Once Upon a Dream

( 14 )

Overview

When it comes to love, there is no such thing as an impossible dream...

In Dreams
#1 New York Times Bestselling Author Nora Roberts
Drawn to a castle in the forests of Ireland, a beautiful young woman becomes the link to a stranger's ...
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Once upon a Dream

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Overview

When it comes to love, there is no such thing as an impossible dream...

In Dreams
#1 New York Times Bestselling Author Nora Roberts
Drawn to a castle in the forests of Ireland, a beautiful young woman becomes the link to a stranger's past—and the curse that has trapped him forever in the eternity of his own dreams...

The Sorcerer's Daughter
Jill Gregory
The fate of a captive wizard depends on his lovely daughter—and the intentions of a spellcast adventurer who dreams of a priceless treasure, and a love that could be the greatest reward of all...

The Enchantment
Ruth Ryan Langan
In an abandoned estate on a storm-swept night two stangers seek refuge—only to discover that their most elusive dreams of romance are as enchanted, as real, as true love itself...

The Bridge of Sighs
Marianne Willman
While visiting Venice, an American art appraiser becomes haunted by dreams of a lonely young girl—a vision that illuminates a tragic past, and a future of endless love...
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
On the heels of their previous collaboration, Once Upon a Star, four of America's most beloved romance authors present what is sure to be a popular collection of magical stories, wherein princely gentlemen (both human and not) sweep dazzling damsels off their feet and into a land of happily-ever-afters. Roberts opens with "In Dreams," a lyrical, contemporary tale about a 528-year-old magician who is granted only one week each century to experience life as a mortal man and the woman who helps him understand the difference between his fantastical powers and human-size love. In "The Sorcerer's Daughter," Gregory takes her readers back to medieval times, as a sorcerer's daughter matches wits with a knight as they each seek to claim a mystical necklace. She wants the necklace to free her father from prison; he wants it to win the hand of a princess. Langan follows the dreaminess of Roberts's and Gregory's tales with "The Enchantment," in which she gives the gift of time to two workaholics by stranding them in a beautiful summer mansion long enough for them to meet and fall in love. To conclude this lush collection, Willman sends enthusiastic readers off to romantic Venice in "The Bridge of Sighs," where a woman longs to solve an old mystery and be reunited with her ex-husband. (Nov.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780515129472
  • Publisher: Jove
  • Publication date: 11/28/2000
  • Series: Once Upon Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 390,143
  • Product dimensions: 6.54 (w) x 11.04 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Nora Roberts is the #1 New York Times-bestselling author of more than 200 novels. She is also the author of the bestsellingIn Deathseries written under the pen name J.D. Robb. There are more than 500 million copies of her books in print.

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


It was supposed to be a vacation. It was supposed to be fun, relaxing, enlightening.

    It was not supposed to be terrifying.

    No, no, terrifying was an exaggeration. Slightly.

    A wicked summer storm, a strange road snaking through a dark forest where the trees were like giants cloaked in the armor of mists. Kayleen Brennan of the Boston Brennans wasn't terrified by such things. She was made of sterner stuff. She made a point of reminding herself of that, every ten seconds or so as she fought to keep the rental car on the muddy ditch that had started out as a road.

    She was a practical woman, had made the decision to be one quite deliberately and quite clearly when she was twelve. No flights of fancy for Kayleen, no romantic dreams or foolish choices. She had watched—was still watching—such occupations lead her charming, adorable, and baffled mother into trouble.

    Financial trouble. Legal trouble. Man trouble.

    So Kayleen had become an adult at twelve, and had stayed one.

    An adult was not spooked by a bunch of trees and a few streaks of lightning, or by mists that thickened and thinned as if they breathed. A grown woman didn't panic because she'd made a wrong turn. When the road was too narrow, as this one was, to allow her to safely turn around, she simply kept going until she found her way again.

    And a sensible person did not start imagining she heard things in the storm.

    Like voices.

    Shouldhave stayed in Dublin, she told herself grimly as she bumped over a rut. In Dublin with its busy streets and crowded pubs, Ireland had seemed so civilized, so modern, so urbane. But no, she'd just had to see some of the countryside, hadn't she? Just had to rent a car, buy a map, and head out to explore.

