Dark Victory (Masters of Time Series #4)

Dark Victory (Masters of Time Series #4)

by Brenda Joyce
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Dark Victory (Masters of Time Series #4) by Brenda Joyce

A dark, ruthless Highlander, the Black Macleod has refused his destiny. His life is revenge for the massacre of his family. His enemies' insults—that he is a man of stone—only amuse him. But fate is impatient, and when a woman from another time dares to summon him, he cannot resist her powers—or her.…

A schoolteacher by day, Tabitha Rose uses her magic to protect others by night. When the vision of a dark Highlander, bloody and burned, appears to Tabby, she knows she has been called to help him, no matter how frightening he might be. But what Tabby doesn't expect is to be taken against her will to his dark, violent time. And when evil begins to stalk her, she realizes she must fight for far more than his destiny—she must fight for her love.…

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780373773466
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 02/24/2009
Series: The Masters of Time , #4
Edition description: Original
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 6.66(w) x 4.20(h) x 1.02(d)

About the Author

Brenda Joyce is a New York Times bestselling author of more than 50 novels and novellas, including the popular and critically acclaimed de Warenne Dynasty Saga, a series of novels set in Regency and Victorian England. She lives on a ranch in Arizona with her dogs, broodmares and the year’s current crop of foals. If she isn’t on the back of a reining horse, she can be found madly at work in her office, penning her latest romance novel.

Read an Excerpt

The Present

New York City

December 7, 2008

It had been a really quiet weekend. Tabby wasn't sure what to make of that as she and her sister and a friend stood in line to pass through a security checkpoint at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her sister, Sam, had even gotten off early enough last night to go out to dinner. Tabby couldn't recall the last time the two of them had been able to go out and have a few drinks and a great meal. It made her uneasy. She was waiting for the ax to fall.

Something huge was going to happen.

She was a Rose, and while she didn't have the Sight like her cousin, Brie, she could feel the premonition in her bones.

"It is weird," Sam said, as they filed toward the security inspector. "There were only four friggin' pleasure crimes yesterday. Not that I'm complaining. But it was Saturday night."

Although they were sisters, they were as different as night and day. Sam was hard and edgy, while Tabby was soft and classic. Two years younger than Tabby, Sam wore short, spiky platinum hair, had an Angelina Jolie body and the face to go with it. Tabby was used to the attention her sister always received. Every male they passed, young or old, gave her a second glance—male radar gone haywire. Tabby didn't mind. She knew she was conservative and old-fashioned. Although it was Sunday, she wore a wool skirt, a cashmere V-neck and pearls. She didn't even own a pair of jeans.

Sam was being gawked at now. The tall, young male turned his gaze to Tabby next, giving her the once-over. Tabby was used to that, too. She was an attractive woman; her sister simply overshadowed her.

"There was not one Rampage, not in any of the five boroughs," Sam said. "I mean, it's noon and I haven't even been called in on a case."

Tabby knew that her warrior sister, who was an agent at HCU, was bored. Sam was at her best when she was hunting on the city streets. But the Rampages were terrible crimes. Innocent victims were burned, medieval style, at the stake. As eerie as the sudden decline in violence was, she should not be complaining.

"Why are you so uptight? I saw who you met up with at Trenza," Kit said to Sam, smiling. "She was with Young, Dark and Hot."

"Very young, very hot and very, very good." Sam smiled.

"I don't know why they never have friends," Kit complained, but she winked at Tabby. She was slim, fair and dark-haired. Tabby had never seen her wear a stitch of makeup—she didn't have to. Her siren's face and sensuously buff body hid a brilliant intensity and resolve. Like Sam, her first love was the war on evil. She was one of the most serious and determined women Tabby had ever met, but Tabby didn' t blame her. Her twin sister had died in Jerusalem in Kit's arms, the victim of demonic violence. Sometimes Tabby thought she might still be mourning Kelly. Kit worked at HCU, too—it was how she'd met Sam.

But Sam said, "He had a friend. You cut out before you could meet him."

Kit shrugged negligently. "Had to hit the gym and take care of the bod."

Sam snorted.

