Kiri Palger knew the difference between realitynew house, hard work and not too many friendsand fantasythe fun she had playing online games. So when the chance to work for the best gaming company in the world came up, giving her a chance to merge business with pleasure, how could she not apply?
Suddenly she has more friends, interesting neighbors and an intriguing love interest. But when the game begins to awaken something inside her, Kiri is shocked by the talents she never knew she had and an evil she'd never imagined.
Her nice, safe life is imploding around herand if she takes up the mantle of her powers, it will never be the same again .
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Mid-September, Denver, Colorado
Life was not a game. If life were a game, Kiri Palger would ace it or reach level sixty-five with massive amounts of gold, arms and armor, not to mention a fabulous wardrobe.
But real life had no do-overs. She couldn't go back two years and not take the energy and soul draining computer support job with a national company in downtown Denver. Big mistake. Especially when she trudged home at seven-thirty on a Friday evening too exhausted to enjoy the thought of the weekend.
Though buying this house in Mystic Circle had definitely been the right thing to do.
Her hands were full of keys and key card and she was punching in the security code when her phone rang. She swore and went in, laid the keys and workbag on the rickety console table next to the door.
The phone was not in its proper pocket, but had migrated to mix with stuff at the bottom of her tote. She found her cell after the call had gone to message. Her best friend Shannon had calledall right, her only good friend, someone she talked to a couple of times a week. Kiri could always count on Shannon, and her friend could always give her a lift.
"Hey, Kiri, it's Shannon. Sucky that you had to work late at the sucky job and can't play Fairies and Dragons with me tonight. I know how much you want that new job so remember you promised me you'd go to your block party tomorrow and meet Jenni Weavers. Don't duck out of it! And, no, I can't make it, Averill has a family thing. Tell us all the deets Sunday brunch. Smooches!"
Kiri's smile faded. She always liked backup when entering a new social situation. She squared her shoulders. Much as she might want to, she wouldn't skip the party. It was important on two levelsreally interacting with her neighbors and meeting Jenni Weavers, Kiri's heroine.
Her gaze went to her computer set up in the bump of the side bay window. She'd stay out of the game, Fairies and Dragons, tonightsometimes the game beckoned more than reality. And once you began spending more time in the game than anywhere else, you were in trouble. Not in control.
She sighed. Her living room was bareshe had a lot of house and not much of anything else, like furniture.
But quiet and peaceful. Her shoulders relaxed more than just from the release of the bag's weight.
A soft golden sunset slanted through the window. The smack of an early autumn had already swatted summer evenings gone for the year, but there was still enough light to walk around the cul-de-sac, Mystic Circle, to wind down from work. Get the kinks out. She was at the age, twenty-six, where she considered how wide her ass would spread if she stayed in a chair all day long every day.
And she'd check on the fabulous koi in the center park's pond.
She'd recently moved from concrete and asphalt near Capitol Hill and the beautiful fish captivated her. With a smile, she slipped back out into the cool evening.
Hers was the first house of the cul-de-sac, Mystic Circle number one, located on the southeastern corner. The craftsman bungalow was the smallest home and slightly more than she could afford. But, if she could land that new job, maybe She wanted to love her work. To live her job, not do it.
Like much of Denver, the homes in Mystic Circle were a variety of styles, each house different. She'd passed the small house named "Fanciful," the Spanish-influence two-story with orange-tiled roof; the redbrick four-square with the many window-paned porch and neared the top of the Circle and the Castle. She walked quickly, the day dying faster than she'd anticipated with thick gray clouds blocking the sun.
A movement caught her eye and she glanced toward the round center park.
The first thing she noticed about the pale man with the pale hair was that he was tall. The next was that he had pointed ears like a Vulcan or an elf. .and a certain shimmer like a famous vampire.
Halloween was a month and a half away.
He stepped from the shadows of the tall pine, almost as if he'd come from the pond, but there was no splashing.
How did he know her name? She hadn't seen him before, and though she hadn't met all her neighbors, she knew them by sight.