    But honestly, it had been a perfectly reasonable thing to do. She'd intended to see the country while she was here and perhaps find a few treasures for her family's antique shop back in Boston. She'd intended to wander the roads, to drive to the sea, to visit the pretty little villages, and the great, grand ruins.

    Hadn't she booked her stay in a licensed bed-and-breakfast for each night that she'd be traveling? Confirmed reservations ensured there would be no inconvenience and no surprises at the end of each day's journey.

    Hadn't she precisely mapped out her route and each point of interest, how long she intended to stay studying each?

    She hadn't anticipated getting lost. No one did. The weather report had indicated some rain, but this was Ireland, after all. It had not indicated a wild, windy, wicked thunderstorm that shook her little car like a pair of dice in a cup and turned the long, lovely summer twilight into raging dark.

    Still, it was all right. It was perfectly all right. She was just a bit behind schedule, and it was partly her own fault. She'd lingered a bit longer than she intended at Power-scourt Demesne on her way south. And a bit longer again at the churchyard she'd come across when she headed west.

    She was certainly still in County Wicklow, certainly somewhere in Avondale Forest, and the guidebook had stated that the population through the forested land was thin, the villages few and far between.

    She had expected to find it charming and atmospheric, a delightful drive on her way to her night's stay in Enniscorthy, a destination she'd been scheduled to reach by seven-thirty. She tipped up her arm, risked a quick glance at her watch, and winced when she saw she was already a full hour late.

    Doesn't matter. Surely they wouldn't lock the doors on her. The Irish were known for their hospitality. She intended to put that to the test as soon as she came across a town, a village, or even a single cottage. Once she did, she'd get her bearings again.

    But for now ...

    She stopped dead in the road, realizing she hadn't even seen another car for over an hour. Her purse, as ruthlessly organized as her life, sat on the seat beside her. She took out the cell phone, she'd rented, turned it on.

    And swore softly when the readout told her, as it had since she'd driven into the forest far enough to realize she was lost, that she had no signal.

    "Why don't I have a signal?" She nearly rapped the phone against the steering wheel in frustration. But that would have been foolish. "What is the point of renting mobile phones to tourists if they're not going to be able to use them?"

    She put the phone away, took a deep breath. To calm herself, she closed her eyes, tilted her head back, and allowed herself two minutes of rest.

    The rain lashed the windows like whips, the wind continued its feral howl. At jolting intervals the thick darkness was split by yet another lance of blue-edged lightning. But Kayleen sat quietly, her dark hair still tidy in its band, her hands folded in her lap.

    Her mouth, full and shapely, gradually relaxed its tight line. When she opened her eyes, blue as the lightning that ripped the sky, they were calm again.

    She rolled her shoulders, took one last cleansing breath, then eased the car forward.

    As she did, she heard someone—something—whisper her name.

    Kayleen.

    Instinctively, she glanced to the side, out the rain-spattered window, into the gloom. And there, for an instant, she saw a shadow take shape, the shape of a man. Eyes, green as glass, glittered.

    She hit the brakes, jerking forward as the car slid in the mud. Her heart raced, her fingers shook.

    Have you dreamed of me? Will you?

    Fighting fear, she quickly lowered the window, leaned out into the driving rain. "Please. Can you help me? I seem to be lost."

    But there was no one there. No one who would—could—have said, so low and sad, So am I.

    Of course there was no one. With one icy finger she jabbed the button to send the window back up. Just her imagination, just fatigue playing tricks. There was no man standing in the forest in a storm. No man who knew her name.

    It was just the sort of foolishness her mother would have dreamed up. The woman lost in the enchanted forest, in a dramatic storm, and the handsome man, most likely a prince under a spell, who rescued her.

    Well, Kayleen Brennan could rescue herself, thank you very much. And there were no spellbound princes, only shadows in the rain.

    But her heart rapped like a fist against her ribs. With her breath coming fast, she hit the gas again. She would get off of this damned road, and she would get to where she intended to be.