Tabby wasn't sure if Kit was as old-fashioned as she was, or if she was simply too obsessed with work to get involved, but she had known Kit for about a year, and she was pretty certain Kit was as celibate as she was. The joke was a front and they all knew it. It was okay—they both lived vicariously through Sam. A stranger might be appalled by the way Sam used men, but Tabby was proud of her. She was a powerful and gorgeous woman; she was the one to say yes or no; she was the one who did the dumping. Sam would never have her heart broken. She would be spared that.

Tabby was relieved when the slight aching in her breast did not suddenly pierce through her heart and soul. The divorce no longer hurt. The betrayals no longer hurt. It was almost two years since she'd learned the extent of her ex-husband's lies and adultery. She'd given him all of her love, and she'd meant every word of their marriage vows. It was the kind of woman she was. He hadn't meant one damned word.

She intended to learn from her mistakes. Randall hadn't been the love of her life after all. He had been a Wall Street investor—a high roller and a player. He'd cheated on her from start to finish, and to make the cliché just perfect, she'd been the last to find out. She was never going near that charismatic macho type again.

But sometimes, especially recently, she wished she was a bit more like her sister when it came to men. She did not want to even think that she might be lonely or that she needed the kind of intimacy she wasn't sure she'd ever have again, but the evenings were getting harder and harder to deal with. She'd started dating again, being really careful to go out with intellectuals and artists, but it felt as if she was simply going through the motions. And maybe she was. When it came to dating and sex, she was the exact opposite of her sister. If she wasn't in love, it wasn't happening. She didn't turn on easily, either. Maybe love and passion weren't in the cards for her. She was twenty-nine already, and beginning to think she'd better focus on her Destiny as a Rose woman.

"You know, I wish you'd let me set you up with the new guy at CDA," Sam said.

Tabby smiled a bit grimly at her. She'd met MacGregor once, when he and Sam had been leaving the Center for Demonic Activity Agency together. "Definitely not," she said, meaning it. The agent had had macho written all over him.

"Let her explore the Beta side of life," Kit said, her eyes wide with innocence. "Who knows? Maybe she'll find a match made in some kind of odd, metro heaven."

Tabby felt a pang, but she smiled brightly and said, "That's the plan."

Kit sobered and touched her arm. "I'm sorry. I never met Randall and I shouldn't tease you for going out with his polar opposite."

"It's okay," Tabby said. She smiled firmly. "What's meant to be is meant to be. Maybe the love of my life is a poet with a Ph.D."

Sam choked. "Over my dead body." Then she looked closely at Tabby. "Are you okay?"

Sam always knew when something was really wrong. "It's still hard."

"Yeah, it is," Sam said, and they both knew they were referring to their cousin, Brie. Kit probably knew it, too, but she pretended not to hear them, moving as the line progressed.

The Rose women were special. Each had her own Destiny, tied into the war on evil. For generations, the Rose women had been using their unusual powers to aid and abet good. It had only been three months since Brie had left them to redeem the Wolf of Awe. The year before, their best friend Allie had also vanished. Although Allie wasn't related to them, they had become friends with her as children. That had been Fate, too— it turned out that she was a powerful Healer. Each woman had gone to embrace her Destiny in the past, because it had been time to do so. That was how the universe worked. It was a fundamental Wisdom in the Book of Roses, which had been passed down through the generations of Rose women.

Tabby missed them both, sometimes terribly, but she was also happy for them because Allie and Brie were hardly alone in the Middle Ages. Their Destinies had included powerful, nearly immortal partners—Highlanders who battled at their sides, as driven and committed as they were to the war on evil. But their absence had left a gaping hole in their lives. Sam had helped fill the void by going to work at HCU, the Historic Crimes Unit of CDA, a clandestine government agency dedicated to fighting the evil preying on society. Sam's boss, Nick Forrester, ran HCU with an iron fist but he could be counted on to back them up. And so could Kit. But it wasn't the same without Allie and Brie.

