An ancient evil rises. An ancient warrior awakens.
In an age clouded by legend, Gawain was one of King Arthur's greatest knights. When he awakens centuries after the fall of Camelot, he faces his most daunting quest yetthe search for his missing companions. His hope is that Tamsin Greene, the alluring historian at Medievaland Theme Park, can help him. Then he senses the magic within her Gawain will now have to trust a witchand his own heartto rouse the knights of the Round Table and save humanity from a faery onslaught.
About the Author
Sharon Ashwood is a novelist, desk jockey and enthusiast for the weird and spooky. She has an English literature degree but works as a finance geek. Interests include growing her to-be-read pile and playing with the toy graveyard on her desk.
Sharon is the winner of the 2011 RITA® Award for Paranormal Romance. She lives in the Pacific Northwest and is owned by the Demon Lord of Kitty Badness.
Read an Excerpt
Tamsin Greene blew out her breath to ease the tension squeezing her ribs. Her sigh made a cloud of mist that floated upward to the shadowy stone ceiling of the Church of the Holy Well. The ancient English structure had been relocated to the Medievaland Theme Park decades ago, but it seemed to hold part of the past inside it, as if time itself had seeped into the stone. Or maybe that was just the frigid temperature. November in the Pacific Northwest wasn't a snowy deep freeze, but the damp air held a savage bite. At first she'd been annoyed at having to wear a costume to her workplace, but now she was glad of the floor-length gown of green wool. She should have sewn herself a cloak, too.
She told herself her shivers were just the result of the cold. What kind of threat could there be at Medievaland Theme Park, anyway? Even in winter, it was a place for family fun, with costumed performers, games, feasts and make-believe. The worst that could happen was a stomachache from too many jalapeno Dragon Fries. The only thing remotely seriousor truly medievalabout the park was the church where she stood now, and normally the old stones echoed with the holiday mood.
But today was different. Tamsin rubbed her arms as the feeling of being stalked crept behind her on stealthy paws. Although a glance confirmed she was alone in the church, fresh wariness settled in her belly. Tamsin turned slowly, senses probing.
Nine times out of ten, being a witch meant nothing more than having a knack with cold remedies and some very odd family dinners, but once in a while her sixth sense was useful. She scanned the space, feeling first the layers of history that shimmered in the air, then the small living things that ran and squeaked in the walls. There was ancient magic sleeping there, but it was too old and dormant for her to understand its purpose. And beyond that
She probed just a little more before she snatched her psychic senses back, all too aware there were creatures that would sniff out spells and come looking. In the past months, victimswitches and humans bothhad been turning up dead, their souls ripped from their bodies. Tamsin wasn't a coward, but that was enough to spook anyone who was far away from the protection of her family and coven.
Habit made her rub the delicate vine tattoo that circled her left wristthe mark of the Shadowring witches. It should have given her comfort, but it only reminded her how isolated she was. An icy chill rippled down her spine. She spun, reacting to a sound she'd felt more than heard. A movement of air. A phantom footfall. No one but a witch would have caught it. Tamsin's senses strained until they ached. Nothing.
She stood perfectly still, nervous sweat trickling down the small of her back. Light slanted through the stained glass, creating an otherworldly atmosphere. There were crowds outside, but the thick walls blocked the noise. The echoing silence made her feel incredibly small and alone.
That did it. As much as Tamsin hated to admit it, she was giving herself a case of the jitters. Time to stand on the porch for a while, where she could see plenty of people. She started for the door.
Huge hands grabbed her from behind, pulling her backward until she collided with a rock-hard chest. Tamsin inhaled, about to scream, but a palm clamped over her mouth. A moment later, the man's free arm grasped her middle. Tamsin lunged forward, but his grip was an iron bar. Her next move was to kick back, aiming for the man's knee. She missed, catching only his shin with the soft sole of her boot. He grunted and pulled her against him so tightly she could barely breathe.
"Don't," he said, the word clipped and cold.
Tamsin froze, going utterly still. Whoever this was, his psychic shields were so powerful he'd been completely hidden from her scan. After fretting about evil creatures stalking witches, she was too scared to reach for her magic. Every instinct warned her this stranger would not tolerate further defiance. This was a professional. A predator. A true threat. She knew it on a level so primitive it was coded into her DNA.