Kiri scanned the area. No one was around. Mystic Circle was safe, but He didn't live here and he'd been lurking in the dark shadows of the park. She backed up to the far edge of the sidewalk. No help from the Castle residentsthe owners were never home.
"I was told to approach you tomorrow, but since you're here tonight " He shrugged elegant shoulders under a thick capelike coat.
Not overly broad shoulders, a runner's body. And not threatening, but she'd moved from a rather dangerous neighborhood and was wary.
Should she yell? The houses were old and nearly soundproof. There were lights in several of the homes, and if she zoomed But the guy had a runner's musculature. She didn't think she could beat him.
"Pardon me." He dipped a hand in his pants pocket. When he brought it outsomething funny about his hand, too, like he might have more joints than the norm or more flexible boneshe held out a card. "I'm with Eight Corp. Human resources."
He put an odd spin on "human." Had some sort of soft, lilting accent she couldn't place.
"Eight Corp," she murmured. The parent company of the game Fairies and Dragons, where she'd applied for the job she yearned for, to create new stories for the game.
He turned his body so he looked at the two-story redbrick Denver square where Jenni Weavers lived. "Jindesfarne Mist-weaver Emberdrake will vouch for me."
Again the unfamiliar accent.
Jindesfarne Mistweaver Emberdrake? Kiri slid her glance to the house he'd indicated. Jenni Weavers's house. Did he really know Jenni? Kiri had never heard the "Jindesfarne" bit.
Day had gone, darkness was falling. She wanted that perfect job badly, that career. She wanted to love her work.
But his hands were in his pockets now and the card seemed to be floating in midair. He puffed a breath and it drifted toward her.
She blinked and blinked again and the evening was just dark enough that she wasn't sure she saw what she'd seen. She hadn't been in the game; this shouldn't be a game, but reality but
One too many too weird items. Kiri whirled and trotted home, her feet slapping concrete, her breathing ragged. She hopped up the stairs to the porch. Sticking the key and key card in the slots, she swept through the door of her home, slammed the door. She stood sucking in breaths in the entry-way on smoothly finished honey-colored wood floor. Walls safe around her.
He hadn't tried to stop her. Might even still be where she left him. She wasn't going to look.
Instead, she yanked on the cord that drew the thick burgundy curtains over the front window and hustled past the bay window bump with her home office setup and into the tiny bedroom. Safe.
The man had been too fascinatingcompellingand he was so not her type, urbane and with the runner's body. She liked men burlier. Overtly muscular. No, this man wasn't what she wanted. Really.
He said he was from Eight Corp. The company that was looking for a story developer and writer for Fairies and Dragons. Everything she'd ever wanted. She sniffed, realized her nostrils were straining to get the last whiff of the guy's scent. A fragrance she couldn't pin down, just like all the rest of him. Sweetly musky? With a faint sharp tang? His skin had seemed to shimmer. That couldn't be good.
Would she really see him tomorrow?
Lathyr Tricurrent watched Kiri Palger hurry back into her home. She seemed odd even for a human, the waves of her personal field resonating in ways that he recognizedKiri had a potential for magic.
It was that potential vibrating around her, bending the light into tiny rainbows enveloping her, that had drawn him out.
He'd underestimated the charm of this place and of Kiri herself.
In the spring, more magic had graced the world and much had changed for the Lightfolk. Lathyr was one of those who had begun to experience new powers. And the Meldmerging magic and human technologyhad rapidly increased.
Some humans could actually become Lightfolk, transform into magical elemental beings.
Lathyr was one of those who could sense such potential in certain humanshis new talent. He'd been unsure whether to be pleased with this or not.
He was not quite a full Merfolk; there was the slightest trace of elf in his background, enough to give him a point to his ears.
And the highest Lightfolk did not value anyone who wasn't pure Lightfolkor purely of one element. He'd been abandoned by his mother, no family claimed him, he had no home. He'd mostly lived on sufferance as a servant at the royal palaces or a guest of lower nobles, forced to be a drifter, and he hated it.
He could never reach the highest status, or even be awarded a tiny estate by the eight who controlled all the true domiciles under the ocean. He wanted a home of his own, not a rough cave.
