Once Upon a Midnight

Once Upon a Midnight

3.8 16
by Nora Roberts, Jill Gregory, R. C. Ryan, Marianne Willman

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When darkness falls, magic calls…
The Witching Hour
#1 New York Times Bestselling Author Nora Roberts
A kingdom is plagued by tragedy until a wizard-god’s spell brings forth a courageous and beautiful young woman who must follow her heart in love and follow her destiny in…  See more details below


When darkness falls, magic calls…
The Witching Hour
#1 New York Times Bestselling Author Nora Roberts
A kingdom is plagued by tragedy until a wizard-god’s spell brings forth a courageous and beautiful young woman who must follow her heart in love and follow her destiny in battle…
Mirror, Mirror
New York Times Bestselling Author
Jill Gregory
A healer sworn to protect the heir to a troubled kingdom must rely on a wounded knight and a magic mirror for assistance…
Dream Lover
New York Times Bestselling Author
Ruth Ryan Langan
On a business trip to Scotland, a young American disillusioned by love gets swept up by the romance of the Highlands—and by the charms of a perfect stranger…
The Midnight Country
New York Times Bestselling Author
Marianne Willman
An American researching her family history in Europe stumbles upon an enchanting chateau and its enigmatic master, who is convinced she is the key to a terrible curse...

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Midnight plays but a token role in this latest Once Upon a... anthology (after Once Upon a Kiss), with the exception of the solid offering from Roberts, who easily outclasses her companions. Roberts's "The Witching Hour" is a fantastical but slow-to-start romance between a warrior and the woman destined to save the magical island of Twylia. Gregory, best known for her western romances, also offers a pleasant fantasy in a medieval setting ("Mirror, Mirror"), but her protagonists, a feisty young healer and a wounded knight, are little more than rough sketches. The final two stories-Langan's saccharine, ghost-aided romance ("Dream Lover") and Willman's conventional werewolf tale ("The Midnight Country")-are strangely set in the present. Both, however, feature prosaic characters and improbabilities aplenty. In Langan's story, for example, the protagonists meet on a blind date, fall in love and find their happily ever after in a single day. Two equally far-fetched twists allow the protagonists in Willman's entry to find happiness. Overall, the skimpy character and plot development and awkward mishmash of historical and contemporary elements may convince readers that this series has played itself out. (Oct.) Forecast: With the avalanche of new books coming out this fall from Roberts-three paperback originals (Key of Light; Key of Knowledge; Imitation in Death) and one highly touted hardcover (Remember When)-this anthology is likely to get buried in the mix. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Once Upon Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.36(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.14(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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Read an Excerpt

She walked deep into the forest, beyond the known and into the realm of faeries. There she cast the circle, made the fire, and sang the song for vision. She would see what had been—and what would be.

In the flames, while the moon rose and the single star that dogged it blinked to life, she saw the Battle of the Stars. She saw the bodies of servants, of children as well as soldiers. She saw the king—her father—fight like a demon, driving back the greater forces. She heard the screams, and smelled the blood.

Her father’s voice came to her ears, a shouted order to Gwayne, who fought beside him, to get the queen, and the child she carried, to safety. To do this thing, as a soldier, even against the queen’s orders, for the world. For the True One.

She saw her father’s death, and her own birth. She tasted her mother’s tears, and felt the force of love beam through the magic.

And with it, the force of duty.

“You will not shirk it.”

“Am I enough?” Aurora asked the image of her mother.

“You are the True One. There is no other. You are hope, Aurora. And you are pride. And you are duty. You cannot turn from this.”

Aurora watched the battle, and knew it was what would come, not what had. This blood, this death, would be by her own hands. On her own hands. Even if it meant her end, she must begin. “I have power, Mother, but it is a woman’s power. Small magic. I’m strong, but I’m not seasoned. How can I lead, and rule, with so little to offer?”

“You will be more. Sleep now. Dream now.”

So she dreamed again of her wolf, her warrior with eyes as green as the hills. He was tall, and broad of shoulder. His hair, dark as her own, swept back from a face of sharp planes and angles, and a white scar slashed through his left brow like a bolt of lightning. She felt a curling in her belly that she knew for desire, one she had felt for no one but him.