Her obedience seemed to work, because the hand clamped over her mouth slowly moved away. He tasted of salt, sweat and man. He hadn't used weapons to overpower her, just brute strength. That show of confidence made him seem all the more deadly.
"You will not cry out." His words had traces of a brogue
Scottish, perhaps. His deep, masculine voice vibrated through the line where their bodies touched and sank into her bones.
"Please," she said, her voice barely above a whisper. "What do you want?"
The arm locked about her loosened, allowing her to move but not to escape. Tamsin shrank away as far as she could, the heat of his body a sharp contrast to the cool November air.
"Turn," he repeated. "I want to see your face when I question you."
Tamsin obeyed, sliding within the circle of his arm. It put their faces barely twelve inches apart, and that was only because he was so tall. Her first instinct was to avoid eye contact, to rebel at least in that small way, but curiosity won. She snatched a glance from under her lashes.
She froze all over again as he nailed her in place with a brilliant blue gaze. He was younger than she'd expectedmaybe in his late twentiesand handsome enough that she forgot to breathe. His face had strong bones, the features bold and almost sensual. Heat rose to her cheeks as her insides curled into a protective ball. He was far too magnetic, far too there for comfort.
He studied her face a moment longer, his gaze filled with bold assessment. It finally broke when the corners of his mouth quirked. "You are the historian who is supposed to explain this place to visitors, Tamsin Greene?"
Tamsin cleared her throat. "Yes. How did you ?"
He gave a pointed look at the name badge pinned to her dress, and she flushed more deeply. He made a noise of amusement. "Historians are meant to be old men in robes and soup-stained beards. A golden-haired sylph is a pleasant surprise."
"Hey, that's sexist"
"You may call me Gawain," he interrupted, as if he had no time to waste. He had an oddly formal way of speaking, as if English wasn't his mother tongue. "I do not intend to hurt or rob you. I simply want answers. Keep that in mind and we will go our separate ways in peace."
There was enough arrogance in the statement to break the spell of his overpowering presence. Gawain was roughly dressed in jeans and a dark green T-shirt beneath a battered leather jacket. He had a few days' growth of beard and a mass of curling dark hair long enough to brush his collar. In truth, he looked half-wild. She stepped away, putting more distance between them, and felt the press of the wall against her back. The cold stone sent a chill up her spine.
Her neck aching with tension, Tamsin forced herself to nod. None of this made sense. "If you want information, why not just ask? You don't need to scare me half to death."
His eyes narrowed. "I have enemies. I never know what face they wear. Thus far, you have not attacked. Perhaps you are what you seem."
Tamsin felt her pulse jump with alarm as she swallowed against the dryness of her throat. The man was a paranoid lunatic. "What do you want to know?"
"There should be tombs here," he said in that same impatient manner. "Where did they go?"
Gawain's stare penetrated right through her, boring deep into private places she barely admitted to herself. It was too much, especially from an utter stranger. He advanced a step, closing the gap between them again. The movement was almost a glide, showing the perfect balance of someone trained to use his body. Whether he meant it or not, it was intimidating andshe freely admitted this went against all common senseincredibly sexy.
Tamsin held up her hands in a placating gesture. "Which tombs are you talking about? There is a lot of statuary in this place, and much of it's been moved to make room for the exhibits."
His eyes flashed with impatience. Without warning, he pulled her into the center of the church, his strides long enough that she was forced to trot. Rough calluses grazed her skin when he finally let her go, and she automatically rubbed the spot where his fingers had been. The guy was clearly used to working with his hands.
He pointed toward the center of the floor. "They were right here. Look around you. The sleeping guardians are absent."
Tamsin hesitated, unwilling to take her eyes off him. Then she complied, viewing the place with a historian's eye. This wasn't a typical church by any stretch, seeming to adhere to no defined period and no typical design. The main area was a large, perfect circle with a ring of black marble slabs set into the floor. Tamsin knew from nineteenth century sketches that each slab had supported a tomb topped with the effigy of a sleeping knight. In the middle was a space for a larger monument guarded by enormous stone lions. The beasts had many symbolic meanings, but the basic message was clearthe knights who slept there were sworn to protect, even beyond the gates of death.
And now the army of knights was missing. Tamsin made a slight noise of understanding. "You're right, there are some pieces gone."
Gawain was silent for a moment, that hot blue gaze considering her from head to toe until it came to settle on her mouth. For a moment, Tamsin's heart pounded with tension, a push-pull of attraction and wariness making her skittish. She'd seen that look on men about to kiss her.
