by Robin D. Owens

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All his life, Rand T’Ash has looked forward to meeting his HeartMate, with whom he could begin a family. Once a street tough, now a respected nobleman and artisan, he has crafted the perfect HeartGift, which, in the custom of the psychically gifted population of the planet Celta, is the way a man finds—and attracts—his wife…

Danith Mallow is irresistibly drawn to the magnificent necklace on display in T’Ash’s shop, but she is wary of its creator, despite an overpowering attraction. In a world where everyone is defined by their psychic ability, Danith has little, placing her at the opposite end of the social spectrum from T’Ash. But T’Ash refuses to accept her rejection and sees it as a challenge instead. They are HeartMates, but can T’Ash persuade his beloved to accept her destiny by his side?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425212400
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/01/2006
Series: Celta Series , #1
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 487,078
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Robin D. Owens is the RITA Award-winning author of Heart Duel and Heart Thief.

Read an Excerpt

Druida City, Celta, 400 years after Colonization, Summer

Today you will meet your HeartMate. Rand T'Ash's blood thrummed in his temples as he stared at the divination dice that he'd just rolled. The polished blue-green stones gleamed in the light. The symbols incised on them showed deep red veins, looking like blood. He didn't quite believe the glyphs carved in the twelve-sided pieces of bloodstone and the prophecy they foretold. He'd throw again, to be sure.
The deep emanation of his Flair-his psi power-pulsed through his blood. A few years back he'd created the dice, first choosing the bloodstones, then chiseling and shaping them. He let the swell of his emotions flow through and from him. A tingle of premonition shivered up his spine. He focused his will and mage power. With a flick of his wrist, he threw the dice again. They rolled, spun, stopped.
Today you will meet your HeartMate.
Excitement surged, and an overwhelming tide of triumph. His heart picked up beat. Shimmering tension embedded in his nerves.
T'Ash sat and gripped his half-empty caff mug between his palms. It was oversized, made by a mage-potter to fit his hands. The ebb and flow of his preternatural Flair had changed over the last few days, he now realized. The daily divinations had foretold something unusual, signs that he'd overlooked.
TwinMoonsday-Enjoy the moment, for it will pass; Midweek-Prepare yourself; Quert-yesterday, Restructuring is necessary.
He stared at the dice once more. Today you will meet your HeartMate. How long he had waited! He was thirty-seven, the sole member of a GreatHouse, the highest rank of Celta. There were only thirteen GreatHouses. His was a colony FirstFamily, the House of the Ash. By the grace of the Lord and Lady, he'd escaped the destruction of his Family by a rival House when he was six years old. By sheer will and determination he hid and lived as a boy in the slums of the worst part of the city-Downwind. He grew strong first to survive, then for vengeance.
Only in the last few years, after he'd reestablished his GreatHouse and started his shop, plying his Flair for mage-gems instead of fighting, had he been able to live life with deliberate ease. After tomorrow he would never again be alone. An exhilarating, but disturbing thought.
His caff was cold. The pungent scent no longer wafted through the air. He looked around his home workroom. The large desk of gleaming reddwood stood in sharp contrast to the scarred workbenches. On the far wall, behind a protection spell, were his gems and precious metals. In the corner, hidden by deep shadows, was his walk-in vault. It was built large to accommodate a man of his size and magical ability. The vault held a smaller safe containing his most precious possessions, including the necklace. His HeartGift. T'Ash rose and walked to the vault. After disarming the door with a routine spell Word, he went inside.
His HeartGift. An item created in three days after his last Passage, seventeen years before.
It was the third and last Passage that gave mastery of psi powers-rather than just confirming the Flair, then releasing it. And it was the final Passage that indicated HeartMates. In the delirium of that Passage T'Ash's Flair had spiraled to bond with his HeartMate, though he'd never felt the link since.