    When she got there, she would drink an entire pot of tea while sitting neck-deep in a hot bath. And all of this.... inconvenience would be behind her.

    She tried to laugh it off, tried to distract herself by mentally composing a letter home to her mother, who would have enjoyed every moment of the experience.

    An adventure, she would say. Kayleen! You finally had an adventure!

    "Well, I don't want a damn adventure. I want a hot bath. I want a roof over my head and a civilized meal." She was getting worked up again, and this time she couldn't seem to stop. "Won't somebody please help me get where I'm supposed to be!"

    In answer, lightning shot down, a three-pronged pitchfork hurled out of the heavens. The blast of it exploded the dark into blinding light.

    As she threw up an arm to shield her eyes, she saw, standing like a king in the center of the road, a huge buck. Its hide was violently white in the slash of her headlights, its rack gleaming silver. And its eyes, cool and gold, met her terrified ones through the rain.

    She swerved, stomped on the brakes. The little car fishtailed, seemed to spin in dizzying circles propelled by the swirling fog. She heard a scream—it had to be her own—before the car ran hard into a tree.

    And so she dreamed.

    Of running through the forest while the rain slapped down like angry fingers. Eyes, it seemed a thousand of them, watched her through the gloom. She fled, stumbling in the muck stirred up by the storm, her bones jolting as she fell.

    Her head was full of sound. The roar of the wind, the booming warning of thunder. And under it a thousand voices chanting.

    She wept, and didn't know why. It wasn't the fear, but something else, something that wanted to be wrenched out of her heart as a splinter is wrenched from an aching finger. She remembered nothing, neither name nor place—only that she had to find her way. Had to find it before it was too late.

    There was the light, the single ball of it glowing in the dark. She ran toward it, her breath tearing out of her lungs, rain streaming from her hair, down her face.

    The ground sucked at her shoes. Another fall tore her sweater. She felt the quick burn on her flesh and, favoring her left arm, scrambled up again. Winded, aching, lost, she continued at a limping run.

    The light was her focus. If only she could make it to the light, everything would be all right again. Somehow.

    A spear of lightning struck close, so close she felt it sear the air, felt it drench the night with the hot sting of ozone. And in its afterglow she saw that the light was a single beam, from a single window in the tower of a castle.

    Of course there would be a castle. It seemed not odd at all that there should be a castle with its tower light glowing in the middle of the woods during a raging storm.

    Her weeping became laughter, wild as the night, as she stumbled toward it, tramping through rivers of flowers.

    She fell against the massive door and with what strength she had left, slapped a fist against it.

    The sound was swallowed by the storm.

    "Please," she murmured. "Oh, please, let me in."


By the fire, he'd fallen into the twilight-sleep he was allowed, had dreamed in the flames he'd set to blaze—of his dark-haired maid, coming to him. But her eyes had been frightened, and her cheeks pale as ice.

    He'd slept through the storm, through the memories that often haunted him even in that drifting place. But when she had come into those dreams, when she had turned those eyes on him, he stirred. And spoke her name.

    And jolted awake, that name sliding out of his mind again. The fire had burned down nearly to embers now. He could have set it roaring again with a thought, but didn't bother.

    In any case, it was nearly time. He saw by the pretty crystal clock on the ancient stone mantel—he was amused by such anachronisms—that it was only seconds shy of midnight.

    His week would begin at that stroke. For seven days, and seven nights, he would be. Not just a shadow in a world of dreams, but flesh, blood, and bone.

    He lifted his arms, threw back his head, and waited to become.

    The world trembled, and the clock struck midnight.

    There was pain. He welcomed it like a lover. Oh, God, to feel. Cold burned his skin. Heat scorched it. His throat opened, and there was the blessed bliss of thirst.

    He opened his eyes. Colors sprang out at him, clear and true, without that damning mist that separated him for all the other time.

    Lowering his hands, he laid one on the back of his chair, felt the soft brush of velvet. He smelled the smoke from the fire, the rain that pounded outside and snuck in through his partially open window.

    His senses were battered, so overwhelmed with the rush of sensations that he nearly swooned. And even that was a towering pleasure.