Then, just as suddenly, he turned away. "There were one hundred and fifty knights buried in the church. Ten here, and the remainder in the crypt."
Tamsin shook her head. "The crypt was filled in when the main structure was moved from England."
He closed those startling blue eyes and ducked his head, almost as if she'd struck him. "By God's bones," he muttered, so low that she barely heard.
Still, the old oath made her catch her breath. "I'm sorry. Did you have ancestors buried there?"
"No." He took a shaking gulp of air, staring again at the empty space. "Where did they go?"
"I think they're on loan to different places. Museums. Universities."
"Scattered." His jaw muscles flexed, as if he clenched his teeth. His dark mood was gathering like a storm. "I need the exact locations."
Tamsin cast a glance toward the door, wondering if she could escape. "I don't know those details."
"Then you will find out." The words were hard, but beneath them there lurked pain and need.
Tamsin froze, still staring at the gray day outside the door. Right then, in that brief moment, he slipped under her emotional guard. She hadn'tnot for one instantforgotten that he had crept up on her, eluding even her magical senses. But now she could feel his grief and desperation, and it was impossible not to respond.
Her power opened again, almost of its own accord. He was no longer trying to hide, and she could touch his words, touch him, with her inner senses. She'd expected a lunatic. What she found instead was enough to raise the hair along her nape. This man was a killer, brutal and steeped in violence. More than that, he was surrounded by danger.
He was danger.
"I need your help," he said, making it a quiet demand.
Before she could answer or turn back to him, he reached out, laying rough, warm fingers against her cheek. It was gentle, almost a caress, but he had her rattled. She jumped, gathering her power to defend herself. "Don't touch me!"
The instant her magic rose to strike back, his mouth dropped open and he pulled away as if she'd stung him. He recovered in a heartbeat, though now he was clearly wary.
He grabbed her wrist, glaring at the tattoo as if he hadn't noticed it before. "Witch," he said in a low, threatening growl.
Tamsin turned cold at the word. Most thought witches were extinct, and the covens preferred things that way. But her temper was roused, and she pulled away, heat mounting in her cheeks. "Felt that, did you? I think you've got a touch of the blood yourself. You certainly have impressive shields."
"No." He said it with fierce finality. All trace of softness was gone from his face, reducing it to bloodless, harsh angles. "Now you will tell me what I want to know."
"I don't know where the tombs are," she snapped. "I've already tried to locate some of the artifacts that should be in the church, but the old owner died and the information was lost. What paper records they have here are a mess. That's why the new owners have hired meto figure all this out."
Silence hung heavy between them, and his face darkened again, promising thunder. "Then have answers for me the next time we meet."
"And why would I do that for you?" Her temper was up and the words out before she could stop herself. Her gut knotted, bracing for the backlash.
"Because scholars like riddles, witchling, and there is a cost if you fail to find the answer." Gawain wheeled and headed for the door.
Alarmed, Tamsin followed only to see him clear the steps in one graceful leap.
"Wait!" What consequences? How did he know about witches, anyway? And what was the big deal about the tombs? But by then, Gawain had disappeared into the throng, gone as fast as he'd burst into her universe.
Urgently needing to sit, Tamsin sank to the cold steps, suddenly shaking. "By Merlin's pointed hat," she muttered, and wondered if historians ever got hazard pay.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I received this book for an honest review and I have to say I was not disappointed in having to read this book to review it. It was a very unique idea about the knights of the round table being frozen in time until there is a threat to humanity from witches and Fae who fled the mortal realm after a battle with Camelot. I have read Gargoyle books where they are frozen until needed to protect but the idea of knights being frozen is pretty great. I really enjoyed this book and the love story between Tamsin and Gawain. The fact that Gawain is afraid of Tamsin on some level because she is a witch and he does not have very good memories of witches including his mother. Tamsin is a lot stronger then you think a medieval history who is also a healer would be but she can kick some butt when she puts her mind to it. There of course are battles and a quest and I really can't wait for more in this series. I highly recommend this book.