He placed his palm on the safe and muttered an opening spell and reached for the velvet case. The moment he touched it, urgency swept through him, the HeartGift's power. He grabbed the case, slammed the safe shut, strode out, and armed the vault. He set the round-cornered box in the middle of his largest worktable, positioned in the sunlight. T'Ash watched with disbelief as his hands trembled when he opened the box. Hands that had firmly swung a broadsword, hands that had steadily fixed tiny jewels in a tracery of delicate chains-still, his fingers shook.
Energy, power, magic streamed from the necklace, driving him back. He raised his hand and felt pulses from the piece. The sexual potency of a virile twenty-year-old man imbued the HeartGift; a man who had spent three days in an erotic delirium of a Passage that finally freed his psi power. T'Ash had focused all his creative, carnal energy on fashioning the necklace. Seventeen years had passed, and it still radiated. Sexual tension washed through him and lodged, tingling his nerves, warming his muscles, pooling in his groin. He'd feel the pressure until he took his mate. The tautness was disconcerting, pleasure bordering on pain. Anticipation. T'Ash sucked in a breath and looked at the necklace again. Now he saw only how it was fashioned. He frowned. The strands of silver, gold, and redgold wire weren't uniformly thin, but showed lumpy nodules in places. The gem mountings were often clumsy. One side of his mouth quirked. When his hands hadn't wavered from sexual arousal, they'd shaken from exhaustion. He didn't remember eating or sleeping during the days he created the necklace-forging the metal, twisting the wire, setting the gems. The final jewel was a large roseamber pendant he'd spent septhours shaping. With the energy pouring through him, he wouldn't have been surprised if it had ended up in the shape of a phallus. He'd made a heart. Zanth, T'Ash's cat and Familiar, strolled in. Fish again, he projected telepathically to T'Ash. He carried his muscular fighter's body with grace. He'd attached himself to the child, Rand Ash, the first week in Downwind. The cat had announced he was Rand's Fam and demanded an Ash Family name. T'Ash's crate in the slum had been barely big enough for them both. Zanth had made the move into T'Ash Residence as if it were his due, though he looked every inch the Downwind tough. The cat was huge, two-thirds of a meter. Irregular black blotches dominated his white fur.
A red tongue caught a stray bit of food from his whiskers. You hear? Fish again! Oily.
Me not like and don't want any more.
Zanth's comment grounded T'Ash. "I'll speak to the chef." Zanth went to the workbench and stared up at the necklace. That thing. From long ago. His pink nose wrinkled. He opened his muzzle and curled his tongue to use his sixth sense-a combination of smell-taste. Don't like it. It's feral you. Too much you and not enough Me. Take it away.
"I'll take it with me to the shop tonight. I'm running the store. Majo, my manager, is on vacation for Discovery Day." Col-on-ists in spaceships found Celta on Dis-cov-ery Day.
"That's right."
Ships were down to few Cats. Good to party. You go on vac-a-tion, too. "Not tonight. Maybe tomorrow." When he had his HeartMate. He could arrange a wedding on Discovery Day, then a long honeymoon. He grinned. The gleam of a gem caught his eye and he looked again at the necklace and saw it, beyond its inherent power and the skill that fashioned it. He saw the style and the color of the gems. In that moment he knew who the woman was. His mate. He had never seen her, but he knew of her. Majo had told him how often she visited the store. Today you will meet your HeartMate. Not today, but tonight. For the first time in several years he had to man his exclusive shop in CityCenter. In the last few months he'd been playing a subtle game from a distance with an unseen customer, teasing her with his creations. She'd buy the charming and the whimsical, and preferred roseamber and redgold. All the jewelry she'd purchased had been at the least expensive end of his line. The pieces had also been some of his most original-and sensual. He wished he knew her name. From his pocket he pulled a long silver chain set with oddly shaped beads, and slid it through his fingers. It was designed to suspend a personal amulet. Some of the beads were round, some stone nuggets, and some faceted crystal. A simple piece with a small price, yet it was significantly superior in craftsmanship to the HeartGift. Zanth hopped up on the worktable and swatted the chain. T'Ash obligingly swung it. "The necklace is my gift to a mate, radiating my essence, and will draw her to me. We will have a woman living with us tomorrow. What do you say to that?"