He wouldn't have had a chance at that home before the infusion of magic that had given him his new power.
But a notion was edging into his mind that the stratified lines of rank and status were cracking becoming as fluid and as new as the Meld. Great change brought new opportunities.
In the spring, a halflinghalf-human and half-Lightfolkhad become a Princess of the Lightfolk, a Fire Princess. Unprecedented.
He glanced toward the abode of Princess Jindesfarne Mist-weaver Emberdrake. He didn't need to see the light in her office window to know she was home. The waves of magichuman and Lightfolk and from the Treeman who was her husbandblended and flowed to him, like the taste of rich chocolate on the air. She'd summoned him because she thought the human residents of Mystic Circle could become magical. She was right.
People with such potentialas well as other Lightfolkhad migrated to the cul-de-sac because of Jindesfarne's powers.
Evil magical ones, Darkfolk, could not live in Mystic Circle, and Lightfolk magic even kept wicked humans from the neighborhood. Too bad Kiri Palger didn't know thatyet.
Princess JindesfarneJenni Weavers Emberdrakehad been right. Lathyr should have waited until the next day to approach Kiri Palger. But Mystic Circle's cul-de-sac threw all his talents, not only his new ones, off. He'd never been in a place so rich with magic where all four elements were balanced. When balanced, magic was so much easier to do, to experience.
Balanced magic made living heady, and he'd felt the rush when he'd coalesced from a cloud to the pond in the park a few minutes before. The richness of the place and Kiri had made him act impulsively, speak when he should have stayed silent.
Now Lathyr could feel the minor earth elementals who were attached to two of the householdsbrowniesrunning through the tunnels they'd carved under his feet.
Even as he thought of them, one of the brownies popped out of the ground before Lathyr.
"You have any chocolate?" the small man with wrinkled face and large triangular ears asked.
Lathyr frowned. "You should be able to smell that I don't." He'd heard the brownies in this area were out of control in their demand for the rare sweet.
The brownieman sniffed lustily. "I smell drying merskin. You go back to your pond. There's nothing for you here, now." The less-than-a-meter-high being glanced at Kiri Pal-ger's shut door.
Lathyr set his teeth, let his lower lip curl.
"When you come back tomorrow, bring us chocolate." The little earth elemental frowned, looked up at a sky full of dark clouds and shivered. "Darkfolk are very aware of Denver, now. Glad I am here, safe." He vanished with a discourteous pop.
And Lathyr had to face facts.
He'd liked the looks of Kiri Palger, had wanted to impress her and show her real magic. He'd floated his card to her. That had not gone well.
He'd failed at first contact with the human in a project that might bring him the chance his birth had denied him. A chance to provide outstanding service and be rewarded with an ocean home, some small ocean valley with an acceptable current. The stability of not having to move every few months. He aspired to more than a cave in the ocean or a house on land. He wanted a real home, a place where he couldper-hapsstart a family or at least secure his future.
With this project, with Kiri Palger, he could get it. Gaining the notice of a high noble like Princess Mistweaver Em-berdrake was the first step.
That was worth any cost.
What People are Saying About This
RITA® Award-winner Owens offers a world strongly imbued with a sense of magic in this contemporary fantasy series launch.... Romance and fantasy fans will enjoy Jenni's preparation to enter a new world of compromise between the Folk, humans, and technology."
-Publishers Weekly, starred review, on Enchanted No More
"This book will enchant readers who enjoy strong heroines."
-RT Book Reviews on Sorceress of Flight
"Fans of Anne McCaffrey and Mercedes Lackey will appreciate the novel's honorable protagonists and their lively animal companions."
-Publishers Weekly on Protector of the Flight
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I've read all of the Celta books, and loved them. This is the first of her other books I've read, and I absolutely loved it! Can't wait to see what's next! Will have to check out the other two books that come first in the series, as well as the other series, I think. Definitely a huge fan!!
Very amazing possibilities came alive in this book! This is my favorite so far in the series.