Enchanted Warrior is the first series of the Camelot Reborn series, and this book is the start of the show. Gawain is the first Knight to awaken, and he makes his way to Medievaland, where he meets Tamsin. Tamsin is a witch from a distant coven, who is hoping to become the Loremaster of the coven by finding books written by Merlin. In this series, magic is real, Arthur is real, and so is Mordred and Morgana. Mordred and Morgana are obviously the big bad, whilst Gawain is the hot-headed yet loyal Knight. The attraction between Gawain and Tamsin is there pretty much from the start, although Tamsin does become quite confused over where it is going (with reason!). This story is fast-paced, but very smooth. With a cast of interesting characters, some of which you may have heard of, Enchanted Warrior is very well written, with no editing or grammatical errors to disrupt my reading flow. A complete story, and yet leading nicely onto the next, I have no hesitation in recommending this book. Merissa Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!
King Arthur and his knights are endlessly adaptable. It’s what Sharon Ashwood says, believes, and translates beautifully in her new novel, Enchanted Warrior. With my limited knowledge on the legendary subject, I envisioned Mushu from Disney’s Mulan awakening the guardians. Shame on me. Gawain is no mere protector. He’s sworn his fealty to King Arthur and exhibits an unparalleled devotion. That is, until Tamsin Greene enchants our warrior. “Mordred is using stealth, not armies, and his first priority is finding the tombs to stop the Round Table from rising. You need to find your friends and wake them at once.” A new war with recurring enemies looms and Gawain is set to assemble the Knights of the Round Table as prophesied. The fact that it’s modern-day Medievaland in Washington State is sure to pose problems for an unprepared (let alone missing!) group. Wait. This is Gawain we’re talking about! The dicier the situation, the more from which to adapt and triumph. Aligning himself with faeries, foes-turned-friends, is a question for later, but principal on Gawain’s list is to recruit the assistance of the bewitching (heavy on the base word) historian, Tamsin. Witches aren’t to be trusted and Gawain learned that the hard way. Though his tactics were brutish and domineering, Tamsin would be lying if she said her interest wasn’t piqued by Gawain’s otherworldliness. Tamsin is trying to gain respect as a loremaster within her coven, and as surreal as the situation presents itself, Gawain’s oath took on special significance to her core beliefs. Tamsin sensed Gawain was dangerous, but since she didn’t count herself adversary (something she repeatedly bashes into his head!) the real threat lay in losing her heart to him. When Tamsin’s collaboration comes attached with a quid pro quo, will Gawain honor his bargain or shrug off his chivalry? The cast of characters was large, but easy to follow. The fall of Camelot wreaked havoc on all the factions and, unsurprisingly, no one is particularly trustworthy. “Pain and privation eventually take their toll. Their silence breaks.” Enemies make for interesting bedfellows, but their plights are written so convincingly, so passionately, you champion them all! There’s so much to love in Enchanted Warrior. I found myself swept up in the cloud of magic. Revelations created bonds and illuminated true strengths. Ms. Ashwood gave proper respect to the craft and her spells invoked wonderful imagery as they came to fruition. An understanding, an embracing of power, intensified a love intrinsic to Gawain and Tamsin. The kind of love that transcends time. What a fabulous read! While I may have stumbled on facts and had to research its history, Sharon Ashwood never faltered in her storytelling; I was captivated and bewitched! ;)
Tamsin is a witch that has been hired to make sense of some mid-evil artifacts. Gawain is a NIght of the Round-table come back to life. The Nights were put into a suspended form, to come to life sometime in the future when they would be needed again. Gawain is awakened and tracks the artifacts Tamsin is studying. He asks for Tamsin's help in finding Arthur and the rest of the Nights. Although she has some reservations about his story, she does come to believe it. It is easy to see their chemistry and how their mutual mistrust changes over time. I am really looking forward to reading the next story and see what happens when the other Nights come to life. I received an ARC for an honest review.
This book was fun. Quick paced and action-packed, the author puts a medieval knight in a theme park and has him encounter a witch. Rather than take the predictable route and have the female(Tamsin) help the knight (Gawain) adjust to modern life, the author skips that path and simply has Gawain wake up with a general understanding of the future. This allows the story to continue at a fast pace without many cultural "misunderstandings". While it does play fast and loose with the traditional Arthurian Mythology, there are enough touchstones to resonate with the reader. The battle of good vs evil, Morgan and Modred against Arthur and his knights is interesting and the battle sequences make sense. There is a decent romantic pairing in Tamsin and Gawain and the door is left open for a sequel. The battle is not yet over and there are more knights to wake up! I received an ARC for an honest review.