Midnight's Master (Dark Warriors Series #1)by Donna Grant, Arika Escalona Rapson
Gwynn Austin has no idea why her father has disappeared on a mysterious trip to Scotland. When she goes on a desperate mission to search for him, she finds more than she bargains for in a ruggedly handsome, wickedly exciting Highlander who exudes danger and mystery. And when she discovers her own link to Scotland, she'll have to trust her heart to help lead her . .
Gwynn Austin has no idea why her father has disappeared on a mysterious trip to Scotland. When she goes on a desperate mission to search for him, she finds more than she bargains for in a ruggedly handsome, wickedly exciting Highlander who exudes danger and mystery. And when she discovers her own link to Scotland, she'll have to trust her heart to help lead her . . .Propelled through time by powerful Druid Magic, Logan Hamilton uses his immortality and powers of the god inside him to help prevent the awakening of an ancient evil in the modern world. He never expects to find help in the form of a beautiful, alluring, and all too tempting woman whose passion and strength matches his own. Together, Logan and Gwynn must fight for their love-before a demon from the past destroys them both . . .
Read an Excerpt
By Donna Grant
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2012 Donna Grant
All rights reserved.
Gwynn Austin clenched the arms of her aisle seat, her knuckles white and her breath locked in her lungs as the airplane finally touched down in Edinburgh.
God, she hated flying. She barely made it through short trips across the US without being sedated or drinking heavily.
But the message from her father had changed everything.
Gwynn let out her breath as the plane taxied down the runway to the terminal. She was starving and nauseated at the same time. It had taken all she had not to get sick on the plane, so eating was out of the question.
As the plane stopped at the terminal, however, she was ravenous and couldn't get off the plane fast enough. And wouldn't you know, there was a man two rows in front of her who wanted to look through his carry-on and hold up the rest of the plane?
Gwynn wanted to shove the guy, to knock him on the back of the head for being so rude. Her mouth dropped open as the guy suddenly gave a grunt and fell over in the aisle. He lifted his head, looking at everyone staring at him.
This wasn't the first time Gwynn had wished something and it happened, though she didn't look too deep into herself to find out why. Too bad she hadn't been able to wish herself to Scotland instead of having to fly.
Looking away as the guy scrambled to his feet, Gwynn ignored the tingle of awareness that lodged itself in the base of her spine. She had always had a fascination with Scotland and its supposed legends and myths of magic, Druids, and Highland warriors.
Gwynn stretched her shoulders as she finally stepped off the plane and followed the signs to baggage claim. Worry over her father's cryptic message pushed aside her nausea.
It had been three weeks since her father's message. Three long, worry-filled weeks with little sleep. He was known to get deeply involved in his research and forget to call for a day or so, but never for three weeks. It's what had spurred Gwynn to buy a plane ticket and spend eleven hours on the flights from Houston to New York, then on to Edinburgh, with her mind conjuring all sorts of accidents that could have befallen her father.
Gwynn collected her small suitcase and adjusted the strap of her purse over her shoulder as she looked around for the rental car sign. As soon as she saw it, she made a beeline for it while dodging other people and their luggage.
It took no time at all to rent a car, but as Gwynn stood beside her small red Fiat Punto she had to wonder if she could drive it. Not only would she be driving on the wrong side of the road, but she'd be sitting in the wrong side of the car. A manual car.
"I'm an idiot with my left hand," she mumbled as she tossed her suitcase into the back and climbed behind the wheel.
But she had to know what had happened to her father. He was all she had left. Her mother had died three years before, leaving just Gwynn and her father to cope. Her mother had kept the family bound together.
It had been a loose bond, but it was still a bond.
Her father, Professor Gary Austin of Rice University, the most prestigious private university in Texas, was the professor everyone hated to get. He loved his field of anthropology, and he expected everyone else to love it as well.
It was that love that had taken him from his family. Gwynn's mother had merely smiled as she watched her husband succumb to some new finding that would keep him at the university far into the night doing research.
Gwynn had hated him for it. Weeks would go by before he would return home or check on his wife. Gwynn had learned to distance herself from him, to forget that she still had a father.
Until her mother died.
It was as if Gary had looked at her for the first time and realized he had a daughter.
From that moment on, he'd made an effort to call her at least every other day while he was off finding new research all over the globe. While he was at home, Gwynn made sure she cooked for him every Sunday night.