Zanth looked past the swinging chain and narrowed his jade-green eyes at the necklace. Mate prefer mouse. He turned his back on the HeartGift. Snagging a claw in the chain, he brought it to his mouth. This female. You play with her. Give toys. "Yes, I make her jewelry." T'Ash dropped the end of the chain. It rattled to the desk.
Zanth tangled his paws in the chain and glanced sideways at T'Ash. This bauble was for her. She not take it.
T'Ash shrugged. That he couldn't predict her taste intrigued him. Several pieces that he'd made especially to tempt her had been bought by others, or remained unsold-so Majo said.
T'Ash had not asked her name. Instead it had been an increasingly enchanting game.
A game once, but not now. She'd visit the shop tonight. He knew it by his sharpened senses and the deep expectation humming in his bones. Zanth snuffled. He'd picked up a sinus infection prowling the alleys of Downwind that T'Ash had been unable to treat. Zanth was not amenable to nosedrops in each nostril three times a day. Female. He looked at the necklace. Female's scent improve it. T'Ash winced at his cat's blunt remark.
Females are soft laps. Will accept one in My domain. Pro-vis-ion-al-ly. With that, Zanth gathered some of the beaded chain in his mouth and hopped from the table. The chain skittered on the floor as he turned and exited, tail high. T'Ash didn't care to dwell on the thought of soft laps. He glanced at the HeartGift one more time and left it on his workbench. He needed more caff. The power from the necklace swirled around him. He felt it, and so would she, the passion that heralded a life long love, the deep yearning for one special person. The necklace would attract and affect only her. The vital sexuality as well as his basic nature portrayed in his HeartGift would snare her, and he would take her home. Simple. Easy. He had built a new Residence, a luxurious palace, after his final act of vengeance. Now he would have someone to share the echoing rooms with-a woman, a wife, a HeartMate.
A fierce smile curved his mouth. Having a mate would be satisfying, as satisfying as the orderly life he'd so carefully crafted after long struggle. Today you will meet your HeartMate.
With a sweep of his hand, he gathered the dice on his desk. Two bounced and fell to the floor, one cracking. He bent and his fingers stilled. Blaser rays surround a vulnerable woman. He picked up the die showing the woman. It fell to pieces.
A woman in danger.
His heart pounded like a hammer on an anvil. His Divination set, ruined. His lady, threatened. He'd put the violence-and the man he'd become seeking vengeance-behind him, but now his lady was endangered.
* * *

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Heartmate 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 67 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was a pleasent shock to pick up the first book from Robin Owens, and find it so well written. Not only was the book different from other books, but it was fast paced, had GREAT characters, and had such a unique idea for a story line, that I was very excited to run out and buy the other two in the series. I do read a lot of romance books, and this one stands out from all the rest. It is not just a quick read that blends in with a hundred other romance books that you have picked up in the past. It stands alone, and I do believe it will find a quick place in your favorite shelf.
northamericanwordcat More than 1 year ago
Perfect!  This is hands down one of my favorite romance series and this first book is wonderful. I love this book because it straddles the  genres of science fiction romance, fantasy romance, and regency.  The magic system in this world is compelling. The world building excellent and anthropological. The character development superb. The heroine and the heroine always grow. And then there are the talking cats. I LOVE THE TALKING CATS! They are great comic relief.  I have read this book at least 10 times. Every time a new book in the series comes out, I read it and then the entire series again.   These a fated mate books but the love is always earned.  The hero is this book is great. He wants a family and love. I adore that in a hero. He is fairly clueless about how to court and get what he  wants. He is an big strong alpha artist warrior and lord.  He is also tortured and grew up in the streets.  Danith is of a different class and was treated as if she had little value most of her life as an orphan and someone with little apparent  magical talent.  She goes through a major adjustment in status during the novel.  The love story is sweet, sexy, compelling, and reread able I love it each time I read it. Dang. I want to go read it again.  
