan just as Granny had done-or deny her heritage and forfeit everything as her mother had. The bonfire leapt higher into the starry May night as someone added new brush to the flames. With the aid of the moon above, the glade sparkled with the silvery glow of a thousand candles, filling the night with enchantment. Beltane was a night to celebrate the earth's richness, to throw off the dark of winter's cold. She should exult in the promise of spring, not fret over what she could never have. It was time to shrug off her grief over her grandmother's death and go on with the business of living.

If only she knew precisely what that was. Tending her herbs, healing the sick, and delivering babes did not hold quite the promise she'd hoped now that she faced those tasks alone. Eagerly, she sat up as an excess of hilarity and high spirits buffeted her with the approach of the dancers.

"Have you heard? Lord Ives is repairing the castle!" Tom, the wheelmaker's son, crowed as he and several others gathered to catch their breaths.

"We'll all be rich!" Alice, a farmer's daughter, expressed her excitement with glee.

"This time next year, we'll have fat pigs in our pens and geese on our tables." Son of a sheep farmer, Nate passed his cup of ale to the next person.

The return of an Ives to Wystan after all these years worried Ninian. She'd thought the legend in her grandmother's storybook little more than a fairy tale and had never feared it, until now, with the recent return of the mysterious nobleman.

According to the story, long, long ago, Ives and Malcolms had been the nobility of this land, building castles and protecting their people. But according to the legend, disaster destroyed their happy land upon the marriage of an Ives lord and a Malcolm lady. Prosperity had fled, the Ives lords moved away, and only Malcolms remained to care for the people as best as they could. As others left to seek riches elsewhere, the village shrank, and there was no need for more than one Malcolm here. So even the Malcolms left. Ninian's aunts had followed their aristocratic husbands and moved on to better things. Ninian's particular gift fared better in the isolation of the village, so she had chosen to stay behind.

Why had a legend walked out of her storybook as soon as her grandmother died? And if this Lord Ives could make the village wealthy, would they need Ninian at all? Or would he bring the tragedy the storybook predicted?

Clamping down a frisson of fear and blocking out such silly superstition, Ninian watched the unaccompanied bachelors expectantly as the musicians struck up a new song.

Nate grabbed his companion's hand, and Gertrude giggled and ran off with him to join the dancers. As the other young men chose partners and laughing couples dashed toward the revelry, leaving Ninian behind-again-her dimples disappeared and her shoulders sagged with the weight of loneliness.

It shouldn't matter that they didn't ask her to dance.

They were simple, uneducated village boys, and she was a Malcolm. Malcolms were not only witches, but nobility, educated far beyond the means of simple farmers. She understood.

She really did. But the music was so lively and the moon so beautiful...

An old lady laughed as Gertrude slapped Nate's face and flounced off. "That one has aught but one thing on his mind," the old one said to her companion.

All the village girls knew about Nate's hot hands and sweet words. Still, even well plied with ale, he danced a fair step, and Ninian wouldn't have minded one whirl about the fire.

Just one.

It wasn't as if she expected love.

A pagan fertility rite, how appropriate.

Standing in the deepest shadows of the forest's edge, Drogo Ives, Earl of Ives and Wystan, crossed his arms and watched as the bonfire in the clearing blazed skyward. The hypnotic notes of flute and fiddle carried on the wind along with the sounds of laughter.

He'd come to this deserted outpost of northern England in hopes of studying the stars, not human behavior. Heaven only knew, he had sufficient specimens for study in London should he wish to take up the science of people, but he preferred the distance and mathematical precision of stars. At least stars were predictable.

The bonfire had aroused his curiosity when he'd seen it from his windows. He'd spent a long and grueling day over the estate accounts, correspondence, and decisions regarding his brothers' latest escapades, and inexplicably, he'd been drawn to the sight of the leaping flames.

A lone figure lurking in the half shadow between him and the convivial couples in the clearing captured his curiosity.