There was no defying Destiny. Tabby's Destiny was magic. Every generation of Rose women had a Slayer, a Healer and a Witch. She had been practicing her craft since she was fourteen—the year her mother had died, the victim of a demonic pleasure crime. There was one big fat problem, though. Rose women usually came into their powers very, very swiftly once their Destiny was made known. Apparently, Tabby was the exception to that rule. Although she'd been practicing magic since adolescence, her powers were still erratic and, once in a while, too weak to do any good. It simply didn't make any sense.

But as the Book of Roses said, there was a reason for everything.

Kit said, "After the gym, I went back to HCU. I was digging around in some older case files. That last Rampage has been bothering me. There were only three in the gang."

"They were doped up on a drug we've never seen before," Sam said quietly.

HCU's jurisdiction was the past—all past demonic activity, even if centuries old. Because so many of today's demons came from previous centuries, HCU's agents worked closely with CDA. Rarely could a present-day crime be solved without HCU's expertise. Tabby had already heard about last week's Rampage. A couple had been burned at the stake in one of Manhattan's most posh neighborhoods. These terrible murders were usually committed between midnight and dawn, with an entire gang present. But it had only been 8:00 p.m. and only three gang members had been there, two males and a female. Were they becoming bolder? Had it even been a genuine Rampage?

The press had dubbed the crimes "witch burnings," a label Tabby particularly disliked, because the victims were average men, women and children of all ages, races, sizes and shapes. But then, evil rarely discriminated—except, of course, when it came to pleasure crimes. Then the most innocent and beautiful were chosen. The witch burnings had instilled so much fear into the general public that no one seemed to care that seventy percent of all murders were still pleasure crimes. What was really scary was how vicious the gangs of possessed kids had become.

They'd once been ghetto gang members or normal kids gone missing. Evil preyed on them, seducing these gang members, offering them power in return for their souls, and then directing them to commit violence, brutality, bestiality and anarchy. The possessed gangs were out of control, ruling the city streets through fear and might. Gang warfare was no longer "in." Now the gangs often worked together to hunt down civilians, cruelly and sadistically. Very few "normal" gangs remained in the country now.

"Something's been bothering me about the Rampages, across the board," Kit said. "I feel like I've missed a really glaring clue."

"I'll go back to HCU with you," Sam decided, "and we can check it out."

They had reached the security checkpoint. Tabby smiled at the guard as Sam flipped her government ID. Sam's messenger bag was loaded with weapons, and she carried a stiletto up her sleeve and a Beretta in a shoulder holster. She would never make it through the checkpoint. Kit flipped a similar ID. Although they were government issued, neither Kit nor Sam were Feds, as the IDs claimed. But CDA was so clandestine that only the top levels of the CIA, the FBI and the Secret Service worked with its agents.

As they passed through the checkpoint, Sam and Kit were both so thoughtful that Tabby had the feeling they were ready to cut out on their plans for the afternoon. She would have to wander around the exhibit by herself, and return alone to the loft she shared with Sam. She'd float around it in the same solitude she did every night—except when she was out with some sweet guy she had no real interest in. It was lonely—Sam was almost never there—but she'd deal the same way she always did. She'd outline tomorrow's curriculum, and then work on her spells.

"So which way to the Wisdom of the Celts?" Sam asked.

Tabby smiled back, relieved. Sam knew she needed company. "Up those stairs," she said, nodding.

The huge front hall was terribly crowded. Every New Yorker knew that visiting the Met on the weekend was a really dumb idea. They started across the granite floored hall, dwarfed by the columns and arches, before going up the broad staircase to the first level of exhibits.

There was no line.

They exchanged looks as they approached the glass displays. Tabby said, "This is too weird. There should have been a half-hour wait, at least."

Kit murmured, "It's an exhibit on medieval Ireland. If you ask me, medieval Scotland and Ireland are peas in the same pod."

Allie and Brie were in medieval Scotland, with Highlanders who belonged to a secret society dedicated to the protection of Innocence. "Are you saying that you think we're meant to go in here? That the exhibit is related to the Brotherhood?"

"The earliest Scots came from Dalriada—which is Ireland."

Tabby barely heard them. She realized her heart was thundering as she left them debating the odd lack of a line and walked over to a large glass display case. Inside, there were numerous artifacts and objects. She vaguely saw a large sword with an intricately designed hilt, and a pair of daggers, a brooch and a cup. But her gaze was drawn to the necklace there, instead.