GabeGA More than 1 year ago
Interesting story lines, good character development, both male and female characters show emotional depth.
Jas90 More than 1 year ago
This is a great book, it has really believable characters and is the best book in the whole series. Robin D. Owen usually writes Sci-fi but she did a great job on this book. I can't say it is very original because Jayne Ann Krentz has written another series called the Ghost Hunters Series that is similar. Both of the series feature people that have abandoned earth and settled on an unknown planet. They also have people on that planet that have physic abilities and the longer they stay on that planet the bigger their powers become.But all in all I like this book and I like this series. Robin creates a wonderful land that makes you forget about your life for a while. Enjoy!!!
Darla on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I first read this book in 2002, and I loved it, and have loved the series, so when it was reissued, I took the opportunity to re-read. My copy of the original is back in San Antonio.HeartMate introduces the world of Celta, with its Flair (magic) and Fams (pets--cats, who are telepathically bonded to their owners) and Great Houses. It's a rich world, even from the beginning, yet the worldbuilding is entirely natural and non-intrusive.Rand Ash, or T'Ash (the T' denotes the male head of the family; a D' denotes the female head) has rebuilt his family fortunes after a fire killed his entire family, leaving him at age 6 the only survivor. He got his revenge on the killers, and now his next task is to rebuild his family, and a wife features prominently in those plans. Fortunately, he has a HeartMate--a soul mate, the existence of which is revealed in the ceremony/ordeal that releases a person's Flair.Said HeartMate is Danith Mallow, an orphan with, as she thinks, no Flair, and firmly in the lower-middle class. And she doesn't believe in HeartMates. In addition, she thinks T'Ash is just toying with her.T'Ash, having spent his life fighting for his life, mostly solitary, and definitely without the civilizing influences of family, much less females, has a hard time convincing Danith that he's serious, and thinks if he can just form a HeartMate bond with her before she finds out what a terrible guy he is, she'll be stuck, and he'll be fine. Silly, silly man.Both T'Ash and Danith learn things about themselves, and grow and change in the course of the book. It's mostly about their romance--there are other things going on that provide obstacles, but there's not, for example, a suspense or mystery plot along with the romance.What amazes me so much is that HeartMate is a first book. It's no surprise that it won the RITA. But neither is it a surprise that Berkley/Jove waited to see how it did before agreeing to publish the next in the series. It's definitely different from the other paranormal romances out there. The few that are set on different worlds (at least the ones I've read) don't have the depth of worldbuilding this series does. Part of what I like so much, I suspect, is that I've always read a lot of sf/f, and this reads very much like an sf/f romance, without the sf/f details dumbed-down or left out for the too-stupid-to-care romance readers (not my opinion--it just seems sometimes that that's the opinion of some writers/editors/publishers).Robin D. Owens is definitely a master storyteller. There's just something about her style... it's polished, or professional, maybe. It's like the difference between cheap fake-leather boots and the real deal.*sigh* Okay, enough gushing.
wyvernfriend on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Although it is a bit overdone sometimes this is a charming SF romance where psionics is the used magic and your psionic ability dictates your place in society. Rand T'Ash has faught his way to reclaiming his family home and his family's place in society. This took him from being a street tough to being the respected artisan.He has created a piece of jewelery to attract his heart mate, his HeartGift. Danith is attracted to it but is afraid that it's a trap. He doesn't know how to go about seducing her and she isn't sure that she belongs with him.Interesting and fun, it's an interesting read.
Kyrie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this new author very much. Her world is well thought out and I had fun visiting it.
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The story is slow moving at times, but the world is hands-down one of the best I've ever read. Celta is a place I want to live.
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The story had a interesting plot, but the female main character was way too dramatic and annoying. She kept giving the same excuse over and over and over. It was overkill. I skipped pages just so I could finish the book.
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Emily-J More than 1 year ago
This book brings a fantasy world to life. It was exciting, romantic, and addictive. I can't wait to read more!
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