He might not be from these parts, but he had sufficient knowledge of folklore to recognize the village's celebration of Beltane. As spring fertility rites went, this one was fairly tame. He even recognized the primitive urge within himself to procreate. The warmth of a new May eve, the hum of nature's nocturnal creatures seeking mates, the gravid fowls and burgeoning plant life of spring stirred even the most stoic of mankind into desiring to create replicas of themselves within a woman's womb.

Drogo clanged a steel door shut on that thought as he watched the solitary figure in the clearing.

Her pale hair glimmered with moonlight, curling in wild ringlets over her shoulders and halfway down her back, uncovered by cap or cloth. He had caught a glimpse of her face earlier as she exchanged words with some of the couples. She had a round face of ivory purity with mysterious light-colored eyes he could barely discern in the silver swath of moonlight.

And she had a figure men would kill for. He surveyed her ample bosom and trim waist with jaundiced gaze. Country beautiful, built for breeding. Why then was she not a part of one of the amorous couples cavorting around the fire? She should have men dancing attendance at her fingertips.

He had no intention of becoming so involved in village affairs that he might ask. He craved a solitude he couldn't achieve in London, and he didn't need another woman mucking up his life or his mind. He'd do better to return to his studies in the tower or to the tedious stacks of frantic messages from London.

The silver goddess turned just enough for him to perceive the yearning in her expression, a yearning that so matched his own, the loneliness of it nearly crippled him.

Meet the Author

Former CPA Patricia Rice is the author of over thirty bestselling romances with over 5 million copies sold. Winner of the Romantic Times Book Review, Book of the Year, and the RITA awards, she is a member of RWA, the Authors Guild, and Novelists, Inc. She lives with her husband in St. Louis, Missouri.

With five million books in print and New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists under her belt, Patricia Rice's emotionally charged contemporary and historical romances have won RT Book Reviews Reviewers' Choice and Career Achievement Awards. A former CPA, Patricia is a native of Kentucky and New York, and currently resides in St. Louis, MO.

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Merely Magic 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1750 Wystan, England, healer Ninian Malcolm Siddons is lonely ever since her beloved grandmother died last year. Considered a witch by her fellow villagers, the kind hearted Ninian has no one to call her own. She can only watch her age group peer off with one another. Men would seek her out for their pleasure if no one else observes them because no man wants a villager to see them with a witch.

Astronomer Lord Drogo Ives arrives in the area in search of clear skies to see the heavens. Drogo¿s family used to co-own the area with the Malcolms until the ill-fated marriage between their clans allegedly destroyed the land. To the shock and amazement of both them, when Drogo meets Ninian, a forbidden attraction springs up between them. However, nobody will sit idly by as Malcolm and an Ives fall in love.

MERELY MAGIC is a magical historical romance that centers on two lead characters that share a forbidden love. The story line is fast-paced, filled with action and plenty of romance as the intelligent but steamy exchanges between Drogo and Ninian are precious. The support cast augments the tale with superstition or bumbling interference. Long time favorite Patricia Rice scores with a wonderful novel that will require a sequel or two.