Enchanted Ever After by Robin D. Owens 5 STARS This is the second book of the Mystic circle that I have now read and have enjoyed. It is mixture of fantasy,romance and adventure. Thier are a few love scenes that I skipped over. It is a good mixture of magic and human world combine. Kiri Palger loves her new home on mystic circle. She is hoping to get a job with Jenny Weaver her neighbor. The circle is having a block party and she will get to meet Jenny. She loves playing her computer game Fairies and dragons and would love to work on the game with her or a different game. Mystic Circle has magical protection so no evil can enter it. It has a balance of magical power. People of magical are drawn here. Kiri has no idea that magic is real. That she has met other beings that are not human. Jenny has discovered that with new magic that bubbled up she believes that some humans can be made into lightfolk full of magic. With the new magicmeld they have developed a game that should be testing and trying to prepare someone to be able to change if they are willing to take the risk. Kiri has no idea that this two week testing to see if she fits this game to get the job is really testing her to see what magics she is drawn too and prepare her to make the change. Lathyr Tricurrent a mer is assigned to work with Jenny to test those who might have magic drawn to them to prepare for the way. Lathyr is 8% Elf in his background and is treated as inferior to pure mer. He can see what powers might be drawn to humans. Kiri is drawn to Lathyr and is fighting her attraction. Her life is starting to spin out of control with all that is going on around her. Did not want to put the book down till I finshed it. I liked that as Kiri was getting explained about the different levels of the game and each element she was also learning about the magical beings that belong in each world. So we were getting the information in a way that fit the story perfectly. I want to go back and pick up the other books in this series that I have missed. I was given this ebook to read in exchange of honest review from Netgalley. December 18, 2012 PUB Harlequin Imprint Luna Books 400 pages ISBN-10: 0373803478
This book was provided to me for free by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review Enchanted Ever After is the third book in the Mystic Circle series. Unlike Robin Owen's Celta's Heartmates series, these books are Urban Fantasy set in the modern world. If you haven't read any of the previous books in the Mystic Circle series then you're in luck. This book explains enough back story to understand what's going on but, not enough that the previous books are completely revealed. In Enchanted Ever After, Kiri Palger has just moved into a home on the Mystic Circle street. In my head I pictured a cul-de-sac of all the characters homes when they were mentioned in the book. Kiri desperately wants a job at the online gaming company of Fairies and Dragons and moved in hopes of bettering her chances. An opportunity arises at the online gaming company to evaluate and play a new game that hasn't entered the market yet. What Kiri doesn't know is that she was scouted for magical potential and this was all setup in advance. This new game will revolutionize the fae community and Kiri is the first person to test it. One aspect of this book that really got me interested was the gaming company setup. Being an online gamer myself, I was delighted to find terminology used in this book were terms that only long time MMO gamers tend to use. I got a big smile on my face the moment the author used the term "toons" in describing a character. I love how this attention to detail brought some realism into this novel. I would love an opportunity to test the same game that Kiri was playing! My only complaint about this book was that the writing felt very different from her Celta novels. I'm a huge fan of the Celta world that Robin Owens has created and this doesn't provide quite the same impact. This novel is very poignant at times because of Kiri's inner struggles. I could really empathize with her and the sense of isolation in a new community. Kiri is a very empathetic character and I really enjoyed seeing her grow as a character. Kiri and her romantic interest, a water fae named Lathyr, are very alike in many ways. Particulary in the sense of isolation that I mentioned previously. They both feel like outcasts to a degree and it makes it difficult for them to emotionally connect. The romance between Kiri and Lathyr is very sweet and endearing. The moments between Kiri and Lathyr made this novel hard to put down! OMG. The cover of this novel is like a dream. All misty pinks and blues with Kiri gazing into the water. LOVE IT!
