Into the Dreaming (Highlander Series #8) (with bonus material)

Into the Dreaming (Highlander Series #8) (with bonus material)

by Karen Marie Moning

Hardcover

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345535221
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/24/2012
Series: Karen Marie Moning's Highlander Series , #8
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 267,205
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.42(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Karen Marie Moning is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Fever series, featuring MacKayla Lane, and the award-winning Highlander series. She has a bachelor’s degree in society and law from Purdue University.

Read an Excerpt

One

Not Quite Scotland

It was a land of shadows and ice.

Of gray. And grayer. And black.

Deep in the shadows lurked inhuman creatures, twisted of limb and hideous of countenance. Things one did well to avoid seeing.

Should the creatures enter the pale bars of what passed for light in the terrible place, they would die, painfully and slowly. As would he-the mortal Highlander imprisoned within columns of sickly light-should he succeed in breaking the chains that held him and seek escape through those terrifying shadows.

Jagged cliffs of ice towered above him. A frigid wind shrieked through dark labyrinthine canyons, bearing a susurrus of desolate voices and faint, hellish screams. No sun, no fair breeze of Scotland, no scent of heather penetrated his frozen, bleak hell.

He hated it. His very soul cringed at the horror of the place.

He ached for the warmth of the sun on his face and hungered for the sweet crush of grass beneath his boots. He would have given years of his life for the surety of his stallion between his thighs and the solid weight of his claymore in his grip.

He dreamed-when he managed to escape the agony of his surroundings by retreating deep into his mind-of the blaze of a peat fire, scattered with sheaves of heather. Of a woman's warm, loving caresses. Of buttery, golden-crusted bread hot from the hearth. Simple things. Impossible things.

For the son of a Highland chieftain, who'd passed a score and ten in resplendent mountains and vales, five years was an intolerable sentence; an incarceration that would be withstood only by force of will, by careful nurturing of the light of hope within his heart.

But he was a strong man, with the royal blood of Scottish kings running hot and true in his veins. He would survive. He would return and reclaim his rightful place, woo and win a bonny lass with a tender heart and a tempestuous spirit like his mother, and fill the halls of Dun Haakon with the music of wee ones.

With such dreams, he withstood five years in the hellish wasteland.

Only to discover the dark king had deceived him.

His sentence had never been five years at all, but five faery years: five hundred years in the land of shadow and ice.

On that day when his heart turned to ice within his breast, on that day when a single tear froze upon his cheek, on that day when he was denied even the simple solace of dreaming, he came to find his prison a place of beauty.

"My queen, the Unseelie king holds a mortal captive."

The Seelie queen's face remained impassive, lest her court see how deeply disturbing she found the messenger's news. Long had the Seelie Court of Light and the Unseelie Court of Dark battled. Long had the Unseelie king provoked her. "Who is this mortal?" she asked coolly.

"Aedan MacKinnon, son and heir of the Norse princess Saucy Mary and Findanus MacKinnon, from Dun Haakon on the Isle of Skye."

"Descendent of the Scottish king, Kenneth McAlpin," the queen mused aloud. "The Unseelie king grows greedy, his aim lofty, if he seeks to turn the seed of the McAlpin to his dark ways. What bargain did he strike with this mortal?"

"He sent his current Hand of Vengeance into the world to bring death to the mortal's clansmen yet bartered that if the mortal willingly consented to spend five years in his kingdom, he would spare his kin."

"And the MacKinnon agreed?"

"The king concealed from him that five years in Faery is five centuries. Still, as grandseed of the McAlpin, I suspect the MacKinnon would have accepted the full term to protect his clan."

"What concession does the king make?" the queen asked shrewdly. Any bargain between faery and mortal must hold the possibility for the human to regain his freedom. Still, no mortal had ever bested a fairy in such a bargain.

"At the end of his sentence, he will be granted one full cycle of the moon in the mortal world, at his home at Dun Haakon. If, by the end of that time, he is loved and loves in return, he will be free. If not, he serves as the king's new Hand of Vengeance until the king chooses to replace him, at which time he dies."

The queen made a sound curiously like a sigh. By such cruel methods had the Unseelie king long fashioned his deadly, prized assassin-his beloved Vengeance-by capturing a mortal, driving him past human limits into madness, indurating him to all emotion, then endowing him with special powers and arts.