Harriet Klausner

Entwined More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book! Patricia Rice has yet to fail me. All of her book are wonderful!
kherbrand More than 1 year ago
This book pulled me in from the beginning. Even the setting is magical - a village in the woods, secluded. Everything sounded lush and green, until they discovered that something was poisoning the water. Ninian discovers this just as she meets Drogo - because the stream is on his property that she collects her plants from for her cures. She is the local healer - it is what she was born to do and all that she knows. Even the villagers steer clear of her unless they have need of her potions. Drogo on the other hand is city bred and lives by logic. He does not trust anything mystical or magical - or let's just say he doesn't believe in it. He is the oldest Ives brother and has spent his entire life making sure that the rest of his family is provided for. This leaves him alone with just his ledgers and his books most of the time. Somehow these two lonely people are thrown together - well, they have help from Drogo's half sister Sarah, who seems to think that Ninian is the only one who can have Drogo's child. I love the way that they fight each other through out the whole book - both wanting what they think they can't have. It is almost like they can't see what is standing right in front of them. This is a reprint as this book was first published about 10 years ago. It is the first in a series and I am looking forward to learning more about these two families - the Ives and the Malcolms. They have a rich history and much legend in the village is built around what would happen if two of them ever got together. If you like the current batch of paranormal/historical romances that are out, I would recommend giving this one a shot!
LASR_Reviews More than 1 year ago
What do you get when you mix one part witch, one part curmudgeon, and one part annoying family? An amazing story about love, family, and magic. Come join Ninian on her magical journey from the country to London and back again as she tries and tames the forbidden Ives clan. Many magical and mysterious surprises await ahead! Ninian is the most recent in a long line of Malcom witches, women who use the bounty of the earth to heal and help those around them. She's also one of the most unique heroines I've ever read. Despite the loneliness she often feels, she's very at ease with herself and her station in life. And, while she doesn't exactly buy one hundred percent into the whole 'Malcom Witch' tale, she knows that she possesses a power beyond what the normal person has. It's this combination of faith in herself and reliance on her abilities that makes her such a draw for me. I love a capable woman, and she is just that. Drogo Ives is only partly curmudgeonly, truth be told, but he is a cantankerous soul at times. Having been forced to take the reins of the family at an early age, his resentment has a tendency to boil over onto anyone within range. Normally, this sort of an attitude on a hero would turn me away, however, Drogo does his best to confront his feelings and rein himself in, although he doesn't succeed as often as he might like. His need to control and sort puts him at odds with Ninian, often to rather amusing results. If you like your romance with a touch of magical fantasy woven into it, then Merely Magic by Patricia Rice is a must read! You'll be enticed in by the engaging characters and hooked by the flow of the story itself. A true storyteller, Ms. Rice will hold you from the first words until the very last. Come, sit by the fire and let Ninian and Drogo entertain you with their tale. Originally posted at The Long and Short of It Romance Reviews
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the best books, honestly i couldn't put this book down. If you like historical novels, you absolutly love this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
bluefan More than 1 year ago
I love the author, but this one was a little slow for me. Still worth the read. A very charming story.
AAR More than 1 year ago
MERELY MAGIC by Patricia Rice is an amazing,witty historical romance with a touch of magic set in 1750 Northumberland, England.It is a re-issued titled.The plot is enchanting,easy to follow,well developed and intriguing.The characters are engaging,enchanting,believable and will capture your heart. This is the story of Ninian,a beautiful healer,a little essentic,a famous Malcolm,Innocent,lonely,has little bit of magic and is drawn to aristocratic Drogo.Who is handsome,an aristocrat,an Ives,a man of science,lonely,but won't admit it himself or anyone else,and can't seem to resist the local witch Ninian. After they are thrown together by a terrific storm,Drogo's meddling stepsister,they can't seem to get enough of each other.But they not only face a legend,superstition,danger,lust for each other but they also face Drogo's trust issues,and Ninian's Malcolm family.As the danger and chaos mounts they will have to decide if they trust each other enough to survive the Malcolm and Ives legend,be happy together, and maybe begin a new chapter in with Tales of Malcolm and Ives.This is a fast paced story full of passion,some sensuality,promise of brighter days to come,the end of a legend and the beginning of a new life with love,maybe a little peace,family, full of hope,love,and a little happiness.This was an amazing story with a little magic,danger and a lot of love.This book was received for the purpose of review from the publisher and details can be found at Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks,Inc. and My Book Addiction and More.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the story of date rape. The heroine is drugged, plyed with booze and then raped. It works out in the end. After all, it is supposed to be a romantic fantasy. No one should call this type of behaviour romatic, except perhaps for the rapists of this world.
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