    He laughed, a huge burst of sound that he felt rumble up from his belly. And fisting his hands, he raised them yet again.

   "I am."

    Even as he claimed himself, as the walls echoed with his voice, he heard the pounding at the door. Jolted, he lowered his arms, turned toward a sound he'd not heard in five hundred years. Then it was joined by another.

    "Please." And it was his dream who shouted. "Oh, please, let me in."

    A trick, he thought. Why would he be tortured with tricks now? He wouldn't tolerate it. Not now. Not during his week to be.

    He threw out a hand, sent lights blazing. Furious, he strode out of the room, down the corridor, down the circling pie shaped stairs. They would not be allowed to infringe on his week. It was a breach of the sentence. He would not lose a single hour of the little time he had.

    Impatient with the distance, he muttered the magic under his breath. And appeared again in the great hall.

    He wrenched open the door. Met the fury of the storm with fury of his own.

    And saw her.

    He stared, transfixed. He lost his breath, his mind. His heart.

    She had come.

    She looked at him, a smile trembling on her lips and sending the dimple at the corner of her mouth to winking.

    "There you are," she said.

    And fainted at his feet.

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Table of Contents

IN DREAMS Nora Roberts 1
THE SORCERER'S DAUGHTER Jill Gregory 93
THE ENCHANTMENT Ruth Ryan Langan 179
THE BRIDGE OF SIGHS Marianne Willman 279
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 14 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2005

    Good book!

    I had never read romance stories before this book and to be honest, I wasnt sure what to expect. But, I was very pleased by what I found in this book and the stories were just amazing.

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

    Posted October 5, 2003

    IF YOU HAVEN'T READ IT, READ IT!!!

    AT FIRST, I WAS REALLY BORED READING SHORT STORY BOOKS THAT LEFT YOU HANGING UNTIL I BROUGHT IT OUT OF BEING BORED...NO WAY I WOULD'VE KNOWN IT GRABBED MY HEART ESPECIALLY IN THE ENCHANTMENT WHERE A DECEASED BROTHER HAS A HAND IN STOPPING TIME JUST FOR TWO WORKAHOLICS AND AT THE SAME TIME RIGHTNING HIS WRONG DOING THIS--ITS HIS WAY OF SAYING 'I'M SORRY'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2002

    An awsome book!!

    In the beggining I thought this book would be kindof dull since it contained 4 short stories. That since they were short, it would be less enjoyable than others. Once again I was wrong. This book is the outmost total opposite. What lovely stories to add to my Romance collection. Recommended to all who enjoy a little magic.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2001

    this is a great book!

    I found myself sucked into this book..I am not one for romance novels but this was like no other romance I have read.It is about the romance of love not the animal passions that most novels concentrate on.I found it beautiful and magical. It kept me drawn in until the very end.I would recommend it to anyone who finds most romance novels to cheesy..This is a great book.. I am looking forward to reading the others in this series.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Enchanting anthology

    <P>¿In Dreams¿ by Nora Roberts. In a remote part of Ireland¿s Avondale Forest, a half of a millennium has past since the curse confined Flynn to a world of dreams. Now Kayleen has entered his castle, his dreams, and hopefully his future. <P>¿The Sorcerer¿s Daughter by Jill Gregory. To free her captive father, Artemus the wizard, from Lisha, Willow must retrieve a necklace amidst the Perilous Forest. To protect and aid his cherished daughter, Artemus weaves a spell that sends the wrong man after the Necklace of Nyssa. <P>¿The Enchantment¿ by Ruth Ryan Langan. Annie of Tyler Real Estate is the agent responsible for the Carrington estate sale in Maine. Ben decides to take one last look at his family home before everything is sold. Neither one expected the enchantment of love. <P> ¿The Bridge of Sighs¿ by Marianne Willman. Claire of San Francisco¿s Sterling Galleries flies to Venice to evaluate the Count Ludovicci Renaissance art collection. However, in Venice, Claire begins seeing visions of a doomed past that forecasts an equally nasty fate for Claire. <P>All four novellas are superbly written and are enchanting romance tales. Readers will feel the magic as the quartet of authors cast a spell on the audience. <P>Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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