A terrible tension filled her as she stared at the gold chain and the pendant hanging from it. It was a talisman in the shape of an open palm, a pale stone glittering from the palm's center.

Tabby's pulse skittered wildly in her throat. When she touched the hollow of her collarbone, where she wore pearls and a small key on a chain, her skin there felt far too warm. She felt a bit dizzy, faint.

"Are you all right?" Sam asked.

"I feel odd," Tabby said, realizing she was perspiring. She leaned forward to read about the amulet.

It was dated to the early thirteenth century, but had been found in 1932 among the ruins of Melvaig Castle in the northeastern Highlands of Scotland. It had somehow survived the legendary battle of An Tùir-Tara, which meant the Burning Tower.

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Dark Victory (Masters of Time Series #4) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 58 reviews.
jjmachshev More than 1 year ago
Reviewed for queuemyreview.com; book release Mar09

OOOOH, time traveling hunky magical tortured highlanders¿scrumptious! ¿Dark Victory¿ is Brenda Joyce¿s latest in her `Masters of Time¿ series about strong uber-Alpha males granted extraordinary capabilities by the gods in order to protect the innocent. Of course, they¿re all drop-dead gorgeous and in need of a good shrink¿or a strong female to temper their arrogance and provide a haven for their solace. Do I need to add they can go all night and have outsized hungers? I didn¿t think so ¿

Tabitha is the second of the Rose sisters; a schoolteacher by day, and a witch. She is also the most gentle and has difficulty with her intermittent powers. When she accompanies her sister to a museum exhibit, she is assailed by a dark sense of evil and the vision of a man who is hurt and suffering. She immediately knows she must help him, no matter how powerful and intimidating he looks, so she performs a spell to try and call him to her. Hours later her life is turned upside down by this dark and intensely sexual stranger who swears to protect her from the evil hunting her. He also intends to be her lover, and when danger threatens, he pulls her back into the distant past with him.

The Black Macleod is favored by the gods with superhuman powers. But his refusal to take his vows to use those powers to protect the Innocent has made his powers fickle at best. What he lives for is revenge on the ones who murdered his whole family. But for how many generations should they pay? And when he must choose between revenge and his feelings for Tabitha, which will prove stronger?

I ignored the rest of my life after picking up this book. Laundry, dinner, XMAS shopping, it all took a backseat to following this intense story of time paradox and love. The hero and heroine are both strong characters, but Tabitha¿s strength is more that of her convictions and Macleod¿s is centered on the aggressive physical. Both have magic and both learn the price of those powers in ways beyond the physical. There were a few times I felt almost dizzy as the story rotated between time and location, but a quick glance back at the chapter sub-heading always kept me in the right place and time. If it weren¿t for the intense sexuality, I would have classified this book as an urban fantasy. However, the main focus was certainly the relationship between the main characters, so paranormal romance is the right genre.