It had taken her mother's death, but Gwynn had gained a father. Somewhat.
Gwynn pulled out the map and bit her lip as she used her finger to find the road she would need to take to the west side of Scotland and the isles there.
She folded her map and turned on her phone. Gwynn blew out a harsh breath when she saw no messages waiting for her. She was expecting two calls: one from her father telling her he was fine and there was no need to worry, and one from Rice. Hopefully the university could tell her exactly what had sent her father off to Scotland within an hour of finding some ancient book.
Gwynn rubbed her tired eyes, wincing at the sandpaper feel behind her eyelids, and started the car. The first thing she had to do was find something to eat. All she wanted was to curl up and sleep, but it was ten in the morning in Scotland, and she had traveling to do. She could sleep for a week once she found her father.
No sooner had Gwynn found first gear and uneasily let out the clutch than her phone rang. She was in such a hurry to grab the phone she had tossed on the seat next to her that she stalled the engine.
She fumbled for the phone, uncaring what happened to the car.
"Hello?" she said breathlessly, hope spreading in her chest that it was her father.
"Is this Gwynn Austin?" a nasal male voice asked.
Gwynn closed her eyes and rested her head against the seat. "It is."
"This is Phil Manning from Rice University. I'm returning your calls about your father."
"About time." She didn't bother to keep the testiness out of her voice. She'd been calling Rice for about a week. No one would take her calls, nor would anyone return them. Maybe it was the threat to call the FBI that had gotten things moving along.
"Yes," the man said, and she could just imagine him rolling his eyes. "Your last message left us little choice."
"Why there was a choice to begin with, I wouldn't know."
"Your father's whereabouts are no longer our concern."
A sick feeling filled Gwynn's stomach as she clutched her cell phone tighter. "What do you mean?"
"He resigned his position here almost a month ago. He refused to listen to reason or even agree to take a sabbatical. He was one of our best professors, Miss Austin. He'd been with the university for decades. None of that meant anything when he quit."
Gwynn swallowed and let his words sink into her fuzzy brain. "So, you're telling me the university didn't send him to Scotland to investigate some artifact he wanted to research?"
That one word opened the floodgates. Tears began to fall unheeded down her cheeks. "Do you ..." She paused and cleared her throat. "Do you know what he was looking for?"
"He took all his research, Miss Austin," the man said, his tone softer. "I am sorry we cannot be of more help."
She nodded, then realized he couldn't see her. "Thank you. If you happen to find anything of his he might have forgotten, or something that might help me find him, please let me know."
"Of course. Good luck, Miss Austin."
Gwynn hung up the phone and put her forehead on the steering wheel as she sniffed. "What the Hell is going on, Dad?"
Her father loved the university. Rice had been his life. He had sacrificed years in order to gain the position of professor. What would have made him leave so suddenly?
Gwynn lifted her head and wiped her eyes before she started the car again. She drove until she found a convenience store where she bought a soda, a bag of chips, and the one sandwich that didn't look questionable.
She didn't allow herself to think of the conversation with Mr. Manning at Rice. She'd let her mind speculate enough on the plane ride from the States. It was time she had facts. Until then, she would keep her mind focused on getting to her destination.
And not leaving the transmission on the road while she learned to shift with her left hand.CHAPTER 2
The blackness, the unending void, ate away at Logan as he was yanked out of the year 1603 and thrown forward in time. He felt himself falling and desperately reached for something to hang on to.
The wind rushed by him, hurting his ears with the high-pitched sound and drowning out any noise. The wind took his breath, making it difficult to breathe. He was tossed first one way, and then the other. Determining which way was up was soon forgotten.
Where were the others? Ramsey, Arran, and Camdyn? The Druids had told him they didn't know where any of them would end up. All Logan could pray for as he felt the years and decades pass by was that he landed in the right time.
Around him, the inky darkness began to shimmer — the same shimmer that had appeared when the Druids cast the spell to send Logan and the others traveling through time.
Almost instantly, he was dumped out of the abyss onto his hands and knees in the midst of a vicious rainstorm.
Logan swallowed and gave himself a moment to let his head stop spinning. He pushed his fingers into the wet ground and smiled when he felt the dirt between his hands.
He sat back on his heels and looked around. It was day, but the storm had darkened the sky. An urgent need pulled at him, called to him to return to Eigg, but he pushed it aside. He had to find Ian. That was his duty.