Interesting Series! My Opinion: When I requested this book from NetGalley, I wasn't aware that it was the third book in a series, but lucky for me, it was quite easy to follow and worked well as a standalone. What I read definitely intrigued me enough to want to read the first two books, though, since they deal with how two of the couples in Enchanted got together. I'm also interested in finding out more about the back story of the Mystic Circle and all of the magic that it contains. Enchanted Ever After starts with Kiri Palger, who has just bought a house on Mystic Circle and is hoping to get her dream job in the online gaming industry. Little does she know that the line between the real world and the world in the game are about to become very blurred ... The phrase "be careful what you wish for" comes to mind! I loved the characters in this book because they had very separate but distinct personalities that all meshed well together. The balance between romance, magic and intrigue worked well also, with one flowing effortlessly into the other. This book was an easy read, and I enjoyed watching Kiri grow and blossom as she came into her own and discovered who she really was and what she could accomplish if she had the courage to just go for it. I liked the Lathyr/Kiri romance since they both came from a place of not belonging and not being appreciated. I enjoyed watching them help each other overcome the feelings of inadequacy they both carried around with them. Overall, I enjoyed this book very much and look forward to reading the first two books in the series. I would give this book 4 stars :D
As all Robin's books, this one is terrific!
Enchanted Ever After is the third book in the Mystic Circle Series. It can be read as a standalone but I feel that you will enjoy the story so much more if you have already have read the first two books before starting this one. Now I will admit that this story was not my favorite out of the series but it was a close second! Kiri Palger is a game designer who has recently moved to Mystic Circle, Colorado. She is looking to get a job at one of the most popular video games and so she was excited to find that one of her neighbors Jenny is the creator and owner of that game. She soon meets Lathyr and while he is a bit different, Kiri is still interested in him. It turns out that Lathyr works for Jenny and they both want Kiri to come and work with them on a new game they are developing. What Kiri doesn’t know is the new game is actually a test to see if she has special qualities… I really like the plot, it kept moving and there were several times I was not expecting things to happen the way they did. I look forward to more books in this fascinating series!
Enchanted Ever After Mystic Circle Series Book Three By Robin D. Owens Kiri Palger has dreamed of working for Eight Corp., the creators of Fairies and Dragons an online game that Kiri is absolutely addicted to. Shortly after Kiri moves into the cul-de-sac of mystic circle where a number of Eight Corp. employees live, she is approached to start work on a new virtual reality project this is a dream come true and Kiri jumps at the chance. Soon she finds out that there is another purpose altogether for the new virtual system. This is such a fun book, though you can definitely tell it is not the first in a series the author does an amazing job of making this a “stand alone” novel so that even though I haven’t read the previous two myself I can jump into the story and not once do I feel lost or confused. First off you have the gaming aspect of the book which I must admit I love video games so it automatically appealed to me but the author goes further than that she not only brings the game to life but she brings the multiple realms it represents into such vivid perspective I know I was definitely jealous of Kiri and wanted to jump head first into the game myself. Then you have some of the best scenes I have come across in a long time and Robin D. Owens descriptive proficiency comes into play once again sucking you into the story and the world in which she has created even further. This is a fascinating fantasy and with the heartwarming romance and touches of the gaming world it is highly unique. With such a well written book and an amazing story this is definitely a book worth reading. I was sent a free copy of this book for an honest review.
FANTASTIC FANTASY Others here have done an exceptional job summarizing and reviewing this story, so I'll just add my two cents worth. Owens' third Mystic Circle book is a delight. Strong on fantasy, slim on romance, Owens does a wonderful job exploring the four magical realms of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. Her keen insight into what it is like to be a being in each realm is astounding. Of course, the confrontations with Dark Ones, fighting to stay alive, only adds to the story of how Kiri and Lathyr meet, how their relationship alters and grows. The cover depicts which elemental Kiri will transform into, but one has to read the story to discover why she becomes a water being, and why giving up her human side has both good and bad results, certainly more than she ever expected. I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and especially liked all the details about video gaming. Nice to imagine there really is such a place as Mystic Circle in Denver. Though I've heard rumors this might be the last Mystic Circle story, I hope it's not true. Spending time in this magical series among its fascinating characters has been fun.
Very entertaining and fast paced.
I had no idea this was the third book in a series. However, even though not reading book one and two, I wasn’t completely lost, and I got the hang of the story almost right away. This book is filled with original elements, and a great plot. I enjoyed the characters, but sometimes the plot got away from me, and some parts seem to go nowhere. A decent read, but could’ve been better. I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.