Since the Unseelie king was barred entrance to the human world, he trained his Vengeance to carry out his orders, to hold no act too heinous. Mortals dared not even whisper the icy assassin's name, lest they inadvertently draw his merciless attention. If a man angered the Unseelie king, Vengeance punished the mortal's clan, sparing no innocents. If grumblings about the faery were heard, Vengeance silenced them in cruelly imaginative ways. If the royal house was not amenable to the fairy world, Vengeance toppled kings as carelessly as one might sweep a chessboard.

Until now, it had been the Unseelie king's wont to abduct an insignificant mortal, one without clan who would not be missed, to train as his Vengeance. He went too far this time, the Seelie queen brooded, abducting a blood grandson of one of fair Scotia's greatest kings-a man of great honor, noble and true of heart.

She would win this mortal back.

The queen was silent for a time. Then, "Ah, what five hundred years in that place will do to him," she breathed in a chilling voice. The Unseelie king had named the terms of his bargain well. Aedan MacKinnon would still be mortal at the end of his captivity but no longer remotely human when released. Once, long ago and never forgotten, she'd traversed that forbidden land herself, danced upon a pinnacle of black ice, slept within the dark king's velvet embrace . . .

"Perhaps an enchanted tapestry," she mused, "to bring the MacKinnon the one true mate to his heart." She could not fight the Unseelie king directly, lest the clash of their magic too gravely damage the land. But she could and would do all in her power to ensure Aedan MacKinnon found love at the end of his imprisonment.

"My queen," the messenger offered hesitantly, "they shall have but one bridge of the moon in the sky. Perhaps they should meet in the Dreaming."

The queen pondered a moment. The Dreaming: that elusive, much-sought, everforgotten realm where mortals occasionally brushed pale shoulder to iridescent wing with the fairy. That place where mortals would be astonished to know battles were won and lost, universes born, and true love preordained, from Cleopatra and Mark Antony to Abelard and Heloise. The lovers could meet in the Dreaming and share a lifetime of loving before they ever met in the mortal realm. It would lay a grand foundation for success of her plan.

"Wisely spoken," the queen agreed. Rising from her floral bower with fluid grace, she raised her arms and began to sing.

From her melody a tapestry was woven, of faery lore, of bits of blood and bone, of silken hair from the great, great-grandson of the McAlpin, of ancient rites known only to the True Race. As she sang, her court chanted:

Into the Dreaming lure them deep

where they shall love whilst they doth sleep

then in the waking both shall dwell

'til love's fire doth melt his ice-borne hell.

And when the tapestry was complete, the queen marveled.

"Is this truly the likeness of Aedan MacKinnon?" she asked, eyeing the tapestry with unmistakable erotic interest.

"I have seen him, and it is so," the messenger replied, wetting his lips, his gaze fixed upon the tapestry.

"Fortunate woman," the queen said silkily.

The faery queen went to him in the Dreaming, well into his sentence, when he was quite mad. Tracing a curved nail against his icy jaw, she whispered in his ear, "Hold fast, MacKinnon, for I have found you the mate to your soul. She will warm you. She will love you above all others."

The monster chained to the ice threw back his dark head and laughed.

It was not a human sound at all.

Two

Present Day Oldenburg, Indiana

Jane sillee had an intensely passionate relationship with her postman.

It was classic love-hate.

The moment she heard him whistling his way down her walk, her heart kicked into overtime, a sappy smile curved her lips, and her breathing quickened.

But the moment he failed to deliver the acceptance letter extolling the wonders of her manuscript, or worse, handed her a rejection letter, she hated him. Hated him. Knew it was his fault somehow. That maybe, just maybe, a publisher had written glowing things about her, he'd dropped the letter because he was careless, the wind had picked it up and carried it off, and even now her bright and shining future lay sodden and decomposing in a mud puddle somewhere.

Just how much could a federal employee be trusted, anyway? she brooded suspiciously. He could be part of some covert study designed to determine how much one tortured writer could endure before snapping and turning into a pen-wielding felon.

"Purple prose, my ass," she muttered, balling up the latest rejection letter. "I only used black ink. I can't afford a color ink cartridge." She kicked the door of her tiny apartment shut and slumped into her secondhand Naugahyde recliner.

Massaging her temples, she scowled. She simply had to get this story published. She'd become convinced it was the only way she was ever going to get him out of her mind.

Him. Her sexy, dark-haired Highlander. The one who came to her in dreams.