Logan wiped off his hands and took stock of his whereabouts on a hillside, the tall grass swaying with the howling wind. But what grabbed his interest were the dots of light below him.
Logan blinked through the cold, torrential rain and climbed to his feet. Those weren't fires he saw flickering in the valley. What they were, he didn't know. Yet.
He rose to his feet and ran a hand through his hair to get it out of his face. It was time to discover just where the Druids had managed to toss him in the future.
On his way down to the valley, Logan crossed a road that had been covered with some hard, black substance with bright white lines painted on it.
He squatted down to touch the surface and felt the rumbling of the ground beneath his fingers. Logan rose and stepped back as something large and loud came rolling down the lane.
As the object passed, Logan spotted a person inside who looked like they controlled the loud contraption.
More confused than ever, Logan walked over the road and down to the town. He could hardly believe his eyes when he reached the village to find buildings lined down the street, one right next to the other. They were all painted the same bright white with many more of those noisy contraptions lining the road as well as traveling down it.
Logan kept to the side of the road where he saw other people walking. A few gave him odd glances, but most paid him no heed.
He passed store after store, trying to learn the language written on the signs. The fact that he had a primeval god inside him, a god so ancient his name had been forgotten, was the only way he was able to pick up this new language so quickly.
"You're soaked through, lad," said an elderly woman as she opened a door to a store Logan was walking past.
He gave a slight nod and felt the knot in his belly loosen as he heard her brogue. He was still in Scotland. Now, to determine when he was.
"Ah, not much of a talker," she said and laughed.
Logan smiled. "What year is it?"
She blinked and cocked her gray head at him. "You've quite the brogue, lad. It's been many a year since I've heard one so thick." She smiled, a faraway look stealing across her face.
Logan took a step toward her. "The year, lady?"
"Oh." She chuckled and patted her chest. "Forgive me. It's 2012. What an odd question."
"I've been living by myself ... away from everyone."
"And everything," she said as she eyed his kilt.
Logan looked around him and shrugged. "What village am I in?"
This time the old woman frowned as she watched him. "Salen, not far from the Isle of Skye."
He knew the village, but the last time he had seen it, there had barely been anything there. It had grown tremendously since then.
What else had changed in the four centuries since he had left his friends behind at MacLeod Castle?
"I thank you," he said to the woman and walked on before she could ask more questions.
Logan looked at the town of Salen with new eyes. If this almost nonexistent village could grow so much in just a few centuries, what had become of Edinburgh or Glasgow? And did he even want to know?
He paused as a young woman ran in front of him to one of the contraptions sitting on the side of the road. She jerked at the handle as she held a bag over her head in an effort to keep from getting wet. It wasn't working.
"Rory! You wanker! Unlock the bloody door so I can get in the car!" she yelled over her shoulder.
Logan turned his head to see a thin man come out of the shop, walk around the ... car, insert something small into the door, and open it.
The woman yanked on her door again then banged on the window above it. "Rory. Unlock the bloody door now!"
After another moment, Rory leaned over the door and pulled on something. A moment later, the woman got in. She was still yelling as the car rolled away.
So, the contraptions were called cars, and apparently people rode them much as Logan rode horses. He sighed and continued forward. It wasn't just the landscape that had changed. The people had changed as well.
No lady Logan had known would ever have spoken as the woman with Rory had. Not even whores spoke so crudely.
Logan heard footsteps coming fast behind him. His muscles seized and fangs filled his mouth. Logan spun around, claws lengthening as he readied himself to behead whoever thought to attack him.
He pulled his hand back, stopping himself just in time as two young lads ran past him, laughing and soaking wet. Logan stepped into the doorway of an unused building and took a deep breath.
Was he so used to fighting that he would attack anyone? Even children? He shook his head and struggled to tamp down the god inside him.
Athleus. He was the god of betrayal inside Logan, an ancient god who wanted nothing but death and destruction. It had taken decades for Logan to gain control over his god.
But sometimes, that control slipped.
Logan carried enough burdens. He didn't need to add the death of two young lads to the weight.
Once his fangs and claws had retreated, and Logan was sure his skin wasn't the silver of his god, he stepped out of the shadows and lengthened his stride as he exited the town. The urge to return to Eigg was sharp and true in his chest.