Brenda Joyce¿s rendering of the stark contrast between the now and earlier times was masterful. Tabitha¿s change in outward demeanor when in the past was an especially nice touch, as women¿s rights¿weren¿t even a consideration then. The pacing, even when jarred by time changes, was exactly as needed for this story and increased the tension of the plot. I enjoyed the author¿s other books in this series, but this one is by far my favorite. It¿s a bit grittier and the romance a bit darker than the previous books, but the Black Macleod demands nothing less. ¿Dark Victory¿ is just as its title declares¿a bit dark, but still a victory for love. Now I just have to wait for ¿Dark Lover¿, the last in the Rose trilogy of her `Masters of Time¿ series. It¿s scheduled for release in September 2009.
ReadersGroupsLiaison More than 1 year ago
Brenda Joyce¿s DARK VICTORY is aptly titled as it is the next victorious installment in her Master¿s Of Time¿ series for HQN (March 2009). In present day New York City, classy old-fashioned school teacher, Tabitha Rose has gone to tour the special ¿Wisdom of the Celts¿ exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with her edgier, sexy sister, Samantha and their friend, Kit, who works with Sam. The two are agents in the Historical Crimes Unit at the Center for Demonic Activity and are currently trying to stop the Rampages going on in the city where innocent victims are burned at the stake medieval style. Tabby and Sam as Rose women each have a special gift to help them fight the war on evil. While waiting in line to view the relics, Tabby, a divorcee reflects on her bad marriage to a Wall Street investor, who cheated on her, but also senses as a good white witch that something BIG is about to happen. Tabby is immediately drawn to an unusual pendant in the shape of an open palm with a glittering pale stone in the center. The necklace was found in the 1930s in the ruins of the Scottish Melvaig Castle, whose central tower was supposedly destroyed in a fire in 1550 from a legendary battle between the Macleods and MacDougalls. While viewing the pendant Tabby feels faint from an evil presence but senses the amulet itself represents a good powerful magic. She also seems to be having flashbacks from the time of the fire and sees a 14-year-old boy, covered in blood, who is grieving. After Sam and Kit leave the exhibit, Tabby remains since she can¿t get rid of the imagines of the troubled boy and also a badly burned warrior in great anguish, who she feels drawn to help. As the amulet continues to glow the injured highlander appears to her in his plaid and then vanishes. Tabby goes home greatly shaken to the loft she shares with her sister and consults the ancient family Book of Roses but can¿t seem to find any answers. Meanwhile that night in the city, time traveling highlander, Guy, the Black Macleod is looking for the woman who has haunted him since he was a boy. He is determined to find the female, who has been summoning him. Tabby should be careful what she wishes for since it seems another Rose woman is about to meet her destiny. In the excellent time travel, DARK VICTORY, Brenda Joyce proves once again why she has remained such a beloved, bestselling romance author for over two decades giving her fans two unforgettable, passionate lovers and a unique love story that will stand the test of time.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Tabitha Rose is a witch though her day job is a NYC schoolteacher; her sister Sam is a warrior Slayer HCU agent. She and Sam go to an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art but she senses evil and an injured man in pain. Though frightened of his looks at her she sees in her vision, Tabby tries to heal him. She casts a spell to bring him to her.

Brooding and bloody the Black Macleod arrives in 2008 Manhattan from 1550 Scotland filled with anger. He is attracted to the healer and knows he will bed her, but has vengeance to take care of also. Macleod blames himself for the deaths of his family as he has failed to use the superpowers the Gods bestowed on him to help the innocent. Macleod soon must choose between the cold of revenge and his beloved Tabby as evil stalks her thanks to his vendetta.

The second Rose romantic urban fantasy (see DARK EMBRACE) is a terrific Masters of Time superb thriller (see for non Rose tales, DARK SEDUCTION and DARK RIVAL) is starring a wonderful wounded displaced warrior and a courageous modern day woman with a psychic gift. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Tabby in MOMA summons the dark brooding Scottish champion to her time and place to heal him; she just did not know the real healing comes from her heart. Fans will relish Brenda Joyce¿s strong dark thriller while waiting for kick butt Sam to complete this saga.

Harriet Klausner
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Jasmyn9 More than 1 year ago
The Rose Trilogy part of The Masters of Time has been a fantastic addition to the series so far.  It's great to have characters flow from one book to the other in such a cohesive way.  Tabby has been my favorite so far - and her story with Guy is almost beyond romantic.  They connect on such a deep level in a way that no one really thought was possible.   Guy is fighting the demons of his childhood - a murdered family that he feels that he is honor bound to avenge over the ages.  Back in Manhattan, Tabby is being attacked by an evil that has hunted her through the ages.  They have to find a way to help each other before they are both lost forever. As part of their struggle we get to see a little more into the background of the ancient brotherhood that all the Masters are a part of and how they work internally - it was quite a nice addition to an already great book.  My one and only small complaint was that a couple of the rules seemed to have been bent for the two main characters to help them along the way - but I'm sure it was just the gods throwing them a life line here and there.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nice story
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momjtac More than 1 year ago
What can I say but I am waiting for more please... Keep up the great work I love a book I cannot put down and when I am done I can move on to the next one knowing that I already know that character. Story line keeps you going at all times. Thank you
PamMS More than 1 year ago
Masters of time series is a must read.
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