“What will you be to me?” she asked him. “What will I be to you?”

“I know only that you’re my beloved. You and you alone. I’ve dreamed of you through my life, waking and sleeping, only of you.” He reached out, and she felt the brush of his fingers over her cheek. “Where are you?”

“Close, I think. Close. Are you a soldier?”

He looked down at the sword in his hand, and as disgust rippled over his face he shoved its point into the ground. “I am nothing.”

“I think you are many things, and one of those is mine.” Giving in to curiosity, following her own will, she pulled him to her and pressed her lips to his.

The wind swirled around them, a warm wind stirred by the great beating of faerie wings. The song rose up inside her, and beat in her blood.

She would have love, she thought, even if death followed.

“I must be a woman to become what I am to become.” She stepped back, drew off her hunting tunic. “Teach me what a woman knows. Love me in visions.”

His gaze swept down her as she stood before him, dressed only in moonbeams within the shimmering circle of magic. “I’ve loved you all my life,” he said. “And feared you.”

“I’ve looked for you all of mine, and come to you here, fearing everything. Will you turn from me? Will I be alone?”

“I’ll never turn from you.” He drew her to him. “I’ll never leave you.”

With his lips on hers, he lowered her to the soft floor of the forest. She knew the thrill of his hands, the taste of his skin, and a pleasure, a deep and drugging pleasure that caused her body to quake. Flames leapt beside them, and inside her.

“I love you.” She murmured it as she raced her lips over his face. “I’m not afraid.”

She rose to him, opened to him, entreated. When he joined with her, she knew the power of being a woman, and the delights.

When she woke at dawn, alone, with the fire gone to ash, she knew the cold kiss of duty.

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Once Upon a Midnight 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
¿The Witching Hour¿ by Nora Roberts. Cneturies of war has devastated the island Kingdom of Twylia. The hope of the people lies in Draco¿s prophecy that an intrepid queen will lead her forces to victory over evil. As Aurora falls in love with Thane, she risks her life not knowing if she is destiny darling facing the malevolent Loreen.

¿Mirror, Mirror¿ by Jill Gregory. As King Mortimer of Grithain lies dying he obtains a vow from Ariel to protect Prince Brandon from their enemies. With the help of a magic mirror, Ariel¿s sister Fiona the Healer, Conor the wounded knight, and an incredible amount of luck and love they might succeed.

¿Dream Lover¿ by Ruth Ryan Langon. Antiques expert Allison flies to Scotland to complete the purchase of Hamilton Hall from owner Malcolm. Allison will strip the house of anything of value so her firm can sell them. On the plane Allison meets the badly injured Heath. However the matchmaking of the mysterious Sir Malcolm combined with the magic of love propels Allison to need to save Hamilton Hall.

¿Once Upon a Midnight¿ by Marianne Willman. Californian Jenna searches for her roots but cannot find her final destination. The locals insist that Beaumont Foret is a fairy tale. When Philippe senses her nearby he runs out to protect her from the wolves. As they fall in love, each keeps a genetic secret from the other that if revealed will lead to happiness for both of them.

The four magical romances are all delightful novellas that add to the enchanting mythos of the ¿Once Upon A¿ series.

Harriet Klausner

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Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a very good book!!! I had already read this first story by Nora Roberts in one of her other romance anthologies, and the other stories were just as good. I really liked how all of the romance was centered around midnight. These stories were beautifully written, and I would recommend any of them to future readers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It came as no surprise that Nora Roberts delivered on this. Witching Hour was terrific and probably my fiftieth book by Ms. Roberts! Jill Gregory's Mirror Mirror took me away in a tale of fantasy and magic. As did Marianne Willman-great ending-in Midnight Country. But my favorite was by Ruth Ryan Langan, Dream Lover-made me want to hop on a plane to Scotland. Hmm.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book was beyond what i thought it would be! the Nora Roberts story was quite good, but the one story i enjoyed most is the one by Marianne Willman, The midnight Country. the story has such a twist at the end, i was so surprised by it. i am going to pass this book on to my friends and family!