If anyone found out that he had a monster inside him, that he could release the god and become a beast, Logan was sure they'd kill him.
But he didn't just have a god inside him. He was able to use Athleus's power, a power able to control water. And Logan was going to the Isle of Eigg, an isle surrounded by water.
He wasn't sure when he had made that decision, only that he had. Logan couldn't hold back the desperate need to return there as soon as possible.
The last time he had been to Eigg, which to him was just a matter of hours — not centuries — earlier, he had been looking for an artifact hidden there by the Druids.
Not only had he not found the artifact, but his friend and fellow Warrior, Duncan, had been killed by Deirdre. Deirdre was a drough, a Druid who had given herself to evil and black magic. She was on a mission to take over the world, and as great as her magic was, Logan feared she might just win.
It had been Deirdre who had unleashed the gods inside the Warriors. And it would be Warriors who would help end Deirdre once and for all.
But first, Logan had to find Ian, Duncan's twin.
He couldn't imagine what Ian was going through. Ian and Duncan, as twins, had shared a god, and with Duncan's death, the full power and rage of their god would overtake Ian. If he couldn't control his god, his god would control him and he would be ripe for Deirdre to claim. Which is just what she had wanted when she killed Duncan.
Logan had no idea where Ian had gone, but he knew Deirdre. She had leaped forward in time to 2012 in order to thwart him and the others in their mission to find the artifacts before she did.
He frowned. Or had she?
If Deirdre could travel through time whenever she wanted, why hadn't she done so before now? She could have changed the outcome to anything that hadn't gone her way, including gaining the artifacts before the MacLeods.
If Deirdre hadn't traveled through time on her own, that meant someone had to have helped her.
Excerpted from Midnight's Master by Donna Grant. Copyright © 2012 Donna Grant. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Donna Grant has been praised for her "totally addictive" and "unique and sensual" stories. She has written more than thirty novels spanning multiple genres of romance. She lives with her husband, two children, a dog, and four cats in Texas. Visit donnagrant.com.
As an audiobook narrator, Arika Escalona has performed a wide range of genres, from classics to contemporary thrillers, children's books, and women's literature, as well as stranger-than-fiction true stories. She has also narrated a variety of educational videos, apps, and video game characters, and she is the ongoing voice for Amazon Kindle's how-to video series.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I love all of Donna Grant's books. I really enjoyed the fact that finished the Dark Sword Series with the start of the Dark Warriors Series. I would recommend this book to fans of paranormal, romance, or historical books. It has a little bit of something for everyone!
Midnight’s Master is the beginning of Donna Grant’s Dark Warriors Series.. The Dark Warrior Series is not exactly the beginning of a series rather the middle where the Dark Swords take a slight turn.. Oh they are still fighting evil, most especially Deirdre and they are still working hard to control their inner gods.. but they have been fast forwarded to the future.. or rather NOW.. It’s hard to make a huge transition and make it work. There are so many issues and factors that could go wrong. Happily Donna makes the move with skill and style. Upon the death of the Warrior Duncan, Ian’s twin Deidre was caught up in a maelstrom of power and flung into the future. She managed to drag some of her minions with her along with Ian. The Warriors and Druids found a way to send a select few as well. We take up this story with Logan having found himself in the alien atmosphere of 2012 Scotland. As confused as Logan was he managed to use the skills that he had learned as a Warrior and start adapting to the 21st century. And his legendary charm hasn’t failed him yet. Logan seems to be drawn to Eigg and yet isn’t sure why. He was sent to find Ian not search Eigg and yet... Logan is a man adrift, trying to make up for one really bad choice in his past and to deal with the guilt of that life. He is the youngest of the Warrior’s having been only 100 when he was sent to the future. The guilt and his youth make for an intriguing combination. Playful, sensitive, charming and yet always aware what can happen if you make the wrong choice. He is also forever a protector. Gwynn, is a Druid whose powers had remained hidden. Lurking in the depths of her essence. Until the death of her mother she was ignored and abandoned by him and yet finally she feels that they have a relationship and she is completely distraught to find him now missing. I like Gwynn because even though she has issues from her past she isn’t a whiny, wimpy character. She takes action.. Dad missing, Off to Scotland to find him. His job won’t help her, she threatens them with the FBI.. Finds a hunky man from the past, she works with him to not only discover who she is but to search for a missing artifact. Nothing passive about this girl. As this is a book about the Warriors, Deidre is never far away.. she has found herself held captive by another Drough... one determined to connect with her and then rule the earth with her forever. Declan is devious and a 21st century villain. Poor Deidre *snicker* has to deal with some time in captivity herself. Too bad.. *grins* I am not sure if Declan is Deidre’s equal or not only time will tell but I really like his insidious evil. The one thing I worried and wondered about when Donna brought her Warrior’s forward was if we were going to see all of them and MacLeaod’s keep. I kept thinking poor Logan was going to go to the keep and find it a ruin, with everyone either dead. Ms Grant kept me guessing for most of the book.. And I am happy to say she dealt with the keep, Warriors and Druids in a feasible manner. Explaining how they might possibly survive 400 years unknown. I have always liked the Dark Sword Series and feel that Ms Grant did a successful job of pulling them forward while keeping the mystery and magic of her stories complete. You seriously have to read this book!!