Customer Reviews

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Into the Dreaming (Highlander Series #8) 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 147 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I pre-ordered this book and must have missed where it said this is a 95-page novella, not a full book. I have enjoyed this author's other books, but feel like a real chump paying $14 for a very short, very boring and predictable story. The "bonus material" is equally awful. It seems to be a trend now for best-selling authors (like Nalini Singh with Angel's Flight) to cobble together poorly executed and discarded stories from their past in order to capitalize on their best-selling status. I won't make this mistake again. Fool me once, and all that.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's pitiful when good authors clean out their old files, call them "new" and "bonus" and dump the whole mess into an e-book. Then we saps who love their books buy the book ahead of time and are amazed when we see what we purchased. Shame on them, and shame on their publishers!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's very misleading to use "First time in hard cover" to mean its already been published in paper back NOT first time in print.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I first got the book and saw it was a hundred pages I thought it was way to short for it to be a good book but when I started to read it I could not put it down. Captivating from the first page to the last. I guarantee you will not put this book down. Karen Marie Moning spins a tale so intriguing that it feels as if you were there. She captures the essences of the characters within the scope of both a 21st century and 18th century time period. This book is an excellent book to read that will leave you satisfied at the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
VERY DISAPPOINTED!!! I absolutedly loved her highlander and fever series and when I saw she had a new installment I couldn't wait....I wish I would have waited. DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY. Not very well written. Very short story that kind of leaves you hanging. Just overall bad. Not her best work at all.
eagle3tx More than 1 year ago
I must agree with the other reviewers who were disappointed at the shortness of the 'novella,' which is a give away right there. I had hoped that the 'bonus material' would be worthwhile, thus i was disappointed that it was all her throw-away material. Really, why do we want to read the stuff she threw out? That said, the main story line, though predictable, was totally in line with her previous work. I'm a bit surprised she didn't find a way to lengthen it into a full 'novel,' never the less, as a fan of all her other works, especially fever series, I was happy with that part of the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Too expensive for a short and old book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have all of ms mornings book...... for real 9.99 for this .....i will not waste my money on another from ms morning
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i thought the book was awful, and i usually enjoy her books. i would not waste my money on this one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book, it was short but I loved it. the characters are amazing and the plot is fantastic. Definite must Read
KODIDAK68 More than 1 year ago
As other have said - what a disappointment. This book was not up to the standards we expect from Karen. Sorry I wasted my money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am very disappointed in this publication. It's just rejected junk and teasers for her next releases. Stephen King can get away with this because he rewrites his old stuff to make it readable. This is just junk. I love her other books, but I feel like a sucker who's been ripped off with this one. Reprehensible.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Terrible - Don't waste your money. This was nothing more than a short story (111 pages). I have also started the 'Bonus' material and am not impressed. B & n should be giving them away not selling them. Karen Marie Moning's highlander series is very interesting. This book is horrible.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read the first 4 books in the Fever series and really enjoyed them. I purchased Into the Dreaming to get a peek at the Highlander story line and was pleasantly surprised when I read the foreword that a sneak peek of the first Fever grsphic novel was included. Unfortunately the (nook) copy i preordered ends at page 201 and doe not include the aforementioned sneak peek. Disappointing! I hopethis will be corrected infuture editions of the e-book, be forewarned if you are considering this edition.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Such an excellent read with Jane Sillee and Aedan Mackinnon a union of soul mates with her given only 30 days to to make him remember their tie or lose him forever to Unseelie King as Vengeance. Sometimes something short, humorous, and clever a story is all we have time for. This is a well written highly recommended 'yes, short' story that I will probably remember forever and read a dozen more times.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this was a 'buy it now on sale' book! I was excited to see the really cheap price, expecting a 300+ page book. The frown I had on my face when I actually held the book went away within 20 pages. This book may be thin but from page 1 till the end you will be laughing and wanting more. You will really want more of this author!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a waist of money. She could have written a book instead of a VERY SHORT STORY. Because of this I will never order another book for my nook from her. I will go into the bookstore to review her book before buying. If I ever buy another one of hers. This really soured me on her as an author. As far as I'm concerned this was a theft. My fault. I expected better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is a real rip off at $9.99. Kinda stupid and predictable. KMM should be ashamed to do this to her core fans of the highlander and fever series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Made ending the series alot easier than most! I LOVED LOVED LOVED the series! I can't see anything celtic or irish without thinking about adam black!!Amazing wonderful series!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a big fan of this author and I was really looking forward to reading something new from her, but this just didn't do it for me. It was short and I just didn't feel invested in the characters
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Karen Moning is my newest favorite
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book from one of my favorite authors! I love her fever series and this book has a little bit of that world in it, so it was definitely a hit for me!