In Midnight's Master, the heroine Gwynn finds herself where I would want to be. She's in Scotland and soon meets Logan, a highlander who's very endearing. He's a warrior, thrown forward from 1603 Scotland to the modern time. Only, it's not quite a vacation for Gwynn. She's on a mission to find her father who has disappeared after finding a mysterious artifact. Logan also has a mission of his own. He is trying locate a fellow warrior and twart Deirdre from her evil plans. Together they create magic in more than one ways. I liked that both Gwynn and Logan found themselves in the same both and having to rely on each other. Gwynn is just discovering her Druid ancestry and understanding the magic she possesses, while Logan is trying to adjust to the modern ways. He's still very much a brave hero. He's fiercely protective of Gwynn and she suits him so well. Their adventure is one that is full of magic, excitement in a great world. Now if only I could visit I could visit MacLeod Castle!
I have recommended this series to a lot of friends that love it as much as I do
This series is great! All the books are good but I have my favorites! You can't go wrong with donna grant
Reviewed by Molly Book provided by the publisher for review Review originally posted at Romancing the Book I’ve heard oodles of great things about Donna Grant, but have never had the pleasure of reading her works….until now. And, I must say that I am beyond please with the outcome of what I read. I was swept away instantly into the heart of Scotland, following characters who take the reader on a whirl wind ride, searching for a missing artifact, overcoming evil, and fighting sizzling attraction. Donna layered this story perfectly, keeping me completely hooked until the last page was read. Gwynn Austin has left Texas to search for her father in Scotland. She hasn’t heard from him in too long and fears somethings wrong. When she arrives in Scotland, though, things aren’t what they seem, especially after laying eyes on the world’s most gorgeous man…in a kilt. What’s more is, this sexy man seems too confused by the modernity of the world today. But, she needs him, despite the fierce attraction she feels for him, to help her find a missing artifact and her father. Highland Warriror Logan Hamilton comes from the year 1603. He’s been propelled to the 2012 in search of Deidre, the evil one who killed a fellow warrior’s twin brother, and is out to set evil throughout the land. What he wasn’t expecting was the complete and utter protectiveness he feels for a human. But, when he lays eyes on her, his protectiveness kicks into gear. It’s not until he’s helping her search for her father, and an artifact that can help him, that he learns the truth about Gwynn. Can Gwynn learn who she truly is,as a Druid, in time to save her father….and her ancestors land? Or will her Dark Warrior loose out on all he’s come to love when the devilish Deidre and Declan connect? Donna kept the suspense kicking it, and the romance was perfect. The magic was believable and the evil was masterful enough to round out the story. It’s most definitely one of my favorite paranormal romance novels to date. This book is deserving of more than just simple praises, but I will say that you need to read this. It’s awesome. I am looking forward to reading book 2 in this series, Midnight’s Lover, and hope to see more of Logan and Gwynn, as well as the other awesome Druids, Warriors, and Droughs! I will also be going back and adding Ms. Grant’s previous works to my pile of must read books! Well done, Ms. Grant, on a masterful novel!
I started reading this book and promptly got lost. Word of warning you have to read the Dark Sword Series first to understand this series.
That a book could suck SO bad.
I couldn't put the book down. A must read & a huge fan of Donna Grant.
I am new to Donna Grant novels and i can't put them down. she keeps me reading long into the night. my dvr is filling up because i refuse to stop reading.